Lives Through Literature: A Thematic Anthology (3rd Edition)

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9780130170064: Lives Through Literature: A Thematic Anthology (3rd Edition)

This culturally diverse, gender-balanced anthology is organized by seven types of human relationships: Parents and Children, Sisters and Brothers, Women and Men in Love, Wives and Husbands, Friends and Enemies, Students and Teachers, and People Alone. Within each category, readings are also grouped by subthemes and subject clusters—often based on essential mythical or biblical themes. The text also features four example-filled chapters on reading skills, critical analysis, and writing about literature. For anyone—regardless of age, culture, or gender—in need of a catalyst to generate dynamic literary discussion and stimulating writing topics.

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From the Inside Flap:

Preface to the Third Edition

Our debt to tradition through reading and conversation is so
massive, our protest or private addition so rare and insignificant
–and this commonly on the ground of reading or hearing
–that, in a large sense, one would say there is no pure
originality. All minds quote. Old and new make the warp and
woof of every moment.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Quotation and Originality"

Lives Through Literature is designed to teach literature and encourage writing. It is a thematic anthology interweaving literary texts that demonstrate interrelationships of life experience as expressed in both sacred and secular myths, parables, folktales, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The anthology is aimed primarily at students in the freshman and sophomore English sequences. Selections are drawn from many civilizations and cultures so that we provide a solid core of world literature from the ninth century B.C.E. to the present. We hope that this anthology becomes a catalyst for critical thinking and writing, as well as a source of multicultural literacy. SEVEN UNIVERSAL THEMES

But there remains the indefeasible persistency of the individual
to be himself. One leaf, one blade of grass, one meridian,
does not resemble another. Every mind is different; and the
more it is unfolded, the more pronounced is that difference.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality"

We have chosen seven universal themes that we believe are immediately appealing and relevant to our students' experience as well as to the instructor's experience: Parents and Children, Sisters and Brothers, People in Love, Wives and Husbands, Friends and Enemies, Students and Teachers, and People Alone. Since it is likely that these are the very relationships students are struggling with as they enter and proceed through college, we believe that literature of both immediate and lasting relevance will encourage their active participation in the study of literature and critical thinking and writing. The variety of selections included within each theme reveal a multiplicity of points of view as reflected in the differences in age, culture, class, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and philosophy.

The themes are arranged in a progressive order that loosely follows the path of growth and development that is an integral part of the process of maturation and individuation. Within each theme, material is grouped by genre, and within each genre material is organized to create a dialogue between selections that precede or follow. Part 1, "Parents and Children," focuses on aspects of relationships between parents and children from the perspective of each, such as coming of age, separation, and death. Part 2, "Sisters and Brothers," portrays the nature of sibling loyalty, jealousy, rivalry, and competitiveness. Part 3, "People in Love," and Part 4, "Wives and Husbands," differentiate the experience of love from that of marriage. Focuses include the role time and timing plays in relationships, the experience of falling in love, the nature of love when both partners are single or married, the difficulties caused by unrequited love or love outside a marriage, and so on. Our intent is not to imply that love and marriage are mutually exclusive, but to suggest that they are complex subjects with many facets for analysis and interpretation. Part 5, "Friends and Enemies," explores different types of friendship and the sources of enmity that arise between friends or explode between foes. Part 6, "Students and Teachers," raises fundamental questions regarding how and from whom we learn, the nature of the lesson, and the profound connection between students and teachers. Finally, we have added to the third edition Part 7, "People Alone" which addresses the singularity of the individual in society and family, one's relationship with oneself rather than with others, the distinction between solitude and loneliness, and the ways in which individuals face death. INTERRELATED TEXTS

Some collaboration has to take place in the mind between
the woman and the man before the act of creation can be accomplished.
Some marriage of opposites has to be consummated. The whole mind
must lie wide open if we are to get the sense that the writer is
communicating his experience with perfect fullness.
—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

