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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 E603A • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32245 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 104

Course Description

Our goal will be to adapt the discovery learning method promoted by the College of Natural Sciences to reading and writing. Discovery learning, also known as active learning, has been used in English courses to explore the inner world, but, like the natural sciences, we will start with the outer world. Hence for us "World Literature" will mean primarily literature of the world around you here on and near campus: the sense of the world as 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. We will approach it as semioticians, those who study all signs, linguistic and non-linguistic, including art, architecture, landscapes (geography), material culture (archaeology), etc. Hence, some class meetings will devoted to drawing and writing about nature, buildings, and works of art, on campus, at the Japanese garden at Zilker Park, and buildings downtown. We will write answers to basic questions such as what is this? where did it come from? and why is it here? Identifying objects around us as palimpsests, we will trace their layers of meaning through corridors of time back to various eras and places. For example, 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 creationism, and the carved griffins on the mantle in the Littlefield House will lead us, via the internet, to medieval cathedrals, and what Adams and Ruskin wrote about them.

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. At the moment he is particularly interested in writing about nature and architecture, especially gargoyles. 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 draft150 points each, 10% for each revision100 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 address the power of place on the college campus and elsewhere. Some of the projects will be contributions to a virtual world. 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 the aspect of place that 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 for punctuation, word choice, etc. Rewriting and preparing almost perfect final drafts will be stressed. The first requirement for rewriting is time management. Hence procrastination will be heavily penalized.


Discovery learning applies to the inner world as well, of course. In the first semester we will begin with the questions "Who am I?"; What am I doing here?; and Where am I going? We will read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Hardys Jude the Obscure, Beerbohms Zuleika Dobson, and Carrolls Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as commentaries on undergraduate life, as well as selections from Newman and others on the purpose of university education. Then places on campus will lead us to selections from the Bible, Wordsworth, Blake, Mill, Lopez, Pater, Dickens, Taniguchi, Jones, Tennyson, Eiseley, Darwin, Oliphant, Barney, Lawrence, Harrigan, Arnold, Forster, Dobie, Ruskin, Hopkins, Browning, Pater, Pugin, Hugo, Yeats, Thomas, Forster, Watts, and Wolfe. In the second semester, unless students vote otherwise, reading the griffins, we will turn our attention to medieval and medievalist art, architecture, and literature, guided by some of the same authors and by Adams, Morris, the Rossettis, and others. The course will conclude with a focus on Gothic in Gawain and the Green Knight, Emily Brontes Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre. Students will do presentations on murals and paintings in the second semester.


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