Assignments for English 152 are below; as deadlines approach, links to assignment sheets will be added.


Four blog posts. (c. 250 words). These are informal but intellectually substantial engagements with our reading for the day. They can take any form you like, and I encourage you to exploit the affordances, or specific capabilities, of the blog format. Summaries will use strategic citation and paraphrase to convey an overview of a given text’s argument as you understand it. Provocations will work more critically, taking a passage and performing a close reading of it to unlock some particular complexity in the writing. You might compare one work with another we’ve read. Or you might pose questions about some knotty element in the reading – a contradiction, a dilemma– while taking time to thicken it with thoughtful reflections from other areas of the course. The key is to workshop an idea, a hunch, an argument. You don’t need to believe it yet. Protocols and schedules to be determined. “Online participation” refers to your engagement with other class members’ posts — comments, citation, and other forms of online dialogue.

Close reading exercise. (2 pages, single spaced) Details for this exercise in close reading will be provided, but essentially this is an assignment in the hyperbolically slow apprehension of a textual artifact. Your task will be to take time to appreciate this object in all its dynamic specificity, to show how it works: terms, tips, and helpful suggestions will be provided. You are not meant to argue but to read: your job is to notice everything. Details forthcoming.

Close viewing exercise. (1 page, single spaced) This assignment takes lessons from the textual close reading exercise and extends them to a physical and/or visual object from the archives: either the physical archives of GU Special Collections or the many electronic archives we will discuss in our library visit. We will discuss what objects fall under this category, but it will not be textual or “literary” in the conventional sense. Still, you will use “literary” reading practices to understand its nuances and appreciate its formal dynamism. Terms and tips to be provided.

Short Guide to Writing About ArtWritingAboutArtPDF

Resources for talking about book-objects, from Ethan Henderson, GU Special Collections:

Two analytical essays. (4-5 pages, normal-looking font) Conventional essays for an English class, but better. In other words: these are sharp, sustained, and formal engagements with one or more texts covered in class. I will hand out prompts for these papers but you are free, always, to break from my strictures and compose your own questions and topics and then formulate clear hypotheses about them. These analytical efforts should be grounded in close and sustained acts of reading. You may be required to submit the passages you intend to focus on, up to one week in advance of the due date.



Leave a Reply