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398 Secondary Criticism Assignment (SCA)

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 5 years, 9 months ago

 

ENG 398 -- Secondary Critical Assignment (SCA)

 

Along with our readings of primary texts in literary theory, we are reading 6 “secondary” critical articles that focus on Measure for Measure.  Each engages one of our theoretical perspectives, though in a couple cases this is more implicit than explicit.  You’ll need to work a little bit to make connections between the critical reading of Shakepeare’s play and the theory text.  This is, in fact, how most criticism works, and shows how critics use the terms and ideas of a theory to do their own work in interpreting a literary text.

 

You will need to pass in 4 SCAs over the course of the semester.  There are 5 opportunities.

 

  • Mon 3/9 (Hunt, Elegy 19)
  • Wed 3/25 (Ford, Deconstruction)
  • Wed 4/8 (Feminism)
  • Wed 4/15 (Historicism)
  • Wed 4/22 (Post Colonialism)

 

It would probably be easiest to pair your SCA with a Theory Assignment (TA), due the prior class.  Doing the work of explicating the terms and ideas of a TA would prepare you to use those concepts in understanding the particular approach to a Donne poem involved in your SCA.  But I’m not requiring you to pair them if you wish not to.

 

 

The Assignment:  While each TA is unique to the theory text we read that week, the SCA is “generic.”  That is, the following single set of guidelines will apply to each of the 6 SCAs:

 

1.  Read the article slowly, carefully, and attentively.  Try to mark up the margins: indicate phrases and sentences that makeup the essay's overall argument.  You will probably have multiple places marked this way, and they may appear throughout the article.  Try to break the article into 2-3-paragraph sections, and indicate what the subject or purpose of each is.  Mark any close readings of Milton's language that are particularly important to the article's main argument.

 

2.  Provide an entry for the article as it would appear in an MLA Works Cited list.

 

3.  Summarize the author’s claim.  This will take you several sentences, probably a paragraph, and must address 2 points: what the author is arguing, and why he or she is arguing it (what are the “stakes,” the interest to a general reader, the “so what”?).  This is hard.  Professional criticism often depends on familiarity with the subject, and scholars (alas) don't always offer their arguments early.  You will need to read the entire article before you can complete this part.

 

4.  Choose 2-3 terms or concepts from the theory covered in the previous class that are somehow relevant to the critical article you’re working with.  These may appear on the theory’s TA, or they may be terms/concepts that I did not identify but that you find are important to the article.  For each,

 

  • a.  Give a definition.  If you quote from Parker or the theory text, please also explain the quotation in your own words.
  • b.  Give a one-paragraph explanation of how the author of your article is using that concept.  You may find that he or she uses it in a way that differs from how it was presented previously in your reading or discussion of the theory.  That’s ok, and fairly common.  Identifying what critics do with theoretical concepts is largely the idea of this exercise.  For this part, you must cite at lease one piece of evidence from the article (a quotation from or your paraphrase of the critic) to support your view.

 

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