When it comes to anti-heroes, Don Draper comes to mind, not Jay Gatsby. Born in the "Mad Men" television series on AMC, Draper provides everything all generations need to deconstruct about what does in a wounded ambitious human being. They don't need the character Gatsby created during the peak of the literary tradition by author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
No, books are not dead. In fact, we in ghostwriting have witnessed a surge in demand. As professional services becomes increasingly competitive, players know that books give them an edge. Those can be an e-book they knock out on their computers, with the assistance of a competent graphic artist. For a small fee they copyright it at the Library of Congress. Then they let prospects, clients, thought leaders and the media know the book can be downloaded, without charge.
Those books are not literature. They are nonfiction, belonging to the genre of trade material. Some of their concepts might go viral and dominate the era as has "leaning in."
We read those books which give the edge to get our own edge. We have to. But for insight into the human condition, we don't have to go to what we classify as "literature," not from the past and not from the present. Not when we have the Drapers. We will hold onto them, including Tony Soprano, the way we had held onto the characters we were introduced to in high school and college literature courses.
So, is the Humanities dead? No, if its leadership can figure out how to position and package content which resonates across generations.