Reading, Criticism, and Culture: Theory and Teaching in the United States and England, 1820-1950 (Studies in Rhetoric/Communication) by David Bartine
eBook Title: Reading, Criticism, and Culture: Theory and Teaching in the United States and England, 1820-1950 (Studies in Rhetoric/Communication)
Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Pr (March 1, 1992)
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: History & Criticism
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At the beginning of the nineteenth century, American educators were still tied to the eighteenth-century British methods of reading theory and teaching. In this volume, Bartine examines America's weaning from these traditions in education and the implications of the choices made by American educators between 1820 and 1950.
Bartine explores the conservative cultural principles that influenced literary theory and the teaching of literature in universities and how those principles filtered down to reading theory and teaching at the elementary and secondary school levels. Returning to a major theme in his Early English Reading Theory, Bartine observes that until the early 1800s a long tradition of pragmatic reading theory and teaching, in which a reader analyzes the literature and learns to think critically, stood as a sophisticated alternative to romantic theory, in which a reader is believed to be transported to a higher state of awareness through "receptive reading." Bartine presents evidence that the pragmatic theory was seen as a threat to romantic reading theory and the elitist cultural principles it attempted to preserve. He demonstrates that the use of pragmatic theory declined in American education early in the nineteenth century and reveals the resultant century-long regression of reading education from the primary level through the college level. In the final chapter Bartine argues for the necessity of the return of education to new versions of pragmatic theory and teaching.