ENGL 201World Literature (Fall 2004)





Instructor: Dr. Shawn Smith
Office: Grainger G06
Phone: 395-2797

smithsb[AT]longwood.edu (replace [AT] with @)

Web page:


Consult this page for a version of this syllabus that contains links to study and research resources. See my handouts for suggestions on writing about literature.

Office hours: Tuesday 2-4, Wednesday 10-12, Thursday 11-12, and by appointment (please e-mail me to set up an appointment).
Class meets:

Tuesdays and Thursdays in Grainger G18 at:  8-9:15 (sec. 03) and 9:30-10:45 (sec 04).




This course is a study of selected movements and traditions (exclusive of United States and British literature) by major world writers. 

This course satisfies General Education Goal 3:  "An understanding of our cultural heritage as revealed in literature, its movements and traditions, through reading, understanding, analyzing, and writing about the major works that have shaped our thinking and provide a record of human experience."  Upon completion of this course, students will :  (1) Understand major movements, themes, and values in one or more cultures as revealed in literature, (2) Analyze literary texts as reflections of cultural movements, themes, and values, and (3) Develop and defend interpretations of literary texts through written discourse.


TEXTS (available at the Longwood University Bookstore)



*Please make sure you use these editions and translations.*



Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed.  [Longwood Library Reference Room DE5 .O9 1996]


Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, 2nd ed. [Longwood Library Reference Room DE5 .H3 1989]



Keep in mind that the Internet is an extremely poor source for scholarly information on literary works.  The resources below will provide you with basic information on literary analysis, classical mythology, and world literature, but you should not think of these resources (or any others) as substitutes for your own active engagement with the works on the syllabus.  





This course requires a substantial amount of reading, most of it in verse. The material we will cover also requires a different kind of reading than you may be accustomed to. Unlike newspaper and magazine articles, or the textbooks you use in social science or business classes, poetry and other works of literature need to be read in a careful, reflective, and active manner. As you plan your study schedule, leave extra time for contemplation and note taking. Keep in mind that college students are generally expected to spend 2-3 hours preparing for each hour of classroom instruction—you should expect to spend a minimum of six hours per week preparing for this class. On exams, you should be prepared to identify and comment on important characters (you should also be able to spell their names) and episodes, complications, and conflicts in the works we read. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for class is to keep a reading journal in which you record notes on characters, outlines of plots, and your own responses to these works. You may also find it useful to keep a comparative list of Greek and Roman deities with notes on the numerous variants on their names (e.g., Aphrodite = Venus, Cytherea). Feel free to visit me in my office at any time during the semester if you are having difficulty with the readings, lectures, or discussions.


Please arrive on time, and be prepared to listen, think, and contribute. Please turn off wireless phones, pagers, headphones, and other electronic devices that might disrupt class. Please treat other students and your instructor in a civil and respectful manner. Note that classroom disruption is a violation of Longwood University's honor code.


Please keep electronic versions of all work you submit for this class until after you have received your final grade.  In case of inclement weather, continue to read the daily assignments, continue to submit reading responses, and check this web page for announcements.  


The Longwood University attendance policy in the 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog will be the attendance policy for this course. You will receive an F on work missed because of unexcused absences. Your grade will be lowered by one letter grade if you miss 10 percent of the scheduled class meeting times for unexcused absences. You will receive an F if you miss a total (excused and unexcused) of 25 percent of the scheduled class meeting times. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to obtain notes from a classmate (as well as announcements about syllabus changes or other matters). Exams can be made up only under the most grave circumstances, and with documentation from an MD or a Longwood University official. If you foresee a conflict, I expect you to discuss it with me beforehand. Written assignments handed in late will lose one letter grade for each class day late. Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of intellectual dishonesty will result in an F for the course and referral to the Longwood University Judicial system. For details on Longwood University's honor code and judicial system, direct your web browser to: http://www.longwood.edu/judicial.


Note: the syllabus may be changed at any time if necessary, though I'll try to give you as much advance notice as possible. Please check the web page regularly for updates.




Unless otherwise noted, the Arabic numerals following the titles of the works listed below refer to the major divisions of the work in question--for Homer and Vergil, "books"; for Dante, "cantos"; and for Petrarch, individual poems.


31 August Course introduction.  What is literature, and why is it important?  Introduction to Homer, and a close reading of the opening lines of the Iliad.
2 September Homer, Iliad 1, 2 (lines 1-583 only), 3.  No reading responses this week.
7 September Homer, Iliad 4-6.  
9 September Homer, Iliad 8 (lines 1-90, 566-654), 9.
14 September Homer, Iliad 16, 18.
16 September Homer, Iliad 19, 20 (lines 185-365).
21 September Homer, Iliad 22, 24.
23 September Vergil, Aeneid 1-2.
28 September Vergil, Aeneid 4, 6.
30 September Vergil, Aeneid 8 (lines 793-992), 10 (lines 606-1276), 12 (lines 963-1298).
5 October EXAM #1. Please bring a blue book to class.  No reading responses this week. 
7 October Ovid, Metamorphoses:  Apollo and Daphne (pp. 14-18), Jupiter and Europa (pp. 49-50), Diana and Actaeon (pp. 55-58), Narcissus and Echo (pp. 61-66), Pyramus and Thisbe (pp. 76-79).
12 October Ovid, Metamorphoses:  Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (pp. 83-86), Proserpine (pp. 109-116), Tereus, Procne, and Philomela (pp.134-142), Orpheus and Eurydice (pp. 215-228), Ganymede through Atalanta (pp. 229-248).
14 October The New Testament, Sermon on the Mount (King James Version) (Matthew 5-7); selections from Augustine's Confessions (available on Blackboard under Course Documents); selections from Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae in Appendix C of our edition of Dante.
21 October Dante, Inferno 1-4.
26 October Dante, Inferno 5-6, 10, 13.
28 October Dante, Inferno 14-15, 21-22.
2 November Dante, Inferno 26-27.
4 November Dante, Inferno 30-34.
9 November Dante, excerpts from Purgatorio and Paradiso (available on Blackboard under Course Documents).
11 November EXAM #2.  Please bring a blue book to class.  No reading responses this week.
16 November Petrarch, "Letter to Posterity," "The Ascent of Mount Ventoux," and the Canzoniere.
18 November Lazarillo de Tormes, pp. 1-28.
23 November Lazarillo de Tormes, pp. 29-60.
30 November Voltaire, Candide, pp. 1-52.
2 December Voltaire, Candide, pp. 52-100.
7 December Mann, Death in Venice, pp. 287-328.
9 December Mann, Death in Venice, pp. 329-366.

Section 03

13 December



Section 04

13 December


FINAL EXAM:  Please bring a blue book to class.