English R1B

Reading and Composition: Literary Cartography

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
14 Spring 2016 Gillis, Brian
TTh 11-12:30 225 Wheeler

Book List

Anderson, Sherwood: Winesburg, Ohio; Bishop, Elizabeth: The Complete Poems 1927-1979; Harriott, Thomas: A Briefe and New Report of a New Found Land in Virginia; Solnit, Rebecca: Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; Stevenson, Robert Louis: Treasure Island; Turchi, Peter: Maps of the Imagination; Verne, Jules: Around the World In Eighty Days

Other Readings and Media

Movie: Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)

Short Stories: Jorge Luis Borges: “On the Exactitude of Science”; William Faulkner: “Red Leaves”

Students of this course will be asked to attend a showing of Mary Zimmerman's Treasure Island at The Berkeley Repertory Theater at 7:00 PM on April 27, 2016.


Maps exist in the divide between reality and representation. They are metaphors of space and place, and the allure of the map is grounded in its ability to produce a controlled abstraction of distance, time, space, and location. Cartographers and map makers, much like writers, translate multidimensional worlds into schemas of points, lines, planes, and words that readers interpret. Our course will take up a constellation of texts that take cues from the technology of mapping. During the semester we’ll ask the questions: What is a map? What does it mean to read a map? How do maps tell stories? What is it they say?

The main objective of this course is to equip you with the skills needed to read, write, and analyze literature coherently, and to fine-tune the techniques you use to produce persuasive research essays. The essential skills you learn and refine in this class can become the foundation of your future studies even if your major is outside the humanities, because we will focus on skills generalizable across all classes: reading, writing, researching, and critical thinking. You can expect that the essays and strategy assignments due for this course will build on each other to aid in your compositions and to help you reach new and exciting levels of analysis. 

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