July 20, 2024

Gustavo Macugay

Ascend Higher

European Literature Is Insanely Crap. Here’s Why.

3 min read
European Literature Is Insanely Crap. Here’s Why.


Most people who read books will have heard of the Classics: The Odyssey, Ulysses, The Sun Also Rises. But I’m going to venture a guess that fewer readers know about the European Literature Canon—the set of books that have been pushed on students in high school and college for centuries. And there’s a good reason why: it’s often terrible. There are loads of reasons why European literature is so bad these days (and not just because “European” is a problematic term). But if you’re interested in learning more about how this happened—and what we can do to change it—then keep reading!

European Literature Is Insanely Crap. Here’s Why.

The Eurocentric mentality

The Eurocentric mentality is a problem in European literature. It’s the idea that white men are the only ones who can write anything worth reading, and if you don’t like it, then you’re wrong.

The importance of diverse voices in storytelling cannot be overstated: we need to hear stories from people who aren’t white men because they will provide us with perspectives on life that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. This includes everything from race relations between different cultures to gender politics within those cultures; both topics are often misrepresented or entirely ignored by authors whose experiences differ from those of their characters (and readers).

The need to follow a certain formula

The need to follow a certain formula:

  • The need to write in a certain way. “The need to be the same as other books”
  • The need to follow a certain formula.

The focus on plot over character

The focus on plot over character

In a lot of European literature, characters are not as important as the plot. This is because the authors want to tell a story about something that happened in history or mythology, and they don’t really care about how the people who were involved felt about it all.

So why does this matter? Well if you don’t care about your characters and their stories then it’s hard for readers (or viewers) to get invested in what’s going on too!

The lack of diversity

One of the main reasons for this is that European literature has a glaring lack of diversity.

By “diversity,” I mean writers who are not white men. Women, people of color and other minorities are often excluded from canonized works or written off with stereotypes when they do appear in them–and even when they don’t! (See: The Scarlet Letter.) This is especially true when it comes to classics like Shakespeare’s plays or those by Cervantes and Goethe; if you look at who wrote them (or rather who was credited with writing them), you’ll find that almost all were wealthy white dudes without any discernible talent for playwriting whatsoever.

The lack of representation means there isn’t much room for new perspectives on important issues like race relations or gender equality; instead we get more stories about kings who wear crowns while being oblivious idiots who never learn anything from their mistakes until someone else dies because they’re too stupid not know better than try something different than what worked before–which led me here talking about how bad these books suck so maybe you should read something better instead?

European literature has a lot of baggage, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

European literature has a lot of baggage, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Literature is a powerful tool for cultural change, and can be used to promote diversity, inclusion and social justice. It can also challenge the status quo by promoting empathy and understanding.


European literature has a lot of baggage, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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