FLL 230English 232C Introduction to Comparative Literature

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FLL 230English 232C Introduction to Comparative Literature

    CMPL 230: Introduction to Comparative Literature

    Fall 2009

    Professor Charles Ross

    Office: 324 Heavilon


    Office hours: MWF 1:30-2:30, or after class, or by appointment any time

Course description

    This course is an introduction to reading and writing about world literature. Texts are drawn from different genrespoetry, drama, prose fiction, filmand from a variety of

    cultures and time periods. Although we will consider social, economic, political, and religious influences, our main focus will be on gaining a sense of the similarities and differences among as well as the sophistication of various written languages.

Course objectives

    In this class you will learn to:

    ; Read literature carefully and analytically

    ; Respond to literature both orally and in writing

    ; Understand the value of comparing different literatures

    ; Encounter other languages you may wish to study further

Required Text

    ; Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, ed. Sylvan Barnet.

    Compact Edition. New York: Longman, 2007. Available at Von’s Books.

Web access

    You can link to me of “First Lines” videos by way of Or check Blackboard, which we will use if it is working properly.

Class Calendar

    It is required that you read the homework before you come to class and that you always bring your book. Read all the pages; the parentheses are for emphasis. During December we will be arranging afternoon or evening screenings of different versions of Hamlet. For

    “writing” days bring in a 2-3 page essay: September 4, 11, 21, 30, October 5, 16, 29, November 13, December 11. These essays can respond to questions in the book or they can apply the theme of the unit to one of the works in the book and a work of your choice. You are encouraged to compare works in English and another language. During the course of the semester you will choose one paper to expand into a longer research paper, for which you should use 5-10 sources in the library.

August 24: Introduction: Michael Jackson?

    August 26: Law and Disorder, 1255-1344 (“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”)

    August 28: Law and Disorder, 1255-1344 (A. E. Houseman, Edgar Lee Masters)

August 31: No class (Labor Day)


September 2: Law and Disorder, 1255-1344 (Susan Glaspell, Trifles)

    September 4: (writing)

    September 7: Arguing and Interpretation, 159-186 (Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”) September 9: Arguing and Evaluation, 186-214 (Frost, “Design”)

    September 11: (writing)

September 14: Questions and Comparisons, 277-298 (“Leda and the Swan”)

    September 16: Writer as Reader, 1-21 (Kate Chopin)

    September 18: Reader as Writer (John Steinbeck, “The Chrysanthemums”)

September 21: (writing)

    September 23: Analysis, 87-158 (James Thurber, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) September 25: no class

    September 28: Analysis, 87-158 (Edgar Allen Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado”) September 30: (writing)

    October 2: Essays, 298-314 (Langston Hughes, “Salvation”)

October 5: (writing)

    October 7: Stories, 314-343 (Anton Chekov, “Misery”)

    October 9: Arguments about Short Stories, 344-396

October 12: No class

    October 14: Arguments About Short Stories October 16: (writing)

October 19: Plays, 422-275 (Sophocles, “Antigone”)

    October 21: Plays, 422-475 (Sophocles, “Antigone”)

    October 23: Midterm on Antigone

    October 26: Reading about Poems, 529-579 October 29: (comparison paper)

    October 31: Poems and Songs, 590-631

November 2: (comparison paper)

    November 4: Poems and Pictures, 632-634 November 6: (writing)

    November 9: Journeys, 637-681 (Keats) November 11: Journeys, 647-681 (Shelley) November 13: (writing)

November 16: Love and Hate, 681-755 (Hemingway, “Cat in the Rain”)

    November 18: Love and Hate, 681-755 (Zora Neale Hurston, “Sweat”)

    November 20: Love and Hate, 681-755 (Donne and Marvell)


November 23: (writing: comparison of Donne and Marvell)


December 2: Innocence and Experience, 902-1031 (Hamlet Act 1)

    December 4: Innocence and Experience, 902-1031 (Hamlet Act 2)

    December 6: Innocence and Experience, 902-1031 (Hamlet Act 3)

December 7: Innocence and Experience, 902-1031 (Hamlet Act 4)

    December 9: Innocence and Experience, 902-1031 (Hamlet Act 5)

    December 11: (writing)

Final Exam: TBA (on Hamlet and various versions of Hamlet: e.g., English, American,

    Russian, Japanese, Chinese)

    Portfolio and final grade: Midterm essay, writing assignments, final essay (a 5-10 page version of one of your papers, with additional research, due Wednesday of finals week), final exam. I am always available to help you work on a paper: email me.


    You are honorable adults. Do you own work. Come to class. Accept the grades you are given.

    In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances. Here are ways to get information about changes in this course: Blackboard Vista web page, my email address:, and my office phone: 494-3749.


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