Instructor: Sean Printz Email

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LIT 2120; Section 3613

World Literature: 17th Century to Modern

11:45-1:40 Tuesdays, and 12:50-1:40 Thursdays



Instructor:              Sean Printz                              
Email:            or
Class Location:       MAT 118
Office:                    Turlington 4341

Office Hours:         Thursdays. 1:55-2:45 and by appointment


Online Syllabus: Found on the class Sakai page.


Course Description
It is impossible to teach all, or even a large portion of world literature in a 15 week course.  This class, therefore, is centered on problems posed by a frankly small selection of world literature.  Here our concerns rest with myth, both in literature that might be thought of as generally mythic in content and in form, including, significantly, the literary genre known as magical realism.  Within these categories we will investigate critical analyses of narrative structure and the traits of diverse literary media, including poetry, short fiction, and graphic novels. We will, then, narrow our focus even further to help us reflect on the nature of identity construction: in how these texts reveal cultural, political, and social influences on human identity, and in how, as objects of cultural, political, and social energies, these texts reinforce, question, and complicate identity to readers.  

This course focuses on critical thinking and reading skills, communication and writing skill, and on collecting a general knowledge about world literature and culture. Much of the course will be focused on learning to write about literature in a thoughtful and productive way. We will be working through a major close reading, a media project, and a research project, so as to provide a diverse selection of approaches to the texts assigned. 


LIT 2120 can satisfy the UF General Education requirement for Composition or Humanities. (More details at   


Course Goals and Objectives


The general goal throughout this semester is to try and wrap our heads around the concept of what literature is by examining a small selection of texts from around the world. This course seeks not only to examine literature, but to delve into it and enjoy it, and to then learn to communicate (both in formal prose and in informal conversation) both the enjoyment and lessons gathered from these encounters with literature. We will be discussing both writing and research techniques in detail, leading into the projects that you will be doing for this class. A primary objective of this course is to sharpen critical thinking and writing skills through the interaction with and analysis of literature.  


Assignments and Grading              


Grade Break Down:

Reading Quizzes:                   10%

Essay 1:              25%     (1500 Words)

Media Project:                25%     (750 Words)

Annotated Bibliography:        10%     (2000 Words)

Final Research Essay:              30%     (2250 Words)


Reading Quizzes: Short answer reading quizzes will be given daily. There will be no make-up quizzes, but your lowest three quiz scores will be dropped. 


Essay 1: For this class you will be writing a 1500 word essay that will require close readings of one or multiple texts that we have been reading for the course. This is focused around understanding and making significant arguments based on the texts we have read in class. The topics for the essay will be distributed 3 weeks before the due date.
Media Project: The media project is actually a two part project.

Part 1: For the first part of the media project you will need to engage with the texts in a critical way where your goal is to communicate or “write” through non-traditional academic forms. You should still consider your audience to be informed and educated, and remember that there should still be an argumentative essence to the piece. This will be largely open ended, but can range from a project that attempts to advertise a text in a particular way (perhaps through live tweeting, or creating a rendition of a particular scene graphically), to a rewriting of the tale in a different context, or writing a blog that examines particular elements in smaller chunks. I will be providing a larger list of possible choices, but in many ways, this project will let you explore the possibilities inherent in pushing a text outside of the bounds of the expected.

Part 2: The second part of the media project is about pushing you to examine your work from a critical perspective. Here, you will analyze your media interpretation, exploring what you did say with it (in comparison to what you were trying to say) and the process of your media creation. This is, in large part, about trying to get you to understand your work from an outside perspective, taking more the position of informed critique rather than simple self-analysis. (750 words)
Final Research Essay: Your third project is a research essay that will require multiple steps to complete for the course.
Prospectus: The first stage of the final research essay will be a prospectus. In this, you will suggest a possible topic and begin to work out some of the reasoning behind your ideas. This not only gets you started on the project, but it gives me time to critique and make suggestions at an early stage in your writing process. The prospectus will be graded as part of your Annotated Bibliography percentage.
Annotated Bibliography: In preparation for your second essay, you will research and annotate 5 outside, credible sources. At the end of you bibliography, you will write a prospectus detailing your intended argument for your second essay.  Detailed instructions and an example will be provided three weeks before the assignment is due. 

