Thank you all for posting questions to Alan Pulverness during his plenary session "The Ghost at the Banquet: the use and abuse of literature in the language classroom".

Below you can see the questions and read Alan's answers:

Mikhail Mamaev: Do your students drop the mask of a learner while reading?
Yes, if the text and the task(s) are sufficiently engaging, in general they do - though there are always some instrumentally motivated learners who only ever approach texts with a view to what they can get out of them in terms of strict language learning objectives.

Jane Cohen: Is the ghost at the banquet the poor choice of literary tests that r seen as irrelevant to our learners?
Hmm…maybe it's the elephant in the room! Of course the choice of texts is a crucial element in the success - or lack of success - of the students' reading experience, and the wise teacher will consider very carefully what she knows about her students - their knowledge of the world, their experiences, their interests, their tastes - when choosing the most appropriate texts for them to read.

Shadrova Ekaterina: Do you think the stylistic analysis of a literary text helps to raise learners' awareness of the target language?
I think that stylistic analysis helps to raise learners' awareness of how and why texts have an effect on them as readers. As Henry Widdowson puts it: "I know what I like because I know how it works." Increased language awareness is also a kind of by-product, as learners can make inferences about the normative features of the language through recognising the deviant forms of language in literature.

Suchkhova Svetlana: What's your attitude to graded readers?
I think graded readers are fine when they are specially written, original texts, where the main intention behind them is to tell a good story. I feel much less positive about simplified / abridged readers. John McRae cites the example of a simplified version of Orwell's 1984, where the description on the first page of the streets of London as 'grimy' is changed to 'dirty' - McRae comments that "Literature is the difference between 'dirty' and 'grimy'!

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