Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Literary Kinds

Syndicate content
Anne Dalke's picture
aseidman's picture

Parodies and Satires

Our group idea for a syllabus was that we should consider the genre of parody/satire. One can find parodies of multiple genres in multiple genres. There are parodies of mystery novels, parodies of science fiction, etcetera. There are movies which parody other movies, movies which parody books, and books which parody movies.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of "parody" is as follows:

spleenfiend's picture


I am posting in support of some of the specific examples and ideas that were brought up in class.  I REALLY want to read things I haven't read before, so I don't have suggestions of my own, but some of the suggestions I heard sounded cool to me.  My favorite idea was the "international villains" concept, but I also liked the detective ideas.  I would be interested in reading the following:

original Sherlock Holmes + modern adaptations and detective stories of various mediums


Neil Gaiman graphic novels

Molly's picture


teal, ShaynaS, and I discussed the syllabus for the rest of the semester yesterday, and the topic we agreed would be most interesting to explore for the next six weeks is villainy.  Our plan is to stick with one genre-tragedy- and look at how villainy is portrayed through three different mediums.  The mediums we had in mind were a graphic novel (Persepolis was an idea), a play (we could do two plays depending on the length of each one), and a novel.   This would enable us to explore the genre of tragedy, learn about the three different mediums, and also look at the portrayal of villainy and how it varies.

Herbie's picture

Class Summary: 3/2/10

Class opened with a discussion about how we felt our papers and the public comments Anne left for us.  When asked, Anne admitted that it was a different commenting style for her because she wasn't changing the grammar and style of every single sentence.  Instead, she spent more time on the ideas presented in the papers.  Though the class was largely silent, those who did speak up seemed to prefer the online comments to handwritten comments.  However, there was some dissent from students seeking more assistance with improving their writing, not just their ability to make an argument.

Herbie's picture

Group Discussion: Mysteries

Our group suggested that we study mysteries through different literary kinds, including a traditional novel, either a graphic novel or work of fan fiction, and then a movie.

For some specific suggestions, we thought we could read one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, followed by another Sherlock Holmes story this time written by someone else, and then finally a Sherlock Holmes movie.  There are several options within each of those literary categories, which would hopefully prevent any of us from having to read something we've read in previous classes.

Additionally, it would give us an opportunity to discuss what jrf put forth in her proposal for the rest of the semester.

nk0825's picture

Overwhelmed By All of Our Options

 Like TPB1988, I too think it is a smart idea to include a classic novel, a graphic novel, and a movie. I really believe that having these three distinct modes will allow us to compare and contrast what aspects actually categorize and distinguish differences between the types when dealing with the same theme or idea. Personally, I am interested in following the development of a mystery. I think the usage of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is a wonderful example for us to study because it allows us to trace the concept's evolution from classic novel to graphic novel to movie form. Since in our discussion of blogs we focused on what categorizes things, what differences shape distinctions between categories, it is an easy shift from first half to second half of the semester.

TPB1988's picture

I am all for the villainy!

Normal 0

nk0825's picture

Time Influencing Identity Through Various Literary Kinds

 Our group's intent was to incorporate a variety of literary kinds in order to satisfy the different interests expressed through other students's online posts. It was obvious that many other groups also wanted to achieve the same thing. The proposal we came up with questioned how time travel gets handled in different forms and how this travel influences the identity of main characters. We were also curious in exploring other questions: how technological and platform changes affect the same topic (time and travel), how the placement of a reader in time effects the novel, continuing questions of platform vs. genre, and how does one's identity change with time. 

spleenfiend's picture

group thoughts - Rachel R, mkarol, spleenfiend

We first discussed maybe connecting novels with graphic novels but then moved on to the idea of "themes of identity" because we thought it would easily address everyone's needs if we explored different mediums.  We could spend 1-2 week(s) on each thing depending on length of the work.  The only problem would be that it might be hard for people (or at least our group) who don't know much about graphic novels to know which ones would fit into a theme, so we thought our class could pick works, maybe?

skindeep's picture

moving on

reading through everyones posts, it occured to me that everyone seems to be primarily concerned with what medium we should be using for the second half of the semster. while this is important, i think we shouldnt forget about what it is we're trying to explore

talking about blogs has brought up a lot of different questions in class, questions related to identity - who do you create an ientity for? when does this change? does it change?

the idea of building oneself id also an important one - do we have hard wiring or are we told that we do? how much does this affect our lives? how do we build ourselves and what do we use as a base?

