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Course Goals
Required Texts
Communication Channels
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Guidelines
Course Mechanics

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Program
Grading Policy
University Statements
CRW 5321 Narrative Theory and Poetics
The Heritage of the 20th Century Poetry
José de Piérola, Ph.D. / jdepierola@utep.edu / office: monday & wednesday 3-5 pm @ Worrell 113
Poetics, understood as the study of
narrative, both to describe and
prescribe its rules and principles,
has been a concern of critics and
writers alike for more than two
thousand years. In this seminar we
will explore the meaning of poet-
ics, read the most influential texts
in the of selected writers.
Our readings will include foun-
dational texts, such as Aristotle’s,
but they will be in most part se-
lected from the twentieth century.
The final goal of this seminar is to
provide a foundation that will allow
students to explore other narrative
theoretical frame-works, under-
stand the poetics that informs the
works of fiction they read, and,
whenever necessary, retool their
own poetics to better suit their
work.
Students registered in this class
should have a basic understanding
of the elements of fiction, should be
able to write at the graduate level,
and should be able to read analyti-
cally both theory and fiction. In
addition, this class will require stu-
dents to read an average of twenty
pages per week and participate
each week in online discussions.
José de Piérola, Ph.D.
jdepierola@utep.edu
OFFICE: Worrell 113
HOURS: m & w 3-5 pm
NARRATIVE THEORY
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Inside
Introduction
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✦ Have a historical understanding of narrative theory
✦ Understand the major theories on narrative devel-
oped in the zoth century
✦ Understand the difference between narrative dis-
course and other forms of literary discourses
✦ Describe what kind of narrative theory informs
their own work
Course Goals
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Te following texts are required to complete the class assignments and to participate in the discussion board.
When electronic texts are available, a vor of the full text will be posted in the corresponding week, and a link
will be available in the Readings section. Make sure that you have access to the required texts, or make ar-
rangements to buy them in advance. I will be posting short excerpts of some of the books to serve as refer-
ence, but access to the full text is a must.
Required Texts
Non-Fiction
✦ Aristotle: Poetics (e-book available)
✦ Henry James: e Art of Fiction (e-book available)
✦ Vladimir Propp: Morphology of the Folktale
✦ Mieke Bal: Narratology: Introduction to the eory
of Narrative (¸rd edition)
✦ Gérard Genette: Narrative Discourse Revisited
✦ N.J. Lower: e Classical Plot and the Invention of
the Western Narrative
✦ Jorge Luis Borges: Collected Nonfiction
✦ Mario Vargas Llosa: e Perpetual Orgy
Fiction
✦ Shakespeare: Hamlet
✦ Hans Christian Andersen: ree Tales (e-book
available)
✦ Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
✦ Joseph Conrad: e Heart of Darkness
✦ Ian McEwan: Amsterdam
✦ Paul Auster: Oracle Night
Other downloadable readings in vor format will be
posted as required.
Most of the interaction in this class will happen
through e-mail and Blackboard. When you have a
question, consider the following options:
✦ If you have trouble with Blackboard, call their
technical support hotline (Embanet help desk: 1-
866-¸z1-z,88 or online:
http://www.embanet.com/help/u::c.htm).
✦ If you have a question on course mechanics, review
the syllabus, and make sure you are familiar with
the way in which this class is run.
✦ Check the General Questions forum in the Discus-
sion Board which is meant to be the virtual lounge
room. Post questions and answers that you would
in a real lounge.
✦ If everything else fails, or if you have a private issue
to discuss, send me an e-mail.
Communication Channels
“In constructing the plot and
working it out with the proper
diction, the poet should place the
scene, as far as possible, before his
eyes.”
—Aristotle: Poetics
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✦ As a graduate seminar, there are no lectures in this class; your
learning and ultimate performance will depend on reading the
assigned texts, responding critically to them, and engaging
with other students’ ideas in the Discussion Board.
✦ Students are expected to read each week’s selection in ad-
vance—including Week 1—and turn in a concise Weekly Re-
sponse for the week’s readings (see Assignments).
✦ Students are expected to Post a reply for least one of the Dis-
cussion Questions of the week, and to Repost at least once
replying to other students’ Posts (see Assignments).
✦ Te Writer’s Statement should be at least ¸ pages (~1,¸oo
words), and it is due Week 1¸. Make sure you use the recom-
mended format and submit it either as a vor or as a rtf file.
Your Writer’s Statement should be formated using double
space, margins of at least 1” and a 1z point Roman font (Times
Roman, Georgia, Garamond, etc.). Guidelines will be provided
in advance.
✦ Te Research Project Proposal is due Week 1z. Te Research
Project is due Week 1¡. It should expand on one of the sum-
maries posted in the our class. Te Research Project should be
at least 1o pages (~¸,ooo words). Guidelines will be provided
in advance.
✦ Deadlines are not flexible. Weekly Responses, Posts and Re-
pots should be turned in on time. Blackboard will time stamp
each piece you turn in and each one of your posts.
✦ We will be reading many texts in vor format, as it is the most
widely available standard for distributing formatted text. Make
sure that the computer you use has Adobe Acrobat Reader in-
stalled. Tis is a free download (see link on resources page).
