Authors, Readers, and Texts (MLI305)

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 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


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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.

Learning outcome


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

General competence

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.

Recommended prerequisites

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 Weight Duration Marks Aid
Hjemmeeksamen 1/1 7 Days Letter grades

Format: Short essay(s). Total words: ~ 4000 words (±10%)
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.).

Coursework requirements

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), (~ 2400-3600 words for each).

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.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Eric Dean Rasmussen

Study Adviser:

Signe Ekenberg

Course coordinator:

Eric Dean Rasmussen

Method of work

Weekly seminar. Discussion-driven lecture and seminars (on-campus and online) with regular in-class exercises and assignments, peer-to-peer and group work, and informal presentations.

Students are expected to:

  1. Spend at least 19 hours per week on the course (approximately 16 out-of-class hours preparing for each 3-hour long seminar).
  2. Attend every seminar, unless health reasons and/or an emergency make attendance impossible. Register any absences in the current Course Management System (CMS), Canvas.
  3. Do the required reading before each seminar, keep up with weekly exercises on the syllabus, and come prepared, with annotated texts, to discuss the materials.
  4. Contribute to seminar discussions, both verbally and in writing, and participate in course exercises, both during the seminar meeting and online in the CMS (Canvas).
  5. Make use of online resources accessed via the CMS (Canvas).
  6. Check the CMS (Canvas) and UiS student email daily for updates and information.

Limited number of places

When you sign up on StudentWeb, you will see whether or not the course has already been filled.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Literacy from a Reception Perspective (MLI110_1) 15
Texts and Readers (MLI300_1) 10

Open for

Advanced teacher education for levels 8-13 English and Literacy Studies - Master's Degree Programme
Exchange Students at Faculty of Arts and Education

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union 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 subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto