SYLLABUS: WORLD LITERATURE SINCE 1650, SPRING 2021

WLIT 1123

Be sure to check this syllabus regularly (and to refresh before checking) to keep up with the latest information about this course.

Instructor:

Prof. M. Keith Booker

234 Kimpel Hall, 575-7248

e-mail: m.keith.booker@gmail.com

Textbooks Required:

On-line textbook supplied free of charge. This syllabus provides links to the relevant sections.

Description:

This course will survey world literature since 1650, a field far too broad for comprehensive coverage. As a result, we can only touch on a few highlights within this overall topic, seeking to give shape to our study of these specific examples within broad historical and cultural trends. Acknowledging the crucial cultural importance of film, we will also watch several films, which are available via Kanopy, a service provided through the university libraries.

Course Resources for Remote Delivery

Online video lectures: Available on YouTube, linked to the schedule below.

Online textbook: Linked to the schedule below.

Facebook Group for Class Discussions: Click here.

Individual films: Available on Kanopy, via the university libraries.

Essays, exams, and other major requirements:

Students will write one critical essay (3-5 pages, double-spaced) and have an on-line mid-term exam and an on-line final exam, both delivered via Blackboard. Prompts for the critical essay are included at the end of this syllabus.

There will also be a class Facebook page where students may participate in discussions, ask questions, post relevant information, and so on. For each class for which you post or comment, on this page, you will be awarded 1-3 points, depending on the quality and substance of the post, up to a possible total of 15 points for the entire semester. Any crucial information posted by the instructor on the Facebook page will also be made available via this syllabus.

All students should check this syllabus daily for announcements and updates and to make sure you understand the schedule. All students will be responsible for being aware of any information or announcements presented in this syllabus.

Note on participation in discussions on Facebook: To avoid spoilers, you should not discuss the material for a given class before the date of that class. In general, responses to a given film should be posted as comments on a post on that film provided by the instructor as a prompt.

Grades and Grading

            Facebook Discussions: 15%

            Mid-term exam: 25%

            Final exam: 25%

            Critical essay: 35%

Course Schedule:

Tuesday, January 12

Introduction to the course. Visit the group page on Facebook at 9:30 am for a check-in and to ask any initial questions you might have.

Thursday, January 14

Overall Historical Background to the Course.

Read the on-line assignment before the start of this class.

Synchronous on-line discussion of that assignment at 9:30 am.

Tuesday, January 19

The Enlightenment, the Modern, and the Rise of the Novel.

Read the on-line assignment on The Enlightenment before this class.

Begin reading Voltaire, Candide (1759). Available on-line from Project Gutenberg at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/19942/19942-h/19942-h.htm.

Synchronous discussion of the assignment on The Enlightenment at 9:30 am.

Thursday, January 21

Finish reading Voltaire, Candide, before this class.

Read the on-line assignment on Candide before this class.

Synchronous on-line discussion of Candide at 9:30 am.

For those who prefer more conventional lectures, here’s one I gave as a guest on-line lecturer at a university in Kuwait last year, in conjunction with Professor Isra Daraiseh, the instructor in that course. Turns out students in Kuwait are studying some of the same things you are. You can access the lecture here. Note that it will not be on the exam: this one is just in case you’re interested.

Tuesday, January 26

Romanticism.

Read the on-line assignment on Romanticism.

Synchronous on-line discussion of Romanticism at 9:30 am.

Thursday, January 28

January 28—Modern Problems: France from the Revolution to the Commune.

Read the on-line assignment.  

Synchronous on-line discussion of nineteenth-century French history at 9:30 am.

Tuesday, February 2

February 2—Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1857). Available on-line from Project Gutenberg at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2413/2413-h/2413-h.htm#link2HCH0001.

Read Part I of Madame Bovary and the accompanying on-line assignment.

Synchronous on-line discussion at 9:30 am.

Thursday, February 4

Madame Bovary. Read Part II and the accompanying on-line assignment.

Synchronous on-line discussion at 9:30 am.

Tuesday, February 9

Madame Bovary. Read Part III and the accompanying on-line assignment.

Synchronous on-line discussion at 9:30 am.

Thursday, February 11

View the on-line summary lecture on Madame Bovary. Note: This lecture contains many spoilers and should be viewed after you have completed your reading.

Summary synchronous on-line discussion of Madame Bovary at 9:30 am.

Tuesday, February 16

February 16—Overview of Russian Literature in the Nineteenth Century.

Read the on-line assignment.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Begin reading Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground (1864). Available on-line at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/600/600-h/600-h.htm.

