Cover image for Why literature matters : permanence and the politics of reputation
Why literature matters : permanence and the politics of reputation
Arbery, Glenn C. (Glenn Cannon), 1951-
Publication Information:
Wilmington, Del. : ISI Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 255 pages ; 24 cm
Why "literature"? -- Seamus Heaney and the Grand elementary principle of pleasure -- Recasting paradise : [Toni Morrison's Paradise] -- Othello and the marriages of politics -- The intelligence of feeling and the habit of art -- The sacrifice of Achilles.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
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PN45 .A72 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Through an examination of the work of poets and novelists who have managed to garner honor -- including Shakespeare, Homer, and Emily Dickinson -- and those whose reputations are of more recent vintage and therefore more difficult to evaluate such as Tom Wolfe, Seamus Heaney, and Toni Morrison -- Glenn Arbery explores the title question with elegant prose and subtle criticism.

Author Notes

Glenn C. Arbery is Director of the Teachers Academy and Professor of Literature at The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Arbery's book reads as a quest for faith in a postmodern world. Instead of theology, Arbery (director, Teachers Academy at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture) grounds his argument in literature and what the study of literature might bring to those who study it--and to those who teach it. Arbery articulates a Christian-humanist point of view while jousting at the windmills of poststructuralist theory and postmodernism. Though the prose is laden with unexplored metaphors and allusions, the author presents interesting close readings of texts while provocatively proving his point: literature does matter. The literature Arbery covers ranges widely: Tom Wolfe, Toni Morrison, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and the southern agrarian new critics, Homer, Emily Dickinson, and in passing, a good portion of any "Great Books" curriculum. His argument centers on poetic form as a system of knowledge and how teaching the appropriately formed word leads both teacher and student to the world. Most convincing is the chapter "Othello and the Marriages of Politics," which reveals the influence of Calvinism on Shakespeare's world and the contemporary world. Though this reviewer differs with much of what Arberg says, he does make us want to reread the texts studied here. Because literature does matter. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. R. T. Prus Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Money or the Minep. xi
1. Why "Literature"?p. 1
2. Seamus Heaney and the "Grand Elementary Principle of Pleasure"p. 21
3. Recasting Paradisep. 61
4. Othello and the Marriages of Politicsp. 89
5. The Intelligence of Feeling and the Habit of Artp. 133
6. The Sacrifice of Achillesp. 151
Not Conclusionp. 215
Works Citedp. 231
Notesp. 239
Indexp. 247