How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines

Thomas C. Foster / Jul 22, 2019

How to Read Literature Like a Professor A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden tr

  • Title: How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines
  • Author: Thomas C. Foster
  • ISBN: 9780062301673
  • Page: 231
  • Format: Paperback
  • While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes and the literary codes of the ultimate professional reader the college professor.What does it mean when a literary hero travels aWhile many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes and the literary codes of the ultimate professional reader the college professor.What does it mean when a literary hero travels along a dusty road When he hands a drink to his companion When he s drenched in a sudden rain shower Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, Thomas C Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower and shows us how to make our reading experience enriching, satisfying, and fun.

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    • Unlimited [Comics Book] ☆ How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines - by Thomas C. Foster ✓
      231 Thomas C. Foster
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      Posted by:Thomas C. Foster
      Published :2018-010-11T20:21:16+00:00

    About "Thomas C. Foster"

      • Thomas C. Foster

        Thomas C Foster is Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Flint, where he teaches classes in contemporary fiction, drama, and poetry as well as creative writing and composition Foster has been teaching literature and writing since 1975, the last twenty one years at the University of Michigan Flint He lives in East Lansing, Michigan.In addition to How to Read Novels Like a Professor Summer 2008 and How to Read Literature Like a Professor 2003 , both from HarperCollins, Foster is the author of Form and Society in Modern Literature Northern Illinois University Press, 1988 , Seamus Heaney Twayne, 1989 , and Understanding John Fowles University of South Carolina Press, 1994 His novel The Professor s Daughter, is in progress.Foster studied English at Dartmouth College and then Michigan State University, moving forward from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the twentieth in the process His academic writing has concentrated on twentieth century British, American, and Irish figures and movements James Joyce, William Faulkner, Seamus Heaney, John Fowles, Derek Mahon, Eavan Boland, modernism and postmodernism But he reads and teaches lots of other writers and periods Shakespeare, Sophocles, Homer, Dickens, Hardy, Poe, Ibsen, Twain.Author photograph courtesy of HarperCollins.


    1. I have read more than a few books of this sort. This one stands above the crowd. While the material may not be particularly novel, it does pull together core truths about how literature can be understood, and communicates that information in a very accessible manner. It has made a world of difference in my approach to reviewing. I made my teenagers read this, back when they were actually teenagers. Revised and re-released - May 16, 2017

    2. Read literature like a Pro: A Cheat-SheetFoster comes across for the most part of the book as Captain Obvious, or rather Prof. Obvious and maybe even as Dr. Condescending, M.A Ph.D etc.But no matter how frustrated with the book I was at times, Foster does have a language that reminded me constantly of all my english professors and since I have always loved my literature classes and the teachers, it was easier to swallow. The book treats only very obvious and surface level things like 'if he almo [...]

    3. Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.How to Read Literature Like a Professor offers an extensive introduction to literary analysis for the purpose of finding deeper meaning in one's everyday reading. One of the central precepts of the book is that there is a universal grammar of figurative imagery, that in fact images and symbols gain much of their power from repetition and reinterpretation. Memory. Symbol. Pattern. These are the three items th [...]

    4. Awesome. Simply awesome. I'd recommend it for any student who has ever asked the eternal question after being assigned some obscure piece of literature in an English class - "why the HELL DO I HAVE TO READ THIS?!" Trust me. Thomas C. Foster is your friend. He feels your pain. And he's here to help.As an English major, I have an intense love for books, obviously, even the classic texts that even I find a little hopeless and empty at times. But these essays help you to find the deeper meaning behi [...]

    5. This book is pure joy to read. While learning a few new secrets of writing, it was exciting to explore all the book titles mentioned in the book.The author uses a casual tone to introduce the magic of serious reading to the reader. Some of it is old news, others, instinct and common sense, such as recognizing patterns and story elements, but new information, for me at least, was also added. For instance, that many works attributed to Shakespeare might not have been his at all.Although I would lo [...]

    6. "Lively and Entertaining" it is not. I think I fell asleep a grand total of three times trying to get through these meager 281 pages. Foster attempts to be all hip and conversational, but I think he does a pretty bad job of it, and ends up being even more condescending instead. All in all, it's not really a "guide" to reading between the lines (although we can all probably agree that it's hard to create a "guide" for anything literature-related). It's more like a bunch of examples about symbolis [...]

