BM1 Introduction to Literature, Aims and Requirements

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Basiscurriculum — English and American Literature (Kirchhofer 06 / 07)

Introduction to the Critical and Scholarly Discussion of Literature


To prepare students for participation in the critical and scholarly debate on literature by

  • developing an understanding of the issues and questions dealt with in literary studies.
  • acquiring and consolidating the basic knowledge and skills necessary for such an understanding.
  • beginning to apply their knowledge and skills in order to address scholarly and critical issues.


At the level of requisite knowledge, students will obtain an initial familiarity with

  • different conceptions and definitions of ‘literature’
  • the tradition of the debate about literature
  • the spectrum of genres and periods in literary history
  • literary schools and movements
  • critical schools and movements
  • changing historical conditions of performance, as well as of book production and circulation


The range of skills required for understanding issues and participating in the scholarly and critical discussion of literature includes study skills …

  • finding information (library and reference skills),
  • processing information (selecting and making excerpts of primary and secondary material; using secondary material for discussion)
  • presenting information (orally and in writing)

… as well as critical skills and reading strategies:

  • recognising and describing the specific character of narrative, dramatic and poetic communication.
  • describing techniques of generating meaning through characterisation, figurative speech and performance.
  • beginning to identify markers of genre and / or historicity in texts.


  • Regular participation.
  • A Portfolio consisting of six distinct assignments to be completed in the course of the entire academic year. All six assignments are obligatory. They will be rated as follows:
Portfolio component date due rating in Portfolio
Practice Sheet 21 Nov 2006 no mark
Written Test 23 Jan 2007 mark counts double
3 Exercises in Textual Analysis (on poetry, fiction and drama) around Week 4, Week 7/8 and Week 10/11 of the summer term three marks: the two highest count
Research paper project (title, bibliography, outline, summary of argument) Aug. 15, 2007 mark counts