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Showing posts with the label The Handmaid's Tale

What Is Literature about?

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Can literature be about life? When I was teaching a course on American Literature, one of my students, a woman in her twenties, was a mother of five children.  I would occasionally see her and her husband with the kids in the park where my son played soccer.  One evening her husband was alone with the kids and approached my son and me as we were tossing a Frisbee.  He emanated an intensity that I associated with being the young father of five.  Nodding hello, he said, "My wife is in your American literature course."  Honestly, I assumed I was in trouble and braced myself.  "At night we sit at the kitchen table," he said, "and my wife tells me about your course."    Then he told me, "I thought a literature course would be just about books, but yours is about life." He went on to express his regret that he couldn't take the course.

The Rules of postmodernism It was a supreme compliment, and I cherish it to this day.  But, at the time, I rem…