Building Textual Interpretation

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Our first 501 course meets this evening, and I’m eager to get a sense of my student’s experience with literature, literary history, literary research, and literary analysis. I’ve asked everyone to read an essay from Falling into Theory on the history of the discipline, as well as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and a few other bits and bobs, including a fascinating and frightening documentary on the Belgian Congo.

We should have quite a bit to discuss, and I don’t want to over schedule the class, so I think we’ll start off by considering the history of the discipline–that should make for a good self-reflexive conversation about the class and its goals. I think a good segue from that into literary analysis will be the introduction to Conrad’s novella–it goes into some depth regarding the “Conrad Controversy,” voices of which we’ll be engaging later.

After the break, I want to model some of the technologies of analysis, like ManyEyes (perhaps also introduce them to a few other tools we’ll be learning over the term–Zotero, Omeka, and more), as a springboard for a discussion of the text and methods of approaching it. We will have to go over the literary terms assignment for next class, so I’ll model my illustration of irony.  And of course: signing up for food/drink!

Finally, homework for next class, The Craft of Research, and things to look forward to in the next 14 weeks!

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