20 September 2010

"Any stupid questions?"


Anybody gets to ask any question about any fiction-related issue she wants. No question about literature is stupid. You are forbidden to keep yourself from asking a question or making a comment because you fear it will sound obvious or unsophisticated or lame or stupid. Because critical reading and prose fiction are such hard, weird things to try to study, a stupid-seeming comment or question can end up being valuable or even profound. I am deadly-serious about creating a classroom environment where everyone feels free to ask or speak about anything she wishes. So any student who groans, smirks, mimes machine-gunning or onanism, chortles, eye-rolls, or in any way ridicules some other student’s in-class question/comment will be warned once in private and on the second offense will be kicked out of class and flunked, no matter what week it is. If the offender is male, I am also apt to find him off-campus and beat him up.

Syllabus for David Foster Wallace’s class “English 102-Literary Analysis: Prose Fiction Fall ‘94”

Found at Whiskeyandwhimsey.

1 comment:

  1. Well, crap, why didn't I have an English professor like that when I was in school? I learned nothing about literature because, being of a scientific mindset, I rarely understood much of the stuff I had to read in English, and, as a result, I was afraid to show my stupidity in class discussion. Oh, well, too late now.


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