Fall 2019 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Close reading is arguably the most portable and valuable skill that you can develop in the course of studying literature. Yet close reading is nothing exotic; it is only a more carefully controlled deployment of a skill you already practice all the time. We will practice that skill by reading celebrated writers like Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, and by reading less famous authors too. We will also practice more everyday applications of close reading (on photos and pop songs, for instance) as the class progresses. Because of its status as the chief tool in the toolbox of literary scholars, close reading has come in for its share of criticism and appraisal, and we will consider some of the arguments for other ways of reading (including, yes, distant reading). Finally, while close reading can be an end in itself—it makes reading a richer, more complex experience inside your own head—it is a skill meant to help you talk, write, and argue about what texts mean. We will do a lot of all three in this class.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: