How Does Literature Influence a Literature Professor's Writing Or Teaching Style?


    How Does Literature Influence a Literature Professor's Writing Or Teaching Style?

    Literature has the power to shape and refine our creative and educational endeavors, as evidenced by a Writing Coach who has learned to incorporate vulnerability into teaching. Alongside expert insights, we've gathered additional answers that reflect the diverse ways in which seminal works can transform writing and teaching styles. From adopting Virginia Woolf's introspective approach to integrating mythological archetypes, these responses traverse the spectrum of literary influence.

    • Incorporate Vulnerability in Teaching
    • Embrace Mystery and Wonder
    • Adopt Woolf's Introspective Style
    • Utilize Classic Narrative Techniques
    • Infuse Innovation from Contemporary Literature
    • Practice Poetic Precision
    • Inject Dramatic Dynamism
    • Integrate Mythological Archetypes

    Incorporate Vulnerability in Teaching

    While studying and teaching at Trinity Western University, I came across a book called 'Dare to Lead' by Brené Brown, where the author challenges the traditional styles of leading and leaders' attitudes. The arguments made by Brené about the necessity of being vulnerable to grow, rather than keeping one's guard up at all times, have influenced me to my deepest roots.

    I have tweaked my teaching style since then, and the conversations with my students are more of a friendly talk instead of a lesson, which has resulted in a better understanding of the concepts and student-teacher relationships.

    My writing style has been influenced greatly as well. Compared to my earlier writings, where I had a lot of information, I now use more personal examples and anecdotes to explain important concepts. This has not only made the readability better, but I also enjoy writing more than ever.

    Chit Karan Singh
    Chit Karan SinghWriting Coach, Trinity Western University

    Embrace Mystery and Wonder

    It's hard to identify a single, specific work that has influenced my writing or teaching style because I think everyone's writing and teaching (and philosophy) is the product of a complex combination of influences, many of which may lie hidden and forgotten among the pages of the past. I owe so much to so many writers and thinkers who have gone before, either in terms of style or content or both, including G.K. Chesterton, Cormac McCarthy, J.R.R. Tolkien, Wendell Berry, C.S. Lewis, Graham Greene, John Senior, Michael O'Brien, and Annie Dillard (and this list is far from exhaustive). But if I had to point to one influence, it would probably be the body of work of my father, Michael Larson, a poet, essayist, and one of the finest teachers I ever had the joy to learn from. I think the most important thing I learned from both his writing and his teaching was this: a sense of mystery and wonder about the world. He taught me that 'there are more things, Horatio, in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy' (a line he loves to quote). You've got to love that mystery. And that's what I try to share with people in my teaching and my writing.

    Walker Larson
    Walker LarsonLiterature Teacher and Freelance Writer

    Adopt Woolf's Introspective Style

    One work of literature that has had a profound impact on both my writing and teaching style is Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse.' Woolf's mastery of stream-of-consciousness and her ability to delve into the intricacies of human thought and emotion have greatly influenced my own approach to storytelling. Her fluid prose and keen insights into the human psyche have inspired me to embrace a more introspective and nuanced writing style.

    In terms of teaching, Woolf's novel has become a cornerstone in my literature courses. I often use it as a case study to explore narrative techniques and character development with my students. The discussions that arise from dissecting 'To the Lighthouse' help cultivate a deeper understanding of the complexities of literature and encourage my students to approach their own writing with a more thoughtful and reflective mindset.

    Gabrielle Yap
    Gabrielle YapSenior Editor, Carnivore Style

    Utilize Classic Narrative Techniques

    When a literature professor delves into the classics, there is a noticeable leaning towards incorporating tried and true narrative techniques into their writing and teaching approach. This adherence to traditional story structures provides a foundational familiarity for students, which helps them to navigate more complex texts. The classics serve as a template for effective storytelling, allowing a professor to draw parallels between historic and modern works.

    As such, the professor's own writing may echo these time-honored conventions, creating a bridge between the past and present for their audience. Seek out a classic today to see how it shapes your understanding of story construction and character development.

    Infuse Innovation from Contemporary Literature

    Engagement with contemporary literature can profoundly affect a literature professor's method of instruction and writing by fostering a spirit of innovation. Exposed to the latest trends and styles, they often incorporate cutting-edge techniques into their teachings, pushing students to think outside the proverbial book. This exposure instills a sense of boldness in their own writing, as they mimic the modern era's willingness to challenge norms and push boundaries.

    Contemporary works serve as a beacon for the new and the now, sparking conversations that may not arise from older texts. Let contemporary literature inspire you to experiment in your own creative endeavors.

    Practice Poetic Precision

    The study of poetry has a unique impact on a professor's communication, particularly in their writing and instructional methods. The brevity and precision that poetry demands are reflected in the way they might formulate their prose or conduct classroom discussions. This conciseness helps concentrate a complex idea into a digestible and potent format, an invaluable tool for clear and impactful teaching.

    Moreover, it teaches students to appreciate the significance of every word and the power it can hold. Encourage yourself to practice this economy of language in your writing for more effective expression.

    Inject Dramatic Dynamism

    A literature professor who frequently engages with dramatic texts might bring the dynamism of the stage into their lectures and written work. By dissecting plays and understanding the mechanisms that make dialogues vivid, they can infuse their lessons with a conversational tone that enlivens the material for students. The back-and-forth rhythm found in drama encourages interactive learning environments and helps professors write with a voice that pulses with life.

    This approach breaks down barriers between the academic and the theatrical, fostering a more engaging learning experience. Engage with a dramatic text to bring a new energy to your conversations and written work.

    Integrate Mythological Archetypes

    Mythology offers a treasure trove of archetypal narratives and characters that can deeply influence a literature professor's curriculum and written voice. By integrating these timeless patterns into their lessons, they provide students with insight into the universal human experience reflected in literature. These ancient stories shape a professor's approach, helping them illustrate the relevance of age-old concepts in contemporary settings.

    Myths have a way of connecting disparate ideas across time and culture, giving professors a powerful tool for teaching and connectivity in their writing. Explore a myth to see how it shapes your understanding of today's world.