Prose Course outline

Prose and the rise of the novel (17th & 18th c’s)

This is a unique course, a course that endeavors to trace the most recent form of literature i.e. the novel followed. In doing so, we are going to examine the precursors of the novel and discuss the major reasons that led to the shift from the literature that was mainly based on performance (drama) or oral recitation (poetry), to a genre that took forms and shapes and methods to keep up with a society that was rapidly changing in all walks of life.

Throughout the course, we will attempt to analyse and comprehend the so-called ‘English canon’, and

–          whether it is a sacred template written in stone,

–           or whether it was a mere ‘fashion’ that has to change as time, taste, audience, and human mind and human thinking change.

That will lead us to talk about

–          the canon being both bliss and a curse,

–          the dynamicity of texts,

–          what qualifies a text to be universal (and whether this trait changes positively and/or negatively),

–          production of literary texts,

–           their receptions(through time),

–          what significance that tells about both the texts and the age,

–          in addition to a woman’s reading of the all the previous issues

and because the role of the woman which has been forcibly pushed into the margin of the society by the mainstream critics is crucial both to the production process and perception of the canon it will be given a fairly spacious place.

and because this is a course that tries, among other things, to make students understand the essence of constructing literary texts, it will include as a crucial part of its activities 20-mark writing project. In brief, each student has to write a short story of about 2000 words, due 3 weeks before the end of the term. The story can be about anything of interest to the student. However, topics about Palestine, Gaza, Jerusalem their people, the occupation, how it affects every aspect of our lives, the war, the tunnels, the camps, the refugees, the resistance, nakba are encouraged. Topics that link one of two issues mentioned above with stuff from the texts to be studied in the classroom are highly encouraged.

other theories and literary issues that will be tackled

–          reception theory

–          theory of framing

–          realism

–          narrative and narratology

–          postcolonialism

–          new historicism

–          feminism

–          modernity and experimentation

–          the image of the other

Texts and resources

primary texts

the course will examine to texts in detail

–          ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathon Swift

–          ‘Oronooko’ by Aphra Behn

In addition to other texts that will be referred to which are

–          ‘Robinson Crusoe’ By Denial Defoe

–          ‘Tristram Shandy’ by Laurence Sterne


20 midterm

20 short story

10 WH, attendance, and participation

5 presentations

45 final exam

Bonus for a project of students’ choice