Fall 2010 Core-Literature Offerings

Core 161/A: Introduction to Literature (Stiles)
            MWF, 8:00-8:50am, Hafey-Marian 601

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 161/B: Introduction to Literature (Housenick)
MWF, 12:00-12:50pm, Hafey-Marian 610

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 161/C: Introduction to Literature (Alber)
TTh, 12:30-1:45pm, Hafey-Marian 610

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 163/A: Historical Perspectives in Literature: The 1930s (Wallace)
MWF, 10:00-10:50am, Hafey-Marian 610

Bank failures, foreclosures, unemployment, poverty, hunger.  Sound familiar?  In this class we’ll explore the culture of that other great economic crisis—the 1930s, the Depression.  We’ll look at how American writers responded (or didn’t) to the struggles of the working class in cities and on farms.  We’ll also explore the land “somewhere over the rainbow”—the part of 1930s culture that offered escape through comedy and optimistic visions of the future.   Authors may include Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemingway, Tillie Olsen, Michael Gold, Erskine Caldwell, Meridel Le Sueur, Nelson Algren, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Nathanael West.  Films may include Duck Soup (The Marx Brothers), Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin), The Wizard of Oz, and Shall We Dance (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).  We’ll also consider how photography, music, and architecture of the 1930s contribute to our understanding of the history of the Depression, and we’ll ask how our interpretation of 1930s culture is influenced by our current economic situation. 

Core 163/B: Historical Perspectives in Literature: The 1930s (Wallace)
MWF, 11:00-11:50am, Hafey-Marian 603

Bank failures, foreclosures, unemployment, poverty, hunger.  Sound familiar?  In this class we’ll explore the culture of that other great economic crisis—the 1930s, the Depression.  We’ll look at how American writers responded (or didn’t) to the struggles of the working class in cities and on farms.  We’ll also explore the land “somewhere over the rainbow”—the part of 1930s culture that offered escape through comedy and optimistic visions of the future.   Authors may include Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemingway, Tillie Olsen, Michael Gold, Erskine Caldwell, Meridel Le Sueur, Nelson Algren, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Nathanael West.  Films may include Duck Soup (The Marx Brothers), Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin), The Wizard of Oz, and Shall We Dance (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).  We’ll also consider how photography, music, and architecture of the 1930s contribute to our understanding of the history of the Depression, and we’ll ask how our interpretation of 1930s culture is influenced by our current economic situation. 

Core 164/A: WWII in Literature and Film (Sanders)   
TTh, 8:00-9:15am, Hafey-Marian 610

This course examines texts and films pertaining to World War II. Students will engage recurring themes, diverse viewpoints, and historical perspectives of this great struggle. Films such as A Midnight Clear, Catch-22, The Great Raid, Conspiracy, and Saints and Soldiers will be studied as significant works of art. Two longer readings are required: Night and Slaughterhouse-Five. Shorter fiction by James Jones, George Weller, William Faulkner, Kay Boyle, Irwin Shaw, and Noel Houston, among others, will also be studied. Included is poetry by James Dickey, John Ciardi, Howard Nemerov, Kenneth Koch, Phyllis McGinley, Robinson Jeffers, Randall Jarrell, Karl Shapiro, Archibald MacLeish, E.E. Cummings, and Dorothy Coffin Sussman. Requirements include participation in all assignments and projects, reaction papers for films, a reflective literature journal, and an essay exam. 

Core 164/B: Fairy Tale Themes in Literature (Sterling)
MW, 2:00-3:15pm, Hafey-Marian 610

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 164/D: American Love Stories (Barnes)
MWF, 9:00-9:50am, Hafey-Marian 510

It’s been argued that American writers cannot tell a happy love story. Instead of ending a novel with a wedding, or writing about the joys of married life, they obsess over loneliness and the escape from civilization.  Think of The Scarlet Letter or The Great Gatsby, and it looks as if love is bound to kill you.  In this class, we will read novels and stories about love, or the lack thereof, by authors whose work seems to support this argument (such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe) and by authors who imagine somewhat happier endings (such as Zora Neale Hurston and Elizabeth Stoddard).  Throughout, we will develop our own ideas about how American love stories work, and we will try to understand these tales both by looking carefully at their style and by considering how history and culture shape the kinds of relationships Americans have.