The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of five literary genre - fiction, autobiography, history, drama, and poetry - accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter - ranging from Cervantes to A.S. Byatt, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.
The Well-Educated Mind reassures those readers who worry that they read too slowly or with below-average comprehension. If you can understand a daily newspaper, there's no reason you can't read and enjoy Shakespeare's Sonnets or Jane Eyre. But no one should attempt to read the "Great Books" without a guide and a plan. Susan Wise Bauer will show you how to allocate time to your reading on a regular basis; how to master a difficult argument; how to make personal and literary judgments about what you read; how to appreciate the resonant links among texts within a genre - what does Anna Karenina owe to Madame Bovary? - and also between genres. Followed carefully, the advice in The Well-Educated Mind will restore and expand the pleasure of the written word. 432 indexed pages, hardcover with dust jacket.