Tag Archives: literature

Genres of Literature – Grotesque


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The Grotesque is often linked with satire and tragicomedy, in which the author conveys grief and pain to the audience. The term was first used to denote a literary genre with Montaigne’s Essays. Many of the earliest written texts described grotesque happenings and monstrous creatures within mythology, which was of course a rich source of monsters. Examples, such as the one-eyed Cyclops from Hesiod’s Theogony or Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where we find grotesque transformations and hybrid creatures of myth. 

This genre was a departure from the classical models of order, reason, harmony, balance and form, opening up an entry into grotesque worlds. British literature abounds with native grotesquerie, from the strange worlds of Spenser’s allegory in The Faerie Queene, to the tragi-comic modes of 16th-century drama. 

Occasionally, literary works of mixed genre are termed grotesque, such as “low” or non-literary genres such as pantomime and farce. Gothic writings often have grotesque components such as character, style and location while other describe the environment as grotesque. Examples being urban (Charles Dickens), or American south literature,  termed as “Southern Gothic”. Other grotesque uses have been social and cultural formations, such as the carnival(-esque) in François Rabelais and Mikhail Bakhtin. Or in satirical writings of the 18th century, such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Thereby fictional characters are considered grotesque if they induce both empathy and disgust by way of physically deformity or mental deficiency, but also if the character has cringe-worthy social traits. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the figure of Caliban inspired more nuanced reactions than simple scorn and disgust. Also, in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the character of Gollum may be considered to have both disgusting and empathetic qualities, which fit him into the grotesque template.

One of the most celebrated grotesques in literature is Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and of course Dr. Frankenstein’s monster can also be considered a grotesque, although he is presented more sympathetically as the outsider who is the victim of society’s alienation as they describe him as  ‘the creature.’

There are also examples of grotesque literature during the nineteenth-century, however the grotesque body was displaced by the notion of congenital deformity or medical anomaly.  And more in terms of deformity and disability, especially after the First World War, 1914-18. The growth of prosthetic’s created themes of half-mechanical men and became an important theme in dadaist work.

You may be surprise to know that Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is deemed grotesque literature due to the many fantastic grotesque figures she meets. However, Carroll managed to make the figures seem less frightful and fit for children’s literature.

Were any of these surprising to you?

Have you written grotesque fiction?

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Genres of Literature – Graphic Novels


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The definition of a graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. However, the term is not strictly defined, though Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition is “a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book”, while its simplest definition is given as “cartoon drawings that tell a story and are published as a book”

Obviously, some will say these are not ‘novels’ in the traditional sense at all. One such author, Alan Moore believed: “It’s a marketing term…that I never had any sympathy with. The term ‘comic’ does just as well for me…The problem is that ‘graphic novel’ just came to mean ‘expensive comic book’ and so what you’d get is people like DC Comics or Marvel Comics – because ‘graphic novels’ were getting some attention, they’d stick six issues under a glossy cover and called it graphic novel under the action hero’s name.

However, the term ‘graphic novel’ is broadly applied to include non-fiction, anthologized and fiction works and is distinguished from the term ‘comic book’, as this refers to comic periodicals. 

Richard Kyle, a fan historian coined the term ‘graphic novel’ in 1964 and the term gained popularity in the comic community from 1978 and especially with the start of the Marvel graphic novel line in 1982. The book industry began using ‘graphic novel’ as a book shelf category in 2001. Most comics historians agree that the first real ‘graphic novel’ was Will Eisner’s A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories published in 1978. Decidedly adult in its images, themes, and language, Eisner’s book spoke to the generation that had first grown up with superhero comics in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

I found a fascinating link regarding the history of graphic novels. Take a look: http://libguides.marymede.vic.edu.au/graphic_novels/history

 

Friday Fun for Writers, Authors & Readers…


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Readers understand this particular joke!

book pile humor

Sure reading a book under a tree is peaceful but imagine how stressful it is for the tree to see a bunch of it’s dead friends in your hand.
– Kyle Lippert

author humor

One advantage reading books has over TV is you can’t read books and do housework at the same time.
– Melanie White

book pain

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


This week is a little less hectic with two events on my schedule. Both are enjoyable in different ways. Firstly I am co-hosting a regular writing group in a local senior’s lodge. These meetings are filled with memoir, wisdom and laughter and I feel honored to be a part of it. The meetings began as part of a program my writing foundation created after creating a guide book of sorts. I also co-wrote the book.

