Should we be comparing Authors to each other?

We as humans tend to compare things to one another but should that mean our authors too. In a recent post, some said how as authors we don’t  talk about Shakespeare or Jane Austin or Stephen King and how they compare to one another. I mean there are so many reasons why these three should not be compared to one another in my view.

Let’s look at Shakespeare, first Shakespeare is a play write not an author. While he wrote some of the best plays, he also had a tendency to reuse the same formula in his comedies. So in one aspect, Shakespeare was a formula writer, much like Nicholas Sparks is. We can compare these two on formula writing if we need to compare Shakespeare to a novelist; however, Shakespeare should be compared against other play writes not authors.

As for Jane Austin, who as it was found out if she was putting forth her work in front of a publisher, she would be rejected for so many reasons. But just like Shakespeare had his time, so did Jane Austin. While she has been credited some good work like Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, there is also to a certain extent her work, much like Shakespeare’s has been made into numerous adaptations. But if you want to talk adaptation, Shakespeare and Austin could be compared and so can King for that matter.

However, Stephen King is a more modern storyteller, who has written screenplays, novels, and short stories. His work has been adapted into television shows and movies for both the small and big screens. But his work is so much different than Shakespeare and Austin, for in some ways he has a darker tone than the other two based on the work that he has put forth before. But should the three be compared to one another I would say no.

I mean the two that come to mine that you could make the case for that they could be compared to each other is Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Granted, they were part of the same writing group, and they both wrote works of fantasy, and both have had works that have been adapted into movies. But both took created fantasy worlds and both of those worlds had their own folklore and backstory. I would give these two more of a comparison than Shakespeare to Austin or King. But should we really be comparing our authors to one another?


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