Archive for March 3rd, 2013

Politically Incorrect Guide to American Literature

Purchase: Amazon

Let me preface my review with my observation of English classes at the college level. I’ve always felt that English class was a way for some professors to sneak in ideological causes to their students from other fields but without the academic rigors required in the respective field it came from. For instance Marxism or Fabian socialism wouldn’t stand up in the field of economic and historical analysis, but in the past I’ve seen it imported wholesale into the English classroom. Certain philosophy wouldn’t be able to stand under logical and philosophical scrutiny but it’s brought into the English classroom, safely away from the use of syllogisms and the philosophical prying eye that is conscious of whether logical premises leads necessarily to the conclusion. History is presented in works of fiction without consciousness of historiography and attacks on Christianity are read while omitting the literature produced in the discipline of Christian apologetics and philosophy. How many students are told to only interact with the assigned texts as evidences when the assigned readings come from extreme sources (I’m thinking of my time in undergraduate reading Michael Moore and recently a friend who had to read Karen Armstrong for English class!). Which makes this Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature refreshing. I appreciated the author’s survey of the Classical works without the sterotypical Leftists’ literary theories. It was great to have this book made me appreciate Jane Austen’s works for her portrayal of gender roles, true love and the value of Chasity and morally bounded love while also being humorous in capturing people’s quirkiness. The book discusses Shakespeare’s works without engaging in queer theory; while I don’t think I’ll be reading Shakespeare anytime soon nevertheless the book made me realize that he was quite insightful into human nature in his plays. The author also talked about the biographies of various authors and I was most fascinated with how some English authors began being radical end up being more conservative during the time of the French Revolutionary War. Overall a great book that ought to be read as a guide to literature. I find this work to be helpful for the Christian given the author’s conservative perspective and consciousness of avoiding Marxists, Feminists, Statists and anti-religious overtones that color so much of what gets passed as “American Literature.” It is imperative for the Christian to even evaluate their fictional books from a Christian worldview and this work is helpful towards that consciousness.

Read Full Post »