CPLT 110 “Literary Criticism and Analysis” Winter 2019
Mid-Term Paper Assignment
Write a four-to-five-page paper (1000 to 1250 words, double-spaced) on one of the two topics listed below. Note that the following prompts contain questions to guide your thinking. Answering each question without extending or adding to them is not enough; you must formulate your own questions as well.
General reminders: present a strong, original thesis based on your reading of the texts (or film) and demonstrate the validity of your claim by providing direct evidence from the works in question (use textual evidence to support your claims instead of citing your own life-experience). Also, provide appropriate page numbers (or time stamp for films) for all quotations or background descriptions of specific passages, and include a works cited page to your paper following the MLA Style Guidelines (see iLearn under “Course Materials” for these guidelines). If you choose to consult secondary sources from the Library or Internet, you must cite them.
1) The Author: Rereading both Roland Barthes’ essay “The Death of the Author” and Michel Foucault’s “What is an Author?,” analyze how Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter” or E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” problematizes the figure of “the Author.” What do Barthes and Foucault argue and how do their arguments differ? How do these arguments relate to the figure of the author in either Hawthorne’s or Hoffmann’s short stories? How might the distinction between the subject of the enunciated and the subject of enunciation be of relevance to the question of authorship? In your paper, you must analyze at least two to three short passages Hawthorne’s or Hoffmann’s story to substantiate your claims.
2) The First Person: Re-reading Emile Benveniste’s essays “The Nature of Pronouns” and “Subjectivity in Language,” analyze how first personal utterances function or problematized in Tawada’s “The Bath.” What is an “I” according to Benveniste and how does it refer? What is its philosophical relevance Tawada’s narrative? How is subjectivity problematized in Tawada’s narrative and how might Benveniste’s arguments relate to this problematization? How might the distinction between the subject of the enunciated and the subject of enunciation be of relevance to the question of authorship?
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