English 40-1 - Fall, 2021

Introductory Topics in Literature

Topic: Telling and Re-Telling

Class Information

Instructor: Tinonga-Valle, Jennifer
CRN: 53286
Time: MWF 2:10-3:00
Location: 125 Olson
GE Areas: Writing Experience


In this course, we will explore the ways that stories are told and retold over time-- by different authors and by the same author, through traditional literary genres and through other experimental or creative formats. We will consider the kinds of tales that have been repeated and retold in different contexts and what qualities have helped them to endure. What elements make a narrative memorable or portable? If a story has already been told or an idea has already been expressed previously, why tell it again? We will also examine how retellings may enhance or radically change the way we understand an origin text or its association with a specific genre. How does our experience and reading of a familiar fairytale change when it is recounted from a different perspective in a short story? What happens if a painting is re-made as a poem? Although we will focus mainly on retelling across literary genres and through literary forms, we will also take an interdisciplinary approach to considering how art, film and other media can re-tell our texts in new and striking ways. Stepping back from our role as readers of literature, we will also think about how our own interpretive writing processes may offer our readers a re-telling of the texts that we are studying.


Paper 1
Paper 2
Retelling Project
Reading Journal/Canvas Discussion Posts and Writing Preparation Assignments
Course Engagement and In-Class Assignments
Final Exam


Shakespeare's Measure for Measure or James's The Turn of the Screw
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
Canvas Course Reader (including readings by Hawthorne, Le Guin, Rossetti, Glaspell, Gilman and others)