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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2007

T C E603A • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34895 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 104

Course Description

We will focus on two of the core values of this university -- Leadership and Discovery - and two related values: Compassion and Diversity, especially as they relate to Pre-Med and related concentrations. One goal will be to adapt to reading and writing the discovery learning method promoted by the College of Natural Sciences. Active learning has been used in English courses to explore the inner world, but, as in the natural sciences, we will start with the outer world. Hence for us "World Literature" in the first semester will mean primarily literature of the world around you here on and near campus: with world meaning your sphere of action or thought; the 'realm' within which one moves or lives (OED). And we will expand the sense of literature as well: all of your world will be your text, including art, architecture, and landscapes. Special emphasis will be placed on the architecture of our campus and its relation to collegiate architecture elsewhere and various European and Asian traditions. Hence, some class meetings will devoted to drawing and writing about nature, buildings, and works of art, on campus, and at buildings downtown, and at the Japanese garden, and Hindu and Buddhist temples in and around Austin. We will identify objects around us as palimpsests, tracing their layers of meaning back to various eras and places. For example, in the first semester the carved dragons on the mantle in the Littlefield House will lead us, via the internet, to medieval cathedrals, and what Adams, Ruskin, and Greeley wrote about them, and to the images of the female in art. In the second semester, questioning fossils in Waller Creek will lead us back to the origins of life on earth and forward to the writings of Darwin and Tennyson and to the contemporary debate between evolution and spirituality .

About the Professor

Jerome Bump was awarded the Jeanne Holloway Award for undergraduate teaching, the Dad's Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship for instructing Freshmen, the Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellowship for directing the Computer Writing and Research Laboratory (devoted primarily to lower division instruction), and chosen as a Mortar Board Preferred Professor. He is the author of Gerard Manley Hopkins and many essays and reviews. For more information about him, his teaching philosophy, or his courses see

Grading Policy

About 50% of the final grade will be determined by the multimedia web projects (15% for each first draft 150 points each, 10% for each revision 100 points each), 14% by the portfolio (140 points); 30% by informal writing (300 points); 6 % by class participation (60 points). 900 points (out of 1,000) are required for an A-; 800 for a B-; 700 for a C-; 600 for a D-. However, more than 1000 points will be available so that students can emphasize formal over informal writing or vice versa, class participation more than the portfolio, etc. At the end of the course, students will receive exactly the grade recorded in the online gradebook, even if it is one point short of the next higher grade.

Multimedia web projects will be devoted to various aspects of leadership. Informal writing consists primarily of self-reflection and reading journals. Class participation includes the art of listening as well as speaking in public.

Students will need to have or get in the first semester multimedia and web skills, and they should be prepared to think for themselves. Discovery learning dictates that for projects there will be fewer instructions than what students may be used to from other courses. This can be frustrating for some, especially those who want a detailed formula that will guarantee them a good grade. Instead students will be encouraged to be creative and write about what is most important to them. Initial comments on the projects will be made online by the other students in the class, with the instructor then focusing on polishing the final drafts. Rewriting and preparing almost perfect final drafts will be stressed.


Discovery learning applies to the inner world as well, of course. There we will train ourselves in leadership, compassion and respect for diversity, in our writing and our reading about heroes such as Hindu gods and goddesses, Buddha, Moses, David, Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Virgil, M. L. King, Gandhi; famous writers such as Hemingway, Yeats, Keats; and singers such as Bob Dylan We will begin with the questions "Who am I?" and "What am I doing here?" We will read Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as a commentary on undergraduate life, as well as selections from Newman, Giametti, Brickley, Arnold and others on the purpose of university education. Then places on campus will lead us to selections from Ruskin, Hopkins, Pugin, Jones, Oliphant, Taniguchi, Bauld, Klingbenborg, Forster, Arnold, Hardy, Dobie, Browning, Watts, Wordsworth, Mill, Blake, Thomas, Cobb . One of our touchstones in our discussions of these authors will be our relationship to nature. During the second semester will will adapt our readings to the needs and interests of the students, but likely readings will be Gawain and the Green Knight, Compassion in Medicine, How Can I Help?; the novels The Bluest Eye, Woman Warrior, The Color Purpose, and The Family of Max Desir; and along with selections from Hero of a Thousand Faces, The Origin of Species, Goblin Market, etc.


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