Update: Engl-394-D2 students are encouraged to use this post as a "suggestion box" for comments -- anonoymous or otherwise -- on how the course may be improved as it goes on. (20/01/06)
It would be good to hear from each of severally you on what you think would be the method most beneficial to you of working directly with our central text, Tales of Genji, over the course of the term.
My plan is this. Each class will have one hour of lecture from me and one hour of seminar discussion. In the lecture, I will give background information relating to Heian life and society, introduce and explain important Japanese aesthetic and cultural concepts, and generally keep the variety of material and ideas that our course contains within a cohesive dialectic.
Each class will explore one or more chapters according to a schedule on the course syllabus shortly to be blogged. For each, I will first give an overview, explain its progression in terms of theme and character from preceeding chapters, elaborate on new or salient concepts and any departures within the text, note where and how important themes are developed or repeated, and highlight and explain key lexical elements.
The move, in other words, will be from the general to the specific. What I would appreciate from you at the early stage is a comment to this post -- anonymously by all means -- to , as I say, offer any alternative methods of approach that would benefit you perhaps more. It would also be valauable for each of you to indicate what you would not like to experience: methods of approach that you would find unbeneficial (or just boring!)
Though it is impossible to please everyone perfectly, individual ideas can certainly be incorporated, and a strong concensus would certainly be accomodated.