ENGL 123, Section 003
Introduction to Fiction: Adaptation, Intertextuality, and Fidelity

Tuesday & Thursday 8:00am-9:15am

Peabody Hall 218

Fall 2018


Instructor:                Grant Glass

E-mail:                          grantg@live.unc.edu

Office:                         Greenlaw 505

Office Hours:            Wednesdays 9:00am-1:00pm and by appointment


Course description

A ship crashes and a person (or persons), desperate to survive, now tasked with navigating an alien terrain and extracting its secrets. As they struggle to adapt, they learn about their place in the world. Ultimately, they are saved and brought back home.

Is this Lost in Space (1965)or Cast Away (2000)?The Martian (2015)or Robinson Crusoe (1719)? This brief synopsis could describe any of these narratives even though they are over 300 years apart.

“Adaptation, Intertextuality, and Fidelity” examines why we continue to tell the same stories by focusing on the texts and adaptations of Robinson Crusoe (1719), Jane Eyre (1847),andFrankenstein (1818). The course emphasizes discussion on a broad range of narratives and uses comparative methods to understandhow these stories change. The purpose of this strategy is for students to broaden their perspectives on fiction by appreciating connections between the past and the present, between established ideas and reinterpretations of those ideas—all the while interrogating the role that literature plays in the construction of history and myth. By playing familiar texts against unfamiliar ones, this course encourages students to reexamine what is “canonical,” as well to question how these stories both influence and reflect audiences’ views about culture.

Course objectives
In this course, students will learn to:

  1. Read literature analytically through “close reading.”
  2. Analyze the works using a comparative approach to better understand connections between texts of different genre, languages, and times.
  3. Situate each text within its particular historical, social, and cultural context.
  4. Understand, interrogate, and re-think how texts become myths and keystone cultural references.
  5. Identify how concepts like adaptation, intertextuality, and fidelity influence our view of the text.

Required Texts

  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Broadview Press Paperback 2010, ISBN 9781551119359
  • J.M. Coetzee, Foe, Penguin Books Reprint Edition Paperback 2017, ISBN 978842042965
  • (Movie)Byron Haskin,Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 1964
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Norton Critical Edition 2ndEdition Paperback, ISBN  9780393927931
  • Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad, Penguin Books Paperback 2018, ISBN 9780143128793
  • (Movie) James Whale, Frankenstein, 1931
  • Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, Norton Paperback 2016, ISBN 9780393352566
  • (Movie) Cary Fukunaga, Jane Eyre, 2011

These books are available to purchase at the campus bookstore and are on course reserve at the Undergraduate library/Media Resources Library. Please bring the relevant edition to each class meetings.

 Classroom Polices

  • Students are encouraged to think critically and to express their opinions but must always be respectful and tolerant of each other.
  • This class will be largely discussion-based, which means you need to do the assigned readings. In order to have productive discussions, you need to be prepared and come with questions you want to discuss.
  • I expect students to be on time to class. Repeated lateness will count as an absence. You are allowed two (2) absences (excused or unexcused) without penalty; use them wisely (e.g. for illness, minor emergencies, etc.).
  • If you miss class, you are still responsible for turning in your work on time and learning the material you missed before the next class.
  • The texts for this course are challenging, complex, and thought-provoking. The more time you spend reading and reflecting, the more rewarding the texts will be. Since this class is focusing on adaptations, so you should always be looking for connections between texts.
  • The syllabus is tentative and subject to possible changes. Any changes will be announced in advance to give students adequate time to adjust and prepare.

Graded Evaluation and Assignments

Attendance and participation (10 points): Students are expected to arrive on time to all classes and to participate actively and thoughtfully in class discussion. Because this course is centered on discussion, participation is particularly important. Simply attending class does not constitute participation.

Quizzes(10 points): Students will have at least ten (10) unannounced quizzes throughout the semester. These quizzes are to make sure everyone is keeping up with the reading and cannotbe made up. It is to help you stay on top of the reading.

Blog Posts (30 points):Throughout the semester, each student will post three (3) times on our class website. Each post should be around 500 words in which each student will do a close-reading of a scene or a few lines from our texts. You should write one (1) blog post for each of our units [Crusoe, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein].

Student Discussion Leader (10 points): By the second week of class, students will sign up to guide our discussion during one of the class meetings. A maximum of two (2) students can sign up for any single day. The student will come to class with a series of five (5) questions to ask the class about the reading for that day.

Final project (30 points): The final project can consist of either a creative work that is an adaptation of a canonical text. This can take the form of a screenplay (of a scene), a comic, a drawing/painting, a short story, or a short movie. It should be about 2000 words or 15 minutes long (we can meet individually about visual projects).  Alternatively, you can write a research paper of the same length that compares at least two of our course texts. An initial proposal is due 11/8.

All projects/papers must be turned in at the beginning of the last class as hard copies.

Final exam(10 points): The final will be a cumulative exam. It is an opportunity for you to make connections between the texts and the concepts of adaptation, intertextuality, and fidelity.

Bonus Points(2 points): If you attend every class, you will receive two (2) bonus points.

Late Policy

No late work will be accepted unless you have a documented emergency or a medical situation.

Plagiarism and Honor Code

All work that you submit for this class is subject to the rules of Carolina’s Honor Code. This includes papers, exams, and short responses. Anytime you quote, paraphrase, borrow, or reproduce text or ideas that are not yours, you mustdocument and attribute them correctly according to MLA style (an easy online tutorial for MLA can be found on the UNC library website). I am obligated to report any infringement of the Honor Code (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) to the University. Any instance of plagiarism or cheating will result in an automatic F for that assignment and, in most cases, for the course as well. For more information, consult (http://honor.unc.edu/students/index.html)and the UNC writing center’s handout on plagiarism (http://writingcenter.unc/edu/handouts/plagiarism).


I value the opinions and perspectives of individuals from all diverse backgrounds. My goal is that all students’ needs are addressed in this course and all perspectives are valued. I broadly define diversity to include race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual orientation and physical and learning ability. I strive to make this classroom an inclusive space for all minority student groups. I value your input to improve the climate of my classroom.