The rise of Literature?

Here's the argument: contemporary mainstream fiction is very different from the storytelling of the deep past because of a demand side shift. Women consume most fiction today, and their tastes differ, on average, from those of men. How do they differ? To be short about it men are into plot, while women are into character. This means that modern literary fiction emphasizes psychological complexity, subtly and finesse. In contrast, male-oriented action adventure or science fiction exhibits a tendency toward flat monochromatic characters and a reliance on interesting events and twists.


So ... this is new?

Zane Grey redux.

I was going to say, "What a load of sexist crap!", but I read the article and I have a different argument because in the simplistic formulation of the argument they have a (small) point.

My concern is that they discuss something called "contemporary mainstream fiction" vs. forms of science fiction. What they call "great fiction" -- I might call literature -- consists of a few works that escaped sci-fi, e.g., Fahrenheit 451, ..., and ancient tales from Greece, Rome and earlier epics.

Where the heck does Zola's Germinal fall in this scheme? Doesn't seem as if the author is aware of much of the span of literature and how their supposed division plays out regarding it.

There is certainly a plot, and are even some violent episodes, in Germinal but there is more character and psychological reality in the two horses, Battle and Trumpet, amongst others, than there is in whatever passes for "contemporary mainstream fiction."

I have no doubt that there are other areas of literature (current, even) that fall outside of that which I included even. These, I have no doubt would further complicate the issues.

I guess if one's world of fiction is as small as this author's then it becomes easy to make such simplistic and dichotomous arguments. Labeling it "folk" theory makes it no more redeeming.