How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 336 pages
25 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.

 

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User Review  - ValerieAndBooks - LibraryThing

In a lifetime of avid reading, I honestly never put much thought into what anything meant beyond the basic story itself. Not even the required English courses in high school and college provided me ... Read full review

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User Review  - jms001 - LibraryThing

How to Read Literature Like a Professor is a nice, easy-to-read book on identifying some of the patterns and motifs we come across as readers. It's certainly not a comprehensive list, but gives the ... Read full review

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Contents

Every Trip Is a Quest
1
If Its Square Its a Sonnet
22
NowWhere Have I
28
When in Doubt
37
Or the Bible
47
Hanseldee and Greteldum
57
Its Greek to Me
64
Its More Than Just Rain
74
If She Comes Up Its Baptism
152
Geography Matters
163
So Does Season
175
One Story
185
Marked for Greatness
193
Hes Blind for a
201
Its Never Just Heart Disease
207
And Rarely Just Illness
213

Does He Mean That?
82
Is That a Symbol?
97
Its All Political
108
Yes Shes a Christ Figure Too
117
Flights of Fancy
125
Its All About Sex
135
Except Sex
143
Dont Read with Your Eyes
226
Is He Serious?
235
A Test Case
245
Envoi
278
Acknowledgments
297
Copyright

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Page 35 - So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Page 125 - When the two girls were playing dolls in the nursery, he would sit on his big rocking horse, charging madly into space, with a frenzy that made the little girls peer at him uneasily. Wildly the horse careered, the waving dark hair of the boy tossed, his eyes had a strange glare in them. The little girls dared not speak to him. When he had ridden to the end of his mad little journey, he climbed down and stood in front of his rocking horse, staring fixedly into its lowered face.
Page 27 - tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door ; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve : ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o...
Page 230 - And after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden party if they had ordered it. Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. Only the blue was veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early summer. The gardener had been up since dawn, mowing the lawns and sweeping them, until the grass and the dark flat rosettes where the daisy plants...
Page 237 - But now Sadie interrupted them. 'What is it, Sadie?' 'If you please, m'm, cook says have you got the flags for the sandwiches?' 'The flags for the sandwiches, Sadie?
Page 246 - It was just growing dusky as Laura shut their garden gates. A big dog ran by like a shadow. The road gleamed white, and down below in the hollow the little cottages were in deep shade. How quiet it seemed after the afternoon. Here she was going down the hill to somewhere where a man lay dead, and she couldn't realize it. Why couldn't she? She stopped a minute. And it seemed to her that kisses, voices, tinkling, spoons, laughter, the smell of crushed grass were somehow inside her. She had no room...
Page 249 - While they were laughing and while the band was playing, this marvel had come to the lane. Happy . . . happy . . . All is well, said that sleeping face. This is just as it should be. I am content.
Page 232 - Only a very small band,' said Laura gently. Perhaps he wouldn't mind so much if the band was quite small. But the tall fellow interrupted. 'Look here, miss, that's the place. Against those trees. Over there. That'll do fine.' Against the karakas. Then the karaka trees would be hidden. And they were so lovely, with their broad, gleaming leaves, and their clusters of yellow fruit. They were like trees you imagined growing on a desert island, proud, solitary, lifting their leaves and fruits to the sun...

References to this book

Walden by Haiku
Ian Marshall
Limited preview - 2010

About the author (2009)

Thomas C. Foster is a professor of English at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he teaches contemporary fiction, drama, and poetry as well as creative writing and composition. He is the author of Twenty-five Books That Shaped America and several books on twentieth-century British and Irish fiction and poetry. He lives in East Lansing, Michigan.

Bibliographic information