"Ways of Reading" introduces students to the characteristics thought of as literary and the methods for studying them. This is a gateway course into the English major, and only one of the ENGL201 series may be taken for credit.
"Ways of Reading" courses develop strategies for careful and close reading, and techniques for the analysis of literary forms such as poetry, drama, and prose narratives such as novels and short stories. They familiarize students with some of the protocols of the literary-critical essay, examine the idea of literature as a social institution, and explore ways of connecting textual details and the world beyond the text. The ways of reading learned in the course are powerful tools for critically assessing discourses that expand far beyond the realm of literature. So while students will become adept literary critics, they also will learn quickly that to be a literary critic is to read critically and carefully all the time: in poems, novels, and plays; but also in political speech, in popular culture, and in the discourses that shape everyday life.
Attending closely to the transformative properties of figurative language and the structuring principles of narrative, in this "Ways of Reading" course we will consider how language creates a life. We will begin with the lyric poetry of 21st-century writers who have also published prose memoirs, and work our way towards the sonnets of Shakespeare.