Robert McCrum’s article in the Guardian is probably one of the most interesting reads I’ve had in a while concerning literature with the ranking of class. McCrum gives us a rundown of who he believes sits at the top and who’s at the bottom of the heap in literary society.
At the top of the British ladder, McCrum – with the help of a recent Ian Rankin interview, places the poets. “To be a poet,” he says, “is to be a member of an elite.” Next come the playwrights. Third down the line are the literary novelists, which McCrum points out are “rather middle-class types who spring from bourgeois society in all its complexity.” Crime authors, thriller writers and spy novelists are then all grouped together, followed by – clumsily put – the literary underclass: the writers of celebrity biographies. The writers of children’s books are given a slight mention at the end – some are on the “right side of the tracks”, and others are too rich and famous to care.
Do you think authors of different genres earn more praise or respect than others because of their “class”? And, while the article gave insight on literary class in Britain, do you think there’s a cultural difference when it comes to literary rankings?