English 298a, 298j K. Benston
S. Finley
TTH 10 -11:30 HU III



English Junior Seminar I

This course is a two-semester, year-long Seminar that includes a tutorial component, and is required of all Junior English majors.

Through readings, class discussion, written assignments, and tutorials, students will become familiar with 1) a series of texts selected to represent a range and variety of English language poetry and fiction and with 2) examples of critical writing selected to represent current critical theory and practice as it has been influenced by linguistics, hermeneutics, history, sociology, psychology and the study of cultural representation, and as it reflects the concerns and methods of traditional literary criticism. Thus Junior Seminar aims to cultivate in the student some sense of the variety of English literature and its criticism, and to introduce the student to the activity of criticism as it interacts with literature and as it participates in the more general intellectual life of our time. This active criticism will lead students to grasp both the nature of literary convention and tradition and the perspectives that "open up" the canon to a richer diversity of voices and expressive forms.

Sections will follow the same syllabus, meeting together occasionally for joint sessions. For the most part, the two sections will function as independent seminars, with each instructor responsible for a single seminar.

Students will be required to write three papers (5-7 pages) during the first term, with revisions in response to the critique each paper will receive in tutorial sessions. Additionally, they will participate in an oral exam jointly administered by the instructors teaching both sections of the course. The second half includes two longer papers (8-10 pages), and concludes with a comprehensive final examination that covers both semesters of the course. Regular attendance in both discussion and tutorial is required, and students are urged to prepare rigorously for class.

Readings:
The first term is devoted to poetry, poetics, and practical criticism, and includes examples of Renaissance lyrics by Shakespeare, Donne, and Marvell; selected British Romantic poetry from Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats; nineteenth-century American poems by Whitman and Dickinson; and post-Romantic poetry by Yeats, Stevens, and Walcott; the second term focuses on narrative and its theorization and criticism, and readings include George Eliot’s Middlemarch, stories by Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe, and James Joyce’s Ulysses.