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My academic specialty was the psychological study of English literature, and I received my degrees, AB, MA and PHD, at the University of Pennsylvania. For many years, I was also an advisory editor with the journal Literature & Psychology. A number of my essays are cited on-line.
Whether your interest in reading and writing is casual or serious, your skill and your pleasure will increase with our meetings. My own pleasure in theatre and film, both of which I have taught at the college level, can be used to improve language skills, critical thinking, and formal writing, most particularly if you are still finding your way in English as a second language.
In writing, my preference is to stay as often as possible with Anglo-Saxon words (as opposed to Latin and Greek based vocabulary), and with a clarity of thought and expression you find in the works of George Orwell and Edmund Wilson. My literary interests range from the Bible to Greek Tragedy to the mystery novels of Rex Stout. My sense of humor comes naturally, but was honed in critical studies of Mark Twain, known widely for his humor and admired even more for his darker wit.
First we would establish the student's ability to write a grammatically correct sentence clearly and interestingly. The inter-connection between writing and reading is very important. For this reason I would require the reading of short essays or stories and discover, with the student, what they mean and why they are interesting.
It's important to enjoy this process and take satisfaction in acquiring these skills, for it allows us to think critically about anything that is going on in our lives. As important as it is to pass a test, enter college, or get a better job, knowing more about who you are and about the world around you can make you a stronger person.
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