Literary Analysis & Interpretation
English 162
Dr. John McLaughlin
Stroud 309/0

Dates are for Fall, 1999

This course is an introduction to the three "fictive" literary genres, and to the critical essay as a fourth, non-fictive genre. There will be "formalist" discussion of the "canon," and other, more recent, critical discussion as noted below, following the texts. There will be one paper on each of the fictive genres, each essay 3-5 pages in length, with the library or the Internet backing up your insights. Course attendance is required (see the clipboard), and grades will be based on a combination of your essays, on attendance, on spot-quiz scores, and on evidence of voluntary participation in discussion, including e-mail to me. Given the above, the following seems to me a reasonable way to arrange discussion of such matters as expected course outcomes, instructional strategies, class requirements, class text, course assessment and grades:

Having taken this course, attended all class meetings and read all assigned readings, written all assigned papers and taken all scheduled tests, the student will be able to:

A: demonstrate an awareness of how these writers and their works relate to one another and to their historical and social contexts.

B: relate these works to the student's own contemporary concerns.

C: discuss the appropriateness or otherwise of various critical analyses to these works, including but not limited to formalist, Marxist, feminist and deconstructionist approaches.

D: use and cite library and Internet sources in writing short research papers discussing these matters with reference to the works assigned for this course.

The large number of students in this course (35) and the extensive period covered (from Roman times to the present) lend themselves most logically to direct instruction. In order to provide for student participation in the course, the following steps will be taken:

A: Each lecture will include as much oral questioning and student response as possible to elicit informed opinion.

B: The instructor will welcome questions and comments outside class, either in person, by scheduled or unscheduled office meetings, and by e-mail (Note e-mail address at head of this syllabus).

C: Each student will be asked to write a series of informal, in-class responses to the readings, asking the student to relate personally to the works and issues being read and discussed, as well as to demonstrate his or her understanding of what is being read or discussed.

D: Each student will be asked to write a series of formal, out- of-class responses to the various genres, that will ask him or her to demonstrate in a variety of ways, including using the Internet and World-Wide-Web, as well as print resources, his or her own understanding of what is being read and discussed.

E: Small group discussion resulting in student oral reports to the class will be employed several times during the semester.

F: Art reproductions, movie excerpts and musical recordings will be used to illustrate and exemplify certain styles and themes under discussion or as subjects of student papers.

A: Students must bring the mandatory class text to all classes.

B: Students should bring a multi-pocket folder to all classes, in order to accommodate class hand-outs and lecture notes,, results of group discussions and written responses.

C: Class attendance will be taken at each class, utilizing the signin sheet, and may become a factor in determining the final grade.

D: All out-of-class work must be submitted typed, in black ink.


Roberts & Jacobs. Literature. 5th edition; Prentice Hall, 1998. (No earlier edition of this text will be acceptable.)
Peter Beidler, ed. The Wife of Bath. St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Crump & Carbone, Writing Online - 2nd ed, 1998)

All reading should be completed before class by the earliest indicated date (except of course for Sept. 10th!)
Sept 10-11th: Fiction as Literature: R&J; 1-2, 33. Beidler, Intro.
Sept 14-17th: Plot vs Character: R&J; 3-4. Beidler, "New Historicism."
Sept. 21-24th: Point of View: R&J; 5, 32. Beidler, "Marxism."
Sept. 28-Oct.1st: Setting & Style: R&J; 6-7. Beidler, "Psychoanalysis."
Oct. 5-8th: Tone/Symbolism: R&J; 8-9, 35. Beidler, "Deconstructionism." Paper on Short Story due Friday.
Oct. 12-15th: Poetry - Overview, Character, Setting: R&J; 13-14.
Oct. 19-22nd: Words & Imagery: R&J; 15-16. Beidler, "Feminism."
Oct. 26-29th: Rhetoric/Prosody: R&J; 17-19. Beidler, "The Wife of Bath:Gen. Prol/Prologue & Tale."
Nov. 2-5th:Form/Symbol/Myth: R&J;, 20-22. Paper on Poetry due Friday.
Nov. 9-12th: Drama & Film, Overview: R&J; 26.
Nov. 16-19th: Tragedy & Comedy: R&J; 27-28.
Nov. 23, Dec. 2 & 3: Non-Realism & Realism: R&J; 29 & 31.
Dec. 7-10:Stage, Film & TV Drama: R&J; 30-31. Drama Paper due Friday.
Dec. 14th: Lit Crit as Vocation & Avocation: Postmodern Criticism.
Dec 16-17th,
Dec 21st: - Finals Week

A: Even in so large a class, the quality of questions asked and the voluntary participation in class discussion will be noted, and could prove decisive in assigning a final grade. Assume 10% towards final grade.

B: The informal responses (in-class quizzes) will be evaluated for thoughtfulness and fullness, and will factor into the final grade in the course. Assume these will count for 30% of the grade.

C: The formal, out-of-class responses will be used to measure in various ways your responses to the readings and use of different research resources. The recommended text (above) will be very helpful, not only for citation format but also for web-evaluation purposes. Assume these formal responses will count for 60% of the final grade in this course. Please keep up with the readings; you can't discuss what you haven't read.