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Unit of study_

ENGL1017: The Idea of the Classic

Why are some books considered classics while others are hardly read at all? How is the idea of the classic linked to debates about history, representation, excellence, and taste? This unit answers these questions through in-depth, guided readings of a small number of major texts that have, at one time or another, been celebrated for their classic status. We consider whether literary classics must be difficult, innovative, representative, or popular; how they shape our judgements about literary tradition and value; and why they remain implicated in debates about sexuality, race, national identity, and class.

Code ENGL1017
Academic unit English
Credit points 6

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Describe the significance of the classic as a measure of literary, historical, and cultural value
  • LO2. Provide formal analyses of classic texts in order to substantiate claims about their meaning and significance and to help situate them within their literary and historical contexts
  • LO3. Make and evaluate arguments for and against the designation of a text’s “classic” status
  • LO4. Understand why the classic continues to play a role in debates about the formation of personal, national, and ethno-cultural identity