E140 – The Study of Literature

Credit Hours:
3

Course Level:
Undergraduate

Semesters Offered:
Fall Spring Summer

Description:  This course introduces the student to a wide variety of literary texts and critical approaches. It covers four literary genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama) and a variety of critical perspectives (writers of both sexes, from various countries and racial and ethnic groups). It introduces many basic formal elements (imagery, point of view, poetic meter, etc.) and interpretive skills (identifying what counts as evidence, recognizing or constructing patterns, etc.). And it introduces students to numerous ways of reading based on a broad sampling of current important theoretical models.

As an approved course in the III-B Arts and Humanities category of the All University Core Curriculum, E 140 meets the five criteria listed for this category:

1. Foundational knowledge: the course covers four literary genres, a wide range of historical periods from ancient to contemporary, and a variety of cultural perspectives. It introduces many basic formal elements and interpretive skills. And it introduces students to numerous ways of reading based on a broad sampling of current important theoretical models.

2. Patterns of human expression: the course addresses such comprehensive matters as story-telling (as a means of exploring and communicating human experiences and values); image making (all the ways that we express ourselves that go beyond the most basic information sharing); how various individual and cultural perspectives both overlap and differ from each other; and what it means to engage with the world imaginatively, aesthetically, sensorially, and critically.

3. Expressive ability: students write many short papers in the course, both critical and creative, analytic and synthetic, rigorous and explorative. Because class sessions are mainly discussions, they also hone oral skills.

4. Understanding others: at the most basic level, this is what one does when reading literature.

5. Core competencies: the course requires and helps students develop skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, and speaking; it also helps develop their abilities to work both independently and collaboratively.