EN 110, Introduction to Literary Studies, Spring 2022 Dashboard



Forbidden Apple

Temptation--a motif extending across centuries and genres of British and American literature. Our section of EN 110 will begin with Jane Austen’s Regency novel Pride and Prejudice (1813) with Mr. Darcy’s refusal to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, who is “‘tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me’” (emphasis added). We will move back in time to the temptation scene in the Garden of Eden and onward to Christopher Marlowe’s play Dr. Faustus (1619) where we witness the temptation of the soul for unlimited knowledge.  William Blake’s Songs of Experience (1794) and Christina Rossetti’s The Goblin Market (1862) present us with poems about temptation and succumbing to forbidden fruit.  Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s groundbreaking feminist short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper” (1892) approaches temptation differently—the nameless narrator is tempted to read and decipher the patterns on the ubiquitous wallpaper.

Analyzing temptation in texts across genres, members of this section will learn to read scholarly introductions, literary criticism, and endnotes. Students will write four essays and practice textual annotation through the Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE) to discover essential skills of literary analysis. Foundational questions will inform our approach to literary studies:  What constitutes textual evidence? How is a text informed by its social, political, aesthetic, psychological, and religious contexts? In what ways does literary criticism influence our reading of a text?  Since this course is writing intensive, we will give attention to critical thinking, the writing process, revision, grammar, and research skills to help you develop your voice as a writer.    

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