English 111 Syllabus

English 111^W: Introduction to Literature

Bradley Bleck
Office: 5-157
Phone: Office 533-3572
email: bradleyDOTbleckATspokanefallsDOTedu
Class Time: 9:30-10:20 MTTh
Student Drop-in Hours: After 1:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment; otherwise, check my office door schedule for available times. Please feel free to email me with questions. Seriously. I mean it.


Required Text:Literature to Go, 2nd Edition. Michael Meyer, ed. New York: Bedford St. Martins, 2014.

Wait to buy one of the following:

  • Monkey by Cheng'en, Wu (any translator)
  • Housekeeping by Marilynn Robinson
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Official Course Description: Students read and discuss short stories, plays and poetry with an emphasis on better understanding and appreciation of literature.

Unofficial course description: In this class we will read, discuss, and write about a bariety of literature and culture from various historical periods and movement while looking at what literature has to offer us in terms of better understanding and appreciating the human condition, whatever that might mean.   In doing so, we’ll look at poetry, fiction both short and long, and drama to develop some understanding of humanity’s heritage. We will be exploring a variety of questions, including, but not limited to:

  • What is Literature?
  • What makes literature Literature?
  • How is humanity reflected in Literature and what might we make of this?
  • Who are these writers of Literature and why might that matter?
  • Why read Literature? What is the point of all this?

As members of the class, you are to completely read all material as assigned prior to listed discussion dates, to have completed journals, to tweet questions, to take part in discussions, to complete writing assignments that focus on the readings and topics under discussion and to complete assigned projects. You should budget at least 15 hours a week for the course (10 hours outside of class for reading, writing, and working).

I hope to help you enjoy and understand literature, provide you will some tools for increased understanding of the literature you read (or at least an idea of where to find material that will help you increase your understanding), and help you to formulate and express your thoughts--written and spoken--concerning Literature and why it matters in the world at large. Keep in mind I am not some oracle of Literature. I prefer to explain what people do not understand and to provide background and context for what we will read and let you puzzle things out as much as possible. Don't expect me to lecture on and explain what writings "mean." I don't have all the answers to what we will read (assuming such answers exist). This does not mean that a piece of literature means whatever you want it to mean; interpretations need to be based on specific elements and their contexts within the text. However, I have considerable experience reading, studying, interpreting, and criticizing literature. This I will share with you.


Let’s just say I hate grading, period. Grading takes a bunch of the fun out of a class such as this one. When I grade, my approach is to be as friendly a reader/grader as possible and give you the best grade that is reasonable given the work submitted. I also like to keep things simple, but it doesn't quite pan out that way.


Literature Review 1: 100 pts
Literature Review 2: 100 pts
Reaction Charts: 50 pts
Journals: 50 pts
Final Exam: 50 pts
Book Club Project: 50 pts

The final grade were be determined by the percentage of points earned out of the 450 possible. You will earn the bulk of your grade in the latter stages of the class, when you should know more and be able to earn better grades. However, neglecting the daily seminar, reaction chart and weekly journal points will hurt not just learning and enjoying the class, but it will damage your grade as well. Don't blow off these low-stakes opportunities.

Questions? You Have Questions?

Good, that means you are doing some thinking. However, when you have a question about the class or what we went over in class, my first question (yeah, I'll respond to your question with a question of my own) will be, depending upon which is appropriate, "What does the syllabus say about that?" or "What do your notes say about that?" The first means you'll likely need to check the syllabus. The second means that you better be taking notes, because if you don't, then I"m going to send you to your classmates for an answer, because I won't repeat what was covered. I will do my best to help you understand, if you do your part by paying attention and taking notes.

syllabus brief.docx25.15 KB