Why study literature?
For a prospective undergraduate reading this Q. and A., how would you answer the question, Why study literature? Abrams: Ha — Why live? Life without literature is a life reduced to penury. It expands you in every way. It illuminates what you’re doing. It shows you possibilities you haven’t thought of. It enables you to live the lives of other people than yourself. It broadens you, it makes you...
How to Read the New York Times Book Review
the-how-to: by Diana Holquist 1. Skip to bestseller lists. 2. Note how most books/authors there are never in articles in rest of review. 3. Recycle.
“Criticism is far too clever; that is what will be the death of it. It never judges straightforwardly what has been done straightforwardly. It looks for midday at two in the afternoon, as the old saying goes, and it must have done a great deal of harm to those artists who pay too much attention to its opinions.” —George Sand, Introduction to Indiana
The Landscapes of our Childhood
Walking in Point Pleasant Park today, I couldn’t help but reflect that, pretty as the scene was, it didn’t move me the way walking around the sea wall in Vancouver does. George Eliot writes so beautifully about the ways our memories attach us to a particular landscape: We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it,— if it were not the earth where the...
How to Read a Victorian Novel
a somewhat tongue-in-cheek contribution to the How-To Issue Tumblr First of all, don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to. Middlemarch “kills book clubs”? Please! Unlike some highly-regarded classics, these novels were written to be read—by all of us. But you do need to be properly equipped. Bring both your head and your heart: these are books that want you thinking and feeling. While...