This course is designed for students in the English major and aims to cultivate in students the practice of reading and writing about literary texts. We will cover the basic concepts and vocabularies of literary criticism, and familiarize ourselves with the central genres of literature—poetry, drama, and the novel—and the specific methods involved in analyzing them. We will ask not just what the meaning of a literary work is, but how meaning is conveyed, and why it is conveyed in such a way. In other words, we will look at the formal elements of a text and the way they interact with, reinforce, or subvert a text’s thematic content. Texts will likely include a selection of poetry, plays by William Shakespeare, Brian Friel, and Tom Stoppard, and novels such as Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions.