L202 4869 LITERARY INTERPRETATION
Lee Sterrenburg

7:15p-8:30p TR (20 students) 3 cr., A&H, IW. PREREQUISITE: Completion of the English composition requirement.

Open to Honors students only. Obtain on-line authorization from the Honors College.

This section of English L202 will focus on the theory and practice of literary comedy. Some of the theories will include Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of dialogical form and the carnivalesque; Henri Bergson’s theory of laughter; and Sigmund Freud’s ideas on jokes and their relation to the unconscious. We’ll read comic forms from drama, fiction, and poetry. Drama includes Aristophanes’ classical work Lysistrata and maybe a Shakespeare comedy. Poetry will feature selections from Robert Burns, the limericks of Edward Lear and others, poems by Lewis Carroll including The Hunting of the Snark, and readings from John Gross’s The Oxford Book of Comic Verse. Fiction will feature writings by Mark Twain, probably including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and some of his rewritings of the story of Adam and Eve back in the Garden of Eden. We also plan to read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From literature for children, we’ll do L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. From video, we’ll watch some of Hal Holbrook’s stage rendition of the author in Mark Twain Tonight. If time permits we’ll also watch and discuss a comic film, to be selected in consultation with the class. L202 is primarily a course in reading, writing, and discussing literature. It is an intensive writing course. Students will write series of four essays (circa 5- 6 pages) and some shorter informal (circa one page) working or response papers. There may be quizzes on reading. But there is no mid-term or final exam. Regular attendance is required. Class meetings are mostly discussion. We’ll try to become better at leading and participating in discussions about complex matters. And we’ll try to become better at writing about them.