B CUSP 187
Examines how literary texts create meaning and emotion. Identifies literary elements and explains their use within formal structures in order to appreciate the pleasures and complexities of literary expression, and their usefulness in other arenas. Instructors may focus on specific genres or topics. Offered: W.
This quarter’s theme is “World Literature: The Fabulous, the Everyday and the Extraordinary Across Cultures".
In this class, we will explore how the formal features of writing shape meaning in literature. You will become familiar with the tools of literary analysis and practice using these tools in order to deepen understanding and thereby more profoundly enjoy literature.
I’ve designed this course around the structure of a life cycle. You’ll notice that the topics listed in the assignment schedule include such things as “initiation” “love” “exile” "liberation" and so on. My hope is that this focus will allow us to examine universal themes through distinct cultural, historical – and personal – lenses. Writers are, of course, products of their time and place, and we will investigate this through lecture and student-initiated research.
Readings may include such works as The Thousand and One Nights, Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight, The Heike Tales, and other tales from the distant past, as well as works from the early modern and modern world by such writers as Anton Chekhov, Isak Dinesen, Edwidge Dandicat, Primo Levi, Mikhail Bugakov and others.
You will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings in a knowledgeable way. We’ll run the class as a seminar, so that student contributions will be as important as those of the instructor.
Student learning goals
• Become conversant with commonly used terms and theories of literary analysis and gain practice applying them to texts
• Use insights gained in close readings and analyses of the texts to sharpen your own writing skills.
• Examine such concepts as “realism”, “fantasy”, "allegory", "tragedy" and "comedy" and other terms as literary constructs and the assumptions and values which underpin these genres.
• Deepen understanding of the cultural social and historical contexts in which the texts were produced as well as how the texts were shaped by (and shape our understanding of) global position, historical experience, nationality, religion, race, class and gender.
• Appreciate the different approaches authors take to writing about similar content and analyze the explosions of meaning and sensation that different approaches produce.
• Reflect on the connections of the material to your own life.
General method of instruction
Instruction is extremely interactive. It will combine lectures, group discussion, student presentations, collaborative and creative activities and learning reflections.
Successful completion of at least one college-level composition class.
Class assignments and grading
There will be many forms of evaluation: written reading responses / class presentations -- student led discussions / group performance project / short (2-3 page) formal papers / reflection activities.
Writing assignments, group work assignments and participation will all contribute toward your final grade.