How To Read Literature Like A Professor

Topics: Symbol, Originality, Work Pages: 2 (588 words) Published: November 23, 2014
“How To Read Literature Like A Professor”
By: Thomas C. Foster

1) “Always" and "never" are not words that have much meaning in literary study. For one thing, as soon as something seems to always be true, some wise guy will come along and write something to prove that it's not.” pg.8

2) "there's no such thing as a wholly original work of literature" pg.20  
3) "myth is a body of story that matters" pg.39

4) “The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge.” pg.7

5) “Here’s the problem with symbols: people expect them to mean something. Not just any something, something in particular. Exactly. Maximum. You know what? It doesn’t work like that… so some symbols do have a relatively limited range of meanings, but in general a symbol can’t be reduced to standing for only one thing.” pg.55

6) “Most professional students of literature learn to take in the foreground detail while seeing the detail reveals. Like the symbolic imagination, this is a function of being able to distance oneself from the story, to look beyond the purely affective level of plot, drama, characters. Experience has proved to them that life and books fall into similar patterns. Nor is this skill exclusive to English professors.” pg.4

7) “A novel is a made-up work about made-up people in a made-up place, all of which is very real.” pg.32

8) “Education is mostly about institutions and getting tickets stamped; learning is what we do for ourselves. When we're lucky, they go together. If I had to choose, I'd take learning.” pg.147

9) "It’s never just rain" pg.44

10) “Literature is full of patterns, and your reading experience will be much more rewarding when you can step back from the work, even while you’re reading it, and look for those patterns.” pg.4

11) “One of the great things about being a professor of English is that you get to keep meeting old friends.” pg.20

12) “To me literature is something much more alive. More like a barrel of eels. When a writer...
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