Daniel J Griesbach
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.
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
Class assignments and grading