Changing Lives Through Literature
University of Notre Dame Press, 1999

Co-editors, Robert Waxler and Jean Trounstine

Changing Lives through Literature depends on the belief that modern literature is the best tool our society has to explore human identity. Through their tireless work in the Massachusetts prison system, co-editors Robert Waxler and Jean Trounstine discovered that a study of modern literature enhances readers’ verbal skills through an engagement with language, opens experience to a multitude of perspectives, enriches our sense of human diversity, and makes us self-reflective and thoughtful.

The stories included in this valuable anthology are written by notable contemporary raconteurs such as T. Coraghessan Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and Raymond Carver, and have been successful in exciting conversation among the “Changing Lives through Literature” groups.

This book will arouse interest in anyone involved in, or moved by, the “Changing Lives through Literature” program. It is truly a valuable gift for alternative learners: criminal offenders in or out of prison, displaced workers, and any reader failed by the traditional educational system.  BUY BOOK .
Click here to see Russell Schutt’s piece about the remarkable effect of CLTLChanging Lives Through Literature: Bibliotherapy and Recidivism Among Probationers
Visit the Changing Lives, Changing Minds blog.                                             
In the photo above, Jean presents at a wonderful conference in England run by Mary Stephenson in 2009.  Mary held a five day conference to explore ways of developing her offshoot of CLTL, called Stories Connect so it would reach a wider audience both locally and nationally throughout Great Britain.
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Praise for CLTL

—This book is the result of work that Waxler and Trounstine have done within the Massachusetts Correctional System….Changing Lives Through Literature, encourages offenders to examine their lives through discussions of literary works. This book contains selections used in the program as well as discussion ideas. In addition, before each section readers will find discussion of the theme (i.e., violence, identity/voice, friendship/love, and family) and explanations of why the particular stories were selected and how they can be used to facilitate discussion. The authors represented include James Dickey, John Steinbeck, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Jack London. An interesting addition to criminal justice, penology, or social welfare collections, this might also work in education collections for teachers who are looking for innovative ways to teach contemporary classics. Danna C. Bell-Russel, Library Journal

 

—Through their work in the Massachusetts prison system, Waxler (English, U. of Massachusetts) and Trounstine (humanities, Middlesex Community College) discovered that a study of modern literature enhances readers’ verbal skills through an engagement with language, opens experience to a multitude of perspectives, enriches our sense of human diversity, and makes us self-reflective and thoughtful. The anthology represents literary works they presented to criminal offenders to help them to see how stories can save us from the chaos of our lives.  Book News, (booknew.com)