You've Got to Be Carefully Taught: Learning and Relearning Literature


You've Got to Be Carefully Taught: Learning and Relearning Literature



Drawing on his own experience in the profession, veteran English professor and internationally renowned scholar Jerome Klinkowitz sorts out the wrong ways of teaching literature before devising a new, successful method. Specifically, he concludes that a historically based “story of English” is precisely the wrong narrative approach to making sense of what literature does. Instead, Klinkowitz proposes a new method focused not on the product of literary writing but on the process of writing. Long involved with the making of contemporary literature, Klinkowitz shows how his classroom approach draws on the same strengths and inspirations writers use in the creation of literature. He involves students in the literary work as production.

Despite almost universal agreement that literary studies fail both writers and students, solutions have been limited to suggestions by superstar theorists teaching cream-of-the-crop students at elite universities. Klinkowitz aims not at the elite but at the ordinary student in an introduction to literature class. His goal is to introduce teachers to a new philosophy of teaching literature and to further deepen students’ natural love for the subject. He also seeks to revive the love of fine writing in those whose joy in the subject fell victim to obtuse teaching methods. Uniquely, his is not an esoteric theory developed by the best academics for elite students but a commonsense approach that works well in the kind of schools most students attend. -- Provided by publisher


Klinkowitz, Jerome; English teachers -- United States -- Biography; English literature -- Study and teaching; Literature -- Study and teaching;

Document Type




Publication Date



Southern Illinois University Press


Carbondale, IL


Department of Languages and Literatures

Object Description

167 p. ; 24 cm



You've Got to Be Carefully Taught: Learning and Relearning Literature