I enjoyed reading articles and books about literature, including literary theory, more than reading the literature itself. How did that affect my teaching when literature was the subject? Not sure, but I know it frustrated me to no end when students treated characters like real people instead of like representations of…something. I think that was the proper attitude for me to have, though, because we are not in the business of enticing students to love literature and reading, but to examine it as one of the world’s more interesting discourses that reveals all sorts of things about humans and how they view and shape the world.
I’m sure I was just as frustrating to students in not caring what Huck should have done, but in what he did do meant.
Reading the primary texts eventually turned into a kind of obligation just to get me to the analytical texts. That’s too bad, because, for a while, I did enjoy reading the stories–mostly in my twenties and thirties. Now, I feel like I’ve fallen out of love with reading, but I am also out of the loop on current analytical trends and theories. I’m kind of itching to read a good book about a good book, though. Recommendations?