In Defence Of Popular English Literature Essay

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Enid Blyton is one of the most popular kids ‘s writers of all clip, in her literary calling ( 1922-1963 ) she produced over 600 books ( Maybin, 2009 ) , and the reference of the Famous Five, Secret Seven, or Malory Towers series still brings acknowledgment from today ‘s kid and nostalgia from grownups.

Arthur Ransome was a modern-day of Blyton his first novel S & A ; A, generated a series of books which subsequently won him the first Carnegie award, in 1936. Although an admired kids ‘s writer, he has ne’er reached the highs of popularity seen with Blyton or more late J. K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series. Rowling ‘s first book HP & A ; TPS achieved phenomenal success, nevertheless like Blyton, she has failed to derive the chief esteemed awards and her books have besides been attacked by critics and educationists, in much the same mode as Blyton. In mensurating the extent of accomplishment of these writers and novels, we will see how kids ‘s literature is assessed, in relation to the ideal theoretical account of the kid ; and whether the appraisal of a books worth is seen more in the altering values of its prestigiousness belayed by preponderantly grownup critics, as opposed to its popularity.

The 1950 ‘s saw kids ‘s literature as a more well-thought-of and accordingly more criticised genre with literary awards dominated by scholarly critics, by the 1960s societal unfavorable judgment had labelled Blyton ‘s books as ‘middle category elitism ‘ ( Rudd 2009, p171 ) . However S & A ; A has been every bit criticised for this, with Hunt ( 2009 ) saying his success was preponderantly due to a deficiency of quality competition.

Ransome, as Blyton, gives an image of his cozy in-between England, narratives of kids unencumbered by parents, holding heroic but safe escapades, before they return to the safety of their household. Rudd defends Blyton ‘s portraiture of her stereotyped characters as a typical representation of writers at the clip. Seen rather compactly in S & A ; A, with its upper in-between category vacation escapades, complete with colonial mentions, the kids going the crew traveling ‘over a bare ocean sailed for the first clip by white mariners ‘ ( S & A ; A, p34 ) and strong stereotyped functions, female parent ‘without leave from dada ‘ ( p7 ) could non allow them travel entirely, correspondingly Susan and John mirror their female parent and male parent in housewife and autocratic. Ransome portrays the ‘natives ‘ , as untrusty types, and the occupant Blackett misss treat the police officer as an lower class, as his female parent was employed as their nurse. It is nevertheless as Rudd states merely with the coming of societal unfavorable judgment that both writers were recognised for their anti society values. Initially from 1920 to 1950 Enid Blyton was a respected and popular author and educationist ( Rudd, 2009 ) , their books merely reflected the historical societal outlooks of the times, themselves and their readers.

Similarly Rowling is besides criticised as neglecting kids, with unsafe conservative political orientation and including subliminal male chauvinist and racialist messages ( Watson, 2009 ) . She built on the success of Blyton and Ransome, in following the long standing British tradition of get oning schools and epic school kids, HP & A ; TPS every bit is representative of 1990 ‘s in-between category England. Small Whinging is described as ‘perfectly normal, thank you really much ‘ ( HP & A ; TPS, p1 ) , However, modernizing this construct Rowling ‘s description of the Dursleys is rather sarcastic in its portraiture of a white stereotyped unsavory household. This anti classist differentiation is besides shown in the wizarding universe, with her word picture of the flush, disdainful and objectionable Malfoy ‘You ‘ll shortly happen out that some wizarding households are much better than others ‘ ( p81 ) , Rowling ‘s attitude to racism in the wizarding universe refers to pure blood aces, and not wizarding muggles, depicted in Professor McGonagall ‘s unwilled comment of muggles ‘well they ‘re non wholly stupid ‘ ( p13 ) . Rowling ‘s true purpose was to highlight racism within a society, farther books show the rise of an about Nazi like civilization with the dictator Voldermort, nevertheless, this is non rightly evident until subsequent books.

