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The Crafty Reader Kindle Edition

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Length: 279 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A well-known literary critic, Scholes (modern culture and media, Brown Univ.; The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English As a Discipline) finds that reading is the route to intelligence and that it can and must be taught and learned. He asserts that, contrary to the New Critics and to years of instruction in English classes, texts are situated in time and place. Readers should be aware of a work's cultural and political context as well as of genre and the author's life and career, and gaps and inconsistencies in the text should be noted. Scholes demonstrates how fundamentalist reading or selective literalism fails but becomes one of the most powerful ways in which the public is misled. The essays are thorough, well reasoned, and articulate, and his suggestions on teaching will upend the curriculum. Essential for all teachers of English and librarians and for serious readers and book clubs; both academic and public libraries will want to add this title. Nancy P. Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, NC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The Crafty Reader shows brilliantly that reading the world as a 'text' need not involve any denial of reality." -- Gerald Graff, University of Illinois at Chicago

"[W]ell reasoned, and articulate, . . . his suggestions on teaching will upend the curriculm. Essential for all teachers . . . librarians, and . . . serious readers." -- Nancy P. Shires, Library Journal

Product Details

  • File Size: 500 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0300090153
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (August 11, 2001)
  • Publication Date: August 11, 2001
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015E797M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,913 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Robert Scholes was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1929. His mother was one of five Brooklyn girls orphaned by the influenza epidemic, raised by the oldest sister, with the help of the Catholic Church. Her parents were Italian immigrants to the U. S. Robert's father (Ted Scholes) was from Philadelphia, of English and Irish background. The name (pronounced skoles) comes from Yorkshire.

Robert went to public schools in Forest Hills, Queens and then, from the fourth grade through High School in Garden City, on Long Island, New York. He graduated from Yale in 1950 and spent several years on active duty with the U. S. Navy, after attending Officer's Candidate School in Newport, RI. He served in the U. S. S. Helena, a heavy cruiser, which was involved in combat during the Korean War, making two extended cruises to the Pacific and bring newly elected President Eisenhower from Guam to Hawaii in 1952. Serving as a gunnery officer, Scholes lost some hearing during this period. After the Korean war, he spent a year in the Philadelphia Navy Yard,helping with the overhaul of destroyers. During his time on active duty his first wife, Joan, had two children, Christine and Peter.

In 1955 he entered graduate school at Cornell on the G. I. Bill, getting his MA in 1956 and PhD in 1959. His dissertation was a catalogue of the newly acquired papers of James Joyce in the Cornell Library. His first academic job was as an Instructor at the U. of Virginia, where he was promoted to Assistant Professor after two years. At the U. of Virginia William Faulkner came to his class when he taught one of Faulkner's novels.

In 1964 he became an Associate Professor at the U. of Iowa, where he was made a Professor in 1966. In 1970 he moved to Brown, where he has been ever since. In the spring of 1971 his first wife died of cancer. In 1972 he married Jo Ann Putnam and acquired four more children: Cynthia, Rick, Greg, and Mike.

During his career he has been author, co-author, or editor of more than thirty books, and has served as President of the Semiotic Society of America and of the Modern Language Association. His books range from literary theory and modernist studies to matters of the class room and the curriculum. He helped to found the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown, and, in 1995 he began the Modernist Journals Project, which provides digital editions of modern periodicals for use by scholars, teachers, and students. In 1999 he retired from full-time teaching and became an unpaid Research Professor of Modern Culture and Media, as well as a Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Hinkle on March 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Scholes' prose is crisp and clear. His critique of the New Critics is hardly new, but it is efficiently done. Perhaps most interesting is the range of texts Scholes' approaches, from poetry to online posts by High School students to the Bible (read through Southern Baptists and the Pope, among others). He does a good job looking at Harry Potter and Edna St. Vincent Millay alike, and in both cases, he shows how satisfying reading can be when we strip away the demands of the New Critics and allow ourselves the luxury of a reading informed by an understanding of genre and history. One of the most useful things in this book for me was its neat description of the evolution of a genre (Scholes describes the renaissance, classical and baroque periods of genres like Fantasy and Mysteries).
As an English teacher, this book is something of a Bible for me. I refer to it often when I am trying to explain what and how I try to teach. That said, it is, admittedly, short on technique. It is not always (or even often) clear how to bring Scholes' ideas from the page to the classroom. To be fair, his intent was not to produce a manual, but still, as a teacher convinced by much of his argument, I often wish he had. In spite of his critique of "virtuoso readings", much of the joy of this book comes in appreciating Scholes' own considerable virtuosity as he takes on one underappreciated genre after another.
Scholes' readings are delightful and his language is refreshingly unpretentious. This is a fast read and well worth the effort for any interested reader and, especially, for any teacher of English.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title and jacket discription of this worthy book is highly misleading. While purporting to explain the "craft" of reading (although disclaiming to actually "teach" that craft), it is merely a string of essays on items that are of interest to the author: how the New Critics estranged readers of poetry, how detective fiction plays with certain rules, what is the definition of science fantasy. The actually "craft" of reading is often thrown into the essays as an afterthought, when the author recalls that this is what his book was supposed to be about. While the essays themselves are not without interest and are clearly written, it is dishonest to advertise one thing and deliver another: a literary bait-and-switch. So let the reader (and buyer) beware.
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