Some notes on teaching-led research that I first posted, on the Higher Education and Theory (HEAT) network blog, in relation to a summary of Elaine Showalter’s ‘Teaching Literature’ a few years ago:
To teach is to be battered
Scrutinized, and drained,
Day after day. We know this.
Still, it is never said.
– Jane Tompkins, A Life in School, 1
Collected below are my notes on reading Elaine Showalter’s Teaching Literature, first published in 2003. Showalter is a (now retired) Professor of English at Princeton, perhaps most well known for her 1979 work ‘Towards A Feminist Poetics’ in which she advocated a practice of gynocritics that sought to develop new models for literary criticism ‘based on the study of female experience, rather than to adapt male models and theories’ (Showalter 1986: 131) .
ES begins by pointing out that most practical studies of teaching English emphasize the teaching of composition rather than the teaching of literature itself (vii). Her book is an attempt to respond to this deficit. Two guiding themes seem to run through it: first, that part of the reason for this deficit is, negatively, connected to our own anxiety…
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