I mean, really.
I am so tired of the “high art” and “low art” mentality when it comes to reading. People are READING. That alone is a victory to me. I mean, I am a PhD student in English and I fucking LOVED the Hunger Games. Yes, I read the classics. Are they relevant? Maybe. Remember Shakespeare was written for the masses and was the equivalence of SOAP OPERAS. Are the classics enjoyable? For some, but not for me. If I can enjoy something and see the influences of the classics, that’s awesome. If it can stand on its own, then more fucking power to it as a piece of literature.
Reblogging for commentary. Honestly. Shakespeare was like 78% dick jokes. And Wilde would think you’re an idiot. The end.
Commentary for the win.
Shakespeare routinely made up his own words and was something for the commoners too. Or did you forget all the weirdly awkward fools interludes that involve codpieces and mammary puns?
Jane Austen was considered romance novels, back in the day.
Oscar Wilde wrote about gay sex. And more gay sex. And more gay sex. And everybody was like, “Oh my god this is such sleazy gay sex.”
I’m pretty sure, 50 years from now, people are going to be comparing The Hunger Games to 1984 and they’re going to put it in a comparative lit class with Roman Lit and mythology.
Harry Potter is already being study in college classes. I know people who have written theses on it.
You want to read something REALLY badly written? Something featuring Long winded, run on sentences about Hell, featuring an emo protagonist who can’t shut up about how evil he is?
…No, not Edward Cullen. Lucifer, from Paradise Lost.
Suck it, elitist bitches.
Can I just add anime and manga to this idea? Because really, ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is just a cartoon? Okay, world. Okay.
I’d just like to chime in here to say that I’m currently in a grad-level lit theory class.
This is the number of times, during a course about narrative theory, structuralism, and literary polemics, in which Tolstoy, Austen, Dostoyevsky, Hugo, Wilde, and Shakespeare have been relevant to our class discussions:
This is the number of times that Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Homestuck, superhero comics, Kate Beaton, Twilight, Inception, and Avatar: the Last Airbender have been relevant to our class discussions:
Too many to count.
Anything that you can analyze i consider literature. Its genre doesn’t matter—it’s the fact that you can take a book and go, “hey wow, what a universal feeling. I have felt this but could never put it into words.” or, “Hey, that’s such a good symbol for this setting/feeling/idea because….” Video Games and movies are tuning into this, too. they’re our generation’s storytellers, and the lines between all these types of entertainment are starting to blur.
Take the game “The Path,” for instance. it’s a little indie game that you can but online for about 5 bucks. Honestly? I can’t call it a video game, really. It’s an interactive story. and the whole reason to play is to analyze and experience. One could seperate it into the “high brow/low brow” crap that was mentioned earlier. I spent double if not more time just analyzing the meanings of the symbolism in the game. Sound familiar to the way we treat classics?
I’ve read Crime and Punishment. I’ve read the twilight books. The difference between the two is not the fact that Dostoyevsky wrote a classic. It’s that Crime and Punishment is deep and rewards the reader with an epiphany on human nature, and that Twilight is unbelievably long short hand for what it feels like to be in love.
How about Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein versus the Hunger Games? I had to read Frankenstein OUT LOUD because the run-on sentences and lack of basic writing skills were so bad. Both were written as a social commentary on the same thing, “who is are the monsters here?” and forces the reader to consider what they have done and to identify with the “villain.”
I’m getting ahead of myself. Books are books. Classics have been mostly written by old white dead dudes, so when more stuff like the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Uglies, and all that is not taken seriously, we are robbing ourselves of what our children/grandchildren would consider classics. New Classics will be written—why would anyone consider that a bad thing?
Oh, hello commentary. I <3 you all.
ALL OF THESE COMMENTS, YES.
THIS IS WHAT I TRY TO TELL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME.
I love the commentary here. <3
Also… may I point out that just because it’s a classic it doesn’t mean that it’s a good book. Take Catcher in the Rye for instance. That was the first book I have ever read that I felt a burning urge to jerk my hand so that the book would fly into the fireplace, and I love books. The amount of times that he said “I’m stupid” or “I hate my life” in one page was obnoxious. It was a book full of angst. I may as well be reading the Twilight series for fuck sake.
Fuck appreciating literature, people. Love stories. Love wordplay. Love a deliciously delivered anecdote, a razor-sharp joke, a ripping yarn, a swashbuckling hero who fights for justice or a lost intellectual who takes bloody vengeance into his own hands; love tales of kings and queens and wizards and goosegirls; love space-faring smugglers and penniless governesses; love confused adolescents and bitter old men; love fallen angels and irritable monsters, mad scientists and grumpy sidekicks, cabbage sellers and long-anticipated saviours; love Elizabeth Bennet and Bridget Jones; love Peter Parker and Peter Pan, Ulysses and Beowulf and Jane Eyre; love Cinderella and Anne Elliot, Katniss Everdene and Becky Sharp; love Howard Belsey and Henry Wilcox, Ramona and Beezus, Harry Potter and Tommy Taylor and Timothy Hunter; love Mildred Hubble and Morgan le Fay; love David Copperfield and Tripitaka, Boo Radley and Sam Gamgee and Reepicheep the mouse. Love boy meets girl, girl meets girl, boy meets boy, girl meets swan, lion meets zebra, fairy meets ass. Love layers of meaning, love double entendre, love coining new words, love echoing old themes, love reinterpreting, rebooting, reimagining, revamping. Love worldbuilding, love new perspectives, love role reversal, love that marvellous moment of vertiginous realisation that the butler/wife/captain/dentist/ghost/boyfriend/elephant did it, and that up is down and right is left and the dark spaces between the white lizards are actually black lizards - that the writer has left you a trail of breadcrumbs hidden among the words and you’ve not noticed them until this very moment now. Love sentences that bring you up short in your headlong plunge through the story and make you pause, make you re-read, make you taste the words on your tongue as you read them out loud because they fit together as perfectly as a key in a lock, crisp and tart or mellifluous and sweet.
Even if you think a book is shoddily written, even if you personally have read those same themes explored with much greater skill and depth elsewhere, even if you think this character is paper-thin, this trope is tired, this sentence is leaden, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by belittling the readers for whom these things are fresh and new and moving. There is no need to piss all over their parade and tell yourself that they aren’t REAL readers. Don’t be petty. Don’t be mean-spirited. If somebody’s soul is suffused with delight when they read a book that you, personally, think of as overpriced toilet paper LET THEM BE. You may be perfectly correct in pointing out that their beloved story is not, objectively, as fine a creation as stories X, Y or Z - but if it moves them, and grips them, and speaks to them, that is a good thing. Conversely, you may not be right at all - you may just be spouting worn-out genre snobbery that you learned at the knee of worn-out snobs when you were too young to see through their self important bullshit.
Love narrative. Love characters. LOVE STORYTELLING. Not snobbery. Bollocks to that.
All of this.