ENGL301 - Critical Methods in the Study of Literature

Restriction: Must be in English Language and Literature program; or must be in Secondary Educ: English Language Arts program.

An introduction to the techniques of literary analysis and a brief survey of the most common approaches to literature.

For English majors, this course is the required pre- or co-requisite for all upper level English courses.  What is literature?  Why study it?  Who decides what's great literature and what's not?  In this course you will ask these questions and others central to the study of literature, and you will be introduced to some ways of thinking about and discussing them.  You will find out what "practical criticism" or "close reading" is.  You may learn about psychological approaches to literature and ask questions about how feminism has changed our view of literature.  You may explore the importance of historical or cultural context to our understanding of a text.  You may discuss who determines the text--the reader or the writer?  Different sections of the course will read different texts, but all sections will raise questions about how we interpret poetry, fiction and drama. In addition, all sections will help you extend your reading and writing skills, will require you to use the terms of literary analysis with precision  ("caesura"--what's that?) and will introduce you to what lies ahead for you as an English major.  3-5 short papers will be required; there may also be exams.