Discovering Literature, Compact Edition

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9780130835567: Discovering Literature, Compact Edition
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This anthology of stories, poems, and plays enables readers to discover their rich and diverse literary heritage and the power of literature to illuminate and enhance their lives. Integrates the classics with the best current writing, drawing timeless connections between subjects, emotions, and ideas in literary works throughout the ages. Juxtaposes similar works by authors of differing time, culture, and gender. Elicits reader response to classic and contemporary literary selections, engaging them as active participants in reading-and writing-about literature. Focuses on the relevance of criticism to the reader's response to literature. Provides writing guidelines, workshops, and model papers that serve as effective examples of how to work through the writing process. For readers who want to sharpen their critical thinking skills in order to read and write with keen perception about selections from both mainstream and culturally diverse authors.

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From the Publisher:

More motivating and accessible than other anthologies, Discovering Literature helps instructors turn reluctant or nonreaders into enthusiastic, perceptive readers by helping them discover the richness and diversity of their literary heritage and the power of literature to illuminate and enhance their lives. The selections -- 55 stories, 355 poems, and 21 plays -- include a blend of classic favorites, contemporary pieces, and works representing authors from the mainstream as well as those from culturally diverse backgrounds. The text addresses the needs of today's students -- through provocative discussions, an expanded canon, a variety of critical perspectives, juxtaposition of similar works by authors from different periods or traditions, and an exceptional "way in" to the classics. A variety of interactive pedagogic features engages students intellectually, emotionally, and imaginatively and elicits students' personal responses to the selections and validates their own writing.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

To the Instructor

Everything is new under the sun.

Silence is the real crime against humanity.

In this new edition of Discovering Literature, we have aimed at building on the strengths of the earlier editions of the book. Our aim is to give students of literature a textbook for reading and writing that will be

  • unexcelled in selections that work well in today's classrooms and help teachers turn reluctant readers into readers
  • unexcelled in showing students the contemporary relevance of the classics, revitalizing our shared literary heritage for a new generation
  • unexcelled in showing how the elements of ,literature serve its human meaning
  • unexcelled in honoring the rich diversity of the literary experience, integrating multicultural authors and women authors in a new synthesis
  • unexcelled in making literary terms and concepts meaningful for a new generation of students, with a wide range of background and motivation
  • unexcelled in validating student writing with hands-on writing instructions and student models for writing about literature
  • nexcelled in bringing the students' own creative imagination into play, with interactive activities encouraging students to become active participants


New features give teachers an expanded range of options and alternative perspectives for reaching and motivating today's students:

  • New full-color "Word and Image" sections
    – pair paintings and poetry
    – bring the student's visual imagination into play
    – correlate imaginative literature and the sister arts
  • New Find-It-on-the-Web feature
    – provides guidelines and caveats for Internet searches
    – guides students to online background and criticism
  • New Web link icon placed in the margin throughout the text alerts students to additional resources on the web site to support the instruction in the text
  • New expanded "Promise of Literature" introduction
    – contains interactive student responses to literature
    – has new writing process overview
    – includes new introduction to searching online sources
  • New "Festival of Classic Stories"
    – presents classic stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Upton Sinclair, Ambrose Bierce, Joseph Conrad, Willa Cattier, Edith Wharton, and D. H. Lawrence
  • New "Festival of Nature Poems"
    – groups of poems renewing communion with nature thematically
  • New expanded writing workshops
    – have a new "Questions for Peer Review" strand
    – update guidelines for citation of online sources

Teaching literature is a rich and challenging undertaking. As teachers of literature we share a basic commitment to the students in our classes. Whatever our theoretical disagreements, we believe in the power of imaginative literature to open windows on the world. We have faith that literature will enrich the imagination, educate the emotions, and nourish the spiritual growth of our students.

Many teachers today share the following concerns:

Discovering the Literary Heritage. We aim at helping students discover the richness and diversity of their literary heritage. Classics speak beyond time and distance to succeeding generations. We try to give students a "way in" to the reading of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Steinbeck, John Donne, Gwendolyn Brooks, or Flannery O'Connor. Stressing the presence of the past, this book integrates treatment of the classics with the best current writing. "Juxtapositions" frequently show the treatment of the same theme by authors of different times, cultures, or genders.

