How to Read Literature Like a Professor

  • by Thomas C. Foster
  • Narrated by David de Vries
  • 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey? Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface - a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character - and there's that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.
In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover 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 rain. Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect companion for making your reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Lives Up to Its Claims

I had included this book in my Wish List based on both the sample narration and the publisher’s summary and was meaning to purchase it, if it ever went on sale. However, I went ahead and used a credit when I saw it listed as part of my son’s AP Literature summer reading. From the start the book “read” like a novel, so its claim of being “lively and entertaining” was definitely achieved especially in the capable hands of David de Vries. The other half of Thomas C. Foster’s stated goal of being a guide to reading between the lines, I believe was also achieved. Well at least, for someone like me, who is a wannabe comprehend-er of more than the obvious story-line. Even though I knew I was to be looking for symbols , themes and the like, I had no overall understanding of why they would be there and their significance to that particular story and their continuation from prior stories. BEWARE, however, and read at your own risk! The knowledge this book imparts requires action, so like me, you may be concerned that your shallow-surface reading days are numbered, but is this not the plan of the author all along.
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- Evelyn

Simply Fantastic!!!

Would you consider the audio edition of How to Read Literature Like a Professor to be better than the print version?

Absolutely! I had an immensely enjoyable experience, and I am sure I wouldn't have had it if I had just read the print version.


What other book might you compare How to Read Literature Like a Professor to and why?

None. I came looking for some theory in order to understand a little of literature, and I found archetypes, symbols and even some creative writing. This book teaches these elements of literature very well, so well I want to listen to it again. I just wish there could have been some more literary theory.


Have you listened to any of David de Vries’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first, but I will definitely look for more of his work. The narrator's performance got the so hooked I couldn't seem to be able to stop myself from listening, but I HAD to, because I had to digest every piece of new information.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Professor Lit and his stories


Any additional comments?

If you are looking for some literary theory, this might not be the book for you, but I learned a great deal from this book nevertheless. I highly recommend it.

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- Gilmara Lima Mendes

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2012
  • Publisher: HarperAudio