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 A&H 136 - Introduction to Literary Studies


​The course is an introduction into practical criticism and literary interpretation. It explores some basic issues of literary study, starting from the questions: What is literature, and: Why does it make sense to read and study it? The course provides students with basic knowledge of formal properties of literary text and makes them aware of a constructed character of literature.

Course schedule follows the classic Aristotelian division into three major genres (here represented by short fiction, poetry and drama), being supplemented by the contemporary creative non-fiction. One of final topics discussed is major differences between verbal and visual narration.

Considerable attention will be paid to students’ writing and presentation skills. Students analyse texts and write both short critical paragraphs and longer essays on aspects of literary analysis, and learn to use primary and secondary sources to support their argumentation. In this way they also learn in practice to apply MLA conventions for documenting sources.

Students are encouraged not only to actively participate in the class and articulate their personal reactions to literary texts but also to refine their initial responses applying particular formal categories and confronting various critical voices in secondary sources.

Knowledge acquired in the course qualifies students to pursue literary study at higher levels at UCR.  


Dr. Ewa Tak-Ignaczak​



Required for

This course is an alternative requirement for the following courses:

  • A&H 237 Life and Travel Writing
  • A&H 336 Critical Perspectives on Literary Meaning
  • A&H 337 Film and Text
  • SSC 334 Advanced Cultural Studies