Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
In this course, we will investigate popular culture and narrative by focusing on the relationship between literary texts and comics. Several questions shape the syllabus and provide a framework for approaching the course materials: How do familiar aspects of comics trace their origins to literary texts and broader cultural concerns? How have classic comics gone on to influence literary fiction? In what ways do contemporary graphic narratives bring a new kind of seriousness of purpose to comics, blurring what's left of the boundaries between the highbrow and the lowbrow? Readings and materials for the course range from the nineteenth century to the present, and include novels, short stories, essays, older and newer comics, and some older and newer films. Expectations include diligent reading, active participation, occasional discussion leading, and two papers.
You are expected to complete the reading, attend class regularly, be an engaged discussion leader and contributor, and be thoughtful and clear in your written work. The class will be at least partly what you make it—lively and informative if you are prepared, something less appealing if you are not.
You each will direct two class discussions: one in the first half of the term and the other in the second half. Your job is to pose good questions to the class and generate discussion and debate about the readings and related questions, and to get us to focus on issues that interest you. For these classes you should prepare a 1-page agenda outlining questions, themes, passages, and so on for the rest of us to consider.
Regular attendance is crucial for good work in this course, including being on time to class meetings and attendance at possible film screenings. You are permitted two unexcused absences. Any unexcused absence beyond the second will result in a failing grade in the course. Two latenesses count as one absence.
|Discussion directing and agendas||30%|
|Participation in class discussion overall (including attendance and reading quizzes)||30%|
MIT Statement on Plagiarism
Plagiarism—use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement—is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution, consult the style guides available at the Writing and Communication Center and the MIT Web site on Plagiarism.
|LEC #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|I. The Golem and Other Supermen|
|2||Rosenberg, Yudl. The Golem and the Wondrous Deeds of the Maharal of Prague. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008, introduction and pp. 5-14, 31-66, and 95-112. ISBN: 9780300143201.|
Boese, Carl and Paul Wegener. The Golem. (1920).
|4||Burroughs, Edgar R. Tarzan of the Apes. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010, chapters 1-14. ISBN: 9780199542888.|
|5||Burroughs, Edgar R. Tarzan of the Apes. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010, chapters 15-28. ISBN: 9780199542888.|
|6||Siegel, Jerome, and Joe Shuster. "The Reign of the Super-Man" (1933 short story); origin of Superman (1938 drafts of daily strip); Action Comics #1-2 (1938); origin story from Superman #1 (1939)|
|7||Lee, Stan, and Jack Kirby. "The Fantastic Four" (1961) and "The Incredible Hulk" (1962)|
|II. Escape Artists: Comics in America|
|8||Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. New York, NY: Picador, 2001, part 1. ISBN: 9780312282998.|
Simon, J., and J. Kirby. "Captain America" (1941)
Marston, William Moulton, and Harry Peter. "Wonder Woman" (1942)
Siegel, and Shuster. "How Superman Would End the War" (1940)
Wertham, Fredric. Excerpt from Seduction of the Innocent.
|First paper due 2 days after Ses #14|
|III. Good Grief: The Comic Strip as Culture|
|15||Schulz, Charles M. The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952. Vol. 1. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2004, pp. 131-287. ISBN: 9781560975892.|
|IV. Ghosts, Golems, and Growing Up: Contemporary Graphic Narratives|
|16||Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2001, pp. 1-38. ISBN: 9781560974277.|
|17||Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2001, pp. 38-80. ISBN: 9781560974277.|
|18||Zwigoff, Terry. Ghost World. (2001).|
|19||Sturm, James. James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems. Montreal, Canada: Drawn and Quarterly, 2007, pp. 83-123. ISBN: 9781897299050.|
|20||Sturm, James. James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems. Montreal, Canada: Drawn and Quarterly, 2007, pp. 123-186. ISBN: 9781897299050.|
|21||Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2007, first part, pp. 1-153. ISBN: 9780375714832.|
|22||Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2007, pp. 155-341. ISBN: 9780375714832.|
|23||Paronnaud, Vincent and Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis. (2007).|
|24||Conclusion||Second paper due|