On a Lack of Sub-Plots; Historic Literature
A comment of a friend made me think about my slight distaste for linearity in plays. Or something like linearity – I can’t remember exactly what it was that I said I didn’t like. I think it was more along the lines that a lot of new plays that I see have one relatively simple story told in a linear way and that doesn’t particularly excite me. Well, my friend’s comment upon The Duchess of Malfi (that it didn’t have many subplots) (and I’ve since learnt that it quite possibly was a rather radical adaptation), led me to realise that what I’m not liking in a lot of these plays is the lack of subplots.
(Those sentences above were surely the most literary way to say it – not. I’m tired, I’m tired.)
This is probably why I have a bias against monologues, too.
It’s the continual cause and effect that gets to me, I think, and while adding subplots does nothing to fix that, it nevertheless, by breaking things up, disguises it (or something). More thought required and all that.
Thinking about my remarks on old literature being greater than modern literature because it has gained aspects of history and biography as it aged, I noted, when reading a profile of Tom Stoppard by Kenneth Tynan in the New Yorker today (an article from 1977), that the advertisements in the magazine were infinitely more interesting and worthwhile for me to look at precisely because they represented a time before I was born – that is, they were ‘historic’, in much the same way that Anna Karenina is much more historic now than it was when it was written, due to time passing.
A good novel is its own universe, and this is enhanced when the universe it depicts is much different from our own.