How To Write A Commentary For English Literature Coursework Columbia

English

http://english.barnard.edu/

417 Barnard Hall  
212-854-2116
212-854-9498 (fax)
english@barnard.edu
Department Administrator: Sarah Pasadino
Department Assistant: Rio Santisteban

Mission

The offering in English is designed to foster good writing, effective speaking, and heightened understanding of culturally significant texts. We encourage students majoring in English to develop their responsiveness to the literary imagination and their sensitivity to literary form through disciplined attention to language, historical contexts, and critical and scholarly methods.

For all students, including transfers, a minimum of six semester courses must be completed while the student is in residence at Barnard.

Student Learning Objectives for the English Major and the American Literature, Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing Concentrations

Our objectives represent the teaching aims of the English Department. All instructors are free to decide which of these objectives are consistent with their particular courses and teaching methods.

Students who graduate with a major in English should be able to obtain the following objectives:

  • demonstrate critical and analytical reading skills.
  • demonstrate critical and analytical writing skills.
  • display an understanding of literary genre, form, and language.
  • show a familiarity with the issues of literary criticism and theory.
  • show an awareness of literary history.
  • engage deeply with at least one major author.
  • incorporate secondary sources, with proper citations, in a larger essay.
  • understand texts in their cultural contexts.

Specific to the America Literature Concentration:

  • demonstrate familiarity with American authors and texts across the span of American literary history.
  • analyze American texts of various genres including poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography, and political documents.
  • write a substantial research project on American texts. This project should integrate primary and secondary materials, demonstrating the student's ability to analyze texts and her familiarity with the critical landscape.

Specific to the Film Concentration:

  • explain the major concepts or ideas of film theory.
  • write a basic/elementary screenplay.
  • demonstrate an understanding of film’s relationship to a range of other disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

Specific to the Theatre Concentration:

  • analyze dramatic literature in the context of theatre history, theory, criticism, and performance.
  • develop skills in critical reading and writing, textual analysis, independent research, and oral presentation.

Specific to the Creative Writing Concentration:

  • develop a mastery of the linguistic demands of a variety of literary forms.
  • demonstrate a critically sound grasp of structure in prose and poetry.
  • explore the formal possibilities of the genres in which they are working.
  • develop critical sophistication in reading and speaking about others' work.
  • grasp the importance of thoroughly revising their own work.
  • detect concrete and figurative language in others’ work.
  • achieve precision in their own use of concrete and figurative language.
  • produce an original piece of fiction, a set of poems, a play, or a work of creative non-fiction.

Chair: Lisa Gordis (Professor)
Professors: James Basker (Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History), Christopher Baswell (Ann Whitney Olin Professor), Yvette Christiansë (Professor of English and Africana Studies), Mary Gordon (Millicent C. McIntosh Professor in English and Writing), Achsah Guibbory (Ann Whitney Olin Professor), Kim Hall (Lucyle Hook Professor of English and Africana Studies), Ross Hamilton (Director, Film Program), Saskia Hamilton (Director, Women Poets at Barnard), Maire Jaanus, Peter Platt, William Sharpe, Maura Spiegel (Term)
Associate Professors: Jennie Kassanoff, Monica Miller
Assistant Professors: Rachel Eisendrath, Aaron Schneider (Term)
Senior Lecturers: Pamela Cobrin (Director, Writing Program; Co-Director, Speaking Program), Patricia Denison (Associate Provost), Peggy Ellsberg, Timea Szell (Director, Creative Writing), Margaret Vandenburg
Lecturers: Benjamin Breyer (First-Year Writing), Vrinda Condillac (First-Year Writing), Wendy Schor-Haim (Director, First-Year Writing), Alexandra Watson (First-Year Writing)
Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence: Jennifer Finney Boylan
Associate: Daniela Kempf (Manager, Speaking Program), Cecelia Lie-Spahn (Term; Director, First-Year Writing (Workshop); Associate Director, First-Year Writing)
Post-Doctoral Fellow: Meredith Benjamin (First-Year Writing)
Senior Scholar: Anne Lake Prescott
Adjunct Associate Professors: Catherine Barnett (Visiting), Susan Hartman (Visiting), Kathleen Tolan (Visiting), Kate Zambreno (Visiting)
Adjunct Assistant Professors: Regan Good (Visiting), Anna Solomon (Visiting)
Adjunct Lecturers: Monica Cohen, Andrew Lynn, Linn Cary Mehta, Barbara Morris, John Pagano, Donna Paparella, Jennifer Rosenthal, Stefan Pedatella, Sonam Singh
Adjunct Associates: Elizabeth Auran, Shelly Fredman, Charlotte Friedman

