Teaching the Novel in Context 

One of my aims when teaching the novel is to draw studentsí attention 
to the intricate relationships between text and context, and I operate 
from the assumption that greater historical awareness produces 
illuminating readings of novels.  To prepare students to write what I 
call a context paper, we peruse a variety of primary sources, such as 
newspapers and periodicals, in an effort to recreate the historical 
and cultural contexts from which a particular novel emerged and to see 
what light this information sheds on our understanding of the novel.  
This essay explores the challenges and possibilities of teaching novels 
in context.