Universitat de València  Departament Filologia Anglesa i Alemanya

Studying Literature

Aula Virtual

Accessing Texts

Understanding Concepts

Approaching Literature


Studying Poetry

Studying Narrative

Studying Drama and Theatre

Studying Film and Video


   Literature resources |  


Accessing Texts

  |    Links to Digital libraries and archives   |   Access journals  |  Evaluating sources  Purdue OWL   | 

Catàlegs / Catalogues - Biblioteques / Libraries

  • Bodleian Library

  • University of Cambridge

Texts - Digital Libraries and Archives

Databases and corpora

Understanding concepts

   Glossary  |  ICT applied to language and literature: an introduction  |
 Glossary of Literary Theory (U Toronto) UVic Literary and Rhetorical Terms   |  Poetry Foundation glossary  | Dictionary History of Ideas  |
Keywords (Raymond Williams) | Key concepts (Foucault)

Diccionaris / Dictionaries

Enciclopèdies / Encyclopaedias

Other resources

 Pleiades geographic information about the ancient world

Approaching Literature

 |  Critical approaches  |  Guide to Stylistic Commentary  |  Guerin et al Handbook 6th ed. web companion  |  Computers and Literature LINKS  |   | 

Precritical approach

What is a pre-critical response?    (Guerin, Handbook

the “gut reaction” to literature (Guerin, 6)

takes into account the pleasure of reading (or seeing a play, watching a film),

takes into account aesthetic perception

employs primarily the senses and the emotions

does not need any special knowledge to comprehend

“It may be said to underlie or even drive the critical response” (Guerin, 6)


Subjective (though not relativistic) approach is not incompatible with more logical and intellectual approach

Studying and reading literature for pure pleasure

Specialized knowledge derived from criticism can enhance pleasure

Film students can enjoy a film with as much excitement as other students, and moreover they can comprehend what they see as they understand the technical operations of the camera, conventions of acting styles,


To feel and know at the same time


First steps into academic criticism: when students think and talk about:

 setting, [physical environment]






 theme [see definitions in "A Glossary"]

Critical Approaches

various | archetypal criticism | critical theory | textual criticism | myth criticism | structuralism and semiotics | performance criticism | reader-oriented

Keywords (Raymond Williams) | Key concepts (Foucault)

Textual Criticism

  • To be multiling
  • To be variants
  • JUXTA (Collation software for scholars)
  • CollateX
  • Version Variation Visualization (Translation Array)
  • Version Variation Visualization
  • CATMA (Computer Aided Textual Markup and Analysis)
  • Computational Stylistics (Eder & Rybicki)
  • Corpus Query Processor (A. Hardie at Lancaster)
  • xMod (King's College)

    Mythological and Archetypal Criticism

    Structuralism and semiotics

    Hébert's web on semiotics


    Reader-oriented criticism


    codes (R. Barthes, S/Z, 1975) : “systems of meaning which the reader activates in response to the text” (Selden, Practising 119)

    Readers do not reveal the work's structure by using these codes; rather they structure the work itself.
    Five codes:
    – code concerned with the “enigma” or problem (Barthes calls it hermeneutic ) : In a mystery story, “the code works by delaying the solutionto the enigma by giving false clues, by giving partial answers, ...” (Selden, Practising 119)
    – code concerned with binary oppositions ( symbolic ) : oppositional concepts associated with fundamental ideas about human beings (gender, body) and society (economic divisions)
    – code concerned with references to intellectual commonplaces ( cultural ) :
    – semic codes : "the seme is the unit of the signifier" (Barthes 17)
    – proairetic codes : actions and small sequences of the story

    horizon of expectations Hans R. Jauss) : a set or paradigm of concepts, assumptions and conventions within which readers read a work (internal assumptions about genre, style, etc., and contextual assumptions about society, ideology, culture, religion, gender, etc. that readers bring to bear upon them)

    There may be a dominant horizon of expectations. Author and readers may not share this horizon (e.g. William Blake). Some works may contribute to the formation of a later horizon of expectations (e.g. avant-garde authors, Beckett)


    What social factors influence the way readers read the literary work?

