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Literature and Its Writers : A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-09-25
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Literature is a conversation between writers and other writers, and between writers and readers. InLiterature and Its Writers, Ann and Samuel Charters complement a rich and varied selection of stories, poems, and plays with an unparalleled array of commentaries about that literature by the writers themselves. Such "writer talk" inspires students to respond as it models ways for them to respond. In the fifth edition, the Charters continue to entice students to join the conversation, with adventurous and intriguing new literary works, new literary traditions to discuss, and new features that help them participate as readers and writers.

Author Biography

Ann Charters (Ph.D., Columbia University) is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut and has taught courses in the short story for over thirty years. A preeminent authority on the Beat writers, Charters has written a critically acclaimed biography of Jack Kerouac; compiled Beats & Company, a collection of her own photographs of Beat writers; and edited the best-selling Portable Beat Reader. Her most recent books are The Kerouac Reader, Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac, 1957-1969, Beat Down to Your Soul, and The Story and Its Writer, Seventh Edition, available in full and compact versions.

Samuel Charters has taught creative writing and published widely in a variety of genres, including 11 books of poetry, 4 novels, a book of criticism on contemporary American poetry, a biography (co-authored with Ann Charters) of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, and translations of the poetry of Tomas Transtromer and Edith Sodergran. An ethnomusicologist, he produces blues and jazz recordings and has published many books about music, among them a history of New Orleans jazz and a study of bluesman Robert Johnson.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Preface for Instructors

Introduction: Connecting with Literature
Student Essay: Raymond Carver’s “Creative Writing

Part One: Fiction

1. What Is a Short Story?
Grace Paley, Samuel
Commentary: Edgar Allan Poe

2. The Elements of Fiction: A Storyteller’s
Plot • Character • Setting • Point of View • Voice
and Style • Theme
Anton Chekhov, Flannery
O’Connor, Frank O’Connor, David S. Reynolds

3. The Art of the Story: Reading, Thinking,
and Writing about Short Fiction
Reading Short Fiction
Guidelines for Reading Short Fiction
Sample Close Reading
Critical Thinking about Short Fiction
Writing about Short Fiction
Sample Essay: Paley’s Point of View in Samuel
Commentaries: Ralph Ellison, Sandra M. Gilbert
and Susan Gubar, J. Hillis Miller, Grace Paley
Related Section: Part Four: Writing about

