Twenty First Century Literature: Opportunities, Changes and Challenges
One of the greatest challenges to subject English as it is re-imagined in contemporary times is the role of literature, canonical texts and 'literary literacy' in the digital, globalised world of the twenty-first century. In arguing for a version of English that will equip students for the uncertainties of future times, Kress (2002) argues that English should be comprised of three areas: ethics, rhetoric and aesthetics - that is, values, structures of language and both print and multimodal communicative forms, and the study of aesthetic in culturally salient texts. English, he argues, deserves its role in the curriculum 'as the subject that provides means for understanding the relation of an inner world of imagination and desire with an outer world of culture and of social demands' (Kress 2002 p.17). In this, literary and imaginative texts are central, but the ways in which they are approached and analysed needs to be reflective of contemporary constructions of texts and reading, and of English curriculum more generally. This chapter addresses key debates and questions concerning the place of literature in contemporary English curriculum, the pressures it is subject to, and the state of literature teaching currently. This is followed by a consideration of what literature and its study has to bring to twenty first century curriculum. The chapter concludes with observations concerning opportunities for the future presented by the incorporation into a reconceptualised literature curriculum of digital literacies and multimodal texts and e-literature.
The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching
English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)