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Spring 2017-2018
ENG 550   No Pass/D/Fail

The Romantic Period - Close Reading and the New Criticism(s) in the Long 20th Century

Susan J. Wolfson

For at least 75 years close-reading for literary effects and formations, and the mid-century "New Criticism" that propelled this practice, are still influential in criticism, theory, pedagogy. Yet this tradition is known mostly 2d or 3rd hand, often by slander and parody. Why and how is close reading important? We study some of the landmarks. You may involve your own field/critical/pedagogical/ theoretical concerns. Weekly responses postings; formal essays (2 midsize or one termsize) developed from your own interests; these may involve including critically reflective close readings.

Sample reading list:
William Empson, selections, The Structure of Complex Words
Cleanth Brooks, The Well Wrought Urn
S. Gilbert and S. Gubar, selections, The Mad Woman in the Attic
S. Greenblatt, selections, Renaissance Self-Fashioning
P. de Man, selections, Blindness and Insight
Terry Eagleton, How to Read a Poem

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in Lieu of Mid Term - 25%
Paper in lieu of Final - 50%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%

Other Requirements:
Open to Graduate Students Only.

Other information:
Theory, critical histories, & critical practices. While my own reservoir is stocked with Shakespeare, Milton, Yeats, & Romantic-era texts in all genres, everything from you is welcome! In addition to the sample list above, there will be more Empson (Milton's God, Seven Types of Ambiguity), Wm Wimsatt (Verbal Icon), B. Johnson, me, G. Stewart, & late developments (mere-/surface-/distant-reading, critique of critique. Critical texts will also be subjects for close-reading.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42014 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm W        Enrolled:0 Limit:15