Seek suggestions for lit. class

Kieran Snyder kmsnyder at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Jan 25 02:16:43 UTC 2003

Hi Jo,

Nigel Fabb wrote a book a few years ago devoted to the relationship
between linguistics and literature. Some parts of it have been used with
great success in similar classes I've been involved with teaching. I
can't remember the exact title, but it's something perspicuous, like
_Linguistics and Literature_.

Regardless of the books you end up selecting, consider using Jabberwocky
early in the class. I've found that it makes a slam dunk of a first
lecture, providing a nice way to show students the difference between
function and content words and introducing the what-counts-as-good-
English debate in a way that's very tangible for English majors.

Other topics that I've used or seen used in similar courses include
metrics (including some really interesting stuff on the distinction
between oral and written poetry), the dating of a text (e.g. Beowulf)
based on syntactic evidence, and the structural analysis of folk and
fairy tales. I've also included at various times some stuff on Relevance
Theory and narrative structure and a look at the way poets use new and
old information within a clause (it's very different from what prose
speakers of English do!). Many of these topics have been popular with
students in the past.

Good luck! It's a fun course to do.


> Hi all,
> I am teaching a linguistic-analysis-of-literature class next quarter
> (starting April '03) and am thinking of centering it either completely
> on metaphor/conceptual blending or on that and schema/frame theory. I
> was wondering if anyone on these lists had taught such a course and had
> recommendations or ideas to share for readings, activities, pieces to
> analyze, etc.
> My students are not linguistics majors (far from it), so the material
> has to be _extremely accessible_ to non-linguists. Most will be English
> majors. I know about _More than cool reason_ and _Metaphors we live by_,
> so I am looking for other sources that I could add to these.
> Thanks in advance. If people want me to, I will share responses with the lists.
> ***************************************************
> Johanna Rubba, Associate Professor, Linguistics
> English Department, Cal Poly State University
> San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
> Tel. 805-756-2184 ~ Dept. phone 805-756-2596
> Dept. fax: 805-756-6374 ~  E-mail: jrubba at
> URL:
> ***************************************************

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