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Writing about Literature. Forms. News media: scandals, celebrations, promotions Authority issues: censorship, publication rights Format: journals, magazines, collections, monographs online, printed Education: papers, exams, theses, dissertations presentations

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Writing about Literature

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Writing about literature l.jpg

Writing about Literature

Forms l.jpg


News media: scandals, celebrations, promotions

Authority issues: censorship, publication rights

Format: journals, magazines, collections, monographs

online, printed

Education: papers, exams, theses, dissertations


Audiences: specialised or lay readership

Styles: formal, informal from academic writing to blogs

The literary essay l.jpg

The literary essay

Flexible form – formal or informal

when informal: ideas are presented

and argued

supported by quotations

History of the essay as a literary kind

Periodicals with literary essays l.jpg

Periodicals with literary essays

  • TLS The Times Literary Supplement


  • London Review of Books


  • The New York Review of Books


The academic essay l.jpg

The academic essay

Tends to be formal, with a set of rules

depending on the area of expertise

Essays within various disciplines covered by SEAS: http://seas3.elte.hu/seas/research/publications.html

Examples from des l.jpg

Examples from DES

  • angolPark


  • The AnaChronisT


    Style guide for literature:

    e.g., MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Joseph Gibaldi)

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For a seminar paper

  • Check requirements of instructor, concerning

    theme, content, method, form

  • Select a work or a problem that is of interest to you.

  • Choose a title that describes a question or problem.

  • Collect the points that you want to make, and build an argument from them.

  • Support your points and arguments by quotations from the work(s) in question, using critical sources as well. Always provide the source of your quotation.

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  • In the introduction explain what you want to do, such as analyse a book from a certain point of view; compare the treatment of a problem in two or more works; describe a feature of an author's style or other strategy in two or more works by the same author; discuss a more theoretical question of literature using works as examples. Problems to discuss and features to analyse include narration, characterisation, structure, style, motifs, use of symbols, treatment of social or moral issues.

  • Then go ahead and write an interesting, argumentative paper

  • In your conclusionsummarise your results. What have you learnt from all your work? How could you sum up your most important discoveries for someone new to your topic?

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Papers at exams

  • Concentrate on the text

  • Focus on the question/theme/title specified

  • Remember helpful ideas from criticism or other works

  • Try to establish connections between literary texts, between texts and ideas, between texts and criticism

  • Present an argumentation

If you want to test yourself l.jpg

If you want to test yourself

Give a one-line definition of the following terms:

  • iambic pentameter

  • narrator

  • conflict in drama

    Give a one-paragraph definition of one of the following terms:

  • narrative voice

  • elegy

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Now for a 15-minute task

Choose one of the following two extracts and

  • list possible ways you could analyse the piece

  • choose one approach and actually carry out the analysis

    Please find extracts on the next slide.

Extract no 1 l.jpg

extract No 1

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,...

  • Shakespeare "As You Like It" II.vll.

Extract no 2 l.jpg

extract No 2

I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the Soul,

The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,

The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

Section 21


Now see what you have done l.jpg

Now see what you have done

  • Did you write all 3 one-line definitions?

  • Did you notice that you only had to write a one-paragraph definition on 1 topic?

  • Did you notice that you had to list possible analytical approaches to one of the two texts only?

  • Did you remember to do the list, as well as choose one approach to elaborate?

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