In this completely revised second edition, Deborah Appleman presents newly updated lessons and additional resources to teach critical theory in high school literature classrooms.


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This bestseller was the first text to specifically address the challenges of teaching critical theory in high school literature classrooms. Since its original publication, Appleman has worked with hundreds of teachers and students to update and refine the lessons she presents. This completely revised Second Edition now features:

  • A new introductory chapter that focuses on ideology and literary theory.
  • A new chapter on using literary theory with diverse learners.
  • An expanded discussion of gender, including new activities.
  • A new postcolonial lens that will help students read such classics as Things Fall Apart.
  • An amplified focus on cultural texts, with new material on helping students think critically about music videos, websites, advertisements, films, and television shows, and two new activities for analyzing a contemporary movie.
  • Many new additions to the appendix of activities.

“Deborah Appleman shows us that literary theory is neither irrelevant nor too difficult for classroom use, and indeed can be a good starting point in untangling the bits and pieces out of which current practice is constructed.”
—Arthur N. Applebee, Director, Center on Learning and Achievement, SUNY at Albany

“What a smart and useful book! It provides teachers with a wealth of knowledge and material to help their students develop critical perspective and suppleness of thought.”
 —Mike Rose, University of California, Los Angeles

“Deborah Appleman’s Critical Encounters in High School English has enriched my understanding both of teaching literature and of how I read. I know of no other book quite like it.”
—Michael W. Smith, Temple University, College of Education

Teachers College Press and NCTE. 221 pp. 2009. Grades 6–12. ISBN 978-0-8077-4892-3.
No. 09543