How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines (Revised Edition)

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines (Revised Edition)

by Thomas C. Foster


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A thoroughly revised and updated edition of Thomas C. Foster’s classic guide—a lively and entertaining introduction to literature and literary basics, including symbols, themes and contexts, that shows you how to make your everyday reading experience more rewarding and enjoyable.

While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes-of the ultimate professional reader, the college professor.

What does it mean when a literary hero is traveling along a dusty road? When he hands a drink to his companion? When he’s drenched in a sudden rain shower?

Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature—a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower-and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

This revised edition includes new chapters, a new preface and epilogue, and incorporates updated teaching points that Foster has developed over the past decade.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062301673
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/25/2014
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 2,365
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)

About the Author

Thomas C. Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor and Reading the Silver Screen, is professor emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, Flint, where he taught classes in contemporary fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as creative writing and freelance writing. He is also the author of several books on 20th-century British and Irish literature and poetry.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction: How'd He Do That? xxvii

1 Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It's Not) 1

2 Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion 9

3 Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires 20

4 Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before? 31

5 When in Doubt, It's from Shakespeare … 44

6 … Or the Bible 58

7 Hanseldee and Greteldum 72

8 It's Greek to Me 82

9 It's More Than Just Rain or Snow 97

10 Never Stand Next to the Hero 107

Interlude: Does He Mean That? 127

11 More Than It's Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence 133

12 Is That a Symbol? 148

13 It's All Political 163

14 Yes, She's a Christ Figure, Too 176

15 Flights of Fancy 189

16 It's All About Sex… 203

17 … Except Sex 214

18 If She Comes Up, It's Baptism 227

19 Geography Matters… 242

20 … So Does Season 259

Interlude One Story 273

21 Marked for Greatness 285

22 He's Blind for a Reason, You Know 297

23 It's Never Just Heart Disease … And Rarely Just Illness 305

24 Don't Read with Your Eyes 329

25 It's My Symbol and I'll Cry If I Want To 341

26 Is He Serious? And Other Ironies 358

27 A Test Case 373

Postlude: Who's in Charge Here? 420

Envoi 430

Appendix: Reading List 435

Acknowledgments 458

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