On June 5th, Ruth Graham wrote an article saying,
"Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children."
The crew of Penguin Review on Rookery has something to say about this opinion of young adult literature.
The question is what is good literature?
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was published in 1818 after much encouragement from her husband, Percy Shelley. Frankenstein, which follows the life of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, is arguably the beginning of the science fiction genre in literature. As a combination of both Gothic and speculative fiction, Shelley's novel explores the darkness in human kind's scientific obsession and the egoism of man to believe that one day he can play God with nature. The Frankenstein of 1818 is a far cry from the film adaptations of the 20th and 21st centuries, nearly unrecognizable from the classic tale. The "monster" of Shelley's novel never receives a name - the title coming from the last name of the monster's creator. The story is about much more than a monster on a rampage. Rather, it focuses on the "what if" of bringing back the dead, creating new beings, and controlling the faculties of life itself.
H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds
On October 30th, 1938, Orson Welles read a live broadcast of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Although the details are a bit sketchy, this portrayal of literature on the radio is one of the most fun stories to tell about how science fiction rocked the early 20th century. It is the idea that the media could immerse us in literature to the point of becoming reality that interests us as scholars. Whether it really caused the uprising and panic that we love to tell young readers, it doesn't matter. Every one of us has wanted to feel the fantastic elements of literature come to life.
Other books by Wells to look at:
The Time Machine
The Island of Dr. Moreau
The Invisible Man
Jules Verne and Literary Speculative Fiction
Jules Verne may be one of the biggest influences on the science fiction genre. He was a novelist, playwright, and poet. I'm not sure I can think of a single title he's written that hasn't become a movie adaption.
Books by Jules Verne:
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Around the World in Eighty Days
On June 2nd, 1924, Native Americans were granted U. S. citizenship.
To put this into perspective, women were given the vote in 1920 and Asian Americans were not given full citizenship until 19 years later.
Are comic books literary?
This is becoming a popular question among us literature connoisseurs (i.e. super nerds!). As graphic novels become a more common appearance in book stores, and more serious authors are delving into the medium, should we consider this the next wave of literary evolution?
Who really took the novel seriously when it first became popular in the early 18th century? For a very long period of time, those that wrote novels were literary outcasts. They were considered the lowest of low of writers. No one believed that by the 19th and 20th centuries the novel would become the most popular form of storytelling for contemporary readers. Virginia Woolf avidly defended the writing of the novel, and the literary value of its form did not fall far behind her voice. Eventually, novels became commonplace.
So, then what happens, we ask, if the graphic novel becomes a household thing? What if writing the next great American graphic novel is the way of the future? As our society becomes more visual and more technology obsessed, it might just be the next generation of literature.
If you have any thoughts on the topic of comic books (aka graphic novels) being considered literature, let us know!
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