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The English Handbook: A Guide to Literary Studies

The English Handbook: A Guide to Literary Studies

William Whitla

ISBN: 978-1-405-18375-8

Sep 2009

358 pages

In Stock

$37.95

Description

The English Handbook: A Guide to Literary Studies is a comprehensive textbook, providing essential practical and analytical reading and writing skills for literature students at all levels. With advice and information on fundamental methods of literary analysis and research, Whitla equips students with the knowledge and tools essential for advanced literary study.
  • Includes traditional close reading strategies integrated with newer critical theory, ranging from gender and genre to post-structuralism and post-colonialism; with examples from Beowulf to Atwood, folk ballads to Fugard, and Christopher Marlowe to Conrad’s Marlow
  • Draws on a wide range of resources, from print to contemporary electronic media
  • Supplies a companion website with chapter summaries, charts, examples, web links, and suggestions for further study

Related Resources

Preface xi

List of Abbreviations xiv

PART I Introduction 1

1 What is English and What is Literature? 5

“English” and “Literature”: The Subject in Question 5

The Uses of Literature 8

Great Books and “Trash”: The Canon Wars 10

Literary History, Periods, and Movements:

Four Approaches to the Past 12

Critical Interpretation and Analysis 16

Further Reading 21

Web Pages of Interest 22

PART II Foundational Skills 23

2 Reading English: From Opening a Book to Critical Analysis 27

Foundational Reading Strategies: Overview and Detail 28

Five Intensive Methods of Reading Literature 42

Further Reading 56

Web Pages of Interest 56

3 Library Research and Scholarly Method 57

How to Find What You Need: Old and New Methods 57

Research Methods and Library Classification Systems 58

Printed Library Resources 65

Research on the Web 68

Evaluating What You Find 75

Plagiarism 78

Documenting Your Sources 81

Further Reading 83

Web Pages of Interest 84

4 Writing in English Studies 85

Different Kinds of Assignments: Their Objectives and Audiences 85

Kinds of Essays 88

Reading the Assignment 89

Establishing a Logical Position 91

Organizing Your Argument: Computer Drafts and Thesis Statement 95

Building Paragraphs and Arguments 102

Integrating Quotations 107

Revising for Content, Argument, and Style 109

Further Reading 111

Web Pages of Interest 111

PART III The Major Genres 113

5 Drama 117

Plays, Drama, Theater, Performance: The Varieties of Institutional Formation 119

Drama, Text, and Speech 121

The Theater and the Play: The Shape of the Stage and the History of Drama 126

Dramatic Action and Structure in Relation to Genre 133

Character Types and the Unities 140

Reading Plays 142

Further Reading 152

Web Pages of Interest 153

6 Prose Fiction 154

Definitions: Novel, Fiction, Narrative, Metafiction 155

History and Origins 156

Reading Prose Fiction 158

Character, Setting, and Action in Prose Fiction 160

Bakhtin: Monophonic and Polyphonic Novels 164

Narratology: From Story to Narrative Discourse 167

Further Reading 174

Web Pages of Interest 174

7 Poetry 175

The Elements of Poetry 175

Reading Poems: A Prelude to Critical Analysis 180

Critical Analysis 186

Prosody: An Introduction to Versification 190

Scansion 193

Line Length, Pauses, and Continuity 195

Sound 196

Rhyme 197

Stanzas and Diction 200

Ambiguity and Irony 201

Four Verse Forms 205

Further Reading 212

Web Pages of Interest 213

PART IV Theory 215

8 Language and Literary Studies 219

Linguistics: The Systematic Study of Language 219

Rhetoric and Persuasion 227

Literary Stylistics 239

Further Reading 245

Web Pages of Interest 245

9 Recent Critical Practice 246

The Analysis of Genre: What Kind of Thing is That? 246

Formalisms 253

Reading the Signs: Semiotics for Students of Literature 260

From One Meaning to Many: Constructing and Deconstructing the Text 267

Further Reading 283

Web Pages of Interest 284

10 The Politics of Reading: Gender, Class, and Ethnicity 285

Gender Matters 285

Being Class Conscious 294

Ethnic Difference: Reading in a Postcolonial Context 303

Conclusion 314

Further Reading 314

Web Pages of Interest 315

References 317

Index 326

“It would certainly be helpful to students to have multiple copies available in their academic libraries.”  (Reference Reviews, 2012)

 

  • A comprehensive textbook, providing essential practical and analytical reading and writing skills for literature students at all levels
  • Includes traditional close reading strategies integrated with newer critical theory, ranging from gender and genre to post-structuralism and post-colonialism; with examples from Beowulf to Atwood, folk ballads to Fugard, and Christopher Marlowe to Conrad’s Marlow
  • Draws on a wide range of resources, from print to contemporary electronic media
  • Supplies a companion website with chapter summaries, charts, examples, web links, and suggestions for further study