Edmond Y Chang
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.
ENGL 200 D: Literatures of the Fantastic
URSULA K. LE GUIN ASKS, in a now famous eponymous speech and essay, "Why are Americans afraid of dragons?" Central to her question and her argument about the reading, enjoyment, understanding, and analysis of literature, particularly fantasy and science fiction, is an engagement with the imagination, with other worlds, with our own world, with recovering the value of these things, and with growing up but not outgrowing our desire for the fantastic. She says, "For fantasy is true, of course. It isn't factual, but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom." This class will take up Leguin's fascinating and provocative question and explore a long yet often dismissed or narrowly defined tradition of "fantastic" literature (and other media) including in whole or in excerpt Homer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Mary Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Albert Einstein, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Delany, William Gibson, Maureen McHugh, Octavia Butler, and J.K. Rowling.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class discussion, some lecture, student presentation, some group work, online work.
Class assignments and grading