Course Meets: TH CL 321 2:30-3:45 (offered yearly, but not 2000-2001)
Instructor: Oscar Swan
Office Hours: MWF 1:00-2:00, or by appt.
Office: 1417 Cathedral of Learning
***Inquiries made by email are encouraged and will be answered promptly.
An introduction to the formal analysis of the literary genre of the short story, on the example of works of Polish literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. This is primarily a course on the short story as literature, only indirectly a course on Polish culture, society, and thought. The course will examine works both formally and as they reflect the reality or literary-social concerns of given historical periods (positivism, naturalism, existentialism, gender issues, prison-camp literature, socialist realism, absurdism, and others).
Assignments consist of readings (one or two stories per class meeting, around 20-40 pages per week), and frequent short (1-to-2-page) written essays, around 15 in all. There will be a Midterm and a Final Examination, and several announced quizzes. The final grade will be determined as follows.
Class Preparedness (as based on written assignments and quizzes): 40%;
Attendance is not graded per se. However, you are responsible for all material presented in class, including announcements about course procedures and day-to-day assignments. The most important thing you will get from class attendance is the guided discussion and interpretation of the works read, and, especially, A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS ON THEM. These assignments are given and due on an almost daily basis, and they are not self-explanatory. Additioinally, THE INSTRUCTOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO ALTER ASSIGNMENTS DESCRIBED IN THIS SYLLABUS. Failure to understand the assignment due to absence from class is no excuse. Late assignments, due on pre-determined dates, will be ass essed a 1/2 point deduction.
By being enrolled in this course, students agree to abide by the above stipulations, and understand that the instructor will follow rigorously the rules spelled out in the Handbook on Integrity regarding cheating, plagiarism, etc. It is the students' responsibility to familiarize themselves with these regulations and to observe them. Infractions will be penalized according to these rules. If you are uncertain about any matter concerning academic integrity, please ask the instructor.
We will begin by examining the characteristics of the classical West European short story, and how it may be distinguished from other forms of literature, especially the TALE on the one hand and the NOVEL on the other. General types of short story (plot-centered, character- centered, atmosphere-centered) will be discussed, including stylistic and structural devices characteristic of each. We will begiin with an examaination of plot-centered short stories, i.e., stories exhibiting a development, entanglement, climax, and denouement or aftermath. Examination of individual works will consider such things as the use of plot, narrator, dialogue, time, space, character, symbol, locale, and so on, as elements going into the 'summative effect' or 'point' characteristic of most short stories.
Turning to the Polish short story, we will first examine certain non-literary precursors to the short story, such as tales, anecdotes, and memoirs, turning then to selections from the classical period of Polish 19th-century Social Positivism (Prus, Sienkiewicz, Orzeszkowa). Important concerns of the late 19th-century (the theme of moral choice, gender conflicts, personal fate and destiny, etc.) will be illustrated using the shorter fiction of Joseph Conra d and Maria Dabrowska. The next portion of the course will be devoted to the period between the two world wars, represented by writers such as Zapolska, Gojawiczynska, Gombrowicz, Schulz, Iwaszkiewicz. The last part of the course will be devoted to works of the late 20th-century, including stories of holocaust, wartime, and prison-camp experience (Borowski, Naukowska), literature on themes of social and political indoctrination (Andrzejewski, Mrozek); power relationships (Borowski, Polanski); and literatu re of fanstasy and the absurd (Mrozek, Lem).
At selected points in the course (once before the midterm and once before the final), we will view Polish films based on the short-story genre.
