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Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960

Series: Studies in Writing and Rhetoric
Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press / CCCC & NCTE
xi, 171 p.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8093-2924-3 (Paperback); ISBN-10: 0-8093-2924-7 (Paperback)

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Author Information

Kelly Ritter  is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, where she directs the first-year composition program and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in composition studies.  Her essays and articles have appeared in College Composition and Communication, College English, Composition Studies, JAC, Pedagogy, Rhetoric Review, and WPA: Writing Program Administration.  She is also the coeditor (with Stephanie Vanderslice) of Can It Really Be Taught? Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy.

Visit Kelly Ritter’s website.


Basic writing; basic writers; history of composition; ability testing; first-year writing; archival research; placement; literacy; remediation; Mina Shaughnessy; Yale University; Harvard University; Ivy League institutions


Reviewed by Gregory R. Glau in WPA: Writing Program Administration 33.1/2 (Fall/Winter 2009) (PDF format)

Reviewed by The CEA Forum 38.2 (2009)

Reviewed by Composition Forum 22 (2010)


Review forthcoming in TETYC: Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and JAC.

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