Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Phillip Grayson English Department                   office # St. John’s University           office hours: 

English 1100c: Literature in a Global Context



The aim of this course is to introduce undergraduates to the study of literary texts, both as an end in itself and as a bridge to other academic disciplines.  We will read a wide range of fiction, poetry, and drama from the early modern era to the present, with an emphasis on the contemporary period.  What can literature teach us about how people think, love, dream, and rebel?  What are some of the commonalities and differences that it can help us to observe as we travel across time and space?  Always thinking at once as readers and writers, we will approach each text both as a mirror of its own time period and also as a model for literary achievement. 

Required Texts (available at the St. John’s bookstore)

Please purchase this text, either at our bookstore or elsewhere.
Alfred Jarry, The Supermale  

E-reserve Readings

To access our e-reserves page, go to, enter your SJU username and password, and then select the blue “E-Reserves” tab on the left side of the page. The password is “grayson”
Angela Carter “The Company of Wolves”
Jorge Luis Borges “The House of Asterion”
Shirley Jackson “The Lottery”
Heinrich von Kleist “St Cecilia or the Power of Music”
Thomas Pynchon “Forward to 1984”
Obeyd-i-Zakani Gorby and the Rats 
Haruki Murikami “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning”
Roberto Bolaño “Labyrinth” 
William Shakespeare “Sonnet 130” 
ee cummings [someplace I have never travelled, gladly beyond]
Clive James “Bring Me the Sweat of Gabriella Sabatini”
Solmaz Sharif “Evening Will Come”
Paul Hlava “The Rat”
The Onion “Clinton Declares Self President for Life”
            There may be changes/additions/subtractions from this list as we go through the       course.


v     Short responses
Throughout the course we will be doing several short pieces of writing engaging with the readings. Some of these will be more traditional response/interpretation-type papers on topics such as “What’s up with Poetry?” and “Was it St Cecelia or the power of music?”. Others will be more creative responses such as adapting a fairy tale/folk tale or creating an erasure. You’ll receive more detailed assignment descriptions as they come up.
I will not accept late response papers under any circumstances.  If absence or technological difficulties (printer problems, etc.) prevent you from handing in a hard copy in class, you may email me your response paper by the time of our class meeting in order to provide a “time stamp.” 
v     Final project
For the final project, you will be researching and presenting a work of World Literature that is not on the syllabus. I will provide more details as the time comes nearer.
v     Final Paper
     We will be reading and Discussing Alfred Jarry’s The Supermale  for a few weeks. It is the only           novel featured in this class and you will be expected to turn in a short-ish essay (5-7            pages) on the book.


Your final grade will be determined according to the following calculations: 
v     Class participation (including punctual attendance), 45%
v     Response papers, 25%
v     Final project, 15%
v     Final paper, 15%

v     To get an A in the course, you must meet the following requirements: 
1.  Come to every class, with the materials needed for that day. (Up to two absences will not affect your grade.)
2.  Complete all writing assignments on time.
3.  Attend the Writing Center at least once in the first month of the course and email me your response to that experience.
4.  Participate thoughtfully, respectfully, and consistently in class.
5.  Demonstrate a willingness to respond to my feedback as well as peer feedback.
6.  Demonstrate an attention to revision and proofreading.
To get a B in the course, you must meet the following requirements:       
1.  Come to every class, with the materials needed for that day, with up to three absences.
2.  Complete most writing projects on time. 
3.  Attend the Writing Center at least once in the first month of the course and email me your response to that experience.
4.  Participate thoughtfully and respectfully in class.
5.  Demonstrate a willingness to respond to my feedback as well as peer feedback.
6.  Demonstrate an attention to revision and proofreading.  
To get a C in the course, you must meet the following requirements:       
1.  Come to every class, with the materials needed for that day, with up to four absences.
2.  Complete most writing projects on time. 
3.  Attend the Writing Center at least once in the first month of the course and email me your response to that experience.
4.  Participate thoughtfully and respectfully in class.
5.  Respond to some feedback.
v  A grade of D will be assigned if you are absent more than five times, miss any assignments, or do not fully participate in our course in class or online.
v  A grade of F will be assigned if you are absent more than six times, submit plagiarized work, or do not submit your final project.



Participation is crucial for success in our course. If you miss more than 5 classes, it will become impossible to pass the course. 
You also need to be on time for class. I count each lateness as half an absence. If there is a situation where your previous class is keeping you late, let me know and I’ll reach out to that professor. 


At least twice throughout the semester we’ll have short one-on-one conferences where we talk about your work in the class.

Class Conduct

When discussing our reading and writing, we must remember that we are a diverse group of people from various backgrounds and belief systems. It is imperative that we all feel safe to express our views and experiences in ethical, respectful ways. No form of cultural, ethnic, gender, linguistic, sexual, racial, or religious harassment will be tolerated.  

If you’re waiting for an emergency phone call, let me know before class; otherwise, please turn off and put away all cell phones and any other electronic devices. I

Submitting Work

Please double-space all assignments, include page numbers, and staple the pages together. Use black ink and a fairly standard font with a font size of 11 or 12. A title is not required, but it can be useful in helping you to define and focus your topic. When citing sources, use MLA style (guidelines are widely available online). Be sure to carefully proofread all your work, including Blackboard posts.


