Is a lack of economic stability making writers too safe? Maggie Doherty argues “yes”:
Nearly half a century later, we find ourselves at a different sort of crisis point. Radical literary experimentation continues, but it has become the privilege of a few. In Barth’s day, a robust welfare state supported writers. Public patronage programs provided new classes of Americans with the resources needed to write and, through financial support, enabled them to take aesthetic risks. The upshot was a more diverse literary world—racially, politically, and aesthetically.