Literature: Craft and Voice (Volume 3, Drama) / Edition 1

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Better readers make better writers.

Today’s students do read—we know that they read a significant amount of email, text messages, web pages, and even magazines. What many do not do is read in a sustained way. Many do not come to college prepared to read long texts, nor do they come with the tools necessary to analyze and synthesize what they read. Nick Delbanco and Alan Cheuse have proven in their own teaching that when you improve students’ ability and interest in reading, you will help them improve their writing.

Bringing writers to students, Bringing students to writing.

Literature: Craft and Voice is an innovative new Introductory Literature program designed to engage students in the reading of Literature, all with a view to developing their reading, analytical, and written skills. Accompanied by, and integrated with, video interviews of dozens of living authors who are featured in the text, conducted by authors Nick Delbanco and Alan Cheuse specifically for use with their textbook, the book provides a living voice for the literature on the page and creates a link between the student and the authors of great works of literature. The first text of its kind, Literature: Craft and Voice offers a more enjoyable and effective reading experience through its fresh, inviting design and accompanying rich video program.

Take a virtual product tour

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780077214227
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 6/25/2009
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Delbanco

Nick Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where he formerly directed the prestigious Hopwood Awards Program in creative writing and where the Delbanco Prize was established in his honor for students who need financial assistance to attend the Hopwood Program (only 25 students are admitted each year). He is also a co-founder (together with the late John Gardner) of the Bennington Writing Workshops

As the Delbanco Prize implies, Nick is a beloved teacher and through his teaching has been in the thick of the modern literary scene. His students have praised his enormous frame of literary reference, his eagerness to devour a new work, and his ability to home in on its weaknesses. Richard Tillinghast, a poet and colleague at Michigan, said of Nick, “When you have someone with an eye and ear like Nick's, you can really learn a lot about what talents you have and how to use them.”

Describing Nick’s teaching style, the New York Times said, “Mr. Delbanco delights in horrifying his students by urging them to imitate rather than innovate. He tells them that imitation is the surest route to originality and warns against self-expression, self-discovery.” His students also talk of his sociability (he loves a good story, to tell it and to hear it), his honesty, and his devotion to his students. One student said, “He gave me confidence when I had no confidence. He's also very blunt and honest. He has no problem tossing your manuscript back at you and saying, 'This stinks.' He would dismantle me and then take me into his office and tell me I could be a writer.”

Nick has won several awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Writer’s Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of twenty-four books of fiction and non-fiction, a frequent contributor to Harper’s, and often seen in the New York Times. Some have called him a “writer’s writer” —to which he replies “it's hard to see it as an insult at all. The worst you could say is that it's a kind way of saying nobody buys your books.” He has written a previous McGraw-Hill text, The Sincerest Form: Writing Fiction through Imitation. His most recent novel is The Count of Concord, a work of historical fiction that tells the tale of Count Rumford: inventor of the coffeepot, philosopher, and spy (among other things). The Chicago Sun says, “Novelist Nicholas Delbanco has done us a great service by rescuing Rumford from obscurity…In ‘The Count of Concord’ we see a veteran novelist working at the height of his powers.”

Alan Cheuse

Alan Cheuse has been reviewing books on All Things Considered since the 1980s.

Formally trained as a literary scholar, Alan also writes fiction and novels and publishes short stories. He is the author of three novels, two collections of short fiction, and the memoir Fall out of Heaven. With Caroline Marshall, he has edited two volumes of short stories. Alan’s short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and Another Chicago Magazine. His most recent collection of his short fiction was published in September 1998 and his essay collection, Listening to the Page, appeared in 2001.

Alan splits his time between the two coasts, spending nine months of the year in Washington, D.C., where he teaches writing at George Mason University. His summers are spent in Santa Cruz, Calif. teaching writing at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Cheuse earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature with a focus on Latin American literature from Rutgers University in 1974.

"The greatest challenge of this work [at NPR]," he says, "is to make each two-minute review as fresh and interesting as you can while trying to focus on the essence of the book itself."

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Table of Contents


A Conversation on Reading Drama

with Marian Seldes, a video interview available online @

A First Reading

Susan Glaspell, Trifles
Going Deeper into Drama

a sample student response: James Ness, "Trifles: Song and Stillness"
Types of Drama



Julianne Homokay, The Wedding Story
CHAPTER 31: GOING FURTHER: An Interactive Reading

An Interactive Reading from Edward Albee, The Zoo Story

A Conversation on Writing with Edward Albee, video interview available

online @

Edward Albee, The Zoo Story

Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times review of the opening in America of Edward Albee's The Zoo Story

Suggestions for Writing

A Conversation on Writing with Edwin Wilson, video interview available

online @

a sample student essay in progress

student paper: Jim Hanks, "Caged or Free? Animals as Metaphor in Edward Albee's The Zoo Story"

