Introduction to Literary Studies
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NLIT 2001
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
- Liberal Arts
This course is designed to render the study of literary classics challenging, yet accessible-and even entertaining. We concentrate on British and American literature, from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, traversing a variety of genres: the narrative poem, novel, and drama. The class opens with Shakespeare's tragic King Lear before turning to Swift's biting Augustan satire, A Modest Proposal. We proceed to explore the flowering of English Romanticism, from William Blake's seemingly iconoclastic illuminated poetry to Austen's ever popular Pride and Prejudice. After concluding our unit on British literature with Wilde's witty comedy of manners, The Importance of being Earnest, we venture across the Atlantic to examine Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables, excerpts from Walt Whitman's epic Leaves of Grass, and Zora Neale Hurston's poignant Their Eyes were Watching God. Special attention will be paid not only to the analysis of narrative strategies (e.g., plot structure, characterization, imagery, theme, setting, style, and tone) but also the practice of literary criticism.