Volume 48, Number 1                                                                                               Spring 2014

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English Department at NIU

Northern Illinois University

Target Article

Peter J. Rabinowitz and Corinne Bancroft
Euclid at the Core: Recentering Literary Education / 1
 

Article Responses

Deborah Appleman 
Response to Euclid at the Core: Recentering Literary Education / 36

Sheridan Blau
Literary Competence and the Experience of Literature / 42

Edward R. Ducharme
A Response to Peter and Corrine’s Essay New Criticism / 48

John V. Knapp
Mind the Gap: Response to Rabinowitz& Bancroft’s “Euclid at the Core” / 54

Thomas Newkirk
“The proper density”: Walker Percy and the Danger of Theory / 62

Kate Oubre
Many “Right Answers,” Many “Wrong Ones”: A Defense of Close Reading in the High School Classroom / 66

James Phelan
Advancing the Project of “Recentering Literary Education”: An Overlapping Model, a Friendly Amendment, and a Proposed Revision / 71

Brian Richardson
Learning to Read /76

Helaine L. Smith
A Response to Euclid at the Core: Recentering Literary Education Close Reading: Classroom Notes on Teaching The Odyssey / 79

Michael W. Smith 
Building Paper Houses / 83

Lisa Zunshine
What Reading Fiction Has to Do With Doing Well Academically / 87
 

Rejoinder to the Responses

Corinne Bancroft and Peter J. Rabinowitz 
“Thanks to All at Once and to Each One”: Continuingthe Conversation / 94

To the readers of Style

I want to take a brief moment of your time to tell you about this issue (48.1) of Style, our third occasional issue that includes a “target essay,” written and guest-edited by national experts in the study of literature. For this issue, our guest editors are Peter Rabinowitz, who needs no introduction to narratologists, and Corinne Bancroft, a former secondary school teacher and now Ph.D. candidate, whose pedagogical techniques and practices are marvelous examples of teaching literature both to enthusiastic and to reluctant readers. These two have written a Target Essay that summarized many of the issues now facing English teachers as they create “a set of comprehensible, pragmatic, and coherent principles about literature, readers, and the act of reading, principles on which readers can rely as they build literary interpretations. Theory in this sense need not be threatening, even in a middle-school classroom.” By looking at what they call “kid knowledge,” Rabinowitz and Bancroft assert convincingly that, “given the freedom and the tools, students will translate their Kid Knowledge into a language that adults can understand. Equipping them with language to name their ideas will allow them to develop confidence to create more complicated ideas.”

As we have with the two earlier special issues of Style, we then sent out the Target Essay to over two dozen master teachers and scholars of literature with the request that they confine their responses to approximately 2,000 words or fewer and to do so in about eight to twelve weeks. Once all responses were in, Rabinowitz and Bancroft wrote a “rejoinder” to the responses, either individually or in aggregates, and so what you hold in your hands now is the completed whole – target essay, responses, and rejoinders. We hope you enjoy your reading and feel as stimulated by the guest-editors’ thinking and the several responses to them as I do. As with the two earlier issues of this type, I invite longer, more detailed arguments and analyses by those interested in this topic (here the teaching of literature) for consideration in a future issue of Style. I am grateful to both for the enormous amount of hard work that went into the thinking about, the writing, and the editing for this special issue of Style.

John V. Knapp
Editor

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