Studying Literature, by Brian Moon

There are numerous English text books on the market – especially if you want basic comprehension, grammar or spelling activities. There is, however, a lack of textbooks for upper school literature studies. Fortunately, Australian publisher Chalkface Press has redressed this need. Studying Literature, by Brian Moon, is just one of their excellent literature texts.

Studying Literature
would make an excellent introductory course for literature studies students. It combines a superb range of literary texts with thought provoking activities and considered explanation.

The book is divided into three units. In the first, What Is Literature? , students are guided through readings and exercises looking at definitions of literature. The objective of this part of the book is to help students reach an understanding that ‘literature; is a subjective term – literature, Moon concludes, “is about writing, reading and making judgements according to certain beliefs and practices” (p 27).

The second unit, Reading ‘Literary’ Texts looks at the ways that readers construct meanings from text and how dominant values and beliefs can effect the reading of a text. Moon guides students towards an understanding that, rather than existing in the text, meaning is constructed through the reading of a text.

The third and final unit, Reading in Terms of Gender, examines literary texts from women’s perspective. The unit examines how women are portrayed in selected examples and guides women towards an understanding of the role literature has played in reinforcing stereotypes. The unit concludes by discussing other groups which are stereotyped in literary texts and examining examples of writing in which feminist writers attempt to challenge dominant readings of gender.

Moon’s choice of stories and poems in Studying Literature provides an excellent complement to the understanding he endeavors to guide students towards. This is an outstanding resource for students and teachers of literature.

Studying Literature, by Brian Moon
Chalkface Press 1990. Available internationally. For a full list of suppliers, please see