Engl 221 is a survey of British Literature. But what exactly is literature? as you’ve observed in class, ideas about literature, poetry, and artistic expression have changed over time-Medieval, Early Modern, and later 17th century understanding are all somewhat different from one another. In our own way day too the concept of literature has undergone redefinition, and as a result new texts are added (and old ones subtracted) from literary anthologies. So what counts as literature? how do we define it? why do we read it?
for this papaer you will devise your own definition literature using Utopia by Sir Thomas More pages 572-646 in The Norton Anthology English Literature Volume B Nineth Edition. What makes this text a work of “literature”? And hwy is it important that we see it as such? What is really at stake with this issue? As you write, work to push beyond the more obvious answers. If you do decide to operate with a more standard definition, defend it in a fresh and insightful manner. but i would encourage you to go beyond traditional or contemporary understandings, using your own defition as a means of exploring some larger underlying questions: why should this stuff be studied, learned, preserved, and appreciated.
As you formulate your definition, be sure to consider counter arguments (“plant a naysayer”) How might somone argue against your definition? Are there gaps or inconsistencies that need to be addressed? Remember this is not simply an opinion paper (“For me personally, i feel that literature is anything you want it to be…”) It is an argument, staking out a claim against opposing views and competing definitions. this means you will need to defend your definition by citing edvidence drawn from the text you selected.
First, be sure to invest your paper with a fun and interesting title. you can begin your paper in various ways. you might begin with a line from your selected text or you might start by explaining your own definition. another effective way to begin is to state an opposing view, and use your paper to supplant that definition with your own.
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