In this first five-week unit of the yearlong course in methods and professions, we will study the critical practice that dominated literary criticism in the United States from the 1950s through the 1990s: close reading. Beginning with poetry, and using giants as our guides, we will learn the basic language of the critical analysis of poetic form, including scansion. Moving beyond poetry, we will develop vocabularies of formal and informal interpretation that touch on genre, mode, medium, and other major categories of aesthetic emergence. We will close with narrative and cultural analysis.
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