English R1A

Reading and Composition: Other Worlds

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2017 Strub, Spencer
MW 5-6:30 134 Dwinelle Reading and Composition

Book List

Armitage, Simon (translator): Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Morrison, Toni: A Mercy; Shakespeare, William: The Tempest

Other Readings and Media

A course reader available from Copy Central (2576 Bancroft).


What does it mean to imagine another world? Is it an opportunity for unvarnished fantasy, or for critical reflection on your own society? Can you tell the truth when writing about an invented place? By way of an answer, this course traces a history of the other world from the later Middle Ages to the modern era. We will begin with literature that imagines places beyond our everyday experience: the landscape of dreams and fairyland. In the second half of the course, we will turn to literary reflections on settler colonialism – reflections informed by these earlier “marvelous” other-world journeys, but describing events with real ongoing consequences in modern life. Throughout the semester, we will examine the contexts – historical, political, literary, religious, and scientific – that help us to better understand these works.

This course is intended to teach you to pose analytical questions, develop complex and original arguments supported by textual evidence, and participate in an intellectual conversation with your colleagues. You will write and revise three substantial and original essays in this course. A number of shorter exercises will build skills in analysis and expository writing that will apply throughout your future career. Finally, you will be asked throughout the semester to share your own work, as well as to read and engage with your classmates’ writing.

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