Paula Berggren
Baruch College
Required texts:

Berggren, et al. Contexts and Comparisons: A Student Guide to the Great Works Courses (C&C).

Lawall, Sarah, et al. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, second edition, 2002. Volumes A-C packaged together.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. The New Folger Library Edition (1992).

Recommended text:

Raimes, Ann. Keys for Writers: A Brief Handbook. Third edition

The last three books are available at the College Bookstore and Shakespeare & Co., on the corner of 23rd and Lex. You must bring the literature text for the day to class, since our discussions will revolve around close reading. Contexts and Comparisons: A Student Guide to the Great Works Courses is a digitized text that may be accessed from the home page of the Newman Library, under Digital Collections, accessed through Information of Electronic Resources.

Tentative Reading Schedule

Monday, 3 Introduction to the Iliad.

Tuesday, 4 June Epic Poetry: C&C, Oral Narrative Verse, Backgrounds for Reading the Iliad and the Odyssey. From the Iliad, pp. 114-47.

Wednesday, 5 June Iliad, pp. 147-92.

Thursday, 6 June Iliad, pp. 192-225.

Monday, 10 June Creation Stories: Akhenaten's "Hymn to the Sun," pp. 41-46; from Genesis, pp. 56-66; from The Popol Vuh, pp. 3076-82; 3088-92. C&C, Sacred Texts: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, History in the Bible; The Maya Creation Myth in The Popol Vuh (the Passage for Study should be read after you read the completion of the first sequence of excerpts on p. 3082 in the Norton).

Handout, Sources of Indian Tradition.

Tuesday, 11 June Ethical Codes: Handout, World of the Buddha; from The Jataka, pp. 1004-10; from The Bhagavad Gita, pp. 1010-28; from The Analects of Confucius, pp. 820-31; from The Florentine Codex, pp. 3070-73;C&C, Passages for Study: The Ten Commandments.


Wednesday, 12 June Classical Drama: Medea, pp. 693-713 (up to lin 841); C&C, Classical Drama: The Ages of Classical Antiquity: The Rise of Athens and the Western Tradition; Passage for Study: Pericles' Funeral Oration; Classical Drama. ORAL PRESENTATION 2.

Thursday, 13 June Medea, pp, 713-25; conclude discussion.

Monday, 17 June Ssu-Ma Ch'ien, Letter in Reply to Jen An, from Historical Records,

pp. 858-79. ORAL PRESENTATION 3.

Tuesday, 18 June Sacred Texts: From the New Testament: (Volume B), pp. 1206-21;C&C, Introduction to the New Testament; Handout, from The Gospel of Mary.

Wednesday, 19 June Sacred Texts: from Ibn Ishaq's Biography of the Prophet, pp. 1460-1476. Sacred Texts: From the Qur'an, pp. 1426-46; 52-60.


Monday, 24 June C&C, from The Rihla of Ibn Battuta; selections from The Thousand and One Nights, pp. 1566-90. Class begins in Room 7-205.

Tuesday, 25 June Norton, introduction, The Golden Age of Japanese Culture, pp. 2143-47; selections from The Kokinshu, pp. 2160-74; from Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book, pp. 2270-2300; C&C, from The Confessions of Lady Nijo. ORAL PRESENTATION 4.

Wednesday, 26 June C&C, Medieval Narrative: The Roots of Medieval Europe; Backgrounds of Medieval Literature. Marie de France, Lanval, Laustic, pp. 1767-76. Selections from Medieval Lyrics, pp. "Song of Summer," p. 1792; "In Battle," p. 1795; "The Sacrifice of Isaac," pp. 1802-04.


Thursday, 27 June C&C, Chaucer, General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales,

pp. 2051-56. Class meets in Room 7-205.

Monday, 1 July General Prologue, pp. 2056-67.

Tuesday, 2 July The Miller's Prologue and Tale, pp. 2067-82.

Wednesday, 3 July C&C, Renaissance Literature: Historical Background; Passages For Study: Columbus Reports from the New World; Cultural Change and Renaissance Literature: The Lover, The Prince, The Courtier. ORAL PRESENTATION 6. Volume C, Montaigne, "Of Cannibals," pp. 2633-35; 2644-53.

Thursday, 4 July NO CLASSES

Monday, 8 July Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I

Tuesday, 9 July The Tempest, Acts II-III

Wednesday, 10 July The Tempest, Acts IV-V. ORAL PRESENTATION 7



ATTENDANCE: No more than four classes may be cut without penalty.

READING AND DISCUSSING WHAT YOU HAVE READ: You will be expected to come to class every day prepared to discuss what you have read. This is not a lecture course: regular attendance is required and active class participation is required.


1. ON-LINE STUDY QUESTIONS: Each week, I will post study questions on the Baruch Course Information System called Blackboard to help focus our discussion and guide you to the kind of careful reading that the texts we will be studying deserve. Before each class meeting, students are required to answer at least two questions and to respond to the comments of at least one other student.

2. WRITING WORKSHOPS: Several times during the course of the semester, we will address questions about writing that will be demonstrated through anonymous examples of your own and other students' written work.

3. ORAL PRESENTATIONS: Each student will teach some aspect of an assigned topic to the class in a group format.

4. FORMAL WRITING: Each of you will write two 3-4 page comparison/contrast papers during the semester. To receive full credit, these papers must be revised after we have had private, face-to-face conferences. The first paper will be due on Friday, 14 June; the second will be due on Friday, 5 July.

5. SELF-EVALUATION: Don't throw out any of your written work. At the end of the semester, you will submit a 2-3 page essay that addresses at least the following questions:

1. What is your most effective work--and how is it different from the less effective work that you did?

2. How did you go about writing your best work? What problems did you encounter? How did you solve them? What can you learn from this experience that will be useful in other writing situations?

3. How do you relate the process of close reading to the writing of interpretative essays?

4. Summarize the writing assignments for this course and comment on what you take to be their goals. Which assignments seemed most/least valuable to you? Explain why.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

Percentages of Final Grades

  • lively class participation, and depth of thought in Blackboard forum 10%

  • dramatic and oral presentations 15%

  • midterm examination 20%

  • 2 essays and final portfolio 35%

  • final examination 20%


Thursdays, 9:00-10:30; and by appointment.


Office: Vertical Campus B7-271

Phone: 646-312-3931