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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Paige Courtney Morgan
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

READING FICTION (Fictional Change: Literary Transformations and Deformations) Morgan M-Th 1:30

This course is designed to create a critical conversation focused on the genre of fiction and the discipline of textual studies. We will focus particularly on two paths of inquiry throughout the quarter. The first will examine the flexibility of stories – in what ways may a single fictional story be altered intentionally or unintentionally over time, and what are the effects of these changes? For what purposes are stories changed and adapted; and what is the significance of changing (or attempting to change) a story’s primary audience? Finally, what constitutes the core or essential components of a story, and what elements may be judged as nonessential? For this unit, we will be examining a selection of fairy tales written or collected by Hans Christian Andersen, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Charles Perrault, Ludwig Tieck, and Andrew Lang; as well as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, an American “fairy tale” whose content has been altered in a variety of ways in response to the controversy of its content.

Our second inquiry will center around the fictional book as a material object. We will continue our critical discussion of the way that fiction may be altered, and how a story’s integrity may be damaged or remain intact, but our focus will shift to the container of the physical book, and studying the choices that authors and publishers have made in order to alter the audience’s reception of the fictional work. Our main text will be Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and we will be studying both a traditional critical edition as well as the recently published Penguin illustrated edition, which presents itself not as a novel, but as a “graphic novel.” How is the impact of a “classic” literary work altered when it is changed from a novel to a graphic novel? By the end of this quarter, you should be able to develop critical arguments about the significance of changes made, both to a text’s verbal and its physical states.

To qualify for the W writing credit, you will be asked to compose weekly responses to the readings, contribute to the formation of discussion questions, and to compose one 3-4 page paper and one 5-7 page paper over the course of the quarter. Participation in class discussion also constitutes a significant portion of the final grade.

Course materials: Because of the focus on the book as a physical container, it is especially important that you obtain the following editions; however, you are strongly encouraged to use the ISBN numbers in order to find used copies at sites like ABEbooks and

Course packet (available at the Ave. Copy Center, 4141 University Ave.)


(Norton Critical edition, 2001). Jane Eyre. [0393975428]

Penguin Illustrated Classics. The Illustrated Jane Eyre, 2006 [0142005142]

(Norton Critical Edition, 1998). Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [0393966402]

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

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 Paige Courtney Morgan
Date: 02/28/2008