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Literary Modes and Genres

ENGL 564
open book with blank page and writing that says "poetry"

Professor: Robert Parker

Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50 pm (English 125)

The Theory and Study of Poetry and Fiction. What does a poem, story, or novel do, and how? Most contemporary practices of criticism and interpretation apply across genres, but critics can also gain from studying how poems, stories, and novels work specifically as poetry or prose fiction. Early in the course, students will acquaint or reacquaint themselves with prosody and narratology. (Previous background in those areas is welcome but not required or presumed.) Readings will include a good deal of sometimes highly technical theory and criticism, addressing strategies and debates in the study of poetry as poetry and the study of narrative fiction as narrative fiction. We will draw on the histories and present practices of both genres rather than on any one time period. In that way the course aims to serve students interested in any and all periods of English-language literary study. Each student will write a series of exercises and design a writing project that connects the material of the course to the student’s interests, usually several short papers or one short and one longer paper about specific poetry, fiction, movements in poetry or fiction, or criticism or theory about poetry or fiction.