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(Introduction to Literature courses at ASU are divided into two classes; the first involves literature from antiquity to the end of the seventeenth century, while the second picks up about 1700 until the present.  For information on the Literature II class that I also teach, click the course link.)

(Look at the bottom of the page for writing suggestions) for Western Literature I)

The purpose of this course is to offer you an understanding of and an appreciation for literature. For the next four weeks, we will study the three general areas of literature--drama, fiction, and poetry--through readings, class discussions, and lectures. LiteratureWhat you get out of the class is obviously up to you; an appreciation for literature is essential for a liberal arts education since it gives you a cultural, historical, and philosophic understanding of creativity, which reflects as well on the social impetuses that inform our civilization.

The course requirements include two term tests, one paper (5 to 8 pp.) and a final examination. In order to pass the course, you cannot have a failing average for your tests. As for the paper, provided that it is the minimum required length, written on a work on the syllabus, and represents your own work, you will not fail. You will be expected to have read the assigned material prior to class, to take part in class discussions, and to take notes on class lectures. The tests that I give rely on both the assigned reading and lecture material. Should you miss class, you are responsible for all assignments or material covered on that day.

It has been my experience that many students have bypassed freshman English when taking an introductory literature class, which is unfortunate. If you are one of them, the paper may present a problem. For this class, it is assumed that you know the rudiments of writing an argument paper (don't rely on your high school English preparation, which is often inadequate). Plan your papers in advance, ask for help if you need it, and turn it in on time. No late papers will be accepted. The paper must be typed, double-spaced, and represent your analysis rather than a rehash of class lectures or secondary sources. You will be given a list of possible subjects to choose from, but you're not limited to my suggestions (you must, however, write on a work covered in class). Please do not ask for me to assign or to recommend a writing topic for you.

The works we will study are many (especially in the summer term, as you may expect), so the reading is necessarily heavy; you are therefore encouraged to keep up with assignments, avoid chronic lateness, and to keep absences to a minimum. Attendance for this class is mandatory; you cannot miss more than two weeks of classes, whether you're on a MWF schedule (6 classes), or T/Th. (4 classes), and pass the course. The university's attendance policy for freshman and sophomore courses on page 41 of the Undergraduate Bulletin (2002-2004) is my policy as well. Remember: NO ABSENCE IS EXCUSED; there are a minimum number of classes that you must attend in order to "take the course."  All professors at ASU allow reasonable exceptions for university-sponsored events that may cause you to miss a class; you will still be held accountable for the work, and you should provide information about the events as early in the semester as possible.


If you need help, have problems with the notes or requirements, please check with me.  If you get nothing else from this class you should  remember this: true wisdom is not what you carry around with you in your head but the willingness to seek the answers to your questions and the ability to at least know where to look.  If you disagree with a professor, his opinions or lecture material, you should politely offer to disagree, so long as you have taken the trouble to look up the answer, formulate your own hypothesis, or have a knowledgeable opinion.  An opinion without the proof, or knowledgeable choices to back it up, is merely prejudice. 






The texts for this class include The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, Volume I, 7th edition available at the campus and Indian bookstores (or, if financial doesn't present a problem, go to Barnes and Noble or online for a used edition).  My office is within the English and Philosophy office, 972-2625. or email wnarey@astate.edu.

Texts, which will vary each semester,  most often taught in in Introduction to Literature 1 are

Drama:    Oedipus the King




Fiction:      Gilgamesh


                    The Odyssey

                    Works of Marie de France

                    Morte D'Arthur                    

                    The Canterbury Tales

                    The Decameron

Poetry:     The Metamorphosis   

                    Petrarch: sonnets

                    Shakespeare: sonnets

                    Donne: sonnets, poems, and holy sonnets

For suggested writing topics for a Literature 1 course, click here

To:  Literature II class





This page maintained by Wayne Narey; suggestions and comments appreciated--please contact wnarey@astate.edu