Approaches to Literature, ENG 104-02
Instructor: Elizabeth Renn
Class Info: McIver Bldg. 225, MWF 10:00-10:50
Office: 02 Petty Science Bldg. (northeast basement)
Office Hours: 11:00-12 noon MWF, and by appointment
Norton Anthology: Introduction to Literature, 8th edition (ISBN: 0-393-97687-4)
The New York Trilogy, Paul Auster (ISBN: 0-140-13155-8, Penguin Publishers; www.allbookstores.com: Book Closeouts ($5.49), Amazon ($14.95), Barnes and Noble ($13.45)order immediately)
A novel you will select later
This course is designed to introduce the styles and strategies of several contemporary writers, along with works by Kafka, Poe, and Shakespeare. You will primarily be reading 20th century works, exploring the cultural contexts of each work. Though this is not a literary theory course, you will be introduced to several schools of theoretical perspectives (Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Reader-Response, New Historicism, etc.) through our class discussions. You will be expected not only to comprehend the material we read, but also to make evaluative judgments of these works, showing that you understand the bigger picture. To understand these works on this level, you should be prepared to read each work more than once and usually at least three times to reach the level of awareness I will expect.
active participation will be required in class discussion. Your viewpoint may
be crucial to someone else
Tests (5) 25%
Final exam (comprehensive) 25%
Book club project 20%
Paired research presentation 20%
Class participation: 10%
entries are typically based on the day
and a classmate will select and research an aspect of the class reading for the
day. You will need to read the text ahead of the class in order to complete
this assignment. Your presentation will last 10 minutes and should address an
issue such as cultural context, relationship to the author, or specific aspects
of the text such as theme, symbolism, etc. This assignment is designed to give
the class deeper insight into the texts we read and will be the basis of that
Book Club project:
You and your classmates will each select a genre (from the list of genres below) you think you would like to work with. I will place you into groups of 3-4 accordingly, and then work with each group to select a novel for that group to read. The last two weeks of class will be devoted to book club presentations, as each group (12) will lead the class for 20-minute presentations. You will receive further instructions on these presentations within the next few weeks, but in general, you will be expected to sell your classmates on your novel in whatever way you choose. Selection of genres will take place within the next few days. I encourage you to explore the genres before you make your selection. Do not rely solely on Cliffs Notes or other study guides for this project. Read the novel or your ability to portray the richness of the text will be limited. You will need to meet with your group during class and outside of class.
Genres: Native American Southern literature Post-modern
Asian American Cyberpunk/Sci-fi Hollywood Novel
African American Fantasy Self-exploration/philosophical
Jewish American Detective Bildungsroman (coming of age)
Victorian War Novel
UNCG offers a workshop-type lab where you can bring in work-in-progress and receive feedback from writing instructors. Take advantage of this resource and schedule a session with an instructor to try out new ways of thinking about your writing. Drop in or call for an appointment.
(Located in McIver 101, 334-3125)
Due dates: No work will be accepted late.
Attendance: You are allowed four absences. Your fifth absence and every absence thereafter will count 1/3 of a letter grade off of your final average. Remember, too, that no work will be accepted late. If you find you will be absent on the day of a test, contact me before class. Only under certain circumstances will you be allowed to take a make-up test, which will be more difficult than the original test. Do not miss class on your presentation days.
Tardiness: Walking into class late breaks the concentration levels of me and the rest of your classmates. Even being distracted for a few moments negatively impacts the class and will result in a harsh scowl. Be on time.
Plagiarism: Do not plagiarize. You may find you need to use outside information to support your ideas, which is fine. Remember, though, that if the idea is not yours, that idea has to be cited in MLA format. If you are unsure of what should be cited, check with me or www.MLA.org. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the course and possible university disciplinary action.
Preparation: You may find several of the works we will study unusual and difficult. You are responsible for discussing each reading assignment when you come to class, so spend as much time as you need with each work, rereading it, emailing me questions about it, and researching the authors/works on the Internet. Always try to come to class with something in mind to say about each text. I will frequently update my website with relevant links.
M 1/14 Discuss syllabus and reading strategies
W 1/16 Findley
F 1/18 Atwood
M 1/21 Dr. MLK, Jr. Holiday: no class
W 1/30 Test
M 2/4 TBA
W 2/6 TBA
F 2/8 TBA
M 2/11 Poetry Test
HILD p. 2190-2218
x 3 presentations
*M 2/18 HILD x1 presentation
W 2/20 HILD Test
RITS p. 1897-1934
x 3 presentations
*W 2/27 RITS x 1 presentation
* THURSDAY 2/28 UNCG PRODUCTION OF RITS IN TAYLOR THEATER, 7PM PLEASE ATTEND
F 3/1 Guest Speaker: Interview with cast members
x 1 presentation
F 3/8 Test
M 3/11 No class; read New York Trilogy
W 3/13 No class
F 3/15 No class
*W 3/20 First day of spring, last day to drop a class without a penalty;
F 3/29 Good Friday, no class
F 4/5 Book Club meeting on your own
M 4/8 Smoke; view and discuss
W 4/10 Smoke; view and discuss
F 4/12 Test
4/15 Sylvia Plath
What is Axelrod
2. List and describe key ideas that Axelrod uses to explain his position.
3. How does his interpretation affect your understanding of the poem?
W 4/17 Literary Criticism assignment:
Groups will discuss their interpretations of the following critical essays:
Steiner, 1208Groups 1&2
Howe, 1211Groups 3&4
Alvarez, 1212Groups 5&6
Kroll, 1215Group 7
Broe, 1218Group 8
Homans, 1221Groups 9&10
Annas, 1223Groups 11&12
Group members should be able to answer the three above questions as they pertain to their assigned essays.
F 4/19 Book Club meeting in class
M 4/22 Groups 1&2
W 4/24 Groups 3&4
F 4/26 Groups 5&6
WEEK SIXTEEN: BOOK CLUB PRESENTATIONS
M 4/29 Groups 7&8
W 5/1 Groups 9&10
F 5/3 Groups 11&12
M 5/6 Exam review
T 5/7 Exam review
F 5/10 Final exam Noon-3pm in McIver 225