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Literature Pedagogy

Literature pedagogy and indeed literature itself are neglected at the university level.  Teaching the so-called Great Books or classics of Western Civilization may have been tainted by the Culture Wars controversies.  More significantly, the academic approach to these works is undermined by scholarly specialization and a declining culture of reading. Though few would argue against teaching these works altogether, they are currently taught less than they merit, with formerly attractive traditions such as Latin, Russian, or Scandinavian widely neglected, and little attention given to the methods of teaching literature in general.

The Literature Pedagogy Unit is an independent study offered in tandem with the Middle Core General Education lecture-discussion course Literary Narrative.   A team of one professor and several graduate students collaborates in order to correlate theory with practice.  The assistants take part in an independent study, the Literature Pedagogy Unit.  It serves as a course planning session, an advanced literature seminar, and an experimental workshop in methods of literature pedagogy.

Available through this homepage are 1. a group publication entitled Making Ends Meet which was researched and written in collaboration with the professor by the Literature Pedagogy independent study group (to appear in the journal Pedagogy in 2015), and 2. the amended lecture notes of the lecturing professor based on over a decade of teaching.  Both sources offer practical suggestions for teaching literature. The article gives an account of the practical working of the Literature Pedagogy Unit and the methods developed in it.  The expanded lecture notes can be consulted as a small-scale theory and history of Western Literature.  Though based on real lectures, patterned on a semester-length course, the manuscript which bears the title The Mysticism of Reading​ is cumulative and in consequence more comprehensive than a lecturer could reasonably undertake to present in a single semester. The material is offered here in order to provide a point of departure and stimulate the thinking of anyone teaching literature to university undergraduates.  

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