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The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know Hardcover – December 18, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (December 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195077296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195077292
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare to Philip Larkin and Winston Churchill, this gathers work from England's most notable writers, poets, philosophers and leaders to create a detailed literary history. Drawn from the most well known works produced during the roughly 350-year period between Queen Elizabeth's "Speech on the eve of facing the Spanish Armada" to Winston Churchill's two "Speeches to the House of Commons" in June 1940, selections include such standards as Hamlet's soliloquy, Satan's lament from Milton's Paradise Lost and the entirety of T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A few lesser known gems dot the roundup, such as Ben Johnson's Oak and Lily, as well as lyrics known more for their tunes than their writers ("Greensleeves" and "Amazing Grace" among them). The mother-and-son editorial team behind this volume has created a collection that is readily accessible to the everyday reader, but will also work well in a classroom setting.
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Review


"This collection is impressive. With such wide-ranging selections, this volume is an excellent resource for high school humanities and science teachers looking to add depth to their lessons."--American Educator


"This unique collection offers the best that has been thought and said, not just in our unmatched literature but also in the evolution of democratic ideas. It is a book to teach, inspire, and delight all who can read the English language." --E. D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation and author of The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them


"Diane and Michael Ravitch have assembled a splendid and important anthology - and one that deserves the widest possible readership." --Joseph Epstein, author of Friendship: An Exposé


"The English Reader is a remarkable resource for scholars and readers of all stripes. Whether we lean toward canon-building or canon-breaking, we English language readers have a literary history in common. This book makes the high points (and even some of the low points) of that history accessible and provides an education for us all." --Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University


"This greatest-hits package is a mix of excerpts from longer works and complete short pieces (poems, essays, speeches) that distills the essence of English literature." -Seattle Times


"The 486-page book is the kind of treasure that seldom comes along." - The Oklahoman



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Customer Reviews

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Purchased this book for my daughter for her reading class.
L. Nickel
It embraces the great legacy of written speech and does not propagandize or promote literary or political trends of thought for their own sake.
Ronald M. Isaac
THE ENGLISH READER is more than a good literary anthology.
Richard Munro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sophie on December 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No one's better than educational historian Diane Ravitch at pointing out what's missing from today's schooling and doing something about it. This new anthology brings together poems, stories, songs and other literature that used to be part of the common experience of all educated men and women and have been replaced by second-rate material designed to be easy to read, raising scores without raising knowledge. Nothing in one of today's textbook readers will be remembered for long, while the pages of this book contain phrases, lines, whole paragraphs that touch us, stay in our memories, and connect us with each other through our common knowledge of these classics of our common culture. An excellent gift for any child, parent, teacher, or friend; these selections are sure to resonate and provide lasting pleasures.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ronald M. Isaac on December 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book deserves greater raves than does civilization itself. It is a scrupulous selection of inspired thought and passion as codified in the immortal conveyance of the English language. It is not limited to literature, strictly speaking. It embraces the great legacy of written speech and does not propagandize or promote literary or political trends of thought for their own sake. Michael and Diane Ravitch, who is the greatest personality in contemporary American education and the chief moral force behind reverence for the genius of tradition, have included some of the huge talents of English literature who are in danger of being forgotten because of the new and morbidly relaxed priorities of schools: Carlyle,George Herbert, Carlyle, Spenser, etc.Unlike the books that insinuate themselves into typical classroom "libraries," picked for political correctness but usually lacking literary merit,the specimens chosen by Michael and Diane Ravitch do true honor to the dignity of the great issues of the day, such as feminism. For example, instead of having quotes from Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Streisand represent the feminist current of thought, they have Virginia Woolf and E. Pankhurst, the brilliant British sufragette activist and orator. As an English teacher who is distressed to witness the slipping away of expressive power and with it the authority of history and the human heart, I plead with all the folks reading this review to secure this precious book for yourselves and to work hard to prevail upon school boards and other educational decision makers to use it to provide critical learning nutrition to a starved generation.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Pogrebin on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books you think initially think would intimidate and overwhelm you; but from the first word it actually reads like a novel you can't put down. We are all fortunate that the Ravitch team writes so accessibly and engagingly. This book has already become part of my nightly bedtime routine; I look forward to reading a selection every night. "The English Reader" should be in everyone's library -- or at everyone's bedside. It's a lively treasure.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Silverlake Scrivener on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Life imitates art," declares Oscar Wilde in The Decay of Lying, one of the many wonderful pieces of writing collected in The English Reader. Yet most of us are woefully ignorant of the art or at least the literature that our lives imitate. This indispensable anthology proves how instrumental the literary arts have been in creating the culture we know. It also proves something else--that great literature is fun to read. Thank you to Michael and Diane Ravitch for this educational and engaging book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Wesley Null on December 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you feel as though your knowledge of English literature is not as good as it should be, this book is definitely for you. Michael and Diane Ravitch have compiled a beautiful--and indeed brilliant--collection of classic writings from English literature. This book is a cultural powerhouse that should become a best-seller. Our culture will most certainly benefit if this book is read throughout the English-speaking world. At the very least, everyone who owns a copy of Diane Ravitch's The American Reader should own--and read--a copy of this book. It will be especially useful to teachers of English in high schools and in universities. If the book looks interesting to you at all, I say buy a copy. You won't be disappointed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Silvers on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The English Reader wakes one up to remember all the past days when one read these wonderful pieces and a life of business took one away from their enjoyment. It's like stopping to smell the roses. Thank you
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