Romance on the Reading List?

Kingsfavorite
by Susan  Scott

My daughter is a freshman at a large, internationally-known university in the northeast.  Because she’s a smartie (I swear, that’s the end of my maternal bragging), she placed into an honors English seminar in rhetoric and composition.  Apparently the focus for each section depends on each professor’s interests and expertise, and my daughter wasn’t sure what the topic or reading list would be until the first day of class. 

Of course since English had always been among my own favorite classes in school, I expected a full report.  And I got it, too, via the cell phone the minute my daughter left the classroom.

“Mom,” she said gleefully.  “You won’t believe this.  We’re reading JENNY CRUSIE!!!”Jennycrusie

I didn’t believe it.  Mothers of teenaged girls have a finally honed skepticism.  But she emailed me the syllabus, and it was true.  I’ll quote from the professor’s introduction:

“This course examines the rhetoric surrounding romance and how we see it: what is romance? How has love been defined in Western society? How do perceptions of gender, class, and race affect how romance is portrayed, marketed, or used as a marketing tool? In other words, this course uses romance, both as a concept and a genre, as a lens through which we can discuss various approaches to critical analysis. . . .

“Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write. Thus, you will examine different kinds of texts and different methods of analyzing those texts in order to foster a more critical approach to not only others’ writing, but your own as well.”

George_eliot_3_400w
What were the odds that the daughter of a romance writer would end up in the one seminar that was discussing romance seriously?  Pride in my much-maligned genre grew as I scanned the reading list.  Yes, Jenny Crusie was there, but also Annie Proulx and George Eliot. And Cassie Edwards, ahem.  And a couple of names familiar to WordWenches readers –– AGTigress and Laura Vivianco –– as well as one of our fav sister-sites, the Smart Bitches.  Major academic R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and about time, too.

And yet, the stuffy-reading-dinosaur-parent side of me was . . . unsettled.  Does popular genre fiction really belong in a college English literature class? 

Up front: my qualms are not based on quality.  There are plenty of first-rate writers writing genre fiction, much of which I’m sure will stand the test of time and still be read and enjoyed a hundred years from now.  Besides, people like to read genre fiction more than any other kind of book (even Oprah picks!), which is enough to qualify them as Good Books to me.  After all, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were considered writers of low popular fiction in their respective days, and gosh, look at their reputations now.

Nope, my Niggling Doubts are in another corner.  My daughter and her classmates would have no trouble at all finding Jenny’s books in just about any place that sells books, from B&N to Walgreen’s and Walmart.  They’re waiting there, beguiling in cheery covers, and deeply discounted, too.

But what about all those other long-ago writers who are often no longer even in print, let alone in deep discount?

For most people, college is the last gasp of required reading, the last time you’re expected to read booksEdithwharton650
and authors you’ll never go near once left to your own devices.  It’s only four years, even less for majors outside the humanities.  Sometimes required reading provokes nothing but Fear and Loathing, which is why there will always be Cliff Notes. 

But what about those hidden treasures?  Those authors you discovered and came to love, whose characters seemed to speak to you, or whose language seemed written exactly to your tastes?  Books that made you think? 

Or was that just me?

Aphra_behn
I’m a reader.  Always have been, likely always will be. For me, back in the dark ages of the 1970s, college reading lists were crammed full of happy surprises.  I learned that there were far more voices in the literary world than dead European white males (the dreaded DEWMs!), and that the lives of the 18th century French women in Dangerous Liasons weren’t any less complicated than those of the 18th century Chinese women in Dream of the Red Chamber. I found I often liked the lesser books better than the famous ones, preferring Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders over Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  For the first time, I read women writers that still weren’t being taught in my high school: Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston, Edith Wharton, Anne Hutchinson, Virginia Woolf, Phylis Wheatley.  I learned that there was a lot more to English theatre than just Shakespeare, and that the plays of Aphra Behn were still Wheatley_3
worth reading, even with three hundred of years of dust on the pages. 

I could go on and on, but (mercifully) I won’t.  I can’t make up my mind, anyway.  I keep flip-flopping over this like the proverbial
flounder on the dock.

So instead I’d rather hear your opinions.  Are you delighted/horrified/indifferent that romance is finally considered worthy of academic study?  Does modern genre romance deserve a place in a liberal arts education?  Should Welcome to Temptation be elbowing out The Rise of Silas Lapham? Could the professor have made the same points about romance using less familiar texts from the past, or will twenty-first-century college students glean more useful insights from contemporary popular fiction than a musty book that’s two hundred years old?  And do you remember discovering some unexpectedly special book by way of required reading, or were reading lists no more than the bane of your school exisitence?

200 thoughts on “Romance on the Reading List?”

  1. I work in a high school library. I’m all for engaging young people with whatever works—graphic novels, etc. I’m afraid many “classics” are going the way of the dinosaur, and rightfully so. When you need a concordance on the left-hand side of the page to translate language, you’ve probably lost your audience, although the Kaplan people who brought you testing prep have just published classic lit with just such a feature.
    Required reading tends to dull the sharpest of students. The stuff I had to read as an English major in college was dreadful, so dreadful I cannot remember much of it, and the high school lists were a horror. So put me in the contemporary camp, philistine that I am.

    Reply
  2. I work in a high school library. I’m all for engaging young people with whatever works—graphic novels, etc. I’m afraid many “classics” are going the way of the dinosaur, and rightfully so. When you need a concordance on the left-hand side of the page to translate language, you’ve probably lost your audience, although the Kaplan people who brought you testing prep have just published classic lit with just such a feature.
    Required reading tends to dull the sharpest of students. The stuff I had to read as an English major in college was dreadful, so dreadful I cannot remember much of it, and the high school lists were a horror. So put me in the contemporary camp, philistine that I am.

    Reply
  3. I work in a high school library. I’m all for engaging young people with whatever works—graphic novels, etc. I’m afraid many “classics” are going the way of the dinosaur, and rightfully so. When you need a concordance on the left-hand side of the page to translate language, you’ve probably lost your audience, although the Kaplan people who brought you testing prep have just published classic lit with just such a feature.
    Required reading tends to dull the sharpest of students. The stuff I had to read as an English major in college was dreadful, so dreadful I cannot remember much of it, and the high school lists were a horror. So put me in the contemporary camp, philistine that I am.

    Reply
  4. I work in a high school library. I’m all for engaging young people with whatever works—graphic novels, etc. I’m afraid many “classics” are going the way of the dinosaur, and rightfully so. When you need a concordance on the left-hand side of the page to translate language, you’ve probably lost your audience, although the Kaplan people who brought you testing prep have just published classic lit with just such a feature.
    Required reading tends to dull the sharpest of students. The stuff I had to read as an English major in college was dreadful, so dreadful I cannot remember much of it, and the high school lists were a horror. So put me in the contemporary camp, philistine that I am.

    Reply
  5. I work in a high school library. I’m all for engaging young people with whatever works—graphic novels, etc. I’m afraid many “classics” are going the way of the dinosaur, and rightfully so. When you need a concordance on the left-hand side of the page to translate language, you’ve probably lost your audience, although the Kaplan people who brought you testing prep have just published classic lit with just such a feature.
    Required reading tends to dull the sharpest of students. The stuff I had to read as an English major in college was dreadful, so dreadful I cannot remember much of it, and the high school lists were a horror. So put me in the contemporary camp, philistine that I am.

    Reply
  6. I think a mix of the ‘older’ romances and the current ones would be a much better idea. Romance has changed over the years and yet, so much of it’s basic HEA has remained the same.
    I can’t really comment on using Crusie as a curriculum aid as I **ducks and runs** have never read her. On the other hand, I have thankfully never read Cassie Edwards either who, IMHO, should absolutely NOT be used unless to warn her students what NOT to do.
    Anyway (haven’t had enough coffee) I think, without that 200 year old tome, there might not be the wonderful romances we enjoy today so yes, I’m happy to see genres other than Hemmingway, but no, I don’t think it should center exclusively on contemporary texts.
    Nod to AGTigress and Laura Vivanco for their inclusion!

    Reply
  7. I think a mix of the ‘older’ romances and the current ones would be a much better idea. Romance has changed over the years and yet, so much of it’s basic HEA has remained the same.
    I can’t really comment on using Crusie as a curriculum aid as I **ducks and runs** have never read her. On the other hand, I have thankfully never read Cassie Edwards either who, IMHO, should absolutely NOT be used unless to warn her students what NOT to do.
    Anyway (haven’t had enough coffee) I think, without that 200 year old tome, there might not be the wonderful romances we enjoy today so yes, I’m happy to see genres other than Hemmingway, but no, I don’t think it should center exclusively on contemporary texts.
    Nod to AGTigress and Laura Vivanco for their inclusion!

    Reply
  8. I think a mix of the ‘older’ romances and the current ones would be a much better idea. Romance has changed over the years and yet, so much of it’s basic HEA has remained the same.
    I can’t really comment on using Crusie as a curriculum aid as I **ducks and runs** have never read her. On the other hand, I have thankfully never read Cassie Edwards either who, IMHO, should absolutely NOT be used unless to warn her students what NOT to do.
    Anyway (haven’t had enough coffee) I think, without that 200 year old tome, there might not be the wonderful romances we enjoy today so yes, I’m happy to see genres other than Hemmingway, but no, I don’t think it should center exclusively on contemporary texts.
    Nod to AGTigress and Laura Vivanco for their inclusion!

    Reply
  9. I think a mix of the ‘older’ romances and the current ones would be a much better idea. Romance has changed over the years and yet, so much of it’s basic HEA has remained the same.
    I can’t really comment on using Crusie as a curriculum aid as I **ducks and runs** have never read her. On the other hand, I have thankfully never read Cassie Edwards either who, IMHO, should absolutely NOT be used unless to warn her students what NOT to do.
    Anyway (haven’t had enough coffee) I think, without that 200 year old tome, there might not be the wonderful romances we enjoy today so yes, I’m happy to see genres other than Hemmingway, but no, I don’t think it should center exclusively on contemporary texts.
    Nod to AGTigress and Laura Vivanco for their inclusion!

    Reply
  10. I think a mix of the ‘older’ romances and the current ones would be a much better idea. Romance has changed over the years and yet, so much of it’s basic HEA has remained the same.
    I can’t really comment on using Crusie as a curriculum aid as I **ducks and runs** have never read her. On the other hand, I have thankfully never read Cassie Edwards either who, IMHO, should absolutely NOT be used unless to warn her students what NOT to do.
    Anyway (haven’t had enough coffee) I think, without that 200 year old tome, there might not be the wonderful romances we enjoy today so yes, I’m happy to see genres other than Hemmingway, but no, I don’t think it should center exclusively on contemporary texts.
    Nod to AGTigress and Laura Vivanco for their inclusion!

    Reply
  11. In that description of the course, this line stood out for me: “Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write.”
    It’s easy to read Great Works of the past and know that they’re Great Works because everyone has always told you that that’s what they are. It’s much more difficult to read a group of texts which more closely resemble what you yourself might write (which is why this exercise wouldn’t work without including modern texts) and have to analyse them and decide for yourself if one of them might be a Great Work of the future, if others are merely well-written but not “Great” works, and how many could be classified as mediocre or even bad. It should help students think about what their personal criteria for “greatness” are, both in general and with regards to their own writing.
    I think the inclusion of modern romance novels could be beneficial to a variety of different areas of the curriculum. There’s a forthcoming conference on romance which will be held in the spring of 2009 at Princeton and the departments sponsoring the conference are the “Department of English, the Program in American Studies, The Center for African American Studies, the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the Center for the Study of Religion.”
    There are more details here: http://www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/entertainment/romance-buy-the-book/blog/exclusive-princeton-u.-2-host-conference-on-romance-fiction-2009 but just the list of sponsoring departments gives a flavour of how diverse the approaches to the genre can be, and how many areas could be enriched by exploring it.

    Reply
  12. In that description of the course, this line stood out for me: “Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write.”
    It’s easy to read Great Works of the past and know that they’re Great Works because everyone has always told you that that’s what they are. It’s much more difficult to read a group of texts which more closely resemble what you yourself might write (which is why this exercise wouldn’t work without including modern texts) and have to analyse them and decide for yourself if one of them might be a Great Work of the future, if others are merely well-written but not “Great” works, and how many could be classified as mediocre or even bad. It should help students think about what their personal criteria for “greatness” are, both in general and with regards to their own writing.
    I think the inclusion of modern romance novels could be beneficial to a variety of different areas of the curriculum. There’s a forthcoming conference on romance which will be held in the spring of 2009 at Princeton and the departments sponsoring the conference are the “Department of English, the Program in American Studies, The Center for African American Studies, the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the Center for the Study of Religion.”
    There are more details here: http://www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/entertainment/romance-buy-the-book/blog/exclusive-princeton-u.-2-host-conference-on-romance-fiction-2009 but just the list of sponsoring departments gives a flavour of how diverse the approaches to the genre can be, and how many areas could be enriched by exploring it.

