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"Exploring Contexts" chapters provide a window into the broader literary world by placing the stories, poems, and plays in contextual groups, literary, authorial, cultural, historical, and social, illuminating connections among texts and the influences that shape them.
"Critical Context" Casebooks, a new feature, serve as capstone chapters for each genre. Each includes one primary literary work followed by several professional critical responses, allowing students to explore one work in depth and to develop and expand their reading and analytical skills as they prepare to write about what they've read. Two student papers, one, a personal response essay, and the other, a research paper, round out the fiction casebook.
Reading, Responding, Writing chapters introduce students to a genre and ways of exploring and writing about it.
Understanding the Text chapters within each genre cover the elements of literature, providing students with the tools they need to consider various works.
Evaluating chapters strengthen students' critical skills by guiding them in the difficult task of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of literary works.
A Reading More section offers an album of pieces for further reading.
New Fiction Chapter:
"Cultural and Historical Context"
This new chapter focuses on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited" and discusses the historical events and cultural climate that provided the backdrop for Fitzgerald's fiction. No other anthology offers so deep a contextual analysis.
New Drama Chapter:
"The Author's Work as Context: William Shakespeare"
Pushing students beyond their natural curiosity about Shakespeare's life, this new chapter calls attention to stylistic and thematic currents running through Shakespeare's work and encourages students to read Shakespeare actively and critically.
Evaluation Chapters Revised
"Evaluating" (fiction, poetry, drama) chapters have been reconceived to guide students toward determining and declaring the basis on which they are making their evaluative judgments.
New Introduction: "What is Literature?"
Alison Booth's insightful introduction discusses questions concerning the nature of "literature," the value of reading and writing about it, and the history of "the canon."
Author Biography: Alison Booth is Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Her research interests focus on Victorian literature and Feminist theory and criticism, and her teaching at Virginia has ranged from "The Nineteenth-century British novel" to "Utopias and Science Fiction". She is the author of Greatness Engendered: George Eliot and Virginia Woolf and editor of Famous Last Words: Changes in Gender and Narrative Closure. J. Paul Hunter is Professor of English Language and Literature, Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on eighteenth-century British literature, but his teaching and administrative interests have ranged much more widely. Despite his senior status at the U of Chicago, Paul teaches the introductory poetry course every year. He is the author of several books, including Norton's own Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (1990). Kelly J. Mays is Assistant Professor of English at New Mexico State University. Her research interests focus on nineteenth-century British literature and culture, postcolonial theory and literature, and pedagogical theory and practice. She frequently teaches the "Writing About Literature" course at NMSU, and prior to joining NMSU was an instructor in Harvard's expository writing program.