English 4900 Seminar of Language and Literature, Fall 2020

Critical Approaches Essays

The two critical approach essays are designed to review your understanding of the various systems of interpreting literature. Your essay should interpret the literary text using the questions and tenets of your chosen methodology. Integrate at least one theoretical source (i.e., an article of theory) and two interpretive sources (i.e., scholarly journal articles or book chapters that interprets the primary text). Attach to the paper (but not part of the page range) a 5-10 point list of the critical approach's key tenets for interpreting literature. In addition to submitting the written paper, you will also read the paper and critical approach tenet list to the class in order to get feedback on your paper as well as to broach class discussion of the text.


You may use any of the approaches below to interpret the work of literature; let your professor know of the approach you plan to use one week before the due date. You should not use the same approach in both essays.


Literary Period Project

While the critical approaches essays requires you to review the various ways too interpret literature, the literary period project compels you to review the major literary periods and authors'/texts' place within those periods.

Annotated Bibliography

Literary Period: Research the literary period of your assigned text, and compile 5-7 scholarly journal articles and book chapters that conceptualize, describe, and frame the literary period.


Text and Author: Rresearch the author and text, focusing on how the author and text fit into the literary period, and compile a 3-5-scholarly journal articles and book chapters that situate the literary text and/or author's place within the literary period.


Each annotation of the 10 source annotated bibliography should be approximately 100 words long and answer the following questions:

  1. What question, issue, or topic is the source investigating?
  2. What is the source's thesis or conclusion regarding the work of literature?
  3. How does the source help your understanding of the work of literature?

Annotate scholarly journal articles and scholarly book chapters only; do not use websites, magazines, and other general sources. As a review, here's how to conduct literary research at our university.