Like the earlier editions of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, the new seventh edition is in part a carefully chosen anthology. Most of the works here are by American, British, and Canadian authors, but there are also a number of ancient and medieval writers, along with writers who lived in or came from France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Ceylon, and Indonesia, together with authors who represent backgrounds of Latino, American Indian, and Chinese culture. In total, 304 authors are represented, including ten anonymous authors. One hundred eighty-four of the authorsroughly sixty percentwere born after 1900. Of the eighty writers born since 1935, forty-two are women, or fifty-two percent. If one counts only the number of authors born after the end of World War II (1945), the percentage of women goes up dramatically to seventy percent.
The book includes a total of 505 separate workssixty-two stories, 423 poems, and twenty plays and scenes. Each work is suitable for discussion either alone or in comparison. Ten stories, thirty-seven poems, and two dramas are new in this edition. For purposes of comparison, the works in two genres by a number of writers are includedspecifically Atwood, Crane, Glaspell, Hughes, Poe, Shakespeare, Updike, and Walker. In addition, Faulkner and Munro are each represented by two stories, and Shakespeare and Ibsen are represented by two playsShakespeare in Chapters 27 and 28, and Ibsen in Chapter 31. There are four stories by Edith Wharton in Chapter 11, the chapter on the career in fiction. There are multiple selections of poems by many poets.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE SEVENTH EDITION
FLEXIBILITY. The seventh edition reaffirms a principle to which Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing is dedicatedflexibility. The earlier editions have been used for introduction-to-literature courses, genre courses, and both composition and composition-and-literature courses. Adaptability and flexibility have been the keys to this variety. Instructors can use the book for classroom discussions, panel discussions, essay or paragraph-length writing and study assignments, and special topics not covered in class.
FICTION. The fiction section consists of ten chapters. Chapter 2 is a general introduction to fiction while Chapters 3-10the "topical" chapters central to each section of the bookintroduce students to such important topics as structure, character, point of view, and theme. Chapter 11 consists of four stories by Edith Wharton, and Chapter 12 contains seven stories for additional study and enjoyment.
Readers will note that some of the new stories are classiclike those by Faulkner, Petronius, Chekhov, and Whartonand some, such as those by Munro and Bradbury, are well on their way to becoming classic. The new stories complement the fifty-two stories, such as those by Carver, Crane, Glaspell, Gilman, Hawthorne, Joyce, Laurence, Porter, and Twain, that are retained from the sixth edition.
POETRY. The thirteen poetry chapters are arranged similarly to the fiction chapters. Chapter 13 is introductory. Chapters 14-23 deal with topics such as diction, symbolism, imagery, tone, and myth. Chapter 24 is the poetic careers chapter, consisting of selections by Wordsworth, Dickinson, and Frost. Chapter 25 contains 129 poems for additional study and enjoyment. Brief biographies of the anthologized poets are included in Appendix II to make the poetry section parallel with the drama and fiction sections.
Poetry selections are taken from poets of late medieval times to those of our own day, including poets such as the anonymous writer of "Sir Patrick Spens," Wyatt, Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Donne, Dryden, Pope, Gray, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Tennyson, Rossetti, Hopkins, Pound, Yeats, Eliot, Layton, Lowell, Brooks, Birney, and Clifton. Thirty-seven poems are new here. They represent a variety of American and British poets, most of whom are widely recognized. Agizeros, Carruth, Collins, Creeley, Davison, Dunn, Griffin, Kinnell, Merriam, Stevenson, and Terranova come readily to mind. Two of the poets were American presidents (Jimmy Carter and Abraham Lincoln). Younger poets, most of them with great distinctions to their credit, are Agueros, Edelman, Harjo, Hospital, and Peacock. One of the poets new in the seventh edition is Micheal O'Siadhail (pronounced me-hall oh-sheel), who has achieved distinction not only for his poetry but also for his governmental service in his native Ireland. Of special note is the inclusion for the first time of a number of nineteenth-century poets who were chosen for poems illustrating various aspects of American life. (Please see the first category in the Topical and Thematic Table of Contents). These are Bryant, Emerson, Ingham, Lincoln, Melville, and Whinier. Along with the poems included for the first time, the seventh edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing retains 386 poems that were included in the sixth edition.
