Conventions of Reading

Schedule of Readings

Note: This schedule is subject to change, but when changes are required I will give as much notice as possible. If you miss a class, be sure to check on upcoming assignments. All readings are required and should be completed for the first scheduled class discussion. Page numbers refer to Meyer's Bedford Compact Introduction to Literature, 5th edition, except in the case of the Amy Tan novel.  Whenever possible, you should also reread texts after class discussion.

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Week 1

T 1/15 Introduction to course.   We'll look at two websites that provide an overview to reader-response theory:  John Lye's Some Factors Affecting/Effecting the Reading of Texts and Reader-Response: Various Positions.

Th 1/17  Empirical Reader-Response:  David Miall's Overview to his reader-response website and his essay "Empowering the Reader:  Literary Response and Classroom Learning."

Week 2

T 1/22  Ch. 1: Reading Fiction (9-39), Reader-Response Criticism (1646-49). Contributions to the class discussion board should begin this week. By Thursday, you must have posted one message about one of the stories. By Monday, respond to someone else's posting.

Th 1/24  Ch. 4: Character, especially Mukherjee's "The Tenant" (94-109)

Week 3

T 1/29   Ch. 3: Plot (60-70, 93), plus Stephen King's "Suffer the Little Children" (439) and Joyce Carol Oates' "The Night Nurse" (514)

Th 1/31  Ch. 7: Symbolism (193-98), plus Bi Shumin's "Broken Transformers" (491)

Week 4

T 2/5  Ch. 6: Point of View (154-192)

Out-of-Class Essay Topic #1 available here

Th 2/7  Ch. 8: Theme (211-217), plus Tim O'Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story" (459)

Week 5

T 2/12  Reader-Response as Cultural Criticism: Jane Tompkins, "Masterpiece Theater:  The Politics of Hawthorne's Literary Reputation", plus two Nathaniel Hawthorne stories (264-288)

Th 2/14  Ch. 2: Writing about Fiction (40-59) and Ch. 37: Reading and Writing (1523-1541)

Week 6

T 2/19  Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses (Chapters 1 and 2)

Out-of-Class Essay #1 due today.  Sample Essays for This Assignment.

Th 2/21  Tan, Senses (through Chapter 5)

Week 7

T 2/26 Tan, Senses (through Chapter 15)

Th 2/28  Tan, Senses (finished), plus read the article at the Blackboard site: "'Chinese and Dogs' in Amy Tan's "The Hundred Secret Senses": Ethnicizing the Primitive a la New Age." (Note: this is a change in the reading schedule.)
Midterm assigned.

Week 8

T 3/5 and Th 3/7  Spring Break.

Week 9

T 3/12  Midterm due.  Psychoanalytic Reader-Response: Norman N. Holland,  "Reading and Identity."  Also, for study purposes, look at the brief autobiography and outline of ideas that Holland has put on the WWW.

Th 3/14   Ch. 31: A Study of William Shakespeare (1038-1081) (through Act 2 of Othello). 

Week 10

T 3/19   Othello finished (1081-1130).

Th 3/21   Perspectives on Shakespeare, plus Two Complementary Critical Readings (1130-1136).

Week 11

T 3/26   Ch. 34: A Cultural Case Study: David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly (1210-1265).  Look at the following WWW sites: the lyrics to David Bowie and Iggy Pop's "China Girl" and a plot synopsis of Miss Saigon.

Th 3/28  Hwang, M. Butterfly.  Also, look at the summaries of Judith Butler's ideas about gender at and Dr. Mary Klages' U of Colorado site.

Week 12

T 4/2  Hwang, M. Butterfly.  Study  "Reading a Film Sequence," from the University of Victoria in Canada. Look at the Cronenberg interview on adapting Hwang's play to film. 
Out-of-Class Essay #2 Topic available here.

Th 4/4  Class cancelled, but find time in your schedule to view either Othello or M. Butterfly on film.

Week 13

T 4/9  Ch. 14: Reading Poetry (531-57, skip sample paper); Ch. 16: Word Choice, Word Order, and Tone (570-87); Formalist Strategies (1487-89), Deconstructionist Strategies (1503-05), Debicki and Rabinowitz essays (1512-17)

Th 4/11  Ch. 17: Images (600-16) and Ch. 18: Figures of Speech (617-34). Holland's "Books, Brain, and Bodies" and an e-text excerpt from Mark Turner's More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor.

Week 14

T 4/16   Ch. 20: Sounds (662-86), Ch. 21: Patterns of Rhythm (687-705), and Ch. 22: Poetic Forms (706-14)

Th 4/18  Class cancelled.

Week 15

T 4/23  Langston Hughes (814-34)
Out-of-Class Essay #2 due today.

Th 4/25  Perspectives on Hughes (835-42)

Final examination: TBA

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