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Will the Internet Spoil the Next Great American Novel?

Picture+1.pngDuring an essay about the last decade in books in New York magazine, Sam Anderson considered how the last decade has influenced the writing career of Helen DeWitt (pictured, via)–wrestling with the over-stimulation that contemporary writers face.

Here’s an excerpt, pondering the changes that occurred since DeWitt published “The Last Samurai” in 2000: “Unfortunately, here at the other end of that same decade, readers are still waiting for DeWitt’s second novel … This, in a nutshell, is the problem of the aughts. Will all of these newly indispensable textual forms ever lend themselves to actual books, or are they simply ends in themselves? (DeWitt has said that she temporarily had to move into an Internet-less apartment in order to get work done; according to her blog, she spent 2009 trying to finish five different books.)”

What do you think? Is the Internet ruining our chances at writing books? Will reading GalleyCat spoil the next Great American Novel? These are somewhat exaggerated questions, but even this editor dreams about an Internet-less apartment sometimes…

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