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Introduction to Literature



This reading schedule is intended to be suggestive, not prescriptive. In the event we find that we need to spend more time on a text than originally allocated, we can easily adjust our syllabus. You should know that one of the signs of a good class discussion is that we will not have time to address all the reading that has been assigned for a certain day. Let’s proceed with the understanding that this class, like life, is a set of contingencies. I will announce at the end of each class what specific texts we will be discussing closely for the following session. Please stay tuned!

As a kind of first, informal assignment, explore our textbook (as print or e-book) and consult its TOC (with TLC) for the pagination of our readings and the bio sketches and author index.  For reasons of cost, you are welcome to share books, but you must come prepared and have all our assigned materials read.  


Short Fiction

Week 1 – 2

Getting our Feet Wet in the Morass of Deep/Short Fiction



  • David Foster Wallace, "Good People" (HULO 1+3, DVLO 1)
  • Junot Diaz, "Wildwood(HULO 1-3, DVLO 1-3)
  • DP #1__________________________________________
Week 3–5

Setting, Symbols and Stuff

Eudora Welty, "Why I Live at the P.O." P.O. - Discussion Questions  (HULO 1-3, DVLO 2)
Eudora Welty reading "Why I Live at the P.O."

**** NOTEBOOKS DUE (1) ****



Week 6

Sniffing the Stuff out: Poetry - Reading, Responding, Writing (Most poetry assignments fulfill all HULO and DVLO, in varying degrees)

  • Defining Poetry, Lydia Davis, "Head/Heart"; Bruce Springsteen, "Nebraska"; Sherman Alexie, "A Facebook Sonnet"
  • The Art of (Reading) Poetry - An Album (7 poems)
  • YouTube clips (select)
    - FYI: Poetry Foundation - Elizabeth Alexander
Week 7–9

Situation Setting, Speaker

Metaphor, Simile, Symbol

  • Robert Browning, "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister," "My Last Duchess"
  • DP #6 ____________________________________________
  • Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken," "Home Burial," "Range-Finding," "Stopping by Woods . . . ," "Design,"
    "' Out Out-,'"
  • Poems Pick & Choose - Recommendations:
    - Section 16, Sounds of Poetry - Word and Music - An Album (selections)
    - Helen Chasin, "The Word Plum"; Kenneth Fearing, "Dirge"; Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; Wilfred Owen, "Dulce et Decorum Est"
  • DP #7 ____________________________________________
  • Reading More Poetry - Overflow Hour - Our Glossary Revisited
    - Section 21: Cultural and Historial Contexts  -  The Harlem Renaissance (selections)
    - Countee Cullen, "Yet Do I Marvel"; Angelina Grimke, "The Black Finger"; Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"; Claude McKay, "Harlem Shadows"
    - from ideas in the head to ideas on the page: sample essays and writing exercises in our Intro 
  • DP #8 _____________________________________________

**** NOTEBOOKS DUE (2) ****



Week 10–12

Drama: Reading, Responding, Writing

**** NOTEBOOKS DUE (3) ****

Week 13–15

DP #10 ________________________________________________

Fiction Rocks: Punk Rock, Time, and the (Future) Form of Narrative

  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad  (All HULOs and DVLOs)

DP #11, Goon Squad I ________________________________       DP #12, Goon Squad II ___________________________________

Of Topical Interest
- A Visit from the Goon Squad: Great Rock and Roll Pauses
- Tired of the Social Media Void? - Americans read twice as much poetry in 2017 as in 2012

Visit Toolbox for an Editing Checklist and student sample paper, and make sure you give yourself enough time to visit the Writing Center as you work on your paper drafts.

**** Additional office hours: Wednesday, 27November, 12:30-2:30, Pre-Turkey :) ****

**** Signature Ass./The Big Question/FDPs due: Monday, 2 December 2019, 10:30, in class and CANVAS  ****
      Click here to find it on my own site.

**** Final Exam Review and FINAL EXAM (in class and take home) ****


Concluding Note


The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. My door is always open (and if not, please knock; I will answer if I am there). Please don't hesitate to stop by during my office hours or to make an appointment via email, if you're having trouble getting started or want to talk about your ideas or progress.

last updated, 25 November 2019

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mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

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Weber – The Contemporary West
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Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA