Anglo - American Literature

Course Description:

         This course is a survey of English and American literature from its known beginnings to the early part of the twentieth century, the evolution of the literary traditions of the English speaking world from the oral to the writers genre. This puts emphasis on the analysis of selected genres using the literary critical theories.

I. English Literature
  A. Anglo-Saxon or Old English Period (449-1100)
      1. Historical-Literary
      2. Beowulf
      3. Elegiac, Caedmonian, and
          Cynewwulfian Poems
4.  Old English Prose and
     Miscellaneous Verse
   B. Middle English or Medieval
        Period (1100-1500)
       1. Historical-Literary
       2. The Anglo-Norman Period
       3. The  Age  of Chaucer
           “The Canterbury Tales”
    C. The Renaissance Period
        1. Historical-Literary Period
        2. Age of Elizabeth 
            a. Edmond Spencer 
                “Faerie Queen” 
            b. Christopher Marlowe
                “The Passionate
                 Shepherd to his Love” 
            c. Sir Walter Raleigh
               “The Nymph’s Reply to
                 the Shepherd”
            d. Sir Philip Sidney
                “Leave Me O Love” 
            e. Francis Bacon
                “Of Studies”
            f. William Shakespeare 
               Play: Hamlet 
     D. Seventeenth Century
         1. Historical-Literary
         2. Puritan Age
            a. John Done
            b. John Milton 
               “Paradise Lost”
            c. John Bunyan 
               “Pilgrim’s Progress”
         3. The Restoration Period 
            a. John Dryden
            b. Hobbes and Locke        
  E. The Neo-Classical Period 
      1. Historical-Literary
      2. Alexander Pope 
         “Essay on Man”
      3. Jonathan Swift 
         “A Modest Proposal”  
Prelim Exam
   F. The Romantic Period
      1. Historical-Literary 
      2. William Wordsworth 
         “Lyrical Ballads, Sonnets”
      3. Samuel Taylor Coleridge 
      4. Percy Bysshe  Shelley 
      5. John Keats
  G. The Victorian Period 
      1. Historical-Literary
       2. Alfred Lord Tennyson
       3. Robert Browning 
          “Prospice” and “My Last
       4. Elizabeth  Barret  Browning
           Sonnet  “ If Thou Must Love
           Me” the Portuguese  
       5. The Rossettis
          a. Dante Gabriel Rossetti
             “The Blessed Damozel”
          b. Christina Georgina
              Rossetti “Song”
       6. Charles Dickens
           “A Tale of Two Cities” 
       7. Thomas Hardy 
       8. Matthew Arnold 
          “Dover Beach”
   H. Twentieth-Century Literature
      1. Historical-Literary
      2. Rudyard Kipling “If”
      3. A.E. Housman
      4. William Butler Yeats
Evaluation: Mid-term Examination 
II. American Literature
   A. The Colonial Period 
       1. Historical-Literary
          a. Renaissance and Puritan
          b. The Rise of Rationalism
              and Democracy  
    B. The Revolutionary Period 
        1. Historical-Literary
        2. Prose of Enlightenment 
        3. Poetry
        4. Drama
        5. Novel
        6. Miscellaneous Prose
    C. The Romantic Period 
        1. Historical-Literary 
        2. Early Sentiment and 
          a. The Knickerbocker School:
              Washington Irving
          b. Poetry: William Cullen
              Bryant & Edgar Allan Poe
          c. Short Story: Edgar Allan
          d. Novel: James Fennimore
              & Herman Melville
       3. Transcendentalism 
          a. Ralph Waldo Emerson
          b. Henry David Thoreau
          c. The Genteel Tradition:
              Longfellow, Hawthorne &
          d. Walt Whitman “Prophet of
          e. Mid-Century Minor
              Figures: Stowe, Fields,
              Curtis Taylor, Aldrich
Semi Final Exam
D. The Period of Realism
        1. Historical-Literary
        2. The Local Colorist: Hart,
            Allan, Freeman
        3. The Gilded Age:
            Conservatism and
            Iconoclasm-Mark twain,
            Stephen Crane
        4. Democracy and the
            Common Man: Novelists &
           Short Story Writers-
           Bellamy, Crawford, Bunner
       5. Convention and Revolt in
           Poetry: Emily Dickenson 
       6. Nationalism &
           Cosmopolitanism: John
           Burroughs, Henry Adams,
           Gamaliel Bradford
   E. Twentieth-Century Literature
       1. Historical-Literary
       2. Poets: Hilda Doolittle,
           Robert Prost, T.S. Eliot, E.E.
       3. Fictionist: William Faulkner,
           Ernest Hemingway         
       4. Playwright: Eugene O’Neill,
          Tennessee Williams
Evaluation: Final Examination

