(1) Not to undercut the interesting discussion, but worth noting that
on Amazon, Gatsby got 94 one star reviews --- out of 1335.
on Goodreads, Gatsby got ~29,000 one star reviews --- out of ~650,000.
The worry that the internet gives voice to an aesthetically-impaired hoi polloi that will drown out the few true aesthetes seems misplaced. Gatsby is doing just fine outside the ivory tower.
(2) That said, I agree aesthetics needs to be revived in (and out) of the academy. Understanding what makes art art is an important task. I agree in spirit with +Clint Wilson
, that literature is not merely entertainment and must 'speak' to a contemporary reader. Defining objective standards for this seems a pretty tall order though. I would say, (slightly) pace +Thomas Stowe
, that the best work will not only
be of historical interest -- I think literature can maintain its relevance for hundreds of years, so long as the human condition to which it refers remains recognizable. Hamlet, Medea, Don Quixote and other works centuries old I value because they illuminate something totally relevant to human life around me.