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How to Read - Analysis
There are many ways to read literature, as I mentioned in my last column.  At that time I suggested a three-part approach based on experience, interpretation, and evaluation.  In this column....
How to Read Literature - an Approach
There are many approaches to reading literature.  Somewhere down the road, we may have an opportunity to explore, for example, how to read literature from a psychological or sociological perspect....
Why Read Literature - Some Answers
In our last discussion, we raised some questions about why we read literature.  Now we can get to a few answers. Here are my contenders.  We read literature for the following reasons: (1) ....
What We Read - part I
What literature should we read; and why should we read those works?  These two related questions can be answered in various ways.  Let me suggest that as part of our first response, we draw ....
What We Read - part II
Last time, I raised some questions about what literature we do read, we should read, or we might like to read.  And I invited you to think of some “classic” literary works you would l....
Reading Epic Poems - Some Advice and Encouragement
In my last column, I encouraged you to read some of the great literary epics by Homer, Virgil, and Milton.  But finding time to read such big works is not easy.  Nor are the epics themselves....
Daisy Miller - a Short Novel
In a recent column, I promised that we would consider one of Henry James’s short novel masterpieces.  Of the many novellas that James wrote, “Daisy Miller” is one of the best kn....
Frost is Old Dog
A while back I invited you to consider the following couplet by Robert Frost: The old dog barked backwards without getting up. I can remember when he was a pup. That pair of lines forms a compl....
The Short Novel
One of the pleasures of reading fiction is that we can read narrative works of varied lengths.  For a fictional snack, you can read a short story; for something more substantial, you can read a n....
The Short Novel - Ivan Ilych
One of the greatest of all novellas, or short novels, is Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” written late in Tolstoy’s life, and published in 1895.  Tolstoy, as you k....
The Pleasures of Drama
Ideally, plays should be seen performed on a stage.  Most of us, however, have only occasional opportunities to attend live performances of plays.  As an alternative, we can read the scripts....
A Red Red Rose by Robert Burns
One of the most charming of all love poems is Robert Burns’s “A Red Red Rose.”  Let’s take it one stanza at a time and see if we can identify what makes it so special and ....
Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis
A few columns back, I wrote about the wonderful form of the short novel—longer than a short story and shorter than a full-length novel.  Among the many glories of the short novel genre is F....
James Joyce's The Dead
James Joyce’s The Dead is the final story, really a short novel, which concludes his book Dubliners, a collection of short stories about the lives of the people of Dublin at the turn of the twen....
How to Read Poems -Some Ways In
One of the first questions people ask concerns how they should read a poem.  And how you can know what it “really” means.  The first thing to say, here, is that there is no one b....
Some Other Ways in to Poems
In a previous column I described some ways to enter poems—through their sounds and structures, through what you see and hear as you read and view them.  In this column, I will describe some....
A Blessing A Poem of Epiphany by James Wright
In the last couple of columns, I spoke about reading poems for pleasure—taking pleasure in their words and rhythms, their sounds and structures, their details of description and story. Here i....
A Blessing by James Wright : Poem interpretation
In my last column I shared with you James Wright’s poem “A Blessing.”  You will need to refer to that column, or you can print out a copy of the poem from another Internet site.....
A Poem with a Surprising Speaker
Most poems—nearly all—have human speakers and deal with human experience.  The poem I present in this posting differs from those conventions.  Here are the first four lines of Ma....
A Villanelle
The following poem is a villanelle.  After you read it once, read it again to see what patterns you notice—of repeating words, phrases, lines—as well as any patterns of rhythm, rhyme,....
A Red Wheelbarrow
So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens. The sentence above, written out across the page in typical fashion, contains the words of a poem by the moder....
Reading a Contemporary Novel
In 2001, a contemporary novel by a Canadian writer was awarded Great Britain’s highest prize for a work of fiction, The Man Booker Prize.  The novel was The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. In th....
An Unusual Memoir
Memoir has become, in recent years, a very popular literary genre, and one not without its problems.  The main issue for memoir, of course, is truth—often determined by the accuracy of the ....
 
 
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