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    (Original post by T kay)
    I understand that 19th century novels are hard to read, there very wordy
    I think that's an overgeneralisation. Some 19th century novels are very wordy, but so are some modern novels. Many Victorian novels aren't particularly wordy, even if their style seems odd at first.
    (Original post by diamonddust)
    I don't really enjoy modern 'literature' because I feel it just lacks depth. I don't know how, but it's just more satisfying settling down and reading Jane Eyre or Jude the Obscure than it is reading Harry Potter.
    You sound as if you're equating modern literature to Harry Potter. While I'm not a big fan of modern literature, there are plenty of books with depth if you don't just look at the ones that are top of the lists of bestsellers.
    (Original post by ish90an)
    Anyone who's over 12 and thinks Harry Potter is a great book is "special"(and I dont mean that in a good way).
    Yay! I'm special. While I wouldn't suggest that it's great literature, that doesn't mean that it can't be very enjoyable for many people. Harry Potter is cliched and lacks depth, but that doesn't mean that it can't be good. There's no point judging a fantasy book aimed at children in the same way that you'd judge serious literature aimed at adults (unless it's something like the Alice books by Carroll of course).
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    I know that I am younger than the A level student that you are talking about but read as often as I can and like a lot of people on TSR, I enjoy the classics and some modern books too. However, I would like to read more but I don't have the time. Sadly, I doubt this is the case for most who choose not to read
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    Maybe a little of track here, but do you think A-Level Literature could be putting boys off reading? Jane Austen and the Bronte novels are hardly centred towards a young male audience, and yet are often made compulsory reading as part of the alevel.

    I wouldn't necessarily say texts would have to be modern and action packed, but surely there are more suitable traditional novels to use for the target audience (teenagers).
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    (Original post by oriel historian)
    Well, let's be fair you're not comparing like for like. Charles Dickens sold his 'novels' to magazines and it was in his interest to produce large-scale things that would keep him employed for a year or more. As my English teacher put it, Dickens is akin to the Victorian version of EastEnders.

    In saying people don't read the 800 page blocks like Bleak House we need to consider the original purpose of the novels and in many cases this lies (especially pre-20th century ones) in the fact that they started life as magazine serials.
    I think that comparing a writer who (in the case of Bleak House) wrote to push social reform in favour of the poor and disadvantaged to a soap opera simply because the novels were serialised is rather strange, if that's what she meant, your post was slightly vague lol

    Are you saying that both Sophie Kinsella and Dickens mass produced literature? If so then yes that's true, but then you have to compare the mastery of language, intricacy of characterisation and complexity of plot which separate them etc..
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    Gosh, that's a bit worrying really, but I'm not sure how schools can help. The trouble with reading longer books in class is obviously they take longer to read, and it's more beneficial to know a few shorter books for the exams than a longer one. Plus, while I love older literature in my own time, I don't think I could bear to hear my English teacher read anything more lengthy than Educating Rita.
    The part in the article that most interested me, however, was the criticism of schools placing too much emphasis on Nazi Germany in history. I took History this year and I'm starting to get sick of the flipping subject, I can totally relate. Sure, it's the sort of thing we should be taught, but one year is really enough! This will be my second time on it and if I do Advanced Higher, guess what we'll be studying again?
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    (Original post by Piano Thing)

    I found similar things in my English Literature class, in that many people didn't read the books in their entirety. Some of us had studied Tess of the D'Urbervilles for both GCSE and A2, and one girl even boasted that she had not finished the book either time.
    If you don't like the book why would or should you? I didn't read past what we read in class of Jane Eyre (GCSE) as it was deathly boring, A Streetcar Named Desire (A2), and only read 7 pages of the God Of Small Things (AS). Some of the classes I'd sit and read other books that I actually wanted to read. I suppose I should have read Streetcar in hindsight, as it meant I never did that coursework, but not reading the other two didn't affect my grades.
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    (Original post by ish90an)
    I find it sad that so many of my mates dont even bother to read good stuff in their spare time. I guess the whole problem lies with poor writers getting too much hype and the good ones live in relative obscurity. Anyone who's over 12 and thinks Harry Potter is a great book is "special"(and I dont mean that in a good way). As far as classical(pre-21st century) writing goes, Jane Austen is pretty simple to read and understand. I find myself taking the same amount of time to read 200 pages from both "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and "The Mayor of Casterbridge".
    This sort of attitude really, really grates on me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adults enjoying reading books written for children, whether that's all they're into or whether, like me, they simply intersperse a heavier reading programme with kids' books.