Requirements for the Major

A major program consists of at least ten courses. Six of the ten must be taken at Barnard or Columbia:

CodeTitlePoints
ENGL BC3193Critical Writing (Formerly called Literary Criticism & Theory. Best taken in the sophomore year.)4
1
26-8
3-4
36-8
48
3-4

Requirements for the Minor

A minor consists of at least five English courses (three of which must be qualifying Barnard or Columbia courses):

Concentrations in the Major

All concentrations in the major, except that in American Literature, require 11 courses.

American Literature

Students interested in an American Literature concentration should consult with Professor Lisa Gordis (408D Barnard Hall).

Film

Students interested in a film concentration should consult Professor Ross Hamilton (419 Barnard Hall). A film concentration consists of four courses:

These four courses will count in place of two electives and one senior seminar in the regular English major.

Theatre

Students interested in a theatre concentration should consult Professor Pamela Cobrin (216 Barnard Hall). A theatre concentration consists of four courses:

CodeTitlePoints
9

THTR UN3150

Western Theatre Traditions: Classic to Romantic

THTR UN3151

1

These four courses will count in place of two electives and one senior seminar in the regular English major.

Writing

Open to a limited number of English majors. Students enter the writing concentration by application only. English majors interested in being considered for the writing concentration should submit 15-20 pages of their writing to Professor Timea Szell, the Director of the Creative Writing Program, by the last day of program filing (occurring in mid-April for the spring semester or in mid-November for the fall semester) in the second semester of their JUNIOR year. A writing concentration consists of at least four courses:

Consult the Director of Creative Writing, Professor Timea Szell (423 Barnard Hall), for applicability of Columbia courses. These four courses will count in place of two electives and one senior seminar in the regular English major.

Colloquia Substitutions

ENGL BC3159 and ENGL BC3160 are required of English majors in the junior year.  All sections of 3159 (fall semester) are on the literature of the Renaissance; all sections of 3160 (spring semester) are on the literature of the Enlightenment.

Students may substitute three courses for the two semesters of Colloquium.  At least one of these three must cover literature before 1660 (i.e., Medieval or Renaissance); one other must cover literature of the 17th or 18th century (i.e., The Age of Enlightenment); the last can cover either literature before 1660 or literature of the 17th or 18th century.

Students may also take one Colloquium and two substitutions, as long as one of the substitutions covers literature of the same period as the Colloquium it replaces.  The other substitution may cover either literature of that same time period or literature of the time period of the other Colloquium.

In either case, one of the courses used as a substitute for either the fall or spring Colloquium will also count towards satisfying the "before 1900" requirement.

Please note that only one Colloquium substitution in total may be a Shakespeare course.

To see if other courses may qualify, consult with your major adviser or the Chair of the English Department.

Courses which can serve as a Medieval/Renaissance substitution include

Courses which can serve as an Age of Enlightenment substitution include

Courses in Literature Written before 1900

If you have substituted two or three courses for the Colloquium requirement, one of the substitutions will count towards fulfillment of this requirement. To see if a course not listed here may qualify for this requirement, consult your major adviser and the Chair of the English Department.

Qualifying courses in literature written before 1900 can include

Courses in American Literature

To see if a course not listed here may qualify for this requirement, consult your major adviser and the Chair of the English Department.

