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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jessica L. Burstein
ENGL 300
Seattle Campus

Reading Major Texts

Intensive examination of one or a few major works of literature. Classroom work to develop skills of careful and critical reading. Book selection varies, but reading consists of major works by important authors and of selected supplementary materials.

Class description

Wilde, Woolf, and After.

This course does three things: first, it introduces the student to two major texts, Oscar Wilde's *The Picture of Dorian Gray* (1890, 1891) and Virginia Woolf's *Mrs. Dalloway* (1925). Second, by reading them against two contemporary novels, one early twenty-first century and another late twentieth century—Will Self's *Dorian: An Imitation* (2002) and Michael Cunningham's *The Hours* (1998)—the class provides the opportunity to contemplate whether there is a difference between modernism and postmodernism; and, earlier, modernism and late Victorian ways of going about writing. Alongside close reading, the course should provide some early acquaintance of questions of historical periodicity: that is, what does it mean to read Wilde as a Victorian writer, or a modernist? What does postmodernism do that modernism did or did not? Third, the course will raise the issue of themes of imitation, doubling, and selfhood—along with examinations of aesthetics, literary style, and originality. Students will need *these* editions, given our emphasis on close reading and use of these editions' supplementary materials: (1) Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway annotated edition (Mariner Books, ISBN-10: 9780156030359 or ISBN-13: 978-0156030359); ed. Hussey, introduction by Kime Scott; (2) Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Norton Critical Editions, 2nd edition, ed. Gillespie ISBN-10: 9780393927542 or ISBN-13: 978-0393927542); (3) Self, Dorian (Grove Press, ISBN-10: 9780802140470 or ISBN-13: 978-0802140470); (4) Cunningham, The Hours (Picador, ISBN-10: 0312243022 or ISBN-13: 978-0312243029). This is a discussion-based class, with two short papers and the possibility of quizzes.

Student learning goals

1. Practice close reading skills 2. Discuss literary style 3. Discuss and compare themes such as identity (in both sense of that word) 4. Consider, at a beginning level, modernism and its pre- and afterlives 5. Appreciate the art of the epigram

General method of instruction


Recommended preparation

A dictionary and how to use it.

Class assignments and grading

Short papers and perhaps quizzes.

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 Jessica L. Burstein
Date: 03/25/2011