E 314L • Literary Contests and Contexts (Honors)
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
Restricted to Plan I Honors students.
Designed primarily for potential English majors, this course is directed toward developing and honing your critical reading and writing skills. Although our main focus will be on works of fiction, we will be making sidetrips into poetry, drama, film, and non-fiction prose as well. For each work that we study, we will examine its stylistic and aesthetic elements, its literary and historical contexts, and the cultural contests it has inspired and provoked. Secondary criticism will feature various approaches, including Marxist, Feminist, Psychoanalytic, Deconstructionist, and New Historicist.
Initially, the basic skills of close reading will constitute our chief concern. Virginia Woolf's essay "How to Read a Book" will provide us with a point of departure, and then we will look to other critical voices to engage them in dialogue with our own views. The vast holdings of the Humanities Research Center will also serve us well, particularly as we establish biographical and historical contexts for each of our texts. Our use of film adaptation will not be exhaustive but representative (and part of the repertoire from which you will be selecting your first oral report). The second oral report will serve as a spur to the writing of your seminar paper at course end.
Since this is a substantial writing component course, we will devote considerable class and conference time to your papers as they move through several draft stages. We will also address questions of academic discourse and attend to the appropriate research tools to help you support and defend your own arguments effectively.
Two short (4-5 page) papers 20% each
One longer (8-10 page) seminar paper 35%
Two oral reports 10% total
Class participation, in-class writing, attendance 15%
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
M.H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms
Poetry packet--to be determined by class
Drama--one play determined by class vote
Films--adaptations available for all the novels listed above
Secondary criticism--articles to be distributed (for each novel)