Hephzibah Anderson of the BBC has exposed a selection of books that have traditionally been highly regarded but nowadays fail to evoke the interest and accolades they once deserved.
When I was studying literature at the university I was introduced to a similar phenomenon. At that time authors such as Charles Dickens and Theodore Dreiser were quite low in the academic esteem department. Hemingway is another well known author that tends to go up and down through the years (he should stay down).
Back in the 1970s I learned there were two kinds of English humor: the acceptable norm of the upperclass public school wit and giggles epitomized by Monty Python, Beyond the Fringe, or The Goon Squad, and the working-man’s laugh-out-loud inanity of Benny Hill and his ilk. Nick Hornby’s latest novel, Funny Girl, covers the period of British comedic entertainment where the posh university wits were being challenged by a more ecumenical approach to comedy.