2006 C The Study of Literature
Our intention in this section of Engl. 2006 is to examine a body of texts that deal, directly or indirectly, with three concepts: imagination, narrative, and fiction. All three are tremendously important forces in human life, even if we sometimes forget or do not notice them. The three are intertwined, in life as in art, and we will trace their importance in the texts we study, severally and together. We will seek to define each concept, establishing what changes over time, and what remains essentially unchanged. Our texts will cover some 3500 years, and cultures ranging from Ancient Sumeria, twelfth century England, nineteenth century Europe, and the English-speaking world in the present day. We will talk about folk-motifs, narrative patterns in story and in more unexpected places, reality and make-believe, making and understanding story. We will talk about acting and theatre, acting and ordinary life, our own narratives and the roles we play every day. We will note that everything, from buildings to books, has its story, sometimes two, and we will examine the effect of layers of narrative. Inevitably, we will consider the very craft of fiction, how things go together, how they work, why they work, why the same stories get told over and over, and why the variations matter.
Course Format: Formal and informal lectures (mostly the latter); group discussions.
WebCT: To amplify our limited contact hours, we will be making use of STU's WebCT facilities. Discussion topics will be listed on the message board, as will any announcements or added bits that occurred to me after class.
ENGL. 2006 differs
from ENGL 1006 in that this course is intended to introduce the students
not to what the discipline of English studies, but rather how it studies
literature. There is therefore a greater emphasis on methodology: secondary
reading, research papers, style, genre, literary history, etc. Accuracy
of citation, form, language, information and genres matters, as do speed,
diligence, courage, persistence and passion.