LIT 2120: World Literature


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Course Objective and Description:
This course is a survey of World Literature from the 17th Century to the present day, and, as such, we will be reading and writing about a great variety of works in order to get a sense of the development of literature in this time span in various locals around the world. Since literature reveals the workings of culture, we shall endeavor to create an ongoing conversation on the nature of those workings as we piece together the conversation in which the work itself participates. This particular section of World Literature will revolve around folktales from around the world. We will classify various archetypes and then look at corresponding tales within various countries.

Also, because this survey of World Literature follows the tracings of folk and fairy tales, as well as some mythology, we will be reading certain theoretical texts such as Carl Jung, Bruno Bettelheim, and Jack Zipes to help structure the course in a broader theoretical sense. These texts will range from psychoanalytical readings to structuralist readings, equipping you with various angles to approach a text. These readings will facilitate discussion about the views of folktales within the larger climate of tale types.

The goal of this course is to encourage an understanding of each individual work with the larger context of World literature and, by doing so, learn how to read poetry, drama, and fiction critically. In order to communicate these interpretations, we will also focus on how to write about literature. Thus the goal in this endeavor is to construct essays that write about these genres in a thoughtful, convincing, and effective manner. Essays are important, but folklore relies heavily on presentation and the spoken word; therefore, you will be required to do several in class presentations over the course of the semester. Another key aspect of folklore is compiling information and strands of stories so the final project will be a web project that compiles and organizes the information accumulated in this class.

Achievement of Course Objectives:
~Classroom explanations and discussions will guide you through the reading and writing assignments. You will also receive help in one-on-one conferences and peer editing sessions. Because this class fulfils the Gordon Rule, you will be asked to write a minimum of 6000 words over the course of the semester. You will also need to do the following:
~Keep up with reading and writing assignments.

The following books are available at Georings Bookstore :
Best-Loved Folktales of the World. Selected by Joanna Cole. New York: Anchor Books. 1983.
Yolen, Jane. Ed. Favorites Folktales from around the World. New York: Pantheon. 1986.
Campell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton UP. 1949, 1973.

~I will post some materials on-line, such as selections from Carl Jung and Jack Zipes. You will find a link from the course’s schedule web page that opens another window in Adobe Acrobat. You are responsible for reading and printing out the material so as to have it in-class when we discuss it.

~Do all assignments before a class session begins. You will be required to find an example of various types of folktales not found in our texts and the examples will be due in class the day we discuss them. Participate in class discussions and editing sessions. Bring texts to class and take notes.

Class Assignments

Writing about the Trickster: This essay will utilize your knowledge of the folklore trickster by arguing with evidence from the primary text and the trickster archetypes (Hynes Chapter 3 and Hynes Chapter 13) that a modern day character fulfills the role of a trickster. To do this you will need to introduce your modern day trickster and then define him or her using examples from your character's life or story. You may compare your character to a trickster tale we read if it will further your arguement. This paper should cite Hynes Chapter 3 (Hynes, William J. "Mapping the Characteristics of Mythic Tricksters: A Heuristic Guide." Mythical Trickster Figures: Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. 1993.) or Chapter 13 (Hynes, William J. "Inconclusive Conclusions: Tricksters -- Metaplayers and Revealers." Mythical Trickster Figures: Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. 1993.). This paper should be in MLA format and be 2-3 pages long (you may go longer, but you need at least one word on the third page to fulfill the length requirements).

Writing about the Hero: This essay will focus on our look at the various archetypes and brands of character heros. There are numerous types to work with, but you will need to choose one character out of one particular version. After picking a hero, develop a why your character is a hero in light of the Campbell readings. For the paper, you are to choose one character from any story that we have read or that you found on your own and do a character analysis/ definition paper of why your character is a hero (not just that he/she does heroic actions). What this entails is making an assertion about that person's character and then backing it up with textual evidence from the story and from Campbell. This paper requires one outside source not including your primary text and Campbell. Your essay should be three to four pages.

Comparison/Contrast Paper: A comparison shows how two or more items are similar, and a contrast shows how they are different. In this situation, the compare/contrast essay must consider both the similarities and the differences found in a fairy tale of your choice. This can be achieved through either a subject-by-subject comparison or a point-by-point comparison. Your essay should be six to seven pages (1500 words), have three outside sources not including your primary texts, and comply with standard MLA format.

