Clash on the Barrelhead

Babel Clash: Are we living in a pop Golden Age or a Silver Age–and, more importantly, what’s the exchange rate?

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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5 Responses to Clash on the Barrelhead

  1. marycatelli says:

    gold age

    You remind me of C. S. Lewis’s ”English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama” where he talks about Elizabethan poetry as Golden — by which he does not mean “good”. Late medieval English poetry had been bad, particularly in meter, and in the Elizabethan era, they remastered the art of writing good poetry.

    So what did they do? They went about writing beautiful poetry about poetical subjects with poetical imagery — the obvious thing to do with poetry.

    Once they were sated with that, they started to do more complicated stuff for contrast — like the Metaphysical poets, who cheerfully dragged in unpoetical imagery.

    He compared it to the classical period of Greek sculpture, when they mastered the art of making stone looking like something.

    The thing is, unless you’re new to the field, you are going to be reacting to the past, the question is how much.

    • marycatelli says:

      Re: gold age

      To quote John Gardner: “If the business of the first man is to create, the business of the second is at least partly to correct.”

      • JE says:

        Re: gold age

        I like medieval English poetry in every century–but I admit that something doesn’t have to be good for me to like it. I like the 14th C. stuff the best maybe–for Piers Plowman and Gawaine and the Green Knight more than Chaucer (though he’s grown on me a little as I get older).

        Thanks for the Gardner quote, too. I love his stuff–as scholar, storyteller, and writer-about-writing.

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