Red Text on a gray background. Text: Virtual Alumni College. Grinnell College logo in the upper left of the image.

What Young Adult Literature Tells Us About Societal Change

Of all works of fiction, those written for teenagers change most rapidly in response to language use and generational change.  A new type of literature to begin with, dating in the U.S. to either 1942 or 1967, Young Adult literature attempts to entertain and communicate with readers younger than 18 years old.  Authors try to make sense of the complex societies their readers live in and offer solace and, at times, hope for a better future. In this talk, I will discuss two examples of when we see reflection of societal change in the YA texts of two very different cultures — the United States in 2019-20 and Russia in 2015-17. In both cases, books published in these very short time spans broke with decades of tradition and anticipated societal change and action, in one country successfully and in the other, heartbreakingly less so.

Faculty Member: Kelly Herold, Associate Professor, Russian
Discussion Date: Wednesday, October 5 at 2 p.m.

Meet Kelly Herold

Kelly Herold

Kelly Herold has spent several summers, a spring and two winters in Russia. Her research on memoir and travel writing has taken her to Dublin, London and Prague. She has written commentary to Sumarokov's Ody torzhestvennye (included in a facsimile edition, a project directed by Ronald Vroon and E.P. Mstislavskaia). A recent publication was "Cultural References, Semantic Shifts, and Literary Myth in Nabokov's Autobiographies," in From the Other Shore: Russian Writers Abroad Past and Present. Most recently, Kelly has been working on children's literature, and will present her work on a panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies Annual Convention in Fall, 2006. Kelly has been at Grinnell since 1997, and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in Spring 2004. She has chaired the Linguistic Concentration Committee, and has long taught the foundation course, "Introduction to General Linguistics." She has directed numerous linguistics senior MAPs, and has also advised several independent linguistics majors. She has been chair of the Committee to Foster Foreign Languages, and has been active in teaching our first- and second-year language courses, as well as literature in translation, including courses on Nabokov and Tolstoy. Most recently, Kelly has been doing research in the area of children's literature, and has taught two tutorials devoted to this topic (2007 and 2008). She will co-teach a special topics course on children's literature with Raquel Greene next year.

  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Thursday October 5
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Please register below.
Event registration summary
Virtual Alumni College - What Young Adult Literature Tells Us About Societal Change:
View Lecture
View Lecture and Join Discussion