Close Reading and the Personal Response. The apparatus in this book encourages close attentive reading. What kind of window does the story or the poem open on the world? What question or concern comes into focus? What image or what symbol comes to play a central role? What kind of pattern takes shape as we follow the poem or the story to its conclusion? How does a central conflict take shape in a play, and how is it resolved? At the same time, we encourage students to see the personal connection that gives a widely read and loved story its resonance in people's lives. Some of the stories that are most popular with young readers are stories like Alice Munro's "Boys and Girls" or Bobbie Ann Mason's "Shiloh"—stories of initiation that explore turning points that untold readers have experienced in their own way in their lives.

Redefining the Canon. Each generation rediscovers the classics, discovers tomorrow's classics, and rethinks its list of canonical works. Among today's classics included in this edition are stories by Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison, Tim O'Brien, Sandra Cisneros, Alice Walker, Gabriel García Márquez, and Yukio Mishima. New voices in poetry are represented by poems from Maurya Simon, Alberto Ríos, Rita Dove, Kathleen Lynch, Yusef Komunyakaa, Bethlyn Madison Webster, and Alison Hawthorne Deming. Strong new entries in the drama section include plays by Luis Valdez, David Henry Hwang, David Mamet, and Marsha Norman.

Gender and Ethnic Balance. Imaginative literature transcends boundaries of gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. Among the poets in this volume, women from earlier periods include Juana Inés de la Cruz, the Countess of Dia, Marie de Pisan, and Aphra Behn. Selections include fiction by Laurence Dunbar, Frank Chin, Guadalupe Valdéz, and new poems by Janice Mirikitani, Chitra Divakaruni, Maya Angelou, and Martin Espada. Women writing poetry with a strong personal dimensions include Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, May Swenson, Sylvia Plath, and Denise Levertov.

The Creative Dimension. if students are to enter into the spirit of a poem or play, our teaching needs to honor the students' own imagination. Discovering Literature encourages students to cease being passive readers and instead to bring their own imagination into play. The "Creative Dimension" strand encourages students to discover their own creativity as they write a sequel or update a story whose ending left them dissatified, write a letter from the future from the later life of a character in a story or play, assume the identity of a character in a play to tell his or her first-person story, or write a lovingly-crafted reply to a traditional poem.

The Uses of Criticism. Discovering Literature examines the currents of contemporary literary theory for their relevance to the student reader's response to literature. "Perspectives" sections introduce the student to the range of critical approaches to fiction, poetry, and drama. Critical perspectives covered include reader response, author biography, literary history, the New Criticism (or formalism), myth criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, political (often neo-Marxist) criticism, structuralism and poststructuralism, deconstructionism, and feminist criticism. Critical revaluations make us see writers in a new light, as current critics bring new criteria and expectations to bear—for instance, making us see Ibsen's or Steinbeck's strong women with a new awareness. Resisting the proliferation of critical terminology, we introduce and clarify key critical terms to help illuminate the literature—rather than making imaginative literature serve the purposes of literary theory.

Validating Student Writing. Writing about literature makes students more intelligent and more responsive readers. Discovering Literature provides guidelines for writing and model papers with each chapter. Writing workshops repeatedly take students through major stages in the writing process, from preliminary exploration and note-taking through shaping and drafting to rethinking and revising in response to feedback from instructor and peers. A wealth of motivated, well-developed student writing provides model papers for class discussion of writing strategies and for peer review.

Inviting Shakespeare Editions. We offer students a more inviting, accessible, and motivating introduction to Shakespeare than competing books. We include two glossed (rather than footnoted ) student editions—Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Specially prepared for this book, the marginal glosses replace the thicket of conventional footnotes at the bottom of the page. Close at hand and available at a glance, the glosses illuminate difficult passages and provide the closest modern meaning in the context of a line.

Demystifying Research and Documentation. Discovering Literature initiates students into library research and sets up an ample choice of research paper projects on literary topics. The text provides guidelines and models of documented papers for each genre—short story, poetry, and drama. Pointed instructions demystify for students the current MLA documentation style, clarifying the rationale while giving an expanded range of sample entries.


A range of resources for teaching and testing is available to teachers of Discovering Literature. The Discovering Literature Web site will offer

  • more juxtapositions of poetry and art with interactive questions
  • multiple-choice and essay questions for the majority of selections in the text
  • many author links for independent student research
  • an interactive timeline
  • literary walking tours of four cities: San Francisco, London, New York, and Paris
  • a "Writers on Writing" section with video clips of authors talking about writing
  • a "library" of additional readings from the public domain

The online instructor's Resource area will ...

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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