Strategies of Reading (2017-18)

Course Description: 

 The course aims to introduce students into various approaches to problems of interpretation of literary texts. Starting from an assumption that theory and methods are closely interrelated in literary studies, the course aims to examine this connection working closely with a number of chosen texts. Students are expected to come with their own examples to be repeatedly used throughout the course in order to demonstrate how different theoretical approaches frame differently critical analyses of the given texts.  The course focuses on close reading as a particular technique of analysis and follows its use within different theoretical frameworks, from New Criticism to Deconstruction to Narratology, and most recently to Calibrations. 

Course Goals

This is methodological rather than theoretical course, so students are expected to participate fully and to contribute to the development of the course with their critical comments and with detailed analyses of their chosen examples. In each class, a significant part is devoted to an exercise in reading where students are expected to examine both possibilities and limitations of the approach in question. Thus they are expected no only to understand the theory behind the method, but also to learn how to apply it, both conceptually and in actual reading and critical practice. 

Learning Outcomes: 

After completing the course students are expected to

-          Understand the theoretical rational behind the method of close reading

-          Understand differences between various application of the method

-          Apply the technique of close reading in their own analyses of various texts

-          Acquire proficiency in using basic critical apparatus of narrative analysis

-          Get the basic knowledge of the theory of the genre and proficiency in applying generic criticism using autobiography as an example

-          Bring into perspective practical problems of queer literary criticism via queer perspective in narratology

-          Get acquainted with the practical problems of queer reading

-          Be able to apply various critical method to all kinds of texts, beyond literary studies


Full participation. Students are expected to discuss the readings in each class, and to apply them to the selected body of readings. At the end of the course they have to write a paper on one of methods discussed in the class.

Participation and discussions in the class: 45%

1 presentation 15%

Paper: 40%