Rowling besides, was ab initio favourably received by critics, it was merely as Harry Potter became popular that it was adversely and once more rather biasedly analyzed, as Zipes provinces ‘because the success of the Harry Potter novels is so great and reflects certain disturbing sociocultural tendencies we must seek to measure the phenomenon ‘ ( 2009, p290 ) .

To see why Blyton and Rowling were disparaged and S & A ; A remains a noteworthy quality book, we should possibly look more to the content. S & A ; A with its identifiable Lakeland scenery and factual maritime subjects give it an entreaty to adult audiences, despite its upper in-between category values, being in many ways more marked than Blyton, its pragmatism with inventive drama was more identifiable to the new strain of bibliothecs who so abruptly listed for awards ( Rudd 2009 ) , and whose childhood reading may good hold been Treasure Island ( 1883 ) ‘Captain Flint ‘ ( p120 ) , and Robinson Crusoe ( 1719 ) , ‘Man Friday ‘ ( p213 ) all strongly represented in S & A ; A, and seen as parent texts to this island fiction.

Rowling in her manner and construction in some ways could be viewed as a modern twenty-four hours Blyton, HP & A ; TPS was published at a clip of low literacy in schools, and ab initio enthused educationalists with its success in enticing male childs from playstations ( Watson p287 ) . As Blake ( 2009 ) suggests 1990s kids ‘s literature tended towards the politically right, and uncomfortable existent life issues seen with drug maltreatment in Junk ( 1996 ) , and although shortlisted for the Carnegie award, HP & A ; TPS lost out to Riverboy ( 1997 ) , a poetic novel on mourning. Rowling introduced an easy read book, taken to by grownups and kids for its escape and yet familiar safety of in-between England. Conditionss imputing good to its success, and besides its failure to affect the esteemed Judgess with its fictional un-politicaly correct subject non suiting into difficult hitting pragmatism that was the current tendency.

Criticised besides was Rowling ‘s simple vocabulary and formulaic secret plans, with similar disapproval aimed at Blyton and S & A ; A, Ransome ‘s merely overtly description is of maritime footings and he uses merely ‘direct and practical address ‘ ( Walls cited in Rudd, p172 ) . A differentiation of manner and construction as Rudd states is as that of the common people or fairy tale.

A fairytale defense mechanism that translates good into HP & A ; TPS character portraitures and interaction, with victim, bully, hero, helper etc, as in Vladimir Propp ‘s definition of fairytale characters ( citied in Rudd 2009 ) , Harry himself is a modern twenty-four hours “ Cinderella ” . True besides with S & A ; A, yet aware that award standards looks for good rounded characters that interact converting ( Maybin, 2009 ) , it is a symbol of his clip that his characters were rather unconvincing with their interaction, a universe where siblings obey each other and do non reason? , demoing possibly more childhood idealism by the grownup Judgess than a ballot for pragmatism.

Zipes ( 2009 ) condemns Rowling in her secret plans, ‘if you ‘ve read one, you ‘ve read them all ‘ ( p.293 ) once more an ascription of S & A ; A, you know that they will win through, returning the heroes, and miming the fairy tale genre, they get accomplishments, devices and gifts they will necessitate subsequently. Rudd points out that Blyton had in fact achieved six of Christopher Brookers The Seven Basic Plots ( 2005 ) , true in its defense mechanism of Ransome, equal in his no blood, or horror stance, yet Rowling takes it into the modern twenty-four hours embracing the tragic component in HP & A ; TPS. Despite all the unfavorable judgment of manner and secret plans, it is exactly this that gives the books their popularity, they give safety in acquaintance.

