Be considered challenging literatureBut sometimes obvious things are worth restating too and sometimes they help us develop a pattern of thinking that will eventually evolve by itself into what is really reuired And that in the end might be the real goal of the book In that sense Foster can consider it a reasonable successSo here is a uick list of easy things to watch out for when you read literature1 Every time a character in the book takes any journeytrip of any sort start looking for tropes like gatekeepers dragons treasures etc Chances are high that it is a mythic uest of some sort2 If you come across a scene involving the characters eating together especially if a whole chapter is dedicated to it possibly it is being used to explore their relations and it is an act of Communion with all that the word implies3 Vampires exist even when they don t If it is not Twilight chances are that it has literary significance And if it does the vampire figure is probably being used to hide a lot of sexual and societal undertones about chastity and selfishness And even when a book has nothing to do with vampires it would serve you well to identify vampires who suck others blood to survive4 Sonnet is the most used type of poetry Frankly I am not sure why this chapter came in and how it helps the readers in anyway except to recognize when they meet a sonnet they look suare5 You will meet historical figures like Napoleon Caesar and Gandhi in many guises even when the situation does not seem to indicate it If you do recognize this hidden historical aspect of the character then the story will acuire a new dimension6 References and uotations from Shakespeare and Bible including situations and entire plots abound in literature Duh7 Fairy tales form an important part of literature too and you might want to have a look out for Hansel and Gretel s witch anytime people get lost in unfamiliar territory8 Greek symbolism and myths crop up everywhere and be ready for your author being a Homer in disguise trying to tell a modern version And most of western literature taps this well spring9 Weather is always symbolic and Rain Spring etc have deep rooted meaning which authors exploit consistently If it is raining and things look gloomy that might be irony or they might have heard of London Foster doesn t seem to have10 When violence is used in a text it is probably a plot device So start thinking about why did he have to hit him with a baseball bat and not with a table lamp and why the character had to climb that mountain to die11 Almost everything that is repeated can be symbolic even events and actions There is no way to list them out so get in the habit of being paranoid12 Politics of the day inevitably seeps into any work and nowing that helps in understanding any prejudices which might not be acceptable today and also in understanding the real motivations Who can read and understand Hemingway without nowing of his history13 Christ figures are everywhere and anytime anyone is even slightly noble be on the lookout for christ archetypes like disciples and sacrifice and betrayal14 If anyone flies or falls for too long Icarus and his imaginary cousins are probably being invoked15 Lot of things can stand for sex and it is important to understand the meaning of tall buildings If they write about sex when they mean strictly sex we have another word for that pornography16 If anyone gets wet in a book they might change their life after that They might be baptized into another life in short17 Geography is probably the most important part of any novel Geography and Season think about why the author used that setting and the motifs of the novel will become clearer18 There is only One Story whatever that means19 If any character has a scar lightening it usually is a means to set himher apart and the nature of the scar is symbolic It could be scardefect or ever a mild skin coloration but it is a device to set up for greater things20 If a character is blind ask what he is blind to or what others are blind to It certainly is not just about physical sight21 Whenever any sort of illness comes in it is usually a metaphor especially if it is heart disease TB consumption AIDS Cancer or mysterious in some way In literature disease is never caused by microscopic mundane things it is caused by society and character 22 Read any work from the time frame in which it was written 23 Irony trumps everything else If the author defeats your expectation with any symbol he is so ironing you This can work at many levels of
course he might defeat your expectation of being subject to irony by using the actual meaning and so onSo Long list he might defeat your expectation of being subject to irony by using the actual meaning and so onSo Long list if you read a lot You can see all this in three days of light reading In fact I am tending to be lenient in this review mostly due to that wonderful last chapter where he gives an example short story and analyses it That one chapter makes the whole book worth reading The reading list at the end is also useful and I have reproduced it hereBut getting back to the means of analyses listed aboveWere they too obvious Or are you not confident that you will start spotting them from tomorrow Either way it might help us get into the habit as I said earlier and that is what really mattersThe only way to catch on to all these devices and symbols is to be familiar with them And the only way to do that