DWJ: OT Books set at universities

Elizabeth Parks mep3 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Thu Feb 21 17:07:20 EST 2002

I met my gothic novel tutor today, and she made some comment about the
books that owe things to gothic novels, including fantasy, romance, and
horror; it was pretty obvious that her opinion of romances was pretty low,
but that's only to be expected (I started reading my mother's sihouettes
when I was six--without permission, btw--but I only stopped being
embarrassed about it after I heard various arguments that seemed to have
some validity to them, most notably the feminist point that that which is
associated with women, as romance books are, has traditionally been seen
as less valid than man stuff.  It's quite interesting, really, some of the
things that romance writers have pointed out intelligently about their
line of work) (and I do still have some big bad issues with rape romances
and with Diana Palmer).  I couldn't tell what she thought of fantasy--I
was sort of getting a vibe from her that makes me think she might like it,
and she mentioned Lord of the Rings, but the way she phrased a few things
make me suspect that I might be called upon to defend genre books.  Oh, I
do look forward to that.  I mean, the reason I took the class in the first
place was because I was sick and tired of elitest literature (after a
particularly horrid Contemporary Fiction class in which lots of bull was
praised as existential and innovative and so on and so forth while books
by Gloria Naylor, Doris Lessing (admittedly The Fifth Child is not my
favorite book) and especially especially especially Barbara Kingsovler
were thought less of for dealing with "women" things like mothers and
children and relationships (because The French Lieutenant's Woman was
'existential' it was allowed a relationship; because Animal Dreams had new
agey environmentalism and family stuff, it was less valid.
Who--me--bitter?  You bet.  That class completely turned me off literature
for close to a year.

er. . . end rant.


oh, and about that book swap idea?  It seems more practical than mine,
which was to look for a corporate sponsor (you know, I read in public
while wearing their logo, or speed read in a race against others), so I'm
all for it.  Swapping aside, I have books I just plain can't afford to
take home with me.


On Wed, 20 Feb 2002, Robyn Starkey wrote:

> >Heh heh. I know an English teacher who could do with that treatment. I might
> >be wrong, since this is only based on one conversation with him, but he
> >seemed to think that the only books worth reading were Grown Up and Real
> >Life and Gritty, and that "children's books" are somehow below him.
> So he's the guy who gives out the awards to all those gritty YA books, is he?
> >The best books, in my opinion, are accessible to all ages, or a wide range
> >of ages. Philip Pullman is a classic example of a misconception of target
> >audience by publishers. "His Dark Materials" isn't really for children,
> >although it has young protagonists and is accessible to children.
> I imagine a lot of young readers may have an experience of Pullman which is 
> very different to adult readers. Like all those people who you talk to as 
> adults about Narnia, and they say "what do you mean it is Christian allegory?".
> >"Doctor
> >Who" suffers this too - it is often thought of as a children's series. The
> >books have developed a long way from the TV show, and even that wasn't
> >really "for children".
> I found it way to scary to watch when I was a child, and only got into it 
> when my younger brother needed someone to watch it with him because it was 
> too scary.
> Robyn
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