English H195A

Honors Course

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2014 Snyder, Katherine
TTh 3:30-5 305 Wheeler

Book List

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers; Booth, Wayne: The Craft of Research; Eagleton, Terry: How to Read a Poem; Richter, David: Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature

Other Readings and Media

Most of our readings will be available on bSpace in PDF format or collected in a photocopied course reader. Please attend the first class meeting before purchasing books for the course.


This course will guide and accompany you as you undertake the capstone project of your English major: a Heartbreaking (40-60 pages!) Honors Thesis of Staggering Genius. The fall semester will serve as an introduction to literary theory and criticism, beginning with an overview of the origins of English literature as an academic discipline, the rise of the New Criticism, the poststructuralist turn, the burgeoning of ideology-focused and identity-based critique, and the more recent (re)turns to affect, aesthetics, and ethics in contemporary critical studies. We will consider several literary texts—some poetry, a bit of short fiction, a novel, and a film and/or play—in context of their publication history and critical reception, as a way to explore what literary criticism is and what it can do.

At the same time, you will be actively engaged in the preliminary stages of your thesis project: establishing a research topic, preparing an annotated bibliography of secondary materials, performing an initial analytical close reading of your primary text, and writing and presenting a 6-8 page thesis proposal. In the spring, students will meet regularly with me in individual conferences, and also together in small writing groups, to discuss their work in progress; we will also have several full group meetings to discuss finer points of critical writing including introductions and conclusions, footnotes, and abstracts. 

Students who satisfactorily complete H195A-B (the Honors Course) will satisfy the Research Seminar requirement for the English major. (More details about H195A prerequisites, how and when students will be informed of the results of their applications, etc., are in the paragraph about the Honors Course on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes.)

To be considered for admission to this course, you will need to electronically apply by:

• Clicking on the link below and filling out the application you will find there, bearing in mind that you will also need to attach:

• a PDF of your college transcript(s),

• a PDF of your spring 2014 schedule, and

• a PDF (or Word document) of a critical paper that you wrote for another class (the length of this paper not being as important as its quality).

• a PDF (or Word document) of a personal statement, including why you are interested in taking this course and indicating your academic interest and, if possible, the topic or area you are thinking of addressing in your honors thesis.

The deadline for completing this application process is 4 P.M., FRIDAY, May 2 (which is later than the original deadline).

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