In Defense of ReadingTeaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century
Wiley-Blackwell Manifestos 1. Aufl.
Written by influential scholar-critic and award-winning Daniel R. Schwarz, In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century is a passionate and joyful defense of the pleasures of reading. This stimulating book provides valuable insights for teachers and students on why we read and how we read when we embark on "the odyssey of reading." Provides valuable insights into why and how we read Addresses issues and problems in the contemporary university and offers insights into the future Explores the life of the mind, the rewards and joys of committed teaching, and the relationship between teaching and scholarship in the contemporary university Draws on the author's forty years of teaching experience Following his long term commitment to close reading and historicism, Schwarz shows how the best literary criticism must both respect text and context Contains insightful and important readings of a broad range of texts, including those by Joyce, Woolf, Conrad, Forster, Gordimer, and Spiegelman's Maus
Preface. Acknowledgments. 1. The Odyssean Reader or the Odyssey of Reading: “Of Ourselves and of Our Origins”. 2. How We Learn and What We Learn from Literary Texts. 3. Towards a Community of Inquiry: Is There a Teacher in the Class?. 4. Eating Kosher Ivy: Jews as Literary Intellectuals. 5. Professing Literature in the Twenty-First-Century University. 6. Reconfiguring the Profession: The (Uncertain) Path to a Professorship. Conclusion: The Future of Literary Studies. Selective Bibliography. Index
“In Defense of Reading offers fascinating and rewarding insight into a scholar’s academic experiences, from which much can be learned.” (Conradiana, 1 March 2012) "The book explores why we read, how we read and what we learn from reading imaginative literature." (Ezra Magazine, April 2009)
Daniel R. Schwarz is Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1968. He is the recipient of Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences Russell Award for Distinguished Teaching. Schwarz has published numerous books, including Reading the Modern British and Irish Novel 1890-1934 (2004), Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyan and the Making of New York City Culture (2003), Rereading Conrad (2001), Imagining the Holocaust (1999), Reconfiguring Modernism: Explorations in the Relationship Between Modern Art and Modern Literature (1997), and Reading Joyce's Ulysses (1987; new ed. 2004).
What happens when we read imaginative literature? What do we learn from reading such texts? Reading complements our experience, sharpens our perceptions, gives us insight into how other humans live, enables us to understand other cultures and periods, and gives us aesthetic pleasure. In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century is a passionate and beautifully written defense of the pleasures of reading. With clarity and eloquence, the author, influential literary critic, and award-winning Daniel R. Schwarz shares his insights on why we read, how we read, and what transpires when we undertake what he calls "the odyssey of reading." Other topics covered include the ethics of reading, humanistic criticism, and the history and future of studying literature. The author explores various forms of resistant readings and discusses changes in reading, writing, and teaching in the electronic age. In Defense of Reading concludes with an optimistic look into the future of literary studies. In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century embraces the joys of the written word while teaching us to be better readers and imparting wisdom that will resonate with teachers and lovers of literature everywhere.
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