First Paper Assignment.
Due Friday, February 3, at my office, Tompkins 270
4-6 pages, double-spaced
typed/printed text.Standard margins (top & bottom 1" margins; right and
left 1.25" margins). If you have any other format questions, ask me.
Choose any of the poems from the start of the syllabus through Dryden's
"Mackflecknoe." Select no more than one stanza or verse paragraph
you judge most interesting and relevant to understanding the whole
poem, and do a
close reading of those selected lines. Consider the nuances of
prosody, allusions, metaphors, metre, rhyme, anything that you feel is
most relevant to discuss and necessary to interpret to read your chosen
lines in relation to the whole poem well.
This assignment calls upon you to practice your skills in close-
reading, but you may bring in other opinions from the reserve list or
beyond as long as you footnote any sources,explicate the passage or
sufficiently in your own terms, and keep other opinions subordinate to
your own.You do not, however, have to consult any text beyond your
chosen paragraph or part of a poem. You will no doubt make sense of the
selection you choose in relation to the whole work from which it comes,
but stay as focused as possible on the details of language within, not
beyond, your chosen selection. Even though close-reading skills are
sometimes associated with New Critical attitudes, you are not obliged
find some ideal of harmony or unity between your passage as microcosm
and the whole text, or author?s oeuvre, as macrocosm. You may wish to
work out a passage that instead reveals some interesting disruption of
structure, complication of apparent theme or moral, or contradiction
between apparent authorial intent and textual meaning as you understand
If you pick a passage or poem that we have discussed in some
detail in class you are obliged to bring out something personal and
original in your reading.
Feel free to discuss your developing ideas with me.
Return to English 562 Syllabus