Interpretation and critical analysis for literary studies. Authors, Readers, and Texts (ART) is an advanced course designed to develop the student's ability to read, interpret, analyze, and write critically about literary texts (literature, criticism and theory). ART focuses on the interpretive acts that connect authors, readers, and works of literature, with an emphasis on analyzing the relations between a text's form, content, and significance; understanding theories of textual interpretation; and practicing life-enriching modes of critical reading, thinking, and writing.
Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.
This reading-intensive course is designed to strengthen the student's ability to read, interpret, and write critically about literary texts (works of literature, literary criticism, and literary and critical theory) and related cultural artifacts. As the acronym suggests, ART focuses on the dynamic relationship between authors, readers, and texts. We will investigate the relations between a text's form and its function, theories of textual interpretation, and modes of critical reading. Students will develop their critical literacy skills by considering how theoretical ideas, concepts, and approaches in literary studies can be deployed to interpret texts from a variety of literary forms and genres. (NB: Currently, the course focuses primarily on narrative forms.)
To facilitate informed engagement with intellectually serious and formally skillful writing— literary, critical, and theoretical —the ART course requires students to work incrementally throughout the term with a number of texts. Through their structured, systematic, recursive engagement with complex works of literature, literary criticism, and literary and critical theory, students will gradually build up a rich theoretical toolkit of questions and concepts they can use when practicing literary studies, enabling them to become more active, critically minded readers in all areas of their lives.
Students who successfully complete ART will be better prepared to participate, substantively, not only in relevant literary-critical conversations but also in broader discussions about cultural practices that can help humans to live smarter, more meaningful lives in a turbulent, ever-changing world.
The student will gain knowledge of:
the complex and varied relationships between authors, readers, and texts
interpretive approaches and their relevance to literary and cultural studies
reading, thinking, and writing practices conducive to developing one's critical literacy
key theoretical concepts and critical debates in contemporary literary studies
significant literary-critical approaches and methodologies for disciplines across the arts and humanities
By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
deploy theoretical concepts to read, interpret, and write critically about literary texts
understand important concepts, issues, and debates in literary theory and criticism that inform contemporary literature and literary studies
engage with key critical concepts by using them to discuss literary texts critically
analyze a selection of literary texts from relevant theoretical and critical frameworks
make informed choices about literary-critical and analytical approaches that may be useful when planning a Master's thesis on a topic in literary studies
By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
understand factors affecting literacy, reading practices, and the production of intellectually serious and formally skillful writing in diverse contexts
participate in complex academic and professional conversations
analyze and explain complex texts by using relevant modes of critical inquiry to develop relevant interpretive strategies
explain complex ideas both orally and in writing
develop transferable skills for professional life, including critical thinking, problem solving, creative innovation, cultural awareness, and effective communication
Required prerequisite knowledge
Required prerequisite knowledge equivalent for admission to the Master's in English and Literacy Studies. A Bachelor's degree, which includes at least 80 ECTS credits in English language and literature is required. 30 credits of the 80 credits must be at an advanced level.
As an MA seminar in literary criticism and theory, students should have successfully completed several upper-level BA courses in English-language literature and literary studies.
This reading-intensive course presupposes that students have a solid background in literature and literary studies (or closely related specialized courses) that prepared them to engage with intellectually serious and formally skillful works of literature, theory, and criticism.
Form of assessment
• Format: Short essay(s). Total words:4000 words (±10%, excluding bibliography, quotations longer than 100 words)
• Aids: Required and recommended texts from the course syllabus, along with materials specified by the instructors (e.g. the student's incremental writing: notes, annotations, worksheets, etc.).
Two written assignments, Seminars 75% attendance
Attendance at seminars is obligatory (75 %).
Students who are absent from more than 25% of the classes will not be allowed to take the exam.
The student must be present for at least 2/3 of the duration of the individual seminar meeting for attendance to be recorded.
Pass two mandatory written assignments (two worksheets, updated weekly), one for each module (~ 2400-3600 words for each). (Current assignment: Students write brief glosses explaining "pull-quotes," passages they select from the critical texts).
If an assignment is assessed as not approved on the first attempt, students are given one opportunity to submit a revised assignment by a specified deadline.
There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.