This first book is geared towards teaching criticism. It says that it doesn’t mean to say whether you liked a work or not, but what you thought when you looked at the piece critically.
This book will probably change how I read other books.
I remember my philosophy class in college and how the professor stated at the beginning of the course that the group studying together had to start with defining important terms. Well, this books starts with a clever illustration and then defines terms.
- Literature is imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value.
- Literary reading is different from pragmatic reading. Rather than a journey to get there, it is more like making a journey to experience the ride.
Number one is arguable. There is much controversy as to the things or works that have artistic value. There are many atrocious things that have endured the passage of time. There are also many books and other pieces that are not well known but have artistic value. So what is it that we value enough to include in the canon? This book will help. I just know it.
Number two is kind of a conundrum for me as I don’t really differentiate between the types of reading that I do. Everything for me is literary reading. Even the newspaper, but that’s just me.
The book includes three poems in its introduction: “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” “My Father’s “Norton’s Introduction to Literature, 3rd Edition, 1981,” and “Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter.”
The first poem had me reaching for Google. What is a demesne? Who or what is Darien? The second was more within my grasp and the last brought out sadness. Funerals. The question that came to my mind was frankly, “How do I read literature without judging it according to my likes and dislikes?”
Then, the book states aims and mission statements. It was nice to read what the authors had in mind other than making tons of money out of the ed market.
- “Sharpening your skills at these particularly intensive and responsive sorts of reading and interpretation is a primary purpose of this book and of most literature courses.”
- “A major aim of this book is to make you more conscious of how and to what end you might use the tools you already possess and to add new ones to your belt.”
The introduction to the first book talked about how regardless of what you plan to major in, the study of literature will open your mind to other’s trials and lead you towards a greater capability for compassion. Pretty cool. It’s Norton’s Introduction to Literature, 13 ed.