« ZurückWeiter »
This course in the types of literature has been worked out with senior classes in high school during the past five years, but there are also included here the results of practical class-room experience covering a much longer period of time. For this reason it is impossible to make a separate acknowledgment of indebtedness to each of the large number of authorities and experts in each type that have been consulted at various times, and to whom I owe much by way of information and inspiration. I am, however, deeply grateful to them.
In the arrangement of the material of this book, the aim has been to make it clear, compact, and interesting to high school pupils; to stimulate the students' own thoughts; to give breadth of view; to make books and reading as attractive as possible; to arouse love for the best things that have been written, not only in the past but in the present time, and to focus the attention on the literature itself rather than on its history. Even though, in this book, the group plan of study is used, an effort is made to lead the pupils to see that literature is a living, growing thing and cannot be bound down by absolute, exact rules; that, instead, it is constantly showing modifications, resulting from the influence of race, time, environment, and individuality of the authors. Since there are, however, so many pieces of literature that naturally fall into more or less distinct groups, the classification and definition of them as embodied here is justified.
The chronological method of arrangement has been followed. Each type has been traced from its earliest appearance to the present time, and those that have come to be regarded as the best examples of each form have been especially noted, and, wherever possible, studied. Some of these, however, have been omitted here because they are usually emphasized in earlier years of the high school course, and others, because they are not suitable for high school study. The chronological tables given in the back of the book will be of value in keeping before the pupil the time sequence so that the types will not become detached in his mind from their literary periods.
It has been deemed wise to include everything essential to the course in this one volume, with the exception of the material for outside readings, and the text of "The Tale of Two Cities," full notes of which, however, are given. It is hoped that this wide. choice of material, as well as the very full lists for outside readings in connection with each type, will make the book very adaptable and useful for the needs of experienced teachers even though they may, perhaps, wish to make some additions or substitutions for the selections used. It is also hoped that it will prove of especial value to inexperienced teachers, to those who have small library facilities, and to students who must economize in the cost of a course. Should there not be time to read in class all of the selections given here, some of this work could be assigned for outside readings.
In the selection of illustrative material wholes have been emphasized. Only in the case of less than a dozen selections have extracts been used and these have been organized into smaller wholes by means of explanatory paragraphs. For instance, a pupil would get a comprehensive idea of "Beowulf," "The Canterbury Tales," "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," and the first book of "The Faerie Queene," from what has been given here. The other extracts from "Adonaïs," "In Memoriam," "Slumber Songs of the Madonna," "Drake," and the scenes from "Doctor Faustus" and "Edward the Second" are self-explanatory.
This study of the types of literature in the fourth year of high school, presupposes courses given in the second and third years in which the most important American and English authors are studied. Such courses are admirably provided for in other numbers of this series of anthologies. A teacher could arrange such preliminary courses, using the various inexpensive classics for the readings, and referring the students to the literary histories for the biographical and background material. Emphasis, however, should, in high school, always be placed on the study of the literature itself rather than the history of literature. With such courses as a basis, this study of types would have a firm foundation. Moreover, the different point of view shown here is likely to attract the average high school senior, open up a new field of interest to him, and inspire a deeper love for books and reading than would be possible in the chronological study of authors and works alone. In reality, it will be found that this viewpoint is the pupil's own, for, in his unguided reading, he has always thought of books in terms of types. He has consciously selected novels, stories, plays, or poems
as such, seldom thinking who wrote them, or when. The plan of study presented here, therefore, comes close to the student's life and experience and will have its appeal for him. He will recognize his favorite types and will want to know more about them, as well as of those that are new to him. Thus his attention and interest will be held, and the purpose for which any course in literature is given will be most effectively served. Such a course of study as this will, moreover, teach him how to distinguish one type from another as he meets it in his general reading; it will show him what to look for in each, and how to go about it; in fact, it will broaden his outlook, give him a keener sense of values, and help him to become an intelligent, self-dependent reader. A pupil pursuing such a course should also be unusually well fitted either to meet the college entrance requirements, or to guide his own reading if a college education be denied him. The reading list placed at the end of each chapter, giving for each type a large number of examples drawn from different periods of time, will aid him greatly in choosing what is worth while. Although this list is not exhaustive, it is very comprehensive and varied, and will serve as a valuable guide, while allowing the student a great deal of freedom in making his own selections.
