International Novel 570: Syllabus

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Course Description:

This course will study significant 19th and 20th century novels from selected countries other than the U.S. and England. The focus will be on the earlier traditions of the realist and naturalist novel and on the new directions undertaken by the more recent post-colonial, magical realist, and fantasy novels. Special attention will be paid to the intersections of gender, class, and culture in relation to the social/historical/political forces shaping or shaped by the individual. (NOTE: All the novels are written in or translated into English.)

Class Time/Place/Instructor:

MWF 12:00p-12:50, Grubbs 312
Instructor: Dr. Kathleen L. Nichols, E-mail:
Office Hours (Grubbs 450): MWF 1:00-1:50, TTh 12:00-1:00, or by appointment

Required Textbooks:

  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Penguin. ISBN: 0-14-303500-2.
  • Emile Zola, L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop), Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0-19-283813-X.
  • Kamala Markandaya, Nectar in a Sieve, Penguin/Signet Classics. ISBN: 0-451-52823-9.
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions, Avalon/Seal. ISBN: 1-58005-134-0.
  • Isabelle Allende, The House of Spirits, Bantam. ISBN: 0-553-27391-4.


  • Two Literary Analysis Papers (20 % each; total 40%). See paper directions.
  • Three exams (20 % each; total 60 %)

Note: All major assignments must be completed in order to pass the course.

Class Participation

A successful class depends on your participation--your observations and questions and willingness to explore new ideas about the assigned readings. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep up with the reading assignments. Please adjust your schedules to accommodate the reading requirements for the course.

Attendance Policy

Regular attendance is required. Everyone has four pre-excused absences for those difficult times in life that interfere with class attendance, so you do not need to clear absences with me, but it is a good idea to check with me (or a classmate) to make sure an assignment was not changed while you were gone. Students who miss more than four classes may be dropped from the roster for "excessive absences."

Late Papers/Exams Policy

Late papers and exams will be graded down one letter grade for each day they are late.

If you will not be on campus on a due date, you may e-mail papers to me at, but make sure they are attached as a .doc file.

Plagiarism Policy

Academic honesty is expected of all students. I support the stated policies of the University and the English Department on penalties for plagiarism. Passing off anyone else's work (whether your roommate's or a published article) as your own may result in an F for that paper or an F for the course.

I am always willing to help students who are making good-faith efforts to avoid plagiarism.

Class Web Pages

The class syllabus and research/writing assignments can be accessed online in the following ways:

  • Class Syllabus: Click on the links near the top or at the bottom of this page to access the assigned readings and other class pages. Click the BACK BUTTON (top of screen) one or more times to return to your starting page.

  • Instructor's home page: Scroll down to the link for our class. All my web pages are are linked to my home page.

  • PSU Home Page: If all else fails, here is a roundabout way to access our class web pages. Go to the "PSU Home Page," next to "Academics," and then to "English"; click on the "Faculty" link and scroll down to my name--which is linked to my home page.

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