Course greeting & introduction
-- read through paper Syllabus and Course Policies
-- read handout "Subtotals" and "A Continuity of Parks" to discuss
-- read through Course Packet pp. 3-5 on Reading Actively; these pages provide examples of what "active reading" means and looks like; reading this material now will help you in all subsequent reading for class (compare to Eco's discussion of the difference between "reading" and "scanning")
-- read in course packet pp. 59-72, Ch.1 of Umberto Eco's Six Walks in the Fictional Woods. Umberto Eco (who also wrote The Name of the Rose) is an Italian writer, historian, and literary critic and theorist. In "Entering the Woods," Eco asks us as readers to consider what happens when we read literature. In this chapter and the next two, he mentions several writers you may not have heard of, and stories/books which you may not have read; don't worry about this, because we'll discuss and concern ourselves with how Eco uses them. Eco indicates the (often overlooked) distinction between an author and the narrator of her/his stories, as well as between "model readers" and "empirical readers" and "model authors" and "empirical authors" -- as well as between using texts and interpreting them. Read this chapter as carefully and closely as you can -- it might help if you read any confusing parts of it aloud to yourself -- and take notes. In class we'll touch on the parts most useful to us and apply them to more contemporary U.S. examples, as well as clarify Eco's larger points.
-- diagnostic essay: have ready to turn in to me today a 1 and 1/2 - 2 page essay where you describe to me what reading is like for you. This diagnostic will give me an idea of your current writing style and proficieny, and will give you an idea of how I grade when it's returned to you. Remember, this is only a diagnostic (look up the word if you don't know what it means); it is not for a grade (so no plagiarising to try to impress me, either -- that totally defeats the purpse of this short essay). Have ready to turn in to me during class. (See "formatting" section of the Course Policies site for details on margins and fonts.
-- e-mail: remember to submit to me (email@example.com) by tonight a brief self-introduction, containing:
-- read packet pp. 73-97, Chs. 2 & 3 of Eco's Six Walks in the Fictional Woods. (Hopefully by now you realize the pun in Eco's title.) In these two chapters, Eco presents us the distinction between "story," "plot," and discourse, and between "story time," "reading time," and "discourse time." We'll discuss these in class as on Monday.
-- read in packet pp.33-45, Michel Foucault's "What Is an Author?" Foucault, who died in 1984, remains one of the most important historian-philosohper-literary theorists of the Twentieth Century. His writing is quite dense (in the sense of "packed") and at times a little daunting. Don't be discouraged, though: he offers some of the most creative thinking around. In this essay he considers the person we call "the author" and the power that has been traditionally handed over to her/him at the expense of readers. In the contemporary world, according to Foucault, the "author" has become only a function -- and needs to be seen as such to end the tyrrany of traditional methods of reading. We'll discuss Foucault in class, as well as any leftover parts of Eco.