Honors | Literary Interpretation
L202 | 2051 | R. Nash


This course aims at establishing, maintaining, and improving students'
competence (and enjoyment!) in writing interpretations of all types of
literary works: poetry, fiction, or drama. After completing the
course, you should be able to approach confidently almost any literary
work written in English with a basic set of useful skills and tools,
including pertinent questions to address to the text, and a variety of
forms for framing your interpretation: analytical essays,
impressionistic appreciations, contextual studies, and the like. The
appreciation of art (literature, music, films) doesn't necessarily
require written interpretation; but if you're going to major in
English, it does. The course teaches you some ways to do it
successfully. Since this is an Honors section, I will assess students'
initial competence and we will start at whatever level of
sophistication seems appropriate. We'll be using a standard
Introduction to Literature, such as the Norton, plus a writer's manual
of style and usage that you can use throughout your college career.
We'll be alert to extra-curricular opportunities for interpretive
discussion provided by local and university film and drama
productions, and poetry and fiction readings. Most assignments will be
short papers, from one-page responses to 3-5 pp. developed
interpretations. A good deal of our concentration will be on poetry,
since attention to its "language under pressure" is easily
transferrable to longer prose works.