The purpose of this required independent reading course is to motivate students to begin reading during the summer following their first year in the M.A. program in preparation for the M.A. exams that will take place in the spring term of their second year.
During the spring term of the first year of the M.A. program, students will present to their advisors a reading list of 8 to 10 works to be studied during the summer. The books must belong to no more than two of the periods defined by the M.A. program, and five of the books must be taken from the Departmental Reading List. At least one of the texts should be a literary history or a similar text about the period. This approved list (signed by the faculty advisor) will be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies before the end of the spring term.
In fall term, students will register for a 2-credit, graded RL 605 with the Director of Graduate Studies as instructor of record.
In the third week of the fall term of the second year, students will present the findings of their summer study in a public Forum. This Forum will last one afternoon (12 p.m. – 4 p.m.), and will be organized as an academic panel discussion. There will be a chair for each session, a discussion will follow the presentations, and the department will provide refreshments. All MA students, most tenure track faculty, and some PhD students will attend.
Presentations will be 15 minutes long and will be delivered in English. Presentations should focus on the main themes that students have explored in their readings. Students should be able to discuss both literary techniques and historical context of the period selected, providing examples from the books they have read. Plot summaries should be avoided completely.
At the end of the presentations, the faculty members will meet to evaluate the presentations. Upon satisfactory completion of this exercise, students will receive 2 graded credits for the RL 605 course. If the faculty members find that a presentation was deficient, they will recommend that the student do supervised reading with the faculty specialist in the period before being assigned a grade and receiving course credit.