10 Readings for an Orientation to the Study of Literature

by Professor Benson

During our end of year faculty in-service, Dr. Wolfe asked each teacher to compose a list of 10 books that give an orientation to the study of his or her academic discipline. Notice, this is a different kind of list than our favorite books. For the study of literature, I focus on the ethics of reading with attention to the role of imagination and stewardship of words. 

  1. C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism; “On the Reading of Old Books” (introduction to St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation)
  2. Basil the Great, “To Young Men, on How They Might Derive Profit from Pagan Literature”
  3. Simone Weil, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God” (published in Waiting for God)
  4. Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose
  5. Alan Jacobs, A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love; The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
  6. Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
  7. Leland Ryken (editor), The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing; Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible
  8. Gene Edward Veith, Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature; Matthew P. Ristuccia (co-author), Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind
  9. David Lyle Jeffrey & Gregory Maillet, Christianity and Literature: Philosophical Foundations and Critical Practice
  10. David Mikics, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age