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

Fall 2005

T C 603A • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42610 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
CRD 007A

Course Description

In this course, subtitled The Heart of Literature, we will examine creative literaturein various genres from ancient to recent timesand cinematic works that move us as readers and viewers. How and why do certain books and films manage to speak so eloquently to our hearts as well as 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? Or as we consider the plight of exiles and immigrants in classical epics (Homer's Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid) and contemporary film and literature (Amelio's Lamerica, Danticat's Krik? Krak!)? Or as we assess the question of what it means to be human in Primo Levi's If This Is a Man and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? Or as we encounter the powerful effects of remorse and love on a murderer's tortured psyche in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment? Throughout the semester we will discuss how these works succeed (or not) in raising important ethical and aesthetic issues through their appeal to our emotional selves.

About the Professor Guy Raffa's main areas of teaching and research are Dante studies, modern Italian fiction, and the interrelations of literature and science. His recent publications include a book on Dante and essays on Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco. He is the recipient of an Innovative Instructional Technology Award for his work on a multimedia web site (Danteworlds) and a President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award for his undergraduate teaching.

Grading Policy

Essay 1 (4 pages/1000 words): 10% Essay 2 (substantial revision of first essay; 4 pages/1000 words): 15% Essay 3 (5 pages/1250 words): 20% Creative writing project with critical commentary (3 pages/750 words): 10% There will be one in-class examination (15%), and class participation and preparation (including a journal containing responses to study questions and reflections based on the readings and viewings) will account for the remaining 30% of the final grade. No student who misses more than 6 classes (3 weeks) for any reason can complete the course with a passing grade. There is no final examination.


Literature: Dante, Inferno (tr. Mandelbaum) Homer, Odyssey (tr. Fagles) Virgil, Aeneid (tr. Fitzgerald) Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (Se questo ê un uomo; tr. Stuart Woolf) Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak! Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (ed. Maurice Hindle) Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment (tr. David McDuff) Films: Lamerica (Gianni Amelio) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh)


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