4. Stories and Storytellers
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto
Fistfight in Heaven
Commentary: Sherman Alexie
Isabelle Allende, An Act of Vengeance
Commentary: Isabelle Allende
Margaret Atwood, Happy Endings
James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues
Commentary: James Baldwin
Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson
Russell Banks, Black Man and White Woman in
Dark Green Rowboat
Connections: Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like
White Elephants
; David Foster Wallace, Good
Aimee Bender, The Rememberer
Connection: Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
Raymond Carver, Cathedral
Commentary: Raymond Carver
Lan Samantha Chang, Water Names
Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Pet Dog
Connection: Joyce Carol Oates, The Lady
With the Pet Dog
Commentaries: Anton Chekhov; Richard
Kate Chopin, Desiree’s Baby; The Story of an Hour
Commentary: Kate Chopin
Junot Diaz, How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl,
Whitegirl, or Halfie
Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal
Commentary: Ralph Ellison
Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible
William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily
Commentary: William Faulkner
Richard Ford, Leaving for Kenosha
Commentary: Richard Ford
Gabriel García Márquez, A Very Old Man with
Enormous Wings
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
Commentaries: Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
Sandra M. Gilbert, and Susan Gubar
Susan Glaspell, A Jury of Her Peers
Connections: Susan Glaspell, Trifles; Lynn
Nottage, POOF!
Commentary: Leonard Mustazza
Nadine Gordimer, Some Are Born to Sweet
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
Commentarie: Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe
Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants
Connections: Russell Banks, Black Man and
White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat
David Foster Wallace, Good People
Amy Hempel, Church Cancels Cow
Zora Neale Hurston, Spunk
Commentaries: Zora Neale Hurston; Alice
Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
Commentary: Shirley Jackson
Ha Jin, A Bad Joke
Edward P. Jones, Bad Neighbors
Commentary: Wyatt Mason
James Joyce. Araby
Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist; Jackals and Arabs; The Metamorphosis
Conversations: Gustav Janouch; John Updike;
R. Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz; John
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
Commentary: Jamaica Kincaid
Jumpha Lahiri, A Real Durwan
Commentary: Jhumpa Lahiri
D.H. Lawrence, The Rocking-Horse Winner
Related Commentary: D. H. Lawrence
Jack London, To Build a Fire
Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace
Commentary: Kate Chopin
Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
Commentaries: Herman Melville, J. Hillis
Lorrie Moore, How to Become a Writer
Alice Munro, Dance of the Happy Shades
Joyce Carol Oates, The Lady with the Pet Dog; Where Are You Going, Where
Have You Been?
Connection: Anton Chekhov, The Lady with
the Pet Dog
Conversations: Joyce Carol Oates, Don
Moser; Matthew C. Brennan
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Commentary: Bobbie Ann Mason
Flannery O’Connor, Good Country People; A Good Man is Hard to
Conversations: Flannery O’Connor; Sally
Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing
Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado; The Fall of the House of Usher
Conversations: Edgar Allan Poe; D.H.
Lawrence; Cleanth Brooks and Robert
Penn Warren; J. Gerald Kennedy; David S.
Annie Proulx, Job History
Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman
Commentary: Paula Gunn Allen
Helen Simpson, Homework
John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums
Amy Tan, Two Kinds
Commentary: Amy Tan
John Updike, A&P
Commentary: John Updike
Helena Maria Viramontes, The Moths
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Harrison Bergeron
Alice Walker, Everyday Use
Commentary: Alice Walker
David Foster Wallace, Good People
Connections: Russell Banks, Black Man and
White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat
Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants
Brad Watson, Seeing Eye
Commentary: Brad Watson
Eudora Welty, A Worn Path
Commentary: Eudora Welty
William Carlos Williams, The Use of Force
Tobias Wolff, Say Yes
Hisaye Yamamoto, The Brown House

5. Commentaries on Stories and Storytellers
Sherman Alexie, Superman and Me
Paula Gunn Allen, Whirlwind Man Steals Yellow Woman
Isabelle Allende. Short Stories by Latin American
James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes
Raymond Carver, On Writing; Creative Writing 101
Anton Chekhov, Technique in Writing the Short
Kate Chopin, How I Stumbled upon Maupassant
Ralph Ellison, The Influence of Folklore on Battle
William Faulkner, The Meaning of A Rose for
Richard Ford, On Chekhov’s The Lady with the
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration
Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948 and The Lottery
Jhumpa Lahiri, On Writing Fiction
Bobbie Ann Mason, On Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried
Wyatt Mason On Edward P. Jones’s Fiction
Herman Melville, Blackness in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown
J. Hillis Miller, Who Is He? Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener
Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters
Elaine Showalter, On Glaspell's A Jury of Her Peers
Amy Tan, In the Canon, for All the Wrong Reasons
Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary
Tale and a Partisan View
Brad Watson, On Southern Fiction
Eudora Welty, Is Phoenix Jackson’s Grandson Really Dead?

6. Conversations on Stories and Storytellers
On Meaning and Intention in Franz Kafka’s Stories
Gustav Janouch, Kafka’s View of The Metamorphosis
John Updike, Kafka and The Metamorphosis
R. Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz, A Hunger Artist
John Gardner, On Myths and Literary Fairy Tales
On Revisions of Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk: Short Story Into Film
Don Moser, The Pied Piper of Tuscon
Matthew C. Brennan, Plotting Against Chekhov:
Joyce Carol Oates and
The Lady with the Dog
On Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction
Flannery O’Connor, From Letters, 1954-55; Writing Short Stories;
The Element of Suspense in A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Sally Fitzgerald, Southern Sources of A Good
Man Is Hard to Find
On Critical Views of Edgar Allan Poe’s Short Stories
Edgar Allan Poe; The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale
D.H. Lawrence, On The Fall of the House of
Usher and The Cask of Amontillado
Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, ANew Critical Reading 
of The Fall of the House of Usher
J. Gerald Kennedy, On The Fall of the House of Usher
David S. Reynolds, Poe’s Art of Transformation in The Cask of Amontillado

