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What Is English?

Author(s): Peter Elbow

Pages: viii & 271 pp.
Published: 1990
ISBN: 9780873523820 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873523813 (hardcover)

What Is English? is Peter Elbow's challenging and very personal "picture of a profession that cannot define what it is." Written in a lively and accessible style, What Is English? contains Elbow's reflections on the 1987 English Coalition Conference and on its implications for the profession as a whole. Elbow identifies and tackles the major areas addressed by the conference:
  • the question of what "English" means
  • the place of theory in reading and writing
  • the conflict between those who teach literature and those who teach writing
  • the controversies surrounding the canon
  • the nation's increasing preoccupation with assessment

To include the voices of others who attended the conference, the book contains "interludes"--short pieces between chapters--in which teachers from all levels of instruction express their feelings and describe their experiences.


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