Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

UCLR 100 Interpreting Literature

Spring 2016

UCLR 100: Interpreting Literature

Spring 2016

Dr. Mena Mitrano

Office: 114

Office Hours:  by appointment

Office phone:     ext. 372                                  

Email: mmitrano@luc.edu



T. S. Eliot and the Modernists



Nina Baym et al., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th edition, vol. D  (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011), ISBN: 978-0393934793


Ron Schuchard, general editor, The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, vol. 1 and vol. 2, <http://muse.jhu.edu>.



Course description

This year's theme for our UCLR 100 core course in Interpreting Literature is "T. S. Eliot and the Modernists." Students will learn how to read and interpret a literary (and visual) text through the work of T. S. Eliot and some of his fellow poets and artists. We'll read a lot of Eliot's prose.

            This is a foundational course of literary studies. Students can expect to become more conscious about reading and what it involves; they can also expect to feel the excitement of transforming their  impressions about texts into a well-organized set of reflections to be shared with others,  through discussion, individual presentations, and writing.  

            Finally,  students will learn to master key literary and critical terms.


Class format and course aim

There will be an emphasis on close reading. We will read and discuss texts in great detail. The aim is to enhance your ability to respond to literature meaningfully and effectively.  You will be encouraged to respond in personal, creative, and original ways.

My lectures will be combined with in-class intensive student activities; to this end, coming to  class having read the assigned texts and thought about them is really a must to succeed in the course. 



Regular attendance is required. Active class participation is essential.

There will be 2 papers:

            Paper 1: Questions of reading (a meditation of 2-3 pp.)

            Paper 2: On any aspect of T S Eliot's work.

There will also be a midterm and a final.  

Grading:  Research and written work: 40%;  exams: 30 %;  active class participation:  30%.


Learning Outcomes:  By the end of the course students are expected to

  • Have a basic understanding of  U.S. modern literature in a comparative perspective with European cultural movements as well of the renewal of modernist sensibility in contemporary culture; 
  • Master a basic set of  themes, concerns, conflicts, and desires central to modern American imagination which, however, extend their influence also beyond national boundaries and to world literature;
  • Master close reading;
  • Become familiar with and master key literary and critical terms useful to the analysis and interpretation  of a literary text;
  • Learn to discuss literature in meaningful ways, as a process of individual discovery and in relation to other forms of creativity;
  • Perform an effective interpretation of a literary text.



Class schedule and contents  (subject to revision according to our needs) 


Week 1                       Introduction

Introductory lecture:  Modernist Reading


Week 2          

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), all poems in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol D (350-357)


Week 3 

T. S. Eliot, "Prufrock" and other poems in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol D


Week 4          

Modernist Manifestos, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol D (314-334)



Week 5  



Week 6          

DUE: Essay 1 (3 pp).

Ezra Pound, all poems in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol D



Week 7            

T. S. Eliot, "The Waste Land," The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol D


Week 8                      

T. S. Eliot, prose, essays on Pound and  "Tradition and The Individual Talent"


Week 9                      

T. S. Eliot, prose, "The Metaphysical Poets,"   and other selected essays.


Week 10                    

T. S. Eliot, prose, selected essays


Week 11        

Students presentation of project for longer  research essay


Week 12        

T. S Eliot, prose, selected essays


Week 13        


T. S Eliot, prose, selected essays


Week 14         Dec 2             



Week 15