Writer, reader, student, teacher: a critical analysis of developments in the discipline of English


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    This essay seeks to recognise the value in a literature-focused model of the discipline of English, using I.A. Richards, C.K. Ogden and the American New Critics as models of critics who placed the text, and the reader’s relationship with the text, at the centre of any study of literature, arguing that this relationship is analogous to that which should exist between text, teacher and student. It surveys developments in structuralist and post-structuralist literary theory and the way they have shaped the teaching of English over the second-half of the twentieth century, exposing flaws in the approach of the ‘Growth’, ‘Cultural Studies’, ‘Textuality’ and ‘Critical Literacy’ models of the discipline. It builds towards an analysis of David Campbell’s poem, ‘Night Sowing’ that aims to show how a ‘traditional’ close reading of the text’s aesthetic components reveals more than the politically-motivated application of the Critical Literacy model, concluding that the human connection of the reader/author relationship should be the foundation of any student’s encounter with a text.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-65
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnglish in Australia
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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