Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Sunday Salon: British Lit or World Lit?

The Sunday Salon.com

I need help.

I'm pondering teaching a literature class next year for high-schoolers at our co-op. Initially I thought I'd teach British lit, but now I'm wondering if I really ought to teach World Lit. I could do a solid British lit program, but they'd be missing out on so much by limiting them to just British lit. (I've already taught American Lit.)

So, tell me: what works (literature or drama) would you deem essential for a high school Survey of British Lit course? And what works would you insist upon for a Survey of World Literature course? I have dozens of ideas running around in my head, but I'd love to hear some of yours.

9 comments:

Randy Small said...

for British Lit you'd have to do some Dickens. Probably "A Tale of Two Cities" or maybe "Oliver Twist." James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" or "Dubliners." Some Seamus Haney poetry. Koestler's "Darkness at Noon."

for World Lit you'd have to do "The Kite Runner"! And some Solzhenitsyn - maybe "A Day in the Life..." or "Cancer Ward." Nevil Shute's "On the Beach." Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude"

just a few random ideas :-)

rjsbooklady said...

My vote is for world lit, all the way. My AP senior English class in high school was world lit, and it shaped my bibliophilia like no other class has.

If you stick with British lit, I'd do A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. One Dickens is not enough. You could sneak in some Salman Rushdie since he lives in Britain, right? I mean, the man has won the Booker, so it counts.

For World Lit, I love Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina, Things Fall Apart, No Telephone to Heaven, and The God of Small Things. And I second the Gabriel Garcia Marquez suggestion above.

Please keep us posted on what you decide.

Marci Johnson said...

For British Lit I agree with "Great Expectations." I loved that one in high school. Also, you'd have to do some Shakespeare, though I'd suggest attending a play or at least watching one on DVD. It's so much better that way. Also some Yeats and T.S. Eliot (especially Prufrock).

World Lit, yes, "The Kite Runner" would be good. I prefer "The Brothers K" for Russian lit. Also Rilke, and Chinese poetry is so simple and accessible for HS students.

I sent an email to my mom to get more ideas for you. She taught British Lit at the high school level for many years in public schools.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I taught a Literature and World View class during our last semester in a homeschooling co-op (my son spent his senior year at the community college for science and match courses).

I used Dicken's A Christmas Carol as the core book and even the teenage boys loved it.

On our last day together, I asked them what they learned and most said they learned they loved classic literature. :)

Marci Johnson said...

Oh, I forgot about those couple intense scenes in the Kite Runner. Yah, I probably wouldn't do that one.

Marci Johnson said...

Here are suggestions from my mom: ANIMAL FARM, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, LORD OF THE FLIES, NIGHT, THE ODYSSEY, maybe CRIME AND PUNISHMENT or THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, HUCKLEBERRY FINN; for drama THE GLASS MENAGERIE, HAMLET, MACBETH, JULIUS CAESAR, ROMEO AND JULIET.

pussreboots said...

My vote is world lit.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Club Dumas by Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte, Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, Momo by Michael Ende, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, 1984 by George Orwell, Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan, Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende and Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.

Laura said...

What did you decide?

Robyn said...

though i love british lit and had some amazing teachers in that area, i missed out seriously on a good world lit class, both in high school and in college. so, i would say to teach world lit. my world lit experince was for a semester and we read Les Mis, which I love, some of the Russian writers and their short stories, maybe some chinese literature, but i can't remember. i wish we had done more and i wish i had taken another world lit class. for world lit, Les Miserable is long but oh so good, definitely some of the Russian writers, The Kite Runner would also work well (thought there are some scenes that might need editing?), Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club or The Kitchen-god's wife, definitely Things Fall Apart, Night, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (which I loved), Farhenheit 451. That's all I've got. I actually taught Joy Luck, Bean Trees, Russian short stories, Night. okay, sorry about the lack of editing here.