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Thread: Which COUNTRY has produced the greatest literature?

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    Which COUNTRY has produced the greatest literature?

    Have your say as to which nation has produced the greatest literature throughout time, whether it be Rome and Greece with the old classics or Britain with Shakespeare and the Victorian writers.

  2. #2
    Boll Weevil cuppajoe_9's Avatar
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    I'd say the largest volume of great literature has come from the British Isles, but that might just be because I'm an anglophone.

    For consistency of great literature, it's hard to beat Russia. (Quick, name five lousy Russian authors. See?)

    Per capita, Canada and Iceland do quite well.

    Most of the convention defying of the past century seems to have come from the United States.
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    Yeah, I agree with Britain. I think, in regard to Russia, it's that they don't have too many writers so only the best get published, you know. I don't think America currently produces the best; I think their current turnout is rubbish.

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    Boll Weevil cuppajoe_9's Avatar
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    I haven't read anything written anywhere in the past decade or so that blew me away (Palahniuk is alright), but it's hard to beat T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and Amy Lowell for sheer, unadulterated weirdness (unless, of course, you happen to be James Joyce). America has also produced the best feminist literature this side of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, in my opinion.
    Last edited by cuppajoe_9; 01-29-2007 at 11:22 PM.
    What is the use of a violent kind of delightfulness if there is no pleasure in not getting tired of it.
    - Gertrude Stein

    A washerwoman with her basket; a rook; a red-hot poker; th purples and grey-greens of flowers: some common feeling which held the whole together.
    - Virginia Woolf

  5. #5
    Try... ah, Jeffery Archer and Salaman Rushie - I think I spelt the latter right. But people like Clive Cussler... ah!

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    Russian Writers

    Quote Originally Posted by cuppajoe_9 View Post
    For consistency of great literature, it's hard to beat Russia.


    It's true, particularly in the 19th Century, Russia produced a great number of excellent writers : Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Gogol, Chekhov, etc. who all had to say profound things about human nature and whose works are still well-known in the West and have been frequently used as a basis for other artistic productions such as films, theater, etc.

    With regard to Brendan's comment that Russia doesn't have that many writers so that the best get published : they actually do have a lot, it's just that the best get published in the English-speaking world which is why the English--speaking world only knows a select number. Also many works deal with intensely Russian/local issues which may not be of interest internationally. But there are plenty of good/medium rate Russian writers that are published and appreciated in Russia.

    By the same token when I lived in the USSR, I only knew a select # of American/Canadian/British authors, and it's only when I moved to Canada and started taking English lit. in high school that I became acquainted with a lot of interesting writers from the English world.
    Last edited by olichka; 01-30-2007 at 04:32 PM.

  7. #7
    I agree with olichka, although I was refering to Russian writers currently.

    To cuppajoe: I might be able to name 5 lousy Russians, but I haven't gotten into Russian literature much. Who would you consider 5 bad writers from Britain??

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    Joanna F.Emerald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan Madley View Post
    Yeah, I agree with Britain.
    By Britain do you mean England? I mean, I don't know about you, but I can't think of any particularly great or heroic Welsh, Northern Irish or even Scottish novelists.

    I think it's fairly even until one compares the miniscule size of England with its contenders, (I think Russia and America), then it is England.
    Last edited by F.Emerald; 01-30-2007 at 05:48 PM.
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    now then ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.Emerald View Post
    By Britain do you mean England? I mean, I don't know about you, but I can't think of any particularly great or heroic Welsh, Northern Irish or even Scottish novelists.
    AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Sacriledge what of Scott,Stevenson, Conan Doyle for the novelists, and seeing as it is literature, how can we forget Burns (one of the few writers to have his own day which is celebrated worldwide)

    Scottish Writers

    Scottish Novelists

    This is without even going into Welsh, N.Irish, or ROI before seperation.
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    Our understanding of foreign literature is limited by what has been translated if we are monoglot and if one is a metropolitan troglodyte ones horizons will be very limited indeed. There are hundreds of Russian writers but the overwhelming majority will never have been translated or will have been translated in very truncated form. There is definitely 'heroic' Welsh literature. There are numerous Northern Irish writers and Scots, well ... too many to bother enlightening one who probably aint very interested.

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    Registered User Woland's Avatar
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    I didnt know Doyle and Stevenson were Scottish

    Lets not forget the French.

    Voltaire
    Moliere
    Dumas
    Hugo
    Flaubert
    Baudelaire

    Then into the 20th century

    Camus
    Sartre
    Last edited by Woland; 01-30-2007 at 06:57 PM.
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  12. #12
    By Britain I do mean, yes, the British Isles. And to add my 2 cents, I would say Shakespeare, Dickens, Chaucher, Scott, Austen, Archer, Doyle, Kipling, Buchyan, Defoe, Woolf, Conrad, Marlowe, Thackeray, Swift, Fielding, Bronte Sisters, Shelley, Stoker, Joyce, Disraeli, Gaskel, Collins, Carroll, Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, Potter, Trollpe, Eliot and Hardy to name some British legends. True, many are English, but every Home Country has their own champions of literature.

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    Joanna F.Emerald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kilted exile View Post
    AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Sacriledge what of Scott,Stevenson, Conan Doyle for the novelists, and seeing as it is literature, how can we forget Burns (one of the few writers to have his own day which is celebrated worldwide)

    Scottish Writers

    Scottish Novelists

    This is without even going into Welsh, N.Irish, or ROI before seperation.
    Ok ok!...I suppose I was being biased. I didn't say there weren't a few. But it hardly compares to the cornucopia that England offers

    I don't like Stevenson one bit. The only Scottish author I've enjoyed is Irvine Welsh, but 'Trainspotting', 'P*rno', 'Filth' etc wouldn't be considered as literature would they?
    I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me.
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    now then ;)
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    I wouldnt anticipate there being as many Scottish writers as English - the population is about one tenth of the size - but we have produced our fair share.
    There once was a scotsman named Drew
    Who put too much wine in his stew
    He felt a bit drunk
    And fell off his bunk
    And landed smack into his shoe
    ~(C) Ms Niamh Anne King

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    Registered User Boris239's Avatar
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    I can also easily name 5 terrible Russian writers. In fact, if we look only at the 20th century, there is an enormous number of Soviet authors who were published only because they supported the communist party and wrote the "right" thing

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