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Course Hero, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor Study Guide," August 2, 2019, accessed August 22, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/How-to-Read-Literature-Like-a-Professor/.
Thomas C. Foster
How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses a plethora of examples from well-known, highly regarded works of literature to help high school and undergraduate students—or even the everyday avid reader—understand what Thomas Foster identifies as the grammar of literary interpretation. The "grammar" Foster refers to is the use of symbolism and irony in literature to create meaning beyond the surface of the story. Foster explains that authors create narratives through a stock of broadly shared and understood meanings assigned to objects, events, and circumstances. These narratives address deep and perennial difficulties that humanity faces. When authors subvert those understood meanings, it is a type of "structural irony." For example, he points out that flight is often associated with freedom, especially freedom from everyday worries about safety and security. Hence, when a character in literature flies or levitates (literally or metaphorically), readers should be on the lookout for difficulties from which the character may need to escape.
How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines outlines a broad set of guidelines for a lay audience to understand and engage in scholarly interpretation of literature.
This study guide for Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.