Walt Whitman

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For the final paper, students will be asked to come up with their own paper topics, write a proposal that summarizes the argument that they will make in their papers, and then write the paper. This assignment is meant to give students the opportunity to write an original piece of scholarship dealing with primary and secondary sources. By fulfilling this assignment, students will bring together the skills developed throughout the semester and begin to make contributions to scholarly conversations in the field of literary studies and humanistic inquiry broadly construed. The paper proposal is meant to help students clarify their ideas before writing their papers, as well as help the instructor give students feedback on their paper topics and projects before they start working on them. As part of the paper proposal, students are asked to provide an annotated bibliography. Students will also be required to produce one draft of their final paper prior to submitting their final version.
Guidelines for the Final Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliography
Concrete Guidelines:??The proposal should be about 2-3 pages long, divided into two sections:
a. the proposal “per se,” which should be 1-1 ½ pages long,
b. the annotated bibliography, which should include 3 secondary sources. Secondary sources are either essays written by scholars, academics, or critics or in some cases, essays written by the same authors who also wrote your primary sources (for example, in a paper on Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway “Modern Fiction” can be a secondary source in your paper and for this reason you can include it in your annotated bibliography. But you cannot include Mrs Dalloway. ) Each annotation on a bibliographical entry should be 100-150 words long.
What follows are some simple and useful guidelines about how to write the paper proposal and the annotated bibliography.
The first thing you should keep in mind is that a paper proposal should be regarded as an extended abstract. By now, all of you have spent some good amount of time working on the abstract format, so doing this assignment should not be too difficult.
Still, what does it mean to say that a paper proposal is like an extended abstract?
Simply put, a paper or a research proposal is like an abstract, but longer. A paper proposal is meant to achieve the same goal as the abstract: It should:
let your audience know the main topic of your paper (What is your paper is about? Example: My paper will explore the question of death and survival in Poe, Whitman and Woolf)
it should tell the reader in an explicit and direct manner how you will explore your topic (How will you establish your argument? This part of the proposal should encompass several points: i. which texts will you analyze?; ii. in which order?; iii. what questions will you pose in order to explore your general topic?; iv. which secondary sources will you be consulting?);
it should conclude by emphasizing the way in which your approach sheds light on the main question that you are asking about (Why are you doing what youare doing? What can we learn from your paper? Example: By analyzing the ways in which Poe, Whitman and Woolf configure a mode of life beyond death that is devoid of a religious or supernatural dimension, we see how three emblematic modern writers attempt to retrieve a quintessentially religious idea in the midst of an increasingly secular society. Art becomes a privileged place in contemporary culture to explore that which is unknown, like the survival of Mr. Valdemar, whose reason lies beyond technical and scientific modes of knowledge.)
Your proposal should also contain an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography should provide a brief summary of an article, an essay, or a book chapter or even of a whole book that you will be using in your paper. You can use secondary sources (that is the official name for anything in your paper that is not taken from Woolf, Poe, Whitman, etc.) in many different ways. Here are some examples:
You can use them to support your argument, or to provide a framework for an argument that your essay will make: (Example: My reading of time in Mrs. Dalloway takes as its point of departure a claim that the critic Elissa Marder [who, by the way, is a teacher here at Emory] makes in the “Introduction” to her book Dead Time: Temporal Disorders in the Wake of Modernity, about writing’s status in modernity: “…the writing of literature is expected not only to compensate for the failures of lived experience; it is seen as a way of counteracting the failure of life to provide an experience of temporal continuity”).
You can use them to give some important background information (biographical, historical details, etc.) (Example: As Bonnie Kime Scott, editor of Harcourt’s annotated edition of Mrs. Dalloway states in her introduction, by 1925 Woolf was a relevant figure in British and English-speaking literary and intellectual circles, engaging in the big debates of the epoch concerning the meaning of literature in modern society)
You can also use secondary sources in order to argue for alternative readings. (Example: Michael Moon, editor of the Norton critical edition of Leaves of Grass, argues that in section 11 of “Song of Myself,” Whitman engages in a complicated act of self-censorship by ambiguously depicting a scene where homosexual desire and heterosexual desire are both suggested, though revoked at the same time. In my reading of this segment of Whitman’s poem I would like to emphasize a different dimension of the text…. )
Regardless how you plan to use these texts, in the annotated bibliography you are expected to give a brief account of their main argument and state why they are important for your own argument:
Paz, Octavio. “Los hijos del limo.” Obras Completas I: La casa de la presencia: Poesía e historia. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1994. 321-484. Print.
In “Los hijos del limo,” Paz formulates his most thorough concept of literary history and literary modernity. According to Paz, modernity contains the following paradox: it can neither be said to amount to change nor to continuity. Paz’s provocative understanding of modernity as “the rupture of rupture” goes against the grain of most interpretations of modernity as an identifiable historical period. For Paz, modernity cannot enter into any genealogy, and thus into any history that would have the form of a successive unfolding of discontinuities, without ceasing to be modern. This idea is at the center of my paper, since I am interested in exploring the ways in which the concept of modernity requires us to think of time in a non-chronological manner. Instead of a river, the image of time in modernity becomes a collage, a superposition of moments coexisting simultaneously in the same now.
? (The example above is a bit on the long side, but you get the idea of how this should look like)??Two resources to
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