Inasmuch as this book enters a field which in many ways differs from that usually covered by a high school course, it will not be amiss to give a few directions as to its use. Experienced teachers will probably wish to handle the material in their own way, but the young teacher will, no doubt, find suggestions helpful. It is intended that, after the pupil has been given a bird's-eye view of the whole course, such as is found in the Introduction, the different. types will be taken up in the order presented. Just before proceeding to the characteristics of each type, the teacher should, by means of a few informal questions, lead the pupil to make the connection between what he already knows and the unfamiliar, inspiring him to have toward the new type the attitude of an explorer of unknown territory who is anxious to discover how the new differs from the old. As he proceeds, the pupil will be alert to note the signs of change, as well as the things familiar to him. After the characteristics of a type have been presented and some knowledge has been gained regarding its importance and historical development, examples are studied, the student being encouraged to notice how the sub-divisions of a general class of poetry, or prose, are related, and at the same time are different from each other, and
how even two examples of the same type will show marked differ ences as well as similarities. He must not lose sight of the fact though, that he is to discover why the classification is justified in each case. Thus not only will the interpretation of the particula piece of literature be of interest to him, but also its relation t other literature. In connection with the class work, the studen will read as many examples of the particular type outside of clas as the time will allow, reporting either orally or in writing of th things which have interested him in the reading. Sometimes, wher the opportunity offers, he may even try to produce something sim ilar himself in connection with his regular theme work.
teacher will encourage the student to make constant use of the letter addressed to him, to be found at the end of this preface, it will de much toward bringing the desired results.
Though this method of studying literature in high school may seem to be a departure in many ways from the beaten track, it will in practice be found to be stimulating, practical, adaptable to both large and small schools, useful in fitting the student for college or for life, and workable. It has been thoroughly tested in actual class exercises during a period of five years and has proved unusually successful, both in securing the aims of literature study and in developing power in composition through the distinct benefit derived from the oral and written reports called for in the studies.
Aside from the acknowledgment of indebtedness given above, I wish to express my grateful appreciation to Professor James Fleming Hosic for his unfailing kindness and valuable criticisms; to Principal G. A. Ketcham, of the Missoula county high school, for encouraging me at first to undertake the work and for his wise and helpful counsel; and to Mr. Lyle Lane for material aid in arranging the index.
M. I. R., Missoula, Montana.
THE AUTHOR TO THE STUDENT
My dear Student,
This letter is placed here with the hope that it will help you to et the most that is possible out of a book which has been written expressly for you. It is also hoped that the material presented here may become a working factor in your life-not only while you are
school, but after you leave it, for the great types of literature discussed here will last through the ages, and you will constantly be neeting examples of them as you go onward through the years.
You who are nearing the end of your high school course should have gained a considerable knowledge of literature from your English work in other years, and from your general reading. To his new course, then, you will have something of your own to ntribute, and, at the same time, it is hoped, you will be able to et a deeper view of literature than you have had before. If you will approach this study in the spirit of the man who wants to now his tools so he can use them intelligently; to know things that he can make use of them in his own daily life, you will get more from the work than otherwise.
In order to make a real success of this study of literary types, you should constantly keep in mind the little outline given in the Introduction in order to see just what types are closely related. This will help you to organize more clearly in your own mind the things that you are learning. The following suggestions will help you to get and keep the investigating attitude toward your work. You will also find that this will add to your enjoyment of what you read.
1. Before taking up a new chapter, always try to sum up all you think you know about the type to be discussed, and its relationship to other types.
2. Read carefully the characteristics of the particular type as given in this book, noting just what distinguishes it from others. See, too, how many things you find that you really did know before as well as those that throw new light on the subject. Study this material not merely to repeat again in a class recitation, but to know these things so that they will form a working basis for your own investigations.