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Introduction

General introduction to the subject
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Everyday life revolves around acts of reading. Reading helps us navigate the world around us, even though we don’t realise this is what we’re doing. We read each other. This helps us understand and negotiate tricky social situations. It also helps us understand and acknowledge the significance of events as we experience them.
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These all rely on acts of reading. In this way, what we’re doing is interpreting the world as we experience it. Reading can also be both a source of information and a source of pleasure to us– a pastime, in fact. So what makes university, and textual analysis in particular, so out of the ordinary? And can the act of studying texts make the act of reading more pleasurable by making us more informed and conscience interpreters of what we’re reading?
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Textual analysis requires you to work hard. But you get more out of a text by doing this. Thinking about the words in the text, how they’re put together, what their significance is, what their significance might be both to you as an individual and in the broader culture in which they’re written, is what makes textual analysis such a vital activity.
In this week’s lesson you will explore a poem and consider the way in which it is written, what the poem is asking you to consider and how an understanding of the context within which it was written can add to, and possibly even challenge, your initial reading.
The textual analysis skills that you will be learning are intended to be of use, however, not just for the reading of poetry. Once you have learnt these skills, you will be able to apply them to a wide range of textual material. They equip you to become an inquisitive and astute reader.
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