    Reply
  13. In that description of the course, this line stood out for me: “Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write.”
    It’s easy to read Great Works of the past and know that they’re Great Works because everyone has always told you that that’s what they are. It’s much more difficult to read a group of texts which more closely resemble what you yourself might write (which is why this exercise wouldn’t work without including modern texts) and have to analyse them and decide for yourself if one of them might be a Great Work of the future, if others are merely well-written but not “Great” works, and how many could be classified as mediocre or even bad. It should help students think about what their personal criteria for “greatness” are, both in general and with regards to their own writing.
    I think the inclusion of modern romance novels could be beneficial to a variety of different areas of the curriculum. There’s a forthcoming conference on romance which will be held in the spring of 2009 at Princeton and the departments sponsoring the conference are the “Department of English, the Program in American Studies, The Center for African American Studies, the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the Center for the Study of Religion.”
    There are more details here: http://www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/entertainment/romance-buy-the-book/blog/exclusive-princeton-u.-2-host-conference-on-romance-fiction-2009 but just the list of sponsoring departments gives a flavour of how diverse the approaches to the genre can be, and how many areas could be enriched by exploring it.

    Reply
  14. In that description of the course, this line stood out for me: “Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write.”
    It’s easy to read Great Works of the past and know that they’re Great Works because everyone has always told you that that’s what they are. It’s much more difficult to read a group of texts which more closely resemble what you yourself might write (which is why this exercise wouldn’t work without including modern texts) and have to analyse them and decide for yourself if one of them might be a Great Work of the future, if others are merely well-written but not “Great” works, and how many could be classified as mediocre or even bad. It should help students think about what their personal criteria for “greatness” are, both in general and with regards to their own writing.
    I think the inclusion of modern romance novels could be beneficial to a variety of different areas of the curriculum. There’s a forthcoming conference on romance which will be held in the spring of 2009 at Princeton and the departments sponsoring the conference are the “Department of English, the Program in American Studies, The Center for African American Studies, the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the Center for the Study of Religion.”
    There are more details here: http://www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/entertainment/romance-buy-the-book/blog/exclusive-princeton-u.-2-host-conference-on-romance-fiction-2009 but just the list of sponsoring departments gives a flavour of how diverse the approaches to the genre can be, and how many areas could be enriched by exploring it.

    Reply
  15. In that description of the course, this line stood out for me: “Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write.”
    It’s easy to read Great Works of the past and know that they’re Great Works because everyone has always told you that that’s what they are. It’s much more difficult to read a group of texts which more closely resemble what you yourself might write (which is why this exercise wouldn’t work without including modern texts) and have to analyse them and decide for yourself if one of them might be a Great Work of the future, if others are merely well-written but not “Great” works, and how many could be classified as mediocre or even bad. It should help students think about what their personal criteria for “greatness” are, both in general and with regards to their own writing.
    I think the inclusion of modern romance novels could be beneficial to a variety of different areas of the curriculum. There’s a forthcoming conference on romance which will be held in the spring of 2009 at Princeton and the departments sponsoring the conference are the “Department of English, the Program in American Studies, The Center for African American Studies, the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the Center for the Study of Religion.”
    There are more details here: http://www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/entertainment/romance-buy-the-book/blog/exclusive-princeton-u.-2-host-conference-on-romance-fiction-2009 but just the list of sponsoring departments gives a flavour of how diverse the approaches to the genre can be, and how many areas could be enriched by exploring it.

    Reply
  16. I understand your discomfort at squeezing out the Greats. As a *reader*, I wish my courses had covered more of those. As you say, university was a wonderful time for discovering classics, whereas I’ve had no trouble discovering Crusie on my own. But from the standpoint of *scholarship*, I’m glad to see the genre put in context. As Laura said, studying a particular genre is a different kettle of fish from a literature survey course–particularly a genre’s contemporary works, and particularly with a focus on rhetoric and writing. (And on a pragmatic level, if it’s Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss that they’re reading, those are long; a few quicker reads may help balance the syllabus.)
    It sounds like this argument may depend partly on our experiences with reading the classics in school. I had uniformly wonderful experiences with required reading, and the old excited me as much as the new. Through high school classes I discovered Chaucer, Hesse, Milton, Paton, Stoppard, Vonnegut, Webster, and (a single sop to women writers) Markandaya. Like you, though, it wasn’t until university that I discovered Behn, Cholmondeley, Chopin, Hurston, Wortley Montagu, Wharton, and Woolf.
    Designing any syllabus is about who squeezes out whom. I’m sure some see Kate Chopin and Aphra Behn as squeezing out the Great Men. I would hate to have missed those authors, but I imagine my reading would have taken other, equally interesting paths had we read more contemporary authors alongside the Great Works.

    Reply
  17. I understand your discomfort at squeezing out the Greats. As a *reader*, I wish my courses had covered more of those. As you say, university was a wonderful time for discovering classics, whereas I’ve had no trouble discovering Crusie on my own. But from the standpoint of *scholarship*, I’m glad to see the genre put in context. As Laura said, studying a particular genre is a different kettle of fish from a literature survey course–particularly a genre’s contemporary works, and particularly with a focus on rhetoric and writing. (And on a pragmatic level, if it’s Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss that they’re reading, those are long; a few quicker reads may help balance the syllabus.)
    It sounds like this argument may depend partly on our experiences with reading the classics in school. I had uniformly wonderful experiences with required reading, and the old excited me as much as the new. Through high school classes I discovered Chaucer, Hesse, Milton, Paton, Stoppard, Vonnegut, Webster, and (a single sop to women writers) Markandaya. Like you, though, it wasn’t until university that I discovered Behn, Cholmondeley, Chopin, Hurston, Wortley Montagu, Wharton, and Woolf.
    Designing any syllabus is about who squeezes out whom. I’m sure some see Kate Chopin and Aphra Behn as squeezing out the Great Men. I would hate to have missed those authors, but I imagine my reading would have taken other, equally interesting paths had we read more contemporary authors alongside the Great Works.

    Reply
  18. I understand your discomfort at squeezing out the Greats. As a *reader*, I wish my courses had covered more of those. As you say, university was a wonderful time for discovering classics, whereas I’ve had no trouble discovering Crusie on my own. But from the standpoint of *scholarship*, I’m glad to see the genre put in context. As Laura said, studying a particular genre is a different kettle of fish from a literature survey course–particularly a genre’s contemporary works, and particularly with a focus on rhetoric and writing. (And on a pragmatic level, if it’s Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss that they’re reading, those are long; a few quicker reads may help balance the syllabus.)
    It sounds like this argument may depend partly on our experiences with reading the classics in school. I had uniformly wonderful experiences with required reading, and the old excited me as much as the new. Through high school classes I discovered Chaucer, Hesse, Milton, Paton, Stoppard, Vonnegut, Webster, and (a single sop to women writers) Markandaya. Like you, though, it wasn’t until university that I discovered Behn, Cholmondeley, Chopin, Hurston, Wortley Montagu, Wharton, and Woolf.
    Designing any syllabus is about who squeezes out whom. I’m sure some see Kate Chopin and Aphra Behn as squeezing out the Great Men. I would hate to have missed those authors, but I imagine my reading would have taken other, equally interesting paths had we read more contemporary authors alongside the Great Works.

    Reply
  19. I understand your discomfort at squeezing out the Greats. As a *reader*, I wish my courses had covered more of those. As you say, university was a wonderful time for discovering classics, whereas I’ve had no trouble discovering Crusie on my own. But from the standpoint of *scholarship*, I’m glad to see the genre put in context. As Laura said, studying a particular genre is a different kettle of fish from a literature survey course–particularly a genre’s contemporary works, and particularly with a focus on rhetoric and writing. (And on a pragmatic level, if it’s Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss that they’re reading, those are long; a few quicker reads may help balance the syllabus.)
    It sounds like this argument may depend partly on our experiences with reading the classics in school. I had uniformly wonderful experiences with required reading, and the old excited me as much as the new. Through high school classes I discovered Chaucer, Hesse, Milton, Paton, Stoppard, Vonnegut, Webster, and (a single sop to women writers) Markandaya. Like you, though, it wasn’t until university that I discovered Behn, Cholmondeley, Chopin, Hurston, Wortley Montagu, Wharton, and Woolf.
    Designing any syllabus is about who squeezes out whom. I’m sure some see Kate Chopin and Aphra Behn as squeezing out the Great Men. I would hate to have missed those authors, but I imagine my reading would have taken other, equally interesting paths had we read more contemporary authors alongside the Great Works.

    Reply
  20. I understand your discomfort at squeezing out the Greats. As a *reader*, I wish my courses had covered more of those. As you say, university was a wonderful time for discovering classics, whereas I’ve had no trouble discovering Crusie on my own. But from the standpoint of *scholarship*, I’m glad to see the genre put in context. As Laura said, studying a particular genre is a different kettle of fish from a literature survey course–particularly a genre’s contemporary works, and particularly with a focus on rhetoric and writing. (And on a pragmatic level, if it’s Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss that they’re reading, those are long; a few quicker reads may help balance the syllabus.)
    It sounds like this argument may depend partly on our experiences with reading the classics in school. I had uniformly wonderful experiences with required reading, and the old excited me as much as the new. Through high school classes I discovered Chaucer, Hesse, Milton, Paton, Stoppard, Vonnegut, Webster, and (a single sop to women writers) Markandaya. Like you, though, it wasn’t until university that I discovered Behn, Cholmondeley, Chopin, Hurston, Wortley Montagu, Wharton, and Woolf.
    Designing any syllabus is about who squeezes out whom. I’m sure some see Kate Chopin and Aphra Behn as squeezing out the Great Men. I would hate to have missed those authors, but I imagine my reading would have taken other, equally interesting paths had we read more contemporary authors alongside the Great Works.

    Reply
  21. I’m an academic who is familiar with this debate from the 1980s. At the time, we called it the “Culture Wars”. Civil rights, feminism, gay rights, and other progressive politics had made their way into the ivory tower and were causing people to really wonder why all the Great Books were written by Dead White (Christian, Heterosexual, Western European) Men. Some on the right argued that including works by women, gay, and black, Latina and postcolonial writers for political reasons lessened the quality of the curriculum. Of course, they forgot that it was “for political reasons” that these works were left out of the curriculum in the first place!
    Obviously, you can be pro-inclusivity, but still think some writing is literature and other writing is merely fiction. There may be a difference in quality between Coetzee, Angelou, Walker, etc. vs. Crusie. But even if you want to maintain a distinction between popular fiction and literature, there is still room for both on a syllabus, for many reasons, including getting students’ attention, engaging them, making them comfortable with the subject, getting them to think critically about the difference between literature and fiction (if there is one), introducing question about the market and fiction, and lots of other pedagagogical purposes.
    And if you don’t think there’s a difference in quality, then I guess you’re balancing your concern for the history of your subject with contemporary works, and that’s something every professor wrestles with every time they work on a syllabus. We can NEVER teach everything we’d like to!
    I haven’t taught romance in my own courses, but I am thinking of assigning Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold in two of my courses next year. We already read a wide range of fiction in one of them, including some classics, but also some SF/F. So this post has really got me wondering why I haven’t ever assigned romance (ok, we read Austen), when so many of my favorite books come from that genre.

    Reply
  22. I’m an academic who is familiar with this debate from the 1980s. At the time, we called it the “Culture Wars”. Civil rights, feminism, gay rights, and other progressive politics had made their way into the ivory tower and were causing people to really wonder why all the Great Books were written by Dead White (Christian, Heterosexual, Western European) Men. Some on the right argued that including works by women, gay, and black, Latina and postcolonial writers for political reasons lessened the quality of the curriculum. Of course, they forgot that it was “for political reasons” that these works were left out of the curriculum in the first place!
    Obviously, you can be pro-inclusivity, but still think some writing is literature and other writing is merely fiction. There may be a difference in quality between Coetzee, Angelou, Walker, etc. vs. Crusie. But even if you want to maintain a distinction between popular fiction and literature, there is still room for both on a syllabus, for many reasons, including getting students’ attention, engaging them, making them comfortable with the subject, getting them to think critically about the difference between literature and fiction (if there is one), introducing question about the market and fiction, and lots of other pedagagogical purposes.
    And if you don’t think there’s a difference in quality, then I guess you’re balancing your concern for the history of your subject with contemporary works, and that’s something every professor wrestles with every time they work on a syllabus. We can NEVER teach everything we’d like to!
    I haven’t taught romance in my own courses, but I am thinking of assigning Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold in two of my courses next year. We already read a wide range of fiction in one of them, including some classics, but also some SF/F. So this post has really got me wondering why I haven’t ever assigned romance (ok, we read Austen), when so many of my favorite books come from that genre.

