THEME FOR 2017: DEMYSTIFYING WITHOUT DIMINISHING THE LITERARY TEXT

When students study literary texts in English they often approach them with trepidation; learners tasked with reading literature often carry a set of assumptions about its content.  A writer’s reputation, cultural background, the perceived difficulty of a work or even the cover design and font-size of a text can prove off-putting for students. In this sense, learners embarking on literary study can tend to be apprehensive about a writer or a text before they begin reading. Mentally placing literature upon an intimidating pedestal, however, can prevent learners from engaging with a novel, poem or short story, and thus they fail to enjoy the reading experience. Yet, while literary texts are often valorized as exemplars of greatness, they should also be seen as the product of universal personal experiences. Literature contains the recorded thoughts and intellectual sensibilities of real people, meaning that writers share a common bond with their readership.
Therefore, when students successfully advance beyond their initial apprehensions about a literary work they are often surprised to encounter ideas that are both common to their own experiences yet at the same time subtle, challenging and profound. This year’s 8th Liberlit conference thus seeks to focus on teaching and learning approaches that demystify literature without cheapening or diminishing its complexity, leading students towards accessing valuable knowledge and ideas.

LIBERLIT 2017 CONFERENCE HANDBOOK

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pdf here

 

The Liberlit Journal of Teaching Literature

LIBERLIT