In the HarperTeen classics series, including "Wuthering Heights" and "Romeo and Juliet," the books contain updated and additional text to, theoretically, speak to a modern audience. Is this dumbing down the classics? Or is it important to adapt literature for new audiences?
Point: I think it’s a great idea. I see it as a modernization, of sorts, allowing this day’s adults young and old to get into the classics. I think anything that promotes reading is a good thing, especially with today’s ADD society, or dare I say YADD. The originals are still around and perhaps after reading this version, these people might even decide to pick the originals up and give them a read. Now, how is that a bad thing?
Edgar Garcia, Systems Analyst, Belmont Cragin
Counterpoint: When I read “Romeo and Juliet” in middle school — on my own time, mind you — I fell in love with it. Did I understand every Shakespearean word? Of course not. Where is there a rule that literature needs to echo the way teens speak? Last time I checked, it wasn’t their creation but the author’s. And the author intended it to be read and interpreted based on the language he or she used.
— Shari Weiss, intern at ChicagoNow, Medical District
Literary smackdown: HarperTeen classics
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