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Adapted Classics Blog

humor Archives | Adapted ClassicsBlog Posts

The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether

The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether shows Edgar Allan Poe’s dark sense of humor to great effect. We will include it in Poe Illustrated, our collection of three illustrated stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe wrote The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether in 1845.  About 50 years prior to that, French doctor Phillipe Penel had devised a gentle system for treating mentally ill patients. Poe created a similar ’soothing’ system for treating patients in the House of Health, the asylum setting for this humorous, yet controversial story. Despite Penel’s well-publicized innovation, harsh treatment of mental patients persisted in asylums world-wide. Maybe Poe was trying to promote Penel’s gentle methods when he wrote his story. Or perhaps not. To this day scholars who analyze literature or try to[…] Read More

Library Purchasing Decisions might seem Mysterious

Library purchasing decisions might seem mysterious, but they are not. Libraries simply seek to fulfill customer demand. And what creates that demand? Well, the public will always want to read books by or about celebrities.  And good reviews, regardless of the author or subject, usually or sometimes create demand for books. Acquisition librarians try their best to solve the riddle of ‘usually’ or ‘sometimes’. Within the riddle lies most of the gamble that libraries take in trying to satisfy public demand. And there’s always publicity, whether purchased or otherwise. And of course, libraries will also purchase under-the-radar books if requested[…] Read More

Looking for hi-lo books? Sammy’s Day at the Fair fits.

Looking for hi-lo books? Sammy’s Day at the Fair qualifies. Jon Roland of Maryland, Presidential Award Winner for Math and Science Teaching, tells it this way: children find nothing more interesting than bodily functions, junk food, and fairs. So Sammy’s Day at the Fair, covering all those topics, has the high-interest side nailed.  As for the low side the hi-lo equation, Sammy combines science with an entertaining story using a low reading-difficulty approach. Jon and other award-winning teachers verify this claim. Natalie Rasmussen, Milken National Educator Award winner from Minnesota, says that Sammy’s phonetic glossary of biological terms is extremely[…] Read More

Hi-lo? Not Adapted Classics books, but…

Hi-lo? Not Adapted Classics books, but…we did lower the reading difficulty of the classic stories we adapt by lightening their classic language load. And we added interesting illustrations to entice modern young readers to read our adapted classic stories, hoping to convert them across the board and over time into classic literature lovers. So you could say we had hi–lo (high interest-low reading level) on our minds to a certain degree when we set out to create and publish the Adapted Classics collection.  Nevertheless, we know classic stories are not high interest reading material for most modern young readers. And we[…] Read More

Edgar Allan Poe was not sarcastic

Edgar Allan Poe was not sarcastic. In my last blog, posted April 10, I said Edgar Allan Poe was sarcastic. And I claimed Poe’s sarcasm was funny. I stand corrected. Going by the two dictionaries I use for reference, sarcasm is not funny. Sarcasm intends to hurt with mocking ridicule. Both dictionaries agree on that. So that makes me dead wrong for saying Poe use sarcastic humor in the example I chose to demonstrate his humor. Either Poe wasn’t being sarcastic, or the excerpt I used wasn’t humorous. Intent to hurt cannot be funny, even when someone’s ego deserves to[…] Read More

Edgar Allan Poe was not …

Edgar Allan Poe was not a humorist. Edgar Allan Poe was not a comic genius. Poe did not want his readers to die laughing—or leastwise probably not; he was, after all, a poor, starving artist and would need them to continue purchasing the magazines that published his stories. But Edgar Allan Poe was funny. He had a sense of humor and knew how to use it. Poe, being Poe, slyly inserted his humor into the framework of detective stories and macabre tales. Poe’s humor was almost entirely sarcastic. Sarcasm falls within the form of humor called wit, which is defined[…] Read More

Twain’s Carnival of Exaggerations

Witty Mark Twain’s trickery usually got people to snicker or chuckle, but Twain’s carnival of exaggerations more often made them laugh. Twain used and blended many comic forms, including witty jokes, puns, ludicrous impressions, irony, sarcasm, satire, and understatement. But very often he relied upon exaggeration to great comic effect. Like many humorists before him, Twain learned too much of anything, taken playfully, makes people laugh. But as mentioned in a previous post, a playful audience for humor is essential. For instance, if sensitive to the violent use of firearms, as many of us are after so many massacres at[…] Read More

Mark Twain Made Mischievous Fun

Mark Twain made mischievous fun as a boy, and he never stopped making such fun. The practical jokes he played in his youth laid a foundation for some of the humor that would make him famous. According to some, all witty geniuses, Mark Twain included, developed their sense of humor after first playing pranks as children. I’m not sure about the truth of this. I would hope it were not so. Still, if it were to be true, anticipating this end result would probably provide some comfort to whomever has to raise a child prankster. In essence, pranks embody tricks[…] Read More