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COURSE NAME: "Masterpieces of World Literature"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Silvia Ammary
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above

The course is a study of representative works of world literature that can be selected from antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 19th century and modern ages. The course emphasizes the study and consideration of the literary, cultural, and human significance of selected great works of the western and non-western literary traditions. An important goal of the course is to promote an understanding of the works in their cultural/historical contexts and of the enduring human values which unite the different literary traditions. The course's pedagogy gives special attention to critical thinking and writing within a framework of cultural diversity. Readings may include works of poetry, epics, drama and novels.
This is a reading and writing intensive course. Students in 200-level literature classes are required to produce 4-5,000 words of critical writing.
The primary purpose of this class is make students familiar with the major works of literature from around the world. In many cases, this will mean reading the entire work; in others, it will mean simply reading a summary of the work, reading a selection from the work, or simply listening to someone else’s summary or explanation of a work.

Students will enhance their general and close reading skills in their approach to challenging literary texts, especially those from non-English-speaking cultures; as they do so, they will apply their knowledge of literary and cultural theory to the texts; in doing so, they will gain some historical and cultural perspective on world literature (the “big picture”).


     Students will sharpen their writing skills, especially those required of students of literature, namely the succinct but illustrative presentation of an idea or problem or a theme in a given text. This will be done through in-class essays. They are also required to write a research paper (min.2000 words). It should use at least three external sources from academic books and articles. The research paper has to use MLA citation system, typed double spaced, font 12. It should be submitted 1 week after the presentation. Late submissions will be penalized.


     Students will exhibit their mastery of these various objectives through weekly focused writing assignments and class presentations. On the first class, each student will be assigned a presentation and will take responsibility for 20 minutes to discuss a certain theme or illustrate the life of the author.


     Students will have the chance to watch the cinematic version of these great books of literature and be able to compare and contrast the cinematic production with the original book.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Notes from UndergrounddostoevskyNorton 9780393976120   
The Metamorphosis KafkaNorton9780393976120   
Things Fall ApartachebeNorton9780141186887  
The Alchemist Paulo Coelhonorton 9780199537310   
Don Quixote cervantesnortonany  

Writing Assignments composed of 4 in class essays, 3 compare and contrast papers between the texts and their cinematic versions, 2/3 quizzes or/and graded homework.40%
Presentation. Each student will be assigned a 20 minute presentation the first day of meeting. 15%
Research paper On any aspect of the work students are presenting. The topic has to be approved by the professor. 15%
Final ExamTake home30%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cours
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

More than 5 absences will result in a failing grade (for whatever reason)
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Grading Criteria:


  1. Content: the clarity and interest of the central idea (thesis), the strength and appropriateness of the support and the depth of the student’s insight into the topic. The quality of the work decreases if the support is not convincing, or not exciting.
  2. Organization: it is the construction of the paper in terms of paragraphs. This includes paragraph unity and development, logical progression of ideas, and the effectiveness of the introduction and conclusion.
  3. Style: this includes sentence structure, tone, and word choice. Clarity of diction and syntax is essential. Good writing usually employs varied sentence structures and vocabulary to maintain interest. The tone should be consistent and appropriate.
  4. Mechanics: it includes grammar, punctuation, spelling and correct application of appropriate conventions. Sloppy mechanics discredit a writer and distracts readers from the ideas presented in the writing.



The following criteria will be considered for any writing assessment in this course:


1.      Outstanding Grade A/A-:

This is outstanding writing which reflects a perceptive and thoughtful response to the assignment.  It is well organized with excellent development of its ideas and reflects the writer's command of appropriate rhetorical strategies.  The prose is vigorous and fresh, and the writer is clearly in control of the standard conventions of English prose.  There are no errors in the mechanics of writing

2.      Very good Grade B/B-:

This is very good writing that fulfils the assignment and shows evidence of clear thought and good planning.  It is well organized with good supporting details.  The writing is fluent, and there are only minor errors in the mechanics of writing which do not detract from a reading of it.

3.      Satisfactory  Grade C/C-

This is satisfactory writing that fulfils the assignment and is adequately developed.  The writing is clear and coherent with relatively few errors in usage and mechanics, but the writer fails to demonstrate any particular strength that would mark this writing above average.


4.      Below Average Grade D/D-

This is below-average writing which fulfils the assignment but exhibits major problems in writing.  It may have difficulty with the presentation of ideas (e.g., lack of clear thesis, weak organization, poor development of ideas, or incoherence), or it may reflect poor control of the conventions of standard English prose (e.g., poor use of idiom, inappropriate diction, poor spelling) or be marred by enough errors in the mechanics of writing to seriously distract the reader.

5.      Unsatisfactory  Grade F

This is writing that relates to the topic but is so poorly presented that it fails to fulfil the assignment.  It fails to present its basic ideas, either because of poor organization and lack of clarity or because the writing reflects a lack of control over the basic conventions of standard English usage.  There may be sentence boundary problems, poor use of idiom, inappropriate diction (words used incorrectly), agreement errors, or verb tense problems.


Please note the grades in letters for the in-class and out-class assignments are equivalent to the following numbers:

A     : 10

A-    : 9.5

B+    : 9

B     : 8.5

B-    :8

C+   : 7.5

C     :7

C-  : 6.5

D+: 6

D: 5.5

D-: 5

Below that is a failing grade (F)



Final Assessment Criteria:


A = 95-100     B = 83-86     C = 72-75

A- = 91-94      B- = 80-82    C- = 68-71

B+ = 86-90     C+ = 76-79    D+ = 65-68

D=63-66     D- =60-62