Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some Observations I Made While Reading My College English Textbook

(I'm counting this as a literary criticism, even though it's a stretch.)

1.   They assert that prewriting/brainstorming is necessary.  Discovery writers out there (Stephen King, for one) would strongly disagree.  Various levels of outlining should be experimented with to find your optimum amount.

2.   They tell us to read into the title, non-text, author bio, etc. before reading.  Some of that information can twist our perception of the written work.  It may work for some people, but for me reading everything in order allows for the best digestion of the material.

3.   They recommend that we identify the writer's main point.  Yet sometimes the main point cannot be discovered until the end.  If you try to identify the point earlier, you may cloud the true meaning.

4.   They state that "All writers are obsessed with language".  Have they ever heard of translucent prose?

5.   They write with far too much confidence.

6.   They hinted at irritations from reading academic papers.  I think they knew they were annoying people.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have made the same observations from school work. Seems like the people who write these textbooks don't quite know what literature is or can be.


    1. That's because the people who write textbooks aren't actually successful writers, to my knowledge. You're welcome.

  2. From what I remember of my college textbooks (long ago in a galaxy far, far away), the supposed interpretation of a writer's message always seemed a bit presumptuous. What I see or bring back from a book is up to me. Not the dry perception of a stuffy professor.

    But then I am an independent sort of person:)

    1. I agree. A lot of times they try to force theme even when the story doesn't have one.