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A little creative ingenuity and willingness to experiment are all it takes to break out of the confines of routine and inject a little variety into your classroom. The games in this book are designed to be adaptable to different levels of study of English Literature. Some are more likely to appeal more to ‘A’ level students than to undergraduates, and vice versa. They draw on a common stock of materials that can be bought and adapted at little cost, and in some cases they map directly onto the kind of questions that typically get asked when students face assessment. Many of the games can be played without a teacher being present, although many also assume that someone will be there to draw together threads of discussion. If nothing else, these games are a great way of overcoming that horrible problem, the wall of silence that confronts every teacher of literature at some stage in his or her career.
The games are divided into different categories, reflecting the way literature students have to move between detailed analysis and general evaluation. They start small, with games about words and images, and build towards the more challenging theoretical topics students might encounter in the study of literary theory. Overall, this book is conceived as a provocation, not an encyclopaedia. If the result is that readers go away and dream up more and better games to play with students of literature, history, sociology, law, or any other discipline involving the close study and theorization of texts, it will have served its purpose.
David Roberts is Professor of English and Dean of the Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. A widely published theatre historian and literary critic, his recent books include Restoration Plays and Players and Thomas Betterton, both for Cambridge University Press. He also writes programme essays for the Royal Opera House and in 2013 was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the UK Higher Education Academy. Izabela Hopkins obtained her PhD from Birmingham City University on the subject of whiteness in American fiction. Her teaching and research interests include literary theory and the intersections between literature, identity and place. She is a Visiting Lecturer in the School of English at Birmingham City University and in the Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts at University of Worcester.