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A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers
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A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  275 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The most successful reader of its kind, A World of Ideas is ideal for composition instructors who want to introduce their students to some of the world's most important thinkers and their ideas: for example, Niccolo Machiavelli on government, Sigmund Freud on the mind, and Virginia Woolf on feminism. Because students perceive writers such as these as serious and important, ...more
Paperback, Seventh Edition, 857 pages
Published December 31st 2006 by Bedford Books (first published 1893)
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Lisa Greer
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: professors and students
If you are an English prof., this is a great book for your classes. If you are teaching an intro. to philosophy course, likewise, it's a great book. Students will engage with Machiavelli, Rousseau, Jefferson, Montaigne, Plato, Aristotle, MLK Jr., DeBeauvoir, Galbraith, and so many other thinkers of all time periods. It's challenging and fun for classes. I'm using it currently in a composition class and have used it in the past as well.
Phillip Gallegos
Feb 28, 2010 is currently reading it
Shelves: owned
Excellent book thus far. The selections are great, the areas covered are broad, and the ideas always intriguing. Even if writing is not your thing, I would still recommend this for the ideas and writers presented. I was far too lucky to find this at the public library bookstore for only a couple of dollars...
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Was not a big fan of this book in high school, but it really did prepare me for college level readings
Nathan Titus
This book is hard to rate because it is what it is. As an introduction to various rhetorical techniques it does a good job; every writing style there is more or less us represented here. But 8 didn't read it for technique; I read it for content. I don't think that's an odd thing to do either; when one studies the writing techniques one can't help but be influenced by the writing itself. As a college textbook I was not expecting it to be entertaining. What I would have liked though was some bette ...more
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Eventhough, I read this book for school and would not pick it to read on my own accord, I did find a few essays worth the read. I really enjoyed Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter to Birmingham Jail, Frederick Douglass' From the Narrative, and Rachel Carson's The Sunless Sea. I personally found the information the author provided before each new section and touching on the writing style very helpful and informative.
Jennifer Roldan
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Once started off as a required textbook from college soon became a book I would often refer back to. I feel like this book introduced me to so many of the literary greats and taught me to think even more creatively. I didn't like the instructor for this course (still don't) but grateful to have this book on my shelf.
Some of the pieces in here are not quite applicable as this is, I'm sure, likely a college text, but there are some pieces that are applicable to everyday life. I broke out a highlighter and enjoyed lining some pieces of text.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Work is done, class is complete. There is only so far a classroom can offer to inspire a perpetual reader but the authors are notable and the writing is...influential... it was just a little too much of a structured reading though, not for the entertainment.
Julia Simpson-Urrutia
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have used this book in my class for years. I find nothing matches its quality.
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It had a lot of good pieces in it that were very helpful in english class. As far as english textbooks go this was one of the best
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grad-school
Great Rhetoric resource!
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
A grad school textbook with collection of writings and critiques of their styles.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part, the readings were okay.
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must for every college student!!! Very good lectures!!
Looks like I picked this up at the UC bookstore. It's the third edition with a 1990 date. Some underlining. Hmm.
Jan 24, 2012 added it
Collection of excerpts good for reading list references.
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“And one gathers from this enormous modern literature of confes- 11
sion and self- analysis that to write a work of genius is almost always
a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that
it will come from the writer’s mind whole and entire. Generally material circumstances are against it. Dogs will bark; people will interrupt;
money must be made; health will break down. Further, accentuating all
these difficulties and making them harder to bear is the world’s notorious indifference. It does not ask people to write poems and novels
and histories; it does not need them. It does not care whether Flaubert
finds the right word or whether Carlyle scrupulously verifies this or
that fact. Naturally, it will not pay for what it does not want. And
so the writer, Keats, Flaubert, Carlyle, suffers, especially in the creative years of youth, every form of distraction and discouragement. A
curse, a cry of agony, rises from those books of analysis and confession. “Mighty poets in their misery dead” — that is the burden of their
song. If anything comes through in spite of all this, it is a miracle, and
probably no book is born entire and uncrippled as it was conceived.
“But he who accomplishes a truly human work, he who does some- 33
thing really great and victorious, is never spurred to his task by those
trifling attractions called by the name of “prizes,” nor by the fear of
those petty ills which we call “punishments.” If”
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