(by Author, In Order of Assignment, and Where to find)
The notation (Book Center) indicates that the item should be purchased at the University Book Center. There are four such works:
|August 31, September 2||Woroszylski, "The Watch"||Szulc, "Pan", "Nimrod"|
|September 7, 9||Pasek,"Robak the Otter"||Norwid,"Ad leones"|
|September 14, 16||Prus,"The Waistcoat"||Prus,"The Barrel Organ"|
|September 21, 23||Prus, "Antek"||Prus,"Legends ofAncient Egypt"|
|September 28, 30||Petesch,"The Bee-Keeper"||Sienkiewicz,"Yamiol", "Yanko"|
|October 5, 7||Orzeszkowa, "Miss Antonina"||[film, "Birchwood"]|
|October 12, 14||[film, cont.]||review:|
|October 19, 21||MIDTERM||Iwaszkiewicz,"Rose"|
|October 26, 28||Conrad, "The Tale"||"Prince Roman", "Warrior'sSoul".|
|November 2, 4||Dabrowska, "Father Philip"||Gabriela Zapolska, "Virtue," "Little Frog," "Kitten"|
|November 9, 11||Gojawiczynska, "Two Women", "The Mother".||M. Kuncewiczowa "Strange Rachel"|
|November 16, 18||Naulkowska, "Soap Factory", "Rock Bottom"||Naulkowska, "By the Railway Tracks"|
|November 23||Borowski "This Way to the Gas" (1st three stories)||THANKSGIVING|
|November 30, Dec. 2||Movie, "Knife in the Water"||Andrzejewski, "Gold Fox"|
|December 7, 9||S. Mrozek, S Lem, selected stories||course review and evaluation|
Wednesday, December 17, 10:00 in 321 CL
THESE ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE WHEN NOTED. The topics are NOT SELF-EXPLANATORY, but will be explained and discussed in class. You are responsible for being in class when the assignment is explained and discussed. One page minimum. One and a half pages maximum. Double-spaced. Write clearly, simply, and to the point of the assignment. Do not retell the story unless asked to do so. Work will be graded on a 1-2-3 scale (with +/-), with 1 being an acknowledgment of the assignment's being handed in; 2 being a good fulfillment of the assignment; and 3 signifying an exceptionally well thought-out and expressed execution of the assignment. Grammar, style, logical structure, and spelling count. Length over the assigned amount does not count. Points will be added up and converted to a letter grade, based on a class-wide curve, two times: once before the midterm (8 graded assignments, lowest grade out), and once before the final (7 graded assignments, lowest grade out). Overdue assignments may be handed in on the designated overdue-assignment day, with an automatic 1/2 point deduction. The se two grades will be averaged together in order to make up the component designated as Class Preparedness.
|August 31, September 2||[first class meeting]||minimalistic retelling of "The Watch" [ungraded]|
|September 7, 9||plot synopsis of "Robak the Otter" [ungraded]||running reader's notes on "Ad leones"|
|September 14, 16||outline of plot movements in "The Waistcoat"||narrative perspective in "The Barrel Organ"|
|September 21, 23||symbol of the windmill in "Antek"||function of time in "Legends ofAncient Egypt"|
|September 28, 30||discussion of "The Bee- Keeper"||themes of social criticism in "Yamiol" or "Yanko"|
|October 5, 7||narrator's attitude toward "Miss Antonina"||[film, "Birchwood"]|
|October 12, 14||The symbolism of the birchwood forest.||REVIEW|
|October 19, 21||MIDTERM||naturalistic features in "Rose"|
|October 26, 28||The theme of moral choice in "The Tale"||ID quiz on "Prince Roman", "Warrior's Soul", "TheTale"|
|November 2, 4||the use of irony in "Father Philip"||ID quiz on "Virtue", "Little Frog", "Kitten"|
|November 9, 11||ID take-home on "Two Women"||your interpretation of "Strange Rachel"|
|November 16, 18||blame/guilt in "RR Tracks" or "Soap Factory"|
|November 23||persona of the narrator in "Welcome to the Gas"||THANKSGIVING|
|November 30, Dec. 2||film: "Knife in the Water"||shifting power relation- ships in "Knife in Water"|
|December 7, 9||take-home quiz on "Gold Fox"||[review, course evaluation]|