Literature Courses

Literature Studies

Members have access to full course content for independent study.
Scheduled group classes range from 1 to 16 weeks in length.

 

L116: Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is considered a pioneer in the use of Stream-of-consciousness as a narrative device. Students will read three of Woolf’s well-known works, Haunted House, Kew Gardens and Mark on the Wall, and have the choice of writing a review, an analysis of a specific element of fiction or a biography of the author. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L134: Banned Books: Huckleberry Finn
Ernest Hemingway called it, "one book" from which "all modern American literature" came and contemporary critics and scholars have treated it as one of the greatest American work of art. Yet in 1885 it was banned from the shelves of the Concord Public Library. This class offers students the opportunity to read and openly discuss the book, and two essays, On Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and The Struggle for Tolerance: Race and Censorship in Huckleberry Finn. Texts provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L143: Brave New World
Although not well received in its time, this book has fascinated readers for decades. In this course we will examine the characters and social elements that make up the fabric of Huxley’s fictional world. We’ll also discuss the impact Huxley’s book has on contemporary society. Text Provided.
Course Length: Three weeks

L200 Proust & Flaubert
Students will read The Madeleine Episode from In Search of Lost Time, Proust - Portrait of a Writer, Flaubert - A Simple Soul, and The Lemoine Affair. Students have the choice of writing a review, an analysis of a specific element of fiction or a biography of the author. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L210 Daisy Miller - Henry James
This novella depicts the traditions of polite society and what it’s like for a young girl who doesn’t fit the mold. Students participate in selected readings and topic discussions, and have the choice of writing a review, an analysis of a specific element of fiction or a biography of the author. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L211 Poe and Hawthorne Short Works
A study of two authors. Students read, "Single Effect Theory" and "The Oval Portrait" by Edgar Allan Poe; "Wakefield" and "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, then participate in topic discussions, and write a short response essay. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L230 Italo Calvino Short Stories
Students will read four of Calvino’s works, discuss his techniques and write an essay on either the author himself or the readings. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L231 Paul Yoon Short Stories
Yoon’s first book, ONCE THE SHORE, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Debut of the Year by National Public Radio. Students will read two short stories and discuss the author’s ability to create linked stories separated by time. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L232 Kevin Moffett & Nam Le Short Stories
This four-week class consists of readings from the works of both authors, topic discussions, writing exercises and a response essay. Text Provided.
Course Length: Four weeks

L233 Chekhov Short Stories (Form and Setting)
In this two-week class students will read two of Chekhov’s short stories, “A Journey by Cart and “In Exile” followed by the essay, "Chekhov and Form" by Ehud Havazelet. Exercises include discussion and a response essay considering in particular, Chekhov’s form and ability to use setting to forward the plot and enhance his characters. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L234 Barth and Borges (Form and Content)
Each week of this two-week class students will read a short story and Paris Review interview with the author. Response essays concentrate on the author’s form and creativity, with particular focus on content. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L235 Hemingway Short Stories (Dialogue and Exposition)
Students read “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Mr. and Mrs. Elliot,” The Art of Fiction No. 21, and “George Plimpton Interviews Ernest Hemingway.” Then write a response essay paying particular attention to the author’s use of dialogue and exposition. Text. Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L236 Faulkner Short Stories (Setting and POV)
Readings include two of Faulkner’s greatest works, “That Evening Sun go Down” and “Dry September,” combined with a Paris Review interview with the author and a Transcript of Faulkner's visit of John Coleman's Writing Class at the University of Virginia in 1957. Assignment is a response essay on his use of setting and point of view. Text Provided.
Course Length: Two weeks

L237 Ray Bradbury Short Stories
Students read “The Veldt,” “A Sound of Thunder,” “The Pedestrian,” and the Paris Review, Art of Fiction No. 23. Assignments include discussion on Bradbury’s foresight and how his work is as relevant today as it was when written, and a response essay on the author, the stories or his use of craft.
Course Length: Two weeks

L238 Alice Munro – Runaway
Alice Munro is a Canadian short story writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. Munro is the recipient of many literary accolades, including the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature for her work as "master of the contemporary short story", and the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. She is also a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction and was the recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's 1996 Marian Engel Award, as well as the 2004 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for Runaway. Students will read and discuss Runaway, and write a short response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L239 Louisa May Alcott
Best known for her novel Little Women and its sequel, Little Men, Alcott also wrote young adult fiction and children’s books. In this class students read one of her short stories, Scarlett Stockings. Assignments include discussion and a response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L240 Susan Glaspell
Susan Glaspell co-founded the first modern American theater company, the Provincetown Players, and was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, actress, novelist, and journalist. Most of her nine novels, fourteen plays and over fifty short stories are set in Iowa, where she was raised. In this class, students read her short story, A Jury of Her Peers, discuss and write a short response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L241 Willa Cather
Willa Sibert Cather was an American writer who wrote novels of the frontier life including O Pioneers! Students read Cather’s short story, On the Gulls Road, discuss and write a short response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L242 Katherine Mansfield
Kathrine Mansfield was born in New Zealand, but moved to England when she was nineteen. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, she died an early death at the age of thirty-four. In this shorter literature class, students will read Mansfield’s short story, The Garden Party and write a short response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L243 Kate Chopin Short Stories
Chopin wrote two novels and approximately 100 short stories. In this class students will read from a collection of short stories that includes a short biography of Chopin, participate in discussion and write a short response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L246 Lydia Davis and Lucia Berlin (Short Story Workshop)
In this workshop class students spend three weeks with each of the two authors watching videos, reading their work and attempting writing exercises. Weeks seven and eight students will participate in a writing workshop.
Course Length: Eight Weeks