Zipes besides claims that ‘phenomena such as the Harry Potter books are driven by trade good ingestion that at the same clip sets the parametric quantities of reading and aesthetic gustatory sensation ‘ ( p.290 ) . So stating that it is the influence of the mass media that dictates popularity, non the alone value that a book has to offer. In a instead derogatory tone, those that choose Harry Potter and Enid Blyton, over a more esteemed novel, seem so to be deemed as rather low forehead. As Fisher quoted in Rudd would depict Blyton ‘s books as ‘slow toxicant ‘ ‘leading readers to life of Revelle and strip sketchs ‘ ( Forests, citied in Rudd, p.169 ) . A quotation mark disputed by Rudd in defense mechanism as he points out, many readers of Blyton ‘s ‘poison ‘ have now matured into successful grownups, some to go English literature critics themselves, or authors ( Fraser, cited in Rudd 2009 ) , such as J.K. Rowling, as Blake ( 2009 ) attributes HP & A ; TPS to Blytons Famous Five without Blyton we may ne’er hold seen Harry Potter. We could possibly so see prestige as another word for ‘literary snobbism ‘ as we have found, the prestigiousness conferred on S & A ; A seems unjust in relation to its so similarity in quandary to both Blyton and HP & A ; TPS. The Esteemed and the Popular do look seldom if of all time able to blend, and are reliant on the penchant of judging grownups.

Eighteenth century kids ‘s literature, was dedicated chiefly to its diadaic and spiritual content, it was seen as a agency of learning the kid to be obedient and developing them to be grownups. It is merely every bit childhood throughout the centuries has become recognised and valued that the construct of kids ‘s literature has become clearer. For illustration as Tucker.N ( 2009 ) , states the standards for judging a Childs book depends on the position of childhood, if this is a clip of autonomy, merriment and amusement, so the book should reflect this and be judged extremely on its amusement value, nevertheless if seen simply as a preparation for maturity, so it will be criticised for its deficiency of pragmatism. With this in head it can be seen why, S & A ; A was valued by its Judgess, and HP & A ; TPS failed to affect.

However is debated as to whether we still view and judge kids ‘s literature in footings of its entreaty to grownups, in both its topic affair and literature regard and non in its popularity to its intended audience. HP & A ; TPS and Blyton have both won awards voted by their readers severally such as Nestle Smarties Book Prize 1997 Gold Medal 9-11 old ages, and the 2008 Costa Book Awards, favored writer. Tucker.M ( 2009 ) has us believe a esteemed book must be written partially for grownups to win, in that regard S & A ; A meets this standards, and has so ever been viewed partially as a book for grownups ( Hunt 2009 ) , unluckily for Rowling this still appears to be the gate maintaining grownups of prestigiousness, non her battalion of ‘regressive and philistine ‘ ( Maybin, 2009, p189 ) grownup fans.

As Rudd says, it is gate maintaining grownups who determine a good book, Eleanor Graham, first editor of puffin says, ‘mother ‘s auntsaˆ¦ came in with merely the haziest thoughts of what to take – but it ever had to be a ‘good ‘ book ‘ ( cited in Tucker.N, 2009, p150 ) , indicated most likely by its literary awards. Traditionally choice Judgess have been drawn from the gate maintaining community, Carnegie for illustration was judged by kids ‘s bibliothecs originally seen as chiefly white middleclass adult females ( Kidd, 2009 ) . However we are now traveling off from traditional literary rating systems, to listening to immature Judgess, and turning to the popular ballot ( Squires, 2009 ) . In 1996 Carnegie initiated a shadowing strategy of immature Judgess, possibly we are seeing the terminal of domination by the grownup learned sector, or literary snobbism, but we are still protected from ‘bad ‘ literature, Carnegie librarians still take the books and the kids who judge them. This possibly in a belief that Zipes is right in that we can value quality merely with selling, or adversely, so we are certain to be merely subjected to books that are conventional, grave, worthy and safe ‘ ( Salway, E300, p182 )

As Dickinson ( citied in Maybin, 2009 ) provinces, kids should be allowed to detect texts for themselves, ‘and what adults ab initio dismiss as sub-standard may turn out non to be rubbish after all ‘ ( p199 ) .