English @ OU

Composition: History & Theory: 1950 - 1959

College Composition and Communication, Volume 4, No. 4: December, 1953.



Basic Tenets of Structural Linguistics (George P. Faust): “In writing about structural linguistics, I am making two assumptions to begin with: that so far some readers know the subject only by name, and that the great majority are looking for explanation from someone who, like me, is a teacher rather than a professional linguist” (122). The Comprehensive Freshman English course – Reading, Speaking, and Writing – at the University of Florida (J. Hooper Wise): The course is based on the following assumptions: (1) Every use of language involves, broadly speaking, a social situation; (2) ideas are of prime importance, and teaching the communication arts is fruitless when attempted apart from ideas meaningful to the student; (3) language arts, like other arts, may be mastered only by regular practice; (4) the communication arts are so closely inter-related that progress in one makes progress in each of the others surer and easier-in fact, that they operate in a complementary manner; (5) the most effective approach in the development of the communication arts is through reading (131). The Truth Beaten Down: (Lewis C Smith, Jr.): This is the article that sparked my interest in this issue.  Smith’s article expresses concern with what he calls censorship of literature, and he describes how that censorship takes place in frightening detail.  His tone is rather dramatic, to say the least.  I especially liked how he described the author’s “freedom to conform to the censors’ notion of propriety” (141).  He also calls it “the wardship of the overseeing fist,” which is a term I enjoyed immensely.  I do like a good bit of rebellion, though I imagine this did not go over well outside the discipline at the time.  Given the subject of the article, the unhidden outrage within, and where and when it published, we can learn quite a bit about just how central these discussions of freedom were to those teaching in the composition classroom in 1953. ADDITIONAL TITLES: Dictation – A Device for Testing and Teaching Spelling (Agnes Coulton) and Help for the Foreign Student (Sumner Ives)


This issue of CCC is the last issue of the journal’s third year.  This issues are growing in size and in the number of articles published.  While there are a number of significant events occurring in 1953, the first few that come up in my searches are the death of Stalin, the end of the Korean War, and the awarding of the Pulitzer prize for Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

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