This course is based upon the notion that reading is a skill. Fortunately, it's a skill we all have and all use every day, but this class will attempt to develop those skills systematically in a context specific to the discipline of literary study. Our reading method will emphasize an attention to detail in literary texts, and the assembly of those details into coherent and original arguments. This will entail a considerable amount of discussion and writing, but the primary focus of the class will be acquiring a deliberate method for getting the most out of the works we read.
There will be many short writing assignments, at least two short papers (4-5 pages), and one longer final paper (10 pages). Texts will not focus on a specific period or genre, but will draw heavily from works of the twentieth century. They may include Dubliners by James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts, plays and fiction by Samuel Beckett, and short stories by David Foster Wallace and Lorrie Moore.