The word “envoi” is a ritual sending-off of someone or something on a mission. Foster directs his envoy to the reader, thanking them for their attention. He admits that How to Read Literature Like a Professor only contains a fraction of the reading techniques that exist in the world, and that what has been included is rather idiosyncratic. However, the book does provide a useful template for exploring other literary devices and reading strategies.
Rather than treating the book like an instruction manual, readers should take inspiration from Foster’s guidelines and use them to discover new practices of deep reading. Although this task might seem overwhelming, note that it would be impossible employ all the reading strategies that exist at once; the task of criticism involves selecting only a few at a time.
On the other hand, the good news is that no one needs to have all the literary tricks and patterns in the world explained to them. Once you’ve mastered some techniques, it becomes easier to pick up new ones, and identify literary devices you haven’t seen before.
The more you read, the easier literary analysis will be—and this is especially true for deep reading. Practice makes perfect.
Finally, Foster stresses that reading should be fun. Although he provides a reading list at the end of the book, he advises the reader to choose books that they themselves enjoy. According to Foster, literary analysis should be “a form of play.”
As Foster has shown, literary analysis should be experimental and creative. Although the conventions and guidelines of the “language of reading” are useful, remember that these rules are made to be broken.