|About the Book|
In What Is a Book? David Kirby addresses the making and consuming of literature by redefining the four components of the act of reading: writer, reader, critic, and book. He discusses his students, his work, and his practice as a teacher, writer,MoreIn What Is a Book? David Kirby addresses the making and consuming of literature by redefining the four components of the act of reading: writer, reader, critic, and book. He discusses his students, his work, and his practice as a teacher, writer, critic, and reader, and positions his theories and opinions as products of real life as much as academic exercise. Among the ideas animating the book are Kirbys beliefs that devotion is more important than dissection and practice is more important than theory.Covering an impressive range of writers--from Emerson, Poe, and Melville to James Dickey, Charles Wright, Richard Howard, Susan Montez, and others--Kirby considers the evolution of critical theory from the nineteenth century to the late twentieth and explores the role of criticism in contemporary culture. Drawing from his experience writing poetry and reading to children at a local housing project, he answers two of his four central questions: What is a reader? and What is a writer? In the largest section of the book, What Is a Critic?, Kirby demonstrates his passionate engagement with the function of the critic in literary culture and offers both overviews and close examinations of literary theory, book reviewing, and the historical background of criticism from its earliest beginnings. In the final section of the book, he addresses the question What is a book? with an examination of the reading preferences of older readers. Kirbys analysis of those responses, along with his own notions of the literary canon, is an insightful excursion into how books are valued.Deeply learned and wonderfully entertaining, What Is a Book? is a lucid look at the whole of literary culture. Kirby makes us think about the books we love and why we love them.