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CONTENTS Introduction Part I: WHAT THEY DON¿T WANT YOU TO LEARN FROM ENGLISH LITERATURE (AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CANON, FROM BEOWULF TO FLANNERY O¿CONNOR) Chapter 1: Old English Literature: the Age of Heroes Beowulf: The Hero and the Poem The Dream of the Rood ¿This Life on Loan¿ The Battle of Maldon Chapter 2: Medieval Literature: ¿Here is God¿s Plenty¿ Middle English Poetry The Politically Incorrect World of the Middle Ages The Canterbury Tales vs. The Handmaid¿s Tale The Fecundity of Medieval Art A Pre-Classical Aesthetic In the Light of Eternity Christianity and Freedom Separation of Church and State, Medieval Style The Argument from Authority The Invention of Chivalry Chapter 3: The Renaissance: Christian Humanism Christopher Marlowe William Shakespeare The Tragedies The Comedies The Sonnets Chapter 4: The Seventeenth Century: Religion as a Matter of Life and Death John Donne John Milton Chapter 5: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature: The Age of Reason Dead White Male #1: John Dryden Dead White Male #2: Alexander Pope Dead White Male #3: Jonathan Swift Dead White Male #4: Samuel Johnson ¿The Proper Study of Mankind¿¿or Is It? Chapter 6: The Nineteenth Century: Revolution and Reaction Revolutionary Repeat Wordsworth and Coleridge Byron and the Shelleys Keats Without a Room of Her Own Celebrating ¿Patriarchal Values¿ Women Who are Bossy (and Talk Too Much) Men Who Aren¿t Patriarchal Enough The Benefits (to Women) of ¿Sexist¿ Conventions Victorian Literature Dickens Chapter 7: The Twentieth Century: The Avant-Garde and Beyond Decadents and Aesthetes Modernism Chapter 8: American Literature: Our Own Neglected Canon Big Country, Short Attention Spans The Mystery of Evil The Possibility of Escape Why We Should Still Read Huckleberry Finn (Despite the Ugly Racial Epithets) Literature from the Deep South ¿A Hillbilly Thomist¿ Part II: WHY THEY DON¿T WANT YOU TO LEARN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE Chapter 9: How the PC English Professors are Suppressing English Lit. (Not Teaching It) English Professors Teach Anything and Everything¿Except English Literature Why They Don¿t Want You to Read English and American Literature ¿Theory¿¿Marxism, Feminism, Deconstruction, and Bashing Dead White Males Postmodernist Jargon: Hideously Ugly, Mentally Crippling Reality ¿ Denial as a Critical Stance Chapter 10: What Literature is For: ¿To Teach and Delight¿ What Literature is Really For Which Literature is Truly Great? Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Part III: HOW YOU CAN TEACH YOURSELF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE¿BECAUSE NOBODY IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU Chapter 11: How to Get Started (Once You Realize You¿re Going to Have to Read the Literature on Your Own) ¿Close Reading¿ Reed¿s Rule What Seems Like an Ordinary Line of Poetry The Nuts and Bolts of Literary Analysis The Words Themselves (What They Mean, What They Sound Like, Where They Come From) A Use for English Grammar, After All Meter, Verse Forms, Genres, and Beyond Chapter 12: Learn the Poetry by Heart¿See the Plays¿Gossip about the Novels (That¿s Just What Jane Austen Did) Learn the Poetry by Heart See the Plays as Often as You Can¿or, Better Yet, Act in Them Read the Great Novels, Lend Them to Your Friends, and Gossip about the Characters Acknowledgments Notes Index
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
English literature -- History and criticism.
English literature -- Study and teaching.
American literature -- History and criticism.
American literature -- Study and teaching.
Political correctness -- United States.