Introduction to Literature

Ann Rea, Introduction to Literature, Fall 2018

Course Description and Required Texts:

Introduction to Literature is required for English Literature majors in their first year, which means that many of you are in your first semester. Its purpose is to introduce you to the variety of genres that you will study in the coming years, and to teach you how to analyze poetry, drama and fiction so that you are ready to embark on your future classes. For some of you, this class will serve as an introductory exposure to literature as a general education area of study, and you are either new to it or do not plan to pursue it as a degree. To meet these needs, I have selected some of my favorite texts from each genre, also aiming to expose you to literature from a variety of eras. So we will read a Shakespeare play, Othello, from 1604, an eighteenth-century novel by Daniel Defoe called Moll Flanders, and a book about poetry, The Making of A Poem, which describes a variety of poetic forms and explains how poets have used them. You may know that Othello is a play about perceptions of race, as well as how someone can be manipulated to perceive another inaccurately, because of jealousy. Moll Flanders (1722) was one of the early novels written in English and describes a woman making her way in the world using the limited means available to her that included marriage and, eventually crime, at a time when women’s opportunities were severely limited. Her story is also the story of the origins of capitalism and will give us many moral questions to discuss, as well as being a dramatic, event-filled tale. Our later texts include E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, which might be my favorite novel ever, set in India among the English colonizers just before India gained independence. Another story about colonialization Brian Friel’s Translations, depicts Ireland undergoing settlement by the English in the early nineteenth century, although the play was written at the end of the twentieth century. Friel reveals how map-making and language help to determine the communities we live in, and how characters can judge or misjudge the historical events happening around them. Finally, Graham Swift’s The Light of Day (2003) tells the story of a private detective embroiled in complex ways in a murder investigation. I hope these texts will awaken your curiosity about literature, as well as your enjoyment of it, and will allow you to learn about how literary texts work, as well as how to develop the skills to interpret them.
Since reading is central, I will expect you to prepare for this class by reading the assigned texts thoughtfully and conscientiously and coming to class prepared to be involved in active discussion. This class will require your active participation and is not a lecture class, but one where you will engage with ideas and conversation and express your own views. This can be lots of fun, and, but for it to function we need everyone to make the effort to be reflective about his or her part in it. If you tend to want to talk a lot you might need to check that you do not dominate the discussion. If you are shy and tend to leave the talking to others you might need to push yourself to speak. It is extremely important that we behave respectfully towards others in the discussions.
I will require you to prepare discussion-prompting questions an assigned days so that we can pay attention to the aspects of the reading that interest you, although of course I will also guide you towards the interpretive skills you need to learn. We will develop the calendar of discussion guiding assignments when we meet.

Syllabus: 

Patrick S. Belk, Introduction to Literature, Fall 2017

Course Description:

This course explores the literary devices that writers use to produce texts and readers use to interpret them. The texts change from section to section and instructor to instructor, but they always stimulate investigation into reading and writing as ways of knowing (Course Catalog 2017-2018, University of Pittsburgh System).

Texts:

All required primary readings may be viewed online (Flash-based FlipBook) or downloaded (PDF) to print from my website, The Pulp Magazines Project @ http://www.pulpmags.org/, or The Internet Archive @ http://archive.org/. You will need reliable access to a computer and a fast Internet connection as well. The secondary readings are found in David Glover and Scott McCracken, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Popular Fiction (Cambridge UP, 2012), which is available from the campus bookstore or through Amazon.

Syllabus: 

Catherine S. Cox, Introduction to Literature, Fall 2016

Course Description

EngLit 0088 offers interested students an introduction to the study of literature and the processes of literary analysis. We will read primary texts of literature in each of three major genres (poetry, drama, fiction), considering a variety of critical approaches; we will examine the works in their historical, intellectual, and literary contexts, with an understanding that no single ‘correct’ meaning of any text exists, and that each reader is invited to discover relevance and meaning based on close reading and critical thinking. The course is designed for students of all majors, and additionally serves as a gateway course for potential EngLit majors; enrollment in EngLit 0088 is selective and presupposes an active and open-minded interest in reading, thinking, and writing about literature.

Required Texts:

The text required for this course is the Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, 10th edition (available at the UPJ Book Store or elsewhere, including online vendors).

Syllabus: 

Kimberly A. Douglas, Introduction to Literature, Fall 2013

Course Description:

This course studies invention and interpretation and explores the literary devices writers use to produce texts and readers use to interpret them. Although texts may change from section to section and instructor to instructor, they always stimulate investigation into reading and writing as ways of knowing.

Required Texts:

Syllabus: 
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