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Booking Through Thursday: Lit-Ra-Chur

  • When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)

  • Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

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When I hear the word literature, I think of the syllabus f

or my first English class in college.  To be an English major with writing concentration at Goucher (at least at that time), you had to take three required classes: English Literature-- Beowulf to Dryden, English Literature--Pope to Eliot, and Shakespeare.  As you can imagine, I learned a lot about the social context around those writers.  I was glad that I got a good foundation in reading "classic" authors. However, I felt that a lot of that reading was work.   A lot of people argue that in order to become a good writer, you have to read good writers.  To a certain extent, I agree with that argument. However, the foundational courses assume that there is only one type of "good writing." It was not until I took upper level courses that I read authors whose writing style and stories I found VERY engaging.

Since leaving the world of English majors, I have continued to read for pleasure. I have tried to make up for lost time by reading authors and works that speak to me.  I do find pleasure in some of those classics, but I feel like I am now spending a lot of my reading time (on an unconscious level) making up for lost time. 

Also, I do not really have a clear definition of literature.  This is one definition, but it does not give much clarity.

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 2:06PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] | Comments2 Comments

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Reader Comments (2)

I think a lot of students (college level and of compulsory school age) feel the same way for similar reasons. When we read literature in school, it tends to feel like work, a chore....even if we enjoy it. It's my goal with my daughter not to have her feel that way about the selections we read.
April 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda
That is a good goal to have with your daughter. I think more variety in the types of writers who are read under the heading of "literature" may help.
April 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbeastmomma

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