World Literature

Course Description:

            The course is the study of literary works from various countries around the world, written at a different periods in history by significant authors. It can also provide for a review of a different literary form of genres. World Literature aims to look closely into the elements, principles, patterns and styles of poetry and prose writings of which are considered universal sources of literary themes as they relate to the fundamentals of interpreting literature to the development of peoples culture and technology. Students are expected to write a critical analysis as an output of the course.


1.     Background of Literature
1.1  Factors to Consider in the Study of Literature
1.2  Definition
1.3  Objectives
1.4  Purpose
2.  General Types of Literature
2.1  Poetry
2.1.1       Kinds of Poetry
Narrative – Ballad and epic
2.2  Prose
2.2.1       Fictions
2.2.2       Elements of Fiction
Point of View (1st, 2nd, 3rd point of view)
Plot (exposition, development of the plot, conflict, climax, denouement)
2.2.3       Types of Fiction
Short Story
2.2.4       Non-Fiction
2.2.5       Types of Non-Fiction
3.Literary Selections
3.1  Greek Literature, Overview
The Iliad (epic)
The Odyssey (epic)
Aesop’s Fables (fables)
3.2  Introduction to Turkish Literature
Feast of the Dead (short story)
The Book of Dede Korkut (poetry)
3.3  African Literature, Overview                                                             
Chief Sekoto Holds Court (short story)
The Magic Pool (drama)
3.4  The Egyptian Literature, Introduction      
The Egyptian Version of the Beginning of the World                           
3.5  Introduction to Israel Literature
The Book of Ruth (short story)
Psalms of David (poem)
The Parable of the Lost Son (parable)
3.6  Arabian Literature, Overview
The Thousand and One Nights (short stories)
The Camel (essay)
3.7  Persian Literature, Overview
Sohrab and Rustum (epic)
Persian Proverbs (poetry)
Midterm exam
3.8Introduction to Indian Literature
Mahabharata (epic)
Ramayana (epic)
On Learning to be an Indian (short story)
3.9  Thai Literature, Overview
     The Operation  (short story)
3.10    Indonesian Literature, Overview
3.11    Chinese Literature, Introduction
     Analects of Confucius          (saying through conversation)
       Planting a Pear Tree (folk tale)
       In Praise of Bean Curd (essay)
3.12    Japanese Literature, Overview
       In a Grove (short story)
       Ikuta (Japanese play)
       Haiku (Japanese poem)
3.13    Philippine Literature, Overview
        Biag ni Lam-ang (epic)
        The Dancers (drama)
3.14    American Literature, Overview
     The Lady or the Tiger (short story)
     The Life of Helen Keller (biography)
     Intelligent Reading (essay)
3.15    English Literature, Overview
          Beowulf (epic)
  Of Studies (essay)
3.16    French Literature, Overview
     Man and Woman (poem)
3.17    Italian Literature, Overview
        Aeneid (epic)

Other Suggested Readings:

Aristotle's Poeics 

Oedipus king

Arabian Nights

Divine Comedy

Don Quixote


Better than to Burn


Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)

It was a chilly evening. A servant of a samurai stood under the Rashomon, *waiting for a break in the rain. No one else was under the wide gate. On the thick column, its crimson lacquer rubbed off here and there, perched a cricket. Since the Rashomon stands on Sujaku Avenue, a few other people at least in sedge hat or nobleman's headgear, might have been expected to be waiting there for a break in the rainstorm. But no one was near except this man.

            For the past few years the city of Kyoto had been visited by a series of calamities - earthquakes, whirlwind, and fires- and Kyoto had been greatly devastated. Old chronicles say that broken pieces of Buddhist images and other Buddhist objects, with their lacquer, gold, or silver leaf worn off, were heaped up on roadsides to be sold as firewood. Such being the state of affairs in Kyoto, the repair of the Rashomon was out of the question. Taking advantage of the devastation, foxes and other wild animals made the dens in the ruins of the gate, and thieves and robbers found a home there, too. Eventually it became customary to bring unclaimed corpses to this gate and abandon them. After dark it was so ghostly that no one dared approach.

