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How to Read Literature like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines

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How to Read Literature like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines Cover

ISBN13: 9780061804069
ISBN10: 0061804061
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

A lively and entertaining introduction to the art of reading literature demonstrates how to make everyday reading more rewarding by helping readers understand the symbols, themes, narrative devices and forms, and contexts of literary works. Original.

Table of Contents

How'd he do that? — Every trip is a quest — Nice to eat with you — Acts of vampires — If it's square, it's a sonnet — Now, where have i seen her before? — When in doubt, it's from Shakespeare — Or the bible — Hanseldee and Greteldum — It's Greek to me — It's more than just rain or snow — Interlude: does he mean that? — More than it's gonna hurt you — Is that a symbol? — It's all political — Yes, she's a Christ figure, too — Flights of fancy — It's all about sex — Except sex — If she comes up, it's baptism — Geography matters — do does season — Interlude: One story — Marked for greatness — He's blind for a reason, you know — It's never just heart disease — Rarely just illness — Don't read with your eyes — Is he serious? — other ironies — Test case — Envoi — Appendix — Reading list.

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lilianxcheng, July 4, 2012 (view all comments by lilianxcheng)
If you're going to read a book on literature analysis, it might as fell be an insightful and enjoyable one instead of one that wants you make to gouge your eyes out. How to Read Literature Like a Professor is an insightful introduction to the secret meanings behind literature, how to uncover them, and what makes great literature, while teaching us to read between the lines--because nothing can be taken at surface value. This book may not convince you to like reading literature, but it will definitely make you aware--if not more appreciative of it.

The only major qualm I haven't read much of the examples used and it left me very much confused--although Foster often does give a story summary. I couldn't "get" the modern references either--which made me feel like I need to read a lot more. The book is also targeted towards people who are familiar with the Bible for a great chunk of it is about biblical references, communion, baptism, and Christ figures. I would rather touch upon universal themes that will assist in read literature with a different religious backgrounds--although arguably, English literature is riddled with biblical references.

From other "reviews" I've read, some see Foster's conversational tone and as "unprofessional," "condescending," "trying too hard." While I didn't get the notion of unprofessionalism, if you are looking for a serious, extremely detailed textbook--this isn't your book. I can see Foster trying to appeal to the younger generation, the students who are only beginning to grasp the literature, which explains why he may come off as "condescending." I found the humor refreshing, and I admit to smiling a few times, but may come off as "unprofessional." And as for the "Trying too hard" part, this guy is a middle-age dude trying to speak to the younger generation here, it's like me trying to see why kids like Justin Bieber--I just can't "get" it, but you should still give me kudos for trying.

Even though I've had quite a few English classes and I've grudgingly written quite a few essays (and I only foresee more in the future)--even if I was convinced I couldn't find anything profound to say. Then, like many others, I wonder if we're all taking just making stuff up to sound intelligent (and to meet page counts), and if the author did intend for his work to make taken this way or he just had a great publicist. And Foster makes a convincing argument that it is all intentional: writers don't slave over manuscripts for years for nothing; literature isn't simply about unraveling the writer's hidden agenda, as much as it is to fuel our own interpretations.

Now I wish I'd read this before my American Literature exam--I would've had a whole lot more to say (especially since I was asked to write about religion--after reading this I am convinced I can tie anything with the Bible.)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061804069
Subtitle:
A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines
Publisher:
Quill
Author:
Thomas C. Foster
Author:
Foster, Thomas C.
Subject:
Literature
Subject:
Criticism
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Reference
Subject:
Rhetoric
Subject:
Books and reading
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Literature -- History and criticism.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
Reference-Books on Books
Subject:
Reference-Reading
Subject:
Family - Siblings
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20030218
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
314

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » General

How to Read Literature like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines
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Product details 314 pages HarperCollins - English 9780061804069 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A lively and entertaining introduction to the art of reading literature demonstrates how to make everyday reading more rewarding by helping readers understand the symbols, themes, narrative devices and forms, and contexts of literary works. Original.
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