Unit 5: Rhetoric and the Critical Essay As you have discovered by now, literary criticism requires you to carefully read and analyze literary texts. It also requires you to develop a convincing argument that encourages readers to view a piece of writing in a new way. The best literary criticism can become a form of literature in its own right.
Most literary criticism is written in the form of an essay, which is a
piece of writing that makes an argument and that uses rhetorical
devices, techniques intended to convince and persuade readers or members
of an audience. The study of rhetoric first began in ancient Greece, and
rhetoric is still an important foundation for writers of all genres
In this unit, you will encounter several examples of literary essays, which are intended to reinforce many of the concepts you learned in the previous units. You will also learn how to conduct a meta-analysis of literary criticism. In other words, you will learn how to analyze and critique the essays that critique literature.
Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 16 hours to complete.
☐ Subunit 5.1: 2 hours
☐ Subunit 5.2: 12 hours
☐ Subunit 5.2.1: 4 hours
☐ Subunit 5.2.2: 3 hours
☐ Subunit 5.2.3: 3 hours
☐ Subunit 5.2.4: 2 hours
☐ Subunit 5.3: 2 hours
Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - explain the differences between a number of basic rhetorical forms and techniques; and - account for the ways in which the essay form employs rhetorical and persuasive techniques in the elaboration and deployment of an authorial agenda.
5.1 What Is Rhetoric? 5.1.1 Questions of Audience and Presupposition - Reading: Stanford University: Dr. Andrea Lunsford’s “Some Definitions of Rhetoric”
5.1.2 Rhetorical Strategies: Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and More - Reading: California State University, Los Angeles: Dr. Jim Garrett’s version of Dr. John R. Edlund’s “Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Three Ways to Persuade” Link: California State University, Los Angeles: Dr. Jim Garrett’s version of Dr. John R. Edlund’s “Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Three Ways to Persuade” (HTML)
5.1.3 How Texts Interact: Engaging with Discourse - Reading: University of Illinois at Chicago: Gerald Graff’s They Say, I Say: “Introduction”
5.2 The Critical Essay Note: In each of the following essays for this subunit, we will encounter a different critical approach to the same text, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which we read in Unit 4. We will identify critical approaches, examine discursive practices, and attempt to evaluate the relative success of each.
5.2.1 Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Lectures and Notes on Shakespeare” - Reading: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Lectures and Notes on Shakespeare” Link: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Lectures and Notes on Shakespeare” (HTML)
5.2.2 Dr. R. Allen Shoaf’s “Hamlet: Like Mother, Like Son” - Reading: University of Florida: Dr. R. Allen Shoaf’s “Hamlet: Like Mother, Like Son”
5.2.3 Shakespeare and Public Discourse - Reading: Dr. Anthony DiMatteo’s “Shakespeare and the Public Discourse of Sovereignty: ‘Reason of State’ in Hamlet” Link: Dr. Anthony DiMatteo’s “Shakespeare and the Public Discourse of Sovereignty: ‘Reason of State’ in Hamlet” (HTML)
5.3 Meta-Critical Essay - Activity: Meta-Critical Essay Instructions: Print out and annotate Gerald Graff’s essay “They Say, I Say.” Then, choose one of the Hamlet essays you read in this unit and write a critique of that essay. Use the suggestions provided in the Graff article as a guide. Write a 1.5-page critical essay in which you critique one of the Hamlet essays you have read in this unit.