Methods of Cultural Criticism
A team-taught seminar, this course focuses on the elements that constitute a strong writing style and on how writers concerned with political and cultural issues deploy various rhetorical techniques in order to entertain and outrage, provoke and inspire. A part of the class, consisting of a close evaluation of student essays in cultural criticism, will be under the direction of Ms. Monroe, during which students will read key texts by a variety of cultural critics, including Matthew Arnold, Mark Twain, W.E.B. DuBois, H.L. Mencken, George Orwell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Lionel Trilling, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Joan Didion, and Edward Said. In the sessions that he will lead, Mr. Hitchens will analyze several exemplary cultural critics and discuss his own experience as a public intellectual. Our goal is to understand better how cultural critics make specific literary choices in order to elicit a political and cultural response from their readers.