L300 A Lesson Before Dying (Ernest Gaines)
A Lesson Before Dying, is Ernest J. Gaines' eighth novel, published in 1993. Gaines also wrote “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman” and “Native Son.” This is a four-week class. Students will participate in topic discussions on Gaines’ use of point of view and setting and write a short response paper.
Course Length: Four weeks

L301 If on a winter's night a traveler (Calvino)
Students read Italo Calvino's “If on a winter's night a traveler,” a postmodern and experimental work, both comedy and a reflection on the difficulties of writing and the solitary nature of reading. Exercises include participate in topic discussions, and writing a short response paper.
Course Length: Four weeks

L302 Middlemarch
“A study in provincial life” - themes include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. Often held as one of the greatest novels of all time. Students will read the novel over a period of eight weeks, and participate in weekly topic discussions, and write a short response papers.
Course Length: Eight weeks

L303 The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in 1925 to mixed reviews. It sold poorly; in the first year it sold only 20,000 copies. Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself a failure and his work forgotten. A sad beginning for a novel that has gone on to become part of American high school curricula and today is widely considered a literary classic and a contender for the title “Great American Novel.” Students will read the book, participate in weekly discussion and write an essay in the final week of class.
Course Length: Four weeks

L304 The Death of Ivan Ilych
This book, considered one of Tolstoy’s best, discusses themes including the artificial life vs. the authentic life and the inevitability of death. His use of reversal and the contraction of time and space make the book a good study for all writers. Student will read the book and participate in weekly discussions as well as writing an essay.
Course Length: Four weeks

L305 Things Fall Apart
Achebe’s novel shatters the stereotypical European portraits of native Africans. His strong use of symbolism in many forms and ability to write about a known world without resorting to stereotypes makes it an excellent study. Students will participate in weekly discussions and write a final essay.
Course Length: Four Weeks

L306 Swann's Way - Proust
In Search of Lost Time previously also translated as Remembrance of Things Past – is a novel in seven volumes, this, Swann’s Way, originally “Volume One,” contains a number of themes, such as the nature of time and the power of memory, have both fictional and philosophical implications in the novel. Students will read the book, participate in weekly discussions and write response papers.
Course Length: Eight Weeks

L307 Mrs. Dalloway
A study in Woolf’s use of point-of-view. Virginia Woolf combines interior with omniscient descriptions of character and scene. Mrs. Dalloway was published in 1925; the First World War ended Nov. 11, 1918. Along with reading the book, students participate in weekly discussions and write a response paper.
Course Length: Four Weeks

L308 One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982 was awarded to Gabriel García Márquez "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts." Students read the book, participate in weekly discussions and write a short response paper.
Course Length: Six Weeks

L309 Their Eyes Were Watching God
This novel has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African-American literature and women's literature. TIME included the novel in its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. Students read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, participate in weekly topic discussions, and write a short response paper.
Course Length: Six Weeks

L310 The Moons of Jupiter
Students read The Moons of Jupiter short story collection by Alice Munro along with provided material. Students will participate in weekly topic discussions, write short response papers and submit a final writing project based on their weekly response papers and discussions. Course credits may be applied to MFA Literature requirements, or Theory and Criticism requirements for WVU's 3-Year Fiction MFA.
Course Length: Six Weeks

L311 W. W. Jacobs Short Stories
Students read two of Jacob’s short stories, The Monkey’s Paw and Mixed Relations, participate in discussions and write a short response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L312 Julio Cortázar Shorts
In this one-week class students will read a short biography of Cortázar, read two of his short stories, Axolotl, and House Taken Over, A Paris Review interview with the author, and a Berkley lecture, participate in discussion and write a response essay.
Course Length: One Week

L313 American Short Stories 1915–1940
Along with reading works from Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, students will participate in discussions and write a 500-word essay each week.
Required Text: 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories edited by by Heidi Pitlor and Lorrie Moore
Course Length: Eight Weeks

