E s316K • Masterworks of Literature: World
8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Our reading list is an eclectic, but not random, group of "classics" of world literature. They include two works from Europe and one each from modern Africa, North America, and India. The books have been chosen both because they represent periods of great literary flowering--ancient Greece, 19th-century Europe, and the modern period--and because each work occupies an important place in its national literature. Our reading covers three major literary genres--epic, poetry, and the novel.
Because each work marks a significant state of human consciousness or embodies values characteristic of a particular time and place, we will approach the books via their literary and historical contexts. Having adduced these contexts, we will then explore the books themselves.
Some class time will consist of lectures by the instructor, but most of our class hours will be devoted to close, detailed reading of the assigned texts. You should therefore come to class well prepared in the assigned readings. Only then will you be able to follow the lectures with profit, participate in informed discussions, and prepare for the pop quizzes that will partly determine your grade.
Grades will be based on a series of brief pop quizzes (30%--no make-ups of missed quizzes), a mid-term exam (30%), and a final exam (40%). These figures may be adjusted to take into account a student's performance in daily classroom discussion. Exceptionally poor or weak daily performance can affect the course grade by a full letter.
We will read the following works. Please get them only in the editions ordered through the Co-op. This is important because we will examine specific passages in class, and we all need the same paginations and translations. Also, quizzes and exams will quote passages for you to identify, and you will need to recognize the exact wording of the assigned editions.
Homer, The Odyssey (Fitzgerald translation)
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (Lowell Blair translation)
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
Selections from Wordsworth and Dante to be distributed in class