            Flocks of crows flew in from somewhere. During the daytime these cawing birds circled round the ridgepole ofthe gate. When the sky overhead turned red in the afterlight of the departed sun, they looked like so many grains of sesame flung across the gate. But on that day not a crow was to be seen, perhaps because of the lateness of the hour. Here and there the stone steps, beginning to crumble, and with rank grass growing in their crevices, were dotted with the white droppings of crows. The servant, in a worn blue kimono, sat on the seventh and highest step, vacantly watching.

            His attention was drawn to a large pimple irritating his right cheek. As has been said, the servant was waiting for a break in the rain. But he has no particular idea of what to do after the rain stopped. Ordinarily, of course, he would have returned to his master's house, but he had been discharged just before. The prosperity of the city of Kyoto had been rapidly declining, and he had been dismissed by his master, whom he had served many years, because of the effects of this decline. Thus, confined by the rain, he was at a loss to know where to go. And the weather had not a little to do with his depressed mood. The rain seemed unlikely to stop. He was lost in thoughts of how to make his living tomorrow, helpless incoherent thoughts protesting an inexorable fate. Aimlessly he had been listening to the pattering of the rain on Sujaku Avenue.

            The rain, enveloping the Rashomon, gathered strength and came down with a pelting sound that could be heard far away. Looking up, he saw a fat black cloud impale itself on the tips of the tiles jutting out from the roof of the gate.    He had little choice of means, whether fair or fouls, because of his helpless circumstances. If he chose honest means, he would undoubtedly starve to death beside the wall or in the Sujaku gutter. He would be brought to this gate and thrown away like a stray dog. If he decided to steal... His mind, after making the same detour time and again, came finally to the conclusion that he would be a thief.         But doubt returned many times. Though determined that he had no choice, he was still unable to muster enough courage of justify the conclusion that he must become a thief.

      After a loud fit of sneezing he got up slowly. The evening chill of Kyoto made him long for the warmth of a brazier. The wind of the evening dusk howled through the columns   of the gate. The cricket which had been perched on the crimson-lacquered column was already gone. Ducking his neck, he looked around the gate and drew up the shoulders of the blue kimono which he wore over his thin underwear. He decided to spend the night there if he could find a secluded corner sheltered from the wind and rain. He found a broad lacquered stairway leading to the tower over the gate. No one would be there except the dead, if there were any. So, taking care that the sword at his side did not slip out of the scabbard, he set foot on the lowest step of the stairs.

A few seconds later, halfway up the stairs he saw a movement above. Holding his breath and huddling catlike in the middle of the broad stairs leading to the tower, he watched and waited. A light coming from the upper part of the tower shone faintly upon his right cheek. It was the cheek with the red, festering pimple visible under his stubby whiskers. He had expected only dead people inside the tower, but he had only gone up a few steps before he noticed a fire above, about which someone was moving. He saw a dull, yellow, flickering light which made the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling glow which ghostly way. What sort of person would be making a light in the Rashomon... and in a storm? The unknown, the evil terrified him.

As quietly as a lizard, the servant crept up to the top of the steep stairs. Crouching on all fours and stretching his neck as far as possible, he timidly peeped into the tower. As rumor had said, he found several corpses strewn carelessly about the floor. Since the glow of the light was feeble, he could not count the number. He could only see some of them were naked and others clothed. Some of them were women and all were lolling on the floor with their mouths open or their arms outstretched showing no more signs of life than so many clay dolls. One would doubt that they had ever been alive, so eternally silent they were. Their shoulders, breasts and torsos stood out in the dim light; other parts vanished in shadow. The offensive smell of these decomposing corpses brought his hands to his nose.

The next moment his hand dropped and he stared. He caught sight of a ghoulish form bent over a corpse. It seemed to be an old woman, gaunt, gray-haired and nunnish in appearance. With a pine torch in her right hand, she was peeping into the face of a corpse which had long black hair.

