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ENGL1038 - The Practice of Criticism
Instructor(s)
Semester
2021-2022 First Semester
Credits
6.00
Contact Hours per week
3
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Time
Friday , 9:30 am - 12:20 pm , CPD-2.14
Prerequisite
A minimum Level 5 in English Language HKDSE exam, or an equivalent score in another recognized English proficiency test.

Criticism is arguably one of the main actions that we do in literary studies. Literary criticism is an active, fruitful way of producing knowledge through our close reading and careful interpretation of a choice of literary text(s). Students will be introduced to different topics, approaches, and schools of modern literary criticism, as a survey of various ways in which to address what is literary criticism as well as how to put it into practice.

Two novels – each of which can be read as dystopian, or in a broader sense speculative, fiction – will set the theme for this course on the practice of criticism. They are Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and José Saramago’s Blindness (translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero, 1997). We will read and discuss excerpts from these works alongside a corpus of critical reading materials throughout the course.

In preparation for the first meeting, you may want to ask yourselves the following questions as food for thought: why do we study literature? How do you understand the terms “reading” and “interpretation”? Are they perfectly synonymous? What do you anticipate that we do in literary studies in university?

 

Topics

Topics include but are not limited to formalism, reader response, deconstruction, utopia and dystopia, body and state, gender and feminism.

 

Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to equip students with the language of criticism, the history and backgrounds of different approaches and schools of criticism. Specifically, students will learn to appreciate the importance of criticism in the study of literature, how to construct a promising thesis in a critical paper, as well as different ways to develop their own critical enquiries.

Such skills of independent, critical thinking are not supposed to be confined to literary studies, but transferable to other academic disciplines as well as beyond academia. After this course, students should be confident in reflecting critically and philosophically on various topics and issues.

 

Organisation

The course consists of three contact hours per week (Friday 9:30 am - 12:20 pm). Each session will be divided into two parts, a first two-hour lecture plus a one-hour tutorial.

You will be assigned to either of the two tutorial groups, each of which will attend the biweekly tutorial every other week. During the tutorials, we will have guided discussions in response to specific questions related to the critical readings we study in class, in some cases with reference to the literary excerpts from the selected novels.

Students will also learn about the format and expectations of an in-class critical debate that will take place during the last or the second last tutorial.

 

Assessment

Assessment will be continuous and based 100% on coursework.

In-class discussion, tutorial participation and debate

50%

Critical paper

50%

 

Texts

A course pack of reading materials will be available on course Moodle page shortly before the beginning of the first meeting. This course pack includes both critical readings (our main focus each week) as well as a handful of excerpts from the following two novels, of which you are encouraged to obtain a copy – any edition as long as it is unabridged version is fine):

Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale (1985).

José Saramago. Blindness (1997).


Instructor(s)
Semester
2021-2022 First Semester
Credits
6.00
Contact Hours per week
3
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Time
Friday , 9:30 am - 12:20 pm , CPD-2.14
Prerequisite
A minimum Level 5 in English Language HKDSE exam, or an equivalent score in another recognized English proficiency test.