ENGL601 - Literary Research and Critical Contexts

This course introduces students to methods and resources for advanced literary research appropriate to the discipline of English studies. The course combines readings on foundational matters in literary studies (the nature of texts, authorship, audiences and readers, lexicography, archives, editorial practices, etc.) with more practical considerations of the book as a material object (in manuscript, print, and electronic forms).  From time to time, we will also consider local issues directly related to students’ critical and professional practice (effective writing, argumentation, and use of evidence) as well as larger concerns related to literary research (what makes a good research question?  why and for whom do we produce literary research?). The class will include tutorials with reference librarians specializing in English studies and with curators of rare books and manuscripts. With guidance from the instructor, students will select a literary work that will be the focus of research for at least part of the semester.   Requirements include regular class participation, in-class presentations, two or three short assignments (e. g. an annotated bibliography; an editorial and/or reception history), and a final, longer paper growing out of the semester’s reading and research.