We’re doing textual analysis and close reading this week, and while I had a nice thorough article about this in Norwegain, I needed to find an English one for our exchange students. Alan McKee has written a book called Textual Analysis: A Beginner’s Guide, which is likely good. A few years back he wrote a short article outlining how to do textual analysis. It’s still available, in PDF via The Wayback Machine, and provides a decent introduction to students. Here’s the intro in HTML in case you hate PDFs. VirtuaLit provides really good tutorials on close reading poetry and short stories, looking at formal aspects as well as cultural and critical approaches. I think I’ll start with the more general media studies style textual analysis in McKee’s article though. Nobody’s actually written one of these how to read this guides for new media yet, have they?

I’m still surprised each semester when I realise most of my students have never, ever done textual analysis. I’ve also realised it’s my job to change this, so next semester’s Web design and web aesthetics is going to involve a lot of interpreting stuff on the web. Sure, we did some of that last semester, but not nearly systematically enough.

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