ENGL301 - Critical Methods in the Study of Literature

This class begins with a basic question: What do literary critics do? English 301 will introduce you to key issues that lie at the heart of literary studies. We will focus on three distinct, albeit interrelated questions. First, we will examine the notion of literary value. How do we assign value to literary objects? Should we distinguish between “good” literature and “bad” literature? Does such a distinction exist? Do we agree with Oscar Wilde’s claim that “Books are well written, or badly written. That is all?”  Second, we will focus on the interpretive strategies through which we assign value to literary and non-literary objects. We will focus on formal strategies, contextual paradigms, and political criticism. Finally, we will navigate between studies of literary texts and cultural objects, exploring how formal strategies of reading help us to interpret culture and how, in turn, interpreting culture provides us with new methods for examining literature.


For English or English Education Majors, or English Minors.