Part Two: Poetry

7. What Is a Poem?
Muriel Rukeyser, The Sixth Night: Waking
Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica
Marianne Moore, Poetry
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Constantly Risking Absurdity
Ann Merebroker, A Mere Glimpse
Nina Penfold, My Poems
Ted Kooser, Selecting a Reader
Alice Walker, I Said to Poetry
Commentary: Louise Glück

8. The Elements of Poetry: A Poet’s Means
Emily Dickinson, A word is dead
Words and Their Sound
Alliteration and Assonance
Walt Whitman, A Farm Picture
A.E. Housman, Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Gwendolyn Brooks, Notes from the
Childhood and the Girlhood
A Range of Rhyme
Robert Frost, A Time to Talk
Stevie Smith, Not Waving but Drowning
Poems for Further Reading
Sir Thomas Wyatt, They Flee from Me
Ben Jonson, On My First Son
Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much
of Time
Christina Rossetti, Song
Dorothy Parker, Indian Summer
Theodore Roethke, My Papa’s Waltz
Elizabeth Jennings, One Flesh
Song and Rhyme
Lou Reed, Chelsea Girls
Bruce Springsteen, The River
Accent and Meter
Blank Verse
The Pattern Poem
George Herbert, Easter Wings
Commentary: T.S. Eliot, Richard Howard

9. The Elements of Poetry: A Poet’s Meanings
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Miniver Cheevy
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory
Words and Their Meaning
Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky
Denotative and Connotative Meaning
John Keats, To Autumn
Elizabeth Bishop, The Bight
Simile and Metaphor
Galway Kinnell, The Road Between Here and There
Figurative and Literal Language
Figures of Speech
Rolf Aggestam, Lightning Bolt
Poems for Further Reading
Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress
William Wordsworth, I Wandered Lonely as a
George Gordon, Lord Byron, She Walks in
Emily Bronte, If grief for grief
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses
Commentaries: Percy Bysshe Shelley, William
Wordsworth, Mark Strand

10. The Types of Poetry: A Poet’s Forms
Types of Verse
Elinor Wylie, Village Mystery
Narrative Poetry
The Ballad
Barbara Allan
Ballads for Further Reading
The Daemon Lover

Robert Duncan, The Ballad of Mrs. Noah
Dudley Randall, The Ballad of Birmingham
Robert Creeley, Ballad of the Despairing Husband
Lyric Poetry
H.D., Mid-day
e.e. cummings, (O sweet spontaneous)
Carolyn Kizer, For Jan, in Bar Maria
Li-Young Lee, Eating Alone
Lorna Dee Cervantes, The Body as Braille
Hilda Morley, I Remember
The Od
John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind
The Elegy

Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country
Margaret Gibson, October Elegy
The Sonnet

William Shakespeare, That time of year thou
mayst in me behold
Sonnets for Further Reading
Francesco Petrarca, Love’s Inconsistency
John Donne, Death, be not proud
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How Do I Love Thee?
Countee Cullen, Yet Do I Marvel
Rita Dove, Sonnet in Primary Colors
Billy Collins, American Sonnet
The Epigram and the Aphorism
Dorothy Parker, News Item
Dorothy Parker, From A Pig’s Eye View of
Wendy Cope, Two Cures for Love
The Limerick

Dylan Thomas, The last time I slept with the
Wendy Cope, The fine English poet, John
J.S. Walker, On T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock”
Richard Leighton Green, Apropos Coleridge’s
“Kubla Khan”
A. Cinna, On Hamlet
Commentaries: Rita Dove, Erica Jong

11. The Types of Poetry: Other Poetic Forms
Elizabeth Bishop, Sestina
Judith Barrington, Villanelles for a Drowned
Parent, VI
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good
Open Form

Sharon Olds, The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls
Away from the Curb
The Prose Poem
Robert Bly, Welcoming a Child in the
Limantour Dunes
Marcia Southwick, A Star Is Born in the Eagle
Robert Hass, A Story about the Body
Matsuo Basho, Ripening barley
Matsuo Basho, Day by day
Matsuo Basho, Having no talent
Tanaguchi Buson, The sea in springtime
Koboyashi Issa, Children imitating cormorants
Masaoka Shiki, The ocean freshly green
Richard Wright, I would like a bell
Richard Wright, A soft wind at dawn
Ronald Baatz, as though the whole earth
Ronald Baatz, our beautiful old love
Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro
T.E. Hulme, Images
H.D., Oread
William Carlos Williams, The Red
Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at
a Blackbird
Dramatic Poetry
The Dramatic Monologue
Robert Browning, My Last Duchess
Poems for Further Reading
Nick Carbo, American Adobo
Marisa de los Santos, Because I Love You
Naomi Shihab Nye, Making a Fist
Margaret Atwood, Siren Song
Wislawa Szymborska, True Love
Commentaries: Ezra Pound, Mark Strand

