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ERIC Number: EJ1097310
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Does Hamlet Belong in Freshman Composition? The Debatable Role of Canonical Literature in Composition
Fitzwilliam, Marie A.
CEA Forum, v35 n2 Sum-Fall 2006
The question of whether "Hamlet" belongs in a freshman composition classroom is one that institutions are making easier to answer, though perhaps for political rather than pedagogical reasons. This article describes a project in which Marie Fitzwilliam and her colleagues were asked to engage in a dialogue with the administration on institutional identity, which the provost claims is more professional than liberal. If she is correct, then "Hamlet" will most likely be a subject relegated to upper-level courses for English majors, not the stuff of papers in a first-year writing course. For if the goal of composition instructors is to provide the critical reading and writing skills necessary to surviving four years of college and entering the workplace, "Hamlet" and other representatives of canonical literature will become expensive luxury cars in a market that demands economy models. The debate centers on what goals fuel the required composition curriculum and if students may learn then from reading and discussing texts in general, as opposed to the texts (so-called great literature). Bear in mind that the prevalent gospel of compositionists is to provide reasoning and writing skills that are broadly applicable across the university [and] will carry over to the work of students in other classes and fields of inquiry.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A