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The Rise of Novels in General

The Rise of Novels in General

I’m often in a position where I feel that I need to defend YA fiction in general. Sometimes, it helps to take things out of their current historical context in order to really see the big picture. People should look at the history of the novel in general. One hundred fifty years ago, novels were actually considered lowbrow entertainment in general. The term ‘lowbrow’ actually comes from the nineteenth century pseudoscience of phrenology, which should tell you everything you need to know about the accuracy of this idea. Novels were primarily read and written by women during the nineteenth century, and the misogynistic men of the day would talk about what inferior forms of art they were, and how they were destroying the brains of anyone who read them. Basically they said the same things that people say about YA entertainment today.

When Charles Dickens and similar white male writers arrived on the scene, suddenly novels were regarded as respectable. It still took a little time, and the idea that novels were an inferior form on entertainment persisted into the twentieth century. Today, it is a belief that is so out-dated that people won’t always believe you when you tell them that it used to be something of a popular belief. It is possible that the exact same thing is going to happen to the YA fiction that people regard as so pedestrian today.

However, this negative perception has never stopped me or any of the other adults that I know from reading what we wanted to read and liking what we wanted to like. If what you like doesn’t hurt anyone else, I think you should be able to like anything and everything that you like, and you shouldn’t try to let other people take your enjoyment away from you.