Far less expensive than comparable guides, Reading and Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide is an ideal supplement for writing courses where literature anthologies and individual literary works that lack writing instruction are assigned. This brief guide introduces strategies for reading literature, explains the writing process and common writing assignments for literature courses, provides instruction in writing about fiction, poetry, and drama, and includes coverage of writing a research paper as well as sections on literary criticism and theory. This volume in the popular Bedford/St. Martin's series of Portable Anthologies and Guides offers a trademark combination of high quality and great value.
Janet E. Gardner (PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) was formerly an associate professor of English at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she taught courses in drama, British and world literature, and writing. She has published numerous articles, reviews, and chapters on contemporary drama, especially modern British drama and the work of Caryl Churchill. She has received several grants and awards for research into current teaching technologies.
Joanne Diaz is an associate professor in the English department at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her collections of poetry include My Favorite Tyrants (winner of the Brittingham Prize, University of Wisconsin Press, 2014) and The Lessons (winner of the Gerald Cable First Book Award, Silverfish Review Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, At Length, The Missouri Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, and Third Coast. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. As a contributor to the Bedford/St. Martin’s LitBits Blog, she shares her insights on literature, writing, and pedagogy.
1. INTRODUCTION TO READING AND WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE
Why Read Literature?
Why Write about Literature?
What to Expect in a Literature Class
Literature and Enjoyment
2. THE ROLE OF GOOD READING
The Value of Rereading
The Myth of "Hidden Meaning"
EMILY DICKINSON, "Because I could not stop for Death" (Annotated Poem)
Asking Critical Questions of Literature
BEN JONSON, "On My First Son" (Annotated Poem)
Checklist for Good Reading
3. THE WRITING PROCESS
Organizing Your Paper
Drafting the Paper
Revising and Editing
Global Revision Checklist
Local Revision Checklist
Final Editing Checklist
Peer Editing and Workshops
Tips for Writing about Literature
Using Quotations Effectively
Quoting from Stories
Quoting from Poems
Quoting from Plays
4. COMMON WRITING ASSIGNMENTS
JAMAICA KINCAID, “Girl”
STUDENT ESSAY: Tom Lyons, "A Boy's View of 'Girl'"
ROBERT HERRICK, "Upon Julia's Clothes"
STUDENT ESSAY: Jessica Barnes, "Poetry in Motion: Herrick's 'Upon Julia's Clothes'"
ROBERT BROWNING, “My Last Duchess”
STUDENT ESSAY: Adam Walker, Possessed by the Need for Possession: Browning's 'My Last Duchess'"
Comparison and Contrast
CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, "After Death"
STUDENT ESSAY: Todd Bowen, "Speakers for the Dead: Narrators in 'My Last Duchess' and 'After Death'"
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, “Sonnet 73”
ROBERT HERRICK, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”
STUDENT ESSAY EXAM: Midterm Essay
5. WRITING ABOUT STORIES
Elements of Fiction
Stories for Analysis
CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
KATE CHOPIN, "The Story of an Hour" (Annotated Story)
Questions on the Stories
STUDENT ESSAY: An Essay that Compares and Contrasts: Melanie Smith, "Good Husbands in Bad Marriages"
6. WRITING ABOUT POEMS
Elements of Poetry
Two Poems for Analysis
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, "Sonnet 116" (Annotated Poem)
Questions on the Poem
T.S. ELIOT, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (Annotated Poem)
Questions on the Poem
STUDENT ESSAY: An Explication: Patrick McCorkle, "Shakespeare Defines Love"
7. WRITING ABOUT PLAYS
Elements of Drama
How to Read a Play
Director's Questions for Play Analysis
SUSAN GLASPELL, “Trifles”
STUDENT ESSAY: An Analysis: Sarah Johnson, "Moral Ambiguity and Character Development in Trifles"
8. WRITING A LITERARY RESEARCH PAPER
Working with Sources
Writing the Paper
Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism
What to Document and What Not to Document
*Documenting Sources: MLA Format
*Preparing Your Works Cited List
STUDENT ESSAY: Research Paper: Jarrad S. Nunes, "Emily Dickinson's 'Because I could not stop for Death': Challenging Readers' Expectations"
9. LITERARY CRITICISM AND LITERARY THEORY
Formalism and New Criticism
Feminist and Gender Criticism
Historical Criticism and New Historicism
Poststructuralism and Deconstruction
Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms
Index of Terms