Course Meeting Times

2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session



Course Description

This subject serves as a broad introduction to the field of European and Latin American fiction. It is designed to help students acquire a general understanding of major fictional modes. We will pay attention not only to the literary movements these works represent, but also to the subtle interplay of history, geography, language and cultural norms that gave rise to specific literary forms. The books we read in this course are compelling, and film versions of five of the works we read give variety to the course and time to think about the interplay of film and print.

This course is designed for a variety of students. Some will be taking a literature course for the first time, others may have taken literature but may not have had experience with the kinds of approaches to texts that characterize this subject.

This subject is a “communication intensive” class. That means that in our work together, students will have the opportunity to refine their written and oral communication skills. There will be a variety of writing exercises in the course of the term. Some will be very short—one page; others will be two page responses; some will allow you to be creative. Students will also write two essays. The first will be corrected and discussed individually before the final version is due. Students will also make formal oral presentations that will afford the opportunity to hone presentation skills. Each student will be responsible for choosing one or two of the films or novels to present to the class.

Course Requirements

  1. You are expected to attend all classes since class discussion is central to the course. Unexcused absences will automatically lower your grade.
  2. Throughout the semester you are asked to submit short reading responses that will be read and graded. One purpose of the responses is to get your thoughts and reactions together for class discussion; therefore, they must be submitted when you come to class—not a few days or an hour later. Unless you have a convincing excuse, failure to turn-in a response paper will lower your grade. The challenge here is to say something coherent and intelligent in one or two pages.
  3. There will be two longer papers required in the course of the semester. I will work with each student on a first version of the first paper before the final version is submitted.
  4. Each student will choose one day on which s/he will be responsible for providing special insight into the work we are reading. You will choose a topic and a day on which you will make your oral presentation. I will work with each student on this presentation.

Here are some things to consider while reading and writing:

  • What is your reaction to the work? Does it move you? Do you hate, love or feel indifferent toward it? Is your reaction based on gender? On nationality? On your worldview? What else in your own education has influenced your reaction?
  • How is the author’s vision shaped by his/her culture?
  • Do the personal and/or political views differ from those of other authors whose works you have read on the same theme?
  • What is the author’s view of politics, love, sex roles, class, religion, sexuality and sexual preference?
  • What role do children play in the lives of the main characters?


Four short essays (18 points each) 72%
Oral presentations 14%
Class participation 14%

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017