Volume 11, Issue 1     Editorial
Teaching the Novel and Short Fiction is a broad topic, and the cluster of essays included in this issue thus covers a wide range of interesting subjects. Several essays propose creative uses of literature to teach other subjects. Stephanie E. Libbon’s contribution “Teaching Cultural Diversity in Faust through WAC” outlines the presentation of the Faust theme in a writing-across-the-curriculum seminar designed to expose students to other cultures and to prompt them to think more critically about their own. Nurten Birlik and Deniz Salli-Copur present several suggestions for the use of short stories in teaching English as a Foreign Language, with particular focus on grammar, writing, and speaking. In “Using Teen Chick Lit Novels to Teach Marketing,” Peter A. Maresco outlines the incorporation of popular literature to teach marketing students about product placement. A second set presents what might be termed new approaches to old (or at least canonical) texts. “Homer’s Odyssey as Serious Classroom Entertainment” is the title of the essay by Kimberly K. Bell, who uses a cultural approach and an emphasis on the aesthetics of reading to generate student interest in studying the Greek epic. Alexander L. Kaufman details replacing the traditional method of teaching Malory’s Morte Darthur through summary and selection with an examination of the stylistic and cultural similarities between Malory and his contemporary medieval chroniclers. Finally, in “Teaching (Not Preaching) Masterworks in Drama,” Carolyn D. Roark describes student-centered instruction that conveys the benefits of canon-based learning without promoting an unquestioning belief in “great texts.” A third set explores larger pedagogical and theoretical concerns in the teaching and use of literature. Mary M. Reda interrogates the theoretical shift from autobiography to autoethnography, and in “Problem-Based Learning in the Study of Literature,” Tamara Yohannes details the results of a two-semester trial using problem-based learning in four sections of an English literature course focusing on Thomas Hardy. A final set examines contemporary literary works. Martin Mühlheim explores three aspects of narrative space through a close reading of Frame’s short story “You Are Now Entering the Human Heart.” Michelle E. Moore focuses on the postmodern elements in DeLilo’s novel White Noise, particularly the interweaving of various literary genres and the reliance on low or popular art forms. Finally, Lisa A. Kirby’s “Interrogating Suburbia in The Virgin Suicides,” selected for the “Editor’s Choice” in this issue, examines the commentary on postmodern suburban life in Eugenides’ novel and identifies prompts for students to think about their own communities. These essays offer a range of strategies and activities for the literature classroom as well as suggestions for incorporating literary works into other courses.James B. Kelley, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of English
Mississippi State University – Meridian
CFP for the next issue Teaching the Novel and Short Fiction Spring 2008.