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COURSE TITLE: Literary Research: Theory and Methods
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course addresses fundamental issues about the many ways we "read" literature, including questions about its production, interpretation, and reception. Focusing on contemporary theory and research methods, the course will provide students with the necessary literary skills to study literature as a formal discipline at an advanced level. It will also provide students with the ability to understand and integrate literature into their own cultural perspectives and worldviews, especially how the Christian faith both expresses and challenges the important critical debates of the 20th and 21st century.

Prerequisites: ENGL 214, 215
  • Lynn, Steven. Texts and Contexts: Writing about Literature with Critical Theory. 7th ed, Pearson, 2017. (ISBN: 9780321945624)
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Edited by M. K. Joseph, Oxford University Press, 2008. (ISBN: 9780199537167)
Participation 6%
Quizzes 5%
Article Critique (3-4 pages) 15%
Annotated Bibliography 10%
Thesis and Outline 2%
Research Log 2%
Term Paper (8-10 pages) 30%
Final Exam 30%
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Students will . . .
  • become familiarized with the basic schools and language of literary theory
  • learn to identify the theoretical assumptions of literary criticism (which includes students’ own essays)
  • examine theories of reading in a Christian framework
  • be equipped with advanced research methods in preparation for larger essays in senior courses
  • learn to engage critically with secondary literature
  • develop academic essay writing skills
COURSE OUTLINE: Sept. 6 Introduction to Course
Sept. 8-18 Research Methods
Sept. 20 IS Conference (regular classes canceled)
Sept. 22 Research Methods (cont.)
Sept. 25-29 New Criticism (Lynn ch. 3)
Oct. 2-6 Reader-Response Criticism (Lynn ch. 4)
Oct. 9 Thanksgiving (no classes)
Oct. 11-16 Poststructuralist Criticism (Lynn ch. 5)
Oct. 18-23 Psychological Criticism (Lynn ch. 7)
Oct. 25 -27 Historicism (Lynn ch. 6 pp. 145-56, 163-93)
Oct. 30-Nov. 8 Ideological Criticism (Lynn ch. 6 pp. 156-63 and all of ch. 8)
Nov. 10 Fall Break (no classes)
Nov. 13-15 Ecocriticism
Nov. 17-24 Frankenstein
Nov. 27-Dec. 4 Christian Approaches to Literature
Dec. 6-8 Review

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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