World Literature, ENG 203 B, Fall 2002

Instructor: Michael Webster  Office: 129 LHH; Phone: 895-3071
e-mail: Class meets: 4:00-5:15 TR, LHH 122
homepage: Office Hours: 10-11 MW and 12-1 TTH.
Schedule of readings and writings:
Note: Finish all readings before class meets.

Week 1: [Aug. 27 & 29] In volume D, read the introduction, "Enlightenment in Europe" (295-302). Molière, Tartuffe (298-356); in the packet, read also "Ideologies," "Questions to Ask," "Ways of Looking at Art," and "Notes and Questions for Molière’s Tartuffe."

September 3: No Class—Labor Day. Have a Great Picnic!
Week 2. [Sept. 5] Pope, Essay on Man (510-517); Voltaire, Lisbon Earthquake (packet). Start Candide, chapters 1-12 (517-539) and "Voltaire’s Maxims and Opinions" (packet 38-41). [Optional: Pope's Essay on Criticism, Part 1 and Part 2]

Week 3: [Sept. 10 & 12] Finish Candide, chapters 13-30 (539-580); Start Basho, Narrow Road to the Interior (603-629)

Week 4: [Sept. 17 & 19] Finish Basho. Start volume E: "Revolution and Romanticism" (650-661) and Rousseau, Confessions (662-678). Poems by William Blake (780-789).

Week 5: [Sept. 24 & 26] Poems by Hölderin (836-838), Heine (844-846), and Leopardi (846-850). Pushkin, "The Queen of Spades" (863-883). [First version paper 1 due.]

Week 6: [Oct. 1 & 3] "Realism, Naturalism, and Symbolism in Europe" (1061-1073). "Realism" (packet). Begin Tolstoy, Death of Ivan Ilyich chapters I-VI (1418-1446)

Week 7: [Oct. 8 & 10] Finish Tolstoy, Death of Ivan Ilyich chapters VII-XII (1446-1460). Ibsen, Hedda Gabler, Acts I and II (1460-1498).

[Paper 1 final copy due.]

Week 8: [Oct. 15 & 17] Finish Ibsen, Hedda Gabler, Acts II and IV (1498-1518). Chekhov, "The Lady with the Dog" (1519-1535) [Midterm.]

Week 9: [Oct. 22 & 24] Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard (1536-1571). "Symbolism, Decadence, and Aestheticism" (packet 83-86); Baudelaire, "Two Poems" (packet 86-87), "To the Reader," "Correspondences," "Invitation to the Voyage," "The Voyage," and "Anywhere Out of the World" (1380-1398), poems by Verlaine (1405-1410), and "Documents of Aestheticism: Pater and Wilde" (packet 90-92).

Week 10: [Oct. 29 & 31] Begin volume F. "The Modern World: Self and Other in Global Context" (1572-1605). Video of Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author (1721-1766).

Week 11: [Nov. 5 & 7] Proust: "Overture" to In Search of Lost Time (1766-1803).
[First version of paper two due.]

Week 12: [Nov. 12 & 13] Mann, Death in Venice (1836-1890) and Lu Xun (Lu Hsün), Diary of a Madman (1917-1929) "Upstairs in a Wineshop" (1929-1938).

Week 13: [Nov. 19 & 21] Rilke, "Archaic Torso"and "The Panther" (1890-1895). Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1996-2030). [Paper 2 due.]

Week 14: [Nov. 26] Mahfouz, "Zaabalawi" (2527-2538), Camus, "The Guest" (2570-2582). Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 15. [Dec. 3 & 5] Achebe, Things Fall Apart (2855-2948).

Final Exam: Tuesday December 12, 4-5:50 p.m.

Course Goals and Design, ENG 203, Fall, 2002


Readings: Except when noted in class, assignments always include biographical sketches and introductions in the Norton text. Feel free to ask questions about the readings, which, while they may come from unfamiliar time periods and cultures, are nevertheless exciting, entertaining, and challenging. Come to class prepared, having read the material and thought about the study questions and any other questions you have raised on your own. I will help you keep on track by giving quizzes from time to time. Your participation will help make the discussion lively and the course more memorable.

Questions: "The love of wisdom begins in wonder," said Socrates. We learn by asking and working out answers to questions. The study questions in the packet or in handouts are designed to stimulate your thinking and activate your reading, to highlight important issues, and to prepare you for in-class discussion. I ask three kinds of questions: reading and interpretive, and critical. Reading questions ask you about your feelings and comprehension of subject, content, plot, the literal story-line. Interpretive questions ask for your opinions on themes, figurative language, symbolism, and form. Critical questions ask you to judge the taste, period, history, politics, and ethics depicted in the work of literature. (Elements from previous levels should carry over to each new level. Thus, an analytical interpretation must take into account sensuous aspects like feeling and performance.) The best questions have no "right" or "wrong" answer, only better or worse answers according to the evidence and reasonings you can bring to back up your opinions. These questions usually contain phrases like "do you think" or "why do you suppose."

Attendance: Since I've structured this course around discussion questions, rather than just lecture material, your attendance and your participation is vital. Those who are absent (in body or mind) will find the course less interesting and the material more difficult than those who attend and participate. You cannot "make up" the discoveries and the intellectual give-and-take created by a classroom full of individual personalities. You also deprive the class of the unique perspective that only you can bring. If you feel intimidated or puzzled by the readings or have some hesitancy about participating, feel free to talk to me about it. Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it definitely makes the grade go lower. Those who miss more than a week of classes without legitimate excuse will receive a failing grade for the course. Work is not a legitimate excuse.

Writing will be graded very carefully. You will have four kinds of writing assignments: 1) short (no more than one page, hand-written) before-class or in-class exercises, 2) short quizzes on the reading, 3) two essay exams (a midterm and a final), and 4) two (4-5 pages, typewritten) papers. You will have the opportunity to revise one paper of your choice. Prerequisite: completion of the composition requirement.

Grading: Final grades will be based on your papers (roughly 40%) exercises, quizzes, class participation (roughly 20%), and the midterm and final (roughly 40%). I say "roughly" because exceptional performances, both good and bad, will count more heavily, especially in the area of class participation. Because grades are meant to reflect your effort in a course, plagiarism will be punished severely. At the least, you will receive an F for the paper; you may fail the entire course. For more information on the University's policy on plagiarism, see sections 223.00 and following in the Student Code.

The Writing Center is a place where students can discuss their writing with student consultants prepared to respond to their work. The Writing Center offers assistance on prewriting, drafting, revising previous drafts, editing, and citing sources. Locations:
Allendale Campus 
201 STU / 895-3451 
Mon.-Thurs. 9am-6pm 
Fri. 9am-3pm 
Pew Campus 
Grand Rapids 
101 EC / 486-6407 
Mon.-Thurs. 5pm-10pm
Meijer Campus 
Room 119 
Tues.&Wed. 6pm-8pm

SWS Requirements: This course is designated SWS. Completion of ENG 150 and/or ENG 305, as appropriate, with a grade of C or better (not C-) is/are the prerequisite(s). SWS credit will not be given to a student who completes this course before completing the prerequisite(s). SWS courses adhere to certain guidelines. Students turn in a total of at least 3000 words of writing. Part of that total may be essay exams, but a substantial amount of it is made up of finished essays, reports, or research papers. The instructor works with the students on revising drafts of papers, rather than simply grading the finished piece of writing. At least four hours of class time will be devoted to writing instruction. At least one third of the final grade in the course is based on the writing assignments.

Back to: