Arguing About Literature: A Guide and Reader
Second Edition   ©2017

Arguing About Literature: A Guide and Reader

John Schilb (Indiana University, Bloomington) , John Clifford (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)

  • ISBN-10: 1-319-03532-9; ISBN-13: 978-1-319-03532-7; Format: Paper Text, 1248 pages

Fresh literature to love.  Thirty-one new literary works have been added, with several that have not been previously anthologized, including stories by Lauren Groff on a soldier’s return from war and by Rivka Galchen on a public shaming, and poems by Deborah Harrison on being a working mother and by Tony Hoagland on what narcissism means to him.

More arguments to teach.   Twenty-eight new contemporary arguments swell the pool of persuasive essays, now 20% larger than in the first edition.  They range from Lee Siegel’s justification of why he defaulted on his student loans to Abdelkadar Benali’s exploration of Islamic radicalization to Catherine Rampell’s explanation of why free speech is “flunking out” on college campuses.

New “Literature and Current Issues” clusters link literature to contemporary debates.  In response to reviewer comments that students do not see the relevance of literature to contemporary life, new clusters pair a literary work with arguments about a current issue raised by the literary work.  Examples include Ursula LeGuin’s story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” paired with essays on whether it is right for happiness to depend on others’ misery, and Sherman Alexie’s poem “Capital Punishment” playing off recent arguments on the topic.  

More instruction on understanding and composing arguments.  Chapter 1 now features diagrams and flowcharts to clarify the elements of rhetoric and argument, illuminating how they work in sample arguments. A new chapter 2 offers advice on writing effective arguments, including a discussion of how to get beyond the five-paragraph essay template students learn in high school. 

More strategies for critical reading, and opportunities to practice it.  Chapter 4 now features a unique section on how to get ideas for writing by tracing characters’ emotions, and includes an additional poem and story on which students can apply what they have learned.

Expanded and updated research and documentation coverage, with more opportunities for research and inquiry.  Chapter 7’s treatment of research includes more information about using sources and avoiding plagiarism, as well as documentation coverage that reflects new 2016 MLA guidelines.  Every thematic chapter now includes a “Contexts for Research” cluster—including new ones that take off from Bradbury’s “The Long Years”, Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” and Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”—that offer suggestions for research and inquiry into the cultural issues surrounding these works.

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