ENGLISH 239 - What is Literature?
Section: 202
Term: SU 2008
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Prerequisite for concentrators in English and Honors English.
Other Course Info:
F, W, Sp, Su.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course will introduce you to literary studies by asking you to think about what we mean when we use the word “literature” in the first place. What is at stake, for instance, in claiming that some writing is “literary” and some just isn’t? Are there specific qualities of “literature” that separate it from other kinds of representation? As we will see, the answers to these questions are by no means clear, even among the most celebrated literary critics. Rather, differing opinions about the status of “literature” help to fuel a wide range of debates among the writers we will be reading and discussing. In particular, our course materials will introduce you not only to some major trends in literary criticism, but to a variety of “metafictional” literary forms—that is, to novels, short stories, poems, and a film that all seem to approach the “What is Literature?” question from within. The goals of this course are: (1) to familiarize you with a literary-critical vocabulary that will strengthen your reading, writing, and speaking skills in university literature courses; (2) to help you think like a literary critic by teaching you to contribute your own perspective to existing critical debates and to reflect on your own writing and reading habits; and (3) to provide you with the tools to carry your new literary-critical perspective beyond the literature classroom.

Requirements include two essays; a final exam; and consistent participation in class discussion.

ENGLISH 239 - What is Literature?
Schedule Listing
201 (REC)
MW 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Note: English 239 will be Permission of Instructor after the first day of class.
202 (REC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 6:00PM
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