LIT 168, Spring 2002
Sec. 01: M 300, TTh 9:30-10:45 pm
Sec. 80: M 300, W 4:15-7 pm
Robert Fletcher (homepage for office, hours, etc.)
This course introduces you to the academic study of literature and, more
specifically, to the theories and practice of reader-response criticism.
We will read and discuss examples of short fiction, poetry, drama, and
the novel, and, at the same time, we will also be studying the cultural,
cognitive, and rhetorical processes that enable people to read and write
texts. In addition, we'll use computer technology--including hypertexts
and the WWW--to help foreground the constructed nature of our seemingly
"natural" responses to texts. Finally, we will also spend some time discussing
and then practicing the conventions of scholarly writing.
The goals of this course are as follows:
to reveal the complexity and collaborative basis of the seemingly "natural"
process of reading and interpretation
to familiarize you with the tools--conventions, concepts, and vocabulary--of
to introduce you to current debates about the nature and functions of "literature"
to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of complex texts by providing
opportunities to share and respond to interpretations.
to promote your appreciation of and comfort with the uses of computer technology
in the humanities.
The following are required and can be purchased at the campus bookstore:
Meyer, Michael. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature.
5th edition. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.
Tan, Amy. The Hundred Secret Senses. Vintage, 1995.
There will also be some texts made available on-line, or xeroxed and put
on reserve in F.H.Green Library.
NOTE: Since a number of our readings will be on the Internet, access to
a networked personal computer is a must. For those without computers
in their dorm rooms or an Internet connection at home, there are computer
labs available in Sykes and Anderson. If you do not know how to access
the Internet and use the Netscape browser, you must make an appointment
with me during the first week of classes. I will show you the basics of
browsing the WWW.
You may also be required to view some film/video adaptations of texts,
which will be made available either in F.H. Green Library, or through the
English Department Office.
Your performance in the course will be evaluated in 3 different ways:
20% Informal writing assignments, including
70% Formal writing assignments (see grading
two out-of-class essays (1250-1500 words), prepared according to the conventions
of MLA style.
two exams, with essay and identification questions.
10% Class participation (including completion
of reading assignments on time) and citizenship
In accordance with ADA guidelines, I am happy to make reasonable accommodations
for students with disabilities. Please contact me during the first week
of class if you would like such consideration.
Late Assignments: Papers or other assignments submitted late will have
1/3 of a grade deducted for each day (not class period) that passes after
the due date. I will not accept any assignment more than 1 week late.
Plagiarism: "Plagiarism is using another's words or ideas without appropriate
acknowledgement" (MLA Style Manual 4). In formal essays, "acknowledgement"
means using conventions of citation such as the quotation marks and parenthetical
note in the previous sentence. Even if you paraphrase someone's
words, you must provide a note showing your debt. In informal writing,
as a common courtesy, you should always credit the name of the person whose
idea you are mentioning or borrowing. NOTE: If you plagiarize or use commercial
study aids (e.g. Cliff's Notes), in your formal essays, you will
receive an irrevocable "F" grade.
Attendance: A class that studies reader response, as ours will, has
to have some healthy discussion of actual responses to readings, and so
attendance will be part of your participation grade. You are permitted
three absences during the semester, excluding those for major medical
problems, which will be handled on an individual basis. If you miss too
much of the semester--even with a legitimate medical excuse--I may have
to ask you to withdraw. After the three cuts, your final grade in the course
will be lowered a third of a grade (e.g. from C to C-) for each cut.
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