A truth which has the downside of keeping many true artists poor in garrets and many false ones rich in mansions was universally acknowledged yesterday.
It is that most of us crave overwhelmingly a happy ending to a novel; and that Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - in which Elizabeth and Mr Darcy ride off to Pemberley in the sunset and live happily ever after - is our runaway favourite of a perfect ending.
This truth was confirmed by a poll of public taste to mark today's World Book Day. Nearly 27% cited the ending of Pride and Prejudice. The second favourite, Harper Lee's modern classic To Kill A Mockingbird, about liberal attitudes to race and handicap, drew 12%....
Forty-one per cent are overwhelmingly in favour of books with a happy ending, as against 2.2% who like it sad.
It's not exactly news that people prefer novels with happy endings. Not when over half of all paperback books sold in the U.S. are romance novels. But take another look at that opening paragraph. Apparently, one can spot a "true artist" by examining the ending of her novel. Is it happy? Then she's a hack. Sad? Then she's doomed to starve in a garret, her genius unrecognized by the ignorant masses who believe a fluffy, feel-good novel like Pride and Prejudice is True Art.
Makes me wonder if the guy who wrote this silly article has a novel that's selling poorly.