Huffington Post logo
1

What to Do With a B.A. in English?

Some good tips on what to say about your English major during a job interview, and some realistic advice about English grad school. English majors choose a major that not only challenges them intellectually but gives them pleasure. They love to read and think that reading matters. Or they hope to be writers and have taken courses in creative writing to test their potential as poets, fiction writers, and dramatists.…

image

Portrait of a Ten-Year-Old Girl

This thoughtful article demonstrates how to use colorful details to keep a reader engaged enough to absorb statistics and trends. What could be just an amusing slice of a Canadian girl’s life of carpools, playdates, and self-invention becomes a launching point for social commentary. The author does refer to herself, but deliberately, selectively; to serve the story, not drown it out. Saving this for the next time I teach “News…

Theory Trading Cards

This set of 21 Theory Trading Cards, published by AltaMira Press, is based upon the online trading cards which have been so popular at David Gauntletts website www.theory.org.uk. Being actual cards, these are two-sided and contain more information; and whereas the online cards were only an official set of 12, for the published version, 21 new cards have been created based on a careful selection of top figures in cultural, media…

20131221-142624.jpg

Teaching “The Odyssey” at San Quentin

The opening of “The Odyssey” describes Odysseus as polytropos, a man “much turned” and “much turning.” He makes much happen, and much happens to him. When I selected “The Odyssey” as the first text for my English 101 course at San Quentin Prison, I worried about the choice. It’s a difficult work for readers of limited literary background, and I wondered how a population of mostly black and brown men…

20131214-001203.jpg

There’s No Substitute for Fiction

What do Peskin and Astington recommend for fostering constructive learning? Reading fiction. “Dramatic tension in stories is created when the various characters have disparate knowledge with regard to the action. This may be through error: The reader knows that Romeo does not know that Juliet lies drugged, not dead. Or it may be through deception: Pretending his assigned chore is an adventure, Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into whitewashing the…

Why No One Clicked on the Great Hypertext Story

It’s not that hypertext went on to become less interesting than its literary advocates imagined in those early days. Rather, a whole different set of new forms arose in its place: blogs, social networks, crowd-edited encyclopedias. Readers did end up exploring an idea or news event by following links between small blocks of text; it’s just that the blocks of text turned out to be written by different authors, publishing…