    Reply
  23. I’m an academic who is familiar with this debate from the 1980s. At the time, we called it the “Culture Wars”. Civil rights, feminism, gay rights, and other progressive politics had made their way into the ivory tower and were causing people to really wonder why all the Great Books were written by Dead White (Christian, Heterosexual, Western European) Men. Some on the right argued that including works by women, gay, and black, Latina and postcolonial writers for political reasons lessened the quality of the curriculum. Of course, they forgot that it was “for political reasons” that these works were left out of the curriculum in the first place!
    Obviously, you can be pro-inclusivity, but still think some writing is literature and other writing is merely fiction. There may be a difference in quality between Coetzee, Angelou, Walker, etc. vs. Crusie. But even if you want to maintain a distinction between popular fiction and literature, there is still room for both on a syllabus, for many reasons, including getting students’ attention, engaging them, making them comfortable with the subject, getting them to think critically about the difference between literature and fiction (if there is one), introducing question about the market and fiction, and lots of other pedagagogical purposes.
    And if you don’t think there’s a difference in quality, then I guess you’re balancing your concern for the history of your subject with contemporary works, and that’s something every professor wrestles with every time they work on a syllabus. We can NEVER teach everything we’d like to!
    I haven’t taught romance in my own courses, but I am thinking of assigning Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold in two of my courses next year. We already read a wide range of fiction in one of them, including some classics, but also some SF/F. So this post has really got me wondering why I haven’t ever assigned romance (ok, we read Austen), when so many of my favorite books come from that genre.

    Reply
  24. I’m an academic who is familiar with this debate from the 1980s. At the time, we called it the “Culture Wars”. Civil rights, feminism, gay rights, and other progressive politics had made their way into the ivory tower and were causing people to really wonder why all the Great Books were written by Dead White (Christian, Heterosexual, Western European) Men. Some on the right argued that including works by women, gay, and black, Latina and postcolonial writers for political reasons lessened the quality of the curriculum. Of course, they forgot that it was “for political reasons” that these works were left out of the curriculum in the first place!
    Obviously, you can be pro-inclusivity, but still think some writing is literature and other writing is merely fiction. There may be a difference in quality between Coetzee, Angelou, Walker, etc. vs. Crusie. But even if you want to maintain a distinction between popular fiction and literature, there is still room for both on a syllabus, for many reasons, including getting students’ attention, engaging them, making them comfortable with the subject, getting them to think critically about the difference between literature and fiction (if there is one), introducing question about the market and fiction, and lots of other pedagagogical purposes.
    And if you don’t think there’s a difference in quality, then I guess you’re balancing your concern for the history of your subject with contemporary works, and that’s something every professor wrestles with every time they work on a syllabus. We can NEVER teach everything we’d like to!
    I haven’t taught romance in my own courses, but I am thinking of assigning Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold in two of my courses next year. We already read a wide range of fiction in one of them, including some classics, but also some SF/F. So this post has really got me wondering why I haven’t ever assigned romance (ok, we read Austen), when so many of my favorite books come from that genre.

    Reply
  25. I’m an academic who is familiar with this debate from the 1980s. At the time, we called it the “Culture Wars”. Civil rights, feminism, gay rights, and other progressive politics had made their way into the ivory tower and were causing people to really wonder why all the Great Books were written by Dead White (Christian, Heterosexual, Western European) Men. Some on the right argued that including works by women, gay, and black, Latina and postcolonial writers for political reasons lessened the quality of the curriculum. Of course, they forgot that it was “for political reasons” that these works were left out of the curriculum in the first place!
    Obviously, you can be pro-inclusivity, but still think some writing is literature and other writing is merely fiction. There may be a difference in quality between Coetzee, Angelou, Walker, etc. vs. Crusie. But even if you want to maintain a distinction between popular fiction and literature, there is still room for both on a syllabus, for many reasons, including getting students’ attention, engaging them, making them comfortable with the subject, getting them to think critically about the difference between literature and fiction (if there is one), introducing question about the market and fiction, and lots of other pedagagogical purposes.
    And if you don’t think there’s a difference in quality, then I guess you’re balancing your concern for the history of your subject with contemporary works, and that’s something every professor wrestles with every time they work on a syllabus. We can NEVER teach everything we’d like to!
    I haven’t taught romance in my own courses, but I am thinking of assigning Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold in two of my courses next year. We already read a wide range of fiction in one of them, including some classics, but also some SF/F. So this post has really got me wondering why I haven’t ever assigned romance (ok, we read Austen), when so many of my favorite books come from that genre.

    Reply
  26. I think it is wonderful that there is an honors course investigating Romance Fiction. I have some quibbles with the chosen authors, but that’s my problem. It is important to remember that this is a specialty course, not a major survey. Most students in college have to take several prerequisites before they are allowed into upper level classes and just about every author mentioned is taught in those classes. (At least, that was my experience at the University of Virginia. Other schools may differ). In fact, I had discovered most of the aforementioned authors in my high school English classes.
    I was a Drama major, so I had a little more exposure to writers like Aphra Behn, etc, but I don’t think anyone who just takes a standard survey is going to miss out because of a small specialty course covering Romance. I’m delighted to see the genre finding an academic audience as Science Fiction and Fantasy and even Mystery had already begun to do when I was in school.

    Reply
  27. I think it is wonderful that there is an honors course investigating Romance Fiction. I have some quibbles with the chosen authors, but that’s my problem. It is important to remember that this is a specialty course, not a major survey. Most students in college have to take several prerequisites before they are allowed into upper level classes and just about every author mentioned is taught in those classes. (At least, that was my experience at the University of Virginia. Other schools may differ). In fact, I had discovered most of the aforementioned authors in my high school English classes.
    I was a Drama major, so I had a little more exposure to writers like Aphra Behn, etc, but I don’t think anyone who just takes a standard survey is going to miss out because of a small specialty course covering Romance. I’m delighted to see the genre finding an academic audience as Science Fiction and Fantasy and even Mystery had already begun to do when I was in school.

    Reply
  28. I think it is wonderful that there is an honors course investigating Romance Fiction. I have some quibbles with the chosen authors, but that’s my problem. It is important to remember that this is a specialty course, not a major survey. Most students in college have to take several prerequisites before they are allowed into upper level classes and just about every author mentioned is taught in those classes. (At least, that was my experience at the University of Virginia. Other schools may differ). In fact, I had discovered most of the aforementioned authors in my high school English classes.
    I was a Drama major, so I had a little more exposure to writers like Aphra Behn, etc, but I don’t think anyone who just takes a standard survey is going to miss out because of a small specialty course covering Romance. I’m delighted to see the genre finding an academic audience as Science Fiction and Fantasy and even Mystery had already begun to do when I was in school.

    Reply
  29. I think it is wonderful that there is an honors course investigating Romance Fiction. I have some quibbles with the chosen authors, but that’s my problem. It is important to remember that this is a specialty course, not a major survey. Most students in college have to take several prerequisites before they are allowed into upper level classes and just about every author mentioned is taught in those classes. (At least, that was my experience at the University of Virginia. Other schools may differ). In fact, I had discovered most of the aforementioned authors in my high school English classes.
    I was a Drama major, so I had a little more exposure to writers like Aphra Behn, etc, but I don’t think anyone who just takes a standard survey is going to miss out because of a small specialty course covering Romance. I’m delighted to see the genre finding an academic audience as Science Fiction and Fantasy and even Mystery had already begun to do when I was in school.

    Reply
  30. I think it is wonderful that there is an honors course investigating Romance Fiction. I have some quibbles with the chosen authors, but that’s my problem. It is important to remember that this is a specialty course, not a major survey. Most students in college have to take several prerequisites before they are allowed into upper level classes and just about every author mentioned is taught in those classes. (At least, that was my experience at the University of Virginia. Other schools may differ). In fact, I had discovered most of the aforementioned authors in my high school English classes.
    I was a Drama major, so I had a little more exposure to writers like Aphra Behn, etc, but I don’t think anyone who just takes a standard survey is going to miss out because of a small specialty course covering Romance. I’m delighted to see the genre finding an academic audience as Science Fiction and Fantasy and even Mystery had already begun to do when I was in school.

    Reply
  31. I’m currently an undergraduate in college, and I wish there were courses in romance literature in my English dept.! Still I think there should be a balance between old and new novels. How can you know where you are unless you learn where you’ve been?

    Reply
  32. I’m currently an undergraduate in college, and I wish there were courses in romance literature in my English dept.! Still I think there should be a balance between old and new novels. How can you know where you are unless you learn where you’ve been?

    Reply
  33. I’m currently an undergraduate in college, and I wish there were courses in romance literature in my English dept.! Still I think there should be a balance between old and new novels. How can you know where you are unless you learn where you’ve been?

    Reply
  34. I’m currently an undergraduate in college, and I wish there were courses in romance literature in my English dept.! Still I think there should be a balance between old and new novels. How can you know where you are unless you learn where you’ve been?

    Reply
  35. I’m currently an undergraduate in college, and I wish there were courses in romance literature in my English dept.! Still I think there should be a balance between old and new novels. How can you know where you are unless you learn where you’ve been?

    Reply
  36. I can see both sides of this question, but these points stand out for me:
    (1) I think that some of the major 18th and 19th-century classics should *already* have been taught at secondary school. The books that teenagers might not feel eager, or even able, to tackle on their own should be taught at a stage when teachers can give a lot of assistance in the form of background information. Apart from anything else, older classic novels relate usefully to the teaching of history as well as language and fiction. If a person has not already read some Austen, Dickens etc. *before* she is 18, I don’t think he/she is really ready for undergraduate level English. When I was at school (what you call high school), none of our set books for English had been published later than about 1890: obviously now, half a century later, rather later works should be included! However, I would not think that *recent* books, that is, those published within the last 25 years, should have a place in a school curriculum.
    (2) Teaching in a college English course is clearly a different matter, BUT, if the students are not already familiar with 18th/19th/early 20Cth literature, they must, surely, work on that before they turn to contemporary work, otherwise they will know nothing of the historiography of English fiction.
    I see no reason why the more recent material should not be included in a different way – not formally taught, but suggested as personal reading to be used for comparative purposes. A student who could draw valid comparisons and contrasts between, say, Austen and Krentz would be doing something interesting and illuminating, but I don’t see that he/she needs formally to be *taught* how to analyse and assess a contemporary novel. Not at undergraduate level, assuming there has been some intelligent teaching and learning at secondary school, so that the student knows the approach to use.

    Reply
  37. I can see both sides of this question, but these points stand out for me:
    (1) I think that some of the major 18th and 19th-century classics should *already* have been taught at secondary school. The books that teenagers might not feel eager, or even able, to tackle on their own should be taught at a stage when teachers can give a lot of assistance in the form of background information. Apart from anything else, older classic novels relate usefully to the teaching of history as well as language and fiction. If a person has not already read some Austen, Dickens etc. *before* she is 18, I don’t think he/she is really ready for undergraduate level English. When I was at school (what you call high school), none of our set books for English had been published later than about 1890: obviously now, half a century later, rather later works should be included! However, I would not think that *recent* books, that is, those published within the last 25 years, should have a place in a school curriculum.
    (2) Teaching in a college English course is clearly a different matter, BUT, if the students are not already familiar with 18th/19th/early 20Cth literature, they must, surely, work on that before they turn to contemporary work, otherwise they will know nothing of the historiography of English fiction.
    I see no reason why the more recent material should not be included in a different way – not formally taught, but suggested as personal reading to be used for comparative purposes. A student who could draw valid comparisons and contrasts between, say, Austen and Krentz would be doing something interesting and illuminating, but I don’t see that he/she needs formally to be *taught* how to analyse and assess a contemporary novel. Not at undergraduate level, assuming there has been some intelligent teaching and learning at secondary school, so that the student knows the approach to use.

