This is not your undergraduate English course with, egads, foreshadowing and metaphors. It is simply an opportunity to read a diverse group of books (mostly novels but some non-fiction) and spend a couple of hours a week talking with fellow students about them, with the instructors, on rare occasions, throwing in pithy remarks.
Your obligations: (1) attend class and take part; (2) write and post reactions to the readings; (3) run a class with two or three of your classmates; and (4) lead a class discussion on one of our readings with two or three of your classmates.
We will announce some of the titles before the end of Fall semester to allow you to read ahead a tad. Overall we will read about seven books, one every other week. On the off weeks students, in teams of two or three, are to conduct what is known as a “Humanity Moment.” Over the years these have been quite creative, from field trips to the school of music to listen to opera to the class becoming the faculty interviewing three faculty candidates and then deciding who to hire. Good taste is the only limit.
Reaction Papers: These need not be, but can be, global in the sense of a book review. Better still, they can focus on a particular facet of the work (even a provocative quote) that you found interesting and would like to discuss with your classmates. For example, did the work have interesting things to say about human nature, about friendship, about knowledge, etc. The goal of these papers is to trigger thought and discussion, not to judge the quality of the book.
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