Monday, October 13, 2008

Classics vs. Popular?

Okay, as a recovering English major, I'm really torn on this one.

Check out What's So Great About Shakespeare Anyway? It's an opinion piece where the author begs literature teachers to give the dusty classics a rest and get on board with great new YA stuff. (How new, and how YA, we can argue another time, since she cites only The Giver, The Lovely Bones, and The Secret Life of Bees. Lowry is good stuff, for sure, but I can think of numerous others.)

Now ordinarily I would be jumping for joy, since yes! I do think that teachers should incorporate contemporary literature in their classrooms, both for the appeal and because they do confront thorny issues.

What gets me is that the author seems to view classics as being opposed to contemporary lit, i.e. it's one or the other. As someone who read and loved the complete works of Jane Austen (minus Mansfield Park; bleaaaah!!) as well as knowing my library's YA and children's sections up, down, and sideways, I'm more in favor of using a mix. The reason the classics are great is because they still speak to many. The reason modern lit is great is the same reason.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

Kimbra Kasch said...

I love popular books like the Twilight series, but who doesn't love a good vampire? Still, this is not the question to ask me. One of my very first blogposts was about the wizard of wordom: ”Shakespeare”