17 thoughts on “The case for teaching depressing books

  1. Indeed an interesting post. I think that ‘sad’ books instil a sense of empathy and allow us to look at the world, real and raw.

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      1. Ah Methamorphosis is such an amazing story! Kafka was, still is, one of the greatest gifts in literature. That was Dachau looks very interesting

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      2. One of Kafka’s best known works….
        This one is a must-read. I take time, referring the analyses in the web, though the novella is a short one.
        ‘That was Dachau’ is pure non fiction, a complete history of Dachau concentration camp. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the LitHub article with a great deal of interest because I write depressing fiction (although not trauma-based). I thought Mustafah made some good points, as did the people who disagreed. As a teacher, I would be concerned about teaching trauma-based fiction to pre-teens and adolescents for fear of doing more harm than good.

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      1. True… Its not always easy to get outside the miasmatic environ of a work, fiction or non-fiction, if the reader engages himself/ herself to such an extent that he /she starts to realistically feel the fantasy or abstract and then only one gets to see the characters as they are through our own clear prisms.
        Some works literally imprisons the reader inside the book and they, in particular young minds, are weighed down by the gloom and doom .
        I guess, at least some feel this way about the so-called depressing literature 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a point there, Liz.
      I am not a teacher, yet, I have gone through the pre-teen wobbly years myself. I would never have had liked, let alone grasped the profundity or barbarity or philosophy, had I read many of the so- called ‘depressing’ works at the time, works that I now can get a firm handle on. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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