Recently, the editors of the New York Times posed an interesting question on their blog, Paper Cuts. Are blogs literature? The question was posed in response to the latest book by the Portuguese novelist José Saramago’s entitled The Notebook, a collection of blog posts he created from September 2008 to August 2009, encouraged by his family and friends. According to the Times, The Notebook is mostly a collection of mini essays, shorter than most journalism articles. By the end of their blog post, the editors answer their own question by stating that no, blogs are not literature. They base their conclusion on a belief that most blog posts are “too topical” and “too fleeting” to count as literature. Their write-up concludes by stating Jose gave up on blogging after about a year because he started a new novel and wanted to dedicate all of his time to that.
A lot of the blogs I have come across offer interviews with other writers, blurbs about various readings, and responses to magazine and journal articles, and of course, politics. But are there any well-known writers out there that use a blog to post sweeping, riveting narrative essays or short stories? Are there poets out there that post finished work on a blog? I have always hesitated to do so because I am more interested in sending that work off to journals, and some editors will not touch a poem if it has appeared anywhere else, including on a blog.
But as blogging continues to grow in popularity, will how we blog change? Will writers use this particular medium to post drafts, revisions, and finished products of a longer work? Will they gather various blog posts and publish them as a collection that will be considered “literature?” The experiment did not work for José Saramago, but could it work for another writer one day?