The importance of close reading in teaching contemporary British fiction to undergraduates

Paulina Kamińska, Poland, ID LLCE2016-348;       Teaching literature in EFL environment poses problems normally outside the problematics of literary studies. Students in the first years of English Studies are not used to the reading of a volume of a novel as a weekly assignment, and their language skills still need specialised practice, which makes the process of reading time-consuming and discouraging. While it is essential to insist such obstacles need to be overcome in the course of their studies, I believe that close reading may both facilitate the process and allow for true literary encounters in the classroom. In the twentieth century the British novel gained primary importance over drama and poetry. Therefore, teaching contemporary literature is virtually impossible without relying strongly on prose fiction. The aim of my presentation would be to show how freshmen or sophomore readers can be helped to develop their understanding of narrative strategies and critical concepts, as well as improve their language skills through a close reading of certain passages of contemporary British novels.

Key words: teaching fiction, close reading, undergraduates