12. Poet to Poet
John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s
Samuel Charters, A Man Dancing Alone on an
Island in Greece
Leigh Hunt, Jenny Kissed Me
T.S. Kerrigan, Elvis Kissed Me
Address and Tribute
Ezra Pound, A Pact
Allen Ginsberg, A Supermarket in California
Maxine Kumin, Mother of Everyone
Galway Kinnell, Oatmeal
Commentaries: Marilyn Chin, T.S. Eliot,
Samuel Charters

13. The Art of the Poem: Reading, Thinking,
and Writing about Poetry
Reading Poetry
Anonymous, Western Wind
e.e. cummings, since feeling is first
Guidelines for Reading Poetry
Sample Close Reading
Linda Pastan, To a Daughter Leaving Home
Critical Thinking about Poetry
Writing about Poetry
Sample Essay: A Moving Lyric: Pastan’s "To A
Daughter Leaving Home"

Related Sections: Part Four, Writing about

14. Poets Speaking Out
Poetry of Protest and Social Concern
Nikki Giovanni, Adulthood
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, The World Is a Beautiful
Denise Levertov, Mid-American Tragedy
Carolyn Forché, The Colonel
Joan Jobe Smith, Feminist Arm Candy for the
Mafia and Sinatra
Fred Voss, I Once Needed a Chance Too
Charles Bukowski, Beach Boys
Faces of War
Stephen Crane, War is Kind
Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed
Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est
Stephen Vincent Benet, 1935
Randall Jarrell, The Death of the Ball Turret
Ed Webster, From San Joaquin Valley Poems:
Yusef Komunyakaa, Facing It
Black Consciousness, Black Voices
Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa
to America
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sympathy
James Weldon Johnson, Sunset in the Tropics
Etheridge Knight, The Idea of Ancestry
Amiri Baraka, Legacy
Audre Lorde, Hanging Fire
Lucille Clifton, to ms. ann
Women’s Consciousness, Women’s Voices
Muriel Rukeyser, Myth
Mina Loy, One O’Clock at Night
Louise Glück, First Memory
Alicia Suskin Ostriker, The Change
Marilyn Chin, How I Got that Name
The Living Earth
From a Zuni Invocation
Primo Levi, Almanac
Kenneth Rexroth, Heart of Herakles
Gary Snyder, Straight-Creek—Great Burn
Mary Oliver, Mussels
Mark Strand, Shooting Whales
John Clellon Holmes, Fayetteville Dawn (1)

15. Conversations on Modern Traditions in
Poets of the Harlem Renaissance
Alain Locke, From The New Negro
Langston Hughes, From The Negro Artist and the
Racial Mountain
James Weldon Johnson, The Creation
Angelina Weld Grimke, The Black Finger
Angelina Weld Grimke, Tenebris
Claude McKay, If We Must Die
Claude McKay, The Lynching
Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Countee Cullen, From Heritage
Countee Cullen, Incident
Arna Bontemps, A Black Man Talks of Reaping
The Beat Poets
John Clellon Holmes, From This Is the Beat
Allen Ginsberg, From Kaddish
Gregory Corso, I am 25
Bob Kaufman, From Jail Poems
d.a. levy, perhaps #5
Diane DiPrima, Revolutionary Letter #57
Frank O’Hara, The Day Lady Died
Richard Brautigan, It’s Raining in Love
Gary Snyder, What I Have Learned
Joanne Kyger, October 29, 1963, Wednesday
Philip Whalen, I Give Up
Poetry of the Chaps and Zines
Dennis Donoghue, The Issue Is Not the Dearth of
Poets or Poems
Gerald Locklin, The Small Presses and Little
Magazines: A Few Reflections
Ann Menebroker, Repossessed
Ann Menebroker, The Second Flood and then the Fire
Ann Menebroker, Love
Tom Kryss, Of Dry Strings and River Beds
Tom Kryss, What Harmonica?
Tom Kryss, Night Storm
Joan Jobe Smith, The Carol Burnett Show
Joan Jobe Smith, Dancing in the Frying Pan
Ronald Baatz, The Oldest Songs
Ronald Baatz, Only for the Old and Fragile
Gerald Locklin, A Loser
Gerald Locklin, So It Goes
Gerald Locklin, Second Hand Television
Charles Bukowski, writer’s block
Charles Bukowski, huge ear rings
Difficult Poems
Charles Bernstein, The Difficult Poem
Charles Olson, Projective Verse
Charles Olson, Le Bonheur
Denise Levertov, From Matins
Amy Clampitt, Beach Glass
Les Murray, An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow
Jorie Graham, I Watched a Snake
Connection: Emily Dickinson, A narrow
fellow in the grass.

