Theories of Reading
There are as many different ways to read as there are people who read. Throughout the course, we will read theoretical essays that interrogate what some of those approaches are and how they have evolved over time. Our first activity, though, will be to read a novel – Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925) – and pay attention to the various reading strategies and reactions among our group. We will then read several essays about Mrs. Dalloway. Next, we’ll read Michael Cunningham’s novel The Hours (1998), whose three interlocking storylines feature three ways of “reading” Mrs. Dalloway. Finally, we will read E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924), a novel that has provoked a wide variety of critical interpretations, and see what happens when we apply to it some of the theories we have considered over the course of the term. The course grade will be based on in-class participation and on a series of formal and informal writing assignments.
Texts: Virginia Woolf, The Mrs. Dalloway Reader
Karin Littau, Theories of Reading
Michael Cunningham, The Hours
E. M. Forster, A Passage to India