English 563 Eighteenth-Century British Novel Spring 2012
Dr. Morillo

First Paper: Due Friday, Feb. 17 at noon, in the folder on my door, Tompkins 270
4-6 pages of interpretation. The first page will be a verbatim reprint of the complete chosen passage, single-spaced and is not part of the 4-6pp total. 
Single-space the verbatim passage; double-space your interpretation.

The assignment helps you practice your skills in close-reading, the foundational skill for all successful literary scholarship.  Even though close-reading skills grew out of the New Criticism, you are not obliged to find their ideals of harmony or unity in your reading. You may wish to work out a passage that instead reveals some interesting disruption of structure, complication of apparent theme or moral, or contradiction (logical, ideological, etc.) between apparent authorial intent and textual meaning as you understand it.

This paper will be on your choice of one of the first three works, Balzing World, Robinson Crusoe, or Love in Excess.  Choose a brief passage or scene (no longer than several paragraphs) that best captures any critical problem or issue you consider especially relevant to interpreting the whole novel in which the passage appears.

Consider the language of your chosen passage in as much detail as possible, and then write a brief essay explaining what problem or issue is at stake, and how the particular details of language in the passage work to make the passage significant and noteworthy. This will help you to learn to read prose fiction with the close-reading care (and slow pace) sometimes relegated to studies of lyric poetry. Pay particular attention to the sentence-level detail of image, tone, syntax, diction etc. Focus on what is actually in the passage itself, especially what is most interesting in it.

For the chosen passage, you need give only page numbers, no author name, for quotations or paraphrases, and no Works Cited is needed.. If you use any other edition of a novel besides the ones on the syllabus, put the complete information for the edition you used in a Works Cited entry.

You do not have to consult any texts, primary or secondary, beyond your chosen novel. If you do include any other sources keep them to a minimum, cite them in MLA author p style keyed to a Works Cited, and be sure to still
explicate the passage sufficiently in your own terms, keeping other opinions subordinate to your own interpretation.

A Superior NCSU MA close-reading of Behn's Oroonoko

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