I think people who teach literature courses should do more of it. Jonathan is teaching Jesus' Son in his sophomore literature survey course, and I mentioned to him that maybe I should come and do a short guest appearance in his class, just to get up in front of the students and say, "OMG YOU GUYS, this book is SOOOO GOOOOOOD" and the like. I know he won't do it. The professors I had in college never gushed either. It was always just "okay, for Thursday, read 'Among School Children' and 'The Second Coming.'"

How is it that so many people come to read the Twilight or Harry Potter books? People they know gush about them, and their enthusiasm motivates. Do you teach literature? Do you make a point of showing strong enthusiasm about the works you teach?


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Sometimes I gush

My primary area, of course, is film studies, and I think it's probably more tolerated to gush in a film course, especially given the prominence of fan studies and the origins of film studies in formalist approaches that emphasized aesthetics (i.e., looking at Eisenstein's use of dialectical montage in Battleship Potemkin).

Because my only literature course is a 200-level course that includes majors and non-majors (who can get humanities credit), I've felt more comfortable expressing enjoyment. I may make a basic announcement about what we're teaching, but I try to make the discussion as fun as possible. When teaching Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130" ("My mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun"), for example, I typed the following summary on the course notes page: "She's not pretty but I dig her."

My subversive summary elicited a nice little laugh, pretty much what I'd imagine Shakespeare would have wanted.

the chutry experiment

Me too

Ditto, Chuck. My zombie class is a lot of gushing in the first week. Though I tend to replace "Good" with "Fascinating."


I Gush

2 Board Alley

I tend to teach things that I love or appreciate, so it's easy to gush. Also, enthusiasm is a way to engage students (especially non-majors. Too much gushing doesn't work--I think it's off-putting to the students. Where the line between enough and too much is, I couldn't say. My goal is to have the students gush by mid-term.

New C's panel: Gushing as a Pedagogical Move.


Glad to hear from you guys -- and good point about balance, Joanna.

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