Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Literature / Delahoyde

Honors English 199
Section 3
Fall 2001

MWF 1:10 – 2:00
Murrow East 242

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Avery Hall 355 — Washington State University
Hours: MWF 9:00 – 11:00 and by appointment.

Introduction to Literature

Course Description:

A dismayingly common assumption made among people both inside and outside academia is that “literature” (to be pronounced lit-ah-chah) is something to be “appreciated.” Thus, we ooh and ah over well-turned meters and make sterile polite gasps at how well Melville captures the whale-murdering experience. But frankly, literature doesn¹t help us gain control over other people and animals, there¹s no bucks in it, and so it¹s just “nice,” maybe “poignant,” and at best “raw” (in an elitist, effete sort of way).

Fine, but literature in this class will be something that confronts us, disturbs us, suckers us in and then smacks us around emotionally and cerebrally (and not because I¹ve selected “raw” or aggressive works, by any means). This class will be as intricate as biochem. and, what is worse, more human.

For this section of Honors English 199, I have avoided all of those godawful readers and have chosen primarily short stories, poetry, plays, myths, novels, and other writings which concern issues of monstrosity, love, death, insanity, herpephobia, misery, and the hideousness of family. We will practice agonizingly close reading of this literature and will apply the tools of critical analysis: concepts and terminology such as characterization, structure, theme, voice, etc. (in ways more sophisticated and interesting than what Cliffs Notes have to offer under such headings). We also will try out several of the established critical approaches to texts: historical, formalistic, psychological, feminist, Marxist, reader response, deconstruction, and other theoretical perspectives. Emphasis in the course will be on learning to discuss and to write about literature confidently and articulately. Naturally, I have many interests which involve these works, but I’m just as anxious to hear and to read your discoveries concerning this literature.

Official Blab:

English 199 is one of several English courses designed with the following in mind. Here is what the English Department has to say:”The purpose of these courses is to expose students to a range of literary genres in their cultural and historical contexts and to teach the interpretive and communicative skills necessary to join effectively in the discussion of literature. Students investigate the concept of Œliterature¹ and examine the effects that readers and texts conjointly produce. All [these] courses will share a common glossary of literary terms and a common handbook for writers, provide significant opportunity for discussion, and Œhave appropriate writing assignments integrated into the material of the course¹ (“Writing Policy for General Education Courses”). Because [these courses] satisfy the GER in Arts and Humanities [H], they belong to a category for courses that “take a historical, critical, or appreciative approach to the study of human culture as manifested in literature, languages, philosophy, art, music, or drama [and] introduce the student to the record of human creativity and provide a basis for assessing its values and significance in human development” (“GER Guidelines”).

Course Objectives:

1. To learn ways of understanding and engaging with literature, both in discussion and in writing; to become skilled, self-conscious readers of literature through the study of a variety of texts representing diverse voices in different modes, genres, contexts.

2. To gain experience in close reading, analyzing, and interpreting literary texts — including significant engagement with poetry; with at least one novel, one play, and a range of other kinds of literary texts; with literature written prior to the 20th century; and with the study of literature in cultural and historical contexts.

3. To learn basic conventions of and to gain experience in analytical writing about literature, including a minimum of two formal, revised critical essays.

4. To learn the basic terminology relevant for critical analysis of figurrative language, of narrative structures, of important literary forms and conventions.

5. To become aware that there are a) various contemporary critical approaches to literary texts, b) debates over literary canons, and c) shifting assumptions (about literature, the author, the reader; about gender, race, sexual orientation, class, etc.) that have informed such approaches and debates.

Required Texts:

Abrams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th edition. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Pub., 1999. ISBN 0-15-505452-X. Thin and expensive, but helpful. It’s all here, waiting for application.

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. NY: Penguin, 1966. ISBN 0-14-043011-3. Best read in winter when ill, with cups of hot something.

Churchill, Caryl. Top Girls. Methuen, 1988. ISBN 0-413-55480-5, A0298. Okay, now I understand drama.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Lost World. 1912. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-89733-331-4. From the Sherlock Holmes author; you won’t believe this slice of limburger!

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Alexandria, VA: Orchises Press, 1990. ISBN 0-914061-16-x. Totally cool; how could this come from a hundred years ago?

Momaday, N. Scott. The Way to Rainy Mountain. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969. ISBN 0-8263-0436-2. Heartbreaking Kiowa legends.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. NY: Penguin / Viking, 1981. ISBN 0140707050. I heard this guy was good.

[Provided in handouts or on loan: lots of 14th­20th century poetry; 19th­20th century short stories; myth, psychological studies, and horror; possibly a Harlequin romance.]

