How to do close reading
Yes I love Padel too. Will look lennard sounds excellent thanks for the recommend!
I had a similar complaint as an undergraduate, expressing a desire for a more systematic survey in the curriculum to study seminal works and to trace literature’s development in different contexts.
Instead of addressing my concern, the professor took issue with my use of the word seminal. I wish I had thought to use chain of influence.
Fortunately, a more traditional approach to literary study is still possible with technology, but it has to be more a labor of love than matriculation.
Great and useful, as ever. Thank you.
Two resources I found very useful in developing my close reading.
1) John Lennard's *The Poetry Handbook* (OUP, 2nd edn 2005). I've been fortunate enough to have John as a teacher on poetry, and he is not only marvellous (he wrote a book about parentheses, yes, brackets, in English verse), but wrote this book, a very practical but demanding rigorous work-through of the various aspects of a poem. I went thro it systematically for a course & it's extremely rewarding, as well as encyclopedic. It's keyed to the 5th edition of the *Norton Anthology of Poetry,* which is quite cheap now secondhand as the 6th edition has come out, & I've used that anthology again and again since.
2) I found Ruth Padel's practical criticism in either of her two books incredibly useful and liberating. She doesn't just use technical tools, but writes brilliantly about emphasis and thematic threads, and sound. She has one book with short crits of 52 poems called 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem, and another with 60 more called The Poem and the Journey. They are really helpful, and liberating.