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hobsen
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Certainly there are questions as to whether works of fiction which require extensive historical knowledge to be understood are suitable for high school students today. On the other hand, students read nonfiction exclusively in their other classes, while only in connection with English classes do they read fiction. Anyway I enjoyed this article...

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15601204?source=most_viewed&nclick_check=1

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Pyrtolin
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Based just on what you said, a fundamental problem there is assuming that literature and history should be taught independently of each other.

Using them properly requires teaching the history around them as part of the process, otherwise there's not much point at all.

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LetterRip
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Most of what I read for literature classes was quite poor quality stuff.

It was famous and being read because it was famous. Most of the writing was actually quite poor, with unnatural dialog, poorly constructed sentences, weak plots, overt attempts at being clever, etc.

It is like 'Citizen Cane' - which is a truly dreadfully written, poorly paced and acted film, yet film majors all have it as one of the highest rated of all time. (For its time it had a number of technical innovations, and 'for its time' the acting was typical, etc.)

http://usss.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/why-citizen-kane-is-overrated/

http://www.afistfulofreviews.com/abcd/citizenkane_dn.htm

I think both the teaching of literature and film confuse 'important in the historical development of the field' and 'good' and/or 'worthwhile of being taught'.

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Badvok
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Most of what I read for literature classes was quite poor quality stuff.

It was famous and being read because it was famous. Most of the writing was actually quite poor, with unnatural dialog, poorly constructed sentences, weak plots, overt attempts at being clever, etc.

I guess it depends on how you define quality and what you want to get from the study of the work.

I think plot is the single most important factor to judge a work of fiction/literature on, no matter how it is written or even what language it is written in. However, when studying a language I think the plot becomes somewhat irrelevant and hence a study of language can use any piece of text fiction or non-fiction.

P.S. I would level at least two of your negatives at most stuff written by OSC but I still think it is a 'good' read.

P.P.S. How come you guys still call it English?

[ July 29, 2010, 10:23 AM: Message edited by: Badvok ]

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Al Wessex
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High school teachers in my experience taught literature as if we were visiting a museum. They wanted us to "look" at the story and explain what happened and what it meant to the main characters. But they gave us no help to appreciate the art of the telling. I "learned" from school that books were boring, even though books I was reading by the armful at home were anything but. Then in college I was lucky enough to have great teachers who tied the story to the writing to the author to the world to me and the books became incredibly alive and important.

Most of all I fell in love with language itself. When I read now I get caught up thinking about where the words come from and how they mean. The characters are so close I want to touch them. If the sun is shining in someone's face, I can almost feel my face get warm and my eyes squint. For me language is a drug, as in "this is your brain...this is your brain on language". The words matter. Lucky for me this drug's side effects are the reason to keep taking it [Smile] .

[ July 29, 2010, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: Al Wessex ]

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