This is a course about how stories work, and how to read them effectively and critically. We encounter narratives every day, in gossip and jokes, news reports, in books and films and on the internet. Everyone is experienced in understanding and interpreting stories. This course gives you the chance to articulate, understand, and develop your skills as a consumer (and creator) of stories, through describing and analyzing the various elements of a narrative – such as narration, character, structure, genre, and point of view – in a number of different examples in English. The course will develop a critical vocabulary which students working in small groups can use, with increasing confidence, to discuss, analyze and report on written narrative texts of various length and complexity. Besides the target stories, there will be critical readings, with plenty of examples, in textual studies and in narratology (the poetics of stories). At the end of the course, all students should have the skills and confidence to give a productive and well-informed reading of any narrative, literary or non-literary, and some sense of the part that narrative plays in our understanding of the world we live in.
- theory of narrative
- description of narratives
- analysis of narratives
- interpretation of narratives
This course develops students' skills in describing, understanding and interpreting stories across a range of texts. It will introduce students to a set of critical terms and ideas in preparation for more advanced courses in English literary studies.
There will be weekly lectures and tutorials. Students are expected to complete the required readings BEFORE lectures and tutorials. This course requires a great deal of independent study that you will have to make time for on your own.
Coursework: 100%, comprising –
- Participation, presentations, and short writing activities: 20 percent.
- Mid Term Exam: 30 percent.
- Long Research Essay: 50 percent.
A number of narrative texts as well as critical writing on them will be available on the course moodle.page.
Rick Altman, A Theory of Narrative (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008)
Paul Cobley, Narrative (London: Routledge, 2001)
Roger Fowler, Language and Control (London: Routledge, 1979)
Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Universioty Press, 1980)
James Phelan, Reading Narrative (Columbus, OH: Ohio University Press, 1989)