Literary Afterlives

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Image credit: mrschnips at Flickr

The course is based on the premise that literature does not emerge in a vacuum but rather as a response to literary, cultural and historical contexts. As Roland Barthes claims in “The Death of the Author”: “. . . a text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the message of the Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.” Designed for English majors, this course develops and hones critical reading, writing and research skills through studies of the afterlives of literature that inspired works in different spaces and at later times. Through this study of intertextuality, students will consider the historical and geographical context in which these re-writings appear in order to better analyze how they re-imagine the source text to comment on their own time and space.

After this course, students will have gained the following:

  • Familiarity with terms and concepts necessary for the academic discussion of literary
  • texts from different genres
  • Familiarity with several contemporary critical methods for reading and interpreting
  • literature and awareness of the theoretical implications of differing critical perspectives
  • Familiarity with the modes and conventions used in scholarly writing about literature
  • Ability to use the electronic and print resources of the library and the Internet to conduct scholarly research
  • Improved writing skills through multiple opportunities to write, receive editorial feedback from the instructor on their writing, and respond to this feedback by revising their written work. 

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