We have been most concerned to select texts that elucidate the main themes of Lives Through Literature and to place them where they will generate dynamic literary discussion and stimulating writing topics. Our criteria are that all works represent literary excellence, a wide range of cultures, and multiple possibilities for juxtaposition, comparison, and contrast. We recognize the arguments over what constitutes the modern canon, and in light of this, we have chosen classic and respected authors such as Homer, Rumi, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Kafka, Woolf, and Joyce as well as contemporary authors such as Carver, Plath, Hughes, Coover, Munro, Sexton, and Morrison and less widely recognized writers such as Lalla, Yezierska, Hayden, Petry, North, Alvarez, and O'Hagan. Selections range from the traditional to the experimental, from classic to postmodern, from realistic to surreal. Our selections are culturally diverse and sensitive to issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class religion, age, and sexual orientation. SUBJECT CLUSTERS

Mythology is no man's worn; but what we daily observe in
regard to the bon-mots that circulate in society–that every
talker helps a story in repeating it, until at last, from the slenderest
filament of fact a good fable is constructed–the same growth
befalls mythology: the legend is tossed from believer to poet, from
poet to believer, everybody adding a grace or dropping a fault, or
rounding the form until it gets an ideal truth.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality"

By design, we have included a cluster of selections that share similar subject matter but expose quite different points of view. The exploration of multiple views and interpretations is one of the strengths of this anthology. Whereas some clusters appear within one genre of a thematic grouping, others are woven through several genres or even several thematic groupings. For instance, the myth of Daedalus and Icarus appears in several very different forms, first in "Parents and Children" and later in "People in Love" and in "Students and Teachers." Cross-genre clusters on Demeter and Persephone, the Prodigal Son, and Snow White also appear in "Parents and Children." "Sisters and Brothers" has cross-genre clusters portraying the Cain and Abel relationship and the relationship of Hansel and Gretel. "People in Love" includes a cross-genre cluster on The Lady of Shalott, while "Wives and Husbands" has clusters on the relationship between Penelope and Odysseus, the story of Lot's Wife, and the existence of "marriage factories." This section also juxtaposes the Orpheus and Eurydice myth with its American Indian counterpart, "Coyote and the Shadow People," which forms a cluster with H. D.'s poem "Eurydice" and Jorie Graham's poem "Orpheus and Eurydice." "Friends and Enemies" has a cluster of texts portraying the archetype of the double, or shadow. "Students and Teachers" clusters four Zen parables with a poem by a student of Zen. Several poems focusing on the animal as unexpected friend or teacher appear in both "Friends and Enemies" and "Students and Teachers." In "People Alone," the original ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus is juxtaposed with Albert Camus's famous essay, "The Myth of Sisyphus." The literary motif of blindness and inner sight appears and reappears throughout the anthology, in fiction by Raymond Carver, in Sophocles' great drama Oedipus The King, and in excerpts from the autobiographical writing of Helen Keller. Other clusters and subthemes center on the role of a secret in relationships, the pleasures of solitude, the experience of rebirth and regeneration, the trials of being an immigrant, rites of passage, and the history and evolution of romantic love. Additional information on these thematic groupings is available. in the inside cover of Lives Through Literature and in the Instructor's Manual. INTRODUCTIONS TO THEMATIC SECTIONS

Each thematic introduction opens with a short introduction, elucidating the theme and its variations. These brief introductions can be used as a point of departure for a general discussion that will generate a more intense examination of the selections. Within each thematic section the material is arranged so that there is a progression of experience leading toward some significant moment in life. We have situated each selection within its genre to encourage it to be seen in the context of the selections that precede and follow it. VERSATILITY

Like its other two editions, the third edition of Lives Through Literature is extremely versatile allowing selections and themes to be used in any order. It offers a wide variety

From the Back Cover:

Lives Through Literature, Third Edition is a thematic anthology designed to teach and encourage student participation in the study of literature, critical thinking, and writing. Literary texts are interwoven to demonstrate interrelationships of life experience as expressed in sacred and secular myths, parables, folktales, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Because it is culturally diverse and gender-balanced, Lives Through Literature, Third Edition offers a wide variety of appealing and relevant readings through its seven universals themes.

Within each section, annotated selections are grouped by subthemes and subject clusters, providing readers the opportunity for studying variations on a theme. Text support includes focus questions for each selection, discussion and writing topics for each genre, cross-genre writing topics for each thematic section, an Alternate Chronological Contents, a Glossary of Literary Terms, and short biographical sketches for each author. Four comprehensive sections are devoted to discussions of literary analysis and strategies for thinking and writing about literature.

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