What are some basic thematic concerns of contemporary literature in English?  

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If we consider the term “contemporary literature” to mean today’s literature that makes a claim to lasting literary history, it is sometimes difficult to separate it from merely “popular” literature.  Is the Harry Potter series “contemporary literature”?  Or the werewolf stuff?   There was a time when Tolkien’s work was not considered real “literature”, or Narnia, or even Alice in Wonderland. Twentieth-century science fiction (Isaac Asimov or A.E. van Vogt or Robert Heinlein or Anthony Burgess, etc.) used to be seen as childish fantasy/science fiction, but all of these works have since undergone serious literary study.  So “thematic concerns” is a little ambiguous--yes, Armageddon worries, etc.  Perhaps we can say that “realistic” literature has given way to “imagination literature”, literature that explores the non-Aristotilean world beyond logic and reason, to a world that invents its own reality and its own rules (for example, the world of Harry Potter has plenty of rules).  Another point that must be addressed is the putative waning of “reading” itself.  With so many other means for telling a story (television, movies, “illustrated” novels, etc.), it can be argued that we are only a few generations from no literature at all!

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