LLRO 13186-2: On Interpretation: Working the Y-Axis

Instructor: Louis MacKenzie

Literature University Seminar

In this seminar our truck will be with texts from various registers of art: "low" (e.g., songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Marc Cohn, Bruce Springsteen); "middle" (films by, for example, Martin Scorsese) and "high" (symbolist and contemporary poetry and, occasionally, opera). This variety of material has been chosen with one purpose in mind: to encourage techniques of reading from the inside of the source material outward. To this end, our interest is more often on the how than the what; more on how meaning is generated than what the text means. Drafts of student essays will be publicly scrutinized by the class as a way to cultivate the essential, but all too often lost, art of self-critique. Students under the impression that they can’t do textual analysis or who are allergic to the arts are especially welcome in the seminar; as, of course, are those for whom such matters are already a source of joy and an engine of growth.

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