Materials for the Study of English Literature and Composition

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Lightning Source Incorporated, Oct 27, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 468 pages
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PREFACE THE purpose of this book is to bring together in convenient form a series of selections from nineteenth-century essayists which can be used as material for thoughtful work in English composition, and which will form at the same time an introduction to the study of English Literature. The last few years have witnessed a rapidly increasing tendency among teachers of English composition to make that subject not merely a study of words but of ideas as well. This tendency is, in the opinion of the editor of this volume, destined to be the salvation of our composition teaching. But it is beset with one danger, that of going too far afield in the search for ideas, with the result that the work becomes a consideration of smatteriqs-shreds and patches of ideas drawn here and there from philosophy and science and the propaganda of current social reform-rather than the pursuit of any scheme of connected thought. Teaching students to think demands coherence of subject-matter so that one idea is followed by another related to it and so that the whole can be built into an organic structure of thought. It is of course not necessary that this subject-matter be connected with English literature. It is perfectly possible for students to be trained to think and to express their thoughts in connection with any subject in the university curriculum or out of it, but only by an instructor competent to deal with that subject. The teacher of English will find in ideas connected with English literature his most effective subject- matter for thoughtfuI work in composition. The aim of this book is to supply that material. The unifying purpose governing the choice of the material is to present the opinions of great English thinkers of the last century on the nature and significance of literature, its relation to science, and its place and value in education. To this end the volume opens with selections from Newman and ArnoId dealing with the questions What are the ends of education What is the meaning of liberal knowledge or culture, and what is its relation to professional knowledge and to virtue Following these, by means of four essays of Huxleys, the student is introduced to the question of the relative values of literature and science in education. The selections are so chosen as to give the comments of both Arnold and Huxley on each others theories on this subject, to the end that their controversy may stimulate the student to think for himself about it...

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