Kristin and Haley’s Discussion on Poe’s “The Raven”

I gave my literature students 30 minutes to come up with a 3-minute podcast in which they demonstrated their ability to have an evidence-based disagreement over The Raven. In the past, at this point in the semester I simply had students record themselves reading a poem, but I decided to get more ambitious this time. While all students turned in a great product, and most students loved the challenge, there…

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Margaret Atwood: English lessons teach us to miss the true meaning of literature

Every time I teach a college literature class, I have to budget time in the syllabus to help my students unlearn the way they learned to read in high school. Atwood does a great job explaining the role a reader plays in constructing the meanings they find in a literary text. It’s all the fault of how we were taught in high school, in which the teacher had the benefit…

Imagine, if you will, a Shakespeare course / Propos’d in blank verse like the Bard would write

Verses Proposing a New Course: “Shakespeare in Context” You’ll pick a modest count of Shakespeare plays– Say, five. Three weeks to each you’ll dedicate. One context week, one week on text, and next One week to multi-modally create A research paper, podcast, monologue, Or supercut of twenty diff’rent Lears Who curse their sixty daughters’ cruel hearts. Professional and student actors we will hear, In stagings mounted locally. What’s more, We’ll screen some films that Shakespeare’s paths re-tread: “Shakespeare in Love,” “Forbidden Planet,” “Ran,” And “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are…

Ode to Huckleberry Finn, Dec’d

(Inspired by Emmeline Grangerford, Dec’d.) Girls, take his cold dead hand and kiss The knuckle – very thin, And bid adieu and ballyhoo Poor Huckleberry Finn. And was it prowling cannibals Or adversary’s sin That spilled the flood of crimson blood Of Huckleberry Finn? O hear my sad, sad words of woe (As I more clement wax) And mark! His brain was cleft in twain By yonder guilty axe! What…

STEM Education Is Vital–But Not at the Expense of the Humanities

Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities may seem like a good idea, but it is deeply misguided. Scientific American has always been an ardent supporter of teaching STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But studying the interaction of genes or engaging in a graduate-level project to develop software for self-driving cars should not edge out majoring in the classics or art history. The need to…

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Rip Van Winkle

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their…