How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For better or worse, How To Read Literature Like A Professor reads like a "for dummies" book.
It's hard to dislike Professor Thomas C. Foster. His love of literature is genuinely infectious (in the musical sense). If your looking for a plebeian, fun introduction to concepts of literature, and if you want a deeper enjoyment out of the practice of literature, than look no further.
Now I have two complaints. First, as this book is clearly a broad look at an enormously large field, the authors Toni Morrison fetish gets tired quickly. Second, his attempts at humor seem of the sort that an elderly woman who thinks inspirational cat calenders are clever would enjoy. This seems forced from someone as bright as Foster.
At the end is a "test case", a short story by Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party. This was a brilliant move, Foster asks the reader to answer two questions on the meaning and elements of the story. I was suprised by the exercise, and found it a very rewarding ending. This is a teacher at his best, and his analysis was luminous, which made me wish the rest of the book was as solid.
Pedestrian and loose, How To Read Literature Like A Professor is a nice introduction to literary symbolism.
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