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Think you can tell the difference between the writings of Charles Dickens, pretty much all-around acknowledged master of Victorian fiction, and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, widely considered "the worst writer in history?" Well, according to a new study published in the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, the average university student can only differentiate 48% of the time.
Skeptical? We were too, so we asked an English major at Dartmouth — which is allegedly in the Ivy League — to take study author Mikhail Simkin's quiz, called "Great Prose or Not?"
"Okay, here are my very uneducated guesses," she told Page Views upon completion of the quiz, with obvious exasperation.
Uneducated indeed. She correctly answered six out of the 12 questions, right on par at 50%.
Are the famous writers better than the unknown ones, or they merely have more readers?
By midnight the revelry was at its height. Now came one of those picturesque spectacles so admired in that day. A description of it is still extant in the quaint wording of a chronicler who witnessed it:
He paused a moment, but nobody volunteering any other meteorological recollection, he again had recourse to his pocket-handkerchief, and for some moments mopped his face diligently.
originally posted by: DOCHOLIDAZE1
a reply to: vernichter
i wonder what would of happed if they questioned 9000 literature students (reading writing ect) as opposed to random students. I know tech/science students are not likely to be reading dickens in their free time, more like getting their gamer score up
Think you can tell the difference between the writings of Charles Dickens, pretty much all-around acknowledged master of Victorian fiction, and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, widely considered "the worst writer in history?
Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The contest (hereafter referred to as the BLFC) was the brainchild (or Rosemary’s baby) of Professor Scott Rice, whose graduate school excavations unearthed the source of the line “It was a dark and stormy night.”
originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: vernichter
Yeah, it is a horrible opening sentence. But does that mean that Bulwer-Lytton was the worst writer ever?