Seized more with horror than with curiosity, he even forgot to breathe for a time. He felt the hair of his head and body stand on end. As he watched, terrified, she wedged the torch between two floor boards, and laying hands on the head of the corpse, began to pull out the long hairs one by one, as a monkey kills the lice of her young. The hair came out smoothly with the movement of her hands.

As the hair came out, fear faded from his heart, and his hatred toward the old woman mounted. It grew beyond hatred, becoming a consuming antipathy against all evil. At this instant, if anyone had brought up the question of whether he would stave to death or become a thief - the question which had occurred to him a little while he would not have hesitated to choose death. His hatred toward evil flared up like the piece of pine wood which the old woman had stuck in the floor.

He did not know why she pulled out the hair of the dead. Accordingly, he did not know whether her case was to be put down as good or bad. But in his eyes, pulling out the hair of the dead in the Rashomon on this stormy light was an unpardonable crime. Of course it never entered his mind that a little while ago he had thought of becoming a thief.

Then, summoning strength into his legs, he rose from the stairs and strode, hand on sword, right in front of the old creature. The hag turned, terror in her eyes, and sprang up from the floor, trembling. From a small moment, he posed, poised there, then lunged for the stairs with a shriek.

"Wretch! Where are you going?" he shouted, barring the way of the trembling hag who tried to scurry past him. Still she attempted to claw her way by. He pushed her back to prevent her... they struggled, fell among the corpses and grappled there. The issue was never in doubt. In a moment he had her by the arm, twisted it, and forced her down to the floor. Her arms were all skin and bones, and there was no more flesh on them than on the shanks of a chicken. No sooner was she on the floor than he drew his sword and thrust the silver white blade before her very nose. She was silent. She trembled as if in a fit, and her eyes were open so wide that they were almost out of their sockets, and her breath came in hoarse gasps. The life of this wretch was his now. The thought cooled his boiling anger and brought calm pride and satisfaction. He looked down at her and said in a somewhat calmer voice. "Look here, I am not an officer of the High Police Commissioner. I'm a stranger who happened to pass by at this gate. I won't bind you or do anything against you, but you just tell me what you're doing up here." Then the old woman opened her eyes still wider and looked at his face intently with the sharp red eyes of a bird of prey. She moved her lips, which were wrinkled into her nose, as though she were chewing something. Her pointed Adam's apple moved in her thin throat. Then a panting sound like the crowing of the crow came from her throat: "I pull the hair...I pull out the hair to make a wig." Her answer banished all unknown from the encounter and brought disappointment. Suddenly, she was only a trembling old woman there at his feet. A ghoul no longer: only a hag who makes wigs from the dead- to sell, for scraps of food. A cold contempt seized him. Fear left his heart, and his former hatred entered. These feelings must have been sensed by the other. The creature, still clutching the hair she had pulled off the corpse, mumbled out these words from her harsh, broken voice: "Indeed, making wigs out of the hear of the dead may seem a great evil to you, but these that are here deserve no better. This woman, whose beautiful black hair I was pulling, used to sell cut-and-dried snake flesh at the guard barracks, saying that it was dried fish. If she hadn't died of the plague, she'd be selling it now. The guards like to buy from her and used to say her fish was tasty. What she did could not be wrong, because if she hadn't, she would have starved to death. There was no other choice. If she knew I had to do this in order to live, she probably wouldn't care."

He sheathed his sword and, with his left hand on its hilt, he listened to her meditatively. His right hand touched the big pimple on his check. As he listened, a certain courage was born in his heart - the courage which he had not had when he sat under the gate a little while ago. A strange power was driving him in the opposite direction of the courage which he had when he seized the old woman. No longer did he wonder whether he should starve to death or become thief. Starvation was so far from his mind that it was the last thing that would have entered it.

"Are you sure?" he asked in a mocking tone when she finished talking. He took his right hand from his pimple, and, bending forward, seized her by the neck and said sharply:

"Then it's right if I rob you. I'd starve if I didn't."

He tore her clothes from her body and kicked her roughly down on the corpses as she struggled and tried to clutch his leg. Five steps, and he was at the top of the stairs. The yellow clothes he had wrestled off her were under his arm, and in a twinkling he had rushed down the steep stairs into the abyss of the night. The thunder of his descending steps pounded in the hollow tower, and then it was quiet.

