English 1006X - Introduction to Literature
2004-2005
Lecturer: Michael Lushington


As the title of this course suggests, it is an introduction to what literature is all about, particularly to us in the early days of the 21st century. We are going to explore and examine a good many pieces of writing over the next while, some of them quite famous, others perhaps rather more obscure but still, I believe, worthy of consideration. The one thing that they all have in common, or at least I think they do, is that they are capable of provoking personal, thoughtful, complex reactions in each of us. Considering these reactions and discovering increasingly sophisticated ways to describe them will be the primary goal of the course.

The foregoing should imply that much of the essential work of the course will take place in an open forum of discussion. You must be prepared to share your thoughts, to argue, and debate, and revise, and defend them on a weekly basis. Stated simply, you will get out of this course what you are prepared to put into it.

We will follow a simple format each week. You will have been assigned a piece of work to consider and to write about prior to each class. Or you may have been requested to do some creative writing on your own. In either instance, the first hour of each class will be given over to an opportunity for you to present your work and to initiate discussion on it and on the topic that had been assigned in general.

The second hour of each class will be where I get to talk - although I promise not to monopolize. I may have some ideas that need explanation, or some information to be disseminated.

In the third hour, you will be presented with a text for an in-class analysis. You may be working in small groups, or it may be individual work (it will vary from week to week, according to the particular text and my whim), but the final half of the hour will be an open forum on ideas and reactions to the text.

In between these segments, I will find the necessary time for the bits and pieces of "administrivia" that need attention.

Evaluation:

1. There will be two examinations: each of them will be worth 25%. 50%

2. There will be, in all, 20 written assignments - ten each term 30%

3. There will be a class participation mark 20%

Please note the following:

1. Each examination will be held in a classroom setting and will be up to three hours in length. For each of them, you will be presented with a number of texts on which you will be requested to write and to react intelligently and critically. They will be "sight texts" - that is, you will not have seen them previously, but they will be consistent in style, complexity, and content with the material with which you have been reacting throughout the term.

2. As I had mentioned above, you will have a short assignment each week (500 - 1000 words). I will require a minimum of five of them each term. They will be graded and returned to you each week. Should you decide to submit more than
five, I will count the best five for your term mark. Please note that each assignment must be handed in on time, or I will not consider it.

3. Class participation is an integral part of this course - and I will honour that integrity by assigning up to 20 marks for it.

4. To clarify the mark allocation, 50% of all marks will be earned in each term.

Attendance:

In a course such as this, attendance and class participation are very important. Still, circumstances do arise and I understand that. I will tolerate two absences each term with no questions asked; for any above those two, you must provide a substantial reason - preferably a documented one - or you will sustain a 25% reduction in your class participation mark for each unexcused absence (20% becomes 15% becomes 10% and so on).

Schedule:

At this point, I am offering you a schedule only in broad terms. I will provide further details as we go along.

Sept. 14 - Class 1 - Introduction to the course

Sept. 21 - Class 2

Sept. 28 - Class 3

Oct. 5 - Class 4

Oct. 12 - Class 5

Oct. 19 - Class 6

Oct. 26 - Class 7

Nov. 2 - Class 8

Nov. 9 - Class 9

Nov. 16 - Class 10

Nov. 23 - Class 11 - end of poetry section of course

Nov. 30 - Class 12 - introduction to prose/drama

December 14 - in class examination on poetry from first term (class 13)

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Jan. 4 - Class 14

Jan. 11 - class 15

Jan. 18 - class 16

Jan. 25 - no class

Feb. 1 - class 17

Feb. 8 - class 18

Feb. 15 - class 19

Feb. 22 - class 20

March 1 - class 21

March 8 - study break - no class

March 15 - no class

March 22 - class 22

March 29 - class 23 - final class for course

Final examination to be scheduled for early April