English 398. Experimental Courses
Young Adult Literature
What is Young Adult (YA) literature? Is it anything written for young people aged 12 to 17—or 10 to 25? Or is it literature not so much written for but appropriated by young readers? Is it characteristically edgy? Can it be too edgy? Is it characteristically hopeful? Or otherwise? Is it defined by its imbrication in structures of power? Or by abjection? Can it be canonical? What counts as a crossover novel, crossing the boundary between YA and literature for adults? . . . In addition to grappling with criticism and theory, we’ll explore a wide range of literature for young adults, broadly defined, including science fiction, fantasy, graphic fiction, poetry, possibly other nonfiction—but primarily fiction. The works address such topics as sex, love, racism, violence, rape, LGBTQ, the media, incest, history, drug abuse, hope, despair. Possible titles might include Catcher in the Rye (do you love it or hate it?), Go Ask Alice (is it true, as it claims to be?), The Chocolate War (can it get any worse?), Push (is it inspiring or racist?), Kissing the Witch (not your usual fairy tales), Speak (why won’t she speak?), Feed (how wired would you like to be?), A Wreath for Emmett Till (sonnets about a lynching?), The Winter People (not your usual Indian war), Fun Home (fun? home? a graphic novel), The Executioness (she does what?), Fangirl (does fandom plagiarize?). If you’re planning to take the class, and you’d particularly like to see one of these listed titles included, please e-mail me to let me know by April 9th. Prerequisite: at least one English course at the 200 level or above or else one Education course.
Beverly Lyon Clark