Thursday, February 18

February 18—Complete Notes from Underground and read the on-line assignment.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, February 23

February 23—Spring Break Day. No class.

Thursday, February 25

February 25—The Coming of Modernity.

Read the on-line assignment on modernity.

Begin reading Joyce, Dubliners, through “Two Gallants.” Available on-line at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2814/2814-h/2814-h.htm.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, March 2

March 2—Continue to read Joyce, Dubliners, through “Grace.”

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Thursday, March 4

March 4— Read “The Dead.” Read the on-line assignment on Dubliners.

View the summary lecture on Dubliners.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, March 9

Midterm exam. Covers all material through Dubliners. The exam will be conducted on-line via Blackboard. It will be open book. You may consult the lectures, on-line reading assignments, or other recorded sources., including the primary texts. Do not, however, consult other people. The exam will go live on Blackboard at 9:30 am. You will have thirty minutes to complete the exam once you start, though it will remain live until 10:10, in case some people get started late. Our synchronous on-line discussion of modernist poetry will begin at 10 am.

Modernism and modernist poetry: Rilke, “Archaic Torso of Apollo”; Yeats, “The Second Coming.”

Read the on-line assignment on modernism and these poems.

Synchronous on-line discussion, beginning at 10 am.

Thursday, March 11

As we enter the second half of the semester, now might be a good time to start thinking seriously about your critical essay. You might find this video helpful for that project.

Modernist poetry. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Read the on-line assignment on this poem and watch the video (https://julianpeterscomics.com/2020/11/13/video-of-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock-read-by-joseph-miller/?fbclid=IwAR0k3Go45hcdg2RwQUu4JeNtZWKAgZCJi3lDjpNlS2IpljjPmTpNmJEqg3M).

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, March 16

March 16—Read Kafka, “The Metamorphosis.” Available on-line at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/5200/5200-h/5200-h.htm. read the on-line assignment on this story.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Thursday, March 18

March 18—Introductory overview of international film.

Read the on-line assignment.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, March 23

March 23—Jean Renoir, The Rules of the Game (1939).

View the introductory lecture.

Watch The Rules of the Game (1939). Available on Kanopy.

Thursday, March 25

March 25—Spring Break Day

Tuesday, March 30

March 30—Read the on-line assignment on The Rules of the Game.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Thursday, April 1

April 1—Colonization and African Literature.

Read the on-line assignment.

Optional assignment (material will not be on exam): view the lecture on the African novel in English.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Begin reading Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958). Available on-line at https://mrskrabill.weebly.com/uploads/2/1/5/1/21518086/things_fall_apart–_full_text.pdf.

Tuesday, April 6

April 6—Finish reading Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

No formal synchronous on-line discussion, though students may pose questions on Facebook during the scheduled class time if they so choose..

Thursday, April 8

April 8—Read the on-line assignment on Things Fall Apart (1958).

View the summary lecture on Things Fall Apart.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, April 13

April 13—Agnès Varda, Cléo from 5 to 7.

View the introductory lecture.

Watch Cléo from 5 to 7. Available on Kanopy.

No synchronous discussion.

Thursday, April 15

April 15—Read the on-line assignment on Varda, Cléo from 5 to 7.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, April 20

April 20—Introduction to Asian film. Review the section on Asian film in the earlier assignment on international cinema, available here.

View the introductory lecture and watch Yasujirō Ozu, Tokyo Story (1953). Available on Kanopy.

Thursday, April 22

April 22—Read the on-line assignment on Ozu, Tokyo Story.

Synchronous on-line discussion.

Tuesday, April 27

April 27—Postmodernism and Globalization. Begin reading Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad (2014).

Thursday, April 29

April 29—Finish reading Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad. Read the on-line assignment on Frankenstein in Baghdad. Synchronous on-line discussion of Frankenstein in Baghdad.

To be scheduled:

Final Exam.

ESSAY TOPICS

The following suggested topics are intended to give students an idea of the kinds of topics that are likely to make successful critical essays. These topics my be used directly, or they simply may be used as guidance for students who wish to develop their own topics.

  • Discuss the ways in which Madame Bovary epitomizes realism in the novel.
  • Discuss the ways in which “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” epitomizes literary modernism.
  • Compare and contrast Candide and The Rules of the Game as works of satire.
  • Compare and contrast Notes from Underground and “The Metamorphosis” as works of existentialist literature.
  • Discuss the ways in which Things Fall Apart resembles and does not resemble the works of Western literature we have studied.
  • Choose one of the three films we have discussed this semester and describe the ways in which that film employs the resources of its medium to accomplish goals that might not have been possible in written literature.