"An illuminating literary cartography with many fascinating ports of call.”―Kirkus Reviews
"Mason expertly weaves the stories of great writers and places both ancient and new together into an imaginative literary odyssey."―Publishers Weekly
“How are voices like places? They move through us as we move through them.”
Celebrated poet David Mason explores surprising connections in geography and time, considering writers who traveled, who emigrated or were exiled, and who often shaped the literature of their homelands. He writes of seasoned travelers (Patrick Leigh Fermor, Bruce Chatwin, Joseph Conrad, Herodotus himself), and writers as far flung as Omar Khayyam, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, James Joyce, and Les Murray. In the end, he turns to his own native region, the American West, with Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, Robinson Jeffers, Belle Turnbull, and Thomas McGrath.
These essays are about familiarity and estrangement, the pleasure and knowledge readers can gain by engaging with writers’ lives, their travels, their trials, and the homes they make for themselves.
David Mason is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently Sea Salt and Davey McGravy; a memoir, News from the Village; and a novel, Ludlow. A former Fulbright fellow to Greece, he lives in Colorado and Oregon and teaches at Colorado College.
While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes—of the ultimate professional reader: the college professor.
What does it mean when a literary hero travels along a dusty road? When he hands a drink to his companion? When he's drenched in a sudden rain shower? Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature—a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower—and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.
This revised edition includes new chapters, a new preface, and a new epilogue, and incorporates updated teaching points that Foster has developed over the past decade.