Read of course Read a hell lotSo you can see that you need to have read a lot I mean a lot And be very conversant with all the tropes and history of literature and myth to fully enjoy or critiue serious works that is you need to have had a life dedicated to reading to enjoy reading In other words to read literature like a professor you need to be a professor of literature Bingo InsightPS Of course the iterative growth in the pleasure of reading is nown to every bookworm we are addicted to books as it eeps getting better with every new book we read the connections the intertextuality and the by lanes all become clearer and and FUNPPS Susan Sontag makes another arbitrary appearance haunting my reading list Awesome Simply awesome I d recommend it for any student who has ever asked the eternal uestion after being assigned some obscure piece of literature in an English class why the HELL DO I HAVE TO READ THIS Trust me Thomas C Foster is your friend He feels your pain And he s here to helpAs an English major I have an intense love for books obviously even the classic texts that even I find a little hopeless and empty at times But these essays help you to find the deeper meaning behind the words and point out the little hints and signs that you can look for in order to make Oroonoko or Mrs Dalloway seem a little less pointless Further even as an English major with an intense love for literature I am also a teenager and I am fully aware that not every student in the world particularly wants to spend time reading a book aboutbooks But the thing with Foster is that he s funny and he explains things with a rather dry sense of humor that I find simply wonderful It is a rare thing to find a scholar with a sense of humor about their discipline Especially those scholars that are passionate enough to write booksInformal light and truly fun to read I read it in the span of one evening so for a normal person read non bibliophile I call them puggles Like Muggles you now it would take abouta week How do puggles measure timeHow did I get to this point in my review Anyway Read it You won t regret it This book is a non fiction guide by a professor at the University of Michigan Flint on how to approach literary reading with a goal of better understanding It is primarily focused on literature loosely defined as works related to the human condition or what it means to be human from the mid twentieth century and prior Foster provides insight to help the reader recognize memory symbol and pattern citing examples from notable works He provides a broad introduction to the codes and patterns that inform our readings The author desires to help readers decipher hidden meanings He also admits that we can never now for I loved thisDon t get me wrong It s not one of those books you could or would want to read in one sitting It s really of a reference book though an
ENJOYABLE ONE WRITTEN IN A LIGHT one written in a light breezy style I m not sure someone who wasn t already interested in reading literature on multiple levels would be particularly interested But if you do have an interest to read literature in a sophisticated insightful way as I imagine many goodreaders do you may enjoy this book as much as I did You ll never look at weather heart disease blindness geography or fiction altogether the same way again. S C Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature a world where a road leads to a uest a shared meal may signify a communion and rain whether cleansing or destructive is never just a shower and shows us how to make our reading experience enriching satisfying and fu.
Thomas C. Foster ¼ 7 ReadClick here to watch a video review of this book on my channel From Beginning to Bookend How to Read Literature Like a Professor offers an extensive introduction to literary analysis for the purpose of finding deeper meaning in one s everyday reading One of the central precepts of the book is that there is a universal grammar of figurative imagery that in fact images and symbols gain much of their power from repetition and reinterpretation Memory Symbol Pattern These are the three items that than any other separate the professorial reader from the rest of the crowd Chapters are divided into relatively similar page counts and while each chapter explores a topic and provides helpful examples from literary works the length of each chapter allows for digestion of information in small bites Citing folklore religious dogmas and Greek mythology the author delicately introduces varied or contrasting belief systems for interpretation of literature in an unoffensive and unbiased manner Every reader s experience of every work is uniue largely because each person will experience various elements to differing degrees and those differences will cause certain features of the text to become or less pronouncedWhile this book provides a thorough examination of theme symbols and contexts the author freely admits that it is by no means a complete compilation one could hardly fit all elements of literary assessment all interpretations of symbols or all references to venerable lore into just one book The writing is consistently comprehensive and entertaining occasionally infused with Foster s personal uips and moments of charming self deprecation His points whether serious or silly are stated with elouenceThe author s examination of various classic works are liable to tantalize readers to pick up new reads and a long