DRAMA. In the drama section Chapter 26 is introductory. Chapters 27 through 29 deal with tragedy, comedy, and realism and nonrealism. At the suggestion of a number of instructors who use film in their coursesa unique feature begun in the third editionChapter 30, on film, is retained, and the discussion matches those in the other chapters. The scenes from Citizen Kane, by Welles and Mankiewicz, and The Turning Point, by Laurents, have been retained. Chapter 31 is the special career chapter on Henrik Ibsen. There is no "Plays for Additional Study and Enjoyment" chapter to match Chapters 12 and 25 because most plays are so lengthy that adding more would extend the book beyond reasonable limits within a one-volume format.
Nine of the longer plays from the previous edition have been kept in this edition because they.are important in an introductory study of drama (Oedipus the King, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love Is the Doctor, Death of a Salesman, The Glass Menagerie, Mulatto, A Dollhouse, An Enemy of the People). To this number, the important medieval The Second Shepherds'Play and Welder's perennially popular Our Town have been added. These additions make the anthology more useful than in the past as the basis for a discussion of the history of dramatic literature. In an anthology of this scope, the seven short plays (Am I Blue, The Bear, Before Breakfast, Tea Party, The Visitatio Sepulchre, The More the Merrier, Trifles) are valuable because they may be covered in no more than one or two classroom hours, and also because they may be enlivened by having parts read aloud and acted by students. Indeed, the anonymous Visitatio Sepulchre and Keller's Tea Party are brief enough to permit classroom reading and discussion in a single period.
CONTENTS. The Contents lists all the works and major discussion heads in the book. A new feature is the inclusion, following each entry, of a sentence containing a brief summation or impression of the work. It is hoped that these "guides" will interest students in approaching, anticipating, and reading the works.
TOPICAL AND THEMATIC TABLE OF CONTENTS. To make the seventh edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing as flexible as possible, we have continued the Topical and Thematic Table of Contents. In this table, located immediately following the chapter-by-chapter Contents, a number of topics are provided, such as Hope and Renewal; Women; Men; Women and Men; Conformity and Rebellion; Endings and Beginnings, Innocence and Experience, and Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality. Under these topics, generous numbers of stories, poems, and plays are listed (many in a number of categories), to aid in the creation and study of topical or thematic units. In this edition, for the first time, references to the works of art in the Inserts are included along with the topics so that students may add visual references to their analyses of literature.
A special word is in order for the category "America in Peace, War, and Tribulation," which is first in the Topical and Thematic Table. After the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, it is fitting that a category of uniquely American topics be included for student analysis and discussion. Of course there cannot be a systematic and comprehensive examination of the background and thought that belongs to courses in American literature, but a selection of works that bear on American life and values is now particularly important. Some of the works describe an idealized America, but many also shed light on problems and issues that America has faced in the past and is facing today. A few of the works concern our country at its beginning; some reflect the life of the frontier and the Civil War; others introduce issues of minority culture; still others introduce subjects such as war, misfortune, personal anguish, regret, healing, reverence for the land, the symbolic value of work, nostalgia, love, prejudice, and relationships between parents and children. It is our hope that students study the listed works broadly, as general human issues also dealing with the complexity of life in the United States today.
QUESTIONS. Following each anthologized selection in the detailed chapters are study questions designed to help students in their exploration and understanding of literature. Some questions are factual and may be answered quickly. Others provoke extended thought and classroom discussion, and may also serve for both in-class and out-of-class writing assignments. At the ends of twenty-six chapters we include a number of more general "Special Topics for Writing and Argument about (Character, Symbolism, Tragedy, etc.)." Many of these are comparison-contrast topics, and a number of themat least one in each chapterare assignments requiring creative writing (for example, "Write a poem," or "Compose a s...