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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: July ::
Classical Comics
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0445  Wednesday, 4 July 2007

[1] 	From: 	Mark Bruce <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 03 Jul 2007 11:18:37 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0432 Classical Comics

[2] 	From: 	John E. Perry <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 03 Jul 2007 13:26:27 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0432 Classical Comics

[3] 	From: 	John V. Knapp <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 3 Jul 2007 15:11:08 -0500 (CDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0432 Classical Comics


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Mark Bruce <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 03 Jul 2007 11:18:37 -0500
Subject: 18.0432 Classical Comics
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0432 Classical Comics

Hello All:

Just to chime in on this topic:

Certainly comics vary widely in quality, but for anyone who has doubts 
about the _potential_ of the graphic novel as a medium for fine literary 
and visual art, allow me to recommend Art Spiegelman's _Maus_ (vols 1 
and 2). It was without doubt the piece that convinced me of the 
viability of and possibilities within the genre. I've used it in 
introductory literature courses to very good effect.

Now if we could only convince Spiegelman to do _Merchant of Venice_...

Best,
Mark Bruce
Bethel University, St. Paul, MN

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John E. Perry <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 03 Jul 2007 13:26:27 -0400
Subject: 18.0432 Classical Comics
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0432 Classical Comics

 >John V. Knapp <
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 >
 >
 >>>>...No matter the so-called literary content of comic
 >>>>books, they are still entertainments, cool-aid instead of vin du
 >>>>pays for those whose interest in prose or poetry doesn't go much
 >>>>further than dialog bubbles of four to 8 words per bubble.  All of
 >>>>this attention to dialog bubbles would be merely a guilty pleasure
 >>>>for some IF it were not for the fact that the MLA is now
 >>>>(apparently) paying serious attention to this material and- what
 >>>>really is disturbing-that some university literature departments
 >>>>are increasingly substituting one or two graphic novels for real
 >>>>novels or dramas.

Well, I grew up as a bookworm in a home with no presence at all of any 
of the classics except Classics Illustrated (a comic book) and Lamb's 
Tales from Shakespeare.  When I got to high school and was required to 
study Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet, I recognized them with 
pleasure, while classmates were moaning about this hard, boring stuff 
that no one could understand.

While I now have little patience with either Lamb or Classical Comics 
(yes, I downloaded and read the samples), I will not participate in the 
sneering-I honor both as my introduction to the whole world of Literature.

Are the guilty(?) departments substituting or supplementing comics with 
the real thing?  I can certainly support supplementing, given the 
shameful state of present-day education.

John Perry

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John V. Knapp <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 3 Jul 2007 15:11:08 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 18.0432 Classical Comics
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0432 Classical Comics

Larry, John, Mari, Jeremy, Dan, Nancy --

Ouch!  I understand your arguments and to a point, can see their 
validity.  However, as someone who (he hopes) helps educate graduate 
students in LITERATURE, I find that none of your arguments hits the 
central point I tried to make.  With only so many hours in the day, 
every one a student spends "reading" (or viewing) a comic 
book-sanctioned now by the MLA and people thinking as you apparently 
do-whatever its own merits as a separate medium might be, is an hour 
taken away from reading (or viewing) AND understanding, for example, 
Shakespeare.  We have a difficult enough time as it is socializing our 
graduate students into developing expertise in literary studies;  spend 
CLASS time (my major point) on comic books and the teacher/professor 
loses time on teaching more difficult matter requiring considerable 
literary craft and dedicated attention.

You all now HAVE the discipline or expertise, crafted after years of 
labor (I assume).  Hence, if you want to indulge in a guilty pleasure, 
go for it; I enjoy some of the *Star Trek* episodes, for example.  But 
don't waste a novice literary scholar/critics' relatively smallish 
amount of time by detouring to a comic book when he/she should be 
focused on Hamlet or Dostoyevski or Joyce's *Ulysses.* Most of you have 
had 10 to 30 YEARS developing your EXPERTISE after graduate school; your 
graduate student may have, at most, 60 to 72 MONTHS to develop his/hers 
well enough just to join your ranks. If a student wants to relax w/a 
comic book, or a Jack Daniels, or even a soap opera at the end of a hard 
day in class, that's his/her choice.  But for heaven's sake, don't bring 
in a comic book, or a bottle, or a video of a soap into class and call 
that literary education!!

BTW, I HAVE read Gaiman, etc., and find them interesting.  However, 
viewing *Maus I* will do little for my understanding of how to LEARN how 
to read, for example, Kafka.

John V. Knapp
Professor, Dept. of English;
Northern Illinois University

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