Suggestions for Writing

A CASE STUDY on Sophocles

A Conversation on Sophocles with Gregory Nagy, video

interview available online@
The Oedipus Story

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, translated by Robert Fitzgerald
Greek Tragedy

A Checklist: Reading Greek Tragedy

Getting Started: A Research Project

Further Suggestions for Writing and Research

Some Sources for Research

A Conversation on Shakespeare with Ralph Williams, video

interview available online @

The Elizabethan Theater
Language On Stage
Shakespeare's Confounding Diversity

A Midsummer Night’s Dream


A Checklist: Reading William Shakespeare

Getting Started: A Research Project

Further Suggestions for Writing and Research

Some Sources for Research

A Conversation on Writing with Arthur Miller, video

interview available online @

Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
From the Palace to the Living Room, or, The Origins of Modern Theater

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, translated by R. Farquharson Sharp
The Real and Surreal

Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
The Bard of Pittsburgh

August Wilson, Fences
An Actor's Perspective on Modern Theater and August Wilson

A Glimpse at the Work of Ruben Santiago-Hudson

A Conversation on Writing with Ruben Santiago-Hudson, video interview

available online @ xxx

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, stills from Lackawanna Blues

Reading Modern Drama

Suggestions for Writing about Modern Drama

A Conversation on Writing with Arthur Kopit, video interview available online


Arthur Kopit, Wings
Experimental Theater

Joan Ackermann, The Second Beam

David Henry Hwang, The Dance and the Railroad

David Ives, Moby Dude, OR: The Three-Minute Whale

Denise Chavez, Guadalupe X Three

Getting Started: A Research Project

Suggestions for Writing about Contemporary Theater
A Handbook for Writing from Reading
Critical Approaches to Literature

Formalist Criticism

Boris Eikhenbaum, The Theory of the Formal Method

Biographical Criticism

Gary Lee Stonum, Dickinson’s Literary Background

Historical Criticism

Carl Van Doren, Mark Twain

Psychological or Psychoanalytic Criticism

Kenneth Burke, The Poetic Process

Archetypal, Mythic, or Mythological Criticism

Northrop Frye, The Archetypes of Literature

Marxist or Economic Determinist Criticism

Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution

Structuralist Criticism

Vladimir Propp, Fairy Tale Transformations

New Historicism

Stephen Greenblatt, The Introduction to the Power of Forms in the

English Renaissance

Feminist Criticism and Gay and Lesbian Studies

Judith Fetterley, Introduction to On the Politics of Literature

Reader-Response Criticism

Wolfgang Iser, Interplay between Text and Reader

Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction

Roland Barthes, Death of the Author

Cultural Studies

Vincent B. Leitch, Cultural Criticism, Literary Theory, Postculturalism

Ethnic Studies and Post-Colonial Studies

Henry Louis Gates, Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars

Writing from Reading

Why Read Literature?

Why Write from Reading?

Reading to Write

From Summary to Interpretation

Developing an Argument

Developing an Argument for Robert Pinsky’s “Shirt”

Forming a Defendable Thesis

Creating a Plan

Drafting Your Paper

Revising Your Draft

Sample Revised Introductory, Body, and Conclusion Paragraphs

Revised Draft of a Student’s Research Paper on Langston Hughes

A Final Note on Editing and Formatting Your Paper

Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing and Avoiding Plagiarism

Types of Information Requiring Documentation

Common Knowledge

Use Sources to Support Your Commentary

Acknowledge Your Sources

Format Quotations to Avoid Plagiarism

Format Paraphrases to Avoid Plagiarism

Format Summary to Avoid Plagiarism

Common Writing Assignements

Writing in a Digital Age

Writing across the Curriculum


A Sample Precis of Herman Melville’s Short Story “Bartleby, the Scrivener”


A Sample Explication of William Blake’s Poem “Garden of Love”

A Sample Card Report


A Sample Comparison-Contrast Paper on “The Role of Grendel in Beowulf

the Epic and the Movie”


The Essay Exam

Writing the Research Paper, avoiding plagiarism, and Documenting


Understanding Research Today

Choosing a Topic

Finding and Managing Print and Online Sources

Finding Visual Sources

Evaluating Print and Online Sources

Developing a Thesis and Organizing the Paper


Documenting Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

A Student’s Research Paper on Langston Hughes and Jazz Poetry

MLA Documentation Style Guide

Documenting Sources using MLA Style

MLA Style: In-Text Citations

MLA Style: List of Works Cited

Glossary of Terms


Index to Authors, Titles, and First Lines of Poetry

Directory for MLA Documentation Style Guide: Inside Back Cover
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