Qualifying courses in American literature can include

Substituting with Courses from Other Departments

ENGL BC3193 Critical Writing: (formerly called Literary Criticism & Theory) must be taken in the Barnard English Department.  

To Qualify as a Substitution

For a literary period requirement, the substituting course must cover material from the same literary period covered by the course it is replacing, not just include some of that period's material in a larger range of literature.  With the approval of the Chair of the Barnard English Department, one literature course taken outside the department in English translation or in another language can count as an elective.  If your adviser or the Chair is not familiar with the course (even if given at Columbia), you must provide the syllabus.

Please note that the English Department requires that six of the ten courses required for graduation as an English major be taken at Barnard or Columbia.

Introductory

ENGL BC1204 First-Year Writing (Workshop): Critical Conversations .4 points.

(Formerly called "First-Year English: Reinventing Literary History (Workshop).") Close examination of texts and regular writing assignments in composition, designed to help students read critically and write effectively.  Sections will focus on Legacy of the Mediterranean or Women and Culture and meet three times a week.  For more information on the curriculum, please visit the course website: http://firstyear.barnard.edu/rlh

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1204001/06169M W F 10:10am - 11:25am
404 Barnard Hall
Mary Kolisnyk410
ENGL 1204002/03033M W F 11:40am - 12:55pm
102 Sulzberger Annex
Penelope Usher413
ENGL 1204003/08212T Th F 11:40am - 12:55pm
403 Barnard Hall
Cecelia Lie413
ENGL 1204004/05833T Th F 1:10pm - 2:25pm
406 Barnard Hall
Shelly Fredman414

ENGL BC1210 First-Year Writing: Critical Conversations: Women and Culture.3 points.

“Re-vision—the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction—is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. “ Adrienne Rich, “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision.”


This course offers a revisionist response to the constraints of "the canon," wherein women are often portrayed as peripheral characters, their power confined to the islands of classical witches and the attics of Romantic madwomen. The Women and Culture curriculum challenges traditional dichotomies that cast gender as an essential attribute rather than a cultural construction, and interrogates the categories of both "woman" and "culture" themselves. No two syllabi are exactly the same, but works studied in the fall term readings include Hymn to Demeter; Ovid, Metamorphoses; Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book; Marie de France, LaisKebra Negast; Shakespeare, sonnets; Beauty and the BeastWest African Bride Myth; and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, selected poetry. Spring term readings include Milton, Paradise Lost; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Luisa Valenzuela, selected stories; Eliza Haywood, Fantomine; Lady Hyegyong, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong; Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Emily Dickinson, selected poetry; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway or A Room of One's Own; Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother's Gardens ; and Yvette Christiansë, Castaway. Critical scholarship sources include Sara Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldua, Judith Butler, Laura Mulvery, and Michel Foucault.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1210001/05989M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
407 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac313
ENGL 1210002/07047M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
407 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac314
ENGL 1210003/07970M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
117 Barnard Hall
Monica Cohen315
ENGL 1210004/08599T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
403 Barnard Hall
Elizabeth Auran314
ENGL 1210005/07753T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
308 Diana Center
Vrinda Condillac315
ENGL 1210006/03946T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
407 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin315
ENGL 1210007/06891T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
407 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin315
Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1210001/05989T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
403 Barnard Hall
Elizabeth Auran315/15
ENGL 1210002/07047M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
407 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac315/15
ENGL 1210003/06266T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
405 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac313/15
ENGL 1210004/07970M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
403 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac315/15
ENGL 1210005/08599T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
404 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin315/15
ENGL 1210006/03564T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
404 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin315/15

ENGL BC1211 First-Year Writing: Critical Conversations: The Western Tradition--Legacies.3 points.

