Literature Courses in the Core Curriculum

We read literature for a variety of reasons. Literary texts provide reflections on cultural values and concerns, windows into the past, chances to escape or to confront the troubles of our world, narratives through which we can analyze human actions and motivations, opportunities to meditate on humanity and the world we inhabit, and models for better writing.

Short stories, novels, plays, poems, and essays also invite us to exercise our imaginations and our capacity to feel and to empathize. By studying such texts, we deepen our ability to understand and to experience life on a range of intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic levels. Courses in this category will introduce students to the genres of poetry, fiction, and drama with emphasis on improving studentsí interpretative skills and capacities for critical self-reflection.

Master Syllabi:

Fall 2013 Course Offerings:

CORE 161A Introduction to Literature
Mr. Brian S. Stiles
(MWF 12:00-12:50 pm, Hafey-Marian 201)
An examination of major literary works that provide a unique perspective on human experience and society. Emphasis is placed on developing close reading and interpretation skills through the analysis of literary texts. Special attention will be given to relations between thematic content and formal properties and readings must include key works of poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction from a range of historical moments and cultural contexts.

CORE 161B Introduction to Literature
Rev. Anthony Grasso
(TTh 9:30-10:45 am, Hafey-Marian 211)
An examination of major literary works that provide a unique perspective on human experience and society. Emphasis is placed on developing close reading and interpretation skills through the analysis of literary texts. Special attention will be given to relations between thematic content and formal properties and readings must include key works of poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction from a range of historical moments and cultural contexts.

CORE 161C Introduction to Literature
Rev. Anthony Grasso
(TTh 12:30-1:45 pm, Hafey-Marian 211)
An examination of major literary works that provide a unique perspective on human experience and society. Emphasis is placed on developing close reading and interpretation skills through the analysis of literary texts. Special attention will be given to relations between thematic content and formal properties and readings must include key works of poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction from a range of historical moments and cultural contexts.

CORE 164A Science Fiction
Dr. Michael Little
(MWF 10:00-10:50 am, Hafey-Marian 211)
Science fiction is fun--escapist, exciting, and wildly imaginative. But it also provides a unique way for us to think about what it means to be human and just where our drive toward scientific progress might take us. For example--we might not ever encounter an alien civilization, but when we think about what might happen (how would we respond to aggression? weakness? something we cannot begin to understand?), we think about who we are and what we value right now. Do you know what it means to be human? Do you care? We might not ever develop artificial intelligence, but when we think about computers that think like humans, we think about what separates "human" from "everything else." All of the science fiction mainstays--interstellar exploration, galactic empires, first contact, time travel, and intelligent machines, among others--give us opportunity to think about who we are now by comparing ourselves to who we might be. This makes science fiction a useful tool for thinking about ethical and political issues, and that's what we'll do this semester while we imagine futures that are bright and shiny, dark and grimy, cluttered, tidy, chaotic, orderly, sterile, robust, vibrant, quiet, and generally much better/much worse/more or less the same as right now. We’ll read mostly from an anthology, covering authors such as Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, Robinson, LeGuin, Russ, Card, and others. We may read one short novel and watch one film.

CORE 164B Fairy Tale Themes in Literature
Dr. Laurie Sterling
(MWF 10:00-10:50 am, Hafey-Marian 213)
This course will begin with a study of traditional fairy tales and their interpretations. We will read versions of "Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Rapunzel," "Jack and the Bean Stalk," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Bluebeard" (among others). Additionally, we will read analytical pieces about these tales. Once students are familiar with fairy tales, their meanings, and their uses, we will explore the ways that literature and film incorporate fairy tale elements and themes. Readings may include work by Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, and Anne Sexton.

