The Fault in Our Fiction: John Green and Literature's Big Questions
John Green's sixth novel, The Fault in Our Stars (2012), a young-adult bestseller and particular favorite of Green's online fans, became a breakout success last summer after being turned into a major motion picture. Through the heartbreaking love story of teenage cancer patients, the novel makes a strong case for the exceptional vibrancy of the young adult literary scene today. There is no doubt that Green's many fans take his six young adult novels very seriously, but can you read them seriously as literature? How do Green's novels fare when approached as literary texts and read through the lens of contemporary literary theory? Conversely, how does the field of literary study look when viewed through the lens of Green's formative works of contemporary young adult fiction? This seminar will take up these questions while reading The Fault in Our Stars alongside some other works of classic and contemporary fiction, including Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813), (and the sensational YouTube adaptation "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"), and Green's earlier novel Looking for Alaska (2005), itself soon to be released as a motion picture directed by Sarah Polley. We will screen both The Fault in Our Stars and another film by Polley, Stories We Tell (2012); and, if it has been released, we will head to the local multiplex to see the film adaptation of Looking for Alaska.