Hugh Kenner, Helen Vendler, Harry Levin, Nathan A. Scott, Jr., Barbara Johnson, J. Hillis Miller, and seven other scholars, critics, and metacritics at the forefront of intellectual developments in their fields offer provocative statements on the teaching of literature and on their own practices as teachers. The authors, differing widely in their areas of interest and their approaches to literature, stress an inherent relation between the classroom and their published writings, integrating teaching strategies with critical or theoretical positions.
Teaching is seen as an essential part of their work at large rather than a separate discipline with other methods and aims. Ranging over such topics as Shakespeare, feminism, composition, the teaching of poetry, and interpretation, the essays are mostly personal: descriptive, not prescriptive. From the writers’ experiences, both positive and negative, much can be learned about ways of approaching a work of literature, of reading and understanding a text, as well as ways of helping students to do the same.