list of recommended reads at the back of the book further encourage the accumulation of TBR books Before the book reaches its end the author tackles a difficult uestion should we really give so much credit to writers by interpreting their works in such a special and meaningful way especially when heshe hasn t been proven to be a good writer His answer is illuminating and his conclusions ultimately encourage the examination of literature and the sharing of books and conversation such that we might all bring new perspectives to our shared experience How to Read Literature Like a Professor is a highly recommended resource for unearthing the hidden meaning interwoven in books and film This book is pure joy to read While learning a few new secrets of writing it was exciting to explore all the book titles mentioned in the bookThe author uses a casual tone to introduce the magic of serious reading to the reader Some of it is old news others instinct and common sense such as recognizing patterns and story elements but new information for me at least was also added For instance that many works attributed to Shakespeare might not have been his at allAlthough I would love to share my views on the content of the book since that is the most exciting part of it I would restrict myself to the book itself The chapter headings says it all1 Every trip is a uest 2 Nice to eat with you Acts od Communion 3 Nice to eat you Acts of Vampires 4 If it s suare it s a sonnet 5 Now where have I seen her before6 When in Doubt it s from Shakespeare 7 or the Bible 8 Hanseldee and Greteldum 9 It s Greek to me 10 More than just rain or snow and of the sameAnd suddenly I am excited than ever before although I figured out some of these issues in the book already like for instance the borrowing from Greek mythology In Light Between The Oceans by ML Stedman the Greek god Janus formed the backbone of the story and that characters such as Mr Darcy in Jane Austen s Pride and Prejudice inspired many others in romance novels We find Dracula in than one storyline and Shakespeare in a multitude of other contemporary novels long before the Hogarth project was launched in 2016 Of course my recent favorite in this regard is Ian McEwan s Nutshell in which Fetus Cairncross as I dubbed him became Hamlet in utero and the author was not even part of the Hogarth Project The author highlights other books which royally borrowed from the greatest author of all timesUICK UIZ What do John Cleese Cole Porter Moonlighting and Death Valley Days have in common No they re not part of some Communist plot All were involved with some version of The Taming of the ShrewIf you look at any literary period between the eighteenth and twenty first centuries you ll be amazed by the dominance of the Bard He s everywhere in every literary form you can think of And he s never the same every age and every writer reinvents its own Shakespeare All this from a man who we re still not sure actually wrote the plays that bear his nameTry this In 1982 Paul Mazursky directed an interesting modern version of The Tempest It had an Ariel figure Susan Sarandon a comic but monstrous Caliban Raul Julia and a Prospero famed director John Cassavetes an island and magic of a sort The film s title Tempest Woody Allen reworked A Midsummer Night s Dream as his film A Midsummer Night s Sex Comedy West Side Story famously reworks Romeo and which resurfaces again in the 1990s in a movie featuring contemporary teen culture and automatic pistols And that s a century or so after Tchaikovsky s ballet based on the same playThe BBC series Masterpiece Theatre has recast Othello as a contemporary story of black police commissioner John Othello his lovely white wife Dessie and his friend Ben Jago deeply resentful at being passed over for promotion The
action will surprise no one familiar with the originalNor is the Shakespeare adaptationwill surprise no one familiar with the originalNor is the Shakespeare adaptation restricted to the stage and screen Jane Smiley rethinks King Lear in her novel A Thousand AcresI m insanely thrilled with this book For many of us it is impossible to attend literature lectures and
have forgotten most of the ones we did honor with our presence many years ago So this is itforgotten most of the ones we did honor with our presence many years ago So this is it the book and become wiser The information might not be unfamiliar to many of us but it certainly deepens our experience of serious books Then there is the many references to Bible stories and once again Ian McEwan uses the wisdom of Solomon in his book The Children s Act to solve a serious situation when the Jehova s Witnesses and The State have to compromise on a minor child s life So yes I m jumping up and down Nothing is new says the Bible psychologists and sociologists Remember the Pavlov experiments with dogs and mice It is still used today to solve behavioural problems No story is therefor new It is just told differently as time goes on The book made me think again About a letter my mom once wrote me to warn me against a unsavory character trying to enter my life She said nothing was new the rules would always remain the same only time and setting changed The story line would not change only the characters in it will have different names She changed my life I was nineteen years old and needed to now that when I did not recognize the difference between a he hussy and a perfumed skunkI was