ENGL301 - Critical Methods in the Study of Literature

This course focuses on the research methods, writing skills, and critical vocabularies necessary for the study of literature. What kinds of questions motivate research on a specific writer, text, or historical period? How have these questions changed over time? How do different critical approaches to literature produce different ideas about its social value, meaning, and use? In addition to providing a historical survey of various schools of literary criticism (e.g. new criticism, feminism, critical race theory), as well as some of the influential theories that have shaped the study of literature (e.g. psychoanalysis, Marxism, deconstruction, “post-structuralism”), this course will focus on the close analysis of literary texts. Students will read several poems, a few short stories, and one novel - alongside a selection of critical essays that have been produced in response to them - in order gain a sense of the range of questions, connections, and debates occasioned by literary study.  Writing assignments will include several short essays and a final research paper.