    Reply
  38. I can see both sides of this question, but these points stand out for me:
    (1) I think that some of the major 18th and 19th-century classics should *already* have been taught at secondary school. The books that teenagers might not feel eager, or even able, to tackle on their own should be taught at a stage when teachers can give a lot of assistance in the form of background information. Apart from anything else, older classic novels relate usefully to the teaching of history as well as language and fiction. If a person has not already read some Austen, Dickens etc. *before* she is 18, I don’t think he/she is really ready for undergraduate level English. When I was at school (what you call high school), none of our set books for English had been published later than about 1890: obviously now, half a century later, rather later works should be included! However, I would not think that *recent* books, that is, those published within the last 25 years, should have a place in a school curriculum.
    (2) Teaching in a college English course is clearly a different matter, BUT, if the students are not already familiar with 18th/19th/early 20Cth literature, they must, surely, work on that before they turn to contemporary work, otherwise they will know nothing of the historiography of English fiction.
    I see no reason why the more recent material should not be included in a different way – not formally taught, but suggested as personal reading to be used for comparative purposes. A student who could draw valid comparisons and contrasts between, say, Austen and Krentz would be doing something interesting and illuminating, but I don’t see that he/she needs formally to be *taught* how to analyse and assess a contemporary novel. Not at undergraduate level, assuming there has been some intelligent teaching and learning at secondary school, so that the student knows the approach to use.

    Reply
  39. I can see both sides of this question, but these points stand out for me:
    (1) I think that some of the major 18th and 19th-century classics should *already* have been taught at secondary school. The books that teenagers might not feel eager, or even able, to tackle on their own should be taught at a stage when teachers can give a lot of assistance in the form of background information. Apart from anything else, older classic novels relate usefully to the teaching of history as well as language and fiction. If a person has not already read some Austen, Dickens etc. *before* she is 18, I don’t think he/she is really ready for undergraduate level English. When I was at school (what you call high school), none of our set books for English had been published later than about 1890: obviously now, half a century later, rather later works should be included! However, I would not think that *recent* books, that is, those published within the last 25 years, should have a place in a school curriculum.
    (2) Teaching in a college English course is clearly a different matter, BUT, if the students are not already familiar with 18th/19th/early 20Cth literature, they must, surely, work on that before they turn to contemporary work, otherwise they will know nothing of the historiography of English fiction.
    I see no reason why the more recent material should not be included in a different way – not formally taught, but suggested as personal reading to be used for comparative purposes. A student who could draw valid comparisons and contrasts between, say, Austen and Krentz would be doing something interesting and illuminating, but I don’t see that he/she needs formally to be *taught* how to analyse and assess a contemporary novel. Not at undergraduate level, assuming there has been some intelligent teaching and learning at secondary school, so that the student knows the approach to use.

    Reply
  40. I can see both sides of this question, but these points stand out for me:
    (1) I think that some of the major 18th and 19th-century classics should *already* have been taught at secondary school. The books that teenagers might not feel eager, or even able, to tackle on their own should be taught at a stage when teachers can give a lot of assistance in the form of background information. Apart from anything else, older classic novels relate usefully to the teaching of history as well as language and fiction. If a person has not already read some Austen, Dickens etc. *before* she is 18, I don’t think he/she is really ready for undergraduate level English. When I was at school (what you call high school), none of our set books for English had been published later than about 1890: obviously now, half a century later, rather later works should be included! However, I would not think that *recent* books, that is, those published within the last 25 years, should have a place in a school curriculum.
    (2) Teaching in a college English course is clearly a different matter, BUT, if the students are not already familiar with 18th/19th/early 20Cth literature, they must, surely, work on that before they turn to contemporary work, otherwise they will know nothing of the historiography of English fiction.
    I see no reason why the more recent material should not be included in a different way – not formally taught, but suggested as personal reading to be used for comparative purposes. A student who could draw valid comparisons and contrasts between, say, Austen and Krentz would be doing something interesting and illuminating, but I don’t see that he/she needs formally to be *taught* how to analyse and assess a contemporary novel. Not at undergraduate level, assuming there has been some intelligent teaching and learning at secondary school, so that the student knows the approach to use.

    Reply
  41. I’m all for contemporary works elbowing out the classics – as long as the work getting the elbowing is Joyce’s “Ulysses”.
    The rest of them should stay in.

    Reply
  42. I’m all for contemporary works elbowing out the classics – as long as the work getting the elbowing is Joyce’s “Ulysses”.
    The rest of them should stay in.

    Reply
  43. I’m all for contemporary works elbowing out the classics – as long as the work getting the elbowing is Joyce’s “Ulysses”.
    The rest of them should stay in.

    Reply
  44. I’m all for contemporary works elbowing out the classics – as long as the work getting the elbowing is Joyce’s “Ulysses”.
    The rest of them should stay in.

    Reply
  45. I’m all for contemporary works elbowing out the classics – as long as the work getting the elbowing is Joyce’s “Ulysses”.
    The rest of them should stay in.

    Reply
  46. From Susan:
    Ahh, I knew there’d be representatives of both camps out there!
    A few years ago, I spoke to several classes at a nearby college, both in literature and in women’s studies. The professors steered the discussion into two entirely different, but equally fascinating discussions. In the literature class, contemporary genre romance was being studied as an extension of a literary tradition of love stories and the larger definition of a “romance”, where Kathleen Woodiwiss can quite peacefully coexisit with Sir Walter Scott. In the women’s studies class, the focus was on how genre romance is the real “women’s literature”, and far more representative of modern women then, say, Jeanette Winterson.
    But these students were probably unusual. They *were* AGTigress’s dream students, who came to college having already read the classic novels. They had solid understanding of the “historiography of English fiction”, or, as Tinagirl wrote, “knowing where you are to learn where you’ve been.”
    In addition, these students were also amazingly familiar with romance novels, since every dormitory had its own lounge-library of recreational reading that was stocked full of romance. There was absolutely no snarkiness in their arguments, a rare thing indeed when discussing romance. Maybe because it was a woman’s college?
    They were thoughtful, omnivorous readers, and made me think about what I was writing (and reading) in some new directions, and they also convinced me that romance does have a place in the classroom.
    All of which doesn’t really mean much of anything…except, as my daughter (whose own favorite books range from “The Awakening” to Gossip Girls) tells me, I worry too much. *g*
    Abby: Regarding banishing “Ulysses” from reading lists: oh, I’d second that in a heartbeat!

    Reply
  47. From Susan:
    Ahh, I knew there’d be representatives of both camps out there!
    A few years ago, I spoke to several classes at a nearby college, both in literature and in women’s studies. The professors steered the discussion into two entirely different, but equally fascinating discussions. In the literature class, contemporary genre romance was being studied as an extension of a literary tradition of love stories and the larger definition of a “romance”, where Kathleen Woodiwiss can quite peacefully coexisit with Sir Walter Scott. In the women’s studies class, the focus was on how genre romance is the real “women’s literature”, and far more representative of modern women then, say, Jeanette Winterson.
    But these students were probably unusual. They *were* AGTigress’s dream students, who came to college having already read the classic novels. They had solid understanding of the “historiography of English fiction”, or, as Tinagirl wrote, “knowing where you are to learn where you’ve been.”
    In addition, these students were also amazingly familiar with romance novels, since every dormitory had its own lounge-library of recreational reading that was stocked full of romance. There was absolutely no snarkiness in their arguments, a rare thing indeed when discussing romance. Maybe because it was a woman’s college?
    They were thoughtful, omnivorous readers, and made me think about what I was writing (and reading) in some new directions, and they also convinced me that romance does have a place in the classroom.
    All of which doesn’t really mean much of anything…except, as my daughter (whose own favorite books range from “The Awakening” to Gossip Girls) tells me, I worry too much. *g*
    Abby: Regarding banishing “Ulysses” from reading lists: oh, I’d second that in a heartbeat!

    Reply
  48. From Susan:
    Ahh, I knew there’d be representatives of both camps out there!
    A few years ago, I spoke to several classes at a nearby college, both in literature and in women’s studies. The professors steered the discussion into two entirely different, but equally fascinating discussions. In the literature class, contemporary genre romance was being studied as an extension of a literary tradition of love stories and the larger definition of a “romance”, where Kathleen Woodiwiss can quite peacefully coexisit with Sir Walter Scott. In the women’s studies class, the focus was on how genre romance is the real “women’s literature”, and far more representative of modern women then, say, Jeanette Winterson.
    But these students were probably unusual. They *were* AGTigress’s dream students, who came to college having already read the classic novels. They had solid understanding of the “historiography of English fiction”, or, as Tinagirl wrote, “knowing where you are to learn where you’ve been.”
    In addition, these students were also amazingly familiar with romance novels, since every dormitory had its own lounge-library of recreational reading that was stocked full of romance. There was absolutely no snarkiness in their arguments, a rare thing indeed when discussing romance. Maybe because it was a woman’s college?
    They were thoughtful, omnivorous readers, and made me think about what I was writing (and reading) in some new directions, and they also convinced me that romance does have a place in the classroom.
    All of which doesn’t really mean much of anything…except, as my daughter (whose own favorite books range from “The Awakening” to Gossip Girls) tells me, I worry too much. *g*
    Abby: Regarding banishing “Ulysses” from reading lists: oh, I’d second that in a heartbeat!

    Reply
  49. From Susan:
    Ahh, I knew there’d be representatives of both camps out there!
    A few years ago, I spoke to several classes at a nearby college, both in literature and in women’s studies. The professors steered the discussion into two entirely different, but equally fascinating discussions. In the literature class, contemporary genre romance was being studied as an extension of a literary tradition of love stories and the larger definition of a “romance”, where Kathleen Woodiwiss can quite peacefully coexisit with Sir Walter Scott. In the women’s studies class, the focus was on how genre romance is the real “women’s literature”, and far more representative of modern women then, say, Jeanette Winterson.
    But these students were probably unusual. They *were* AGTigress’s dream students, who came to college having already read the classic novels. They had solid understanding of the “historiography of English fiction”, or, as Tinagirl wrote, “knowing where you are to learn where you’ve been.”
    In addition, these students were also amazingly familiar with romance novels, since every dormitory had its own lounge-library of recreational reading that was stocked full of romance. There was absolutely no snarkiness in their arguments, a rare thing indeed when discussing romance. Maybe because it was a woman’s college?
    They were thoughtful, omnivorous readers, and made me think about what I was writing (and reading) in some new directions, and they also convinced me that romance does have a place in the classroom.
    All of which doesn’t really mean much of anything…except, as my daughter (whose own favorite books range from “The Awakening” to Gossip Girls) tells me, I worry too much. *g*
    Abby: Regarding banishing “Ulysses” from reading lists: oh, I’d second that in a heartbeat!

    Reply
  50. From Susan:
    Ahh, I knew there’d be representatives of both camps out there!
    A few years ago, I spoke to several classes at a nearby college, both in literature and in women’s studies. The professors steered the discussion into two entirely different, but equally fascinating discussions. In the literature class, contemporary genre romance was being studied as an extension of a literary tradition of love stories and the larger definition of a “romance”, where Kathleen Woodiwiss can quite peacefully coexisit with Sir Walter Scott. In the women’s studies class, the focus was on how genre romance is the real “women’s literature”, and far more representative of modern women then, say, Jeanette Winterson.
    But these students were probably unusual. They *were* AGTigress’s dream students, who came to college having already read the classic novels. They had solid understanding of the “historiography of English fiction”, or, as Tinagirl wrote, “knowing where you are to learn where you’ve been.”
    In addition, these students were also amazingly familiar with romance novels, since every dormitory had its own lounge-library of recreational reading that was stocked full of romance. There was absolutely no snarkiness in their arguments, a rare thing indeed when discussing romance. Maybe because it was a woman’s college?
    They were thoughtful, omnivorous readers, and made me think about what I was writing (and reading) in some new directions, and they also convinced me that romance does have a place in the classroom.
    All of which doesn’t really mean much of anything…except, as my daughter (whose own favorite books range from “The Awakening” to Gossip Girls) tells me, I worry too much. *g*
    Abby: Regarding banishing “Ulysses” from reading lists: oh, I’d second that in a heartbeat!

    Reply
  51. I wouldn’t call either Dickens or Joyce “easy”, but I find Joyce more rewarding and more teachable as literature. Dickens has a lot to say about society, but for me Joyce has more to say about ideas. Similarly, isn’t part of the argument in this post over whether to study culture (a genre in context) versus texts (classics for their own sake)? It’s a somewhat artificial distinction, but it’s part of the thought process in designing a syllabus.
    Consider two moderately strange passages by Dickens and Joyce. I find the Dickens an interesting way to communicate something rather banal; it also establishes that the story is meant as commentary. The Joyce passage is heavy going but I find the underlying idea richer.
    A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    Ulysses: “Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.”

