About This Class
What I mean by “introducing you to literature” is really introducing you to the “vocabulary of literary discourse,” which is to say that the main goal of this course is not so much to tell you what literature is (for instance, we will not be reading them, but there are many very well written blogs, news articles, and letters that may all be considered literature), but I aim to give you ways to talk about literature. Since we must have something to talk about, that is where our selected texts come in.
This semester you will read a range of literature that spans the ancient and canonical as well as the more contemporary and even experimental. The only parameter I have for literature in this class is that it should tell a story. I’ve selected texts that, I hope, demonstrate the ability of literature to not only “tell a story” as we so often believe is its main purpose, but texts that also suggest the social and political impact literature might have on a given time or place. Because I am a pragmatist, I have also selected texts that I hope you simply find joy in—and not just “happy” joy, but the joy we feel when we are challenged, when we are angered, and when we are made to think—that tremendous joy that comes from growing intellectually. It is true, the literature cannot bless you with “intellectual growth” or even simple “understanding” on its own, but, as you begin to gain ways to talk about that literature, pick up words to bulk up your analytical lexicon, and acquire points of comparison by expanding your reading scope, you may find that you are “blessing yourself” with what literature can offer.
We won’t have a chance to read through everything this semester. I will try to pull together reading lists for certain genres as we cover them in class. You might also check out lists on Goodreads.
The World at Your Fingertips
Most of your papers for this class require you to use outside, academic sources. However, that doesn’t mean you have to pretend the internet doesn’t exist. Feel free to start your research by doing a Google search, looking up info on Wikipedia, or watching some videos on YouTube… or using any of the resources available to you. Just don’t be tempted to copy and paste that stuff and hand it in as your own. It is easy to find good, helpful information to get you started. It is just as easy for me to find and verify plagiarized work thanks to the same resources.