16. Poems and Poets
Matthew Arnold
Dover Beach
Commentary: James Dickey.
W.H. Auden,
Musée des Beaux Arts
Stop All the Clocks
Lay your sleeping head, my love
Elizabeth Bishop
The Fish
One Art
Commentary: Brett C. Millier.
William Blake
From Songs of Innocence: Introduction
The Lamb
Holy Thursday
The Little Boy Lost
The Little Boy Found
Songs of Experience: Introduction
The Sick Rose
The Tyger
A Poison Tree
The Garden of Love
Anne Bradstreet
To My Dear and Loving Husband
Before the Birth of One of Her Children
In Memory of my Dear Grandchild Elizabeth
Bradstreet, who deceased August, 1665, being a
Year and a Half Old
Gwendolyn Brooks
We Real Cool
The Mother
The Bean Eaters
Commentary: Robert Hayden.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Kubla Khan: or, a Vision
in a Dream

Frost at Midnight
Connection: Richard Leighton Green, Apropos Coleridge's Kubla Khan.
Billy Collins
Tuesday, June 4, 1991
Memento Mori
By a Swimming Pool Outside Siracusa
e.e. cummings
somewhere i have never travelled
Buffalo Bill’s
in Just-
Emily Dickinson
You love me—you are sure—
I’m “wife”—I’ve finished that—
I taste a liquor never brewed—
Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
There’s a certain Slant of light,
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
After great pain, a formal feeling comes—
Much Madness is divinest Sense—
I died for Beauty—but was scarce
I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—
Because I could not stop for Death—
A narrow Fellow in the Grass
I never saw a Moor—
Connection: Jorie Graham, I Watched a Snake
Conversations: Thomas Wentworth Higginson,
Thomas H. Johnson, Thomas Bailey Aldrich,
Richard Wilbur, Linda Gregg.
John Donne
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
The Sun Rising
Batter my heart, three-personed God
Connection: Wendy Cope.
Rita Dove
Maple Valley Branch Library, 1967
The Porch, Pond View: Six P.M. Early Spring
Commentary: Rita Dove.
T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Connection: J. Walker
Commentaries: Cleanth Brooks Jr. and Robert
Penn Warren, T.S. Eliot.
Martín Espada
Soliloquy at Gunpoint
Public School 190, Brooklyn, 1963
Sleeping on the Bus
Robert Frost
The Pasture
Mending Wall
Home Burial
Fire and Ice
To Earthward
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
The Road Not Taken
After Apple-Picking
Conversations: Rose C. Feld, Robert Frost,
Robert Lowell, Joseph Brodsky, Philip L. Gerber,
James Wright.
Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays
A Letter from Phillis Wheatley
Night, Death, Mississippi
Commentary: Robert Hayden/
Seamus Heaney
Mid Term Break
Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Windhover
Pied Beauty
God’s Grandeur
Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord
Commentary: Bernard Bergonzi
Langston Hughes
Mother to Son
I, Too
Bound No’th Blues
Song for a Dark Girl
House in the World
Florida Road Workers
Down Where I Am
Theme for English B
Dream Deferred
Conversations: Langston Hughes, Jessie Fauset,
Arnold Rampersad, Kevin Young, Carl Phillips
John Keats
Ode to a Nightingale
When I Have Fears
Robert Lowell
Skunk Hour
For the Union Dead
Commentary: Robert Lowell
Marianne Moore
The Fish
In the Public Garden
Commentary: Marianne Moore
Sharon Olds
Parents’ Day
Summer Solstice, New York City
Sex without Love
Commentary: Sharon Olds.
Sylvia Plath
Morning Song
Commentary: Robert Lowell
Adrienne Rich
Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
Diving Into the Wreck
Muriel Rukeyser
Chapultepec Park/1
Madboy’s Song
Waiting for Icarus
Connection: W.H. Auden, Maxine Kumin
Anne Sexton
The Starry Night
For My Lover, Returning to His Wife
William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a
summer’s day?
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun
Commentary: Erica Jong
Gary Soto
Mexicans Begin Jogging
Teaching English from an Old Composition Book
Waiting at the Curb, Lynwood, California, 1967
Walt Whitman
From Song of Myself, 1,6, 50-52
A Noiseless Patient Spider
Commentary: Ezra Pound.
William Carlos Williams
Spring and All
This Is Just to Say
The Problem
William Wordsworth
Ode: Intimations of Immortality
The world is too much with us
Commentary: William Wordsworth
James Wright
A Blessing
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in
Pine Island, Minnesota
Commentary: James Wright
William Butler Yeats
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Easter 1916
The Second Coming

