Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Pop Culture

25 Apr


One of the final novels we read this semester was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The novel revolves around the fact that magic was brought back to England by two men, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This is a major tribulation in English society during this time period since magic was related to dark forces and such. Since this was such a problem the novel also focuses on the differences between reason and unreason. This novel, like many others, can be depicted to be a fantasy novel since it deals with magic, fairies, and other imaginary worlds. Because the novel falls in the same genre as many other novels it can be associated with works of the same fantastical material such as The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. This places the novel on the end of the pop culture spectrum where the rest of the fantasy novels lie. It is hard to decide whether the novel is depicted as either high culture or pop culture because the novel is fairly new so there is no telling how long its popularity will last in our culture.

As I was reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell it was difficult for me to decide its spot on the pop culture spectrum. I had never heard about this novel before it was assigned in this class so I was not even sure how this novel related to popular culture. But as I began researching the novel’s backstory and all the acclaim it has received I learned that the novel really has made an impact in pop culture. The novel has many fans and readers who appreciate the book. I think the main reason I was not exposed to this book is because it was not publically advertised through mainstream media sources. Unlike most pop culture crazes this novel did not get as much praise as it deserved. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell deserves a lot more acclaim than t has received because it can appeal to a wide range of an audience. The novel has many features that can be greatly appreciated in pop culture if only there was a larger fan base that exposed the novel to the rest of our society.

It was nice to finally read a well-written fantasy novel. After Harry Potter many fantasy novels do not come up to par because the plot has no storyline or the author tries to include every single aspect a fantasy novel could ever include into one story. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was such a well-written novel because the story flowed very well and there were not many fantasy elements. The novel was kept pretty simple by mainly revolving around magic and fairies. It was also very appealing because the novel presented moral dilemmas such as resurrection war. Another aspect, which may have pulled many readers, is the fact that the novel approaches the topic of power and fame. This is another reason why the novel should be more popular than its current stand.

Although the novel is currently not very well known there was a point in time where filmmakers were planning on creating a motion picture based on the novel, but plans fell through for various reasons. This shows that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has the potential to become a popular culture phenomenon; it’s just a matter of time for the hype about the book to rise again. With a little help from social media networks and the power of a spoken word the world of pop culture will be brewing with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

In conclusion, the novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, is a very riveting novel that should have a higher place with more praise in the pop culture world. The novel deserves this because it has a lot of elements that are shared with other pop culture rages. All the novel needs is another chance and a fan base, and voila the novel can be the next big thing in pop culture!


Samiyah Malik

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