English 380: Intro to Literary Studies: Encounter

This course is an intensive introduction to the knowledge and skills required for reading closely and writing convincingly about literary texts. We will primarily be reading short but challenging works from a variety of time periods and contexts. Loosely linking these works will be the theme of “encounter,” and we’ll look how literary writers have variously staged ethically and erotically charged meetings with the exotic, the foreign, and the unknown. We’ll read selectively in early modern, romantic, and modern poetry, and selections of fiction and drama will likely include work by William Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, Nella Larsen, J. M. Coetzee, Arundhati Roy, and/or David Henry Hwang. Assignments to include frequent short responses and close readings, a midterm exam on basic terminology, and a series of focused essay assignments.