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The Politically Incorrect Guide to English And American Literature (Politically Incorrect Guides) Paperback – November 13, 2006
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From the Back Cover
- Beowulf: If we don't admire heroes, there's something wrong with us
- Chaucer: Chivalry has contributed enormously to women's happiness
- Shakespeare: Some choices are inherently destructive (it's just built into the nature of things)
- Milton: Our intellectual freedoms are Christian, not anti-Christian, in origin
- Jane Austen: Most men would be improved if they were more patriarchal than they actually are
- Dickens: Reformers can do more harm than the injustices they set out to reform
- T. S. Eliot: Tradition is necessary to culture
- Flannery O'Connor: Even modern American liberals aren't immune to original sin
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Top Customer Reviews
After reading this book, I wanted to click off the television, put down the newspaper and pick up books off my shelf I haven't looked at since college, not because they're good for me, but because they're just plain good. Any high school senior would benefit from this book, as a sort of inoculation against the silly stuff that passes for English literature study in many colleges. Those of us who were high school seniors many years ago will be reminded how much fun it is to read plays out loud, memorize poetry, and gossip about the characters of great novels. Definitely five stars.
Kantor's enthusiasm for literature is infectious. Beginning with Beowulf (which turns out to be a lot more interesting than I recall) and carrying through to T.S. Eliot, Kantor shows the value that great English and American Literature adds to our lives, and shows how the PC nonsense that has infected our universities is but confusion worse confounded. In fact, the sidebars, which include side-splittingly (though unintentionally) funny quotations from professors and grad students, are half the fun of the book.
Whether you wish to broaden your own horizons or your children's, this guide is an excellent guide on what to read and why.
One of the nicest things about this book is the literature that the author recommends. We can access most of it at our local libraries.
Miss Kantor may not be to everyone's taste, but she has done a service here by illuminating our American and English literature heritage.
The positive side is a brisk walk through of some of the great books of English Literature. This guide whets your appetite to read many of the great books and gives the author's take on the key insights readers can learn from these great, and long considered great, books. And what she highlights is not what today we'd call "politically correct".
Elizabeth Kantor delivers us an easy to read, tour guide book, accesible to the general non-specialist adult reader, that outlines some 'lessons to be learned' from Beowulf (the value of heroism), Chaucer (the vibrancy of medieval Christendom and it's culture), Shakespeare (his keen insight into human nature), Milton (contrary to modern conventional wisdom, liberty and religious faith are not opposites), Jane Austen (how patriarchal values benefit women). This section is humorous, interesting, thought provoking and enlightening. Even when you don't agree with her. It's a shame this wonderful overview was limited to a mere 90% of the book.
It's also a shame it's not a bigger book. I would love to see Kantor tackle more books, including Homer. That's not English Literature of course, but it would be a great addition. After all the study of Homer dominated traditional academic teaching for centuries. Perhaps we will see future sequels.
The negative side, about 10% all told, is the author's critique of the way "post-modernists" and "political correctness" have distorted and undermined academic study of English Literature. This section is weaker and somewhat repetitive, although that repetition in some way reflects the echo chamber nature of academic post-modernism.Read more ›
"Among the many third-rate books that English professors waste their students' time on (when they could be teaching truly great English literature) is... The Handmaid's Tale. The Handmaid's Tale is the quintessential expression of our intellectuals' fears about what a truly Christian culture would look like."
Dr. Kantor's book was prescient. My daughter was beginning college in a few weeks and I soon discovered that The Handmaid's Tale was required reading for all incoming freshmen. I read The Handmaid's Tale: it was a waste of time. (A review of the book is posted.) I looked over the syllabi of the freshmen English classes and discovered that much of the reading appeared chosen more to advance the political agendas of the teachers than to expose the students to the great writers of literature in the English language. Dr. Kantor was right.
Here is a list of the books for one freshmen English class at my daughter's college:
Author: ATWOOD (feminism, oppressiveness of Christianity, published 1986)
Author: WHITEHEAD (racism, class differences, published 1999)
BLESSING THE BOATS
Author: CLIFTON (racism and feminism, published 2000)
Author: MCDONAGH (Playwright specializes in "in your face theatre," whose purpose is to "...present the audience with vulgar, shocking and confrontational material on stage...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an awesome! Part I (the bulk of the book) describes the social¬ history which gave rise to the survey of the major works of English and American literature that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kenneth Freed
The book arrived on time and in good condition. A must for those who seek the facts on the subject-matter contained on the title, without having to pour-over countless tomes. Read morePublished 8 months ago by John A Driscoll
This is one of the better books in this series I have read. Part III is a wonderful guide to reading literature closely and the absurdities of college classes described are sadly... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Will
It is like new. Outside of Chines English is the most widely used language in the world today. Understanding the literature will help understand our culture.Published 19 months ago by Roberto E. Benitez
I use several other PIGs in homeschooling my children. I purchased this English and American Lit book as an afterthought. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Hillcountrynell
So spot on to the current political climate. Appalling at what some colleges and high schools teach about classic literature. Ideas never meant by the authors.Published 23 months ago by Mary Hinkle
Let me preface my review with my observation of English classes at the college level. I've always felt that English class was a way for some professors to sneak in ideological... Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by SLIMJIM
The Politically Incorrect Guide to English And American Literature (Politically Incorrect Guides) is an excellent guide into world of English and American Literature. Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by Bjorn Viberg