By Sean Olson, University Relations

Cover of book, Writing Essays About Literature
The Seventh Edition of Griffith’s Book

How can we read about literature? How can we write about it? Those are two integral questions that Dr. Kelley Griffith, professor emeritus of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, hopes to answer with the newest edition of his 1982 book.

The seventh edition of Griffith’s “Writing Essays about Literature: A Guide and Style Sheet” (430 p., ISBN 1-4130-0395-8) has been published by Thompson Wadsworth.

“Writing Essays about Literature” is broken into two main sections. The first part deals with the interpretation of literature, including sections on fiction, drama, poetry, and specialized approaches to interpreting literature. The second part deals with writing about literature – everything from selecting a topic to revising an essay and taking essay tests.

“This book emerged from my teaching,” said Griffith, who taught a wide range of courses – from freshman composition to upper-level graduate literature classes – during his 34- year tenure. “I just wanted to put into words how people can do this, can write an essay.”

For the newly revised edition, Griffith re-worked the chapter on writing about poetry, included examples from contemporary literature and included a complete short story – “Yours” by Mary Robinson. Griffith also added a glossary and an index of critics, authors and works in the back of the book and updated the style to conform to the newest edition of the MLA style book.

“With literature studies, there is always something new and there is always something new about teaching literature,” he said. “And the nature of literature is often changing, as well, so there is new material to cover.”

Griffith is the past director of the UNCG Honors Program and received the 1995 Alumni Teaching Excellence Award. He is a 1962 graduate of Wake Forest University and received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. He taught at UNCG from 1968 to 2002.