    7. EVERYTHING IS A SYMBOL.Okay, not really. But more things than not, at least when it comes to literature. I was hesitant to read How to Read Literature Like a Professor because I felt that I had not read enough classics to understand what Thomas Foster would be talking about - but then I realized that maybe it was a good idea to read the book before embarking on my literature quest, so I would have some background knowledge heading in. After all, knowledge is power.And I was right. Though a myria [...]

    8. About a year ago, I took a MOOC (a Massively Open Online Course) on the site Coursera on fantasy literature. MOOC's grade via peer evaluations of your work. One of my papers traced the Garden of Eden symbolism in the opening of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. It is in the text, which made sense, since Carroll was a clergy member telling a coming of age story. And having taken university level upper-division lit courses, I knew the paper was well thought-out, supported by the text and [...]

    9. I loved this.Don't get me wrong. It's not one of those books you could, or would want to, read in one sitting. It's really more of a reference book, though an enjoyable one, written in a light and breezy style. I'm not sure someone who wasn't already interested in reading literature on multiple levels would be particularly interested. But if you do have an interest to read literature in a more sophisticated, insightful way (as I imagine many goodreaders do), you may enjoy this book as much as I [...]

    10. Now that I've read this book, you may aswell not bother trying to read my bookreviews; yes, that's right, I will nowbe examining themes and motifs andcharacter motivation and other thingslike that and I'll probably be writingsuch amazing stuff that no one elsewill be able to understand me. Like aprofessor, right? No, my days of"Uh, I liked it" or "Well, I don't know"are over; I'll be finding things likewater imagery and mother archetypesand references to obscure lines fromUlysses. So if you want [...]

    11. I finally finished this. It was waiting a long time for me to pick it up, and it was by no means related to the book not being good.I got this as a refresher mainly, since I left uni 10 years ago and sometimes a little reminder is nice.And I got exactly what I wanted in an easy to read and follow way.I think this book can function as an introduction to literary analysis as well as a fresh up. There are many examples given and everything is explained in everyday language, without complicated term [...]

    12. Ever wonder what it means when a character steps in a puddle? Why an author suddenly goes into great detail about some otherwise unimportant event? Well, why didn't you? If you read this book, you will.An avid reader (of both pulp and literature, in roughly equal measure) who never took a college literature class, I've always known I was not getting all I could from my reading. After reading this book, I know I am much better equipped. Just finished my second read of Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" [...]

    13. Sometimes I wish I had been an English major. There are times when I think reading for a living and analyzing books and being well-read would have been the ideal life for me. Then I remember that being unemployed sucks. So I'm usually fairly happy with my life choices, but I do at times feel like I am not well-read enough. I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood reading almost nothing but sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I have been extremely dedicated to reading more in the past few year [...]

    14. Feeling like I needed to discover more insight and depth to my reading, I mentioned that fact to friend Will Byrnes who suggested this book. (By the way, Will's reviews are very, very thoughful, popular and readable.) So I'm glad he did recommend it because it was such a great and painless way for me to understand the underlying thoughts and references of books I read. Broken into short chapters, it covers all areas that I could possibly think of although author and Professor Thomas C. Foster s [...]

    15. If you read more than five books a year, you've already learned what Professor Foster has to teach. And if you're like me, about halfway through you'll start asking yourself: Who wants to read literature like a professor? Why would anyone want to read literature like a professor? Isn't that a bit akin to learning how to have sex like the local prostitute? ("The main thing you have to remember here, Kiki, is to distance yourself from the act.") Perhaps we should all go to watchmakers with our que [...]

    16. This is a very friendly book and I suspect the author is one of those feel-good professors who attract a lot of students to his classes because they are what is known as "easy A" classes. Sort of like an academic finger-painting class. He presumes that you an idiot and rather stupid. He's still chummy with you while thinking that and gives you plenty of pats on the head little boys and girls but this was supposed to be for college students. I went to an excellent elementary school in the 1960's [...]

    17. It could have been a little shorter, but it's a great refresher/ introduction into literary themes and symbolism.

    18. I read this mostly out of curiosity -- with my BA behind me and my MA in progress, I didn't have much to learn from Foster. To me it's obvious that a garden will conjure up Eden, that the sharing of food is a kind of communion, that a lot of things are metaphors for sex. It doesn't seem to require professorial level training to me, though I went to university in the UK and this book is very explicitly aimed at people from the US. So maybe the expectations for the skill set for a graduate are dif [...]

