It seems that since The World's second unsuccessful suicide attempt every work of classic literature is very dark. Most are satire or dystopian.

For example:

Catch 22, The Catcher in the Rye, anything by Kurt Vonnegut. Neuromancer. Snow Crash. Any other cyberpunk. Then all the way over to John Steinbeck or Arthur Miller. 1984. Animal Farm. Brave New World. Fahrenheit 451. Anything by Philip K. Dick. Most of Heinlein.

Perhaps its just my taste but I cant think of a single major utopian in the Engish language in the last 100 years. Most writers seem pretty sick of life. The Cold War cannot explain this completely can it?

Can anyone shed some light to this idea or give some counterexamples? (or more dark examples)

Cyril Connolly, the British critic and essayist who published Horizon, the literary magazine back in the forties, had a lot to say on this topic (and hundreds of others) in his most famous work, The Unquiet Grave.

He refers to decadence as being the bane of the modern writer and goes on at length with a good description of just what he means. (Refer to Why Johnny Can't Write.) Since Connolly wrote in 1945, it's interesting to see how accurate history has proven his pronouncements to be.

For just a taste of where he's coming from, consider this:

"The masterpieces appropriate to our time are in the style of the early Chirico, the later Rouault and Picasso's Guernica; sombre, magnificent yet personal statements of our tragedy; work of strong and noble architecture austerely coloured by loneliness and despair.

"Flaubert spoke true: to succeed a great artist must have both character and fanaticism and few in this country are willing to pay the price. Our writers have either no personality and therefore no style or a false personality and therefore a bad style; they mistake prejudice for energy and accept the sensation of material well-being as a system of thought."

Cyril Connolly
The Unquiet Grave, 1945

We live, I suppose, in a visual era. Our artists make pictures and money, not words on a page on a path to the truth. The best new literature, when it comes after the deluge, may well be right here, on E2, because it is upon the exchange of ideas that writers have always depended to stoke the fires of their imaginations.

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