Will we witness a literature apocalypse?

By Krishna Priya

The last few years have felt relentless in their never-ending flow of literature across the major media while reaching the pinnacle of pandemic and physical distancing. We shall examine many of the changes that have taken place in the form, content, and structure of literature during the past few years through the course of this article. Literature is a reflection of cultural, societal, political, and economic reality and an essential component of the self-realisation of man and a representation of his successes and failures. Through capturing readers' thoughts, literature has been thriving, instructing, and attracting its readers while simultaneously making it possible for large segments of the people to learn about both historical and contemporary events, while also encouraging them to explore their imaginations through a variety of magnificent works. Literature has reached a larger audience in the post-pandemic era thanks to the internet, e-book technology, blogging, and other social networking sites. These patterns are highly beneficial for encouraging the discussion of ideas and the availability of crucial data that aids in the analysis of literary works. Reading and writing have given way to blogging, tweeting, microblogging, and six-word novels as communication tools. How contemporary scholars view and approach literature is the main area of English literature that is impacted by the modern media. Recent trends are helpful in fostering the discussion of ideas and the availability of essential data that aids in the examination of literary works. E-books and other digital forms of written literature have been shown to increase readers' interests and their ability to read and write.

Casey Brienza, sociologist and lecturer in Publishing and Digital Media at City University London opines that, “all media are the platforms of human communication and expression, and in this sense, all media, including literature, is social.”

From the Renaissance to the digital age, social media has in some ways replaced literature as a means of communicating, disseminating knowledge, and—most importantly—acting as a mirror of society. We are currently in a decade where the culture of reading novels is being replaced by twitter journalism. It's almost as if social media has reduced Shakespeare to a single 140–280 character tweet and Plato or Aristotle to a 10-minute YouTube film. Both society and literature change as a result of the times we live in and the past few years have seen copious chronicles of pandemic in literature which demonstrate the ability of humans to creatively mould history into forms that are palatable to readers. The Book of Exodus' description of the Egyptian plague, Sophocles' reference to the devastating plague that motivated him to reify Oedipus' kingly traits, and Thucydides' account of the Athens plague that killed Emperor Marcus Aurelius are just a few examples of the earliest attempts to capture the key moments in history as well as the human desire to leave an aesthetic imprint on the literature of the time.

Covid-19 has had a profound influence on the artistic output around the world and this might then elevate fictionalised autobiographical chronicles with real-world surroundings. Survival will likely take centre stage in post-Covid-19 works in terms of subject focus. The concept of survival will definitely reappear, but this time with a clear warning that if we lose to our mean ways now, civilization as we know it will be jeopardised. This is done by juxtaposing dread, menace, darkness, and death with freedom, peace, and life. The writers' sense of the urgent need to bridge the socioeconomic gap and communal existence will most probably be expressed through their writing. Science Fiction as a genre may likewise be on the decline. The Pandemic has caused many people to strongly doubt the technology's usefulness and effectiveness. We might be able to travel to the furthest reaches of the cosmos, but have we succeeded in curing this virus? Have we overcome our upcoming fate? This helplessness will question the notions of power and alter the perception of human tenacity and innovation. Doctors, nurses, and paramedic staff will find an awe-inspiring and inspirational position in the post-pandemic literature, where soldiers, tycoons, and warriors occupied centre stage during the pre-pandemic period.

The fundamental definition of physical closeness in relationships, which would then lead to virtual emotional alliances, might shift under the umbrella of a category that might be called "masked romance." Thus, self-isolation and quarantine could weaken the grip of realism, allowing for a more vibrant and tangible imagination. The likelihood of imaginary flights increases with the degree of physical confinement and the social value of literature could potentially decline as a result of this. Trauma studies will be significantly impacted by the pervasive dread of contracting the disease and the stigma associated with it. Writings will cover a wide range of psychological concerns as a result of people being torn between safety and survival, the advantages and disadvantages of proximity, the benefits and costs of freedom, and personal space and socialising.

Not only has literature changed in terms of substance, but it has also become increasingly easier to handle various types of literature due to increased digitization. The capacity to quickly access information on literature for study or literary works by others is one benefit of such tendencies. An electronic book, also known as a digital publication of a physical book, is referred to as an "ebook" which is available on computers as well as devices like smartphones and tablets, and can be used to access the digital books. The use of ebook technology, social media, and digital media has had a significant impact on culture and how we view literature.

Social media has a big impact on English literature since it offers a bigger audience to share their ideas with the world. The importance of research to the world grows as social media becomes more and more prevalent. Social media is beneficial for literature, but it has a significant impact on writing—so much so that renowned poet William Shakespeare has a twitter account. Additionally, new authors who have captured readers' interest on social media continue to emerge. Thus, social media has played a big role in the growth of English literature, and many authors are adjusting their works to the societal changes brought about by social media. Many well-known authors have published some of their works on Twitter and Instagram. One of these authors is Nicholas Belardes, who in 2008 used 900 tweets to create the book Small Places (Tharakan, n.p). Through blog entries, authors communicate with their readers as well. For the debate of a range of subjects related to the study of literature, blogs have also been a lively venue.