    19. I picked this book up in October or November, so it's taken me quite a while to get through this book. This is not to say this isn't an excellent book; I'm honestly not sure why this dragged on. It might be because this book is simply saturated with information and ideas. In this book, Foster identifies elements and patterns in literature, such as common symbols and allusions to other works of literature or culture, and demonstrates how they add to a novel's complexity in message. Foster makes c [...]

    20. My chief complaint, although more my fault than the “non textbook, with How to Read Literature Like a Professor is that most of the novel, plays, and poems Foster discusses I have not read. In fact, I only recognized three of the works he mentioned; Animal Farm, Hamlet, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Therefore, I found it hard to understand exactly what Foster was trying to say through his examples and his connections from one example to another.And I feel like, since this was require [...]

    21. I didn't finish this book but I read enough and spent enough time on it to count it as read in my opinion. If I spend over 4 hours reading something, I think I have a good idea what it is like. I can summarize this entire book in one sentence:Know the Bible, know Greek myths, read Homer, and read Shakespeare, then understand common sense and you will figure out what the symbols of things stand for in literature. I thought this was going to give me some new information but it was things I learned [...]

    22. Do you want to read like a Professor? Want to second guess every meal, sex scene, or harmless deformity? Want to perspire heavily while over-analyzing a book you would've otherwise enjoyed? Then this book is for you! All jokes aside this is a pretty interesting read. It sheds some light on commonly used symbols and stories. The idea of intertextuality being an ever present factor in literature seems logical and accurate when Foster brings up examples like The Bible or The Odyssey.In summation: s [...]

    23. Highly enjoyable, accessible (and still educational) book about how to read between the lines, i.e. interprete symbols in literature. Not at all pretentious and, although the examples are mostly from American/English literature, recommended to readers from all literary backgrounds.

    24. This is a great guide for all of us who love to read but whose education was at the other end of the campus. His style is informal, chatty and humorous -- now that he has the cautiously curious in his room, he doesn't want to scare us off with concepts that seem dry or irrelevant. He wants to show us how to apply these ideas so that our deeper understanding of the book will take our enjoyment of it to a new plane. "Reading literature is a highly intellectual activity, but it also involves affect [...]

    25. Excelente libro para introducir los símbolos más importantes presentes en gran parte de la literatura occidental. Orientado al público en general, y no a los expertos en Literatura, añade una capa de significado a muchas lecturas. Sigo prefiriendo leer por placer y no como ejercicio de análisis, pero este libro me hace darme cuenta de que un libro puede tener varias capas de contenidos, a veces introducidas deliberadamente por el autor y a veces inconscientemente, que remiten a siglos de nu [...]

    26. I have two books at home that tangle with the concept of intertextuality in children's literature. It's not supposed to be a tangle, but I can't understand most of the scholarly writing. Thomas Foster simplifies some complex literary theories, such as intertextuality and Northrop Frye's discussion of literary archetypes. The conversational tone, humor, and manageable chapters make this an excellent book at showing what students or reading enthusiasts should be looking for in literature to get a [...]

    27. So I decided to take upper level English this year, resulting in a mandatory assignment to read this book and create chapter summaries for it. When I began reading this, I thought it wouldn't be that bad. The condescending title and forewarning in the introduction that this was meant for college students couldn't have seemed more inviting. I read through the first chapters with feelings of mostly boredom and occasionally surprise. I thought to myself early on, "I can do this. I once read a 660 p [...]

    28. Можливо, професійні літературзнавці скажуть Томасові дякую за багато капітанських речей із програми першого курсу філфаку, фиркнуть і наверх ще й наголосять на його пласкуватому викладацькому гуморі, ооукей. Ай донт кер. Це річ, яку би я хотіла мати в школі перед прочитанн [...]

    29. Didn't learns as much as I hoped to; I guess I'm smarter than I thought.P.S. Rereading this review a few days later, I realizes I is not only smart, but a good grammortition as well.

    30. What a great book! I stumbled upon this while I was browsing the shelves at my local charity shop. I brought it home where it sat on the shelf for a few days before I finally decided to give it a try. I love literature and an assortment of classics but I have never read Greek classics (a bit for school), James Joyce, Ezra Pound and I don't like F. Scott Fitzgerald. So I avoided picking it up because I knew I was going to feel like an illiterate fool within ten pages of reading this. Well, that i [...]

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