Literature for Composition eBook (11e) : 9780134101743

Literature for Composition eBook (11e)

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Pearson Higher Ed USA
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About the book: For courses in Literature for Composition, Writing About Literature, and Introduction to Literature. The definitive source for composition and introduction to literature courses

With an emphasis on critical thinking and argument, Literature for Composition offers superior coverage of reading, writing, and arguing about literature along with an anthology organised around eight thought-provoking themes. Throughout, the authors demonstrate that the skills emphasised in their discussions of communication are relevant not only to literature courses, but to all courses in which students analyse texts or write arguments.

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Table of contents
  • 1. How to Write an Effective Essay about Literature: A Crash Course
  • 2. What is Critical Thinking about Literature? A Crash Course
  • 3. The Writer as Reader
  • 4. The Reader as Writer
  • 5. The Pleasures of Reading, Writing and Thinking about Literature
  • 6. Close Reading: Paraphrase, Summary, and Explication
  • 7. Analysis: Inquiry, Interpretation and Argument
  • 8. Pushing Analysis Further: Re-Interpreting and Revision
  • 9. Comparison and Synthesis
  • 10. Research: Writing with Sources
  • 11. Reading and Writing about Essays
  • 12. Reading and Writing about Stories
  • 13. Reading and Writing about Graphic Fiction
  • 14. Reading and Writing about Plays
  • 15. Reading and Writing about Poems
  • 16. The World Around Us
  • 17. Technology and Human Identity
  • 18. Love and Hate, Men and Women
  • 19. Innocence and Experience
  • 20. All in a Day’s Work
  • 21. American Dreams and Nightmares
  • 22. Law and Disorder
  • 23. Journeys
  • Appendix A: Writing About Literature: An Overview of Critical Strategies
  • Appendix B: Remarks about Manuscript Form
  • Literary Credits
  • Photo Credits
  • Index of Authors, Titles, and First Lines
  • Index of Terms

