Sadly, EW doesn't share the love; or, rather, some of it's writers don't.
From the review of the Beowulf DVD, written by Ken Tucker:
"Zemeckis says in a making-of that this film has 'nothing to do with the Beowulf you were forced to read in junior high - it's all about eating, drinking, killing, and fornicating.' To which I can only respond, Oh, you poor, deluded baby boomer: Bob, do you think young people in 2008 have an Old English epic poem on the syllabus? American literacy is lucky if junior high schoolers get a stray Hemingway short story into their diet of crappy young-adult novels."
Wow. What, does Tucker get paid for how many groups he can insult at one time?
Excuse me. I'm going back to reading some young-adult novels.
Also known as A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy. Or just Tea Cozy. Talking about books, TV shows, movies.
Friday, February 22, 2008
But I love you, EW!
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I read Beowulf in college, and I am a baby boomer. I would be suprised to see it on a junior high syllabus and not because I think junior high students are busy reading crappy YA novels. Depending on the version you're reading, it can be demanding. I also think it's rather an adult story, even without Grendel's mom seducing everyone in sight.
I've been trying to remember whether I read Beowulf in college or high school; either way, not Jr. High.
One of the reason this sentence is so fabulous is that there is just so much going on. Beowulf, in junior high, is one of them.
America literacy doesn't seem well served by force-feeding Hemingway on a bunch of unsuspecting kids.
In Middle School I was forced to read "Tom Sawyer Abroad" by Mark Twain and I have never recovered. Heningway, taken at that age, might have done me in completely.
I read Beowulf in college -- but I was an English major, and it was a choice. I think there should be some challenges you can choose, and others that are brought to you to meet and conquer. Some YA novels? Are challenging. If a kid meets a challenge and succeeds, won't that make him or her more willing to push further? YA novels have their place within classrooms and so does Beowulf; everything in its time.
Having said that maturely and with great constraint, that comment about 'crappy YA novels' DOES make me want to give the writer a right swift smack upside the head.
I read selections from ye olde Beowulf in 10th grade. Our teacher summarized the bits in between the bits we had to read.
And... I recall it being a really long poem about eating, drinking, killing, and fornicating.
I read that and had the same reaction, Liz. It's hard to take someone who would write that very seriously.
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