Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on N. H. Kleinbaum's Dead Poets Society. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Dead Poets Society: Introduction
Dead Poets Society: Plot Summary
Dead Poets Society: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Dead Poets Society: Themes
Dead Poets Society: Quotes
Dead Poets Society: Characters
Dead Poets Society: Symbols
Dead Poets Society: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of N. H. Kleinbaum
Historical Context of Dead Poets Society
Other Books Related to Dead Poets Society
- Full Title: Dead Poets Society
- When Written: 1988-89
- Where Written: Los Angeles, California
- When Published: Fall 1989
- Literary Period: It’s especially hard to classify the novel as belonging to any literary period, since it’s a novelization of a film. However, it’s interesting to note that the Dead Poets Society novelization fits in with the decade-long “wave” of novelizations and other movie tie-ins. Throughout the 1980s, film studios invested more money in marketing movie tie-ins, from board games to toys to books. To the extent that Kleinbaum’s novel fits in with any artistic era, perhaps that “era” is the movie tie-in boom of the 1980s.
- Genre: Coming-of-age novel, period piece, boarding school novel
- Setting: Welton Academy, Vermont, 1959
- Climax: Neil’s death
- Antagonist: Headmaster Nolan, Richard Cameron, Mr. Perry, and the abstract spirit of conformity that dominates Welton Academy itself could each be considered the novel’s main antagonist.
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
Extra Credit for Dead Poets Society
Novelization Nancy. Dead Poets Society isn’t the only novelization Kleinbaum wrote—she’s also penned novelizations of such 80s films as Dirty Dancing and D.A.R.Y.L.
Seize the day! The most famous line, both from the Dead Poets Society film and Kleinbaum’s novelization, is “Seize the day, lads. Make your lives extraordinary.” Twenty-five years later, the line is still widely quoted, inspiring all sorts of people to take risks and be great.