Video Suite for Students of Literature

Literary interpretation can be both frustrating and a bit mysterious. Students sometimes find it hard to move from the approaches to literature they learned in high school to the skills and concepts they are expected to master in college classes. This series of five videos was created by a group of faculty members and Ph.D. students at the University of Texas.

Reading Closely with CRIT

This video introduces you to an interpretive method called “close reading.” Close reading has been central to literary studies for nearly a century and is still foundational for most university-level English classes. Follow this link to find a handout of the CRIT steps discussed in the video: 

Reading Text and Context

Literary texts exist in larger surrounding frames and contexts. This video will explore how biographical, cultural, literary and historical contexts can help you clarify and deepen your understanding of a literary text.

Reading Race

Literature and other media have always played a significant role in how Americans perceive and think about race and racial stereotypes. This video will help prepare you to analyze or “read” race in U.S. literature and other media.

Reading Actively

When you read literature, reading actively is always the way to go. This video provides an overview of seven useful things to mark when reading actively: emotional sparks, figurative language, patterns, shifts, genre, allusions, and questions.

Reading with the Oxford English Dictionary

The first step toward reading closely and critically is to know the meanings of the words on the page. The OED is your go-to source to look up a word you don’t know, if a word doesn’t make sense to you in context, if a word is spelled differently, if you are reading older texts or if you suspect a word merits further investigation. This video will show you how to use the OED to help you discover the meaning of a particular word in context. UT-Austin students may access the OED here.

University of Texas research aids for literary study can be found here.