1. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    quiz for all literary giants... or midgets...

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by erebh, Mar 25, 2013.

    Charles Dickens and Edward Bulwer-Lytton are regarded as the world's best and worst writers ever - the latter even having an annual "wretched-"contest named in in his (dis) honour.

    In case you haven't seen it, a test has been devised to see if people today can tell the difference between the best and worst of writers - The test was carried out in numerous colleges inc Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale by 9000 people - only 48% of people could tell the difference in the two writers which obviously could have been achieved if the contestant closed his/her eyes and stuck a pin in the answer sheet.

    Here is the link to the online test - just for fun, complete the test and post your results here

    http://reverent.org/bulwer-dickens.html
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't consider this a valid test, since dickens was also given to florid excess, so there is not that much difference between the two when only brief excerpts are compared... what made dickens a 'great' writer was not so much his writing style, as what he wrote about... the clear and vivid pictures he presented of life in his time... no one would publish his unpublished writings [if any existed] today, if they were submitted by a new and unknown writer...

    i did take the test 'just for fun' and only scored 58% which, although somewhat higher than the average score of all who took it, i think still proves my point, since i 'guessed' more than 'knew'...

    hemingway is also generally considered by knowledgable literary critics to not be all that 'great' as a writer... his greatness also lies in what he wrote about, more than how he did so...
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    the multiple choice nature of the answers could have been better if you chose the "better" peice of writing or if you simply replave Dickens for better and Lytton for worse rather than guessing who wrote what
     
  4. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    sorry, my score was 75% - proves I'm pretty good at guessing!
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in most of those cases, there's no discernible difference re better or worse... so i have to assume you just guessed better... or were lucky... or, perhaps you're a longtime reader of all of dickens' works, so could recognize settings, or actual passages...

    and that's not sour grapes, just the neutral, experience-based opinion of a professional editor of modernday writings... ;)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    kudos to you for that high score, mapmaker!

    do you mind saying whether your choices were made due to being intimately familiar with cd's style, or to the fact that you recognized something in the content from having read that passage before?...
     
  7. slamdunk
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    slamdunk Member

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    92% here as well (maybe due to luck? the test was pretty short). I have not read much Dickens and never read Bulwer-Lytton, but I assumed Dickens to be better and looked for flow and if the descriptions had something or just "put there" as many (not so great) tend to do.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    have you tried applying that 'skill' of yours to a powerball lottery?
     
  10. Em_Anders
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    Em_Anders Member

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    25%.
    Apparently I prefer the [worst] writer, Bulwer-Lytton, even though I've never read his work(s). Hmm. Or it could be my severe and intense dislike of Dickens that caused me to assume the "bad" writing was his and not Lytton, which then caused my stupendously low score.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I just went by how awkward the passages sounded and got 67%.

    I got 4 wrong: two were Bulwer-Lytton and I said Dickens, and two were Dickens and I said Bulwer-Lytton.
     
  12. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    My score was 52%--having read an extremely small amount of Lytton, and almost none of Dickens, save for brief excerpts here and there. For me, though I recognized some of the excerpts, which were my correct answers.. it was hard for me to see a difference, outside of maybe themes embedded in the language.
     

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