ENGL 221 Spring 2015 Reading the Signs (W)

How have American authors imagined the activity of interpretation? What counts as a sign, and how do you know if you're reading it accurately? Getting the message, or knowing if there is a message at all, can be a tricky business. This course will consider a wide range of texts that make scrutiny their central action: Jonathan Edwards and Thoreau reading the landscape for signals of cosmic meaning; Poe and Henry James piling up clues in their detective and ghost stories; Nat Turner and Melville dramatizing communication across the color line; Faulkner patching together history in Absalom, Absalom!; Pynchon detailing the quest to find hidden order in The Crying of Lot 49. These texts about interpretation have, in turn, spurred literary scholars to their own interpretive efforts. So along the way we will sample a range of approaches to decoding, unpacking, and otherwise making meaning from texts, and become more self-conscious of our own methods and choices as readers and critics.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: essays (4 or 5) totaling about 20 pages
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preference: sophomores and first-year students who have not yet taken an ENGL Gateway course
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Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division I, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3570
ENGL 221 - 01 (S) SEM Reading the Signs (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Ashley C. Barnes
TR 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Sawyer 501 3570
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