English | Literary Interpretation
L202 | 6983 | Rae Greiner
L202 6983 LITERARY INTERPRETATION
PREREQUISITE: Completion of the English Composition requirement.
Open to majors and declared minors only.
2:30p-3:45p TR (25 students) 3 cr. A&H, IW.
TOPIC: “The Trouble With Normal: Problem Novels, Genre Trouble,
and Tics of Form”
This course is designed to introduce students to the English major,
and for that reason our readings will be drawn from a wide range of
literary types: the ballad, lyric poem, dramatic monologue, long
narrative poem, short story, non-fiction essay, play, and novel. In
our efforts to understand how genres are defined—what sorts of
expectations we have of them, what rules apply to their construction—
we’ll also be doing some comparative work, and looking at examples
of things that don’t quite fit, match up, or work out in the usual
ways: the “problem novel” and the “problem play,” the curtal
sonnet, the unreliable narrator, along with plotlessness, strange
cases, and other forms of genre unrest. Readings will be drawn from
several historical periods. Longer works will include Shakespeare’s
Hamlet, Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Collins’s The Woman in White.
The course will require active reading and a lot of writing and
revision. Thus, while the readings will tend to be on the shorter
and more manageable side, your ability to read carefully, both for
comprehension and attention to form, is paramount. Much of our
class time will be spent in discussion, some in writing workshops.
Students will be producing writing every week, much of it graded.
There will be 10 short close readings (2 pages) and two somewhat
longer ones (5 pages each). One of these two five-page papers will
be turned into an 8-10 page (thesis-driven, formal) paper. The
emphasis will be on process, which means that all shorter writing
will be geared toward generating thesis ideas and evidence for the
longer papers. Thus all shorter writing assignments must be turned
in and are considered a major part of the requirement.