English R1B

Reading and Composition: What is Realism?

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2007 D. Rae Greiner
MWF 12-1 103 Wheeler Hall

Other Readings and Media

"Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

George Eliot, Adam Bede

Diane Hacker, A Writer?s Reference 5th Edition (Bedford/St. Martin?s)

Course Reader, available at University Copy (on Channing Way) "


"In this class, we will be interested in the question ?what is realism?? and, specifically, in figuring out what makes a novel or a short story a ?realist text,? as opposed to something else (like a fable, romance, myth, or tale). We will focus our investigation on the 18th and 19th century essayists, novelists, and thinkers who shaped what we now (too confidently?) refer to as ?narrative realism,? spending much of our time in Victorian England, the site where ?the realist novel? is said to have flourished. Since this subject is vast and formidable, our reading selection will be highly-selective and representative, not exhaustive. We will read texts from across the genres, including the scientific, the theoretical, and of course, the fictional. Is realism a ?mirror held to nature?? Is it ?a mirror carried along a road?? We will attempt to answer these questions by reading, discussing, and writing about realist texts.

English R1B is intended to develop students? writing fluency and to introduce students to the principles of research. The assignments lead to an increasingly complex application of these skills. The focus is on exposition and argumentation, particularly with the use of research. In English 1B, readings are chosen to facilitate analysis and develop student-generated research projects. You will be writing every week: sometimes in short close reading assignments that you produce at home, and other times in small groups. In addition, you will write two short papers (4-5 pages) that lead into a larger research project (8-10 pages) of your own design. You will need to devote several hours to reading each week. You must also attend class regularly and participate in various in-class assignments, as attendance and participation will weigh substantially in the final grade. "

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