We encounter critics every day: from book and movie reviewers in the newspaper to Zagat Guides and American Idol’s Simon Cowell. But what does it mean to be a critic and, perhaps more importantly, how can one be a good critic? In this course, we will explore these questions as we read both major works of fiction and important critical responses to those authors and their writing. We will use these texts and a range of writing assignments (movie reviews, personal essays, critical essays) to cultivate our own abilities to think and write critically about literature, culture, and society.