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new genre proposal: editable

rmeyers's picture

I am posting this first-draft/notes for my proposal on the blog, because I can edit here. I wanted to get some ideas down fresh, and this way I am not wasting a post for smaller notes. I will add to this/link to it when the proposal is due (and this way you can all see how these ideas progressed --the point of our blog, right?).

Draft 2: (Draft 1 and Notes below in true blog style)

I would like to propose a look at the historical 'growth' of genres. Looking at some different, widely accepted 'genres' and their changes over time. With six weeks, a look at three different 'genres,' giving two weeks to each would be proposed, although of course this is not strict. We would be asking the questions of what changed? What grew, what remained the same? Are these two even the same genre? and whatever other inquiries come to mind. Would we read academic criticism?

Some 'imaginative test cases': a) comic books. For example, looking at the original Iron Man or some other 'hero' centered comic and then Watchmen or 1602 (your traditional Marvel heroes appear decades before their 'times'). b) movies. Look at either the Western or Noir movies, classics and then modern (often darker) examples of these genres. For film-noir we could look at The Big Sleep and then L.A. Confidential, a neo-noir. c) gothic romance. For example look at the break-away novel by Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, and the Mysteries of Udolpho (which is mentioned/made fun of in Northanger Abbey). d) science fiction. We could look at some of beginning pulp classics (some research would be required to find out exactly what to read for that) and then some later classic pieces by Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Heinlein, or others. (Short stories, mostly.)

I would rather not look at databases/archives or other mainly-internet-based genres (they seem too closely related to blogs, and I am looking forward to something that can take us in new directions).

Notes/Draft 1:

-science fiction: I like this idea, although I have no idea what we would read for it. Arthur C. Clarke? Philip K. Dick? Both are pretty literary. I guess the problem with this would be classmates who really can't stand science fiction (for whatever reason --although if it is the technology, neither of the two authors I listed above put technology first --most sci-fi is far more about what it means to be human). Maybe not just reading? A week or two on sci-fi novels/short stories, and then a week or two on sci-fi movies (look, for example at the many available versions of The Day the Earth Stood Still) and then a week or two on comics (changes over time)? The history of science fiction is especially interesting, given how 'new' it is, how different today the general "genre" is seen from just forty years ago. (The number of famous Cold War/WWII scientists who were inspired to do their research by 1920s/30s sci-fi movies as they were growing up is rather astonishing.)

-A look at how the genre of comics turned/changed/grew (??) into graphic novels: The question would, I guess, be about this change/the differences between them/if the change ever really occurred? An example would be looking at some older (1940s/50s) comic books (Iron Man, etc. --the first versions) and then at Watchmen to see how the 'hero' idea changes (or even do this for Batman comics, the emotional progression through time).

-Satire and parody: take works that have been parodied, look at originals and then parodies. Examples??

-Growth of genres: look at two or three genres and their growth over time. For example: Reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and The Mysteries of Udolpho, a novel that the main character is obsessed with. Watching a noir movie like The Maltese Falcon and then a modern neo-noir (same can be done with many Westerns, the new idea of 'hero' etc.). Two or three weeks spent on reading some theory and then watching/reading the works themselves (or vise-versa), depending on the number of genre/growths we can come up with.