English H195A

Honors Course

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2016 Langan, Celeste
TTh 2-3:30 247 Dwinelle

Book List

Barthes, R: S/Z; Culler, J: Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction; Muller, J. P.: The Purloined Poe;

Recommended: Leitch, V., et al.: Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism


 In the fall semester, we will consider what makes a research question, problem, or project a significant one. Does it merely involve choosing to study a “significant” writer or text? (And what makes some writers/texts more significant than others?) Or do new issues and objects emerge as significant in response to different historical conjunctures and intellectual agendas?  Together we will read and discuss essays that raise key issues about representation, imagination, communication, interpretation, and critique, undertaking what might be called (after “The Purloined Letter”) “a thorough research of the premises” of literary study.  Individually, students will consult with me to construct bibliographies on specific texts or issues relevant to their own interests, and use these bibliographies to define a compelling, workable thesis topic.  Each student will also participate in a “working group” responsible for designing a week’s syllabus, choosing the texts and leading discussion of them. 

Prospective students should read Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction over the summer. They should also begin to consider a writer or text or issue for research. A useful strategy in this selection might be: what writer or text or subject matter has most challenged or cemented my ideas about what literature is and what happens when it is read?

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 2016 course schedule,

     • 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), and

     • 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 is midnight, FRIDAY, MAY 13.

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