Percival Everett and Intertextuality

ENGL 203-03 Fall 2018

Professor Beth McCoy

Course description

The 200 level in the literature track provides students with an introduction to the discipline through the study of particular topics, issues, genres, or authors. Under the general heading Reader and Text, literature courses at this level help students understand the theoretical questions that inform all critical conversations about textual meaning and value. They provide a working vocabulary for analyzing texts, relating texts to contexts, and discussing the difference that theory makes. Through discussion and writing, they invite students to participate in the ongoing conversation about texts and theory that constitutes English as a field of study.

In literature courses at the 200 level, students will demonstrate

  • the ability to read texts closely
  • the ability to write clear and effective English prose in accordance with conventions of standard English
  • the ability to write analytically about texts in accordance with the conventions of textual criticism
  • an understanding of how criticism as a practice gives rise to questions about how to conduct that practice, questions that are constitutive of the discipline: e.g., questions concerning what we should read, why we should read, and how we should read.

Additionally, by semester’s end you will have performed multiple iterations in the essential practice of working with texts and ideas that at first might seem to have little to do with each other. We’ll read how Percival Everett’s Frenzy, I’m Not Sidney Poitier, and The Water Cure engage in conversation with Euripides’ Bacchae, some Poitier films, and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. We’ll learn a bit about interdisciplinary tensions, commonalities, and histories. We’ll attend to puns and nonsense. And we’ll investigate some other connections you may encounter throughout your work, from Heraclitus to the famous marbled page.


If the syllabus isn’t visible below, or you have difficulty reading it there, you can go to it in Google docs.