L401 Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joan Didion
Didion is an American journalist, a writer of plays, screenplays and autobiographical works. Best known for her literary journalism and memoirs. In this class, students will read through the book, Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion, discuss her work and participate in writing exercises including word essays, articles or blog posts.
Course Length: Six Weeks

L402 C. S. Lewis on Literature
Clive Staples Lewis was a British novelist, poet, academic, literary critic, essayist, broadcaster, and lecturer. He held academic positions at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. In this class, students read two essays by C. S. Lewis, participate in topic discussion, and write a short essay or blog post.
Course Length: One Week

L403 The Immense Journey - Loren Eiseley
An American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, Eiseley received many honorary degrees and was a fellow of multiple professional societies. At his death, he was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His first book, The Immense Journey, a collection of writings about the history of humanity, sold over a million copies and has been published in at least 16 languages. In this class, students read The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley, participate in weekly topic discussions, and write a short response paper.
Course Length: Four Weeks

 

 

UPCOMING CLASSES

 New Classes Begin Every Week.
All courses are free to members.  

February

MFA204 The Fiction Writer's Apprenticeship (Feb 22)
L238 Alice Munro - Runaway (Feb 27)
F180: Writing Boosters - Writing with Rules #1 (Feb 28)
B101 WVU Orientation (Feb 28)

March

MFA302 The Quatrain Part 1 (Metrical Poetry Series) (Mar 01)
MFA174: Writing Flash Fiction (Mar 01)
MFA110 Syntax, Style and Grammar (Mar 01)
F142 Short Story Workshop - Free Form (Mar 07)
B101 WVU Orientation (Mar 07)
MFA205 Developing Characters (Mar 08)
MFA051 Flash Nonfiction: Image and Detail (Mar 08)
L143: Brave New World (Mar 13)
F300 Crafting Stories for Children (Mar 14)
B101 WVU Orientation (Mar 14)
MFA150 Introduction to Flash Fiction (Mar 15)
L246 Lydia Davis and Lucia Berlin (Short Story Workshop) (Mar 20)
L403 The Immense Journey - Loren Eiseley (Mar 20)
F164 The Single Effect Theory (Edgar Allan Poe) (Mar 21)
B101 WVU Orientation (Mar 21)
MFA206 Minor Characters (Mar 22)
L232 Kevin Moffett & Nam Le Short Stories (Mar 27)
L309 Their Eyes Were Watching God (Mar 27)
B101 WVU Orientation (Mar 28)
F140 Short Story Workshop – Linear (Mar 28)
MFA151 Flash Fiction Workshop: Vignettes (Mar 29)

April

N140 Writing the Memoir (Apr 04)
F188: Writing Boosters - Plot Limitations (Apr 04)
B103 Grammar (Apr 04)
B101 WVU Orientation (Apr 04)
MFA207 Setting and Character (Apr 05)
L230 Italo Calvino Short Stories (Apr 10)
F307 From Dream to Story (Apr 11)
B101 WVU Orientation (Apr 11)
MFA052 Flash Nonfiction: Voice, Sound and Language (Apr 12)
MFA152 Flash Fiction from Contemporary China (Apr 12)
B101 WVU Orientation (Apr 18)
MFA208 Difficult Characters (Apr 19)
MFA703 Maps of the Imagination (Apr 23)
L211 Poe and Hawthorne Short Works (Apr 24)
Fiction 190: Writing Boosters - Recipe #16 (Apr 25)
B101 WVU Orientation (Apr 25)
B105 Punctuation (Apr 25)
MFA153 Flash Fiction - The Myth-ing Link (Apr 26)
MFA403 Contemporary Writing Strategies (Apr 26)

MAY

L301 If on a winter's night a traveler (Calvino) (May 01)
B101 WVU Orientation (May 02)
B304 Adjectives and Adverbs - The Pros and Cons (May 02)
F192 Writing Boosters - Plot Ideas (1 Week) (May 02)
MFA209 Point of View Basics (May 03)
B101 WVU Orientation (May 09)
F242: Science Fiction Workshop (May 09)
MFA314 Japanese Poetic Forms (May 10)
MFA154 Flash Fiction Point of View and Voice (May 10)
L300 A Lesson Before Dying (Ernest Gaines) (May 15)
B101 WVU Orientation (May 16)
B303 Point of View (May 16)
B107: The Writers' Way to Creativity (May 16)
P166 Poetry Triggers - Line Breaks in Poetry (May 16)
MFA210 The Art of First Person (May 17)
L234 Barth and Borges (Form and Content) (May 22)
F174: Writing Booster Workshop - Opposites Attract and Repel (May 23)
B101 WVU Orientation (May 23)
MFA053 Flash Nonfiction: POV and Structure (May 24)
B101 WVU Orientation (May 30)
P168 Poetry Triggers - Using Points of View in Poetry Part 1 (May 30)