Features & benefits
  • Extensive instruction in composition: Students are guided through the entire process of writing (especially writing arguments), beginning with generating ideas (for instance, by listing or by annotating a text), developing a thesis, supporting the thesis with evidence, and on through the final stages of documenting and editing.
    • Twenty-four sample student essays are included; most are prefaced with the students’ preliminary notes, some include first and revised drafts, and some are annotated or otherwise analyzed. 
    • Each literary genre chapter includes a new “Student Writing Portfolio” that collects sample materials generated by each step of the writing process, demonstrating how a paper evolves from initial note taking to a final draft.
  • Strategies for writing effective arguments: The Eleventh Edition focuses on argument and evaluation, not only in the case studies, but also in the discussion topics that follow every reading (headed “Joining the Conversation: Critical Thinking and Writing”). We emphasize the importance of questioning one’s own assumptions—a key principle in critical thinking—and we also emphasize the importance of providing evidence in the course of setting forth coherent, readable arguments.
  • Wide range of literary selections: The book includes some three hundred selections, ranging from ancient classics such as Sophocles’s Antigone to works written in the twenty-first century by authors such as Junot Diaz and Jhumpa Lahiri.
  • Abundant visual material, with suggestions about visual analysis: The book is rich in photographs. The images are chosen to enhance the student’s understanding of particular works of literature. 
    • For example, we include photos of Buffalo Bill and a facsimile of a draft of E. E. Cummings’s poem about Buffalo Bill. Similarly, we include previously unpublished typescript pages of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” thereby helping students to think about the kinds of choices and changes that a serious writer makes. 
    • This edition also remains strong in its representation of graphic fiction.
  • Introductory genre anthology: After preliminary chapters on generating ideas and thinking critically, students encounter chapters devoted to essays, fiction, drama, and poetry.
  • Thematic anthology: The chapters in Part 4 are arranged under eight themes: The World around Us; Technology and Human Identity; Love and Hate, Men and Women; Innocence and Experience; All in a Day’s Work; American Dreams and Nightmares; Law and Disorder; and Journeys.
  • Case studies: The three case studies presented in this book (“An Author in Depth”) give a variety of perspectives for writing arguments and organizing research: Flannery O’Connor, William Shakespeare, and Robert Frost.
  • NEW! New essays, short stories, poems, and plays:
    • Essays by Nicholas Carr (“Is Google Making Us Stupid?) and George Saunders (“Commencement Speech on Kindness”).
    • Short stories by Haruki Murakami (“On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl…”), Junot Diaz (“How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie”), Jhumpa Lahiri (“This Blessed House”), Dagoberto Gilb (“Love in L.A.”), Dorothy Parker (“A Telephone Call,”) and Lan Samantha Chang (“Water Names”), among others.  
    • Poems by Lisel Mueller (“The End of Science Fiction”), Walt Whitman (“To a Locomotive in Winter”), Thylias Moss (“Tornados”), Sylvia Plath (“Blackberrying”), Seamus Heaney (“Blackberry-Picking”), Alberto Rios (“Nani”), and Helen Chasin (“The Word Plum”), among others
    • A play by Michael Golamco (“The Heartbreaker”)
  • NEW! New thematic chapter on Technology and Human Identity:
    • A new chapter in Part 4, comprising selections from a mix of classic and contemporary authors, provides a lens through which students can see how technology both informs and impedes our lives.
    • Several stories use science fiction elements to imagine utopian and dystopian futures. Authors in this chapter include Mark Twain, Stephen King, Maria Semple, Ray Bradbury, John Cheever, and Amy Sterling Casil.
  • NEW! Reimagined thematic chapters:
    • Thematic chapters have been collapsed and combined to promote ease of use and to avoid repetition.
    • Each theme has been carefully cultivated to feature the most representative selections for that theme.
  • NEW! New chapter on Research:
    • An extensive new chapter on research walks students step-by-step through the process, from creating a research plan and selecting a topic to locating and evaluating sources and avoiding plagiarism.
    • Woven throughout the chapter is one student’s writing process, culminating with a paper on Emily Dickinson’s use of nature imagery. 
  • NEW! New chapter on Critical Thinking about Literature: A streamlined chapter provides an overview of critical thinking early in the text, defining the term and discussing the importance of close reading, analysis, and synthesis.
  • NEW! New chapter on Close Reading: Now includes discussions of both paraphrasing and summarizing, complete with new student samples.
  • NEW! New chapter on the Pleasures of Reading, Writing, and Thinking about Literature: Designed to help students think productively about their writing, this material has been updated to reflect contemporary writing (such as blogging and texting), and now contains examples from each of the genres presented in the text, complete with a new personal response essay and new selections.
  • NEW! New chapter on Comparison and Synthesis: Walks students through drafting and revising to final production of this type of paper, with student samples throughout.
  • NEW! New student writing portfolios:
    • Part 3 contains four unique, genre-specific student writing portfolios. These self-contained portfolios each present one student’s writing process step by step, from assignment to finished product.
    • Every portfolio is framed with a brief description of the paper "type," a short assignment that defines the writing, and helpful marginal annotations next to each step of the student’s writing process, which highlight notable structures and provide guidance for readers to emulate in their own writing.   
  • NEW! New Checklists: Designed to help students produce successful writing, even more checklists are now included in the text at key points in the writing process, including ideas for generating a draft, revising a comparison essay, and evaluating sources for topic “fit.”   
  • NEW! More student samples of works-in-progress: Throughout the text, every part of the writing process is demonstrated through student models. In addition, Part 3 contains four self-contained, genre-specific student writing portfolios that each showcase one student’s writing process for a particular assignment. 
Author biography

Sylvan Barnet, is a former Fletcher Professor of English Emeritus and director of writing at Tufts University. Barnet is the author of numerous books and articles on Shakespeare. He was the general editor of the Signet Classics Shakespeare, the author of A Short Guide for Writing about Art, and has written many textbooks about literature and drama. He is the co-author with William Burto of occasional essays on aspects of Japanese art. He has also written books about the art of writing.


William Burto is a former Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, where he served as chair of the Department of English. Burto is the co-author of several highly successful college textbooks on literature, drama, and composition. He was also the editor of the Signet Classic Edition of Shakespeare's sonnets and of Shakespeare's narrative poems. 


William E. Cain is Mary Jewett Gaiser Professor of English at Wellesley College. Among his many publications is a monograph on American literary and cultural criticism, 1900-1945, in The Cambridge History of American Literature, vol. 5 (2003). He is a co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism (2nd ed., 2010), and, with Sylvan Barnet, he co-authored a wide variety of books on literature and composition. His recent publications include essays on Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Shakespeare, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather.


Cheryl Nixon is an Associate Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at UMass-Boston. In addition to her undergraduate courses, she teaches graduate Teaching of Literature courses and works with a staff of teaching interns to design and deliver general-education literature courses. Her courses feature project-based assignments and she often uses out-of-classroom learning to spark curiosity about literature.

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