Intro to Lit: Culture & Lit

Island Narratives

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. -John Donne

Our thematic focus will be on islands, which have exerted a powerful pull on the modern imagination through narratives that have used the idea of isolation to define self-hood (“imagine yourself all alone on a desert island . . . ) and texts that question this isolationistic and individualistic concept, such as Epeli Hau’ofa’s seminal essay, “Our Sea of Islands.” Such insular imagery has been central to the development of the modern sense of self as well as the novel genre, both shaped by encounters with the colonial “other” (for example, The Tempest’s Caliban; Robinson Crusoe’s Friday). This imagery has also been interrogated by postcolonial writers in their re-imagining of these “foundational” texts. We will gain an understanding of the development the various other genres (drama, poetry, and film) within their historical contexts. We will also learn the conventions of writing about literary essays, including MLA style and documentation.

(If purchased online, be sure you buy the proper Norton Critical Editions, which include additional works to be assigned)

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Norton Critical Edition (2nd edition)
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Norton Critical Edition (2nd edition)
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, Norton Critical Edition
Sia Figiel, Where We Once Belonged

Two 4-5 page literary essays (one of which must be revised)
Reading Responses
Study Questions
Two Reports
Mid –term Exam
Final Exam
Attendance and Participation