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

Fall 2004

T C 603A • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42135 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
MEZ 2.116

Course Description

In this course, subtitled “The Heart of Literature,” we will examine literary works in various genres from ancient to recent times that move us as readers. How and why do certain books manage to speak so eloquently to our hearts as well as to our minds? What is it that stirs our emotional unconscious as we follow the relationship between a troubled soul and his mentor in Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio? Or as we listen to the voice of a house narrating family history in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse? Or as we experience the epic sweep of civilizations emerging and disappearing in Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities? Or as we assess the humanity of a creature and his creator in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? While these and other literary texts will be the primary focus of our investigation, we will also consider how selected cinematic works succeed (or not) in raising important issues--aesthetic ones, but historical and ethical ones as well--through their appeal to our emotional selves.

About the Professor Guy Raffa is an Associate Professor of Italian and a Councilor of the Dante Society of America. His main areas of teaching and research are Dante studies, modern Italian fiction, interrelations of literature and science, European studies, and instructional technology. Recent publications include a book on Dante (Univ. of Toronto Press) and essays on Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco. He is the project director of Danteworlds, a multimedia website currently featured in

Grading Policy

Four formal essays (800-1000 words each), one of which you will rewrite at the end of the semester and submit as a fifth paper, will account for 50% of the final grade. The remaining 50% will be evenly divided between informed class participation and a weekly journal containing responses to study questions and your reflections based on the readings and viewings. No final examination.


Dante, Inferno and Purgatorio Homer, Odyssey Virgil, Aeneid Primo Levi, Se questo è un uomo (If This is a Man) Toni Morrison, Beloved Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Edwidge Danticat, Kric? Krac! Tom Stoppard, Arcadia Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Michael Cunningham, The Hours


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