Monday, February 18, 2013

Course Description for My Fantasy-Themed "Intro to Fiction" Class

Last fall I wrote about a fantasy literature course I was hoping to get to teach as part of my day job in Summer 2013. That teaching assignment came to pass (in the form of a section of ENGL 109, "Intro to Fiction"), and I'm turning in the course description now. Here it is:
This section of ENGL 109 approaches the critical analysis of prose fiction by considering that most fictitious of modern genres: fantasy. Detaching fiction from realism will allow us to focus primarily on storytelling: while the content of fantastic narratives bears a relation to lived experience, it does so in crooked fashion, calling attention to the formal elements from which stories are made. After all, fantastic worlds only come into being through authors’ deployment of narrative strategies such as plot, character, and point of view. Our texts are a mix of short and long narratives: stories by Lord Dunsany, Robert E. Howard, Angela Carter, and Kelly Link; novels by J. R. R. Tolkien, Patricia A. McKillip, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Because this course satisfies the Comp II requirement, we’ll also devote ample time in and out of class to the tactics and techniques of critical prose. Chief among these are peer review and revision of drafts.
It turns out that the Summer II session is exactly eight weeks long, so I won't have to cut anyone from the reading list. (We'll lose a day of Forgotten Beasts of Eld class due to the Fourth of July, but that shouldn't be a big problem.)

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