Monday, January 22, 2007

Ethel Wilson: The Chick-Lit Angle

I'll be lecturing on the next course text, Innocent Traveller, in part as being a progenitor of what has become the current literary genre of Chick-Lit.
This past weekend's edition of Arts & Letters Daily features a review of a new book by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs: See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit. More than a review, it is an interview, a descriptive breakdown of the elements of chick-lit, and salient quotations from important chick-lit writers.
What exactly is chick-lit?
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all about shoes. Or clothes. Or purses. Yes, some chick-lit characters enjoy their fashion collections, but if an interest in designers’ names is what made you look for advice here, maybe you should grab Vogue instead. Chick-lit is also not all about getting a guy. Love may be a happy diversion, or a painful pothole, but the chick-lit story is about the main character’s path to self-discovery. Although there’s usually a satisfying and uplitfing conclusion, the ending is more about hope for the future than snagging Mr Right.
An excellent compendium of current literary and print-cultural engagements with chick-lit is Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young, eds: Chick-Lit: The New Woman's Fiction.

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