"Custom and authority are no sure evidence of truth." Isaac Watts, Logic; or, The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth (1802)


Where do our (often unconscious) assumptions about our world and our place in it come from? This course explores key intellectual moments in the literature of the Mediterranean world, whose ideas gave rise to the structures governing much of the Western world today -- structures that sustain and perpetuate ideas about power, authority, gender, and morality that influence our lives in ways both visible and invisible. We read these texts, primarily imaginative literature, to see how they reify, comment upon, resist and/or imagine alternatives to existing social and ideological structures; reading in this way allows us to consciously name and examine how ideology both shifts over time and, in vital ways, remains constant, inviting us to question the myth of progress at the heart of canonicity. No two syllabi are exactly the same, but works studied in the fall term include Homer, The OdysseyThe Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Euripides, The Bacchae; Virgil, Aeneid; Dante, Inferno; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe; and Shakespeare. Works studied in the spring term include Milton, Paradise Lost; Voltaire, Candide; ; William Wordsworth (selected poetry); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Darwin, Marx, and Freud (selected essays); Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Zora Neale Hurston, Of Mules and Men and Their Eyes Were Watching God; Toni Morrison, Beloved; and Nella Larsen, Passing. Critical scholarship from a variety of traditions (feminist, queer, post-colonial) and thinkers (bell hooks, Christine Froula, Edward Said, Karen Horney, Toni Morrison) allows us to interrogate these texts and the traditions they support, complicate, challenge, etc.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1211001/07758M W 8:40am - 9:55am
404 Barnard Hall
Donna Paparella313
ENGL 1211002/04816M W 10:10am - 11:25am
403 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer315
ENGL 1211003/06165M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
102 Sulzberger Annex
Stefan Pedatella315
ENGL 1211004/03034M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
406 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer314
ENGL 1211005/07763T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
405 Barnard Hall
Aaron Schneider315
ENGL 1211006/07291T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
214 Milbank Hall
Benjamin Breyer315
ENGL 1211007/01880T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
306 Milbank Hall
Maureen Chun315
ENGL 1211008/08081T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
117 Barnard Hall
Sonam Singh314
ENGL 1211009/06760T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
327 Milbank Hall
Andrew Lynn315
Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1211001/04730M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
404 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer315/15
ENGL 1211002/02058M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
403 Barnard Hall
Stefan Pedatella315/15
ENGL 1211003/08189M W 8:40am - 9:55am
406 Barnard Hall
Donna Paparella315/15
ENGL 1211004/06252T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
405 Barnard Hall
Wendy Schor-Haim316/16
ENGL 1211005/02446T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
407 Barnard Hall
Sonam Singh315/15
ENGL 1211006/04318T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
404 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer315/15
ENGL 1211007/09315M W 10:10am - 11:25am
405 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer315/15

ENGL BC1212 First-Year Writing: Critical Conversations: The Americas.3 points.

This course transcends traditional and arbitrary distinctions separating Caribbean, North, South, and Central American literatures. The Americas emerge not as colonial subjects but as active historical and aesthetic agents.  Emanating from what might be called the geographical site of modernity, American literature is characterized by unprecedented diversity and innovation.  In addition to classic novels, short stories, and poetry, this multicultural curriculum features works ranging in scope from creation accounts to autobiographies, as well as indigenous genres including captivity and slave narratives that belie New World declarations of independence.  No two syllabi are exactly the same, but works studied in the fall term include the Popul Vuh; William Shakespeare, The Tempest; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, selected poetry; Phillis Wheatley, selected poetry; William Apess, A Son of the Forest; Esteban Echeverria, "El Matadero"; Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno. Spring term readings include Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; José Marti, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, selected poetry; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Pablo Neruda, The Heights of Macchu Picchu; Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro; William Faulkner, "The Bear"; Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1212001/03496M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
406 Barnard Hall
Linn Mehta315
ENGL 1212002/04330M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
404 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson315
ENGL 1212003/08520M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
406 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson314
ENGL 1212004/02776T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
407 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson315
Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 1212001/06055T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
102 Sulzberger Annex
Alexandra Watson315/15
ENGL 1212002/02444M W 10:10am - 11:25am
406 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson315/15
ENGL 1212003/03119M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
406 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson315/15
ENGL 1212004/04338M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
405 Barnard Hall
Barbara Morris314/15
ENGL 1212005/05446T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
403 Barnard Hall
Jennifer Rosenthal315/15

Writing

ENGL BC3101 The Writer's Process: A Seminar in the Teaching of Writing.4 points.

