Assessing the Value of a Great Book

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1. Evaluate the book under review according to the criteria listed in “Assessing the Value of a Great Book,” below. Try to offer a balanced view, neither all bad nor all good, but do offer a concluding summary in which you weigh in on whether you think the book should or shouldn’t be on a Great Books list.

2.Discuss at least three standards from the assessment criteria list. Best papers will include at least one standard from each of the three groups.

3. Your own ideas are fine. Feel free – not required – to borrow ideas from any number of sources, but if you do, please cite them.

4. Exceptionally good – grade A – papers will not only be well written, but will refer to at least one scholarly/academic/peer-reviewed journal for some outside perspective or validation. The scholarly journal could be in a social science field such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology, but for most of the books, wider/deeper relevance is likely to be found in the fields of literature or history.

5. Whatever your argument may be, back it up with quotations from or specific references to the Great Book text. Please include page numbers in parentheses.

6. When not quoting, use your own voice. Awkward grammar choices will be forgiven as long as they are not the result of mere sloppiness/laziness. Please use some sort of grammar check.

7. Length = 3-4 double-spaced pages, not including any title or reference pages. ALP or MLA formatting both fine.

8. You will be graded on the following: Content: organization, cohesiveness, credibility, insight, interest. Sources: quality, relevance, effective use. Form: successful quotation signaling; consistent MLA form; proper citations and reference page if necessary. Assessing the Value of a Great BookSpring 2021 Historical Aspects ?

Has an interesting history component, informative and revealing with regard to past eras and cultures. ? Historically significant in the development of a literary tradition; possibly the prototype of an enduring genre. ? Has influenced culture or society by challenging some social construct or taboo, or by acknowledging some acute social conflict

Acts as a mirror, inspiring questions or realizations about our own time. Literary Aspects ? Characters are relatable/identifiable, with strong development; character personalities are conveyed in vivid dialogue and action. ? Has an engrossing story with a satisfying ending or possible plot twist. ? Creates an emotional or intellectual investment opportunity for readers. ?

Has retained its potential relevance for a diverse modern audience. Philosophical Aspects ? Inspires a reflection or re-evaluation of life; thought-provoking. ? Provides new perspectives on the cosmos, life, and/or humanity.

Speaks to fundamental/universal questions about what it means to be human.  Teaches a life lesson or leads to personal transformation.

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