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GC Gets Proppian

I wasn’t joking yesterday when I said articles about book culture repeated the same (five, six, seven — the number doesn’t matter) plotlines. During my worst days, the repetition makes reading claustrophobic — like I’m living in a Groundhog day constructed from newsprint, and nothing changes except the nouns in the papers’ mad lib blanks.

I know this is isn’t the best attitude for a blogger to have or, worse, express; I should make reading the news feel like infectious fun, everyday a wild ride into our culture’s eccentricities. But, I’m proposing an experiment: instead of relaying the more familiar articles about dead writers’ shacks/houses/villas, teenage girls with sexy memoirs, and self-mythologizing retrospectives in UK papers about becoming writers, I’ll begin relaying these articles solely for classification purposes.

For example: here’s an article about the Burns National Heritage Park being in crisis. The larger, archetypal plotline: Dead Writers’ Property, In Need of Rescue. (And maybe once I’ve compared more examples of this plotline, the Burns National Heritage Park will also exemplify a sub-type … I’m thinking this new classification project should be as precise as it is shrug-inducingly pointless — at least, for non-semiotics majors.)

I’ve a long queue of articles, found over the past 24 hours, to be categorized and then reported. But I’d also love contributions — ideas about what categories are absolutely necessary (“the debut writer’s horror story”? “the complicated literary friendship”?), or links to articles you’ve already rolled your eyes at.

Update: Here, however, is a story I’m not sure I’ve read before.

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