|Studies in Representative British Authors
Mickle Hall 110
Office: Jackson Hall 311 (869-5085)
Office Hours: TTh 1:30-3 and by appointment
Texts (to be read in this order)
Merwin, W. S., trans. Sir Gawain
and the Green Knight. Knopf. ISBN: 0375709924.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost.
Penguin. ISBN: 0140424393.
Johnson, Samuel. The History of
Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. Penguin. ISBN: ISBN: 014043108X.
Blake, William. Songs of Innocence
and of Experience. Oxford UP. ISBN: 0192810898.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.
Penguin. ISBN: 0142437204.
Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea.
Norton. ISBN: 0393308804.
Joyce, James. Dubliners.
Penguin. ISBN: 0141182458.
Course Description and Goals
This course, with its complement, Studies
in Representative American Authors, is designed for English majors
and minors. The aim of these two courses is to give you a sense of
the sweep of the respective traditions--the variety of genres, distinguishing
stylistic features, topical and philosophical concerns--and to make those
vast traditions manageable by presenting you with characteristic works
from the historical periods.
To meet these twin aims, I've selected a Medieval
romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by an anonymous 14th-century
poet; a 17th-century literary epic, John Milton's Paradise Lost;
Samuel Johnson's Rasselas, an 18th-century philosophical fable;
William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, a coherent
collection of early Romantic lyric poetry; a Victorian novel, Charlotte
Jane Eyre, the exemplary novel of female development; James
Joyce's Dubliners, modern short stories from Ireland; and Jean Rhys's
Sargasso Sea, a post-colonial response to Jane Eyre. (Set
in the Caribbean in the 1830s or '40s, Wide Sargasso Sea was published
in 1966--we'll violate chronology and read it right after Jane Eyre,
before the stories in Dubliners.) Along the way we'll read
sonnets by Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, and Milton,
and selected verse by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, P. B.
Shelley, W. B. Yeats, and D. H. Lawrence. These selections are available,
except for two poems by Yeats, at Representative
Poetry Online; the poems by Yeats are available at The
Academy of American Poets. Either print out the selections from
these Websites or find them elsewhere--you must have the texts with you
in class on the specified dates.
Apply yourself even modestly to the demands
of the course and you should gain a view of the expanse of this literary
tradition. Apply yourself conscientiously and you will become a sharper
and more articulate reader. In-class discussions, forums in Blackboard,
reading quizzes, and two major tests, one at midterm, the other at the
end, will measure your progress. Finally, your engagement with the
texts should excite your creative imagination and make you a more sensitive
and empathetic person.
Requirements and Grading
A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D=60-60; F=0-59
Active participation (70%). To participate
actively you must contribute regularly and constructively to in-class discussions
and in a timely way to all Blackboard forums, be on time and thoughtful
with any other written assignments that may come due, perform satisfactorily
on all reading quizzes, miss no more than four classes, and in general
demonstrate a conscientious commitment to the course. Failure to
do this will put you at my mercy! Note: to be present, you must be
on time to class; you must have the assigned text(s) with you; and you
must stay awake. Miss more than six classes for any reason
and you will fail the course.
Midterm test (10%). Thursday, February
Final examination (20%). Date to be announced.
Calendar of Assignments (subject to revision)
|Week (Tuesday's date)
||Th) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,
Foreword by Merwin and sections I-II
||T) Sir Gawain III
Th) Sir Gawain IV
Spenser, Amoretti LXXV: "One Day I
Wrote her Name"
Shakespeare, Sonnet CXXX: "My Mistress' Eyes
are Nothing like the Sun"
||T) Donne, Holy Sonnets: "Batter my heart,
Milton, Sonnet XVIII: "On the Late Massacre
Milton, Paradise Lost, Introduction
by Leonard (vii-xii) and Bk. 1.1-330
Th) PL 2
||T) PL 3
Th) PL 4
||Mardi Gras (T)
Th) PL 8.250-653 and 9
||T) Johnson, Rasselas
Th) Founders' Day--no class
Th) Midterm Test
||T) Blake, Songs of Innocence
Th) Songs of Experience
||T) Songs of Experience
Wordsworth, "Simon Lee: The Old Huntsman"
and The Prelude: Book 1: "Childhood and School-time"
Th) Coleridge, "Kubla Khan" and "Frost at
Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind"
||C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
T) "Preface" and Chapters 1-15 (pages 5-172)
Th) Chapters 15-20 (175-247) or Vol. 2, ch.
||Easter Break--no classes
T) Chapters 21-32 (248-420) or Vol. 2, ch.
6-Vol. 3, ch. 6
Th) Chapters 33-38 (421-502) or Vol. 3, ch.
||Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
||T) Wide Sargasso Sea
Th) Joyce, Dubliners
"The Sisters," "An Encounter," "Araby"
T) "Eveline," "Two Gallants," "A Little Cloud,"
Th) "A Painful Case," "Grace"
||T) Dubliners, "The Dead"
Th) Yeats, "The Second Coming" and "Leda
and the Swan"
Lawrence, "Tortoise Shout" and "Snake"
||T, 12-3) Final Exam