Student Examples: For almost every tale type that we discuss, you will be responsible for bringing in one example of a similar tale not found in the text. You should include a cover sheet with this text in MLA style giving your name, date, and bibliographic information on where you found your example. All examples will be linked or posted to your group webpage project.

Class Presentations: For this more creative attempt, you and a partner (or two) will present a folktale not found in either one of our major texts. Why do you suppose this tale was left out? How can you categorize it? Is this type of tale found in multiple countries? We will have studied structure, character, and setting by the time you present your folktale; these aspects need to be incorporated into your presentation. You will have half of the class period (30 minutes) for your presentation for groups of two: individuals will have approx. 15 minutes for their presentation. Creativity and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated. You will need a handout for the class and one visual. You will also turn in a works cited page to me. The presentation will be graded on the following categories:
Clarity of Material Presented;Clarity of Presentation (Logical Flow and Ease);
Background of Folktale/Archetype Presented;Depth of Material Covered; Scholarliness of Presentation; Appropriate use of Visual Aids (Handouts, overheads, computer, sound); Appropriate use of Time (minimum of 15 minutes individual, 30 group); Overall Creativity and Enthusiasm; Handout; and your Works Cited page.

Campbell Presentations: At a resonable time (before midnight) on the day before your class discussion, submit several study questions or discussion prompts to the class listserv. These should be submitted in a timely manner so that class members will have time to read and think about the questions before class. During class, you will be responsible to help guide and prompt discussion, bringing up questions, concerns, etc. about the chapter you are responsible for.

Webpage project: Everything that you do in this class will lead to a group webpage assignment. It will be due at the end of the semester completed, but we will be working on it a little all along. Everything you do in this class will be eventually posted on the web.

Extra Credit: There are two opportunities for extra Credit. First, you may watch To Sleep with Anger a 1990 Danny Glover film and explain in a film critique why the main character Harry is a devil trickster. Or, you may watch The Passion of the Christ produced by Mel Gibson and out in theaters Wednesday, February 25, and explain in a film critique why the main character Jesus is a Savior hero. Film critiques should be at least a page (one word on the second page). You may gain partial extra credit for just going to see the movie The Passion of the Christ and bringing in a ticket stub, or recieve full extra credit with the ticket stub and written critique.

Helpful materials available on-line that may help you fulfill the above assignments:
Hans Christian Andersen (has most of his stories on-line):
The Brothers Grimm:
SurLaLane fairy tale pages:
Snow White (includes hypertext that compares 36 versions of Snow White):
Southern Mississippi has three blossoming Internet projects:
Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk:
Good Bibliography for finding criticism:
Research help page from Santa Monica College Library specifically for fairy tale research:
Library research guide for German fairy tales from Cornell:

Grade Breakdown:
Writing about Character 10%
Comparison/Contrast Paper 20%
Class Presentations 15%
Webpage project 25%
Class Participation 10%
Listserv and in-class writing, quizzes, student examples 20%

Class Policies and Requirements
Attendance: Because class attendance is critical to your understanding of class material, you are allowed only three unexcused absences over the course of the semester. After three unexcused absences, your final grade average will be dropped a letter grade for every day missed. An absence due to illness or family crisis may be excused if properly documented to my satisfaction. In addition, if you participate in a university-sponsored event (music, theater, field trip, or athletics), you must provide me with documentation from an appropriate authority. Whether or not an absence is excused, you are responsible for contacting a classmate or me to find out what material you missed and any work that was assigned. If work is due in class on the day of the absences, the work is due in my mailbox by 10am that day. Tardies (arriving late in class or departing class early) are not acceptable because it is disruptive, and, beyond any excused tardies, class participation grade and overall grade will be affected (3 tardies = 1 absence).

Class Participation: In addition to attending class, you are also expected to contribute class discussions and participate in workshop sessions with your peers. Learning is not a solitary process, but one that necessarily involves others and I thus consider class participation a very important part of achieving this class’s goals.

