The Literary Apprentice


Map of the Site

This site is titled "the literary apprentice" for the site is devoted to helping readers seize and be seized by literature. After all, the root of apprentice is the Latin, apprehendere, to lay hold on, or seize and thus also related to the word apprehend, another term for understand. Finally, apprentice is also, thus, related to apprehension, a term for anxiety.

In addition to helping those "seized by" literature and seeking to understand it, these pages will try to alleviate the "anxiety" of learning about literature common to all apprentices. The site aims to provide the average or common reader who wants to study literature with a handbook of practices useful for that goal. It may also provide a supplement to what you might be asked to do in a college level, introductory class in literature as well. Thus teachers of literature may find the material helpful for the work they ask their students to do.

The tradition of giving advice to ordinary readers is itself a long one--including such writers as Virginia Woolf, I. A. Richards, Ezra Pound, as well as the educator, Mortimer Adler, and the educator critic, Robert Scholes, for starters, all of whom take up in different ways the practice of the common reader reading. A wealth of web sites also offer good advice and help the ordinary reader celebrate literature. We will link to some.

Like many of them, this project hopes to sharpen practical skills and provide activities that will deepen a common reader's understanding and appreciation of literature. Moreover, we want to learn how our readings have been shaped, as well as how we can read the same literature responsibly, yet differently, from others.

Here are some things to do:


Copyright 2002 College of DuPage
Communications/Liberal Arts