Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Daniel J Griesbach
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

Reading Major Texts: Thoreau and Silko.

This course examines two major works by American writers: Henry David Thoreau's classic of American transcendentalism, Walden, and Leslie Marmon Silko's sweeping and multi-layered novel, Almanac of the Dead.

Rather than breadth or coverage, emphasis will be on depth of reading and sustained engagement with a work of literature. These are two long, complex books and our efforts will be to read them carefully, critically, and with multiple perspectives. In examining the ideas raised in the works, we will look both at the relationship of those ideas to their historical context as well as how the authors' linguistic and narrative craftsmanship encourages their readers to engage those ideas in particular ways. Meanwhile, we'll learn what these writers have to say about American culture and experience. Our ongoing conversation, furthermore, will address what makes a "major text" in a given literary canon, interrogating the assumptions that go behind such a designation.

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 Daniel J Griesbach
Date: 05/17/2008