Quizzes: If I think that the class is not doing the reading assignments, I will begin giving quizzes at the beginning of every class. If you are reading the texts as we progress though the semester, you should do fine.

There will be one 5-7 page comparison paper and two shorter essay, which are written about more extensively in the class assignment section.

Format: All work is due at the beginning of class on the day it is due. All major essays and assignments should be typed on only one side of 8 ½½”” x 11”” white paper, MLA format, stapled, and be in Times New Roman 12 point font. On days when drafts are due (workshop days), you must bring two copies of your paper to class. These copies should be clean, typed papers (the same format as the final draft) and already well edited by you. I will not accept any papers that are not in this format.

Listserv Participation: At the beginning of the term, I will set up a class email listerv. Each student must email at least three original responses to an upcoming reading assignment and three responses to others’ responses. While these posts need not be polished pieces of writing, I do expect a certain amount critical thought. The idea here is raise issues about a particular reading or group of readings for the class to think about before we discuss.

University and Departmental Policies
Gordon Rule: All work must be completed for a grade since the work assigned fulfills the Gordon Rule, which stipulates that students are to write a minimum of 6000 words that receive feedback, are graded, and give experience in various types of writing important in disciplines, workplace, and civic areas.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing of someone else’s work and is a serious offense with serious consequences. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the paper in question and can possibly result in a failure for the course. Please consult the University of Florida’s Honor Code for a thorough description ( Academic honesty requires that all work presented in this class be the student’s own work. Evidence of collusion (working with another student or tutor) or plagiarism (use of another’s ideas, data and statement without acknowledgment and/or extensive use of another’s ideas, data and statements with only minimal acknowledgment) will lead to the procedures set up by the university for academic dishonesty in the Honor Court. There is a clear distinction between learning new ideas and presenting them as facts or as answers, and presenting them as one’s own idea. Unless the work assigned is specifically designed to be completed in groups, all work must be individual.

UF Computer and Software Requirement:
The following is the official UF policy on the student computer requirement: Access to and on-going use of a computer will be required for all students to complete their degree programs successfully. Effective with the Summer B 1998 term, the University of Florida expects each student entering the junior year, as well as each student new to the university, to acquire computer hardware and software appropriate to his or her degree program. Competency in the basic use of a computer is a requirement for graduation. Class assignments may require use of a computer, academic advising and registration can be done by computer, and official university correspondence is often sent via e-mail. While the university offers limited access to computers through its computer labs, most students will be expected to purchase or lease a computer that is capable of dial-up or network connection to the Internet, graphical access to the World Wide Web, and productivity functions such as word processing and spreadsheet calculation. Refer to the UF Computer and Software Requirement page for any questions ( as well as the CLAS computer policy (

Classroom Dynamics: Because class participation relies heavily on individuals feeling comfortable expressing their opinions, you must always show respect for the diversity of opinions expressed in this class. You must also demonstrate respect for gender, racial, class, and ethnic differences among your colleagues and instructor.

Every student in this class is expected to participate in a responsible and mature manner that enhances education. Any conduct that disrupts the learning process may lead to disciplinary action.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

Challenging a Grade: Any complaints about separate assignments should be addressed to me and not to the English Department. If you have any complaints on the final grade, you may see me or email me. If you find that you still have complaints after our meeting, you may express your complaints on a form in the English Department Office (4012 Turlington). The form and accompanying course material will be given to the Director of Writing Program Administration for further action. A review committee may decide to raise, lower, or keep the originally assigned grade. This decision is final. The material submitted will remain on file in the English Department Office.

Overview of Assignments: These assignments are due in class on the dates indicated. All late assignments (assignments not in at the BEGINING of class) will be dropped one letter grade. Also, there will be additional assignments and materials not indicated on this sheet (all changes will be posted on our class schedule on my webpage), and both this schedule and individual assignments are subject to change AND WILL CHANGE on a weekly basis. (see schedule)



Main Information

Instructor: Cathlena Martin
Section: 1830
Times: MWF 2 (8:30-9:20)
Classroom: Dauer 342
Office: Rolfs 5th floor or Image Lab
Office Hours: By appointment
Mailbox: 4301 Turlington
Class Listserv email: