L371 1978 SORENSEN
Introduction to Criticism

9:30a-10:45a TR (30) 3 cr.


In this course we shall familiarize ourselves with a range of current critical approaches to literature and culture and develop a shared vocabulary of critical terms to enrich and complicate our understanding of "texts." Much of our work will involve defining and articulating relationships between social worlds, printed texts, languages, and distinct readerships, and ways in which these have changed over time. As we read a selection of essays on literary theory in general and critical works on particular literary and cultural productions, we shall begin to identify the motives and stakes involved in critical work. We'll discuss and debate the terrain various critical approaches open up in our readings of texts, and we'll have the opportunity to try our hand at several approaches. The texts which we'll read have not been finalized, but might include writings of Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, and Ngugi Wa Thiong'o.

Students will be asked to write two short papers (5-6 pages in length), one long paper (8 pages in length), present on a critical concept, prepare descriptions of critical terms we encounter, and participate fully in discussion.