GRC 327E (34740) = CL 323 (29710) = E 376L (31465): Fall, 2000
"The Nobel Prize, Politics, and Literature"

Instructor: Katherine Arens <>


**Due Dates on Syllabus

1) Reading Goals

Most daily assignments consist of readings from Nobel-Prize-winning literature and from the Swedish Academy's comments on it. Your goal in reading them is the same as that for the Précis assignments (below): to see how the Nobel statements create an image of the authors and their works that may or may not do justice to the works themselves.

When there are readings on the syllabus other than the literature and comments from the Swedish Academy, a reading goal will be indicated to help you wade through the material and to set up class discussions.

All readings due the day indicated on syllabus. Where to find the readings? Check out the booklist and the table of contents of your copy package for details

2) Précis

These are short (1- page) assignment that are designed to encourage critical readings of the texts. We will model them in class before you have any due. See the attached pages for various descriptions of what a précis is.

Your assignments for this class are all synthetic précis: that is, they compare/contrast what the Swedish Academy says about an author with the particular text you read. This stacks the deck for your Focus and Logic/Goal statements, which will look a lot alike for all of them. When you get to the implications, you need to ask and answer questions about what's going on in the Academy's mind when they describe an author this way -- is it accurate, or what are they using the author to do?

3) First Short Paper

This is a short, 4-5-pp. paper, that will require a rewrite unless the first version is very good; the final grade in the case that you need to rewrite will be an average of the original and rewrite grades (with some weighting if you do really well or blow it off).

The topic is a comparison of the content of the work chosen with the Nobel Committee's assessment and presentation of the author. In other words, you take one of your précis and turn it into a formal presentation as to why the Swedish Academy is being fair or unfair to the author, on the basis of the novel (etc.) chosen.

Note that there is appended to this syllabus a sheet describing what the format of that paper has to be. Be sure you read it and take it seriously for this and your next paper: proper typing, proper formatting, and proper notes/references and bibliography are a must. You will be docked if these guidelines are not followed -- this is an upper-division class, which requires adult monitoring of your work from you.

4) Final Paper

PART I: Produce an Abstract

The How-To

Phase 1: Pick an author and a book and/or film or other adaptation (e.g. an opera) to write on.

Use the complete list of Nobel-Prize-winning authors (attached) to pick one you're interested in dealing with (it can be one of the ones we're reading).

Check the Nobel Foundation website <> for a first orientation to the author, if you're considering an author that we're not reading in class. Identify possibilities and problems in working with the author.

Phase 2: Do additional research on the author and the works you want to write on, to determine the "party line" on the author

You might want to look up things like:

Remember that the Swedish Academy has been good enough to give you some bibliography. Remember, too, that such materials ARE NOT USUALLY IN THE LIBRARY CATALOGUE -- you will have to use the MLA BIBLIOGRAPHY in the "UT LIBRARY ONLINE," and maybe even HISTORICAL ABSTRACTS, ARTS AND HUMANITIES INDEX, or LEXIS-NEXIS to find relevant "secondary literature" on the topic. Ask your reference librarian for help if this term and those databases sound unfamiliar -- they shouldn't be. The reference librarians at UGL and PCL will be pleased to explain why you need them; Lexis-Nexis needs special training, but it's the only way to find a lot of reviews and recent author interviews.

Phase 3: Decide what angle you want to approach your paper on,

which could be issues like the author's goal in treating history a particular way, the reception of the text, the use of literary form, the comparison of the original and the adaptation, the use of a theme for some specified goal (that you need to check in the author's own comments about the work, or what critics say about it), or . . . .

Phase 4: Write the Abstract

See attached description of what's in an abstract

PART II: Turn the Abstract into a Paper

Once you've gotten feedback on your abstract, reread the formal description of a paper, and write it. If you decide to use a format that includes a bibliography, note that that bibliography can include both works cited and works consulted. If you use a footnote-only (or endnote-only) paper format, you'll have to add the consulted works introduced by prose (e.g. "For the best biography of Grass in English, see . . . ").

I will require at least 5 pieces of secondary literature (reviews, articles, book sections) to be considered and used in your paper -- and these must be BEYOND what the Swedish Academy lists.