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ENGL 2240: Pt. 1: Introduction, Creation Mythology, Fables

Introduction

Hi!

Welcome to English 2240:  Introduction to Literature.

As you've probably already guessed, this class will involve a lot of reading.  A lot of reading.

But don't worry.  I've divided up the comprehensive approach to prose, poetry and drama into weekly, manageable chunks, so that you are able to closely read the materials--meaning, that you deliberately read...slowly, focused, and intent--rather that trying to guzzle such a tremendous amount of reading your comprehension of what you've read suffers.

As a heads up, the initial couple of weeks' worth of readings are relatively short, not taking much time to complete.  However, as the semester progresses, the amount of, and the complexity of, readings will increase.  Don't fall victim to procrastination, and then try to consume a tremendous amount of reading in a short period of time.  You will need time to "digest" the material, time to reflect on what you've read, time to consider what meaning or understanding or "truth" you discovered from your reading.

 

For this week’s readings, I’d like you to read Module 1 under the Prose tab.  Since this is Winter Term, and class time is strongly condensed, it's very important that you don't fall behind in your reading schedule.  Try to read every day if possible.  Also, as the term progresses, the readings will become a bit lengthier, and more sophisticated, but you'll be learning literary terminology and methods to use to assist you in interpreting your readings.

This week’s readings address the earliest forms of prose.  Many are you are familiar with mythology, at least the Greek and Roman gods.  Here, we are going to focus more this week on what are called "creation myths," stories by cultures that explain where they came from, how they came into being, looking for similarities, differences, and other ways these compare/contrast to our American culture.

You will also read a couple of much more modern versions of stories, where Death, is a character.  These will then move us into early fables, stories which are generally very short, but always have a life lesson, or "moral" to teach us.  Of course, Aesop rules this domain, but these stories are still relevant, still told, and many times the methods of retelling are interesting in themselves.  (Check out "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" on YouTube, especially episodes featuring the "Wayback Machine."

Lastly, we will look at the myths of the "Interminable Punishments."  Many of them you will instantly recognize.  They, too, are still relevant and important to the development of language, and usually contain similar lessons to fables.