ENGL 301 (Section 001, Schedule #31836)
Virginia Commonwealth University
Spring 2019
MWF 1:00 -1:50pm :: Hibbs B024
Prof. David Golumbia
Office: 324D Hibbs Hall
Spring 2019 Office Hours: M 2-5pm

Introduction to the English Major

This class provides an overview of the study of literature and interpretation. Our focus will be on understanding the variety of approaches used in the discipline. Our time will be split about evenly between fiction and poetry. We’ll read both original literature and criticism about that literature, exploring the many ways that readers and writers respond to and make sense of textual expression. The class is taught primarily by discussion, and significant attention will be devoted to the construction of solid interpretive essays about literature, including workshopping each other’s papers and doing other classroom exercises about the written interpretation of literature and media.


Texts for purchase (note that in some cases, students are required to obtain the specific edition of the book listed below):

Assignments and Evaluation

Evaluation will be based on written exercises and course participation as follows:

Course-Specific Policies

Official VCU Policy Statements

Please consult the Provost's official page on topics such as classroom conduct, email, the Honor System, and other important policy issues.

Week-by-Week Syllabus

Week One: Introduction

Week Two: Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Week Three: Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Week Four: No classes (instructor away)

Week Five: Hurston, Barracoon

Week Six: Rankine, Citizen

Week Seven: Morrison, Tar Baby

Week Eight: No classes (spring break)

Week Nine: Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition

Week Ten: Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition

Week Eleven: Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem

Week Twelve: No classes (instructor away)

Week Thirteen: Gyasi, Homegoing

Week Fourteen: Poems from Into English

Week Fifteen: Poems from Into English

Week Sixteen: Conclusion

Final paper is due by the end of the final exam period for the course, 1:50pm, Fri, May 3, 2019, per the registrar's exam schedule. The paper should be submitted on Blackboard. No late papers can be accepted for the final paper assignment. There is no other final exam for the course.

Last updated  April 12, 2019.