Teaching Kate Chopin Using Multimedia

  • Kate O’Donoghue
Part of the American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century book series (ALTC)


Over a decade ago, when I decided to apply to graduate programs in English literature, I had to take the GRE English subject test. Studying for this test proved problematic. A cursory afternoon of research confirmed that the canon of Western literature had exploded sometime in the mid-twentieth century. I eventually stumbled upon a battered reprint of William J. Long’s 1909 tome, English Literature: Its History and its Significance for the Life of the English-Speaking World. I purchased it, read it, took notes on index cards, and, given my own familiarity with works of American and English literature published after 1900, did reasonably well on the subject test. By the end of my first year in graduate school, however, shortly after I passed the first comprehensive exam, I forgot most of it. I no longer needed immediate recall of this information. The works of literature themselves had not diminished in importance, but the type of studying I performed to get into graduate school and pass its first exam ultimately had about as much relevance in twenty-first century graduate studies in the humanities as inkwells and vellum. There were so many other works to read and discover—forgotten authors, suppressed journals, recently discovered letters, exciting theories, radical philosophies, alternative histories, voices from oppressed or ignored groups.


Digital Tool Digital Humanity English Department Fire Insurance English Heritage 
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Copyright information

© Heather Ostman and Kate O’Donoghue 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate O’Donoghue

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