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

Spring 2004

T C E603 • E603: Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30030 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
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Course Description

“Most novels are in some sense knowable communities,” writes the literary critic Raymond Williams. They are also houses and countries. For the Spring semester of this course, we will take up residence in the literary super-genre known as Prose Fiction, which begins its modern history in Western Spain with Cervantes’s Don Quixote and in our course ends in Bombay with Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Our template throughout will be a poetics of space, situating the novel’s development and its specific concerns within the confines of domestic and national belonging, house and country, home and land. Primary emphasis in this course will be placed on the student’s ability to “rub” the text in order to arrive at the life it conceals. “Has anyone ever seen a reading that was something besides this effort carried out on a text?” asks a contemporary philosopher. “To the degree that it rests on the trust granted the author, it can only consist in the violence done to words to tear from them the secret that time and conventions have covered over with their sedimentations, a process begun as soon as these words appear in the open air of history. One must, by rubbing, remove this layer which corrodes them.” Strenuous, active reading and its counterpart in classroom participation will determine the sort of frictional engagement with text on which this course will depend.

About the professor: Adam Zachary Newton received his PhD from Harvard University and works in modern and comparative literatures and Jewish Studies.

Grading Policy

1. Every week, a short (1-2) page paper of close reading (passage or motif) 2. 10-12 page term paper, to be preceded by a topic proposal and outline, due on the scheduled final exam date.


Don Quixote, trans. Tobias Smollet Bleak House, Charles Dickens Mosses from an Old Manse, Nathaniel Hawthorne Amerika, Franz Kafka Call it Sleep, Henry Roth The Leopard, Guiseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa A House for Mr. Biswas, V.S. Naipaul Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie


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