v    Plagiarism is the act of willfully or accidentally using the ideas or words of others (or even yourself) without giving them credit.  We will spend some time in class discussing plagiarism; for now, here’s some of what you need to know.
v    Unintentional Plagiarism: Students are often penalized for plagiarism without having even known that they were doing it.  For the sake of consistency, I will always impose the same penalty on unintentional as intentional plagiarism.  The only way to make sure that you never plagiarize unintentionally is to cite all sources that you use in the course of completing any written assignment.  
v    Intentional Plagiarism: This is not only unethical and dishonest but also self-destructive. In my class, a plagiarized essay will receive a grade of zero (which averages out far lower than an F), with no chance to rewrite the essay. If you plagiarize on a single assignment, it will become virtually impossible for you to receive higher than a C in the course. Furthermore, the vast majority of essays available online are terribly written and badly argued.  It takes far less time and mental energy to do your own work; you will most likely receive a better grade that way, and you will undoubtedly learn more. Intentional plagiarism is also fairly easy to catch in a course like ours where I become familiar with your individual writing style.
v    Self-Plagiarism: This is when you do work for one class, then submit it for another course without notifying the professor. Some professors will allow you to double up your assignments; others will not. If you ever wish to submit something similar to work you’ve done or are currently doing for another course, you need to ask your professor’s permission first.
v    By plagiarizing, you violate St. John’s Academic Honor Pledge. Whether or not your professors discuss plagiarism, it is your responsibility to know what it is and how to avoid it.
If you are tempted to take a shortcut because you are overworked and overwhelmed, STOP.
Consider the consequences of receiving a zero. Make an appointment with the Writing Center or with me. We want you to learn the analytical and writing skills that you need to succeed in college and beyond.  

Resources Library

Located in St. Augustine Hall, our library contains books, journal articles, knowledgeable and helpful research librarians, quiet study areas, printers, coffee, and many other good things. For more information see

University Writing Center

The University Writing Center is on the first floor of the library building. I encourage you to make use of it as often as you can. A trained writing consultant will help you brainstorm your ideas, refine your thesis, organize your thoughts, and revise your essay. You can sign up at, or stop by for a walk-in appointment.

University Learning Commons

While the Writing Center focuses on the writing process, the University Learning Commons (also housed in the library building) offers help with all other areas of academic content (math, biology, history, pharmacy, etc.). You can also make an appointment ahead of time, or walk in. 

Disability and Special Circumstances

If you have a learning disability, you have no obligation to tell me; however, that information can help me make your learning experience better. If you suspect you may have undiagnosed issues and want help, I can provide appropriate, confidential contact information.

Knowledge Bases, Course Outcomes, etc.

Knowledge Bases

1.   Reading, understanding, and evaluating primary and secondary texts.
2.   Developing writing skills in description, summary, use of secondary sources, critical analysis, and argumentation.
3.   Appreciating and understanding the aesthetic and historical components of various literary traditions.
4.   Appreciating and understanding a number of critical approaches to literature.

Core Competencies

As a University Core class, English 1100C also provides students with three “core competencies”: ability in critical thinking; ability to write skillfully; and ability to make oral presentations.  In this course we gain these competencies by learning the multiple cultural and historical perspectives of a wide range of authors; by engaging deeply in literary texts through reflective, interpretive, and creative writing assignments; and by demonstrating the capacity for literary study to generate lively student discussion, student-faculty interaction, and effective oral presentations.

Course Goals

English 1100c distills the global knowledge base and its competencies into the following course goals:
1.   To enhance student-faculty engagement by preparing students for serious, thoughtful analysis and participatory discussion of literary texts in class;
2.   To arm students with a variety of writing and interpretive strategies for identifying and elaborating significant thematic issues in assigned texts and in the class;
3.   To give students, through the study of contrasting literary traditions and forms, an understanding of the significance of historical, cultural, and geographical differences;
4.   To enhance, through literary reading and writing skills, strategies for negotiating cultural and social differences;
5.   To gain, through the assigned reading of primary texts and guided research inquiries, a deeper understanding of the contexts and conditions for literary works and in particular, the dynamics of globalization.

Learning Outcomes

English 1100c measures the achievement of these goals with the following learning outcomes:
1.   Students will demonstrate their engagement in the issues and themes of global literature by participating fully in class discussion and making oral class presentations;
2.   Students will develop close reading skills of literary passages and use reflective and responsive writing assignments to demonstrate their personal engagement with texts;
3.   Students will write critical essays that display a well-developed thesis; a logical argument and outline; skillful exposition of ideas, including textual evidence; competence in grammar; and commitment to proofreading.

Weekly Schedule

U N I T O N E : T H E P A S T A N D P R E S E N T
W 9.3        Introductions
W 9.10      Angela Carter “The Company of Wolves”
                   Jorge Borges “The House of Asterion”
W 9.17      Shirley Jackson “The Lottery”
                 writing assignment #1; Adapt a fairy/folk tale
W 9.24      Obeyd-i-Zakani Gorby and the Rats
                 The Onion “Clinton Declares Self President for Life”
W 10.1
Solmaz Sharif “Evening Will Come”, Tom Philips A Humament, and Paul Hlava “The

writing assignment #2: Erasure or Satire 
W 10.8
William Shakespeare “Sonnet 130”

ee cummings [Someplace I have never travelled, gladly beyond] and Clive James “Bring Me the Sweat of Gabriella Sabatini”
W 10.15                       
    writing assignment #3 due: “What’s up with poetry?”
U N I T T W O : W H A ?
W 10.22    Heinrich von Kleist “St Cecilia of The Power of Music”
     Stanley Kubrick The Shining  
W 10.29 Thomas Pynchon “Foreword to 1984” and Robert Frost “The Road Less Traveled” Th 1                          writing assignment #4: Response Paper 
U N I T T H R E E : T H E S U P E R M A L E
W 11.5      The Dinner Scene 
                 The 10,000-Mile Race
W 11.12    The Indian’s Record
W 11.19    Conferences  
U N I T F O U R : Y O U R T U R N !
W 11.26    NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)
W 12.3 student presentations
W 12.10    student presentations
____________________________________________________________________________________ W 12.17    Conferences

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