Final Draft: This is the culmination of your efforts in this class, and the most significant part of your grade. Using three or more of the sources you researched for your annotated bibliography, this paper is focused on making a well-reasoned argument that pulls support from multiple outside sources.
Grading Scale












































Required Texts:


All books are available in print through the bookstore, but several books are also available in electronic form. If purchasing a text in an ebook format, please make sure you purchase the correct translation and/or edition.

Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974. Print. ISBN: 978-0156453806
Coelho, Paulo, and Alan Clarke. The Alchemist. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006. Print. ISBN: 978-0061122415
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: William Morrow, 1994. Print. ISBN: 978-0060976255
Murakami, Haruki. The Elephant Vanishes. New York: Vintage, 1994. Print. ISBN: 978-0679750536
Narayan, R. K. The Guide. London [u.a.: Penguin, 1988. Print. ISBN: 978-0143039648
Pelevin, Viktor, and Andrew Bromfield. The Blue Lantern and Other Stories. New York: New Directions, 1997. Print. ISBN: 978-0811214346
Satrapi, Marjane, and Marjane Satrapi. The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2007. Print.ISBN: 978-0375714832
Spiegelman, Art, and Art Spiegelman. Maus. New York, NY: Pantheon, 1986. Print. ISBN: 978-0394747231
Course Policies:


As a class devoted to the exploration of literature, class discussion and participation are key to success; that means show up. That said, attendance means more than showing up for class; it means coming to class prepared to be an active participant. 


In keeping with university policy, excessive absences will result in a failing grade. Absences attained through school-sanctioned events must be discussed prior to the absence. Absences for illness or family emergencies will count toward your three allowed absences. Each absence beyond three will result in negative consequences to your grade, and any absence beyond six will result in an automatic failure of the course.


If you are absent, it is still your responsibility to make yourself aware of all due dates; you are still responsible for turning assignments in on time.  


If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will be marked absent. Save your absences for when you’re really ill.




You are expected to be prepared for every class, including completing all reading and writing assignments on time, including bringing appropriate materials (including texts) to class. All hard copy submissions and drafts are due at the beginning of class and all electronic submissions are due by the time posed for each assignment. Late papers will not be accepted. Failure of technology is not an excuse.


Mode of Submission


All papers must be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and comply with MLA standards. Your final drafts should be polished and presented in a professional manner. Many of your papers will be submitted electronically—be careful to meet the deadlines assigned to each of these. Be sure to staple papers before submitting all hard copies.  Late Work will not be accepted. This includes assignments not turned in because of absences. 


Academic Honesty


As a University of Florida student, your performance is governed by the UF Honor Code, available in its full form at The Honor Code requires Florida students to neither give nor receive unauthorized aid in completing all assignments. Violations include cheating, plagiarism, bribery, and misrepresentation.


Acts of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, failing to properly identify, cite, and credit another’s work within one’s own; improper identification and attribution of intellectual ideas represented in paraphrasing; unsanctioned and non-identified collaborative writing, and any submission “which in whole or in part is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment not authored by the student (University of Florida, Student Honor Code, 15 Aug. 2007>). In addition, you can plagiarize yourself. Any submission containing, in whole or in part, work previously published or turned in to another authority for review (including instructors) is plagiarism.  If you are still unsure what constitutes plagiarism on an individual basis, ask.


Visit for more details.


Graded Materials


Students are responsible for maintaining duplicate copies of all work submitted in this course and retaining all returned, graded work until the semester is over. Should the need arise for a re-submission of papers or a review of graded papers, it is the student's responsibility to have and to make available this material.


Final Grading Appeals


Students may appeal a final grade by filling out a form from Carla Blount, Program Assistant. Grade appeals may result in a higher, unchanged, or lower grade.