Shortly after that the hag raised up her body from the corpses. Grumbling and groe ling, she crawled to the top stair by still flickering torchlight, and through the gray hair which hung over her face she peered down to the last stair in the torchlight.

Beyond this way only darkness... unknowing and unknown. 

Background Information
Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is a Japanese novelist and short story writer famous for works like Kappa, Yabu no Naka (In a Grove) and others. He was born as the first son of Binzo Shinhara in Tokyo. When his mother Fuku went insane, her family, the Akutagawa adopted him. The Akutagawa family was old fashioned and had for centuries served the shogunate in matters concerning ceremonial tea. Even under changed circumstances, the family remained dilettante, indulging in the pleasures of art and refinement. It is in this aesthetic atmosphere that the writer learned to love literature. In 1913, he entered Tokyo Imperial University and majored in English Literature. The next year, he published a literary magazine Shin-Shicho with other writers.

Akutagawa's career was brief -1916-1927, and Rashomon is a representative of the exceptional quality of all his work. During the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Japan emerged from over two centuries of feudal isolation with national policy mandating "westernization" and "modernization"- terms that seemed at that time synonymous. The Taisho Period (1912-1926) saw Japan become a major world power as its population enjoyed a postwar industrial and economic boom. Taisho writers eagerly embraced western literature and experimented with everything - from "idealism" to "naturalism", from "proletarianism" to "decadence". Akutagawa's writing too is selfconsciously literary" but in spite of his modernity, he resurrects and reworks many traditional tales.

At the age of thirty five, Akutagawa took his own life.

Rashomon: The Rashomon was the largest gate in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. It was 106 feet wide and 26 feet deep, and was topped with a ridgepole; its stonewall rose 75 feet high. This gate was constructed in 1789 when the capital of Japan was transferred to Kyoto. With the decline of West Kyoto, the gate fell into bad repair, cracking and crumbling in many places, and became a hideout for thieves and rubbers and a place for abandoning unclaimed corpses.

Samurai: The samurai (or bush/) were the members of the military class, the Japanese warriors. Samurai employed a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, spears and guns; but their most famous weapon and their symbol was the sword. Samurai were supposed to lead their lives according to the ethic code of Bushido(\\\e way of the warrior"). Strongly Confucian in nature, Bush/do stressed concepts such as loyalty to one's master, self discipline and respectful, ethical behavior. After a defeat, some samurai chose to commit

Buddhism: Founded by Gautama Buddha, who is believed to have lived from 563 to 483 B.C. It teaches that although suffering is inherent in life, one may alleviate or overcome it through mental and self-purification. The origin of suffering, he taught, is craving, which may be transcended through the "Noble Eightfold Way," a set of guidelines that lead a soul to a state of redemption known as nirvana. Buddhism teaches that such a state, achieved through a complete extinction of individual consciousness, can free a human from reincarnation, which is also central to Buddhist belief. (Webster's New Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1993).

Modernism: A comprehensive but vague term for a movement that began to get underway in the closing years of the 19th century. It has had a wide influence internationally during much of the 20th century. Some theorists suggest that the movement was at its height during the 1920s while others contend that it is not actually over.
As far as literature is concerned, modernism reveals a breaking away from established rules, traditions and conventions, fresh ways of looking at man's position and function in the universe and many (in some cases remarkable) experiments in form and style. It is particularly concerned with language and how to use it-representationally or otherwise.

Literary devices:

Metaphor - The word metaphor comes from the Greek for transfer (metaand transmeaning across; phorand /ermeaning carry): to carry something across. Hence, a metaphor treats something as if it were something else. Money becomes a nest egg', a person who fails, a washout. Metaphor and simile are both means of comparing things that are essentially unlike. In simile the comparison is expressed by the use of some word or phrase, such as like, as, seems, than, similar to or resembles", in metaphor the comparison is implied - that is, the figurative term is substituted for or identified with the literal term.*

Symbol - A symbol is something that means more than what it is. It has a literal meaning but suggests or represents other meanings as well. It can have more than one layer of further meaning. The more profound the symbol, the greater the complexity of the layers of meaning (although the symbol itself may be quite simple). In literature, symbols add to and reinforce the meaning of a story, or they can, in fact, be the key to the story's meaning. When symbols or images recur throughout a piece of fiction they are called motifs. Tracing the pattern of a motif often offers meaningful clues to the theme of a piece of literature

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