Thursday, January 9, 2014

Patterns of Literary Misery Match Economic Misery

Big data does in fact bring some interesting insights. A pattern of literary mood and societal mood created by economic conditions correlate, with a 10 year lag on literary mood. Paul Ormerod, an economist and coauthor of the piece, argues that, "The results suggest quite clearly that, contrary to post-modern literary theory, literature serves a purpose. It informs people about the human condition, and the content adapts to the conditions of the time." We should not be surprised at the lag, given the fact that artists have to first process the emotions, then write the work, then get the work published. All of this is a multi-year process -- apparently averaging out to about 10 years.