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Why Read? by Mark Edmundson

Why Read?

by Mark Edmundson

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A passionate exhortation to teachers to make the humanities relevant to the lives of their students - indeed, to help make their encounter with great works of artistic production a life-changing event. There is some wisdom here, and some entertaining and thought-provoking discussion of certain works - he's good on Wordsworth, in particular. But the whole is marred by an unfortunate tendency to generalize negatively about certain categories of activity. He is almost entirely dismissive of cultural studies and the value of critical examination of popular culture in teaching. And he starts with some rather hackneyed alarmism around the effect of digital technologies on the present generation of students - short attention span, easily distracted, demanding entertainment rather than searching for knowledge etc. Some of that may be true for some students, but the point is to mobilize the technology to guide students to those life-changing experiences, not to fear it. Just like books, digital media are learning technologies that can be used well or badly. ( )
1 vote edwebb | Jan 15, 2009 |
scholarly ( )
  DaveFragments | Apr 19, 2007 |
TBR 2007
  somanyyarns | Nov 9, 2006 |
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For Matthew, Beloved Son
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People die miserably every day for lack of what is found in despised poems--in literary artwork, in other words, that society at large denigrates.
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Argues that questions about the uses of literature are essential to a literary education and that reading not for only training and education, but also for pleasure, can change students' lives for the better.

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