UF provides an educational and working environment that is free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment for its students, staff, and faculty. For more about UF policies regarding harassment, see:  

Students with Disabilities


The University of Florida complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting accommodation should contact the Students with Disabilities Office, Peabody 202.  That office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.


Week 1 January 6-10

Tuesday- Introduction to Course, Italo Calvino’s Why Read the Classics

Thursday- The Alchemist, Prologue and Part 1

Week 2 January 13-17

Tuesday- Alchemist, Part 2, to page 113. “Aleph,” and “Library of Babel” by Borges and, Introduce Essay 1.

Thursday-Alchemist end of Part 2, and Epilogue page 167.

Week 3 January 20-24

Tuesday-Invisible Cities, Sections 1-4, How to Write an Argument.

Thursday-Invisible Cities, Sections 5-6

Week 4 January 27-31 Essay 1 due Friday at Midnight.

Tuesday-Invisible Cities, Sections 7-9, Close Reading

Thursday- Marquez, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” Chekhov, Gooseberries,” Lahiri, “Brotherly Love,” Thurber, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and Understanding Comics, Chapters 1 and 2

Week 5 February 3-7

Tuesday-Maus, Chapters 1-3 and Understanding Comics Chapters 3-4, Introduce Media Project.

Thursday-Maus Chapters 4-6, Writing with Media.

Week 6 February 10-14 February 11, See Man of La Mancha for Extra Credit

Tuesday-Fairy Tales-Japanese, Finnish, African, German, and more (to be provided by professor). Interacting with a text, outside of Analysis.

Thursday- The Complete Persepolis The Veil through The Jewels (Page 93) Analyzing your own work.

Week 7 February 17-21, Part 1 of Media Project Due Friday at Midnight

Tuesday-The Complete Persepolis The Key through The Dowry (end of Book 1), Understanding Comics Chapters 5-7,

Thursday- The Complete Persepolis The Soup through The Veil (Page 91).

Week 8 February 24-28 Part 2 of Media Project due Friday at Midnight.

Tuesday- The Complete Persepolis The Return through The Convocation (Page 137), Understanding Comics 7-9

Thursday-The Complete Persepolis The Socks through The End.

March 3-7: Spring Break, no classes.

Week 9 March 10-14

Tuesday-Blue Lantern Stories 1-2. Excerpt from Mythologies, by Roland Barthes Introduce Final Research Project. Figuring out a topic.

Thursday-The Blue Lantern Stories 3-5

Week 10 March 17-21 Prospectus Due Friday at Midnight.

Tuesday- The Guide, Introduction through Chapter 2, Article from Walter Benjamin, to be provided by professor. Doing Academic Research.

Thursday- The Guide, Chapter 3-4.

Week 11 March 24-28 Conferencing this week to discuss topics.

Tuesday- The Guide, Chapter 5-7. How to do an Annotated Bibliography.

Thursday- The Guide Chapter 8-9

Week 12 March 31-April 4 Annotated Bibliography Due Friday at Midnight

Tuesday- The Guide, Chapter 10-11 Excerpt from A History of Reading.

Thursday- Selections from, Danticat, “Reading Lessons,” Cortazar, The Continuity of Parks and the Pursuer (to be provided)

Week 13 April 7-11

Tuesday- The Elephant Vanishes, Chapters 1-3, and “Cybernetics and Ghosts”

Thursday-The Elephant Vanishes, Chapters 4-6

Week 14 April 14-18

Tuesday- The Elephant Vanishes, Chapters 7-9. First 3 pages of Final Project due in class, bring 3 printed copies for peer review.

Thursday- The Elephant Vanishes, Chapters 10-11.

Week 15 April 21-25

Tuesday- The Elephant Vanishes, Chapters 12-15, Munro, The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” Danticat, “Ghosts,” and Basho, “From the Narrow Road to the Deep North.”

Thursday- Reading day, no classes.

April 28-May 2

Final Exams, Final Essay due Wednesday at Midnight.

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