Section 3: Monday and Wednesday 3:00-4:15 PM

Professor: Joyce Huff

What are your assumptions when pick up a work of literature? What questions do you ask of it? What expectations do you have? And how do those questions and expectations affect what you get out of the text?

In ENG 230, we will explore these questions and learn more about the wide variety of contexts and frameworks available for making meaning from literary texts. A reader approaching one of Aesop’s fables, for example, might be interested in the moral of the tale, but he or she might also be interested in what codes of ethics and philosophies underlie these morals or how the ancient Greeks perceived and represented animals (often the protagonists of these fables) or how fables differ from other types of narrative or any number of other questions. Which questions you ask of a text determine which methodologies you use to find answers as well as the kinds of answers you reach.

In this course, you will become familiar with different theories of how literature functions as well as different research methods and types of literary conversations. You will practice working with these in order to gain the skill and comfort-level needed to employ them in your own scholarly work. You will also learn effective ways of presenting your own written arguments about literature. Finally, you will be given the opportunity to examine your own basic assumptions about texts, authors and readers and to position your own scholarship within the world of contemporary literary studies.