English 250: World Literature Prof. Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Fall 2012 O’Hare U1 T Th 2:20-3:50 Phone: x-4683 Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 10-11 e-mail: icronay & by appointment _______________________________________________________ Texts: Wu Ch’eng En/Arthur Waley, Monkey (China; 16th century/Ming Dynasty) Valmiki, Ramayana (India; between 200 BC and 200 AD) The Epic of Sundiata (Mande West Africa; 13th century) Natsume Soseki, Kokoro (Japan; 1914) Ousmane Sembene, God’s Bits of Wood (Senegal; 1959) Chingiz Aitmatov, The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years (Kirgiztan/USSR, 1980) Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (India; 2005) Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer (Mexico/US; 2008) In this course we will read and discuss classic works by both ancient and modern writers outside the Euro-North American tradition. Our goal will be to explore the ways works of literature articulate the deepest concerns of cultures and ages very different from our own, and to analyze the techniques and structures with which they do it. Our focus will be on the differences between pre-modern conceptions of literature and their transformation in the course of modernization. The reading load in this course is heavy, on the average between 150 and 200 pages a week. It is imperative that you budget your time so that you do not fall behind. It is quite difficult to catch up. Exams, quizzes, papers. There will be a final exam, but no midterm. You will write two analytical papers; the first (3-5 pp.) early in the semester, the second (6-8 pp.) at the end. There will be quizzes on the readings throughout the semester. These will be announced in advance. Journals and Course Letters: You will keep a weekly journal on your readings, commenting on ideas and motifs that you find interesting or puzzling; each week’s journal should include two entries, of at least 500 words each (roughly two pages). Your entries will be judged by their quality, not by their frequency or length (over the minimum, that is). I will regularly pose questions about our texts and ideas at the beginning of class or between classes; you may use your answers as starting points for journal entries. The journals should be informal, but they should show care and reflection. They are intended to help your focus your thinking. They should give evidence that you are reading the texts carefully, that you are reflecting on the class presentations and discussions, and that you are posing intelligent questions. They will be graded. Every two weeks I will expect a feedback letter from each of you, reflecting on the texts and discussions, posing questions and offering suggestions. I will respond to these letters as well as I can. Grades. Grades will be determined approximately in the following manner: papers 25%, journals and letters 20%, quizzes 20%, final exam 15%, discussions 20%. Calendar: WEEK 1 Aug WEEK 2 Aug WEEK 3 Sept WEEK 4 23 Th Introductions 28 T 30 Th What is The World? What is Literature? 4 T 6 Th Monkey (1-77) Monkey (78-145) 11 T 13 Th Monkey (146-246) Monkey (247-305) 18 T 20 Th Sundiata Sundiata WEEK 5 WEEK 6 25 T 27 Th WEEK 7 Oct WEEK 8 2 4 T Th Ramayana (3-114) Ramayana (114-225) Ramayana (229-342) Ramayana (342-456) 9 T 11 Th Ramayana (457-570) Ramayana (570-686) 15 - 21 Fall Break 23 T 25 Th Kokoro (1-80) Kokoro (81-162) WEEK 9 WEEK 10 WEEK 11 Nov WEEK 12 WEEK 13 WEEK 14 30 T 1 Th Kokoro (162-248) God’s Bits of Wood (1-77) 6 T 8 Th God’s Bits of Wood (78-161) God’s Bits of Wood (162-245) 13 T 15 Th The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years (9-120) The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years (121246) 20 T 25-26 The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years (246351) Thanksgiving Break 27 T 29 Th The Hungry Tide (3-113) The Hungry Tide (113-223) 4 T 6 Th The Hungry Tide (223-330) Sleep Dealer WEEK 15 WEEK 16 Dec Final Exam 13 Th 1:00-4:00 A note on grades. Here are my basic guidelines for grading students work. For A work, I look for some combination of the following qualities: originality (approaching a problem in a fresh and unconventional way), initiative (choosing topics and problems originating from your own interests), commitment (working through a problem thoroughly, using either wide-ranging scholarly research or complex argumentation that is aware of counter-arguments), aesthetic sensitivity (ability and desire to respond to poetic art and critical reflection), and expository craft (i.e., good writing, displaying skill at persuasive argument). B work displays careful reflection about a problem that has been posed by critics or in class; evidence of the scholarly commentary, including divergent critical positions; careful attention to writing and the construction of an argument; and evidence of understanding literary language and analytical argument. C work will usually display honest grappling with problems posed by critics and class discussions; competent construction of arguments; evidence of comprehension of poetic language and dramatic construction; competent control of writing. D work shows inadequate commitment to reflecting on problems posed by criticism and class-discussions, or inadequate performance of assigned tasks and projects. D work lacks originality, interest, and responsiveness to the work of the class. Ds are often the result of hastiness, inadequate preparation, and/or lack of respect for the texts and commentary. Fs result from failure to complete work – and this includes submitting bullshit to conceal the fact –, to pay adequate attention, or to make the effort to adequately understand and complete the course tasks. An F is not a moral judgment; it refers only to performance in class. Excessive absences often lead to Fs. In most cases, work that is a week overdue cannot be made up.