Lifetime

This workbook is based on the presentation, Your Lifetime of Stories ~ Ideas for Writing Memoirs, written and presented by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (WFSC). Subsequently the group was asked to present this session at various venues in their community. The positive response received, and the request for more information, prompted members of the WFSC to compile the workshop details and comments into a workable format – so you could begin to collect your memories and share your story. This led to a program for residents in local senior lodges and the creation of regular writing groups.

The practical suggestions included in the pages of this book will suggest to you ways you can identify, record, and organize your collection of memories so you can begin to write your stories. It is not a how to write but a how to begin workbook. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/your-lifetime-stories

Contributing authors: Mandy Eve-Barnett, Linda J. Pedley, and Karen Probert

My second event is at my local library with a friend and fellow author, who wants to discuss her manuscripts and which direct/project she should pursue. Our last meeting was over lunch but ended up being four hours long! Such a treat to be totally absorbed in our writing life.

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What writing or reading events do you have planned this week?

Other local events:

Stories From the Front Porch: Stories for Adults

Strathcona County Library  Mon Mar 20, 7:00pm – 8:45pm
Join Sylvia Hertling and Friends for a cup of tea and to honor the age old tradition of the story-sharing circle.
This informal gathering, powered by TALES Strathcona, celebrates World Storytelling Day with historical, family and personal stories amongst friends. Writer in Residence, Richard Van Camp will also contribute a story at the event.

Edmonton Poetry Festivalhttp://www.edmontonpoetryfestival.com/schedule/

MacEwan University – Book of the Year.

Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, Book of the Year 2016/17. The free reading is open to the public on Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. Emily will be answering questions on-stage and signing books as part of the evening. http://www.macewan.ca/wcm/MacEwanEvents/AnnualEvents/MacEwanBookoftheYear/ThisYear%E2%80%99sBook/index.htm

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Author Madeleine Thien – Arden Theatre – Mar 29, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

St. Albert Public Library presents a STARFest author: Madeleine Thien. The 2016 book from this award-winning novelist and short story writer, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, tells one family’s tale within the unfolding of recent Chinese history. It won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and Scotiabank Giller Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize….
Ottawa’s Versefest runs March 21–26, and it features writers from all around the world.

LitFest NewWest celebrates readers, writers, and community March 31–April 2 in New Westminster, BC.

Add your local events here too

Last Lost Words of This Series…


Today is the last day for my lost words feature – I would like to thank Stephen at http://phrontistery.info/index.html for allowing me to utilize his wonderful site. It has been a learning curve and intriguing to see how many words are no longer used. Some you can understand have lost their relevance but others I think should come back!

I hope you enjoyed the lost words feature and that you will continue to enjoy the subjects for the remainder of the year.

My Monday features from now on will be random – unless someone has a particular topic that they wish me to cover for the remainder of 2016.

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Wednesday‘s will cover reincarnation, life after death and other phenomena and possibly a dash of romance!-  As I will be editing and revising my time-slip romance, The Twesome Loop, which centers on several characters finding their reincarnated soul mates.

Saturday‘s will continue for the prompt contest’s – remember to post your response and then vote for your favorite – chances to win a prize every quarter.

And so to the last lost words:

essomenic adj 1771 -1771
showing things as they will be in the future
The essomenic properties of crystal balls are very much in dispute.

patration n 1656 -1656
perfection or completion of something
The patration of my dissertation will be an occasion for great merriment.

prebition n 1656 -1656
act of offering, showing or setting before
The prebition of his treasure-find to the king earned him great honour and esteem.

My sentence: With the patration of this topic, I offer a essomenic and prebition for the remainder of the year.