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How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Linesby Thomas C. Foster
Synopses & Reviews
What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey? Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface — a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character — and there's that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.
In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths and to discover 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 rain.
Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect companion for making your reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.
"A smart, accessible, and thoroughly satisfying examination of what it means to read a work of literature. Guess what? It isn't all that hard, not when you have a knowledgeable guide to show the way. Dante had his Virgil; for everyone else, there is Thomas Foster." Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of Patience and Fortitude
"Tom Foster's casual, unpretentious, yet brilliant How to Read Literature Like a Professor is a painless introduction to crucial — and sophisticated — skills of reading. What a sense of the comic! What a knowledge of modern literature! What good stories!" Linda Wagner-Martin, UNC-Chapel Hill, author of Sylvia Plath: A Life
"I know of no other book that so vividly conveys what it's like to study with a great literature professor. In a work that is both down-to-earth and rich in insight, Thomas Foster goes far towards breaking down the wall that has long divided the academic and the common reader." James Shapiro, Columbia University, author of Shakespeare and the Jews
"By bringing his eminent scholarship to bear in doses measured for the common reader or occasional student, Professor Foster has done us all a generous turn. The trained eye, the tuned ear, the intellect possessed of simple cyphers brings the literary arts alive. For those who've ever wondered what Dr. Williams saw in a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water — here is an essential text." Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking
A fun and practical introduction to literature and literary basics — symbols, themes, and contexts — shows how to make everyday reading experiences more rewarding and enjoyable.
About the Author
Tom Foster is Professor of English at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he teaches classes in contemporary fiction, drama and poetry as well as creative writing and composition. He has written several books on 20th-century British and Irish literature and poetry and lives in East Lansing, Michigan.
Table of Contents
Introduction: How'd He Do That?
Chapter 1: Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It's Not)
Chapter 2: Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion
Chapter 3: Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires
Chapter 4: If It's Square, It's A Sonnet
Chapter 5: Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
Chapter 6: When In Doubt, It?s from Shakespeare...
Chapter 7: ...Or the Bible
Chapter 8: Hanseldee and Greteldum
Chapter 9: It's Greek to Me
Chapter 10: It's More Than Just Rain or Snow
Interlude: Does He Mean That?
Interlude: One Story
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