Literature is public domain, i.e. it is not reserved for academic or cultural elite. Story, verse and myth have always entertained, inspired, educated and enlightened the masses of ordinary people. It is simply impossible to imagine a time or place where stories were not a daily staple of everyone's experience. We simply can not live without them. This course will explore the importance of literature to our humanity - to our understanding and awareness of us as a race and as individuals in a society.
To that end we will examine J.R.R. Tolkein's trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, a text often considered popular literature, which is rich in allusions to almost all significant western myths, Christian and Greek. As well, we will study Hamlet, which currently is usually considered "literature" but which was once also simply popular entertainment. We will study various poems and stories in the course text as well as reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald as an example of the novel reflecting its "zeitgeist".
Reading literature is responding to literature, to engage both the text itself and participate in the ongoing conversation around a text. Written responses to the texts we will be discussing will take the form of several short essays which we will outline in class.
Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, ed. Robert DiYanni, McGraw-Hill,
4 formal essays
worth 70% of your final mark:
You are expected to contribute to class discussion. Your ideas, opinions, questions and comments are critically important as education is two-way. Much of the business of thinking and writing is facilitated by discussion.
Examinations (10% & 20%):
Students are expected to have no more than 4 unexplained absences each term. Since it is hard to participate in the collaborative experience of learning without being in class, those who miss more than 4 classes without good reason should expect to have their grades lowered accordingly.
This is a serious
offence with appropriately severe penalties. In general it means presenting
as your own work anything (ideas, wording, etc.) that is not. Downloading
internet material without indicating the source is NOT research: it
is cheating. Even a single unacknowledged phrase can lead to an investigation
Tentative timetable for Fall Term: