Only Me wrote:
Just thought of this one, in connection to that Kafka post. Do you think that, in a post-literate society, where visual literacy trumps literary literacy, that words and works by people like Kafka (or indeed any author) will hold as much importance as they did in the literacy-loving 20th century? Moving into an era of the human race that is basically the definition of fulfillment-without-fulfillment, being fed on images, and way beyond people who were trying to express what was in their heads and hearts pre-electronic-media...will these outdated viewpoints curry much favor beyond a tiny literate audience? The whole literary reputation thing is basically a shrill shill shell game already. I would assume books are always going to be around. But will anybody but a small self-satisfied-and-righteous word-coterie care about literary reputations? Do you understand what I mean?
I think that you overestimate the fraction of literate people in the 20th century. The people who appreciated literature (as opposed to pulps and yellow journalism) were a minority in 1910 just as they are in 2010. The majority of the time cared as little about literary "high culture" then as they do now.
The only thing that's changed is that the other 98% of the population has immersed itself in a new medium - instead of reading tabloids, they now get their gossip from the TV or internet.