Spring 2005     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 9, Issue 1     Editorial (2)
Teaching the Novel and Short Fiction.These essays cover a very wide range 
of topics, yet they can be organized meaningfully into three major groupings.

The first includes essays on the complications arising when we teach literature in 
radically different contexts. Layla Al Maleh and David L. Gugin address the 
challenges of teaching Anglo-American literature to students in the Arab world, 
whereas Rob Baum looks at the difficulty of spanning cultural differences – 
including race, class, gender, and sexuality – within the United States. Other 
essays reflect on related difficulties of teaching literature from earlier 
centuries to students of today. Carl H. Sederholm focuses on the Gothic and 
Matthew Hilton-Watson on French naturalism; while William Wandless addresses more 
general concerns about the 18th-century novel.

A second set focuses on the beginning student, particularly the non-English major, 
and the need to make meaningful connections between the work and the reader. Colin 
Irvine describes writing activities that guide students in exploring “the surprising 
similarities and/or differences between life and literature.” Laura Rotunno asks 
students to consider how their expectations shape their interpretation of what they 
read. Ann M. Tandy-Treiber encourages students to confront and analyze the racism, 
sexism and other “isms” in 19th-century fiction. David C. MacWilliams relates how 
the use of “hometown” novels improves the sense of relevance of assigned readings 
for students in the composition classroom. Finally, Margaret H. Davis details her 
strategy of beginning a general education course with well know fairy tales and 
lesser known variants, thus prompting students to rethink conventions and to engage 
in more through analyses of their own experiences.

The final set presents strategies for teaching specific works. Preeti Bhatt focuses 
on the postmodern elements in Muriel Spark’s Symposium, Tara Moore explores the 
cinematic references embedded in Ralph Lombreglia’s “Men Under Water,” Amy A. 
Childers uses rhetorical theory to analyze a dinner scene in Virginia Woolf's To 
the Lighthouse, Toni Wein applies the Freytag pyramid to Jane Austen’s Northanger 
Abbey, and my essay presents a way to move students beyond the humanistic and New 
Critical approaches they often bring with them from high school. These essays make 
suggestions for improving many of our teaching activities and assignments, 
regardless of the precise works assigned in each course.

Michael D. Gose’s “Caveats for Teaching the Novel,” selected for the “Editor’s 
Choice,” addresses many of these same concerns about working with longer pieces 
of literature and with students majoring in fields other than English. Taken as a 
whole, this cluster of essays offers a valuable range of strategies and activities 
for the literature classroom.
James B. Kelley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Mississippi State University – Meridian

CFP for the next Teaching the Novel and Short Fiction issue, Spring 2006.
See Index to all published articles.