FLL 230/English 232C: Introduction to Comparative Literature

Spring 2003


Professor Charles Ross

Office: 324 Heavilon

E-mail: cross@purdue.edu

Office hours: Tuesday 11:00-1:00, Wednesday 12:30-2:00


Course description

This course is an introduction to reading and writing about world literature. Texts are drawn from different genres—poetry, drama, prose fiction, film—and from a variety of cultures and time periods. Although we will consider social, economic, political, and religious influences, our main focus will be on gaining a sense of the similarities and differences among as well as the sophistication of various written languages.


Course objectives

In this class you will learn to:

·        Read literature carefully and analytically

·        Respond to literature both orally and in writing

·        Understand the value of comparing different literatures

·        Encounter other languages you may wish to study further


Required Texts

·        Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, ed. Sylvan Barnet. Compact Edition. New York: Longman, 2003. Available at Von’s Books.

·        Dante’s Divine Comedy: Inferno and Purgatorio, trans. Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam, 1981. Available at Von’s Books.

·        Various handouts available either in class or on line.


Web access

Please sign on to this course immediately using the code number I give you in class. Go to http://www.jenzabar.com and follow the directions. Email and discussion threads among class members are encouraged. I will use this site for handouts or announcements when necessary. Your grades will be posted here.


Class Calendar

It is required that you read the homework before you come to class and that you always bring your book or the appropriate handout.


Note that papers are due on January 24, February 14, March 14, April 11, and May 8.


Weeks 1-2—Three comparisons

January 13: A Hollywood Source: Akiro Kurosawa’s Seven Samarai  and The Magnificent Seven

January 15: Homer and Virgil: The shield of Achilles and the shield of Aeneas

January 17: Creation stories: Genesis 1 and Ovid’s Metamorphoses


January 20—No class

January 22—L&C 3-27, 61-69

January 24—Comparison paper due, Peer Review


Weeks 3-5—Tragedy

January 27—Antigone

January 29—Antigone

January 31—Hamlet, Act 1, L&C 643-649, 681


February 3—Hamlet Act 2

February 5—Hamlet Act 3

February 7—Hamlet Act 4


February 10—Hamlet Act 5

February 12—L&C 365-377, 403-406, 510-512

February 14—Paper due, Peer Review


Weeks 6-9: Lyric Poetry (Note quizzes* on previous day’s work)

February 17—Greek and Latin hexameter;

February 19*—Sappho

February 21—Horace


February 24*—T’ang Dynasty lyric (Chinese)

February 26*—Sonnets: Dante, Petrarch, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare

February 28*—German lyric: from Minnesinger to Heinrich Heine’s Lorelei (German)


March 3*—Pushkin’s Na Nadezhdina (V zhurnal . . .)

March 5*—Leopardi’s L’Infinito (Italian)

March 7*—Baudelaire’s Hymn à la beauté


March 10*—Keat’s Ode to a Nightingale

March 12—L&C 46-60, 686-695

March 14—Paper due, Peer  Review


March 17-21: SPRING BREAK (Read assignment for March 24)


Week 10-12: Romance and Epic

March 24: Gospel According to John

March 26: Virgil’s Aeneid 4

March 28: Dante’s Inferno 1-5


March 31: Statius Book 8 and Dante’s Inferno 32 and Purgatory 22

April 2: Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato 1.1-1.10

April 4:. Spenser’s Faerie Queene 3.1


April 7: Freud, “The Uncanny” and L&C 358 (“Grotesque”)

April 9: L&C 80-88

April 11: Paper due; Peer Review


Week 13: Fiction (journal assignments begin)

April 14: L&C 196-208: (Hemingway) and L&C 222-226 (Checkov)

April 15: L&C 227-230 (Joyce) and L&C 270-275 (Gloria Naylor)

April 17: Three Versions of Yeats “Leda and the Swan” L&C 138-140 and Three Versions of an Emily Dickinson poem, L&C 159-163.


Weeks 14-15: Confessions and Metamorphoses 

April 21: Augustine

April 23: Montaigne

April 25: Rousseau


April 28: Ovid’s Daphne and Apollo, Boiardo OI 1.3.43-45; Midsummer Night’s Dream 1.1.227-252

April 30: Dante’s Purgatory 9

May 2: Journals (using recommended methods) covering last three weeks due. Peer Review.


Take-home Final Exam: On the last day of class you will be given three poems or passages and asked to write a 5-6 page essay of contrast and comparison based on the methods you learned during the course. These passages may be different for different students and may be based on your own suggestions. Due by email by Thursday, 5:00 P.M. of finals week.


Graded Assignments

·        Four papers (four pages, 800-1000 words). Each is worth 15% of your grade. Each of these papers may be rewritten within one week of its return, in which case the first grade will be worth 5% of your total and the new grade 10%.

·        Series of quizzes (marked on syllabus). Worth 10% of your grade. There are no make-up quizzes.

·        Final journal based on the last three weeks. Worth 5% of your grade.

·        One final exam. Worth 20% of your grade.

·        Active participation, including class discussion and activities, as well as regular attendance is required. Worth 5% of your grade.


Course Policies

You must bring a physical copy of your paper when there is a scheduled Peer Review. You can then take home the paper, if you want, and email it by 5:00 P.M. the next day.


Late Work. In order to be fair, all students must complete and hand in every assignment on the due date listed on the course calendar. I will deduct 5% of your grade for every day a paper is late.


Attendance: As this is a small discussion class, not a large lecture, your presence is required each day the class meets. Your active participation will help you succeed on all graded assignments. Any student who misses four or more classes (excused or unexcused) will receive a 0 for participation. Students with six unexcused absences will be dropped from the course with a failing grade.


Demeanor: Please be considerate of others. Leave concealed weapons at home. Please do not eat or drink during class or do anything before class that might impair your ability to learn. Give others a chance to speak but also let us all hear what you have to say. Out of respect for the rapidly advancing age of an out-of-touch professor, please remove your hats. If you are not enjoying the class and for some reason are afraid to tell me personally, slip an anonymous note under my office door or hand it to Judy Raub, the secretary in HEAV 324.