Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Doomsday Literature

Bugzita here. Nomi was kind enough to invite me on her blog team. Thanks! I'll try to behave myself, but...

Okay, so I admit it. I love Doomsday Literature and have this fantasy of teaching an entire semester studying the Literature of Doom.

In my Intro course, I already teach Fail-Safe (fiction) and Hiroshima (non-fiction), but I crave to inflict more doom on innocent Freshmen...

As some of you may know, I'm the admin of a war site--not a very girly girl endeavor, but I have always been fascinated (and repelled) by war; it's more of an obsession than a fascination--more like if I try to understand why people insist in engaging in an act that dooms some of the young people in a population that maybe I can somehow stop it.

That's naive, of course, but I keep that possibility in the back of my head.

Would I perpetuate irreparable harm by forcing young people to read literature in which the ending almost always results in a tragic outcome for the human race? My students often moan and groan when they see Hiroshima on the syllabus, but after they have read it, many of them are shocked that the U.S. perpetuated such an act on a civilian population and appreciate why I have asked them to read this book. If they manage to complete the book, they leave the class slightly different people, perhaps a bit more aware, or maybe they just resent me...

Some have written about Hirsohima on my student blog

Other possible texts:

On the Beach, by Nevil Shute

When Worlds Collide, by Edwin Balmer and Phillip Gordon Wylie

The Bible

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells

The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham

The Machine Stops, by E.M. Forster

What do you think? Could the professor and students make it through the semester without having to go into major therapy?

Oh, one more thing: just because I like the title, one more work: "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the TickTockMan, by Harlan Ellison.

I love great titles!

Best to all,


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