A worthy, comprehensive guide for educators incorporating readings, study questions, and extensive literary analysis.


A manual for high school teachers offers a survey of British literature.

Marlow (The Book Tree, 2008) draws on decades of experience as an English teacher to produce a guide for fellow educators who introduce high school students to British literature, particularly instructors whose pedagogy incorporates a Christian context. The book, which combines suggested readings, an overview of themes and techniques, and discussion questions, is arranged in chronological order, beginning with Beowulf and Chaucer and concluding with C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, and T.S. Eliot. Appendices include a glossary of literary terms, a sample curriculum, guidelines for literary analysis, and sample tests. Marlow addresses not only the content covered in class, but also her techniques for broadening students’ appreciation (“I read the last section of Beowulf accompanied by Dvorák’s Largo from his New World Symphony with classroom lights off”). The author does a creditable job of covering the basic elements of understanding frequently studied classics, and has produced a solid resource for teachers looking to develop a curriculum. The material is useful for instructors in nonreligious schools as well, though the language employed (“the secular professor Harold Bloom”; “the erroneous charge of homosexuality”) and the emphasis on the moral values expressed by works can be off-putting. Though the author criticizes bowdlerization, she has clear views on what volumes are appropriate for 16- to 18-year-olds (“I strongly suggest that teachers avoid The Miller’s Tale”; “One day, they may return to Brontë’s description of married love”). Marlow’s claims that students are “interested,” “impressed,” “amused,” “intrigued,” or “amazed” by elements of literary history may seem somewhat breathless, but her knowledge of and enthusiasm for her subject, as well as for the act of teaching itself, are evident throughout the book and contribute to its value in the classroom.

A worthy, comprehensive guide for educators incorporating readings, study questions, and extensive literary analysis.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-6489-5

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.



Inspirational lessons from the life of one tough teacher.

Today’s parents who lament their children stressing over tests may be horrified by the themes of tough love and tenacity offered by this biographical tribute to the late Jerry Kupchynsky, “Mr. K,” a gifted high school strings teacher from East Brunswick, N.J., whose exacting methods helped spawn the careers of generations of musicians and educators. Journalist Lipman and Kupchynsky, a violinist and Mr. K’s daughter, met as children when Mr. K joined his daughter’s exceptional talents on violin with Lipman’s on viola to form half of a string quartet that would also include Kupchynsky’s younger sister, whose disappearance decades later reunited the authors. The bond forged through the intensity of creating music is but one of the storylines running through this engrossing account of Mr. K’s life. Born in 1928 in the Ukraine, Mr. K endured a litany of wartime atrocities before immigrating to the United States as a refugee in 1946. But prior to fleeing to the U.S., it was the sound of a German soldier playing the violin that sparked his love for classical music. Surviving these early hardships helped instill in Mr. K an appreciation of adversity as a motivator, an unflagging belief in the value of hard work and a willingness to fight for the underdog. With a booming Ukrainian accent and “trim” mustache, Mr. K’s battle-ax demeanor and perfectionist drive struck both fear and a ferocious desire to succeed in the hearts of his pupils. One of his more unforgiving approaches involved singling out a section’s weakest player—“Who eez deaf in first violins?”—and forcing the guilty party to play alone with a stronger player until the weak one improved. While tactics like these may not have earned his students’ immediate devotion, they never forgot him and often found they could achieve more than they ever dreamed.

Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2466-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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