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Understanding Literature is an innovative anthology and technology package representing the next generation of literary pedagogy for introduction to literature and literature for composition courses. Built on a balanced foundation of canonical and nontraditional reading selections, this text includes discussions of the formal literary elements--and then goes a step further to integrate relevant and accessible coverage of contemporary criticism within each genre. This unique, integrated coverage of contemporary critical approaches (such as feminist theory, psychoanalytic theory, and postcolonial theory) offers students a richer, more engaging introduction to reading critically and writing about literature. Other anthologies offer minimal theoretical coverage in a separate chapter or appendix, typically sidestepping the larger issues the theories raise.The integrated technology package, complete with CD-ROM and accompanying web site, takes advantage of multimedia resources to enhance the study of literature with visual aids, audio and video files, additional primary and secondary texts, and other materials that help place literature within the broader contexts of history and culture. Engaging, creative table of contents balances familiar authors and literary works with more adventurous and diverse selections, exposing students to a broad range of literature and providing instructors with great flexibility in designing their courses.Critical Perspectives offer concise, insightful discussions of how literary and cultural theories are used to explore meaning in literature. Throughout the anthology casebooks, excerpts from classic and contemporary critical essays, and in-textdiscussions offer students accessible yet critical perspectives into how literary theory can facilitate a deeper understanding of literary texts. The fiction and drama sections feature brief in-text discussions and excerpts from literary critics. Critical Perspectives can also be used as a springboard for class discussion and writing.In-depth treatment of Featured Writers in each section allows more focused study of a single writer. This feature includes multiple reading selections showing the range of the writer' s work, more extensive biographical information, and additional materials on the CD-ROM and web site. Writers highlighted include James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Salman Rushdie, John Keats, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Sexton, and William Shakespeare.Two unique interdisciplinary chapters (The Beat Movement and Performative Poetics) focus on the spoken and performed aspects of literature. Coverage includes several works from key writers in both movements as well as discussions of how these movements use a mixture of media--language, film, jazz, photography, and art--to showcase their work and provide social and political commentary.Unique poetry casebooks allow students to explore certain themes or topics in depth, such as Poetry and Social Activism Between the Wars, Poetry, Trauma, and Testimony: Holocaust Verses, Postmodern Poetics, Chicano/a Poetry, and Native American Poetry.Emphasis on cultural perspectives reflects the increased desire to view the study of literature through the lens of culture. Reading selections, section introductions, questions for discussion, writing assignments, and other apparatus encourage students to view literature from differentcultural perspectives.Thorough coverage of reading and writing about literature shows students how to read each genre and craft effective essays. Annotated student papers serve as models of good student writing, and a separate section teaches students how to conduct research and incorporate other sources into their writing.An abundance of visual text--such as photos, art, and drawings--help students place literary works in broader contexts.