This is a book for college students and adult learners who think they ought to know something about literature, but don’t actually enjoy reading it. This is also a book for teachers: for new teachers who have just been assigned an introductory course; and for old teachers who want to remind themselves why they became teachers in the first place. The author, Theodore L. Steinberg, is himself the kind of teacher who makes other teachers jealous: smart and learned (of course), but also warm, likable, and funny. Steinberg puts the pleasure back into literature, not by dumbing the books down, but raising us up to their level. His enthusiasm for books and their authors is unembarrassed and undefensive. His own pages read quickly because he has learned, from many years of experience, what students need to know and where they need help. In particular, he knows where students are likely to get bogged down, and he’s an expert at clearing away the obstacles and misunderstandings that make reading a duty instead of a delight.
David Scott Wilson-Okamura
Associate Professor of English at East Carolina University