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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

E. Laurie George
ENGL 242
Seattle Campus

Reading Prose Fiction

Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.

Class description

“It had been my accidental reading of fiction and literary criticism that had evoked in me vague glimpses of life’s possibilities.” --Richard Wright “Reading Fiction”

“Each writer's prejudices, tastes, background, and experience tend to limit the kinds of characters, actions, and settings he can honestly care about, since by nature of our mortality we care about what we know and might possibly lose (or have already lost), dislike that which threatens what we care about, and feel indifferent toward that which has no visible bearing on the safety of the people and things we love.” --John Gardner The Art of Fiction

This intensive 5-week course is an introduction to various theoretical and practical strategies for reading fiction. We will concentrate on reading and interpreting fictional texts in relation to the author, the reader, and the culture at large. Over the course of the quarter, you will broaden your fictional reading repertoire by reading, discussing, and critically interpreting a variety of fictional texts, authors, genres, styles, and historical/cultural movements, mostly modern and contemporary. Primary course goals include enhancing your critical expression and realizing, as Richard Wright notes, that the critical reading of fiction can help in the critical reading and living of life.

Requirements include keeping up with daily readings, researching biographical and cultural allusions in the fictions to deepen reading experience, discussing and writing about findings in class discussion, and writing an essay midterm and final paper. This is primarily a discussion-based course rather than a lecture course--essential to course success is your critical, thoughtful, daily vocal interpretation of closely-read texts and contexts in each class meeting. Also, please note that this is not a “distance learning” course nor a composition course—essay assignments instead focus on close literary and cultural analyses, logical critical expression, and persuasiveness. Due to the intensive nature of A term, “extra credit” is not possible, why it is important to consider your other personal and professional summer commitments when enrolling.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

critical thinking and writing

Class assignments and grading


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 E. Laurie George
Date: 03/27/2013