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What determines meaning? How we interpret is inevitably inflected by our own priorities and preoccupations, by the contexts in which we read, by literary and other conventions, and by the historical and personal circumstances of a work’s composition, as well as deriving from the particular words of a text and from the mutable life of language itself. So how to go about the task of reading literature well, and reading critically? This course will focus on key introductory methods and critical approaches, and is intended to develop your skills in reading, writing about, discussing and interpreting literary texts. Our readings–mainly short fiction and poetry, along with selected introductory work in critical theory–will invite increased self-consciousness about literary form, the functions of criticism, and the process of reading and interpretation. In the last weeks of the course, we will read longer texts, including at least one play and one novel.
Format: seminar; Our class meetings will be conducted remotely, but with the seminar group regularly broken into small discussion sections. As the semester progresses, I will consider moving to in-person teaching for the discussion sections as conditions on campus clarify.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Three papers rising from 3-6 pages, discussion board postings, and contribution to class discussions.
First-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course
Three papers, rising from 3 pages for the first, to 6 pages for the last. Postings on Glow discussion boards for all class meetings. Extensive written feedback on longer papers, plus the option of revision.