    Reply
  52. I wouldn’t call either Dickens or Joyce “easy”, but I find Joyce more rewarding and more teachable as literature. Dickens has a lot to say about society, but for me Joyce has more to say about ideas. Similarly, isn’t part of the argument in this post over whether to study culture (a genre in context) versus texts (classics for their own sake)? It’s a somewhat artificial distinction, but it’s part of the thought process in designing a syllabus.
    Consider two moderately strange passages by Dickens and Joyce. I find the Dickens an interesting way to communicate something rather banal; it also establishes that the story is meant as commentary. The Joyce passage is heavy going but I find the underlying idea richer.
    A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    Ulysses: “Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.”

    Reply
  53. I wouldn’t call either Dickens or Joyce “easy”, but I find Joyce more rewarding and more teachable as literature. Dickens has a lot to say about society, but for me Joyce has more to say about ideas. Similarly, isn’t part of the argument in this post over whether to study culture (a genre in context) versus texts (classics for their own sake)? It’s a somewhat artificial distinction, but it’s part of the thought process in designing a syllabus.
    Consider two moderately strange passages by Dickens and Joyce. I find the Dickens an interesting way to communicate something rather banal; it also establishes that the story is meant as commentary. The Joyce passage is heavy going but I find the underlying idea richer.
    A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    Ulysses: “Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.”

    Reply
  54. I wouldn’t call either Dickens or Joyce “easy”, but I find Joyce more rewarding and more teachable as literature. Dickens has a lot to say about society, but for me Joyce has more to say about ideas. Similarly, isn’t part of the argument in this post over whether to study culture (a genre in context) versus texts (classics for their own sake)? It’s a somewhat artificial distinction, but it’s part of the thought process in designing a syllabus.
    Consider two moderately strange passages by Dickens and Joyce. I find the Dickens an interesting way to communicate something rather banal; it also establishes that the story is meant as commentary. The Joyce passage is heavy going but I find the underlying idea richer.
    A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    Ulysses: “Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.”

    Reply
  55. I wouldn’t call either Dickens or Joyce “easy”, but I find Joyce more rewarding and more teachable as literature. Dickens has a lot to say about society, but for me Joyce has more to say about ideas. Similarly, isn’t part of the argument in this post over whether to study culture (a genre in context) versus texts (classics for their own sake)? It’s a somewhat artificial distinction, but it’s part of the thought process in designing a syllabus.
    Consider two moderately strange passages by Dickens and Joyce. I find the Dickens an interesting way to communicate something rather banal; it also establishes that the story is meant as commentary. The Joyce passage is heavy going but I find the underlying idea richer.
    A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    Ulysses: “Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.”

    Reply
  56. My immediate take is that I’m all for studying romance in an elective or seminar. If the romance genre was the only literature class someone took in college, I’d be more skeptical. But it’s definitely a worthwhile topic that should be available in the ideal world. Just not the only thing available (which as another commenter pointed out is not the case at your daughter’s school).

    Reply
  57. My immediate take is that I’m all for studying romance in an elective or seminar. If the romance genre was the only literature class someone took in college, I’d be more skeptical. But it’s definitely a worthwhile topic that should be available in the ideal world. Just not the only thing available (which as another commenter pointed out is not the case at your daughter’s school).

    Reply
  58. My immediate take is that I’m all for studying romance in an elective or seminar. If the romance genre was the only literature class someone took in college, I’d be more skeptical. But it’s definitely a worthwhile topic that should be available in the ideal world. Just not the only thing available (which as another commenter pointed out is not the case at your daughter’s school).

    Reply
  59. My immediate take is that I’m all for studying romance in an elective or seminar. If the romance genre was the only literature class someone took in college, I’d be more skeptical. But it’s definitely a worthwhile topic that should be available in the ideal world. Just not the only thing available (which as another commenter pointed out is not the case at your daughter’s school).

    Reply
  60. My immediate take is that I’m all for studying romance in an elective or seminar. If the romance genre was the only literature class someone took in college, I’d be more skeptical. But it’s definitely a worthwhile topic that should be available in the ideal world. Just not the only thing available (which as another commenter pointed out is not the case at your daughter’s school).

    Reply
  61. Elbow Dickens? Isn’t he Charles Dickens’s cousin–the one who wrote the famous porn classics A TALE OF TWO TITTIES, BLEAK HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE, DAVID COP-A-FEEL, and GREAT ERUCTATIONS?
    And what about the great religious poet Ebenezer Malt, of whom A.E. Housman wrote:
    Malt does more than Milton can
    To justify God’s ways to man?
    More seriously, when I was in an English honors seminar in college, about the early English novel, we were taught that the first true English novel was PAMELA, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It is about a maidservant who marries the boss.
    (Yes, I know ROBINSON CRUSOE has pride of place, but Defoe didn’t KNOW he was writing a novel.)

    Reply
  62. Elbow Dickens? Isn’t he Charles Dickens’s cousin–the one who wrote the famous porn classics A TALE OF TWO TITTIES, BLEAK HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE, DAVID COP-A-FEEL, and GREAT ERUCTATIONS?
    And what about the great religious poet Ebenezer Malt, of whom A.E. Housman wrote:
    Malt does more than Milton can
    To justify God’s ways to man?
    More seriously, when I was in an English honors seminar in college, about the early English novel, we were taught that the first true English novel was PAMELA, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It is about a maidservant who marries the boss.
    (Yes, I know ROBINSON CRUSOE has pride of place, but Defoe didn’t KNOW he was writing a novel.)

    Reply
  63. Elbow Dickens? Isn’t he Charles Dickens’s cousin–the one who wrote the famous porn classics A TALE OF TWO TITTIES, BLEAK HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE, DAVID COP-A-FEEL, and GREAT ERUCTATIONS?
    And what about the great religious poet Ebenezer Malt, of whom A.E. Housman wrote:
    Malt does more than Milton can
    To justify God’s ways to man?
    More seriously, when I was in an English honors seminar in college, about the early English novel, we were taught that the first true English novel was PAMELA, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It is about a maidservant who marries the boss.
    (Yes, I know ROBINSON CRUSOE has pride of place, but Defoe didn’t KNOW he was writing a novel.)

    Reply
  64. Elbow Dickens? Isn’t he Charles Dickens’s cousin–the one who wrote the famous porn classics A TALE OF TWO TITTIES, BLEAK HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE, DAVID COP-A-FEEL, and GREAT ERUCTATIONS?
    And what about the great religious poet Ebenezer Malt, of whom A.E. Housman wrote:
    Malt does more than Milton can
    To justify God’s ways to man?
    More seriously, when I was in an English honors seminar in college, about the early English novel, we were taught that the first true English novel was PAMELA, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It is about a maidservant who marries the boss.
    (Yes, I know ROBINSON CRUSOE has pride of place, but Defoe didn’t KNOW he was writing a novel.)

    Reply
  65. Elbow Dickens? Isn’t he Charles Dickens’s cousin–the one who wrote the famous porn classics A TALE OF TWO TITTIES, BLEAK HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE, DAVID COP-A-FEEL, and GREAT ERUCTATIONS?
    And what about the great religious poet Ebenezer Malt, of whom A.E. Housman wrote:
    Malt does more than Milton can
    To justify God’s ways to man?
    More seriously, when I was in an English honors seminar in college, about the early English novel, we were taught that the first true English novel was PAMELA, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It is about a maidservant who marries the boss.
    (Yes, I know ROBINSON CRUSOE has pride of place, but Defoe didn’t KNOW he was writing a novel.)

    Reply
  66. Your daughter’s course is rhetoric and composition, right? So she and her classmates will be writers analyzing the rhetorical choices other writers have made. My guess is that it will be a lively class, and that the students are likely to be far more engaged with their own writing than is often the case with freshman composition students. If they also end up examining the idea of a literary canon and who’s in and who’s out, that’s all to their good IMO.
    I also suspect that if you examine the syllabi for literature survey courses at your daughter’s university that you will find required reading more in line with what you expected (and more likely to include Joyce than Dickens).
    Having taught everything from Gilgamesh to Gish Jen in literature survey courses, I feel safe in saying that whatever the reading, some students will find it exciting and rewarding and some will see it as another obstacle to overcome, by fair means or foul, on their way to a degree.

    Reply
  67. Your daughter’s course is rhetoric and composition, right? So she and her classmates will be writers analyzing the rhetorical choices other writers have made. My guess is that it will be a lively class, and that the students are likely to be far more engaged with their own writing than is often the case with freshman composition students. If they also end up examining the idea of a literary canon and who’s in and who’s out, that’s all to their good IMO.
    I also suspect that if you examine the syllabi for literature survey courses at your daughter’s university that you will find required reading more in line with what you expected (and more likely to include Joyce than Dickens).
    Having taught everything from Gilgamesh to Gish Jen in literature survey courses, I feel safe in saying that whatever the reading, some students will find it exciting and rewarding and some will see it as another obstacle to overcome, by fair means or foul, on their way to a degree.

    Reply
  68. Your daughter’s course is rhetoric and composition, right? So she and her classmates will be writers analyzing the rhetorical choices other writers have made. My guess is that it will be a lively class, and that the students are likely to be far more engaged with their own writing than is often the case with freshman composition students. If they also end up examining the idea of a literary canon and who’s in and who’s out, that’s all to their good IMO.
    I also suspect that if you examine the syllabi for literature survey courses at your daughter’s university that you will find required reading more in line with what you expected (and more likely to include Joyce than Dickens).
    Having taught everything from Gilgamesh to Gish Jen in literature survey courses, I feel safe in saying that whatever the reading, some students will find it exciting and rewarding and some will see it as another obstacle to overcome, by fair means or foul, on their way to a degree.

    Reply
  69. Your daughter’s course is rhetoric and composition, right? So she and her classmates will be writers analyzing the rhetorical choices other writers have made. My guess is that it will be a lively class, and that the students are likely to be far more engaged with their own writing than is often the case with freshman composition students. If they also end up examining the idea of a literary canon and who’s in and who’s out, that’s all to their good IMO.
    I also suspect that if you examine the syllabi for literature survey courses at your daughter’s university that you will find required reading more in line with what you expected (and more likely to include Joyce than Dickens).
    Having taught everything from Gilgamesh to Gish Jen in literature survey courses, I feel safe in saying that whatever the reading, some students will find it exciting and rewarding and some will see it as another obstacle to overcome, by fair means or foul, on their way to a degree.

    Reply
  70. Your daughter’s course is rhetoric and composition, right? So she and her classmates will be writers analyzing the rhetorical choices other writers have made. My guess is that it will be a lively class, and that the students are likely to be far more engaged with their own writing than is often the case with freshman composition students. If they also end up examining the idea of a literary canon and who’s in and who’s out, that’s all to their good IMO.
    I also suspect that if you examine the syllabi for literature survey courses at your daughter’s university that you will find required reading more in line with what you expected (and more likely to include Joyce than Dickens).
    Having taught everything from Gilgamesh to Gish Jen in literature survey courses, I feel safe in saying that whatever the reading, some students will find it exciting and rewarding and some will see it as another obstacle to overcome, by fair means or foul, on their way to a degree.

    Reply
  71. I’m an undergraduate and I have to say that the better English classes I’ve taken have been with professors who were talking about contemporary works as well as classics, college was the first time I had an English class give me any poetry written by someone still alive. And since I’m currently slogging through the Romantic poets in British Lit class (yes Mr. Blake ,I can tell you liked your opium). I’m really missing Thomas Lux. The required reading list is actually one of the reasons I signed up for the class. I knew it would be full of stuff I really ought to read (some which I’d like), but not stuff I’d necessarily just pick up for fun. And while the above mentioned poetry isn’t wowing me it was really good to finally read Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland is coming up.

    Reply
  72. I’m an undergraduate and I have to say that the better English classes I’ve taken have been with professors who were talking about contemporary works as well as classics, college was the first time I had an English class give me any poetry written by someone still alive. And since I’m currently slogging through the Romantic poets in British Lit class (yes Mr. Blake ,I can tell you liked your opium). I’m really missing Thomas Lux. The required reading list is actually one of the reasons I signed up for the class. I knew it would be full of stuff I really ought to read (some which I’d like), but not stuff I’d necessarily just pick up for fun. And while the above mentioned poetry isn’t wowing me it was really good to finally read Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland is coming up.

