March 10, 2011


Over on English Companion, they are tackling a new book, Doing Literary Criticism.  I read through the posts and comments, but LitCrit brings up horrid memories of a class in grad school, where I felt I had entered an alien world in one my of English classes: language was jargon-laden, surreal, strange and instead of discussing the texts listed on the syllabus, on that first session of class, the students all had reams of staple articles in front of them to which they referred.  I fled that session and retreated to the Comparative Literature classes, where they spoke a familiar language of the text, rather than criticism.

I just received my new class assignment for Fall: Intro to Literature.  I'm thrilled as it's so nice to be teaching in what I earned my degree in (of sorts--still not Creative Writing, but I'll take it).  I did introduce some LitCrit last time I taught this, but I don't think I did it very well.  I did it in that teachery way we sometimes have of lobbing ideas out over the students' heads.  Notice the key word, "over."

This morning I thought I should look into the book; it's published by Stenhouse--and we have a code for free shipping this month, courtesy of TWT!  Maybe I'll find a way to teach this without inflicting the same horror on my students as what I experienced.

Click to return to SOLSC--Day 10.


  1. You seem to be in a good starting point. You have reflected, and are aware of what exactly in your past caused your dislike, even horror for Lit-Crit. You also have a fresh book to learn new ways of teaching. I hope that you will enjoy learning and teaching.

  2. Well...this is your chance to make lit crit enjoyable for a whole batch of new students...go for it!

  3. Those who struggle with something are the best teachers. Your students will benefit from that previous struggle. Sounds like you've started a plan, good luck!

  4. Why do teachers sometimes lob things over their heads? I probably do too (but my kids ARE shorter in first grade, so it's more easily done). When we have endured the worst of teaching, we either repeat it because that's the way it's always been, or we infuse it with life. I'm sure you will come up with something creative and fun to make LitCrit something "to live for" vs. something "to die of"!