Adapted Classics Blog

illustrated classic literatureBlog Posts

Adding Value – Illustrations in Literature

Adding Value Adding value can become a preoccupation with property owners. Often the added value  involves aesthetics. For instance, in my youth countless young men customized their clunkers for aesthetic reasons. They wanted to give their rides a better look.  But it was never all about aesthetic value. Naturally, not one of them thought their rides looked the worse for it after customization was complete. But they never thought their property had lost tangible value, either. Or had lost either kind of value even during the process of customization; many rides sporting primer paint dotted American streets during the 50’s[…] Read More

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good stories

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good stories. Most readers know Hawthorne from the novels they were assigned to read in high school. Usually teachers would assign The Scarlet Letter or the House of Seven of Seven Gables. Maybe The Marble Faun, but probably not. My nephews told me they read Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, one of Hawthorne’s short stories, in freshman English. That surprised me. The only short story I was assigned to read in high school was The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. That sure was a good story. Creepy. Hawthorne wrote creepy stories, too. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good[…] 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

Promoting Illustrated Literature for Middle School

One might think you would not encounter opposition promoting illustrated literature for middle school students. Who don’t like pictures? Yet I know there are some educators who believe unadorned print on the page is the best way to hasten the progress of adolescents into the full responsibilities of adulthood. Well, maybe. But I’d keep anybody longer in the drudgery of adolescence if it were up to me. Those were some pretty good times for the most part, looking back. Seriously, this debate about the content of books for kids who are leaving childhood highlights an anti-picture attitude that some folks[…] Read More

Literature for Middle School Students

Whether classic literature belongs in middle school classrooms is an open question. Some teachers probably believe the best way to encourage middle school students to read is to assign them books they want to read, with a few obvious exceptions. If they want to read Captain Underpants, give it to them. If they want to read Harry Potter, give it to them (and by all means, give them all and every one of those fine books you can). But classic literature? Middle-school students don’t want to read stories about mostly adult characters living in the distant past. Why force the[…] Read More

Hawthorne Stories for Middle School

Bundling illustrated Hawthorne stories for middle school made for pleasant work. That’s because Nathaniel Hawthorne tells great stories that illustrate well. Quite frankly, we believe kids and their parents should read them. We think who wouldn’t like Hawthorne stories, especially when masterfully illustrated by Marc Johnson-Pencook? So, we went and did it. We published Hawthorne Illustrated, a volume of three Hawthorne on August 31, 2018. Middle school readers will happily soak up these stories if only parents would point, maybe nudge them, to drink from the great classics well. Speaking of wells, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment leads the combined three stories we[…] Read More

Illustrated Books Cover Middle-School Readers

Publishing experts maintain that covers sell books, including covers that sell illustrated books, but that wouldn’t matter to middle-school readers. They have no money to cover the cost of books. But even if they had money, would they go and spend it on a book anyway? So what does designed-to-sell-sell-sell book covers mean to them-them-them? If parents were to bring home a book they bought for their middle-school reader after they went and spent their money on the book because the outside cover sold them on the inside content, lets hope their middle-school reader also likes the cover, and then[…] Read More

Eve and Adam Have Nothin’ to Offer

When it comes to female objectification, Eve and Adam have nothin’ to offer those who want to know why males objectify females. Mark Twain didn’t directly delve into that topic when he wrote his creation stories. But he did recreate the first heterosexual couple, and he did exaggerate certain gender-specific tendencies in each character. Readers in his day would have recognized these masculine and feminine tendencies as legitimate. After all, Mark Twain was anything but stupid. He built his humor on the bedrock of exaggeration and understatement. And you know he understood how to use those comic devices! He knew[…] Read More

Banned Books – Mark Twain, Meet Harper Lee

Some public administrators meet and decide that certain books by certain authors like Mark Twain and Harper Lee should be banned because they make readers uncomfortable. Oh, my! Uncomfortable! I’m quite sure that when Harper Lee wrote her celebrated “To Kill a Mockingbird”, she had ‘uncomfortable’ exactly in mind. Since it examined southern culture and questioned its morals, she must have known her book would make some, likely many readers squirm in their skin. Furthermore, she must have hoped such readers would bear their discomfort until the end of the book, then shift whatever perceptions and attitudes had caused their[…] Read More