Hey now. Just a quick query to all you well-read folks out there: I just leapt at the opportunity to teach a "Topics in Literature" course next semester. With a scant 48 hours' notice, I drafted a course description, got it approved by our chair, and sent it off to the registrar. Now I'm faced with the predicament of finding and selecting appropriate texts, and I hope that some of you have some suggestions.
The course is English 215, and the only prerequisite is composition, so it's not a full-on literature seminar, but rather an introduction to reading, thinking about and writing about literature. The course may be tailored as I like, and I chose to focus on "working class literature": poems, prose, and a couple of plays that exemplify what we mean when we think of the working class.
I'm wondering (a) what texts (poems, prose, plays) come to mind for you? Some examples spring immediately to mind: Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," Susan Glaspell's Trifles, poems by Lucille Clifton, B.H. Fairchild, Richard Blanco. But I've only just started to think about the readings. I don't even know if there's a textbook out there that would fit in with this kind of introductory literature course. We'll write a couple of short essays, and we'll explore a few critical strategies (reader-response, political, new historical criticism). We'll talk about the basic elements of fiction vs. poetry, fiction vs. nonfiction, and so on. I'll spend a good chunk of my winter break putting this course together, but I need to order books very soon.
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