Writing and Reading Differently

Deconstruction and the Teaching of Composition and Literature

Edited by G. Douglas Atkins & Michael L. Johnson

This is the first book to explore the opportunities deconstruction opens up for the teaching of both composition and literature. It is a unique and timely response to crucial issues facing teachers of composition and literature at all levels: high school, college, and university.

"The critical rage" (and likely to remain so), deconstruction is the most controversial and arguably the most promising critical-theoretical movement of recent decades. It has proven to be enormously influential as a strategy of textual analysis, thanks in large part to the enterprise of such critics as J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey H. Hartman, Barbara E. Johnson, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, all of whom are contributors to this collection. The implications of deconstruction for the teaching of both writing and reading are just now being explored, however. These groundbreaking essays exemplify and assess that potential.

“Challenge[s] our assumptions about reading and writing, making us reflect on the very foundations of our discipline and its pedagogy.

—Rocky Mountain Review

“The essays themselves offer a good mix of theory, illustrative analysis, and even specific teaching protocols. The writing throughout the volume is fully lucid.

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The scope of consideration is wide. The essays all discuss deconstruction, treat its pedagogical implications, and evaluate its impact upon the teaching of composition and literature. In doing so, the contributors address specific questions concerning "the literary crisis" and "the crisis in literary studies" and offer a reasoned, balanced, and provocative account of the usefulness of deconstruction in solving at least some of the problems that beset the profession.