Comp Lit 083s: How to Read

At first this course will seem to be a course about poetry, but it is in truth a course about reading. Poetry will be our first vehicle for this learning, and we will spend ten weeks looking at poems and thinking about ways to read them. We will discuss meter and rhyme; we will learn how to scan a poem; we will articulate differences in tone or color produced by enjambment, caesura, verse form, subject, history. Following the midterm, we will read a short story and a novel in order to extend, via metaphor or translation, the reading of poetry to other things: we will move from “reading poetry” to simply “reading”—the work of the profession of English literature, the basic building block of all literary analysis. We thus begin by reading and end by reading, and reading will—if we let it—make us readers.

Download the syllabus.

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