engl 10133: introduction to literature

“literature as equipment for living”: contemporary american lit

ENGL 10133.005

TR 8:00-9:20

Rhetorical theorist Kenneth Burke often argued that the fictional creations of novelists, poets, and playwrights suggest “strategies for dealing with situations” that occur in the real world. Literature is, in his famous phrasing, “equipment for living”—and if we carefully examine how this equipment works, it becomes possible for us to learn something important about one another in the process. The goal of this introductory course, then, is to examine the “equipment for living” produced by writers in contemporary times to see what this work can tell us about the world in which we live. Course readings will be current (i.e., published after 2010) and will represent multiple literary genres: novels, short stories, poetry, and the graphic novel. Course assignments will include regular quizzes and journal responses, one multimedia presentation, one extended critical analysis, and both a midterm and final exam.

TCU Core Requirements: LT, HUM

course booklist


Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky  (2010)


David Foster Wallace, The Pale King  (2011)


John Green, The Fault in Our Stars  (2012)


short fiction

Robin Black, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This  (2010)

Robin Black

Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her  (2012)



Natasha Tretheway, Thrall  (2012)


graphic novels

Kevin Huizenga, Gloriana  (2012)


LInks to Image Sources

  1. The Girl Who Fell from the Skyhttp://heidiwdurrow.com/
  2. The Pale Kinghttp://www.litkicks.com/ThePaleKing#.UWQgMo4Qg20
  3. The Fault in Our Starshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fault_in_Our_Stars
  4. If I Loved You, I Would Tell You Thishttp://thiszine.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/book-review-if-i-loved-you-i-would-tell-you-this-by-robin-black/
  5. This is How You Lose Herhttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13503109-this-is-how-you-lose-her
  6. Thrallhttp://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-13/entertainment/35494523_1_natasha-trethewey-poet-laureate-thrall
  7. Glorianahttp://www.drawnandquarterly.com/shopCatalogLong.php?st=art&art=a412a2f9ef2545

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