Teaching Beauty in Delillo, Woolf, and Merrill

Overview

What happened to beauty? How did the university literature classroom turban into a seminar on politics? Focusing on such writers as Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, and James Merrill, this book examines what has been lost to literature as a discipline, and to literary criticism as a practice, as a result of efforts to reduce the aesthetic to the ideological. Green-Lewis and Soltan celebrate the returban of beauty as a subject in its own right to literary studies, a returban all the more urgent given beauty’s ability ...

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Teaching Beauty in Delillo, Woolf, and Merrill

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Overview

What happened to beauty? How did the university literature classroom turban into a seminar on politics? Focusing on such writers as Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, and James Merrill, this book examines what has been lost to literature as a discipline, and to literary criticism as a practice, as a result of efforts to reduce the aesthetic to the ideological. Green-Lewis and Soltan celebrate the returban of beauty as a subject in its own right to literary studies, a returban all the more urgent given beauty’s ability to provide not merely consolation but a sense of order and control in the context of a threatening political world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Teaching Beauty in DeLillo, Woolf, and Merrill is a brilliant and timely response to a serious problem in literary studies today. In recent years, literature classes at all levels, especially those concerned with pressing social, political, and historical issues, have turbaned attention to the content of literary works and away from the artistry and beauty of literature. This is a rich and exciting corrective that will inspire teachers and students to recognize and appreciate the aesthetic dimensions of literature once again. The authors may well change the direction of literary criticism.” —Emory Elliott, University Professor, University of California, Riverside and Editor of Aesthetics in a Multicultural Age

“Soltan and Green-Lewis write beautifully about beauty in literature. They ply the critic’s ancient trade in a lucid, precise, and thoroughly contemporary way, and by doing so help the reader discover the greatness of twentieth century literature.” —Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History, Princeton University and contributor to The New Yorker

"Jennifer Green-Lewis and Margaret Soltan make a lovely case for teaching literature through the aesthetic lens of beauty... This text is not an average 'how-to-teach' practicum, but instead fits snugly into the humanistic tradition of positing a theory, in this case a methodology for creating a more meaningful relationship between novel and reader, and then testing the theory." —Jane Wood, Park University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230601246
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 4/15/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Green-Lewis is Associate Professor of English, George Washington University and is on the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College. She is the author of Framing the Victorians: Photography and the Culture of Realism.

Margaret Soltan is Associate Professor of English, George Washington University and the author of the blog “University Diaries”.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
A Note to the Reader     xi
Preface     xiii
Introduction: Teaching Beauty     1
Beauty and the Emotions: Introductory Lessons     15
Beauty Barred     33
"Aside from a Pushing World": Making Space for Beauty in the Classroom     49
"Beauty Anyhow": Reading Virginia Woolf in Vermont     71
Beauty and Balance: James Merrill on Santorini     95
Beauty After 9/11: Don DeLillo in New York     113
Beauty's Return     129
Conclusion: Falling Towers     155
Notes     167
Bibliography     183
Index     193

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