    Reply
  73. I’m an undergraduate and I have to say that the better English classes I’ve taken have been with professors who were talking about contemporary works as well as classics, college was the first time I had an English class give me any poetry written by someone still alive. And since I’m currently slogging through the Romantic poets in British Lit class (yes Mr. Blake ,I can tell you liked your opium). I’m really missing Thomas Lux. The required reading list is actually one of the reasons I signed up for the class. I knew it would be full of stuff I really ought to read (some which I’d like), but not stuff I’d necessarily just pick up for fun. And while the above mentioned poetry isn’t wowing me it was really good to finally read Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland is coming up.

    Reply
  74. I’m an undergraduate and I have to say that the better English classes I’ve taken have been with professors who were talking about contemporary works as well as classics, college was the first time I had an English class give me any poetry written by someone still alive. And since I’m currently slogging through the Romantic poets in British Lit class (yes Mr. Blake ,I can tell you liked your opium). I’m really missing Thomas Lux. The required reading list is actually one of the reasons I signed up for the class. I knew it would be full of stuff I really ought to read (some which I’d like), but not stuff I’d necessarily just pick up for fun. And while the above mentioned poetry isn’t wowing me it was really good to finally read Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland is coming up.

    Reply
  75. I’m an undergraduate and I have to say that the better English classes I’ve taken have been with professors who were talking about contemporary works as well as classics, college was the first time I had an English class give me any poetry written by someone still alive. And since I’m currently slogging through the Romantic poets in British Lit class (yes Mr. Blake ,I can tell you liked your opium). I’m really missing Thomas Lux. The required reading list is actually one of the reasons I signed up for the class. I knew it would be full of stuff I really ought to read (some which I’d like), but not stuff I’d necessarily just pick up for fun. And while the above mentioned poetry isn’t wowing me it was really good to finally read Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland is coming up.

    Reply
  76. When my daughter was in college, I emailed her a couple of lengthy puns, one based on “The quality of mercy is not strained” and the other on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
    She emailed back, “Don’t get it.”
    So I emailed her the explanations, and she emailed back, “It’s all your fault. You sent me to a high school where we read “Ordinary People” instead of Keats and Shakespeare.”
    (The school was cited as a “School of Excellence,” but it was the 1980s.)
    I can’t help feeling that something valuable is lost when students are not offered at least a nodding acquaintance with the major writers of English. If nothing else, we lose a common frame of reference.

    Reply
  77. When my daughter was in college, I emailed her a couple of lengthy puns, one based on “The quality of mercy is not strained” and the other on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
    She emailed back, “Don’t get it.”
    So I emailed her the explanations, and she emailed back, “It’s all your fault. You sent me to a high school where we read “Ordinary People” instead of Keats and Shakespeare.”
    (The school was cited as a “School of Excellence,” but it was the 1980s.)
    I can’t help feeling that something valuable is lost when students are not offered at least a nodding acquaintance with the major writers of English. If nothing else, we lose a common frame of reference.

    Reply
  78. When my daughter was in college, I emailed her a couple of lengthy puns, one based on “The quality of mercy is not strained” and the other on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
    She emailed back, “Don’t get it.”
    So I emailed her the explanations, and she emailed back, “It’s all your fault. You sent me to a high school where we read “Ordinary People” instead of Keats and Shakespeare.”
    (The school was cited as a “School of Excellence,” but it was the 1980s.)
    I can’t help feeling that something valuable is lost when students are not offered at least a nodding acquaintance with the major writers of English. If nothing else, we lose a common frame of reference.

    Reply
  79. When my daughter was in college, I emailed her a couple of lengthy puns, one based on “The quality of mercy is not strained” and the other on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
    She emailed back, “Don’t get it.”
    So I emailed her the explanations, and she emailed back, “It’s all your fault. You sent me to a high school where we read “Ordinary People” instead of Keats and Shakespeare.”
    (The school was cited as a “School of Excellence,” but it was the 1980s.)
    I can’t help feeling that something valuable is lost when students are not offered at least a nodding acquaintance with the major writers of English. If nothing else, we lose a common frame of reference.

    Reply
  80. When my daughter was in college, I emailed her a couple of lengthy puns, one based on “The quality of mercy is not strained” and the other on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
    She emailed back, “Don’t get it.”
    So I emailed her the explanations, and she emailed back, “It’s all your fault. You sent me to a high school where we read “Ordinary People” instead of Keats and Shakespeare.”
    (The school was cited as a “School of Excellence,” but it was the 1980s.)
    I can’t help feeling that something valuable is lost when students are not offered at least a nodding acquaintance with the major writers of English. If nothing else, we lose a common frame of reference.

    Reply
  81. I DO recall those comic books, and how they were supposed to be “educational”! They were the only ones we could convince my father to buy, though I think to their credit they were pretty faithful to the books. Nowadays, I guess kids just get the videos off the internet.

    Reply
  82. I DO recall those comic books, and how they were supposed to be “educational”! They were the only ones we could convince my father to buy, though I think to their credit they were pretty faithful to the books. Nowadays, I guess kids just get the videos off the internet.

    Reply
  83. I DO recall those comic books, and how they were supposed to be “educational”! They were the only ones we could convince my father to buy, though I think to their credit they were pretty faithful to the books. Nowadays, I guess kids just get the videos off the internet.

    Reply
  84. I DO recall those comic books, and how they were supposed to be “educational”! They were the only ones we could convince my father to buy, though I think to their credit they were pretty faithful to the books. Nowadays, I guess kids just get the videos off the internet.

    Reply
  85. I DO recall those comic books, and how they were supposed to be “educational”! They were the only ones we could convince my father to buy, though I think to their credit they were pretty faithful to the books. Nowadays, I guess kids just get the videos off the internet.

    Reply
  86. Oh I remember those comic books too! I remeber especially buying The House of the Seven Gables — I’d been reading the book, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Admittedly, I was only 11 at the time, but it was very useful. Better than most Cliff Notes.

    Reply
  87. Oh I remember those comic books too! I remeber especially buying The House of the Seven Gables — I’d been reading the book, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Admittedly, I was only 11 at the time, but it was very useful. Better than most Cliff Notes.

    Reply
  88. Oh I remember those comic books too! I remeber especially buying The House of the Seven Gables — I’d been reading the book, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Admittedly, I was only 11 at the time, but it was very useful. Better than most Cliff Notes.

    Reply
  89. Oh I remember those comic books too! I remeber especially buying The House of the Seven Gables — I’d been reading the book, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Admittedly, I was only 11 at the time, but it was very useful. Better than most Cliff Notes.

    Reply
  90. Oh I remember those comic books too! I remeber especially buying The House of the Seven Gables — I’d been reading the book, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Admittedly, I was only 11 at the time, but it was very useful. Better than most Cliff Notes.

    Reply
  91. There are at least a couple of publishers putting out Shakespeare in comic/manga form:
    “One new UK publishing house, Self Made Hero, is offering “Manga Shakespeare” – cut-down versions of some of the plays, in a Japanese cartoon style. […]
    Another new publisher, Classical Comics, is working on full-colour comic versions of some of the plays, starting with Henry V and Macbeth, but taking a different approach to accessibility.
    Each comes in three versions: original text, “plain text” and “quick text”. […] Publisher Karen Wenborn said the rationale behind the series, which also aims to include other writers beginning with Bronte and Dickens, was unashamedly educational.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6647927.stm

    Reply
  92. There are at least a couple of publishers putting out Shakespeare in comic/manga form:
    “One new UK publishing house, Self Made Hero, is offering “Manga Shakespeare” – cut-down versions of some of the plays, in a Japanese cartoon style. […]
    Another new publisher, Classical Comics, is working on full-colour comic versions of some of the plays, starting with Henry V and Macbeth, but taking a different approach to accessibility.
    Each comes in three versions: original text, “plain text” and “quick text”. […] Publisher Karen Wenborn said the rationale behind the series, which also aims to include other writers beginning with Bronte and Dickens, was unashamedly educational.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6647927.stm

    Reply
  93. There are at least a couple of publishers putting out Shakespeare in comic/manga form:
    “One new UK publishing house, Self Made Hero, is offering “Manga Shakespeare” – cut-down versions of some of the plays, in a Japanese cartoon style. […]
    Another new publisher, Classical Comics, is working on full-colour comic versions of some of the plays, starting with Henry V and Macbeth, but taking a different approach to accessibility.
    Each comes in three versions: original text, “plain text” and “quick text”. […] Publisher Karen Wenborn said the rationale behind the series, which also aims to include other writers beginning with Bronte and Dickens, was unashamedly educational.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6647927.stm

    Reply
  94. There are at least a couple of publishers putting out Shakespeare in comic/manga form:
    “One new UK publishing house, Self Made Hero, is offering “Manga Shakespeare” – cut-down versions of some of the plays, in a Japanese cartoon style. […]
    Another new publisher, Classical Comics, is working on full-colour comic versions of some of the plays, starting with Henry V and Macbeth, but taking a different approach to accessibility.
    Each comes in three versions: original text, “plain text” and “quick text”. […] Publisher Karen Wenborn said the rationale behind the series, which also aims to include other writers beginning with Bronte and Dickens, was unashamedly educational.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6647927.stm

    Reply
  95. There are at least a couple of publishers putting out Shakespeare in comic/manga form:
    “One new UK publishing house, Self Made Hero, is offering “Manga Shakespeare” – cut-down versions of some of the plays, in a Japanese cartoon style. […]
    Another new publisher, Classical Comics, is working on full-colour comic versions of some of the plays, starting with Henry V and Macbeth, but taking a different approach to accessibility.
    Each comes in three versions: original text, “plain text” and “quick text”. […] Publisher Karen Wenborn said the rationale behind the series, which also aims to include other writers beginning with Bronte and Dickens, was unashamedly educational.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6647927.stm

    Reply
  96. Jane, I had a whole collection of those comic books, and I remember the one for House of Seven Gables. You’re right about them sometimes making more sense than the book, too. Before the Illustrated Classics version, I couldn’t figure out the Salem witch trials with Judge Pynchon because I kept thinking of Halloween witchs.
    My favorite was The Prince and the Pauper, because I thought the boys were cute, with blond Beatle-haircuts. However I confused this story with Prince Valient in the newspaper funnies (did they have the same artist?), and later, when I had to read Mark Twain in school, I kept waiting for Prince Arne to show up with the other prince. Still better than Cliff Notes!

    Reply
  97. Jane, I had a whole collection of those comic books, and I remember the one for House of Seven Gables. You’re right about them sometimes making more sense than the book, too. Before the Illustrated Classics version, I couldn’t figure out the Salem witch trials with Judge Pynchon because I kept thinking of Halloween witchs.
    My favorite was The Prince and the Pauper, because I thought the boys were cute, with blond Beatle-haircuts. However I confused this story with Prince Valient in the newspaper funnies (did they have the same artist?), and later, when I had to read Mark Twain in school, I kept waiting for Prince Arne to show up with the other prince. Still better than Cliff Notes!

    Reply
  98. Jane, I had a whole collection of those comic books, and I remember the one for House of Seven Gables. You’re right about them sometimes making more sense than the book, too. Before the Illustrated Classics version, I couldn’t figure out the Salem witch trials with Judge Pynchon because I kept thinking of Halloween witchs.
    My favorite was The Prince and the Pauper, because I thought the boys were cute, with blond Beatle-haircuts. However I confused this story with Prince Valient in the newspaper funnies (did they have the same artist?), and later, when I had to read Mark Twain in school, I kept waiting for Prince Arne to show up with the other prince. Still better than Cliff Notes!

    Reply
  99. Jane, I had a whole collection of those comic books, and I remember the one for House of Seven Gables. You’re right about them sometimes making more sense than the book, too. Before the Illustrated Classics version, I couldn’t figure out the Salem witch trials with Judge Pynchon because I kept thinking of Halloween witchs.
    My favorite was The Prince and the Pauper, because I thought the boys were cute, with blond Beatle-haircuts. However I confused this story with Prince Valient in the newspaper funnies (did they have the same artist?), and later, when I had to read Mark Twain in school, I kept waiting for Prince Arne to show up with the other prince. Still better than Cliff Notes!

    Reply
  100. Jane, I had a whole collection of those comic books, and I remember the one for House of Seven Gables. You’re right about them sometimes making more sense than the book, too. Before the Illustrated Classics version, I couldn’t figure out the Salem witch trials with Judge Pynchon because I kept thinking of Halloween witchs.
    My favorite was The Prince and the Pauper, because I thought the boys were cute, with blond Beatle-haircuts. However I confused this story with Prince Valient in the newspaper funnies (did they have the same artist?), and later, when I had to read Mark Twain in school, I kept waiting for Prince Arne to show up with the other prince. Still better than Cliff Notes!

