Bachelor Basics: Textual Analysis

Part three covers another two-semester module for first-years: Literature 101, aka Textual Analysis 🙂

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Course length: 2 semesters.

Weekly class time: 4 hours (2-hour class and 2-hour lecture).

Assessment: Final exam, two papers, class presentations.

Personal experience: I found this to be both a challenging and rewarding module. It covers a wealth of literature basics, so just like in Linguistics, the amount of content can seem a bit overwhelming sometimes. Thankfully, there’s a bit more hands-on stuff in the class to help you wrap your head around the theoretical concepts. The lectures were pretty intimidating at first, but once I realized that we weren’t expected to remember every single thing that was said and concentrated on understanding the introduced concepts as a whole, I came to enjoy them a lot more.

Favourite part: The lecture about “The Yellow Wallpaper”. As a first-year student, this was probably my first really eye-opening experience of literary symbolism.

Recommendations: This might seem like a very obvious one, but actually read all the texts before the respective class – that way, you’ll get the most out of the sessions. This is not a course where you can afford to fall behind as catching up by yourself is pretty hard. Another general recommendation connected to TA concerns the Reading List module: When you start your studies, the Reading List exam still seems a long way away; however, it makes perfect sense to start putting your list together in your first year, when the literary groundwork you’ll need is still fresh in your mind. Regarding the TA class exam, it’s important to make sure you’re not just able to recite definitions of literary theory, but are also comfortable applying them to random texts. If you have trouble with narratology, look for examples in books you know well – I am fully convinced I only passed that part of the exam because I memorized Genette’s principles by applying them to the “Harry Potter” series 😉

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Next time: Phonetics!

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One response to “Bachelor Basics: Textual Analysis

  1. I was lucky to have Simone Heller-Andrist as an instructor on TA Seminar in 2009 – she brilliantly explained the most difficult theoretical concepts and made them memorable. I agree with the tip for the exam – it’s important to apply theory on the texts, however, time pressure during the exam does not make it easy. What can one do? Try to write in short clear sentences, and think of a logical ending when answering the question (like a conclusion of an essay).

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