Writing Essays About Literature: A Brief Guide for University and College Students – Second Edition
  • Publication Date: February 28, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815517 / 1554815517
  • 200 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Writing Essays About Literature: A Brief Guide for University and College Students – Second Edition

  • Publication Date: February 28, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815517 / 1554815517
  • 200 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Using a single poem by William Carlos Williams as the basis for the process of writing a paper about a piece of literature, Writing Essays About Literature walks students through the processes of reading, brainstorming, researching secondary sources, gathering evidence, and composing and editing the paper. The second edition has been updated throughout and provides full sample essays showing multiple critical approaches.

Comments

“I am a student studying English and American Studies, and this may be a bit unorthodox, but I wanted to say that Writing Essays About Literature was one of the best [text]books I have ever read … You have done a brilliant job making essay-writing easy, structured, and actually enjoyable!” — Lauren Gaylor, University of Kansas

Section One: Introduction

  • Chapter One: The Purpose of an Essay about Literature
    • Literature: Instruction, Delight, Imitation
    • The Literary Essay
      • Evidence
      • Communication
      • Subjectivity
    • How to Use This Book
    • Review Questions

Section Two: Research and Analysis

  • Chapter Two: Research within the Text
    • Taking Notes about Literature
    • Recording Your Responses to the Text
      • Do I Like the Work?
      • What Words Stand Out?
      • What Feelings Does It Give Me?
      • Do I Identify with Any of the People Represented?
      • Is There Anything about How It’s Written That Stands Out?
      • What Is the Work about?
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions
  • Chapter Three: Using Reference Works
    • The Oxford English Dictionary
      • Etymology
      • Definitions
      • Examples of Usage
    • Scholarly Editions
    • Encyclopedias
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions
  • Chapter Four: Research about Social and Historical Contexts
    • Topics for Research: Social Phenomena and Literary Movements
    • Useful Resources
    • Using Your Findings
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions
  • Chapter Five: Research about the Current Critical Assessment of Literary Works
    • Finding Critical Works
      • Assessing Publications
      • Using Bibliographies
    • Reading Critical Works
    • Taking Notes from Critical Readings
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions
  • Chapter Six: Inventing Your Argument
    • Arranging Your Evidence
      • Reviewing Your Labeled Evidence
      • Categorizing Your Evidence
      • Charting Your Evidence
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions

Section Three: Composition

  • Chapter Seven: Composing Your Argument
    • Inductive Reasoning
    • Composing the Thesis Statement
      • Writing the Subtopic Sentences
      • Composing the Body of the Thesis Statement
      • Composing the Body of the Introduction
      • Concluding the Introduction
    • A Variation: An Essay without Secondary Sources
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions
  • Chapter Eight: Writing the Body of the Essay
    • The Body Paragraphs
    • Features of Strong Paragraphs
    • Writing the Conclusion and Revising the Introduction
      • The Conclusion
      • Revising the Introduction
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions

Section Four: Polish and Presentation

  • Chapter Nine: Editing and Proofreading Your Essay
    • Conventions of Essay-Writing Style
      • Diction
      • Vocabulary
      • Connecting Words
    • Common Grammatical Errors
      • Apostrophes
      • Demonstrative Pronouns
      • Pronoun Agreement
      • Verb Tense
    • Common Errors in Punctuation and Sentence Structure
      • Semicolons
      • Comma Splices
      • Sentence Fragments
        • Subordinating Conjunctions
        • Conjunctive Adverbs
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions
  • Chapter Ten: Documenting Your Sources and Presenting Your Work
    • Reasons for Documenting Sources
      • Documentation Practices
    • Presenting Your Work
      • Layout and Order
      • Illustrations
    • Multimedia and the Literary Essay
      • Exemplary Illustrations
      • Complementary Illustrations
      • Supplementary Illustrations
    • Last-Minute Checks
    • Conclusion
    • Review Questions

Section Five: Conclusion and Review

  • Chapter Eleven: The Process of Essay Writing—A Summary
    • Collecting Evidence (Chapters 2–5)
    • Categorizing Evidence (Chapter 6)
    • Writing Your Thesis Statement (Chapter 7)
    • Troubleshooting the Thesis Statement (Chapter 7)
    • Writing the Body Paragraphs (Chapter 8)
    • Concluding Your Essay (Chapter 8)
    • Proofreading (Chapter 9)
    • Documentation and Presentation (Chapter 10)
    • Conclusion

Works Cited

Sample Essay One

Sample Essay Two

Sample Essay Three

Subject Index

Katherine O. Acheson is Professor of English at the University of Waterloo and the editor of the Broadview Edition of Lady Anne Clifford’s Memoir of 1603 and Diary of 1616–19.

  • • Enthusiastic, encouraging tone and lively, direct language
  • • Makes repeated reference to William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just To Say” as the basis for the process of writing a paper about a piece of literature
  • • Walks students through the processes of reading, brainstorming, researching secondary sources, gathering evidence, and composing and editing a paper
  • • Focus is on the strengthening of argumentation skills with particularly fine guidance in close reading and gathering evidence
  • • Step-by-step instructions on building arguments from evidence
  • • Clarifies the relationships between the reader, author, text, and critical interpretations
  • • Includes review questions, exercises, and discussion topics
  • • Includes a summary of the writing process at the end of the book
  • • New edition includes three complete sample essays showing different theoretical approaches in practice