Course Requirements:

You will submit three written projects of manageable length: analyses of literary texts or issues from a variety of perspectives. One of these may turn out to be a cooperative project.(45%)

A midterm exam will grieve you.(15%)

A final will oppress you.(15%)

I will frequently ask either for relatively short, typed homework assignments (in order for you to practice critical approaches and familiarize yourself with conventions of written literary analysis), or for short quiz-like writings at the beginning of classes (designed primarily to stimulate subsequent discussion). These will be graded by points and the final semester totals will be curved if necessary. You will be responsible for brief, informal, lead-off (sometimes group) presentations on assigned questions and responsible for contributing a short reading to the class. In addition, class participation will be expected when I’m not waxing enthusiastic but will arise anyway because the readings are so provocative (i.e., cool).(25%)

Honors English 199 Syllabus Fall 2001 — Delahoyde

August 27 — Introductions, Paperwork, Threats, and Course Business. Jane Seymour in Le Jardin de Max Factor.
August 29 — Textual and Historical Criticism. “Textual Criticism” (Abrams); Genesis 1­3 hand-out.
August 31 — Genesis 1­3 writings and discussion. Special attention to 2:4a/b and etiological issues.

September 5 — Short Fiction. Abrams: “Formalism,” “New Criticism,” “Point of View,” “Affective Fallacy,” “Intentional Fallacy.”
September 7 — More Short Fiction and New Criticism. Narrative strategies for perspective.

September 10 — Brontë, Jane Eyre. “Novel” (“Bildungsroman”), “Gothic Novel,” “Character.”
September 12 — Brontë, Jane Eyre. “Archetypal Criticism,” “Plot.”
September 14 — Kate Bush, The Line, the Cross and the Curve. Archetypal Analysis.

September 17 — Brontë, Jane Eyre. “Psychological and Psychoanalytic Criticism.”
September 19 — Brontë, Jane Eyre. Psycholinguistics.
September 21 — Brontë, Jane Eyre. Writing about Literature: conventions and tips.

September 24 — Brontë, Jane Eyre.
September 26 — Brontë, Jane Eyre, and on film. “Deus ex Machina.”
September 28 — The Yellow Wallpaper. “Feminist Criticism,” “Allegory.”

October 1 — Cheese: Part I. “Canon of Literature.”
October 3 — Cheese: Part II. The Complex Dynamics of Not Thinking.
October 5 — MIDTERM EXAM. Ow.

October 8 — Taking stock.
October 10 — [Conference] A necessary retreat.
October 12 — [Conference] He started grading again and had a relapse.

October 15 — PROJECT 1 DUE. Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape, That Time. “Absurd.”
October 17 — Churchill, Top Girls. Act One. Feminist Theater background.
October 19 — Churchill, Top Girls. Acts Two and Three. “Marxist Criticism.”

October 22 — Poetry. “Alliteration,” “Archaism,” “Conceit,” “Courtly Love,” “Meter,” “Rhyme,” “Sonnet,” “Stanza.”
October 24 — More Poetry. “Figurative Language,” “Free Verse.”
October 26 — Poetic Contributions. I do not like them, Sam iamb.

October 29 — More Contributions. “Modernism and Postmodernism.”
October 31 — Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain. Popul Vuh excerpt. “Myth.”
November 2 — Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain. “You know, …”

November 5 — Doyle, The Lost World. Masculinism. “New Historicism.”
November 7 — Doyle, The Lost World. Archetypal and Cultural Criticism.
November 9 — Doyle, The Lost World. Paleontological Weirdness and Herpephobia.

November 14 — Doyle, The Lost World.”Structuralist Criticism,” “Poststructuralism,” “Deconstruction.” Proposal Due.
November 16 — Conference

November 19-23 — *Thanksgiving Vacation*

November 26 — Shakespeare, Macbeth: Act I.
November 28 — Shakespeare, Macbeth: Act II.
November 30 — Shakespeare, Macbeth: Act III. PROJECT 2 DUE.

December 3 — Shakespeare, Macbeth: Act IV.
December 5 — Shakespeare, Macbeth: Act V. Adoption of Group Critical Perspectives.
December 7 — Group Viewing of Final Literary Work.

December 10 — Group Presentations.Snazzy brilliance. PROJECT 3 DUE.
December 12 — The Point of It All. Evaluations and Eulogies.
December 14 — FINAL THING and off to read the world.

Literature Index

Dr. Michael Delahoyde, Instructor, Department of English
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This site last updated 26 November 2001.