Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, Compact Edition (3rd Edition)

Roberts, Edgar V.; Jacobs, Henry E.

ISBN 10: 0131534351 / 0-13-153435-1
ISBN 13: 9780131534353
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Softcover
About this title:
For Introduction to Literature courses and Freshman Composition courses that emphasize writing about literature. Message: Roberts has the best coverage of writing about literature. Complete coverage of writing about each element and a total of 23 student essays with accompanying commentary ensure student comprehension of writing about literature and therefore, produce better student papers. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, Compact Edition is founded on the principles of writing about literature. It is not an afterthought and it is not treated as a separate chapter or appendix; but rather, it is the carefully integrated philosophy of Professor Roberts' approach to teaching literature and composition. In addition to his own contributions to the book, Professor Roberts has also made innumerable changes and improvements based on both student questions and student writing as well as from professor feedback. To this day, each new edition is revised and perfected based on professor and student needs to meet the changing needs of today's students.

From the Back Cover:

This second compact edition of the best-selling Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing by Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs retains all of the features of the original text. Like the sixth full edition upon which it is based, it is dedicated throughout to the interlocking processes of reading and writing. In addition to carefully chosen literary selections, each chapter contains detailed information about the process of writing about literature, with hundreds of thought-provoking questions and sample essays.

FREE online study resource—www.prenhall.com/roberts—Prentice Hall's exclusive Companion Website™ that accompanies Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, Sixth Edition. The site is a comprehensive resource that is organized alphabetically to find author information easier. The Website offers the following:

  • An Online Study Guide for students presents multiple choice and essay questions for a majority of the fiction, drama, and poetry selections with built-in e-mail routing options to give students the ability to forward responses to their instructors.
  • A "Writing About Literature" Section offers a student prompts for setting up' an outline.
  • A "Living Timeline" for literature gives students perspectives on historical, political, and cultural information.

This Website is free with any copy. Contact your local Prentice Hall sales representative for ordering instructions.

We are delighted to offer select Penguin Putnam titles at a substantial discount to your students when you request a special package of one or more Penguin titles with any Prentice Hall text.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Like the first compact edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, the second compact edition is a carefully chosen anthology. Most of the works here are by American, British, and Canadian authors, but ancient and medieval writers are also represented, along with writers who lived in or came from Norway, Ceylon, and Indonesia. In total, 208 authors are represented. One hundred twenty-four of the authors—roughly sixty per cent—were born after 1900. Interestingly, of the writers born since 1935, twenty-six are women and twenty-six are men—a number that dramatizes the increasingly vital importance of women in modern literature. The book includes a total of 334 separate works—forty-two stories, 280 poems, and twelve dramatic works. Each work is suitable for discussion either alone or in comparison. Seven stories, thirty-seven poems, and two plays are new in this edition.

Readers will note that some of the new stories are classic, like those by Conrad, Forster, and Hardy, and some, such as those by Bambara, Gilchrist, and Oates, are well on their way to becoming classic. The new stories complement the thirty-five stories, such as those by Faulkner, Carver, Crane, Glaspell, Gilman, Hawthorne, Joyce, Laurence, Porter, and Twain, that are retained from the first compact edition.

The anthology includes representative poems from late medieval times to our own day, including poets such as Shakespeare, Gray, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Tennyson, Rossetti, Pound, and Eliot. The thirty-seven new poems represent a wide variety of American and British poets. Most of these poets are widely recognized. Berry, Cowper, Queen Elizabeth I, Chief Dan George, Hardy, Jacobsen, Levertov, Longfellow, Lux, Mueller, Van Duyn, and Wilbur come readily to mind. More recent poets, most of them with multiple prizes and awards to their credit, are Collins, Gluck, Merwin, Momaday, and Schnackenberg. Even with the many poems that are included for the first time, the second compact edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, still retains 243 poems that were included in the first compact edition. A poet new in the second compact edition is Michael Ondaatje, who achieved wide recognition because of the many Academy awards received by the film version (1996) of his novel The English Patient. Chapter 19, the poetic careers chapter, contains a generous sampling of poems by Dickinson, and Frost, as in the first compact edition.

In the drama section, the plays newly included are the medieval Visitatio Sepulchri and Kauffmann's The More the Merrier. These short plays, added to the ten plays retained from the first compact edition, increase the usefulness of the entire section on drama as both an artistic and historical introduction to drama.


The second compact edition reaffirms a principle to which Literature: Art Introduction to Reading and Writing is dedicated—flexibility. The first compact edition has been used for introduction-to-literature courses, genre courses, and both composition and composition-and-literature courses. Adaptability and flexibility have been the keys to this variety. Instructors can use the book for classroom discussions, panel discussions, essay or paragraph-length assignments, and special topics not covered in class. Students will find incentives for understanding and writing about literature through questions, study and writing guides, and also through many suggestions for strengthening their own writing—both on essays and examinations.

