Pages: viii & 271 pp.
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.