    What strategies and linguistic devices does the author use in order to guide readers in reading the work?
    What strategies within the work does the reader use? and outside the work?
    What horizon of expectations are implied by the work and would have been shared by its readership? “Does this affect the interpretation an audience would have made of the passage? Consider how a changed horizon (ours for example) would alter the text's significance” (Selden, Practising 173)

    Focusing on extracts or short texts:

    Use Barthes’ “codes” as a method of reading the excerpt, “to open up meanings and to produce signifieds” (Selden, Practising 171)
    What provisional assumptions, inferences and hypothesis does the reader make as she reads given passages?
    Do you think that the work "intends" to tease the reader?

    Is the reader's reaction predictable?


       | Guide to essay writing  | Avoiding plagiarism  |  

    General : Academic writing (Univ. Toronto) ; outline example in "Organizing an Essay" (Univ. Toronto)
                     Purdue Online Writing LabWriter's Handbook (U Wisconsin - Madison) ;
                     UVictoria Writer's Guide    

    Phrasing:  Phrasebank (Manchester Univ.) 

    Use of sources : quality and reliability : "Evaluating Sources" in Purdue Online Writing Lab; internet sources, "Research using the internet" Univ. Toronto    ;  Wikipedia Identifying reliable sources

    Documentation and referencing styles:

    Comparison of MLA, APA and Chicago styles in Citation Style Chart (Purdue)

    MLA style:  MLA (Purdue OWL) ;  "Documenting Sources" in Lunsford's Easy Writer

    CHICAGO style :  Chicago (Purdue OWL)  ; Chicago Citation Quick Guide ;   "Documenting Sources" in Lunsford's Easy Writer

    APA style : APA (Purdue OWL)APA tutorial , APA web  ,

    "Suggested Ways of Citing Digitized Early Modern Texts" by H. Froehlich post

    How to identify author, title, publication information, etc. in
    - works in a web site : Lunsford's source map for MLAsource map for Chicago
    - a book:  Lunsford's source map for MLA  ; 
    - a journal: Lunsford's source map for MLA 
    - an article in a database :  Lunsford's source map for Chicagosource map for MLA

    [ Lundford's source maps MLA  ;  Chicago Source Maps (Lunsford)
    MHRA:  MHRA 3-2 (2013)    HARVARD:  Harvard (Anglia Ruskin) 

    ISO 690: 1987 ub uv ull  une ulpgc   2010 tutorial U. Cantabria c3  Bezos

    citation machine

    Style - Usage

    Logic - Thinking

    Stylistics - Rhetoric

    Studying poetry

    Studying drama and theatre

    Performance criticism


    Film and Video

    • David Bordwell & K. Thompson, Film Art (excerpts)

    Features of the film medium: cinematic techniques

    [Source: Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. Sixth edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.]

    Shot – Editing – Sound

    Shot: mise-en-scène

    the director's control of what happens in the film frame (B&T 156)

    what is filmed

    (shot = one uninterrupted run of the camera to expose a series of frames, also called a take B&T 433

    Aspects (as in theatre):

    - setting,

    - lighting,

    --costume and make-up,

    - movement and acting

    Shot: cinematography

    how it is filmed

    cinematography = “writing in movement”, depends on photography “writing in light” B&T 193)

    Three factors : 1) photographic aspects of the shot

    2) framing of the shot

    3) duration of the shot

    1. Photography

    1.1 Tonalities (choice of film stock, textures

    1.2 Speed of motion

    1.3 Perspective : focal length (deep focus, racking focus)

    2. Framing

    2.1 Frame dimensions and shape (aspect ratio)

    2.2 Onscreen and offscreen space

    2.3 Angle, height, and distance of framing

    2.3.1 Angle : straight-on angle, high angle, low angle

    2.3.2 Level : canted framing

    2.3.3 Height : e.g positioning the camera close to the ground

    2.3.4 Distance: extreme long shot, long shot, medium long shot (knees up), medium shot (waist up), medium close-up (from the chest up), close-up (head, hands), extreme close-up (eyes, lips)

