Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
You have a standing assignment to listen to "A Prairie Home Companion" (Saturday, 6 PM, WGBH radio - 89.7 or other National Public Radio station). Since the death of Spaulding Grey, Garrison Keillor is the best living practitioner of the American story-telling (not story-writing) tradition.
For some reason, American literature (like French, Irish, and Russian, among others) has been especially productive in major works in fictional forms shorter than the novel. Our task this term will be to survey that field, by looking at particular moments of high accomplishment. We will, in addition, consider some of the ways in which literary formulae can be used and varied, and some of the impacts of elements of narrative construction.
This is a seminar. That means you talk, I listen. As you will soon realize, this latter expectation is a challenge for me. I promise to do my best. You can help by being exceedingly pro-active in discussion - setting agendas and asking questions. And of course attendance and regular completion of the assigned written work is an absolute prerequisite.
For grading, I review and reflect upon the following factors:
No one "low point" is determinative.
Having made my reflections, I assign grades:
A = excellence (one sign of which is how much I was taught by the student)
B = solid competence and consistency
C = minimal adequacy. Seemingly, the student is sliding by on low power
D = clearly unacceptable
F = major dereliction. Frequent absence, frequent failure to submit assigned work.