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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Petia Parpoulova
ENGL 200
Seattle Campus

Reading Literary Forms

Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

In this class we will read texts and view images (paintings and films) in order to discuss representations of the exotic in European literary and visual culture. The course material will allow us to critically examine the imaginary assumptions Europeans made about the exotic: the exotic as distant and foreign, as strangely beautiful and enticing, as wild and primitive, as archaic and original, and as spiritual and authentic. We will focus on the strategies storytellers undertook in order to perpetuate these fantastic beliefs about the exotic, such as the use of particular word choice, tone, and sentence structure, as well as the specific ways in which characters and settings were drawn in exotic tales. Class discussion will unravel the ways in which norms and expectations entrenched in European contexts and traditions prompted readers and audiences to view the exotic in a biased fashion. We will critically compare and contrast exotic representations between media and different historical contexts. The course material includes Frances Sheridan The History of Nourjahad, William Beckford Vathek, E. T. A. Hoffmann “The Golden Pot,? Hugo von Hofmannsthal “The Tale of the 672nd Night,? Somerset Maugham The Moon and Sixpence, examples of European Oriental paintings, and two films: F. W. Murnau’s Tabu and Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra.

Student learning goals

1. Explore writing as a tool for developing one's ideas.

2. Understand the choices an author makes in telling a story in a particular way.

3. Understand the European prejudices which resulted in a biased view of the "exotic."

4. Through group work and participation in class discussion develop one's collaborative skills.

General method of instruction

Regular in-class writing assignments, group work and class discussion.

Recommended preparation

Course participants are expected to be committed to attending and participating in class on a regular basis. You do not want to miss any class sessions, especially the first sessions of the quarter.

A NOTE ON THE BOOKS: "Spells Of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairytales Of Western Culture" is the most expensive book required for this class. However, you can obtain a used copy on Amazon for as little as 50 cents plus shipping. If you decide not to spend $28 on purchasing this book from the U Bookstore, you want to order a much cheaper copy on Amazon AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF CLASS.

Class assignments and grading

You will be required to do lots of writing and discussing in class. There will be one major paper (pp. 5) at the end of the quarter which will undergo a first draft, major revisions and a last draft.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Petia Parpoulova
Date: 02/21/2013