wondering if a person who never read Shakespeare told his story if it can be regarded as a Shakespearean borrow if some elements to it was similar Would it be fair And someone who don t African Literature know the Bible could have a similar experience as a Bible character Human behaviour patterns different personality types cultures social s and values play the most important role in how characters in a story will act or react So yes all stories happened before it could be in real life or literature but nothing is really new It s only seasoned authors who might borrow from other stories but real people in real life repeat behaviour based on genetic indicators and circumstantial impulses Then there s human instinct to predict outcome So while the cognoscenti sleuth through a great novel ordinary lay readers like yours truly do not have to do it However it might add a wonderful new dimension to the experience if we are experienced enough tonow when it happens in the shaping and sustaining power of a story and the symbolism behind it The author is passionate about his subject He has a serious issue with the programmatic nature of political novels just a certain type though and and shares his views with the reader no matter whatI hate political writing novels plays poems They don t travel well don t age well and generally aren t much good in their own time and place however sincere they may be I speak here of literature whose primary intent is to influence the body politic for instance those works of socialist realism one of the great misnomers. While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes and the literary codes of the Of all time of the Soviet era in which the plucky hero figures out a way to increase production and thereby meet the goals of the five year plan on the collective farm what I once heard the great Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes characterize as the love affair between a boy and girl and a tractor Overtly political writing can be one dimensional simplistic reductionist preachy dull Don t we find those preachy dullness in too many novels nowadays I like the idea of calling it programmatic Word dumping or information dumping were my favorite two concepts in addressing it But I have something new to call it There are too many authors such as Edgar Alan Poe Washington Irvine D H Lawrence Charles Dickens Gabriel Garc a M ruez Virginia Wolfe Toni Morrison George Bernard Shaw Seamus Heaney Eavan Boland Adrienne Rich Audre Lord and so many who masterfully incorporate politics into their prose It is how it is done which matters State of Fear by Michael Crichton comes to mind My word how this author rattled a few cages right And what about The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown Yes we have our exciting moments in prose Oh yes and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See which had me a bit miffed so programmized Eoowwww And don t ever forget Salman Rushdie s Satanic Verses Now talk about ruffled feathers folks Some authors History of the Niagara Falls Power Company, 1886 1918, Vol 2 of 2: Evolution of Its Central Power Station and Alternating Current System; Construction and Operation know how to do it Others don tThat reminds me to ask the uestion if chick lit is also so obviously programmatic Not literature by any means but still prose of someind with often deeper undertones Mmm think about it shall weThe difference between a murderdeath in a murder mystery and a literary book was good to learn even though once again common sense although we seldom take the time to think about the symbolism in itIn getting hyped up about the content of How to Read Literature Like a Professor I uickly made a list of all my favorite characters in books After many hours I stopped when I realized how impossible it is to recall them all I ve read a few thousand books long before I joined GR to begin with And who will want to now anyway I could just sat back in amazement though How many authors introduced so much magic into my life by presenting amazing characters in their stories It took a long time to read this book Probably three weeks More or less a chapter each day with a few rereads in between Not because it was boring or tedious No it was just so inspiring I was constantly lured into exploring old books and new titlesAllow me to sneak in two of my favorite book endingsRhet Butler in Gone With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell Frankly my dear I don t give a damnProfessor Higgins in the play My Fair LadyPygmalion author George Bernard Shaw Where the devil is my slippers Elyze Of course you realize that this play was named after a Greek mythological figure Pygmalion who fell in love with his statue Galatea Read the inspiring love story here young readers this is undoubtedly a wonderful introduction to literature in so many ways For all readers it is a rejoicing in excellent prose and the authors behind it It strengthens the bond between the reader and the writer Imagine having Thomas C Foster as a house guest in your own library Oh how short life would be at that very moment Pity we will not be able to order another lifetime right that minute Well before your eyes glaze over and your mind wander let me stop Enjoy this chatty informative entertaining read It s worth your whileAnd then consider reading the book How to Read a Book The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J Adler