Media and Literature
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Media and LiteratureQuestion: What is the importance of media in literature and social (daily) life?
Media and Literature
Texts from the English literary canon are often seen as 'pure' literature, as opposed to media texts which are a (necessarily, or potentially) bad influence against which students should be defended.
"The aim is to set standards...against which the offerings of the media will appear cut down to size" (Leavis and Thompson)
This suggests a clear distinction between the literary tradition and that of popular culture and the media. However, as English teachers will know, books which are now promoted as part of the canon - by authors such as Dickens and Hardy - were originally published in serial form in magazines, complete with cliff-hanging endings to each episode, like those used in television drama and soap opera nowadays. It has been suggested that if Dickens was alive today he would be writing scripts for Brookside rather than novels!
Media approaches provide a way of making these connections explicit, enabling students to relate literary texts to their own experience, and to the media with which they themselves are familiar.
There are many different ways of using adaptations to aid pupils' understanding of literary texts. One of the most common is comparing the book and the film. However, the English and Media Centre publication Media 1: Years 7-9 warns against simple comparisons of texts and their adaptations, which can lead to detailed lists of differences or omissions which don't take into account the underlying reasons:
"the adaptation is often seen as...necessarily inferior because it is a reconstruction resulting from the collaborative industrial and institutional practices, rather than the work of a single creative individual. Yet the original text in itself has been a product of similar processes, and is no less a construct."
It's often better to focus on short sections of an adaptation rather than attempting to consider it in its...