M. Renee Benham

Introduction to Fiction and Nonfiction Prose

This course will introduce students to fiction and non-fiction as genres to be studied, analyzed, criticized, discussed, and enjoyed. We will read several novels and long essays. Our goal is to develop a critical vocabulary about prose fiction and nonfiction that will serve as a foundation for more advanced study of literature (theoretical, historical, etc.). All of our readings involve going on an adventure and, through the journey, making important discoveries about the world and about ourselves. We will, therefore, through our own journey through these texts, undergo similar experiences.

Course Purposes and Goals:

  • Students will develop an appreciation for the purposes and pleasures of prose fiction and nonfiction.
  • Students will articulate ways that literary works construct values and ethical meanings.
  • Students will practice analytical readings on multiple examples of each genre chosen to illuminate different literary choices and conventions, including texts that are culturally and historically diverse.
  • Students will develop a critical vocabulary for discussing fiction and creative essays.


  1. Candide, or, All for the best. Publisher: Broadview Press. 2009. [ISBN: 9781551117461].
  2. Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey. Edition: 2nd ed. Publisher: Broadview Press. 2002. [ISBN: 1551114798].
  3. Rider Haggard. King Solomon’s Mines. Publisher: Broadview Press. 2002. [ISBN: 1551114399].
  4. R. R. Tolkien. The Hobbit. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1997. [ISBN: 0618002219].
  5. K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. Edition: 1st American ed. Publisher: A.A. Levine Books. 1998. [ISBN: 9780590353403].
  6. Alfred Lansing. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic. Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 2001. [ISBN: 978-0297829195].