Prerequisites: Application process and permission of instructor. Does not count for English major credit.

Exploration of theory and practice in the teaching of writing, designed for students who plan to become Writing Fellows at Barnard. Students will read current theory and consider current research in the writing process and engage in practical applications in the classroom or in tutoring.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3101001/07765T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
406 Barnard Hall
Pamela Cobrin420

ENGL BC3102 Academic Writing Intensive.4 points.

Academic Writing Intensive is an intensive writing course for Barnard students in their second or third year. Students attend a weekly seminar, work closely with the instructor on each writing assignment, and meet with an attached Writing Fellow every other week. Readings and assignments focus on transferable writing and revision skills that students can apply to any discipline.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3102001/02501T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
303 Altschul Hall
Cecelia Lie46/8

ENGL BC3103 The Art of the Essay.3 points.

Prerequisites: Students who are on the electronic waiting list or who are interested in the class but are not yet registered MUST attend the first day of class.

(Formerly called Essay Writing.) Essay writing above the first-year level. Reading and writing various types of essays to develop one's natural writing voice and craft thoughtful, sophisticated and personal essays.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3103001/07766W 11:00am - 12:50pm
406 Barnard Hall
Aaron Schneider313/15
ENGL 3103002/08563Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
404 Barnard Hall
Wendy Schor-Haim39/12
ENGL 3103003/09867T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
404 Barnard Hall
Margaret Ellsberg312/12

ENGL BC3104 The Art of the Essay.3 points.

Prerequisites: Students who are on the electronic waiting list or who are interested in the class but are not yet registered MUST attend the first day of class.

(Formerly called Essay Writing.) Essay writing above the first-year level. Reading and writing various types of essays to develop one's natural writing voice and craft thoughtful, sophisticated and personal essays. Please note, section 4 is open only to Barnard VISP and international students. If you are an international student who would like to take this section, please email clie@barnard.edu.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3104001/09306W 11:00am - 12:50pm
403 Barnard Hall
Aaron Schneider311/12
ENGL 3104002/04332T 11:00am - 12:50pm
212d Lewisohn Hall
Shelly Fredman311/12
ENGL 3104003/04934M 11:00am - 12:50pm
501 Diana Center
Wendy Schor-Haim311/12
ENGL 3104004/09861T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
303 Altschul Hall
Cecelia Lie311/12

Creative Writing

 
  1. Hello! Well, to put it simply I'm stuck.
    I am doing AS level English Language, and I'm confused on how to write my commentary for my creative writing. I just... don't know how to start it. Or what to include. Me, being the stupid person that I am, have lost my sheet with the linguistic features which I have to highlight in my story and explain. Gaah.
    D:
    I'd be very greatful if you helped. :] In fact, I'd love you forever.
    Also, Do you know where I could find an example of a commentary? (For a story?)

    Thank you!

  2. You want to structure your commentary systematically, using the frameworks. You need to show how you've crafted the piece to accommodate for the GASP (Genre Audience Subject Purpose). I can send you my commentary, if you like. I achieved 87/90 in the coursework.

  3. Hey can u help me 2plz... bcoz im doin A.S english language n im stuck on my commentry.. i dnt hav a clue wat 2do...
    (Original post by thatkidd)
    You want to structure your commentary systematically, using the frameworks. You need to show how you've crafted the piece to accommodate for the GASP (Genre Audience Subject Purpose). I can send you my commentary, if you like. I achieved 87/90 in the coursework.

    Last edited by Pr!Nc$s; 12-12-2009 at 18:09.

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