| ||This is possibly the toughest course you will ever take. So people tell me after college. It’s not hard to pass; it’s just a lot of continuous and serious work, including a huge amount of writing — thirty papers, give or take one or two. I grade those brutally and then scale the results generously. Overall, my plan is to stretch your capacities and challenge your assumptions. The class is partly a composition course, partly a course in literary theory, partly an exploration of propositional logic, and a little left over that’s pure fun. |
In terms of content, the course fills some of the gaps left by the other courses in the literature sequence, and to revisit older authors and topics of particular importance, while helping to build a greater synthetic understanding of literary operations and theory, and a stronger proficiency in writing. Accordingly it includes some French classicism, the Russian novel, early German romanticism, and the English gothic as well as more Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, Hawthorne, Melville, and Austen.
We primarily read modern literature in the western tradition, with a few excursions into areas that seem too important to ignore — some of which are also specially noted as relevant in the College Board's AP materials, since the other point of this class is to address the requirements of the College Board Advanced Placement English program, leading to the AP exam. It is not an officially approved AP course; meeting the College Board’s qualifications would, I am persuaded, require me to dumb the course down. Taking the AP Exam is not required.