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Authors, Readers and Texts

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

This course, ART focuses on the relationship between authors, readers and texts, with an emphasis on the relation between a text's form, content, and function; theories of textual interpretation; and practicing modes of critical reading.

Learning outcome

The students will gain knowledge of:
  • the complex and varied relationships between authors, readers, and texts
  • theories of interpretation and their relevance to literary and cultural studies
  • reading and writing practices conducive to developing one's critical literacy
  • key theoretical concepts and critical debates in contemporary literary studies
  • significant literary-critical approaches and methodologies for disciplines across the arts and humanities

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • deploy theories of interpretation to a variety of literary texts
  • read and analyze key texts in modern literary theory and criticism
  • summarize key concepts from modern literary theory and explain how they can be used when reading texts critically
  • analyze a selection of literary texts from a theoretical and critical framework
  • make informed choices about literary-critical and analytical approaches that may be useful when planning a Masters thesis on a topic in literary studies

General competence:
By the end of the course, the students will be able to:
  • understand factors affecting literacy, reading practices, and the production of texts in contemporary contexts
  • read texts critically and relate them to their theoretical and literary contexts
  • participate in academic conversations
  • explain complex ideas orally and in writing


This course focuses on the relationship between authors, readers and text. We will investigate the relation between a text's form and its function, theories of textual interpretation, and modes of critical reading. Students will develop their critical literacy skills by considering how various ideas, concepts and approaches can be deployed to interpret a variety of creative texts from several literary genres (such as the novel, the short story, graphic novel, drama, poetry and electronic literature). Students will also develop a theoretical toolkit of questions and concepts they can use when conducting literary studies, enabling them to become more active, critically minded readers and to participate in relevant literary-critical discussions when writing their Masters theses.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Required prerequisite knowledge equivalent for admission to the master in literacy program. A Bachelor's degree, which includes at least 80 ECTS credits in English language and/or literature is required. 30 credits of the 80 credits must be at advanced level.


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Oral exam1/130 minutesA - F
Oral exam: Pre-prepared presentation (5-7 minutes) and general examination (15-20 minutes). Duration: Maximum 30 min.
For pre-prepared presentation and the general examination: Exam aids may be used at the professors' discretion.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory course requirements
Seminars, 75% attendance.
Pass two mandatory written assignments: 1) Complete one worksheet (students write brief glosses on "pull-quotes" passages they select from the critical and theoretical texts), updated weekly. If approved the worksheet may be used during the exam. 2) Post one short response essay (250 - 500 words) on the discussion board in Canvas, and discuss it during the seminar.
Attendance at seminars is obligatory. Students who are absent from more than 25% of the seminar meetings will not be allowed to sit the exam. The student must be present for at least 2/3 of the duration of the individual seminar meeting for attendance to be recorded.

Students who get one or more assignment assessed as not approved at their first attempt, are given one opportunity to hand in a revised assignment.

Course teacher(s)

Programme coordinator
Signe Ekenberg
Course teacher
Allen Clarence Jones
Course coordinator
Eric Dean Rasmussen

Method of work

Lectures and seminars. Students are expected to complete all required readings before each seminar and come prepared to discuss the materials. Regular participation in class and online in Canvas is expected.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Literacy from a Reception Perspective (MLI110_1) 15
Texts and Readers (MLI300_1) 10

Open to

Advanced teacher education for levels 8-13
Literacy Studies - Master's Degree Programme
Literacy Studies - Master's Degree Programme - Part-time

Course assessment

Quality control by students is a central element of the UiS plan to improve teaching. In the Department of Cultural Studies and Languages this system includes student evaluation of courses.


A course compendium will be made available in Canvas at the beginning of the semester. All other required texts can be purchased from the SiS bookstore
(Subject to change up until the beginning of the semester)
Required texts
Abrams, M.H. and Geffrey Galt Harpham, editors. A Glossary of Literary Terms, 11th ed. Wadsworth / CEngage, 2015. (other editions are fine)
Auster, Paul. The New York Trilogy (Faber Modern Classics). 1987. Faber and Faber, 2015. ISBN 978-0571322800
Bennett, Andrew and Nicholas Royle. An Introduction to Literature, Criticism, and Theory (Fifth edition). Routledge, 2016. ISBN 978-1138119031
Bennett, Andrew and Nicholas Royle. This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. Routledge, 2015. ISBN 978-1408254011
Culler, Jonathan, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Second edition). Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-0199691340
Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein, "They Say /I Say". The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Fourth edition). Norton, 2018. ISBN:
Leitch, Vincent, et al. eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism(Third edition). Norton, 2018. 978-0-393-60295-1
Lentricchia, Frank and Thomas McLaughlin, editors. Critical Terms for Literary Study (Second edition). University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN 0-226-47203-5
Macey, David, The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory. Penguin, 2001. ISBN 978-0140513691
In addition, a compendium of theoretical, critical, and literary texts will be available at the start of the semester.
Recommended texts
MLA Handbook (Eighth edition). MLA, 2016. ISBN: 978-1603292627

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 25.02.2020