ENG 436: Topics in World Literature Fall 2016
Instructor: Jake Jakaitis
Classroom: Root Hall A-209
Office: Root Hall A209
Meeting Time: M 12:00
Office Phone: 237-3269
Office Hours: 2-2:50 Th & Th, 5-6:00 W, and by appt.
Web Page: http://isu.indstate.edu/jakaitis/
English 436: Topics in World Literature was established as a requirement for all English and English teaching majors beginning in the fall of 2011, when the English Department determined it necessary to require two sections of American and two sections of British literature sophomore level surveys. This change necessitated the elimination of ENG 236 and ENG 237, the previously required surveys of world literature. ENG 691 was created to insure that our majors would have at least some exposure to world literatures to supplement their more intensive study of American and British literature. Our section of this varying topic course, will address world literature that has influenced contemporary American literature or that parallels trends in American literature while demonstrating that the concept of the novel [or of fiction in general] exists in a perpetual state of flux, is a constantly evolving form that responds to changes in the fabric of the social and the political. Perhaps a few words from the conclusion of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s For a New Novel  will clarify the emphases of this course:
“We find in this kind of remark—on the passing fashion, the pacification of the rebellious, the return to the healthy tradition, and other nonsense—only the good old attempt to prove, imperturbably, desperately, that ‘deep down nothing ever changes’ and that ‘there is never anything new under the sun’; whereas in truth everything is constantly changing and there is always something new. Academic criticism would even like to make the public believe that the new techniques will simply be absorbed by the ‘eternal’ novel and will some day serve to perfect some detail of the Balzacian character, of the chronological plot, and of a transcendent humanism.
It is possible that this day will come, as a matter of fact, and even quite soon. But once the New Novel begins ‘serving some purpose,’ whether psychological analysis, or the Catholic novel, or socialist realism, this will be the signal to the inventors that a New Novel is seeking to appear, and no one will yet know what it might serve—except literature” (p. 168).
Calvino, Italo. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. (9780156439619)
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. (9780060883287)
Lem, Stanislaw. Solaris. (9780156027601)
Murakami, Haruki. Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. (9780679743460)
Robbe-Grillet, Alain. Two Novels by Robbe-Grillet: Jealousy & In the Labyrinth. (9780802151063)
Yan, Mo. The Republic of Wine. (9781611457292)
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES:
- Attendance and Participation (25% = 250 Points)
Since this is an independent study class, it is crucial that you attend every session and that you evidence your familiarity with the assigned reading through discussion. With only three of us in the room each Monday afternoon, your timely reading of the assignments and your participation in discussion will be essential to creating a productive course.
- Short Writing Assignments [35% = 350 Points]
You will write a minimum of six two to three-page, typed, double-spaced comments on the assigned reading. The topics for these assignments will be posted at our course website in advance of the relevant reading assignments and will be due on the Monday that we are discussing that portion of the reading.
- Final Research Paper (40% = 400 Points)
Over the second half of the semester, you will research and develop a 6-8-page [1,800-2,400 word] research paper discussing the work of one of the authors whose work has been discussed in this class. The specific options for and format of the assignment will be posted in our on-line syllabus. The final paper will be submitted during the week of final examinations: December 12-16. Each of you will arrange with me the specific due date and time for submission of your paper according to our mutual schedules.
ENG 436: Topics in World Literature Fall 2016 Syllabus
This is a tentative schedule of readings and is subject to change as the semester continues. Please check the on-line syllabus and schedule of readings regularly, for I will frequently update with additional links and supporting information on texts and authors.
MEETING ONE: BORGES AND ROBBE-GRILLET
8-29 [M] Jorge Luis Borges: “The Garden of Forking Paths” [19-29] & “Death and the Compass” [76-87]—Handout.
From Robbe-Grillet’s For a New Novel: “On Several Obsolete Notions” (25-47) & “From Realism to Reality” (157-168)—Handout.
MEETING TWO: ROBBE-GRILLET AND ALAN RESNAIS
9-12 [M] Two Novels by Robbe-Grillet: “Objective Literature: Alain Robbe-Grillet” by Roland Barthes (11-25) & “A Note on Jealousy” by Anne Minor (27-31).
Because we have two weeks between meetings, I would like you to watch Last Year at Marienbad [dir: Alain Resnais; scriptwriter: Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1961] after reading the Robbe-Grillet essays. Film Commentary.
9-19 [M] In Two Novels by Robbe-Grillet: Jealousy (35-138). Discussion Questions. Read the Brucde Morrissette Essay in Two Novel [1-10].
Watch Hiroshima Mon Amour [Dir. Alain Resnais; scriptwriter: Marguerite Duras, 1959, 90 minutes]. Cast and Crew. SQ The Nausea of Choice
MEETING FOUR: MARQUEZ AND MAGICAL REALISM
9-26 [M] One-Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [1-140].
MEETING FIVE: CONTINUE GARCIA MARQUEZ
10-3 [M] One-Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [141-291].
INTERIM GRADES DUE
10-10 [M] Finish One-Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [293-417].
MEETING SEVEN: READER AND AUTHOR
10-17 [M] Read If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino [3-260]. SQ
MEETING EIGHT: THE ALIEN IDENTITY OF STANISLAW LEM
10-24 [M] Read Solaris by Stanislaw Lem [1-204].
MEETING NINE : FEELING VERY STRANGE
10-31 [M] Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami: Chs. 1-14 [1-151]. Writing Prompt for 3-Page Response Paper: Briefly discuss the relation of the novel's title to its structure and content. How do the phrases "Hard-Boiled" and "End of the World" apply to different chapters and their settings?
MEETING TEN: POSTMODERN?
11-7 [M] Hard Boiled Wonderland: Chs. 15-25 [152-274].
MEETING ELEVEN: SLIPSTREAM?
11-14 [M] Hard Boiled Wonderland: Chs. 26-40 [275-400].
THANKSGIVING BREAK: 11-21 THROUGH 11-25
MEETING TWELVE: CALVINO MEETS MURAKAMI?
11-28 [M] The Republic of Wine: Chapters 1-7 [1-270].
MEETING THIRTEEN: STUDY WEEK
12-5 [M] The Republic of Wine: Chapters 8-10 [271-356].
FINAL EXAM WEEK: MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, THROUGH FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16