Writing about Literature: Origin Stories (online)

ENGL 2100
Anne Myers
1:00-1:50 (also available asynchronous)
Course Description

In this class, we will explore the concept of the “origin story.” Although the term is often applied to superheroes to explain the emergence of their extraordinary identities and powers, the idea of origins, of being made or re-made, born or re-born, is central to literary works in many genres and periods. In addition to considering the importance of the origin story in some contemporary pop culture artifacts, we’ll read a variety of works that either search for or return to origins. In doing so, they explore how history both creates and erases identity and reality: of characters, authors, nations, individuals and social and familial groups. Texts are likely to include Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.

Students will be introduced to a variety of critical and theoretical lenses for the study of literature. They will also be guided through the steps necessary to conduct literary research and to produce a substantial (7-10 page) literary analysis paper by the end of the term. By participating in all parts of this process, students become not only readers, but scholars and interpreters of literature by the end of the class.

This course will be offered online and will include weekly check-ins that can be completed either synchronously during the posted class times or asynchronously in written responses.