Guidelines
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble
in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in
moving, how express and admirable! in
action how like an angel! in apprehension
how like a god! the beauty of the world! the
paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is
this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your
smiling, you seem to say so.”
—Shakespeare: Hamlet
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✦ Students will turn in their Weekly Response to the assigned
readings by Tuesday 6:oo vr (El Paso local time, ro:. See
resources for Week 1 for more information.)
✦ Students will Post a reply to at least one of the Discussion
Questions of the week by Wednesday 6:oo vr. Your answer
should show that you have read carefully the readings for the
week, and that you understand the central issues on each
one. Depending on the quality of your post, you may earn up
to ¸ points.
✦ Students will Repost engaging with at least one Post by an-
other student by Friday ¸:oo vr. Each Repost may earn you up
to one point, and all the Reposts may earn you up to ¸ points
each week. Tis is the central learning activity in our seminar;
therefore, grading will reflect closely your participation in the
discussion board.
✦ Students’ discussions for the week will be closed on Friday at
¸:oo vr. You may continue discussing a reading after the
deadline, but participation will not be counted towards your
grade.
✦ Your posts must show that you are following closely the
thread in which you are participating. Responses that address
just the previous post, or repeat what other students have
posted already do not count. For more information, read “Dis-
cussion Board Guidelines” under Assignments.
Course Mechanics
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Grading Policy
✦ ............................ Weekly responses zoº
✦ .............................. Discussion Board ¸oº
✦ ................................. Research Paper ¸oº
✦ ........................... Writer’s Statement zoº
Week 1
✦ Introduction
✦ Syllabus – discussion
✦ Aristotle: Poetics
Week 2
✦ James: “Te Art of Fiction”
✦ Flaubert: Madame Bovary
Week 3
✦ Propp: Morphology of the Folktale
✦ Andersen: “Te Emperor’s New Clothes,”
“Te Snow Queen” & “Te Red Shoes.”
Week 4
✦ Bakhtin: “Discourse in the Novel”
✦ Conrad: e Heart of Darkness
Week 5
✦ Bal: “Narratology”
✦ Calvino: Italian Folktales (excerpts)
Week 6
✦ Genette: Excepts from Narrative Dis-
course Revisited
✦ Maupassant: “Boule de Suif,” “Horla” &
“A Coward”
Week 7
✦ Lowe: “Te Classical Plot”
✦ Shakespeare: Hamlet
Week 8
✦ Chatman: “Story: Events & Existents”
✦ Curtiz: Casablanca
Week 9
✦ Todorov: “Definition of Poetics”
✦ Borges: Collected Nonfiction (excerpts)
✦ Cortázar: “Letter to a Young Lady in
Paris,” “Te Night Face Up” & “Te
Pursuer”
Week 10
✦ Eco: “Te Poetics and Us,” “Te Woods
of Loisy” & “Narrative Structures in
Fleming”
✦ McEwan: Amsterdam
Week 11
✦ Vargas Llosa: “Te Added Element”
✦ Gardner: “Plotting”
✦ Excerpts: Madame Bovary and Am-
sterdam
Week 12
✦ Hutcheon: “Narcissistic Narrative”
✦ Auster: Oracle Night
✦ Paper proposal due
Week 13
✦ Barthes: “Te Death of the Author”
✦ Foucault: “What Is an Author?”
✦ Excerpts: Madame Bovary, e Heart
of Darkness, Amsterdam and Oracle
Night
✦ Writer’s Statement due
Week 14
✦ Workshop of “Writer’s Statement”
Week 15
✦ Workshop — Final review
✦ Final Paper due
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“Madame Bovary,
c'est moi”
—Flaubert
“It always stimulates me to
discover new examples of
my own prejudice and
stupidity, to realize that I
don't know half as much as
I think I do.”
—Auster: Oracle Night
University Statements
Program
Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty Statement
Cheating/Plagiarism: Cheating is unethical and not acceptable. Plagiarism is using informa-
tion or original wording in a paper without giving credit to the source of that information or
wording, and it is also not acceptable. Do not submit work under your name that you did not
do yourself. You may not submit work for this class that you did for another class. If you are
found to be cheating or plagiarizing, you will be subject to disciplinary action, per u:vv cata-
log policy. Refer to http://www.utep.edu/dos/acadintg.htm for further information.
Disabilities Statement
Disabilities: I will make any reasonable accommodations for students with limitations due to
disabilities, including learning disabilities. Please, e-mail me during the first two weeks or
make an appointment to discuss any special needs you might have. If you have a documented
disability and require specific accommodations, you will need to contact the Disable Student
Services Office in the East Union Building, Room 1o6 within the first two weeks of classes.
The Disable Student Services Office can also be reached in the following ways:
Web:. http://www.utep.edu/dsso
Phone: (,1¸);¡;-¸1¡8 voice or tty
Fax: (,1¸);¡;-8;1z
E-Mail: dss@utep.edu
CRW 5321 Narrative Theory and Poetics: José de Piérola, Ph.D.
jdepierola@utep.edu / office: monday & wednesday 3-5 pm @ Worrell 113