Phil James says that, “I would argue that social media follows a similar structure; since likes and shares are sacrosanct to whoever is promoting a given page, whatever creates a desire to validate content will become the norm.”But in addition to that, it's important to realise that literature in its purest essence isn't merely meant to be relished intellectually. "Art is Contemplative—Social Media is Consumable..., the Disposability of Pages on Social Media might be Harmful to Art," writes Phil. This is also due to the fact that the pages on which we display these works are filled with bells and whistles, frequent notifications, and nonstop distractions. He continues by saying that it is similar to "a casino without clocks'' or "a restaurant designed to make us hungry," which is bad because literary works are meant to stimulate deep thought and critical thinking. Sadly, social networking actually serves to promote the use of technology by inspiring product design and aesthetics.

A new genre for authors to experiment with is the "6 word book." Examples of six word novels include Rebecca James' "After she died, he came alive" and Marcy's "One gun, two shots, three dead." . It may be simple to create a lengthy, narrative, and descriptive novel, but it takes ingenuity and creativity to produce a novel that is only six words long. Long, complicated writing models have also been simplified by flash fiction and microfiction. Twitter Fiction is a relatively new genre of fiction wherein extremely brief stories that fit under the character limit are shared online. Twitter Fiction has developed over the past ten years to become a well-known short story format, with an annual literary festival and publication. The form presents a few unique names. Call them Twits, Twaddles, nano-fiction, microfiction, Twits, or Twizzlers, but writers from every genre, from up-and-coming authors to established literary heavyweights, are writing on Twitter. David Mitchell, Phillip Pullman, Helen Fielding, Jeffery Archer, Chuck Wendig, and Margaret Atwood are just a few of the well-known authors who have contributed to the yearly celebration of Twitter Fiction. The novelist and Editor Goldstein spoke at the first ‘Twitter fiction festival’ at the New York Public Library, saying, “People say that Twitter is ruining people’s attention span—but what if we harnessed that through serialised fiction?” The approach of literary condensation used in Twitter fiction is to take something large and cumbersome and focus it so that it can fit on a smartphone screen or in a Twitter stream. It is a test of a writer's ability to pack a thorough story or sentiment into an absurdly short word count. It makes sense that in order to tell the best story possible in such a condensed form as Twitter fiction, every character must be utilised. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Twitter is spawning not only a new, condensed short-form of writing but also entirely new audiences that are bustling with activity. Twitterature is a growing micro-fandom for micro-twitter literature. A literary application of the Twitter microblogging service is known as Twitterature (a portmanteau of Twitter and literature). Aphorisms, poetry, and fiction (or some combination of these) are among the many genres represented, and they can be composed either independently or jointly. The medium's 280-character limit, which was increased from 140 characters in late 2017 presents a difficulty for writers. The objectives of Twitterature as a form are as diverse as the one billion users who make up its platform. As a promotional tool, twitterature can propel well-known authors to new heights; as an open forum, it can launch undiscovered authors into the spotlight; and as a bite-sized format, it can grab people's attention. Twitter is educating and enlightening authors, both new and seasoned, on how to connect with and draw readers who value character counts as well as character limits.

Although some literary classicists claim that these new trends are eroding the standards and norms of writing, it is undeniable that they are engaging and compelling. Internet slang bothers literary classicists because they view it as a misappropriation of the language. The informal writing style and persistent disregard for grammatical mistakes and improper language usage are the villains. Despite the fact that some of them have imitated great literary works, they do not show greater regard for them. In our technological age, grammar has lost its usefulness and is starting to disappear. Spelling and vocabulary are no longer useful to the SMS language. Today's world is famous for its misspelt words. The globe is expanding quickly, leaving little time for literature. Finally, in cybernetics, hypertext will thrive as a creative medium enabling the reader to enjoy virtuality and interaction. Since literature is a form of art, it should place a greater emphasis on its depth and content. Otherwise, the significance and appeal of the topic itself will wane. Since it has been utilised to revive genres, hypertext versions can be seen as a blessing for literature. For example, Daffodils by Wordsworth in the hypertext version will have the option for the reader to read the poem while zooming to the image of Daffodils in the background enhancing the understanding of the poem.

The field of literature is about to enter a kind of golden age, replete with developments that we haven't fully comprehended yet. As humans are simultaneously consuming and producing information, a modern new literary movement is emerging from the ashes of digital disruption. It's possible that electronic literature, sometimes known as digital literature, will upend everything we previously believed to be true about literature. Modern writing is "born digital," and e-lit is a creative investigation of the written word in digital medium. One indication is the recent growth of transmedia storytelling. It can be observed in the boom of interactive children's e-literature for touchscreen devices, as well as the creation of audiovisual and critical versions of classic literary works. Since at least thirty years ago, people have been keeping diaries. However, it is now viewed as a bygone hobby and is only done by the elderly. Memories are compiled in a diary. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking platforms are now utilised to relive past experiences. Because Facebook allows users to post their own photos and images, there is little question that it shields man from the time-consuming process of keeping albums or creating scrapbooks. It is simpler for them to access it online, and they can remark on it as long as the account is active.

We must take into account the works of authors like Eliot, Hemingway, and James Joyce as literature steadily strays from a traditional structure in order to understand that the absence of a flawless structure does not imply a lack of literary value. The reality is that most individuals have busy lives and prefer quick, light entertainment to in-depth, lengthy amusement.