CORE 164C Science Fiction
Dr. Michael Little
(TTh 11:00-11:50 am, Hafey Marian 211)
This course is taught side-by-side with CORE 270/A: The Science of Science Fiction. The idea behind pairing these courses is to study science and science fiction as they relate to each other. Scientific progress is the playground of authors who work to imagine where science will take us and--significantly--how science may change us. Fiction can help us think about the implications of scientific progress, and scientific progress gives us new and exciting things to imagine and hope for in fiction. These two courses are separate but coordinated--we'll read fiction that explores the science taught in CORE 270, and CORE 270 will pick apart the science and pseudo-science in the fiction. As far as the literature half of this pair is concerned (that is, the CORE 164 part), we'll be reading science fiction not only as an introduction to literature in general but to the genre in particular. We'll also read science fiction as a way to think about who we are now by comparing us to who we might be as science pushes into newer and newer territory. All of the science fiction mainstays--interstellar exploration, galactic empires, first contact, time travel, and intelligent machines, among others--make science fiction a useful tool for thinking about ethical and political issues, and that's what we'll do this semester while we imagine futures that are bright and shiny, dark and grimy, cluttered, tidy, chaotic, orderly, sterile, robust, vibrant, quiet, and generally much better/much worse/more or less the same as right now. We'll read mostly from an anthology, covering authors such as Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, Robinson, LeGuin, Russ, Card, and others. We may read one short novel and watch one film. THIS SECTION IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE "TILE PROGRAM" AND WHO ARE THEREFORE ENROLLING IN "CORE 270/A: THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE FICTION."

CORE 164D Fairy Tale Themes in Literature
Dr. Laurie Sterling
(MWF 11:00-11:15 am, Hafey-Marian 213)
This course will begin with a study of traditional fairy tales and their interpretations. We will read versions of "Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Rapunzel," "Jack and the Bean Stalk," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Bluebeard" (among others). Additionally, we will read analytical pieces about these tales. Once students are familiar with fairy tales, their meanings, and their uses, we will explore the ways that literature and film incorporate fairy tale elements and themes. Readings may include work by Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, and Anne Sexton.

CORE 164F Literature of Labor
Dr. James Wallace
(MWF 1:00-1:50 pm, Hafey-Marian 211)
Literature and Labor? Sounds like work, doesn't it? Considering how much of our lives are consumed in our jobs, why would we want to spend any of our free time studying literature about labor? Well, for one thing, imaginative expressions about work can be full of humor, emotion, poignancy and insight. And for another, literature about labor can help us answer questions regarding the value and meaning of what we do to earn a living. The readings in this course will provide a context for our discussion about the rewards and costs of working for ourselves and others. Although we'll examine the subjects of work and workers primarily in literature (poetry, stories, essays, autobiographies, drama), we'll also look at work depicted in other genresó film, television, music, painting and photography. We'll look at literature and art from the famous (Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales) to the lesser known, focusing on a wide range of professions and workers. We'll spend one unit in the course looking at the art and literature produced in the coal fields of Northeastern Pennsylvania. And we'll turn some of our attention to immigrant labor and the kind of work traditionally done by women.

CORE 164G Monsters in Literature
Dr. Noreen O'Connor
(MW 2:00-3:15 pm, Hafey-Marian 510)
This course asks students to consider what monsters show (deMONSTRate) about the cultures that create them and about the generations of readers drawn to them. We will read a range of works--from the medieval to the modern--and discuss some of literature's most famous creations, including Beowulf's Grendal, Marie de France's werewolf Bisclavret, Shakespeare's Caliban, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein monster, Han Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Junot Diaz's "Monstro" zombies. We will also watch a few films, possibly including Nosferatu and The Blob. Each of these frightening, freaky, and fantastic stories works on the borders of human identity and raises a number of interesting questions: What is human? What makes us individuals? What makes us different from animals? How do we conceive of identity and difference, self and other? How do we sympathize with others? How do texts across periods and genres approach/answer the question?

Past Course Offerings:

CORE Literature Coordinator: Dr. Noreen O'Connor, Department of English, e-mail: noreenoconnor@kings.edu