359:202 Principles of Literary Study

E6 6/26-8/4 MW 6:00-9:40 CAC 04343 CASTROMAN AB-2250

H1 7/10-8/16 MW 6:00-9:40 PM CAC 04344 EVERETT, G. SC-121



This course is an introduction to the study of narrative forms—including issues of voice, theme, context, and style.  We will read across various genres in the 19th- 20th- and 21st- century and analyze works by authors like Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Junot Díaz, and Mohsin Hamid. Lectures and discussion will help students to come away from this course with a solid understanding of key narrative approaches and a technical vocabulary useful for future literary study. While the course is required for prospective English majors, all students are welcome. 



This course offers an introductory study to narrative forms, properties, and techniques. In other words, it asks: how are stories told? In what ways do narrative choices shape content and reflect historical and literary shifts? In attempting to answer these questions, we will turn to novels and short stories that offer a range of styles, genres, themes, and contexts. Lectures, discussion, and writing assignments will also help students learn how to most effectively interpret those narratives. While this course is geared to potential English majors, it is intended for anyone interested in learning how fiction works. Authors may include Charles Chesnutt, Junot Diaz, William Faulkner, Jhumpa Lahiri, Herman Melville, Toni Morrison, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf.


The course fulfills part of the Rutgers SAS Core requirements (for AHp and WCD). By the end of the course, students will also have developed grounding in research resources available to students in the humanities and the conventions of the literary essay. Course work may include short writing assignments, class participation, and one final paper.