You've Got to Be Carefully Taught: Learning and Relearning Literature

Overview

Drawing on his own experience in the profession, veteran English professor and internationally renowned scholar Jerome Klinkowitz sorts out the wrong ways of teaching literature before devising a new, successful method. Specifically, he concludes that a historically based ?story of English? is precisely the wrong narrative approach to making sense of what literature does. Instead, Klinkowitz proposes a new method focused not on the product of literary writing but on the process of writing. Long involved with the ...

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Overview

Drawing on his own experience in the profession, veteran English professor and internationally renowned scholar Jerome Klinkowitz sorts out the wrong ways of teaching literature before devising a new, successful method. Specifically, he concludes that a historically based “story of English” is precisely the wrong narrative approach to making sense of what literature does. Instead, Klinkowitz proposes a new method focused not on the product of literary writing but on the process of writing. Long involved with the making of contemporary literature, Klinkowitz shows how his classroom approach draws on the same strengths and inspirations writers use in the creation of literature. He involves students in the literary work as production.

            

Despite almost universal agreement that literary studies fail both writers and students, solutions have been limited to suggestions by superstar theorists teaching cream-of-the-crop students at elite universities. Klinkowitz aims not at the elite but at the ordinary student in an introduction to literature class. His goal is to introduce teachers to a new philosophy of teaching literature and to further deepen students’ natural love for the subject. He also seeks to revive the love of fine writing in those whose joy in the subject fell victim to obtuse teaching methods. Uniquely, his is not an esoteric theory developed by the best academics for elite students but a commonsense approach that works well in the kind of schools most students attend.

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Editorial Reviews

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“[I]s it possible that so many students find literature tedious because their teachers obviously, despite theatrics to the contrary, find it so? Klinkowitz’s antidote for such ennui, as much an occupational hazard for teachers of literature as the bends are for deep-sea divers, has been to befriend and celebrate writers who are still among us, to demonstrate to himself and colleagues and students that literature defines itself as such to readers long before it is embalmed, if ever, by theses and syllabi.”—Kurt Vonnegut, from the Foreword

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809324033
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerome Klinkowitz, a professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at the University of Northern Iowa, is the author of forty books, including novels, collections of short stories, and studies of literature, philosophy, art, music, sport, and air combat narratives.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Education 9
2 Home Schooling 48
3 Teaching 90
Afterword 159
Bibliography 165
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