This course will introduce students to the practice of close reading and to the formal study of literary texts. Working with selections of poetry and prose (including texts that have been translated from languages other than English), students will learn to analyze and make arguments according to the disciplinary methods of literary studies.
Primary readings will include texts from a wide range of historical periods, national literatures, and cultural contexts. Secondary readings will include exemplary works of literary criticism and theoretical writings on critical method. In addition to performing close readings of the primary texts, we will discuss theoretical problems of genre, author, closure, and ambiguity, along with the limitations of formal analysis and the text/context binary.
The governing purpose of this course is to teach students to perform in the written genre of literary close reading as it is practiced in a college essay. The writing assignments, which will include revisions and workshopping, will be treated as an integral part of our course of study.