    Functions of framing

    2.4 Mobile framing (or “camera movement” = the frame moving with respect to the framed material ; in other words, within the image, the framing of the object changes B&T 224)

    2.4.1 Types

    pan (short for 'panorama'); the camera does not displace itself, the frame scans the space

    tilt ; the camera itself does not change position, but the camera's 'head' swivels up or down, impression of unrolling a space from top to bottom or viceversa

    tracking shot (dolly or trucking) the camera as a whole changes position

    crane shot , the camera moves above ground level, usually descending or rising

    hand-held camera

    Functions of frame mobility

    3. Duration of the image

    Long take = usually lengthy shots ; are not the same as 'long shot' (the latter refers to distance between camera and object )

    (take = one uninterrupted run of the camera that records a single shot)

    sequence shot” (plan-séquence) = when an entire scene is rendered in only one shot

    Editing = the coordination of one shot with the next (B6T 249)

    Joins between shots: cut, transition

    Transitions from one shot to the next: fade-out, fade-in, wipe, dissolve

    Dimensions of film editing:

    1. Graphic relations between shot A and shot B

    similitudes or differences of the four aspects of mise-en-scène and most cinematographic qualities (photography, framing, camera mobility)

    graphic match

    2. Rhythmic relations between shot A and shot B

    e.g. fast cutting to build up excitement

    3. Spatial relations between shot A and shot B

    e.g. 'establishing shot' followed by a shot of a part of this space

    e.g crosscutting (or parallel editing)

    4. Temporal relations between shot A and shot B

    order : flashback, flashforward,

    duration : ellipsis (elliptical editing), overlapping editing (for temporal expansion)

    frequency :

    Continuity editing (= “a system of cutting to maitain continuous and clear narrative action”. It relies on “matching screen direction, position and temporal relations from shot to shot” B&T 429)

    Techniques : axis of action, crosscutting, cut-in, establishing shot, eyeline match, match on action, reestablishing shot, screen directions, shot/reverse shot

    Alternatives to continuity editing


    Fundamentals of film sound:

    Perceptual properties: loudness, pitch, timbre

    Selection, alteration and combination

    Dimension of film sound:

    Rhythm : coordination or disparity in sound and image

    Fidelity :

    Space : diegetic vs nondiegetic sound

    resources of diegetic sound: external diegetic sound ; internal diegetic sound ( that which comes from 'inside' the mind of a character

    Time : matching sound and image in synchronous sound ; asynchronous (or out-of-synch)

    Temporal and spation relations that image and sound can display:

    – --- – – – – – – –


    Literature resources

    • Intute: English (websites for study and research)

    Producing and distributing literature

    Copyright in electronic publishing Best and Grove-White

    Computers and Literature


            TAPoR gateway to tools in text analysis


    WordSmith Tools

    Visualization tools

     TokenX    |  Tagline GeneratorManyEyes |   

     TagCrowd |   Wordle  | ManiWordle |  Document Contrast Diagram | DocuBurst |

     TextArc    TextArc Hamlet

    Visualization techniques:  Word Tree |  Phrase Nets | Tag Clouds  | Theme River  | Parallel Tag Clouds | Spark Clouds  | Colour Circles | Document Browser | Detailed Text View | Heat Map | Multi Line Graph | Document Distribution | Scatterplot view | Tree Map | Stacked Bar Chart | Topic Clouds | Temporal View | Thread Overview | Conversation View | Data-Rich Tool Tip | Email List View | Fisheye View | View Coordination and Interaction | Facets Overview | Parallel Coordinate | Tool Tip |