Writing Visions of Hope

Teaching Twentieth-Century American Literature and Research

Richard C. Raymond

Published 2013

This nine-chapter book narrates a writing-centered approach to the teaching of literature and literary research. As the title suggests, the book also embraces a thematic approach to reading and writing about twentieth-century American literature, focusing on the grounds for hope in an age of despair.

The first five chapters explore in detail the teaching of the twentieth-century American literature course at the University of Pristina in Kosovo, where the author served as Fulbright Professor of American Literature in the spring semester of 2012. Throughout, these chapters narrate
students’ in-class interactions to illustrate writing-to-learn strategies for teaching the literature.Chapter six then follows the same cohort of 22 students as they learned to ground their literary research in their own questions about American and Balkans narratives of oppression and liberty, of despair and hope.

The last three chapters document the responses of students and their professors to this American theme of liberty and hope as seen through the Balkans lenses of ethnic violence and emerging republican government. Specifically, chapter seven focuses on students’ participation in a blog featuring Balkans literature that explores the same issues of liberty and justice examined in the American literature they have read. Chapter eight then celebrates student writing, the fruit of the writing-to-learn strategies narrated in earlier chapters. Finally, chapter nine narrates professors’ and students’ responses, gathered through surveys and interviewing, to questions about their country’s violent past and the value of literary study in preparing citizens to shape a new republic.

Preface 1. Teaching Twentieth-Century American Literature 2. Justice, Injustice, and Places of Meaning 3. The Call to “Endure” and “Prevail” 4. Modernists’ Views on How to Use our Time 5. Postmodernists’ Views on the Courage Required to Live with Open Eyes 6. Teaching Research Methods 7. Blogging and the Parallel Universes of Literature 8. Student Writing and Reflection 9. Memories and Prophecies: Literacy Narratives, Literature, and the Grounds for Hope Appendix A: Model Essay: The Parents’ Guilt in Pride and Prejudice Appendix B: Guide to Evaluating Essays Appendix C: Model Research Paper: Saved by the Bull: Grace Versus Repressiveness in O’Connor’s “Greenleaf” Appendix D: Model Research Proposal Memo References About the Author