OK, you can go off-syllabus easily, though every job is different. I mean the prof always has autonomy. I use to go WAY off syllabus (yet keep the same rhetorical points) back in the dark days I taught comp. I’d replace the book’s essays with new ones, fresh, relevant, but with the same rhetorical lessons.
The great thing about college level teaching is the autonomy. Don’t teach stories you think are just anthologized because they are anthologized, because they are…
When I read this invitation, I was hoping that people would mention a disproportionate amount of female writers who have been “over-recognized,” to combat the fact that HTMLGiant has such a huge imbalance of male writers who are praised! I’m so glad that y’all commenters didn’t disappoint!
Let’s keep naming female writers we think have written stories that are too popular. Surely these women writers don’t deserve to have their work so well-read…
Fuck you, though, if you say “The Things They Carried” again, because if you’re 18 and you’ve never read it before, it rearranges your head. Just because you’ve read it ten times doesn’t earn you the right to withhold it from someone who’s never read it before. Same for a lot of these stories you are mentioning. They’re anthologized again and again because they’re good and they’re powerful and they have staying power.
Yeah, that was the “complacent” part of my statement. I was “asked” to teach those stories for one school, and I didn’t bother changing the syllabus for the next course (or the one after, etc.). If I ever teach again, I will do major renovations.
I get sick of having to teach the same old represent-a-genre stories in Intro classes
Like, AHWOSG for “see what you can do with a memoir” week
Axolotl by Julio Cortazar for “south america is a continent” week
So, lily, the problem, as developed in the intervening subthread, isn’t that these stories you mention are “overrated”, but rather, that almost no story can stand up – for almost any teacher – to an escort-through with (relatively) inexperienced readers: the same misprisions, the same challenges, the same shiny-faced new enthusiasms, the same slow dawnings or confirmed biases – e v e r y semester.
As I experienced it, Sean’s right: a department might have a basic anthology/reading list for some particular class – quality control, predictability to calm students, (sadly) refuge for burned-out auto-teachers – , but the profs I actually had had and (mostly) enjoyed syllabus freedom.
A constructive perspective, surely. But why can’t you represent “genres” with equally representative, perhaps better (perhaps a lot better) texts??
see what you can do with a memoir: The Book of Embraces; Running in the Family
South America is a continent where they write stories: Borges, Garcia Marquez, Luisa Valenzuela
see what you can do with the continent of South America: Antonio Porchia
Please tell me you’re joking. Of the stories mentioned thus far, there are an equal number by men as by women. In fact, one of the stories by a woman mentioned–“The Lottery”–was mentioned as one NOT to mention, that is, as a story that *should* be read. If we count Scorch Atlas–a joke, of course–there were 5 men mentioned; if we count Shirley Jackson, there are 5 women mentioned. If we *don’t* count Scorch Atlas, and *don’t* count Jackson because it’s not being criticized, we come up with 4 men and 4 women.
If your post is not a joke, it’s offensive; if it is a joke, it’s a dumb joke at best.
Man I met ray bradbury, and from how cool he is, I cannot stress how his name should be known to every generation. The man supports used bookstores. When Acres of Books in Long Beach was about to be sold and torn down, he made a trip out to profess his love of used books and the bookstore. He brought out every newspaper from the LA Times on down to the LA Weekly. Mans a fucking legend.
I wanted to say this but knew I would get called sexist. But since everyone in the thread has already been called sexist by someone in the comments earlier, I’m just going to say, damn, yes, this story.
Oh, geeze. PC run amok. And I consider myself a feminist. I don’t even have a problem with the story, more than the fact that, as an instructor, I’m often handed anthologies filled with stories that most students have already read a million times.
I fondly remember Bradbury defending Bob Packwood (Hey! Remember BobPackwood everyone!) on Politically Incorrect in 1992 by saying: “I sexually harassed a woman at work until she finally gave in and married me!”