ENG 299: Writing About Literature

Dr. Bankert 3 credits

          English 299 is a gateway course to the English major. It is a rigorous introduction to disciplinary research and writing and to the skills and methods requisite to those activities. More generally, it is designed to help students understand what it is that the major offers and what we expect students to do in and with it. This semester we will address three basic questions: (1) how the texts we read are created, transmitted, and received; (2) how we respond to, understand, and write about those texts; and (3) why we do what we do with texts and what value these activities provide and what functions they serve both inside and outside of the academy. The skills you learn will be applied on your own in other classes or in a variety of future careers since they translate very effectively into the work world.

          Texts will include guides to research, citation, and literary theory. We will apply the research and theoretical methods to short fiction, a novel, and poetry, spending approximately five weeks on each. Students will learn how to read from a variety of critical perspectives and how to enrich those readings by exploring the textual, historical, and cultural contexts of the works. Please contact me for information about specific readings.

          Students must purchase the exact editions listed below; Ebook versions are not acceptable for this course:

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. MLA, 2009. ISBN-10: 1603290249.
Parker, Robert. How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies. 2d ed. Oxford UP, 2011.
          ISBN-10: 019975750X or ISBN-13: 978-0199757503
Baker, Nancy L. and Nancy Huling. A Research Guide for Undergraduate Students. 6th ed. MLA, 2007.
          ISBN 0780873529242.
Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas, ed. Gwyn Jones. Oxford World Classic, 1999. ISBN 10: 0192835300
          or 13: 978-0192835307.
LeGuin Ursula, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (short story to be provided).
Selected poems and critical essays (to be provided).

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