17. Commentaries on Poetry and Poets
Bernard Bergonzi, On Hopkins’ The Windhover
Cleanth Brooks Jr. and Robert Penn Warren, On
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Samuel Charters, That First Look into Chapman’s
Marilyn Chin, On the Canon
Rita Dove, An Intact World
T.S. Eliot, From Tradition and the Individual Talent
Louise Glück, Poems Are Autobiography
Robert Hayden, On Negro Poetry
Edwin Honig, On Robert Browning’s My Last
Erica Jong, Devouring Time: Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Robert Lowell, An Explication of Skunk Hour;
Forward to Plath’s Ariel
Brett C. Millier, On Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art
Sharon Olds, From the Salon Interview
Ezra Pound, On the Principles of Imagism; What I Feel About Walt Whitman
Percy Bysshe Shelley, From “A Defence of Poetry”
Mark Strand, The Rhetoric of Richard Cory
David Wojahn, On Political Poetry
William Wordsworth, From the Introduction to
Lyrical Ballads

18. Conversations on Three Poets
On Interpreting Emily Dickinson
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Emily
Dickinson’s Letters
Thomas H. Johnson, The Text of Emily Dickinson’s
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, In Re Emily Dickinson
Richard Wilbur, On Emily Dickinson
Linda Gregg, Not Understanding Emily Dickinson
On Robert Frost’s Poetics
Rose C. Feld, An Interview with Robert Frost
Robert Frost, The Figure a Poem Makes
Robert Lowell, On Robert Frost (poem)
Joseph Brodsky, On Grief and Reason
Philip L. Gerber, On Frost’s After Apple-Picking
James Wright, On the Music of Robert Frost’s Stopping
by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Conversations on Langston Hughes’ Legacy
Langston Hughes, A Toast to Harlem
Jessie Fauset, Meeting Langston Hughes
Arnold Rampersad, Langston Hughes as Folk
Carl Phillips, Langston Hughes and Poetic Identity
Kevin Young, Langston Hughes (poem)

Part Three: Drama

19. What Is a Play?
Commentary: Aristotle

20. The Elements of Drama: A Playwright’s
Anton Chekhov, A Monologue
August Strindberg, The Stronger
Plot • Characterization • Dialogue • Staging •
Willy Russell, From Educating Rita
Commentary: Leonard Mustazza

21. The Art of the Play: Reading, Thinking, and
Writing about Drama
Reading Drama
Guidelines for Reading Drama
Sample Close Reading
Critical Thinking about Drama
Writing about Drama
Sample Essay:
A Reader’s Response to the
Opening Lines of Strindberg’s
The Stronger
Commentaries: Geoffrey Bullough, Frances
Fergusson, Leonard Mustazza, Helge Normann
Nilsen, Joan Templeton

