Rebranding Literature is a simple plan to make literature more relevant in the marketplace of ideas by maximizing revenue potential.
Over the course of human history, great works of literature have generated less revenue in aggregate than a single day’s worth of Starbucks sales. This is true even in the United States, where monetary wealth or the pursuit of it seems to trump all other forms of worth. This is true even in American literature of the 20th century, the so-called century of American ascendancy, and, finally, dominance.
Why is literature losing out so badly to the coffee mongers? That they sell a drug, legally, we rejected as too simplistic; many retailers of drugs legal and illegal don’t get wealthy. We attempted to answer the question by visiting a local Starbucks. The answer is shockingly obvious if you have eyes to see. Just look around. Everything is for sale. Little racks with branded items pop up like toadstools. Nature abhors a vacuum; so does Starbucks—every empty space is filled with something you could buy. So, we have initiated a project to go back and apply what we’ve learned to great works of literature in hopes of raising greater revenues.
To demonstrate the profitable improvement of 20th century American fiction, we take a look at two seminal works by two American writers in the forms that show them at their best: William Faulkner in the novel, and Ernest Hemingway in the short story. Here are excerpts from Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River: Part II.”
The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner and The Stoneslide Corrective
Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting Titleist Pro V1s. They were coming toward where the flag was and I went along the Oxford Fence Co. fence. Luster was hunting in the grass by the flower tree. They took the flag out, still wearing their Tour Gold gloves, and they were hitting with their PING Karsten 1959 Craze-e putters. Then they put the flag back and they went to the table, and he hit and the other hit. Then they went on, and I went along the truly high-quality fence. Luster came away from the flower tree and we went along the fence. (Have I mentioned how nice the fence is? You’ll want one for your yard or garden. Keeps out varmints, for sure, and just looks nice on the eyes.) and they stopped and we stopped and I looked through the fence while Luster was hunting in the grass with his .223 bolt action Savage.
“Big Two-Hearted River: Part II”
by Ernest Hemingway and The Stoneslide Corrective
Nick took his fly rod out of the leather rod-case, jointed it, and shoved the rod case back into the tent. It was a good tent, a true tent, made by The North Face. He put on the reel and threaded the line through the guides. He had to hold it from hand to hand as he threaded it or it would slip back through its own weight. It was a heavy, double tapered fly line. Nick had paid eight dollars for it during a sale at a Bass Pro Shop in Downers Grove a long time ago. It was made heavy to lift back in the air and come forward flat and heavy and straight to make it possible to cast a fly which has no weight. Nick often bought his gear at the Orvis in Chicago, or up in Royal Oak, but Bass won this one on price. Nick opened the aluminum leader box. The leaders were coiled between the damp flannel pads. Nick had wet the pads at the water cooler on the train up to St. Ignace, gateway to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In the damp pads the gut leaders had softened and Nick unrolled one and tied it by a loop at the end to the heavy fly line. He fastened a hook on the end of the leader. It was a small hook; very thin and springy.
Nick took it from his hook book sitting with the rod, a Sage THX, across his lap. He tested the knot and the spring of the rod by pulling the line taut. It was a good feeling. His rod was strong, and responsive. He was careful not to let the hook bite into his finger.
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