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Slang 'does not make literature relevant'

3rd December 2009

Using street slang in writing is not a foolproof way of getting young people into literature.

Writing in the Guardian, Shirley Dent admitted that slang has appeared in many books of value, such as Jack Kerouac's On The Road, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in The Rye.

'Such use of slang in literature is urban, knowing and modern, cocking a snook at some readers, while winking at others,' the commentator explained.

However, she pointed out that this does not work for every writer and it usually takes a 'literary master' to effectively integrate slang into their works.

Dent added that most uses of slang in literature, especially when classics are reworked to make them appeal to the young, tends to be 'patronising' and is dated by the time it reaches the page.

Last month, Richard Havers told the Birmingham Post that he wrote new book Management Boll**ks after he became annoyed by corporate jargon and slang slipping into everyday speech.

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