    Whether you like it or not, there are millions of people, myself included, who have really enjoyed books such as the Harry Potter series, and I'm sure I can't be the only one who loves classical literature as well... so I'm not really sure why this assumption exists that enjoyment of those two sectors of literature is mutually exclusive. And why do you assume that a person who enjoys a particular novel rates it as "great" literature, rather than just appreciating it for what it is? You're talking about two utterly different genres, and they should be treated as such - they're just not comparable.
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    Because only you can provide the solution in building up your own reading stamina.

    Hopefully the Government will start ensuring that children aren't raised on extracts and actually finish books.
    Wow, what a cop out answer. You could be a politician.

    I know what the key is, read books I enjoy. Fiction just turns me off. Give me a book full of physics and I'll devour it.
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    (Original post by RJ555)
    Maybe a little of track here, but do you think A-Level Literature could be putting boys off reading? Jane Austen and the Bronte novels are hardly centred towards a young male audience, and yet are often made compulsory reading as part of the alevel.

    I wouldn't necessarily say texts would have to be modern and action packed, but surely there are more suitable traditional novels to use for the target audience (teenagers).
    That could be true but I'd say that you can still appreciate good writing even if it is for a female audience.
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    (Original post by RJ555)
    Maybe a little of track here, but do you think A-Level Literature could be putting boys off reading? Jane Austen and the Bronte novels are hardly centred towards a young male audience, and yet are often made compulsory reading as part of the alevel.

    I wouldn't necessarily say texts would have to be modern and action packed, but surely there are more suitable traditional novels to use for the target audience (teenagers).
    I think it depends on the school, in my group we only had one male and yet for A2 we studied exclusively male First World War poets and then 'The Winter's Tale' which is fairly androgynous lol
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    (Original post by harr)
    I think that's an overgeneralisation. Some 19th century novels are very wordy, but so are some modern novels. Many Victorian novels aren't particularly wordy, even if their style seems odd at first.
    You sound as if you're equating modern literature to Harry Potter. While I'm not a big fan of modern literature, there are plenty of books with depth if you don't just look at the ones that are top of the lists of bestsellers.
    Yay! I'm special. While I wouldn't suggest that it's great literature, that doesn't mean that it can't be very enjoyable for many people. Harry Potter is cliched and lacks depth, but that doesn't mean that it can't be good. There's no point judging a fantasy book aimed at children in the same way that you'd judge serious literature aimed at adults (unless it's something like the Alice books by Carroll of course).
    That's true. Maybe it's just the books I read! :p:
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    (Original post by steelmole)
    Wow, what a cop out answer. You could be a politician.

    I know what the key is, read books I enjoy. Fiction just turns me off. Give me a book full of physics and I'll devour it.
    A cop out answer because it involved you getting off your a**?

