[DWJ] and while I'm talking to you, perhaps I can be a little more on topic...

Jackie E Stallcup jstallcup at juno.com
Fri Nov 14 23:13:04 EST 2008

I'd love to get a copy of your syllabus.  One of the things that I'm
wrestling with is what secondary material to teach.   This is going to be
an undergrad class, though an Honors section, so they are up for some

I love the idea of reading Dark Lord, Book of Three and Paper Bag
Princess together! I'm going to figure out a way to do something similar
with the texts that I've already ordered for the course.... 

And I was interested in the students' responses to Shona's situation.  In
the independent study, I'm wondering what my student is going to say. 
He's had a lot of feminist theory (both in English classes and journalism
classes) and I'm wondering how that's going to affect how he reads it.  

In my children's literature course this week, we were discussing Letters
from Rifka which has a similar situation.  You can really read the moment
in the text either way and it was interesting to see how the students
talked about it based on their own experiences (both in life and with

On Fri, 14 Nov 2008 15:28:19 -0500 (EST) deborah.dwj at suberic.net writes:
> On Thu, 13 Nov 2008, Jackie E Stallcup wrote:
> > I'm really glad to hear that teaching DL with the Hobbit went 
> well!  What
> > kind of course were/are you teaching it in--YA lit?  Fantasy lit?
> > Children's Lit?
> Fantasy and Science Fiction in a graduate program for Children's
> and Young Adult Literature (MA, literature oriented as opposed to
> education or librarianship, although there are some dual degree
> people in the program).
> > And did you introduce DL as a parody or satire of some elements of 
> high
> > fantasy?
> Before the first week of class I'd had them read The Hobbit
> without any preparation. All but two of the students had already
> seen the Lord of the Rings movies, so for many of them the
> relative fluffiness of evil in The Hobbit was something of a
> surprise. Then they read Dark Lord at the same time as The Book
> of Three and The Paper Bag Princess, and I asked them to read
> those three books in publication order. I wanted to see if they
> would get to seeing the historical progression in the development
> of quest fantasy without me starting them on it: from classic
> quest fantasy to feminist retelling to deconstruction of the
> whole genre.
> They actually did a very good job. It was tough, of course,
> partly because there really aren't that many classic quest
> fantasies in children's lit (it's more of an adult genre, if you
> are going for the whole Belgariadesque thing being parodied in
> Dark Lord), and partly because what there is is almost all
> trilogy or larger. You can't really see the structure of the
> quest by just reading The Book of Three. If it keeps the class
> again next year, I might try to find an entire trilogy and have
> them read it for character arc, although not sure which one I
> would pick.
> The students are fairly mixed group; many of them have already
>  the theory class in the program, but many others haven't.
> There's a lot more readers of fantasy than there used to be,
> though, so I'm very pleased at how many of them already like the
> genre or are open to it. There's a lot less hostility than I'd
> expected.
> But they were very happy to read Dark Lord as parody. They
> certainly didn't all like the book, but they all saw what it was
> doing and appreciated it. Sadly, I only had one Dungeons &
> Dragons player in the group, so I couldn't get into too much of a
> discussion about how it plays off of those tropes, as well.
> (Thinking about the discussions we've had on this list, I also
> asked them what they thought went on in that scene with the
> soldiers and Shona. They were about as divided as the listers
> are: some thought it was very clearly a sexual assault, some
> thought it wasn't, some were disturbed at how underplayed it was,
> some didn't mind at all.)
> -deborah
> --
> I'm a little teapot, short and stout.
> Here is my handle and here is my ... my ...
> Hey, I'm a sugar bowl!
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