Molly's picture

Taking the long way

 Okay guys, I hope no one hates me for this, but I would really love to go the route of the long novels (Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, and Uncle Tom's Cabin) that was proposed in class, spending roughly two weeks on each book (maybe a little bit more time for Moby Dick and a little less for The Scarlet Letter, just because of the respective lengths of each book).  I just think that we've spent enough time with blogs and the Internet.  This is the first English class I've taken that spent an extensive amount of time dealing with contemporary readings on the Internet, and although I have enjoyed that, I'm ready to go back to books.

sweetp's picture

stick with the internet!

 As many others have said, I'd like to stick with this exploration of the new(ish) medium that is the internet.  Looking at different genres on this platform is fascinating to me, and I propose that the next genre we tackle is the database.  The Walt Whitman archive we read about is an idea... I think the study of this genre  and this medium would be beneficial in that it would show everyone new things that are being formed in the world.  Enough of this old stuff!  I have loved this class and the opportunity it has given me to investigate new and developing ways of publishing texts, and while I do love novels, I'm sure we all have had plenty of exposure to them in previous English classes.

aseidman's picture

Storytelling through Serials - How and Why?


I think it would be an interesting idea for us to study serial fiction as a genre.

mkarol's picture

oh, the possibilities

 I agree with TPB1988's opinion that "it would be a shame to return to the routine of a stereotypical English class." I've definitely enjoyed the uncharacteristically light reading requirements for the class thus far, but I'm pretty sure that most of us weren't given the opportunity in high schools or in other more "focused" literature classes to really study and analyze how the internet is quickly becoming a server for academic work, information, and just the formation of communities in general via blogging. A few months ago I met and chatted over coffee with a former editor for a publishing firm, and he warned me that print medium is taking a backseat to the media and technology.

nk0825's picture

Taking Advantage of Novel Alternatives

While I love to read classic novels that are normally studied in English classes I believe that our Literary Kinds class is special. This class has provided me with an opportunity to re-evaluate what a "genre" can be, and to be honest I think this will be one of the few English classes that doesn't mandate reading actual books. I think that we should take advantage of the opporunity to study different variations of text because we may never get a chance to do so again. 

Anne Dalke's picture

After fan fiction

jrf's picture

internal inconsistencies

Earlier in the semester, we read some theory on how the Walt Whitman Archive destroys the concept of a single narrative of Whitman's life, or a definitive version of any of his works. I'm interested in exploring works where this impossibility is evident even within a single version of a text. For example, the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories never seem to settle on a single interpretation of Holmes's character (or a single location for Watson's war wound); likewise, the original Dracula novel has very little internal consistency regarding details of vampire lore (or of the plot).

Herbie's picture

Fanfiction as an "Emerging" Genre

For the second half of the semester, I think it would be really interesting to look at fan fiction as an "emerging" genre.  I use the quotation marks because Professor Taylor once had us read a work for class that was a continuation of Chaucer's notoriously-unfinished Canterbury Tales, and doesn't that count as a work of fan fiction?  There are also additional Sherlock Holmes mysteries, suspiciously not written by Sir Conan Doyle and Pride

rachelr's picture

Playing off of identity...

 I would really like to read actual books for the second half of the semester, and I am thinking that we could play off of the idea of identity. The Internet and blogs can both over display identity or keep one completely hidden; some people use it as a way to find themselves. And this identity can be found in many different was and for many different reasons. Some of my book suggestions are The Scarlet Letter, The Sound and the Fury, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Book of Salt, Invisible Man, The Lacuna, The Merchant of Venice, Bone (by Fae Myenne Ng), The Elegant Hedgehog… obviously we couldn't read all of these, but they're just a few ideas to choose from.

aybala50's picture


 OK, I've put some real thought into this and though it sounds nice to read more modern texts, I don't think I'm finished with the old quite yet. I know it might sound bizarre, but I've, for the most part, really enjoyed the books I read in high school. I like the suggestions of reading the Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick (not because Anne likes it, but because it is such an important book and I've never read it), maybe Charles Dickens, or Georgette Heyer! I want to read actual books, nothing online and I want to read great novels from the past. Can someone be on my side?