VIDEO: Teaching Literature as a Compelling Story

VIDEO: Teaching Literature as a Compelling Story

“The scope of the epic, of the ancient, of the long-lasting, is something that hits students on a deep level … they’re hungry for that. … It’s important, when you teach literature, that there is something of a story from work to work. You look at your syllabus in your twelfth grade English class, and you see a plot somehow working through. … You put things in a narrative of some kind, people remember them better.”

In this lecture from the 2020 National Symposium for Classical Education, Dr. Mark Bauerlein explores how different works of literature work in conversation with one another, and how to bring students, from children to young adults, into that conversation.


Mark Bauerlein is Senior Editor at First Things and Professor of English at Emory University, where he has taught since earning his PhD in English at UCLA in 1989, with a two-and-a-half year break in 2003–05 to serve as the Director, Office of Research and Analysis, at the National Endowment for the Arts. Apart from his scholarly work, he publishes in popular periodicals such as The Wall Street JournalThe Weekly StandardThe Washington PostTLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education. His latest book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30 was published in May 2008. He recently co-edited a collection of essays entitled The State of the American Mind: 16 Leading Critics on the New Anti-Intellectualism, published in 2015.

Image: A Tale from the Decameron by John William Waterhouse (1916).

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