Prof. Heather Dubrow will give a graduate seminar at the Fordham Lincoln Center Campus Fall 2016. This course is open to all students in the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium in the New York City Area: Columbia University; Fordham University; Graduate Center, CUNY; New York University; New School for Social Research; Princeton University; Rutgers University; Stony Brook University.
Graduate Seminar: Rereading Close Reading: Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges/ Shakespeare’s Non-dramatic Poetry, Spenser, Donne
We will evaluate both the history of close reading and the renewed interest– and renewed antagonism–revisionist versions of it are sparking today. What was, is, and will be “close reading” in literary studies? In engaging with the early history of this methodology (I.A. Richards, the New Critics, British analogues etc), we will consider how the climate in the academy and the country at large encouraged these approaches and how they interacted with and reacted against alternative methodologies. We will then explore and evaluate the many attempts to develop a type of close reading appropriate to our own critical moment—and the reactions against them by critics like Moretti; we will, for example, discuss the relationship of those attempts to the digital humanities and the implications of close reading for debates about the workings of lyric.
The authors on whom we will focus are Shakespeare (mainly the nondramatic poems, though we will also discuss at least one play), Donne, and Spenser. Students will, however, have the option of writing their final paper on another poet from the early modern period—or from a different period. Other requirements will include a couple of shorter written exercises and participation in a course mini-conference.
As this description suggests, the course is tailored to the needs of both advanced students in early modern literature and those in other fields or at earlier stages of their careers who are seeking an overview of the texts of that era and of critical methodologies and developments. Like all my graduate courses, this seminar will also discuss the challenges of professionalizing, such as transforming a seminar paper into an article and presenting a conference paper as effectively as possible.