FICTION. The fiction section consists of ten chapters. Chapter 2 is a general introduction to fiction while Chapters 3-9—the "topical" chapters central to each section of the book—introduce students to such important topics as structure, character, point of view, and theme. Chapter 10 consists of five stories for additional study and enjoyment.

POETRY. The ten poetry chapters are arranged similarly to the fiction chapters. Chapter 11 is introductory. Chapters 12-19 deal with topics such as diction, symbolism, imagery, tone, and myth. Chapter 19 is the poetic careers chapter, consisting of selections by Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Chapter 20 contains eighty-six poems for additional study and enjoyment. Brief biographies of each of the anthologized poets is included in Appendix II to make the poetry section parallel with the drama and fiction sections.

DRAMA. In the drama section Chapter 21 is introductory. Chapters 22 and 23 concern tragedy and comedy, the major genres of drama. Chapter 24 is the "Plays for Additional Study and Enjoyment" chapter including major plays by Henrik Ibsen, Langston Hughes, and Arthur Miller.

Six of the longer plays from the previous edition have been retained because they are important in an introductory study of drama (Oedipus the King, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Death of a Salesman, Mulatto, A Dollhouse). In an anthology of this scope, the six short plays (Am I Blue, The Bear, Before Breakfast, Tea Party, Visitatio Sepulchri, The More the Merrier) are valuable because they may be covered in no more than one or two classroom hours, and also because they may be enlivened by having parts read aloud and acted by students. Indeed, the Visitatio Sepulchri and Kelley's Tea Party are brief enough to permit classroom reading and discussion in a single period.


THEMATIC TABLE of CONTENTS. To make the second compact edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing as flexible as possible, we have continued the Thematic Table of Contents included in the first compact edition. In this table, which is located immediately following the organizational Contents, a number of thematic topics are provided, such as Women and Men; Conformity and Rebellion; Women and Their Roles; Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality; Endings and Beginnings; and Innocence and Experience. Under these topics, generous numbers of stories, poems, and plays are listed (many in a number of categories), so that entire thematic units may be created should instructors wish to use them.

QUESTIONS. Following each anthologized selection in the detailed chapters are study questions designed to help students in their exploration and understanding of literature. Some questions are factual and may be answered quickly. Others provoke extended thought and classroom discussion, and may also serve for both in-class and out-of-class writing assignments. At the ends of twenty-three chapters we include a number of more general "Special Topics for Writing and Argument about (Character, Symbolism, Tragedy, etc.)." A number of these are comparison-contrast topics, and a number of them—at least one in each chapter—are assignments requiring creative writing (for example, "Write a poem," or "Compose a short scene"). What is unique about these topics is that students are asked not only to write creatively and argue cogently, but also to analyze their own creative processes. As already indicated, the second compact edition contains questions designed to add a research component to the study of the chapter topics.

NUMBERING. For convenient reference, we have adopted a regular style of numbering the selections by flues:

  • Stories: every fifth paragraph.
  • Poems: every fifth line.
  • Poetic plays: every fifth line, starting at 1 with each new scene and act.
  • Prose plays: every fifth speech, starting at 1 with each new scene and act.

DATES. To place the various works in historical context, we include the life dates for all authors. Along with the title of each anthologized work, we list the year of publication.

GLOSSES. For the poetry and poetic plays, we provide brief marginal glosses wherever they are needed. For all works, including poetry, we supply explanatory footnotes when more details are necessary. Words and phrases that are glossed or footnoted are highlighted by a small degree sign. Footnotes are located according to line, paragraph, or speech numbers.

SPECIAL WRITING TOPICS. In the second compact edition we have retained the section titled "Special Writing Topics about Literature" which follows the drama section. This section contains four chapters (25-28) that were formerly appendices, but on the advice of many readers they are now a main part of the book. These chapters, which contain general literary assignments, are newly arranged to place emphasis on research and recent critical theories.

THE GLOSSARY. In the discussions to the various chapters, key terms and concepts are boldfaced, and these are gathered alphabetically and explained briefly, with relevant page numbers from the text, in the comprehensive glossary following the appendices. Because the second compact edition of Literature: An Introduction. to Reading and Writing may sometimes serve for reference purposes, the glossary is also intended for general use.

BOXED DISCUSSIONS WITHIN THE CHAPTERS. In Chapters 1, 5, 12, 14, 21, 25, and 28, separately boxed sections highlight brief but essential discussions of a number of important and related matters. The topics chosen for this treatment—such as the use of tenses in discussing a work, the use of authorial names, and the concept of decorum—were based on the recommendations of instructors and students.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND ART REPRODUCTIONS. We also include a number of art reproductions and photographs. We hope that these reproductions, together with others that instructors might add, will encourage comparison-and-contrast discussions and essays about the relationship of literature and art.

FICTION AND DRAMATIZATION. To strengthen the connection between fiction and dramatization, a number of stories are ...

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