T C E603A • Composition and Reading in World Literature
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
This survey course focuses on major literary texts of the Western tradition, with some comparative study of works from other cultures. Emphasizing careful reading and effective writing, we will also consider thematic and chronological linkages and development and something of the cultural and historical contexts that produced the works being read. Readings for the first semester of this year-long course will likely include Inanna, Gilgamesh, Homer, Bible excerpts, the Greek tragedians, Plato, and Virgil, but we will consider other possibilities when we first meet. We will likely contemplate beginnings, male and female authority, conflicts and friendships, Western culture, systems of justice, worldly and spiritual kingdoms, family structures, sexual morés, and the role of the individual in society. And, achronologically, we will also read and see a live production of Macbeth, taking advantage of the residency program that I coordinate, Actors from the London Stage. We will work together to construct the reading list for 603b, building on the work of the first semester.
About the Professor
Professor Alan Friedman, who holds a doctorate from the University of Rochester, specializes in twentieth-century British and American literature, although he teaches a Shakespeare course at every opportunity. His most recent book, Fictional Death and the Modernist Enterprise, examines cultural and literary attitudes towards death and the radical changes they underwent around the turn of the century and, again, around mid-century. His six edited books include, most recently, one on Samuel Beckett and Situating College English: Pedagogy and Politics at a Contemporary American University, about hot cultural and educational issues and life in general within UT's English Department. He has taught at universities in England, Ireland, and France, including the Sorbonne in Spring 2000. He plays chess, bridge, and ping pong, pitches for a city league softball team that is full of academics, is an avid squash player, and, with his family, takes walks, attends theater, and travels whenever possible.
Writing assignments will include three essays of 4-5 typed double-spaced pages each, revisions of any essay whose grade is not in the "A" range, one-page journals on other readings, and a 6-8pp. essay on a mutually agreed upon topic. In addition, each student will give two brief introductions to the day's reading in order to initiate and help structure class discussion - 2 of the short essays will be based on these introductions; the third will be on Macbeth. We may also do group projects on some of the major texts. Classes will be run as seminars, with everyone expected to participate actively and thoughtfully.
Lawall, et al., eds. Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vol. I.
Inanna, eds., Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer. Harper & Row, 1983.
Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual, 2nd ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 1996.