Charles Van Doren then tell me who your favorite characters in novels were I m simply dying to now EVERYTHING IS A SYMBOLOkay not really But things than not at least when it comes to literature I was hesitant to read How to Read Literature Like a Professor because I felt that I had not read enough classics to understand what Thomas Foster would be talking about but then I realized that maybe it was a good idea to read the book before embarking on my literature uest so I would have some background Rehab Doesnt Work - Ibogaine Does knowledge heading in After allnowledge is powerAnd I was right Though a myriad of the book titles went over my head and some of the examples were conseuently confusing for the most part I feel like I ve learned a lot from reading this book Granted I m a high school student so I didn t now much to begin with but I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves English literature or is
Interested In Reading A Book About Booksin reading a book about books a bibliophile and self proclaimed future English major I loved learning about irony allusions and everything else Foster shared using his casual yet sophisticated writing styleNot a bad book to start out 2012 with Now to move on to an actual novelreview cross posted on my blog the uiet voice I have read than a few books of this sort This one stands above the crowd While the material may not be particularly novel it does pull together core truths about how literature can be understood and
communicates that information in a very accessible manner It has made athat information in a very accessible manner It has made a of difference in my approach to reviewing I made my teenagers read this back when they were actually teenagers Revised and re released May 16 2017 Lively and Entertaining it is not I think I fell asleep a grand total of three times trying to get through these meager 281 pages Foster attempts to be all hip and conversational but I think he does a pretty bad job of it and ends up being even condescending instead All in all it s not really a guide to reading between the lines although we can all probably agree that it s hard to create a guide for anything literature related It s like a bunch of examples about symbolism here and weather means something there pulled from the same body of work In Toni Morrison s Beloved we see examples of baptism in Toni Morrison s Song of Solomon there are excellent examples of communionIf you ever need to write a thesis on Toni Morrison call up this guy He has it all downI only admired one line in the whole book Shakespeare s uotes are like members of the opposite sex all the good ones are takenCorny but at least it forced a chuckle out of me About a year ago I took a MOOC a Massively Open Online Course on the site Coursera on fantasy literature MOOC s grade via peer evaluations of your work One of my papers traced the Garden of Eden symbolism in the opening of Lewis Carroll s Through the Looking Glass It is in the text which made sense since Carroll was a clergy member telling a coming of age story And having taken university level upper division lit courses I new the paper was well thought out supported by the text and creative Solid A maybe an A Or a B if the teacher was having a bad day or was a hard grader I got a B from a peer with a comment not exact but close Clear writing but I don t like this sort of literary criticism It s the same BS my high school English teacher tried to teach The grader offered no argument from the text highlighting passages contradicting my argument if there were any which I doubt Nor did they offer a different interpretation of the Eden story Instead I did a classic bit of literary analysis and was graded by a person either ignorant of or hostile to classical literary analysis And despite the professor s video lectures which employed the same classical literary analytical techniues I did the student objected to the enterprise of literary critiue I was flummoxed It seemed an odd statement and a petty reason for an average grade in a literature class but it goes to the point that Thomas C Foster makes in his well written How to Read Literature Like and English Professor is trying to make Which is that reading closely and writing about literature thoughtfully is an art It takes experience and intention What s it often takes a classical education that few have these days Since literary authors o Read literature like a Pro A Cheat SheetFoster comes across for the most part of the book as Captain Obvious or rather Prof Obvious and maybe even as Dr Condescending MA PhD etcBut no matter how frustrated with the book I was at times Foster does have a language that reminded me constantly of all my english professors and since I have always loved my literature classes and the teachers it was easier to swallow The book treats only very obvious and surface level things like if he almost drowns then he is symbolically reborn etc He takes us through a variety of such things hidden in literature that we should be on the lookout for to truly enjoy any reading The only problem is that he never goes deep enough to let help a reader think analytically of what can. Ltimate professional reader the college professorWhat does it mean when a literary hero travels along a dusty road When he hands a drink to his companion When he's drenched in a sudden rain shower Ranging from major themes to literary models narrative devices and form Thoma.