    Reply
  101. Well, as far as I can remember there were no romances on the courses about English or American literature in my university, not any contemporary ones, anyway, although the books we read were mostly written after the eighteen hundreds. But I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!

    Reply
  102. Well, as far as I can remember there were no romances on the courses about English or American literature in my university, not any contemporary ones, anyway, although the books we read were mostly written after the eighteen hundreds. But I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!

    Reply
  103. Well, as far as I can remember there were no romances on the courses about English or American literature in my university, not any contemporary ones, anyway, although the books we read were mostly written after the eighteen hundreds. But I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!

    Reply
  104. Well, as far as I can remember there were no romances on the courses about English or American literature in my university, not any contemporary ones, anyway, although the books we read were mostly written after the eighteen hundreds. But I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!

    Reply
  105. Well, as far as I can remember there were no romances on the courses about English or American literature in my university, not any contemporary ones, anyway, although the books we read were mostly written after the eighteen hundreds. But I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!

    Reply
  106. “I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!”
    Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén? I started reading it, and it was very interesting, but then I got distracted (too many piles of books to read!) so I’ll have to get back to it sometime soon.
    There have been quite a few theses and dissertations written about the genre, and various of us from the romance scholar list have been compiling a list of them here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Dissertation_Abstracts

    Reply
  107. “I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!”
    Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén? I started reading it, and it was very interesting, but then I got distracted (too many piles of books to read!) so I’ll have to get back to it sometime soon.
    There have been quite a few theses and dissertations written about the genre, and various of us from the romance scholar list have been compiling a list of them here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Dissertation_Abstracts

    Reply
  108. “I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!”
    Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén? I started reading it, and it was very interesting, but then I got distracted (too many piles of books to read!) so I’ll have to get back to it sometime soon.
    There have been quite a few theses and dissertations written about the genre, and various of us from the romance scholar list have been compiling a list of them here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Dissertation_Abstracts

    Reply
  109. “I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!”
    Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén? I started reading it, and it was very interesting, but then I got distracted (too many piles of books to read!) so I’ll have to get back to it sometime soon.
    There have been quite a few theses and dissertations written about the genre, and various of us from the romance scholar list have been compiling a list of them here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Dissertation_Abstracts

    Reply
  110. “I know at least about one thesis written about translating Harlequin books!”
    Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén? I started reading it, and it was very interesting, but then I got distracted (too many piles of books to read!) so I’ll have to get back to it sometime soon.
    There have been quite a few theses and dissertations written about the genre, and various of us from the romance scholar list have been compiling a list of them here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Dissertation_Abstracts

    Reply
  111. Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén?
    Nope. It was this one: Kempinen, A. 1988. “Translating for popular literature with special reference to Harlequin books and their Finnish translations”. A Pro Gradu Thesis. Savonlinna: University of Joensuu, Savonlinna School of Translation Studies.

    Reply
  112. Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén?
    Nope. It was this one: Kempinen, A. 1988. “Translating for popular literature with special reference to Harlequin books and their Finnish translations”. A Pro Gradu Thesis. Savonlinna: University of Joensuu, Savonlinna School of Translation Studies.

    Reply
  113. Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén?
    Nope. It was this one: Kempinen, A. 1988. “Translating for popular literature with special reference to Harlequin books and their Finnish translations”. A Pro Gradu Thesis. Savonlinna: University of Joensuu, Savonlinna School of Translation Studies.

    Reply
  114. Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén?
    Nope. It was this one: Kempinen, A. 1988. “Translating for popular literature with special reference to Harlequin books and their Finnish translations”. A Pro Gradu Thesis. Savonlinna: University of Joensuu, Savonlinna School of Translation Studies.

    Reply
  115. Was that the one by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén?
    Nope. It was this one: Kempinen, A. 1988. “Translating for popular literature with special reference to Harlequin books and their Finnish translations”. A Pro Gradu Thesis. Savonlinna: University of Joensuu, Savonlinna School of Translation Studies.

    Reply
  116. Since it’s Finland where I have studied, besides some of those writers mentioned here we had to also read – and this was in elementary and high school- for instance Minna Canth, Väinö Linna (e.g Unknown Solidier), Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (it seems everybody has to read that one at school, like or not) and Mika Waltari (anyone familiar with Sinuhe the Egyptian? Someone has even made a Hollywood movie out of it).

    Reply
  117. Since it’s Finland where I have studied, besides some of those writers mentioned here we had to also read – and this was in elementary and high school- for instance Minna Canth, Väinö Linna (e.g Unknown Solidier), Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (it seems everybody has to read that one at school, like or not) and Mika Waltari (anyone familiar with Sinuhe the Egyptian? Someone has even made a Hollywood movie out of it).

    Reply
  118. Since it’s Finland where I have studied, besides some of those writers mentioned here we had to also read – and this was in elementary and high school- for instance Minna Canth, Väinö Linna (e.g Unknown Solidier), Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (it seems everybody has to read that one at school, like or not) and Mika Waltari (anyone familiar with Sinuhe the Egyptian? Someone has even made a Hollywood movie out of it).

    Reply
  119. Since it’s Finland where I have studied, besides some of those writers mentioned here we had to also read – and this was in elementary and high school- for instance Minna Canth, Väinö Linna (e.g Unknown Solidier), Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (it seems everybody has to read that one at school, like or not) and Mika Waltari (anyone familiar with Sinuhe the Egyptian? Someone has even made a Hollywood movie out of it).

    Reply
  120. Since it’s Finland where I have studied, besides some of those writers mentioned here we had to also read – and this was in elementary and high school- for instance Minna Canth, Väinö Linna (e.g Unknown Solidier), Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (it seems everybody has to read that one at school, like or not) and Mika Waltari (anyone familiar with Sinuhe the Egyptian? Someone has even made a Hollywood movie out of it).

    Reply
  121. Minna, what’s a “Pro Gradu Thesis”? Is it the same as a thesis for a PhD? I couldn’t find it in the ProQuest database of dissertations (though sometimes I have trouble finding things there, so that could be my fault). Is there an abstract available somewhere online? I suppose there might not be, since it was written in 1988.

    Reply
  122. Minna, what’s a “Pro Gradu Thesis”? Is it the same as a thesis for a PhD? I couldn’t find it in the ProQuest database of dissertations (though sometimes I have trouble finding things there, so that could be my fault). Is there an abstract available somewhere online? I suppose there might not be, since it was written in 1988.

    Reply
  123. Minna, what’s a “Pro Gradu Thesis”? Is it the same as a thesis for a PhD? I couldn’t find it in the ProQuest database of dissertations (though sometimes I have trouble finding things there, so that could be my fault). Is there an abstract available somewhere online? I suppose there might not be, since it was written in 1988.

    Reply
  124. Minna, what’s a “Pro Gradu Thesis”? Is it the same as a thesis for a PhD? I couldn’t find it in the ProQuest database of dissertations (though sometimes I have trouble finding things there, so that could be my fault). Is there an abstract available somewhere online? I suppose there might not be, since it was written in 1988.

    Reply
  125. Minna, what’s a “Pro Gradu Thesis”? Is it the same as a thesis for a PhD? I couldn’t find it in the ProQuest database of dissertations (though sometimes I have trouble finding things there, so that could be my fault). Is there an abstract available somewhere online? I suppose there might not be, since it was written in 1988.

    Reply
  126. Thanks very much, Minna! I don’t actually need to read it myself, since I’m not working on the issue of translation, but I followed your link and managed to find all the details in the library’s catalogue. I’ve added a link and the details to the bibliography at the Romance Wiki. I also did a bit of Google-ing and found the details of an article on the same topic that she had published, so I added that too.

    Reply
  127. Thanks very much, Minna! I don’t actually need to read it myself, since I’m not working on the issue of translation, but I followed your link and managed to find all the details in the library’s catalogue. I’ve added a link and the details to the bibliography at the Romance Wiki. I also did a bit of Google-ing and found the details of an article on the same topic that she had published, so I added that too.

    Reply
  128. Thanks very much, Minna! I don’t actually need to read it myself, since I’m not working on the issue of translation, but I followed your link and managed to find all the details in the library’s catalogue. I’ve added a link and the details to the bibliography at the Romance Wiki. I also did a bit of Google-ing and found the details of an article on the same topic that she had published, so I added that too.

    Reply
  129. Thanks very much, Minna! I don’t actually need to read it myself, since I’m not working on the issue of translation, but I followed your link and managed to find all the details in the library’s catalogue. I’ve added a link and the details to the bibliography at the Romance Wiki. I also did a bit of Google-ing and found the details of an article on the same topic that she had published, so I added that too.

    Reply
  130. Thanks very much, Minna! I don’t actually need to read it myself, since I’m not working on the issue of translation, but I followed your link and managed to find all the details in the library’s catalogue. I’ve added a link and the details to the bibliography at the Romance Wiki. I also did a bit of Google-ing and found the details of an article on the same topic that she had published, so I added that too.

    Reply
  131. These questions raise the issue of the snobbery of “high art”– and what exactly the that is based on. It has never made any sense to me. When I was in school, which was a long time ago, it was a clear bias in favor of American white men. Jane Austen was not included in either my high school or college courses, but Hawthorne was. (They are still reading The house of seven gables in NYC high schools-why why why? ) If I am going to read male writing, I generally prefer English men- but that’s a side argument. I find “high art” designations, and the choices I was exposed to (which happened a long time ago) arbitrary, and frequently sexist or classist. i think hawthorne is still taught more frequently than Jane Austen, or Louise May Alcott. — Why Blake, but not John Donne, who is sexy, and makes fun of lawyers. I discovered John Donne through reading Dorothy Sayers, who in my humble opinion, has written passages as worthy of study as anyone I was exposed to in school. I know times have changed, but the residue lingers– or why would the questions about the course which started this discussion exist. If it was a course in science fiction, would we be raising the same questions about the readings selected? (perhaps, yes, but worth thinking about)–why is Beardsley not generally taught in art history course? or folk art?
    This is a big topic, and I have to go to work, so having said just enough to probably be misunderstood———
    Merry

    Reply
  132. These questions raise the issue of the snobbery of “high art”– and what exactly the that is based on. It has never made any sense to me. When I was in school, which was a long time ago, it was a clear bias in favor of American white men. Jane Austen was not included in either my high school or college courses, but Hawthorne was. (They are still reading The house of seven gables in NYC high schools-why why why? ) If I am going to read male writing, I generally prefer English men- but that’s a side argument. I find “high art” designations, and the choices I was exposed to (which happened a long time ago) arbitrary, and frequently sexist or classist. i think hawthorne is still taught more frequently than Jane Austen, or Louise May Alcott. — Why Blake, but not John Donne, who is sexy, and makes fun of lawyers. I discovered John Donne through reading Dorothy Sayers, who in my humble opinion, has written passages as worthy of study as anyone I was exposed to in school. I know times have changed, but the residue lingers– or why would the questions about the course which started this discussion exist. If it was a course in science fiction, would we be raising the same questions about the readings selected? (perhaps, yes, but worth thinking about)–why is Beardsley not generally taught in art history course? or folk art?
    This is a big topic, and I have to go to work, so having said just enough to probably be misunderstood———
    Merry

    Reply
  133. These questions raise the issue of the snobbery of “high art”– and what exactly the that is based on. It has never made any sense to me. When I was in school, which was a long time ago, it was a clear bias in favor of American white men. Jane Austen was not included in either my high school or college courses, but Hawthorne was. (They are still reading The house of seven gables in NYC high schools-why why why? ) If I am going to read male writing, I generally prefer English men- but that’s a side argument. I find “high art” designations, and the choices I was exposed to (which happened a long time ago) arbitrary, and frequently sexist or classist. i think hawthorne is still taught more frequently than Jane Austen, or Louise May Alcott. — Why Blake, but not John Donne, who is sexy, and makes fun of lawyers. I discovered John Donne through reading Dorothy Sayers, who in my humble opinion, has written passages as worthy of study as anyone I was exposed to in school. I know times have changed, but the residue lingers– or why would the questions about the course which started this discussion exist. If it was a course in science fiction, would we be raising the same questions about the readings selected? (perhaps, yes, but worth thinking about)–why is Beardsley not generally taught in art history course? or folk art?
    This is a big topic, and I have to go to work, so having said just enough to probably be misunderstood———
    Merry

