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

Spring 2010

T C 603B • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43545 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

This course will present a broad survey of world literature from the classical tradition to the present, with special focus on the theme of metamorphosis. In our readings of epics, poetry, prose essays, plays, novels, graphic novels, and films, we will look at gods and monsters in their various incarnations, and consider the ideas of transformation, development, change, and revolution as they are manifested in literary representations of self and other, male and female, body and soul, human and animal, nature and society. The emphasis in the course will center on close textual readings as well as contextual interpretation as we analyze the ways in which form as well as content can reflect these ideas of change and revolution; special attention will also be paid to the questions of gender, power, and identity. In the fall semester, Professor Johnson will examine metamorphoses in literature from Ancient Greece, China and India through to the Renaissance. In the spring, Professor Wettlaufer will trace these themes through a variety of literary movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe, the Americas, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Grading Policy

This course will be conducted as a seminar; therefore students will be expected to attend every class fully prepared to participate in discussion of the texts. For each class meeting, students are required to post at least one question or comment on that day's reading assignment on Blackboard. Class participation, including Blackboard postings, individual and group presentations, will count for a substantial portion of the final grade. There will be four formal papers assigned during the course of each semester, along with various more informal writing assignments both in and outside of class. The formal papers will cover four different kinds of approaches: thematic analysis; textual analysis; stylistic analysis or pastiche; and comparative analysis. The first three short papers (3-5 pp) may be rewritten once. A longer, 8-10 page paper will be due at the end of the semester.


Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Honoré de Balzac, Old Goriot
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Camara Laye, The Dark Child
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis

About the Professor

Professor Alexandra Wettlaufer is an Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature, a Women’s and Gender Studies Faculty Affiliate, and the Associate Director of Plan II. She specializes in the relationship between art and literature in the nineteenth century and has published widely on French and British novels, paintings, and culture. Her most recent book, Portraits of the Artist as a Young Woman, will be published in 2010. A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, Professor Wettlaufer has held fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Clark Art Institute, and the National Humanities Center. In 2000 she received the President’s Associates’ Teaching Award and in 2007 she was awarded the David Blunk Memorial Professorship for excellence in undergraduate teaching and advising.


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