As a “gateway” to the English major, and hence a preparation for later courses, this course is intended to introduce students to contemporary debates in literary history, literary theory, and the interpretation of literary works. We shall study both literary and critical/theoretical works, paying particular attention to the historical contexts in which they emerge and in which our own discussion of them occurs. The emphasis will be on intensive or close reading rather than extensive reading, “exemplary” rather than “representative” texts and issues. We will explore works such as William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland through multiple lenses including formalist, historicist, postcolonial, and poststructuralist perspectives. Course requirements will include midterm and final exams and participation in a discussion section. Students must also enroll in a writing link (English 297).