Writing & Library Research Methods Assignment #2: Critical Survey

Your task is to position several scholars in relation to each other regarding a particular question about either a illustration of A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Neil Gaiman’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Use authors who have cited each other. (4-5 pages)


Begin with either one of the articles I’ve assigned you or an article you identify on your own. Note that for this assignment to work, you will need an article with a robust bibliography. Mine the article’s bibliography to find other authors who are engaged in the same conversation.

You may not use the same article that you wrote about in your response post.

The structure of your paper is important. Please do not make this a list of arguments made by various critics. Rather, you should group the most closely related arguments together and show what the relationships among these arguments are. I want to come away from the paper with a good overall idea of what is being said about this aspect of this work.

You will need to show how scholars build upon the work of others, and the points at which they disagree.  Gaipa’s terminology may come in handy here; perhaps one critic appropriates another critic’s vocabulary and uses it to execute a leapfrogging move, while another is clearly cross-pollinating from another discipline. This will help you to think about the relationships among different critics.

In the natural and social sciences, scholars write formal literature reviews which are physically separated from their own contributions.  In the humanities, the work on which scholars are building is usually integrated into their own argument. We’ll get to that in unit three, but in this paper, I just want to get you used to finding connections among sources and looking into a scholarly conversation.

In this paper, you don’t need to make an argument about the text.  You should, however, consider making an argument about the kinds of things that are said about the text (for instance: this text attracts many feminist scholars but the historical critics are only beginning to address it).

Audience:  A critic who is a novice to this field of inquiry.

Pre-Draft Writing Assignments: Blog post responding to a source*, Gaipa exercise

Writing Lessons: Navigating among multiple sources while retaining one’s own voice, identifying the rhetorical strategies authors use to bring in other sources, preparing to insert one’s own argument into a crowded field

Sources: Critical works, artistic works. I also need a model for this kind of writing.

Posted in Develop an argument to analyze tension between sources

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