    Reply
  134. These questions raise the issue of the snobbery of “high art”– and what exactly the that is based on. It has never made any sense to me. When I was in school, which was a long time ago, it was a clear bias in favor of American white men. Jane Austen was not included in either my high school or college courses, but Hawthorne was. (They are still reading The house of seven gables in NYC high schools-why why why? ) If I am going to read male writing, I generally prefer English men- but that’s a side argument. I find “high art” designations, and the choices I was exposed to (which happened a long time ago) arbitrary, and frequently sexist or classist. i think hawthorne is still taught more frequently than Jane Austen, or Louise May Alcott. — Why Blake, but not John Donne, who is sexy, and makes fun of lawyers. I discovered John Donne through reading Dorothy Sayers, who in my humble opinion, has written passages as worthy of study as anyone I was exposed to in school. I know times have changed, but the residue lingers– or why would the questions about the course which started this discussion exist. If it was a course in science fiction, would we be raising the same questions about the readings selected? (perhaps, yes, but worth thinking about)–why is Beardsley not generally taught in art history course? or folk art?
    This is a big topic, and I have to go to work, so having said just enough to probably be misunderstood———
    Merry

    Reply
  135. These questions raise the issue of the snobbery of “high art”– and what exactly the that is based on. It has never made any sense to me. When I was in school, which was a long time ago, it was a clear bias in favor of American white men. Jane Austen was not included in either my high school or college courses, but Hawthorne was. (They are still reading The house of seven gables in NYC high schools-why why why? ) If I am going to read male writing, I generally prefer English men- but that’s a side argument. I find “high art” designations, and the choices I was exposed to (which happened a long time ago) arbitrary, and frequently sexist or classist. i think hawthorne is still taught more frequently than Jane Austen, or Louise May Alcott. — Why Blake, but not John Donne, who is sexy, and makes fun of lawyers. I discovered John Donne through reading Dorothy Sayers, who in my humble opinion, has written passages as worthy of study as anyone I was exposed to in school. I know times have changed, but the residue lingers– or why would the questions about the course which started this discussion exist. If it was a course in science fiction, would we be raising the same questions about the readings selected? (perhaps, yes, but worth thinking about)–why is Beardsley not generally taught in art history course? or folk art?
    This is a big topic, and I have to go to work, so having said just enough to probably be misunderstood———
    Merry

    Reply
  136. further thought–is it a romantic sensibility that is discriminated against when “high art’ is designated. Do cynicism and despair make it more likely that something will be seen as “high art”?
    Merry

    Reply
  137. further thought–is it a romantic sensibility that is discriminated against when “high art’ is designated. Do cynicism and despair make it more likely that something will be seen as “high art”?
    Merry

    Reply
  138. further thought–is it a romantic sensibility that is discriminated against when “high art’ is designated. Do cynicism and despair make it more likely that something will be seen as “high art”?
    Merry

    Reply
  139. further thought–is it a romantic sensibility that is discriminated against when “high art’ is designated. Do cynicism and despair make it more likely that something will be seen as “high art”?
    Merry

    Reply
  140. further thought–is it a romantic sensibility that is discriminated against when “high art’ is designated. Do cynicism and despair make it more likely that something will be seen as “high art”?
    Merry

    Reply
  141. I am so glad to see that romance and Historical Fiction is finding credibility in academia. I am also glad to find that others share my disdain of Cassie Edwards. I enjoy the talents of real wordsmiths,and I enjoy the complexity of a well written plot. When you can read something that makes you feel like you would like to know more about the family or the characters that do not comprise the hero role, because they have become ‘real’ to you, then you are reading something by a gifted wordsmith. My reading began early, and some of my early favourites made just that type of impact (Louisa May Alcott, comes to mind), and I became hooked on the plot, the characters, and the romance of the story,…any story.

    Reply
  142. I am so glad to see that romance and Historical Fiction is finding credibility in academia. I am also glad to find that others share my disdain of Cassie Edwards. I enjoy the talents of real wordsmiths,and I enjoy the complexity of a well written plot. When you can read something that makes you feel like you would like to know more about the family or the characters that do not comprise the hero role, because they have become ‘real’ to you, then you are reading something by a gifted wordsmith. My reading began early, and some of my early favourites made just that type of impact (Louisa May Alcott, comes to mind), and I became hooked on the plot, the characters, and the romance of the story,…any story.

    Reply
  143. I am so glad to see that romance and Historical Fiction is finding credibility in academia. I am also glad to find that others share my disdain of Cassie Edwards. I enjoy the talents of real wordsmiths,and I enjoy the complexity of a well written plot. When you can read something that makes you feel like you would like to know more about the family or the characters that do not comprise the hero role, because they have become ‘real’ to you, then you are reading something by a gifted wordsmith. My reading began early, and some of my early favourites made just that type of impact (Louisa May Alcott, comes to mind), and I became hooked on the plot, the characters, and the romance of the story,…any story.

    Reply
  144. I am so glad to see that romance and Historical Fiction is finding credibility in academia. I am also glad to find that others share my disdain of Cassie Edwards. I enjoy the talents of real wordsmiths,and I enjoy the complexity of a well written plot. When you can read something that makes you feel like you would like to know more about the family or the characters that do not comprise the hero role, because they have become ‘real’ to you, then you are reading something by a gifted wordsmith. My reading began early, and some of my early favourites made just that type of impact (Louisa May Alcott, comes to mind), and I became hooked on the plot, the characters, and the romance of the story,…any story.

    Reply
  145. I am so glad to see that romance and Historical Fiction is finding credibility in academia. I am also glad to find that others share my disdain of Cassie Edwards. I enjoy the talents of real wordsmiths,and I enjoy the complexity of a well written plot. When you can read something that makes you feel like you would like to know more about the family or the characters that do not comprise the hero role, because they have become ‘real’ to you, then you are reading something by a gifted wordsmith. My reading began early, and some of my early favourites made just that type of impact (Louisa May Alcott, comes to mind), and I became hooked on the plot, the characters, and the romance of the story,…any story.

    Reply
  146. Further thought, in response to Merry’s last post. Yes, I think that most often, this is exactly how the decisions about ‘high art’ are made. I also think that all too often, because romance is most often associated with women, it is automatically place into the category of being not quite good enough to count as ‘real’ literature. Female Fluff?

    Reply
  147. Further thought, in response to Merry’s last post. Yes, I think that most often, this is exactly how the decisions about ‘high art’ are made. I also think that all too often, because romance is most often associated with women, it is automatically place into the category of being not quite good enough to count as ‘real’ literature. Female Fluff?

    Reply
  148. Further thought, in response to Merry’s last post. Yes, I think that most often, this is exactly how the decisions about ‘high art’ are made. I also think that all too often, because romance is most often associated with women, it is automatically place into the category of being not quite good enough to count as ‘real’ literature. Female Fluff?

    Reply
  149. Further thought, in response to Merry’s last post. Yes, I think that most often, this is exactly how the decisions about ‘high art’ are made. I also think that all too often, because romance is most often associated with women, it is automatically place into the category of being not quite good enough to count as ‘real’ literature. Female Fluff?

    Reply
  150. Further thought, in response to Merry’s last post. Yes, I think that most often, this is exactly how the decisions about ‘high art’ are made. I also think that all too often, because romance is most often associated with women, it is automatically place into the category of being not quite good enough to count as ‘real’ literature. Female Fluff?

    Reply
  151. I just stumbled across today. Confession: I’m the teacher and designer of this course, and I’m completely fascinated by this post. (I’d post my name, but in the interests of protecting your daughter’s anonymity, I won’t, since from me it would be easy enough to find the school’s name.) I have/had exactly the same qualms as you when I wrote the syllabus, and continue to have them. My specialty is actually nineteenth-century British literature–in fact, it’s specifically 19C poetry. I know the classics, and I teach the classics in many of my lit courses. When I see some of the other honors comp courses out there–who are reading things like Gatsby and discussing Americanness and constructions of identity–I wonder if I’m not making my students’ lives too easy or being too frivolous with their educations.
    But on the other hand, I figure it’s a freshman course. And where else can they have structured discussions on sex, sexuality, and romance–and on genre? Where else will they learn the struggles of discussing popular literature as literature?
    I hope I don’t sound defensive, b/c I’m really not. I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this issue, b/c they’re ones I struggle with.
    (And, hey, if the students are really into the classics, I’m teaching two courses on them in the spring!)

    Reply
  152. I just stumbled across today. Confession: I’m the teacher and designer of this course, and I’m completely fascinated by this post. (I’d post my name, but in the interests of protecting your daughter’s anonymity, I won’t, since from me it would be easy enough to find the school’s name.) I have/had exactly the same qualms as you when I wrote the syllabus, and continue to have them. My specialty is actually nineteenth-century British literature–in fact, it’s specifically 19C poetry. I know the classics, and I teach the classics in many of my lit courses. When I see some of the other honors comp courses out there–who are reading things like Gatsby and discussing Americanness and constructions of identity–I wonder if I’m not making my students’ lives too easy or being too frivolous with their educations.
    But on the other hand, I figure it’s a freshman course. And where else can they have structured discussions on sex, sexuality, and romance–and on genre? Where else will they learn the struggles of discussing popular literature as literature?
    I hope I don’t sound defensive, b/c I’m really not. I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this issue, b/c they’re ones I struggle with.
    (And, hey, if the students are really into the classics, I’m teaching two courses on them in the spring!)

    Reply
  153. I just stumbled across today. Confession: I’m the teacher and designer of this course, and I’m completely fascinated by this post. (I’d post my name, but in the interests of protecting your daughter’s anonymity, I won’t, since from me it would be easy enough to find the school’s name.) I have/had exactly the same qualms as you when I wrote the syllabus, and continue to have them. My specialty is actually nineteenth-century British literature–in fact, it’s specifically 19C poetry. I know the classics, and I teach the classics in many of my lit courses. When I see some of the other honors comp courses out there–who are reading things like Gatsby and discussing Americanness and constructions of identity–I wonder if I’m not making my students’ lives too easy or being too frivolous with their educations.
    But on the other hand, I figure it’s a freshman course. And where else can they have structured discussions on sex, sexuality, and romance–and on genre? Where else will they learn the struggles of discussing popular literature as literature?
    I hope I don’t sound defensive, b/c I’m really not. I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this issue, b/c they’re ones I struggle with.
    (And, hey, if the students are really into the classics, I’m teaching two courses on them in the spring!)

    Reply
  154. I just stumbled across today. Confession: I’m the teacher and designer of this course, and I’m completely fascinated by this post. (I’d post my name, but in the interests of protecting your daughter’s anonymity, I won’t, since from me it would be easy enough to find the school’s name.) I have/had exactly the same qualms as you when I wrote the syllabus, and continue to have them. My specialty is actually nineteenth-century British literature–in fact, it’s specifically 19C poetry. I know the classics, and I teach the classics in many of my lit courses. When I see some of the other honors comp courses out there–who are reading things like Gatsby and discussing Americanness and constructions of identity–I wonder if I’m not making my students’ lives too easy or being too frivolous with their educations.
    But on the other hand, I figure it’s a freshman course. And where else can they have structured discussions on sex, sexuality, and romance–and on genre? Where else will they learn the struggles of discussing popular literature as literature?
    I hope I don’t sound defensive, b/c I’m really not. I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this issue, b/c they’re ones I struggle with.
    (And, hey, if the students are really into the classics, I’m teaching two courses on them in the spring!)

    Reply
  155. I just stumbled across today. Confession: I’m the teacher and designer of this course, and I’m completely fascinated by this post. (I’d post my name, but in the interests of protecting your daughter’s anonymity, I won’t, since from me it would be easy enough to find the school’s name.) I have/had exactly the same qualms as you when I wrote the syllabus, and continue to have them. My specialty is actually nineteenth-century British literature–in fact, it’s specifically 19C poetry. I know the classics, and I teach the classics in many of my lit courses. When I see some of the other honors comp courses out there–who are reading things like Gatsby and discussing Americanness and constructions of identity–I wonder if I’m not making my students’ lives too easy or being too frivolous with their educations.
    But on the other hand, I figure it’s a freshman course. And where else can they have structured discussions on sex, sexuality, and romance–and on genre? Where else will they learn the struggles of discussing popular literature as literature?
    I hope I don’t sound defensive, b/c I’m really not. I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this issue, b/c they’re ones I struggle with.
    (And, hey, if the students are really into the classics, I’m teaching two courses on them in the spring!)

    Reply

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