(Janet Miriam) Taylor (Holland) Caldwell Annette T. Rottenberg - Essay

Annette T. Rottenberg

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The natural perversity of students can sometimes be turned to good account, as when a student asks (apropos of a discussion about reading habits), "But isn't it necessary to read bad books in order to recognize good ones?" and the teacher replies, "Yes, it is." The attempt to implement this proposition can be unexpectedly rewarding.

My own experience grew out of a class in American Literature since the Civil War, which had just concluded a study of The American and "The Art of Fiction." There would surely be few better opportunities for applying the criteria of the master craftsman to a work which takes itself seriously but must renounce any claim to artistic importance.

The...

(The entire section is 1929 words.)