Intro. English Studies

This course is about ways to read, which means
that it is about the different ideas people have about how meaning comes about,
how literature works, why people tell stories, what makes one work of art
better than another, and what difference any of these things makes.

We will
read a number of essays on the interpretation and analysis of literary and
cultural artifacts, and students will be introduced to a variety of theoretical
approaches to culture and to literary interpretation. The goal is to get a
clear sense of what kinds of questions the various approaches help you to ask,
to practice asking them, and to keep talking to one another about the process
of interpretation as we go through it.


  • attendance and participation
  • five short papers
  • a final exam

Texts may include:

  • essays by Aristotle, Louis
    Althusser, Cristina Bacchilega, Roland Barthes, Sigmund Freud, Teresa de
    Lauretis, Claude Levi-Strauss, Epeli Hauofa, Laura Mulvey, Oscar Wilde,
    and others
  • poems and short stories by Mme.
    Prince de Beaumont, Angela Carter, Emily Dickinson, Arthur Conan Doyle,
    Jakob and
    Wilhelm Grimm, John Keats, Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, Darrell Lum,
    Charles Perrault, Edgar Allan Poe, Wallace Stevens, Albert Wendt, William
    Carlos Williams, William Wordsworth, and others
  • a film, Alfred Hitchcock, dir. Rear
  • a play, Sophocles,
    Oedipus the King