An Introduction to Literature

This is a gateway course that conveys the excitement of doing close reading and literary analysis. It also looks at different genres and the interaction between the student and literary text, and the inevitability of multiple meanings and perspectives.

This is the first of the core courses in the English major. The main aim of the course is to convey the excitement of engaging with literature by suggesting that literary analysis does not merely dissect’ a text but provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between reader, text and their respective contexts. The emphasis will be on enabling students to be self-directed learners by developing skills of literary analysis. Students will learn to recognize that literary forms emerge in context and that meanings emerge from readers grounded in a place and time. Students will take the first steps towards an analysis of texts that is informed by a familiarity with literary concepts; this, in turn, will enable them to do a close reading that produces an argument and is supported by textual evidence. Students will engage with genres like fiction, drama, and poetry, and learn about the significance of genre to an understanding of literature. Students will read literary texts drawn from different periods and world regions to produce interpretations that are informed by an awareness of form and genre.