Teaching Literature to the Pop Generation Students: Raymond Williams in Action

Prof. Angel Lu
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This paper started with a familiar enough situation: I was assigned to teach literature to a roomful of students who virtually read no “literature” before but were experts on the rock/pop/rap/hip-hop stars and albums. The question was simple: how to make a connection between their universe of pop culture and the universe of Wordsworth and Eliot?

I found rescue in Raymond Williams, in his distinction between “three levels of culture”(The Long Revolution). I found that my students were very interested in the “lived culture” from which the“documentary culture” and the “selective tradition” took form. I found that that there were intrinsic, if not immediately obvious, connections between the lived culture of Eliot’s time and the lived culture of my students’generation – a connection often denied by dogmatic and uncritical applications of the division between high an low, modern and postmodern culture.

The task is then to find concrete practices – effective interpretive and critical methods -- to make the above-named connection happen for each session of my literature lessons. The results and findings and the remaining questions and challenges in this project constitute the content of this paper.

Keywords: Literature, Pop culture, Raymond Williams
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Teaching and Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Teaching Literature to the Pop Generation Students

Prof. Angel Lu

Lecturer, Department of English, Hong Kong Institute of Education
Hong Kong

Ref: H06P0291