    Thought so.
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    Slightly off topic though but I disagree with article saying that more people should do languages. It's tediously slow enough as it is, without more people who don't even want to do it.
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    I think that comparing a writer who (in the case of Bleak House) wrote to push social reform in favour of the poor and disadvantaged to a soap opera simply because the novels were serialised is rather strange, if that's what she meant, your post was slightly vague lol
    Oh dear me, what a romanticised view of Dickens! His journalism is much more fundamental in his attacks on the workhouse system but he never wrote about a genuinely working class character and his plots almost always run to the poor person made good type thing. Have you read Orwell's review of Dickens per chance? It provides a useful tonic to that romanticised schoolboy vision of Dickens and his 'role' in Victorian social criticism. By any stretch Thomas Hardy was more important in that regard.
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    (Original post by Doublereedfreak)
    Slightly off topic though but I disagree with article saying that more people should do languages. It's tediously slow enough as it is, without more people who don't even want to do it.
    Yes I'm kind of on the fence, we are kind of in a 'crisis' with modern languages but I just don't think that forcing people is the way.
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    (Original post by *pitseleh*)
    This sort of attitude really, really grates on me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adults enjoying reading books written for children, whether that's all they're into or whether, like me, they simply intersperse a heavier reading programme with kids' books.

    Whether you like it or not, there are millions of people, myself included, who have really enjoyed books such as the Harry Potter series, and I'm sure I can't be the only one who loves classical literature as well... so I'm not really sure why this assumption exists that enjoyment of those two sectors of literature is mutually exclusive. You're talking about two utterly different genres, and they should be treated as such - they're just not comparable.
    Hear Hear! I, an adult male no less, thoroughly enjoy reading the "Magic Faraway Tree" series and have read it a fair few times.

    As to the problem originally posted. Definately, I was the only person in my A lvl English Literature class to be familar not just with a wide range of genres and pre 20th century novels, but the backbone of English Literature itself: Things like Milton and Mallory and the like, or to have a decent knowledge of English poetry in general. I was only one of three people to have read more than what was barely necessary of Shakespeare.

    It was ridiculous.
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    A cop out answer because it involved you getting off your a**?

    Thought so.
    Oh, a nice bit of trolling, straight to the point.

    In fact, thinking back to my primary school days that's one thing that really turned me off reading, the fact teachers would constantly try to get me to read story books instead of anything I wanted to read. I was pretty late in learning to read properly, and I think this was part of it.

    It seems to me if people don't want to chug through novels then there's not a whole lot you can do about it.
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    Yes I'm kind of on the fence, we are kind of in a 'crisis' with modern languages but I just don't think that forcing people is the way.
    I know languages are of up-most importance, but my German lessons are boring slow enough as it is to be honest. Maybe they should make offering different, 'cooler' languages more available?
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    (Original post by oriel historian)
    Oh dear me, what a romanticised view of Dickens! His journalism is much more fundamental in his attacks on the workhouse system but he never wrote about a genuinely working class character and his plots almost always run to the poor person made good type thing. Have you read Orwell's review of Dickens per chance? It provides a useful tonic to that romanticised schoolboy vision of Dickens and his 'role' in Victorian social criticism. By any stretch Thomas Hardy was more important in that regard.
    Thomas Hardy may be more important, but that's irrelevent in a conversation on Dickens and his novels.

    Dicken's launched some of his most scathing attacks on the industrialist elite in novels such as 'Bleak House' and 'Hard Times' through characters such as Laurence Boythorn. Ever read 'Great Expectations'? Aware of Joe Gargery, the thoroughly pure of heart, decent and kind (and utterly working class) character, alongside Biddy the female equivalent. Remember Pip learning to shun the life of the London rich for the honest values of the working family? Obviously not..
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    (Original post by steelmole)
    Oh, a nice bit of trolling, straight to the point.

    In fact, thinking back to my primary school days that's one thing that really turned me off reading, the fact teachers would constantly try to get me to read story books instead of anything I wanted to read. I was pretty late in learning to read properly, and I think this was part of it.

    It seems to me if people don't want to chug through novels then there's not a whole lot you can do about it.
    You read what you want to in your spare time, but I think that a big part of the decline in the popularity of the novel is because people don't have the concentration spans to read a reasonably sized book. If you had an unfortunate experience then fair enough, but sometimes in life (such as in Eng Lit A-Level) you may be asked to read books you wouldn't normally pick yourself and not being bothered because it's too long is no excuse.

    The problem lies with these people then going on to top Universities to do Lit etc...
 
 
 
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