I just finished writing my course description for the class that I'll be teaching next year, one of the university's required classes for non-English majors. It's basically an introduction to literature; the equivalent of Huma 101 if you went to Rice and need a reference point. I thought I would share it so you can be jealous of my students and how awesome this class is going to be.
Interpretation of Literature (section 24)
Instructor: Dr. N.N. Mind
Novelist Sinclair Lewis once said of authors, “We have the power to bore people long after we are dead,” a point that’s been well-taken by students in literature courses the world over. In this course we will break down “literature” into its constitutent parts, whatever we might determine those parts to be, taking on the question of “good” versus “interesting” and hopefully finding the convergence point between the two. Can we possibly read a “classic” without feeling the need for a nap after every chapter? We will attempt to develop the critical and analytical skills that make that more likely while looking at two novels, two plays, and a selection of poetry, short fiction, and essays. Along the way, we will consider how we are influenced as readers and how we, in turn, influence what we read, as well as taking on the question of what makes something “literature” and whether it matters. The goal will be to build critical reading and writing skills that can be applied both to future literary encounters and to encounters with the scholarly and professional world at large. Course requirements include two critical essays, a variety of informal writings, and a final exam, as well as, of course, active engagement and participation.
Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (Signet Classics)
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (Avon)
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Penguin)
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (Doubleday)
Literature: A Portable Anthology, eds. Janet Garner, Berverly Lawn, Jack Ridl, and Peter Schakel (Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press)