ENGLISH 150 - The Art of the Story
Fall 2023, Section 002
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Humans are story-telling animals. From our earliest entrance into language as young children, we are enthralled, inspired, and instructed by stories. Reading a wide variety of examples, we will analyze the elements of the story as a form of communication and entertainment, and we will think through how the form of the story helps us to understand, retain, and analyze our experiences. Assignments will include your written analyses of stories we read as well as the stories you write.

Working together, we are going to develop a broad-ranging definition of the type of discourse we denominate by the term 'story.' We will work empirically, building our definitions from our close consideration of different kinds of story, and we will break these various types of story down into their component parts. Through conversation, we will try to identify the different kinds of affect or response engendered by the different kinds of story and their different elements. I will NOT furnish you with an overarching theory of stories and story telling. I will NOT, generally speaking, lecture the class. Our inquiries will NOT be driven by a script or outline that I bring to each class. If you are looking for a class where the professor dispenses information from an outline he has created beforehand and you passively record and digest that information, then you should take a different class.

Our classes will, instead, be exploratory, driven by discussion. I will lead by asking certain questions, but your participation will be critical to advancing our inquiries. I will not have a pre-ordained destination or set of stops that the course of our discussion must take. Also our discussions will not be evaluative. That is to say, we will not conduct some kind of 'thumbs up/thumbs down' conversation like that you might find in a book club. We will take each story on its own terms and try to analyze and understand its elements. We will completely avoid the phrases "I hate [blank]" or "I love [blank]." Our shared quest is not evaluation. We seek understanding (even of material we do not love).

To facilitate robust conversation, I may send out discussion questions before the class (to which you will respond by sending me your notes before the class session). To help keep you current on our reading schedule, I will also occasionally administer unannounced quizzes at the beginning of selected classes. These very brief tests will be simple and short, designed to let me know that you are in fact doing the reading. I'm hopeful that, if you're up-to-date on our readings, you'll be better able to participate in meaningful discussion about our texts.


ENGLISH 150 - The Art of the Story
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
002 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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