Applying Theories to Literature

Horace – “The Art of Poetry” Ars Poetica (Critical Tradition 82-94)* + You can read the whole verse letter in our textbook, but I also suggest researching to find his key concepts and quotations. Longinus – from On the Sublime (Critical Tradition 95-108)* + You can read the entire selection.  I suggest focusing on sections 1, 7, 9, 10, & 44. Dante – “Letter to Can Grande Della Scala” (Critical Tradition 120-123) Assignment: Select a piece of literature.  Write a paper in which you first, briefly summarize the piece of literature and explain the writing.  Then, apply the works of three of our figures—from Aristotle, Horace, Longinus, and Dante—to respond to the literature.  Use their words and concepts to respond to the literature.  Write at least one paragraph for each theorist.  Use quotations from their work. Thinking about the assignment: Choose a piece of literary fiction.  A poem or short story will work best.  It can be one we’ve used in class (such as McCrae’s poem, “Flanders Fields,” or Chopin’s short story, “Story of an Hour”) or one of your own choosing.  Use the work of Aristotle, Horace, Longinus, and Dante to critically respond to the piece of literature.  According to their writing, how would three of these figures approach the literature?  What would they have to say about the poem or story?  Using their theories, what claims could you make about the piece of literature?  Demonstrate and explain your ideas. Writing: For the opening of the paper, basically summarize the poem or story and briefly explain the writing. (Approx. one paragraph) Then, introduce your theorists and state their overall responses to the piece of literature (your poem or story). Try to connect these into an overall argument.  (Approx. one thesis paragraph). Next, in the body paragraphs, apply for the theorist’s work in a response to and an interpretation of the literature. Be sure to use quotations.  (At least one paragraph for each theorist) Finally, offer a conclusion that restates the topic and finishes your overall argument. Use MLA format.  Page length requirement: 3-5 MLA pages Rubric Essay Rubric COMPOSITION ESSAY GRADING RUBRIC Criteria Description and Letter Grade Correspondence Criteria Letter Grade An insightful essay with original ideas. Shows critical analysis in interpretive argument required by the assignment. The thesis is specific, complex, & arguable; the thesis is pursued in analytical paragraphs. Paragraphs are organized & focused; paragraphs use reasoning to explain & demonstrate ideas; paragraphs construct & present the argument. Logical transitions are effectively used. Quotations fully integrated: expertly introduced, explained, & analyzed. Language is sophisticated with complex & varied sentences.  Format and grammar are correct. Sentence-level writing is basically error-free. “A” Outstanding achievement; significantly exceeds standards. Essay responds to the assignment with original ideas and work. Offers an interpretive argument that shows a good understanding of the text with cogent analysis. The thesis is clear, argumentative, & pertinent to the essay, though may need clarification. The thesis is consistently pursued throughout the essay & clearly developed in each paragraph. Shows critical analysis. May have minor conceptual inconsistency. Quotations are fully integrated & textual evidence & support are appropriately utilized.  Use of quotations is clear, but may need to be developed in critical analysis. Logical transitions are provided. Sentence-level writing may have mechanical difficulties or stylistic problems, or occasional word choice errors, awkward syntax, punctuation errors, etc. “B” Commendable achievement; exceeds standards. The essay offers a response to the assignment that shows an understanding of the basic ideas; may have some factual, interpretive, or conceptual errors. General central thesis; may not define some central terms. Thesis or argument may be unoriginal.  Only partially develops argument or partially shows critical analysis; some ideas are generalizations or abstractions, are underdeveloped or are unsupported. Makes limited use of textual evidence. An effort to present quotations effectively; quotations may not be fully integrated throughout. Some awkward transitions; some paragraphs that are weak or underdeveloped. Sentence-level writing may have unclear or awkward sentences; imprecise use of words or over-reliance on informal language, first-person, or the passive voice; one or two major grammatical errors (pronoun agreement, subject/verb agreement, comma splice, etc.) “C” Acceptable achievement; meets standards Essay shows an inadequate command of course materials or has significant factual and conceptual errors; does not respond directly to demands of assignment; confuses some significant facts. The thesis is vague or not central to the argument; does not a present interpretive argument; central terms not defined. Frequently only narrates; fails to introduce, explain or analyze quotes; needs to developing or explain ideas or terms; makes awkward use of textual evidence; tends to narrate or summarize; the illogical arrangement of ideas; paragraphs undeveloped, unfocused, or without topic statements. Sentence-level writing has major sentence-level problems with grammatical or syntactical errors that interfere with the expression of ideas. “D” Marginal achievement; below standards Incomplete or non-passing essay. The writer has not written on the assigned text or has not answered the assignment or fulfilled the assignment requirements. Thesis missing or not evident. Interpretive argument not presented or developed; may report or list facts or provide misinformation. Uses no quotations or fails to cite sources; plagiarizes material. Without organization, structure, or logic; incoherent paragraphing. Sentence-level writing shows numerous grammatical mistakes and stylistic problems. Writing needs development.

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