22. Plays and Playwrights
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
Commentaries: Aristotle, Francis Fergusson,
Sigmund Freud.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Conversation: Geoffrey Bullough, H.D.F. Kitto,
John Keats, Virginia Woolf, Tom Stoppard,
Sir John Gielgud, (Performance Photos), John Lahr
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll House
Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard
Shaw, Joan Templeton, Liv Ullmann
Susan Glaspell, Trifles
Connection: Susan Glaspell, A Jury of Her Peers; Lynn Nottaage, POOF!
Commentary: Elaine Showalter, Leonard Mustazza
Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
Commentaries: Benjamin Nelson, Tennessee
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
Commentaries: Arthur Miller, Helge Normann Nilsen
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
Commentaries: Lorraine Hansberry
Lynn Nottage, POOF!
Connections: Susan Glaspell, Trifles
Commentary: Lynn Nottage

23. Commentaries on Plays and Playwrights
Aristotle, On the Elements and General Principles
of Tragedy
Francis Fergusson, Oedipus, Myth and Play
Sigmund Freud, The Oedipus Complex
Lorraine Hansberry, An Author’s Reflections: Willie
Loman, Walter Younger, and He Who Must Live
Lorraine Hansberry, My Shakespearean Experience
Henrik Ibsen, Notes for A Doll House
Arthur Miller, On Death of a Salesman as an
American Tragedy
Arthur Miller, From the Paris Review Interview
Leonard Mustazza, Generic Translation and Thematic
Shift in Glaspell’s
Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers
Benjamin Nelson, Problems in The Glass Menagerie
Helge Normann Nilsen, Marxism and the Early
Plays of Arthur Miller
Lynn Nottage, On Writing POOF!
George Bernard Shaw, On A Doll House
Joan Templeton, Is A Doll House a Feminist Text?
Liv Ullman, On Performing Nora in A Doll House
Tennessee Williams, Production Notes to The Glass Menagerie
24. Conversations on Plays and Playwrights
On Hamlet as Text andPerformance
Geoffrey Bullough, Sources of Shakespeare’s Hamlet
H.D.F. Kitto, Hamlet and the Oedipus
John Keats, From a Letter to George and Thomas
Keats, 21 December 1817
Virginia Woolf, What If Shakespeare Had Had a
Stephen Greenblatt, On the Ghost in Hamlet
Tom Stoppard, Dogg’s Hamlet: The Encore
Photographs of Hamlet in Performance
Sir John Gielgud, On Playing Hamlet
John Lahr, Review of Hamlet

Part Four: Writing about Literature
25. Critical Perspectives and Literary Theory
Formalist Criticism
Biographical Criticism
Psychological Criticism
Mythological Criticism
Historical Criticism
Sociological Criticism
Reader-Response Criticism
Poststructuralist and Deconstructionist Criticism
Gender Criticism
Cultural Criticism
Selected Bibliography

26. Developing Your Ideas in an Essay
Keeping a Journal or Notebook to Record Your
Initial Responses to the Text
Using the Commentaries to Ask New Questions
about What You Have Read
Generating Ideas for Brainstorming, Freewriting,
and Listing
Organizing Your Notes into a Preliminary Thesis
Sentence and Outline
Writing the Rough Draft
Revising Your Essay
Sample Revised Draft:
The Voice of the Storyteller in
Eudora Welty’s
A Worn Path
Making a Final Check of Your Finished Essay
Peer Review
Common Problems in Writing about Literature
Guidelines for Writing an Essay about Literature

27. Basic Types of Literary Papers
Sample Essay:
An Interpretation of Langston
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Sample Essay:
Nature and Neighbors in Robert
Mending Wall
Comparison and Contrast
Sample Essay:
On the Differences between Susan
Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers
Writing about the Context of Literature

28. Writing Research Papers
Three Keys to Literary Research
Finding and Focusing a Topic
Assigned Topics
Choosing Your Own Topic
Finding and Using Sources
Library Research
Using the Web for Research
Evaluating Print and Online Sources
Your Working Bibliography

Working with Sources and Taking Notes
Drafting Your Research Paper
Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting
Documenting Your Sources
MLA Format
In-Text or Parenthetical Citations
List of Works Cited
Footnotes and Endnotes
Revising Your Research Paper
Student Research Paper:
Jennifer Silva, Emily
Dickinson and Religion
Glossary of Literary Terms
Index of First Lines
Index of Authors and Titles

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