English 496: Literary Criticism
 Dr. Morillo
Spring 2013

First Paper Assignment

Paper Due Monday, January 28 at the start of class

Length: no shorter than one and no longer than 2 full pages double-space typed/computer printed. No fonts smaller than 10 pt. or larger than 12 pt.

Margins: standard: top and bottom margins = 1” left and right margins = 1.25”

Citation: If you quote directly you must cite your source. Since we all have the same text simply put it parenthetically as (Aristotle, page).


Summarize the argument of the Poetics. This necessarily requires some selection and decision on your part about what is most important to the argument. For example, although Aristotle spends several chapters on linguistic issues about Greek, you must weigh the relative importance of such matters in the whole treatise. Rather like Aristotle’s own quest for the soul of tragedy, your task is to try to capture the ‘soul’ of his argument, its vital essence, or at least those parts most critical to it. Whenever you have to read difficult and detailed material like this, as is often the case when reading theory, the first step to being able to use it and be critical about it is to be clear about what it says. That is the skill of summary you will practice in this assignment. Remember, you job is not to editorialize but instead to summarize.