This section of World Literature, ENGL 2112, explores the genesis and maturity of modern thought and literary expression from the latter-seventeenth century until the present. World Literature 2 examines national literatures other than those of Britain and America from the Renaissance to the present. Particular emphasis is placed on western literature, especially continental, Russian, and Latin American fiction of the 19th and 20th centuries.
World Literature 2 explores texts — poems, novels, novellas, plays, and short stories — in their historical and cultural contexts (particularly the scientific and intellectual movements of Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Modernism) as well as consider how those texts still inform our views of ourselves today. Since we have only a limited time in this survey, we will concentrate on both diversity of texts explored and the detail of that exploration. Authors include Voltaire, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Ibsen, Mann, Borges, Kundera, and Calvino, among others.
There is one required textbook in this class: The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, Volume 2. (Ed. Sarah Lawall. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005). This book should always accompany you to class, as we will make heavy use of it in our daily discussions. Please do not come to class without it: we need the book for class activities, in-class writing, and all aspects of our study. If you do not have your book in-class, you will be counted absent.
At several points throughout the semester, your reading assignments will entail short stories that are not in the above text. These additional readings will be made available to you as PDFs. You will need to download them, print them, and bring them to class with you on the day we are covering them in class. Failure to do so will earn you an absence.
Pen and Paper
You should also bring an ink interface of some sort, as well as dead trees on which to take notes. Notes should not only reflect good listening skills, but individual interest in every topic discussed in class. You should not sit in class like you’re watching TV: learning requires active participation.
Networked Devices and Other Stuff
Materials, like cell phones, food, magazines, iPods, etc., should be left in your car. They are not needed for our class and should, therefore, not accompany you. Anything that has the potential to distract you or the class, should not be in class. If I ask you to put away a device, I expect you not to use it and to not bring it to subsequent class meetings. See the Electronic Devices course policy for more.
Finally, since class lecture and discussion will often touch on the controversial, this college classroom is not an appropriate place for children. Please leave them at home. Please note that this class will cover mature subject matter: if you are easily offended by discussions of religion, politics, sex, and other adult concerns, you might not enjoy the study of literature at the college level.
Students are held accountable for knowing and practicing each of the course policies. Consider them like the law: the excuse “I didn’t know” will carry no weight. Since these policies are applicable to every course I teach, they are available on a separate page.
As a Macon State College student and as a student in any of my classes, it is your responsibility to read, understand, and abide by the MSC Student Code of Conduct from the MSC Student Handbook (PDF).
There are three major requirements for World Literature 2, each of which must be successfully completed to pass the course. Assignments are weighed on a point system, depending on their importance. For example, a reading quiz might have 10 points while the final exam might have 200.
The major part of your grade will be on four, formal reader responses. These will take the form of two-page essays that will require to critically engage a particular course text. Two of these responses will be due before midterm and two before the final. While there are only four required, you may choose to write more, particularly if you’d like to replace an unsatisfactory grade. All responses will follow essay format guidelines and be submitted electronically via Turn It In. Assignment specifics will follow. The Turn It In class ID is “3063198” and the password is “dostoyevsky” for this course.
A midterm and a final exam will be given that will test your knowledge of the subject matter (texts, lecture material, and vocabulary), your ability to synthesize this material, and your creativity in going beyond the discussion and lecture materials. The final exam will include vocabulary, identification, and interpretation. All exam grades will be based upon objective knowledge of the material, thoroughness, depth of insight, precision, and originality.
Regular class attendance, question posing, and active participation in classroom discussions are required. Participation, effort, and attitude will count significantly in this course. Quizzes, other class activities, and homework assignments not explicitly outlined above will be considered daily work.
Every class will follow a similar procedure, beginning promptly at the start of class.
- Attendance — If you come in late, it is your responsibility to ask me to mark you present. Remember, two tardies count as an absence.
- Reading Quiz — Since reading is such an important component of this course, you should expect a quiz for every assigned reading. These quizzes are designed to test factual aspects of the text, not interpretation or evaluation. Read every text carefully and take reading notes — character names, general plot, important items, etc. — and the quizzes will be no problem.
- Posing Questions — As you read each assigned text, consider aspects of the text that are confusing or unclear. When you finish reading, write down at least five questions that you have about the text. These questions should be in an effort to gain further insight to the text for yourself and your classmates. After the quiz, you will have the opportunity to pose these questions for discussion.
- Group Discussion — In small groups, you will discuss each others’ questions and come up with five of the best to share with the class for further consideration.
- Discussion — The rest of the class periods for the week will be our attempt to answer the questions posed at the beginning of the class and maybe come up with more. The idea is to get a grasp of the themes and concerns of the text.
These steps outline our general approach to classroom time; however, there will be days that will include lecture, writing, and/or out-of-class research assignments.
This schedule represents the ideal outline for our semester, but it is tentative and subject to change. It reflects only an overview of readings and assignments, but does not always indicate other specific class-session assignments or activities.
01/06/10 – Course Introduction; review the writing primer
01/11/10 – Molière’s Tartuffe (Acts 1-3)
01/13/10 – Molière’s Tartuffe (Acts 4 & 5)
01/18/10 – MLK Holiday, no class
01/20/10 – Molière continued
01/25/10 – Pope’s Essay on Man
01/27/10 – Voltaire’s Candide
02/03 – Voltaire’s Candide (cont.)
02/05 – Voltaire’s Candide (cont.)
02/08 – Begin Goethe’s Faust
02/10 – Goethe’s Faust (Prologue through Auerbach’s Cellar)
02/15 – Goethe’s Faust (Finish; you needn’t read Walpurgis Night)
02/17 – Poetry TBA
02/22 – Poetry TBA; Review
02/24 – Midterm Exam
03/01 – Conferences
03/03 – Conferences (Withdrawal Deadline)
03/08 – Spring Break
03/10 – Spring Break
03/15 – Pushkin “The Queen of Spades”; Gogol “The Overcoat”
03/17 – Dostoyevsky “The Grand Inquisitor” (PDF)
03/29 – Mann Wiki
03/31 – Mann Wiki
04/05 – Mann Death in Venice
04/07 – Mann Death in Venice (cont.); Wiki Due
04/12 – Kafka The Metamorphosis
04/14 – Kafka The Metamorphosis (cont.)
04/19 – Borges “The Garden of the Forking Paths”; Burowski “Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Gas Chamber” (PDF); Mishima “Patriotism” (PDF)
04/21 – Kundera “The Hitchiking Game” (PDF); Calvino “The Distance of the Moon” (PDF)
04/26 – Rulfo “Talpa” (PDF); Silko “Yellow Woman”
04/28 – Conferences
05/03 – Final Exam, 10:30a-12:30p