ENGL 3000 INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY STUDIES
Fall 2017
http://capone.mtsu.edu/jcomas/3000/

Dr. James Comas
Peck Hall 385 • 898-2606
Office hours: TR 7:30-9:30, 1:00-2:30, & and by appointment
james.comas@mtsu.edu

This page contains the assignment schedule for ENGL 3000 (Fall 2017), as well as links to other class materials, including the syllabus and individual assignments (pdf format). A list of recent handouts appears near the top of the page; and a navigation box on the left can be used to select a particular week. Finally, when I announce changes to the schedule, I also will update this page.

RECENT HANDOUTS, IMPORTANT DATES & WEEKLY SCHEDULE

RECENT HANDOUTS (click item to download pdf)

IMPORTANT DATES

Formal Papers

Exams

Other Important Dates

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

UNIT I: WHAT DOES A LITERARY WORK MEAN? THEMATIC INQUIRY

For the first week of the semester, we will consider more rigorous ways of answering a basic interpretive question in the study of literature: What does a literary work "mean"? This basic approach to the study of literature is often called "thematic criticism," or what I will be calling "thematic inquiry." Also, we will find that our inquiries into the meaning of individual literary works often involve matters outside the literary work, including literary trends and traditions.

WEEK 1

Session 1 (Tue, Aug 29) Introduction to Thematic Inquiry
Required reading (in class)
Session 2 (Thu, Aug 31) The Concept of Literary "Theme"
Required reading:

WEEK 2

Session 3 (Tue, Sep 05) Thematic Concepts: Symbol
Required reading:
Session 4 (Thu, Sep 07) Thematic Concepts: Allegory in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"
Required reading:

WEEK 3

Session 5 (Tue, Sep 12) Myth & Literary Allusion in Poe's "The Purloined Letter"
Required reading:
Session 6 (Thu, Sep 14) An Example of Practical Criticism
Required reading:

WEEK 4

Session 7 (Tue, Sep 19) A Thematic Theory of Literature
Required reading:

UNIT II: ANALYTIC INQUIRY: THE INTERRELATIONS OF CONTENT AND FORM

Literature is often distinguished from other kinds of discourse by the degree to which the meaning of any literary work depends on an exploitation of the resources of language. It is for this reason that critics and scholars focus their attention on various parts of a literary work: they are examining the often complex way that literary meaning is composed. In this section of the class, we shift our focus to these aspects of literature in order to see how they can affect the interpretation of literary works.

Session 8 (Thu, Sep 21) Analysis of Poetry - Lines & Stanzas
Paper 1 due
Required reading (in class):

WEEK 5

Session 9 (Tue, Sep 26) Prosody - The "Inner Music" of Words
Required reading:
Session 10 (Thu, Sep 28) Rhetorical Figures and Tropes
Required reading:

WEEK 6

Session 11 (Tue, Oct 03) Analysis of Narrative - Intertwining of Narrative Voice and Plot Structure
Required reading:
Session 12 (Thu, Oct 05) Narrative Voice and Plot Structure (cont.)
Required reading:

WEEK 7

Session 13 (Tue, Oct 10) Figures of Speech
Required reading:
Session 14 (Thu, Oct 12) Mid-Term Exam


FALL BREAK (Oct 14-17)


UNIT III: GENERIC INQUIRY

In the previous section on "analytic inquiry," we became acquainted with some basic concepts used by literary scholars to talk about the interrelations of content and form. A related feature of literary discourse comes about when particular ways of exploiting language become conventional. When a set of conventions shape a literary work, we have evidence of a genre. We shall begin by examining the thematic and formal conventions of the sonnet. Then we will then shift our attention to short fiction and look at several "initiation stories" and stories of the grotesque; next we examine a genre of non-fiction prose--the essay; and finally we turn our attention to tragedy.

WEEK 8 (Oct 19)

Session 15 (Thu, Oct 19) Sonnets
Required reading:

WEEK 9

Session 16 (Tue, Oct 24) Origins of the "Grotesque"
Paper 2
Required reading:
Session 17 (Thu, Oct 26) Another Theory of the "Grotesque"
Required reading:

WEEK 10

Session 18 (Tue, Oct 31) Aphorisms and the Origins of the Essay
Session 19 (Thu, Nov 02) An Aphoristic Theory of Literature
Required reading:

WEEK 11

Session 20 (Tue, Nov 07) Tragic Drama: Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos
Required reading:
Session 21 (Thu, Nov 09) Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy
Required readings

WEEK 12

Session 22 (Tue, Nov 14) Elizabethan Tragedy: Shakespeare's Hamlet
Required reading:
Session 23 (Thu, Nov 16) A Critique of Hamlet
Required reading:

UNIT IV. HISTORICAL INQUIRY

How do critics and scholars study the historical dimension of literary works? In this section of the class, we will become acquainted with four modes of historical inquiry into literature: biography, literary history, cultural history, and sociopolitical history.

WEEK 13


Session 24 (Tue, Nov 21) Some Aspects of Biographical History: Conrad's Heart of Darkness and His Theory of Art

THANKSGIVING BREAK

WEEK 14

Session 25 (Tue, Nov 28) - Sociopolitical History: Was Conrad a Racist? The "Postcolonialist" Indictment of Heart of Darkness
Session 26 (Thu, Nov 30) - Sociopolitical History: Was Conrad a Racist? The "Postcolonialist" Indictment of Heart of Darkness

WEEK 15

Session 27 (Tue, Dec 06) - Review Session for Final Exam

Final Paper due - Fri, Apr 28, midnight (via email)

Final Exam for 001 (11:20 class): Tue, May 02 (10:30-12:30)

Final Exam for 002 (2:40 class): Tue, May 02 (3:30-5:30)

Last update: 24 Aug 2015

The contents of this page do not reflect any official positions of Middle Tennessee State University. The sole responsibility for these contents lies with the author:

Dr. James N. Comas (James.Comas@mtsu.edu)
Middle Tennessee State University
English Dept., Box 70
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615-898-2606

Some pages on this site contain material from my classes taught in The Department of English at Middle Tennessee State University.

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