English 1006C-- Introduction to Literature

Instructor: Alan Bourassa
Time: MWF 11:30 - 12:20
Office Hours: MW 12:30-1:30 and WF 10:30-11:30 and by appointment (Office ECH 121 )
Tel: 474-1882
e-mail: bourasa1@nb.sympatico. ca

There is one thing to know about literature. Everything else you will ever learn about literature now and in the future is an offshoot of this one great piece of knowledge, which is simply that literature is interesting. If literature is not interesting to you, don't read it (and whatever you do, DON'T take this class!). You're not ready for it yet if you find it boring. Remember the old adage: "Interested people are interesting people." I will let you draw your own conclusions about bored people. In this course, we will read several works of fiction, drama and poetry that all have only one thing in common: they are interesting. They are interesting because they are about people, emotions, passions, human weaknesses, strengths, relationships, the working of the mind, the imagination. Have you ever had a problem? Done something you are ashamed of? Done something you are proud of? Surpassed your expectations? Had a fantasy? Used your imagination? Created something? Had a relationship? Felt jealous? Wondered about your good or bad luck? Lost something or someone important to you? If so, you are probably ready to read good and interesting literature. If you find literature interesting, you are on your way to understanding it. From contemporary Japanese novels and stories to the Book of Job and Greek Tragedy, we will explore the strange richness of the human experience and the diverse ways of telling stories about it.

Reading List

Fall 2004
Asleep Banana Yoshimoto
The Professor of Desire Philip Roth
Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
Poetry (Elizabeth Bishop; Thomas McGrath; Pablo Neruda; Theodore Roethke)
Short Stories (Italo Calvino; Haruki Murakami)

Winter 2005
English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology (Dover Thrift Editions)
Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare
Antigone Sophocles
The Lais of Marie De France Marie de France
The Book of Job (class handout)

Fall 2004

WEEK 1 Sept. 9-10 Introduction
WEEK 2 Sept. 13-17 Poetry Thomas McGrath and Elizabeth Bishop
WEEK 3 Sept 20-24 Short Stories -- Calvino
WEEK 4 Sept. 27-Oct. 1 The Professor of Desire -- Roth
WEEK 5 Oct. 4-8 The Professor of Desire -- Roth
WEEK 6 Oct. 11-15 The Professor of Desire -- Roth
Oct 11 - No Classes Thanksgiving
WEEK 7 Oct. 18-22 Asleep -- Yoshimoto
Paper 1 Due

WEEK 8 Oct. 25-29 Asleep -- Yoshimoto
WEEK 9 Nov. 1-5 Poetry - Pablo Neruda and Theodore Roethke
WEEK 10 Nov. 8-12 Short Stories -- Murakami
Nov. 11 - No Classes Remembrance Day
Paper 2 Due

WEEK 11 Nov. 15-19 Wuthering Heights -- Bronte
WEEK 12 Nov. 22-26 Wuthering Heights -- Bronte
WEEK 13 Nov. 29-Dec. 3 Wuthering Heights -- Bronte

Winter 2005
WEEK 1 Jan. 3-7 English Romantic Poetry
WEEK 2 Jan. 10-14 English Romantic Poetry
WEEK 3 Jan. 17-21 Much Ado About Nothing -- Shakespeare
WEEK 4 Jan. 24-28 Much Ado About Nothing -- Shakespeare
WEEK 5 Jan. 31-Feb. 4 Much Ado About Nothing -- Shakespeare
Feb 4 Chancellor's Day. No classes.
WEEK 6 Feb. 7-11 Lais of Marie de France
WEEK 7 Feb. 14-18 Lais of Marie de France
WEEK 8 Feb. 21-25 Antigone -- Sophocles
WEEK 9 Feb. 28-March 4 Antigone -- Sophocles
WEEK 10 March 7-11 Mid-Term Break No Classes
WEEK 11 March 14-18 Antigone -- Sophocles
Final Paper Due
WEEK 12 March 21-25 Book of Job
March 25 - No Classes Good Friday
WEEK 13 March 28-April 1 Book of Job
March 28 - No Classes Easter Monday
WEEK 14 April 4-8 Book of Job

Assignments and Evaluation

Your participation grade will include not only attendance and participation in class, but also in class assignments and participation in group work.

The papers are due at the beginning of class on the dates specified (always the FIRST class of the week in which the paper is due. If the first class is a Monday, the paper will be due Monday. If there is a holiday then it would be due the first class of the week e.g. Wednesday). Late papers will be marked down one grade per day (i.e. one day late brings a B+ down to a B). If you have to hand a paper in late you must tell me BEFORE the paper is due and we can negotiate. There are certain good reasons for not handing in a paper: family problems, illness, going out of town for school. There are certain reasons that won't fly: hangovers, assignments for other classes, fatigue, just feeling like it. Just be reasonable about handing in your assignments and I will be reasonable if something unforeseen comes up.

You will be allowed four unexcused absences during the semester. After that your final grade will be dropped one mark per extra absence (so three extra unexcused absences drops you from B to C). Again, an unforeseen crisis will excuse the absence. But if you miss several classes, even with a legitimate reason, it will certainly reflect on your work and therefore your grade.

Important Note: Always keep extra copies of your papers, on floppy disk, and make an extra hard copy of each assignment. I will be dealing with hundreds of assignments this semester. One or two are bound to get misplaced, so don't put yourself in an awkward position. Always have a backup.

The Secret to the Participation Grade: 20% of your total grade is for participation. This 20% is, in effect, a gift. It is very easy to get an A in participation: just participate. Speak in every class. Make me remember you. If you participate a lot, I will remember. If, at the end of the semester, when I am giving you your participation grade, I remember that you spoke in almost every class, and that you did in-class assignments enthusiastically, you will be on your way to a strong grade in participation. If I remember you speaking a fair amount, you will get a B-range grade. If you just sat quietly -- even if you showed up for all the classes -- I would give a C or lower. Just talk, ask questions, make comments, give an opinion, argue, come for extra help and you will get a good grade in participation. Simple as that. Take advantage of the boost this policy can give to your grade.


Fall 2004
Quiz 1 2.5%
Quiz 2 2.5%
Quiz 3 2.5%
Quiz 4 2.5%
Paper 1 10%
Paper 2 20%
Participation 10%

Winter 2005
Quiz 1 2.5%
Quiz 2 2.5%
Quiz 3 2.5%
Quiz 4 2.5%
Final Paper 30%
Participation 10%