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Thread: Help with Poetics and Frameworks

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Renaissance Mom View Post
    If you are doing R lit with one of the 2013 updated year plans, it would be a hassle to use the student questions and the discussion outlines in the teacher pages without Poetics. From the prep work I have done for teaching R lit for y2 this year, most of the discussion outlines refer heavily to the student's Poetics readings. Notice I did say it would be a hassle, but not impossible. You could sift through the class plans/discussion outlines to see what concepts are covered and then have your student use another literary handbook or a reputable online source to gain the needed information.

    One other thought, ladies... I'd just like to note that, as far as I'm aware, Monica is very very correct in characterizing it as a hassle to use the R Lit program without Poetics. I would even go so far as to say don't know of any other literary handbooks or reputable online sources that would work. THE major reason why I wound up writing Poetics (which wasn't part of the original plan!) was because I simply couldn't find a reliable handbook or online source to which I could direct my students for all four years of their literature studies.

    There are a few handbooks out there, but many either don't include definitions and terms for earlier eras of literary history, or else have definitions of those terms that skew heavily towards modern understandings of literature, so that they don't really make sense when you try to apply them to older literary works. (Also, many of the definitions now available online or even in books may be strongly affected by an unbiblical worldview, which further muddies the issue.) Finally, there are a bewildering array of definitions out there for many literary terms, so that if you have two students in a class and they go to different websites, their definitions and applications of a given term might look completely different.

    It took us seven years to develop the definitions that we use, working from the classics of the Western Canon and trying to find definitions that would accurately describe what we find in them, as well as consulting the current reputable sources. We also considered the "orthodox tradition" (if you will) of terminology to make sure we weren't straying out of literary bounds. Then we spent sometimes as much as an hour wrangling through a single term! I recall that it took me literally about four years to get the definition for the term "novel" to the point where I was satisfied that it could be used accurately for the whole range of novels that we cover in TOG, and that it was also was an accurate definition of novels not covered by us.

    All of which is to say (and I probably included more detail than was needed!), our definitions are conversant with those you will find in other places, but they are also unique. TOG high school students have visited college classrooms and wowwed as well as pleased professors with their knowledge of literary terms, so we aren't too worried that our definitions are "way out there"! However, these definitions have been very carefully worked out to fit the Western Canon, and then very carefully applied in the class plans. I would find it very difficult to replace them with definitions from another handbook or from the internet.

    I hope this bit of "how we got here" explanation will help you! I will also note that we do tell students (in Poetics, and reinforce in class plans) that our terms are not the ONLY or necessarily even the BEST definitions, and encourage them to be flexible and willing to understand other definitions presented to them, provided that those fit what they are actually finding in literature (in other words, have academic integrity). So, hopefully, our students will not err in the other direction and become "definition snobs"!
    Last edited by cjsomerville; 08-14-2013 at 02:36 PM.

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