Editor: Robert Beardwood
Publisher: Insight Publications, 2015, 232 pages
Essentially the 4th edition of Robert Beardwood’s Literature for Senior Students is the same textbook we all know and love, simply modified for the new study design. However, this edition can be distinguished from its predecessor by its colourful design, and the new sections on ‘Connections between texts’ and ‘Literary perspectives’.
The first thing that stands out when looking at this book is the colour and design layout, which make it much easier to navigate and more teacher and student friendly than the previous edition. The textbook is split into two sections. Section A is the same as the previous edition - an extremely useful introduction to all things ‘Literature’. The text moves quickly through a history of great Western Literature and on to a comprehensive outline of the key components that students of literature need to understand. It covers features of different genres, characterisation and important techniques, such as imagery and foreshadowing. Complete with a glossary of key terms, this book provides a very good introduction to the essential elements of studying literature.
Section B has familiar elements such as ‘Views, values and contexts’, ‘Adaptations and transformations’ and ‘Creative responses to texts’; however, two new chapters correspond with the changes made to the study design. ‘Connections between texts’, directly addresses Unit 2, Outcome 2, which examines the way two texts interact and are informed by each other. ‘Literary perspectives’ has a direct correlation with Unit 4, Outcome 1, which looks as understanding and analysing literary criticism and how this can alter our reading of a text. Both chapters clearly outline of the new areas, and have practical activities and questions that would be very useful in the classroom. This edition’s summary sheets and colour annotations of passages are particularly easy to use. The annotated samples of work are also very valuable resources that would give students a clear model to look at when preparing for an assessment.
The last section of the book has been modified slightly to overcome the difficulty of not knowing the structure of the 2017 Literature examination. In this section, Beardwood has focused on how to prepare and write a passage analysis, which is often the most difficult thing for students to grasp. This section is full of very clear guidelines and annotated work samples to give students an idea of what is required of them when writing a passage analysis – such an important part of Literature.
As a Literature teacher, this reviewer feels that Literature for Senior Students would be a valuable resource for both teachers and students. Section A would be useful when first introducing students to Literature, either in Years 10 or 11, Section B would be excellent for VCE students.
Reviewed by Catherine Ryan, Emmanuel College, Warrnambool.