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English 271 American Literature Colonial/Romantic
Dean Hall Fall 99
Reference number 11290 MWF 9:30 GY 205
Contact: Office: Eh 05 Office Phone: 532-0389 Office Hours: 1:30-2:30 MWF and by appointment. You can schedule an appointment with me before or after class or by calling the phone number listed; a voicemail system will allow me to retrieve messages that you leave. Be sure to include your name and a way to get back in contact with you just in case I have conflicts with the time at which you wish an appointment. Perhaps the easiest and most reliable method of contact (since I can check my e-mail from home) is to e-mail me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org; I check my e-mail much more often than I can check the phone messages.
Attendance: Attendance, participation, and preparation for class are expected for each of you; in my long teaching experience I have found many direct correlations between what students learn (and the grades they get) with their coming to class and participating. Because I think attendance is important, I allot 10% of the entire course grade to attendance. I will hand around an attendance sheet each day; sign it even if you are too late to take a quiz that might be given. If you arrive after the rest of the class has started a quiz, I will ask you to wait outside the classroom until we are finished; you may not make up quizzes unless you have an excuse recognized as "valid" defined by university policy. If you know you will not be in class on a particular day for some unavoidable reason, let me know ahead of time; if you are ill, let me know as soon as you can. For valid absences I will try to arrange for you to make up quizzes.
Attendance grading scale: 0-1 absence = A, 2 absences = B, 3 absences = C, four absences = D, five or more absences = F for attendance. Look at attendance this way: attending class is not a punishment but what you paid your tuition for. And in this class you can get 10% towards an A for the course just by showing up everyday.
Reading Quizzes: Listening to me talk or listening to your colleagues talk doesn't do you much good if you haven't done the reading for that day. Reading the assigned materials after we've gone over them is class is better than not reading at all, but to get the most out of discussion, to be able to participate in discussion yourself, and, importantly, to know yourself what parts of the reading you want to ask questions about, you need to read the assigned material by the date listed on the calendar below. Therefore, I will give objective reading quizzes periodically throughout the semester and cumulatively they count as much as the midterm or the final. I give quizzes and emphasize them in grading to get you to read the material and to read it on time. I'd rather not spend time at the beginning of class doing quizzes, but my long experience tells me that, unless I provide an incentive for timely reading, that reading for the course goes to the bottom of students' list of things to do. By "objective" I mean that quizzes will require no interpretation work at all; they will simply ask things like who wrote the work, when it was written, which characters/people did what, where is the literature set, and so on.
Responses to Prompts: Participation is expected both in-class and in response to prompts that I will post to the class listserv. If you do not already have access to e-mail, you need to get an e-mail address and set up an account with the university. Even if you do not own a computer, you can still participate by using the public labs on campus. I will get your e-mail address the first day of class; I expect the listserv to be up and running the first day of the second week. I will divide the class into groups of 3-4. We will set up a system of prompts and responses which will replace one of the papers usually required for this course. I will hand out a separate sheet detailing how prompts/responses work.
Why all the emphasis on participation? This course has been approved to be part of the new General Education program at KSU which means that you may take this course for GenEd credit. Discussion and participation are mainstays in GenEd courses so you will be expected to participate both orally in class and on the listserv for the class.
Other skills we are obliged to hone in this class include critical thinking and written communication. The critical thinking component resides mostly in your abilities to create accurate generalizations and hypotheses from diverse information; in this class critical thinking primarily comes from your skill at deriving meaning from the written texts and any critical work you will be assigned.
Weights of Assignments: Tentative List of Assignments and Approximate Percentages of Course Grade: In-class Midterm--15%, Paper--15%, In-class Final--15% Attendance--10%, Listserv Responses--15%, Class Participation--15% Quizzes--15%
Assumptions and Policies: Though this course is not primarily a writing course, it is an English course for English majors which means that you are expected to write and think clearly and precisely. I expect you to produce the best writing you can for every assignment, even those written in class. All aspects of writing are important in this class and those include correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as maturity and precision of thought. Yes, my children, papers which are poorly written and/or proofread will receive lower grades. I tend to write responses to your work in the margins and at the end; if you cannot make sense of my marginal or end comments, you should see me for further explanation--don't let my bad handwriting or your shyness keep you from getting the most out of my responses. After all, we are in this together to have you learn as much as possible in the time allowed.
Papers and homework are due at the beginning of class on the day assigned. Work that is late will lose one letter grade and lose one letter grade for each additional calendar day late. You must turn in all of the assignments to pass the course. The syllabus below is tentative and may have to be adjusted to reflect the speed at which this particular class works. We might add some additional poems, for example, or find we have to omit a work if we get behind; you are responsible for knowing any changes made orally in class.
Type, if at all possible, all of the work done outside of class. Double-space. Use good bond paper--not erasable bond. Leave ample margins left and right so that I have room for comments. Title your paper appropriately to your subject. The title of your paper should not be the title of the work about which you are writing because you did not write that work. Proofread with a passion; even if you find something you want to change two minutes before you turn in an assignment, make those changes--I will gladly accept neat hand corrections in a typed MS. Do not place your work in a folder. Do not staple it. Use a paper clip so that I can separate the pages and refer back and forth while reading. Type your name and page number on each page in the upper right hand corner (so that when I drop the whole bundle on the floor, I can reassemble who wrote what).
You should assume that the audience for your writing is familiar with the work you are discussing but that they probably do not have the work in front of them as they are reading your paper. Therefore, you need not, should not, waste time telling your reader what happens in the work. Rather, you purpose is to help your reader understand something about the work using specific references to it only when needed to help the reader recall details which are relevant to the points you are making. Provide a page number when referring to fiction. Provide a page number and line number when referring to poetry. Provide an act and scene number as well as a page number when referring to drama.
You may use some secondary resources to help you understand a work. These would include a good college dictionary, the OED, a dictionary of literary terms, a mythological dictionary, or history or other texts which help you to identify allusions in the work. You need not consult professional criticism--usually referred to as "secondary" sources as the piece of literature is the primary source--to help you with your papers and tests. Use these secondary materials as needed, but remember that the final product should be your own work and own ideas. Your work should show how well you are able to read and write, and the only way I can help you to improve is for you to turn in honest and accurate examples of what you do yourself.
Tentative List of Readings and Due Dates (tentative because these may have to change depending on class progress)
8/23 M Hello, Requirements, Assumptions and Policies, America of the Mind
8/25 W "Literature to 1620" pp 1-10; Bartolome De Las Casas pp 15-16; "very Brief Relation" pp. 16-17; "Early American Literature 1620-1820" pp 153-163.
8/27 F Very Brief History of early and Great Migrations; intro to Covenantal Puritanism. William Bradford "Of Plymouth Plantation" pp. 181-191; John Winthrop "Model of Christian Charity" pp. 214-225 Thomas Morton "New English Canaan" pp 205-213.
8/30 M Anne Bradstreet "The Flesh and the Spirit" "The Author to Her Book" "Before the Birth of One of Her Children" "To My Dear and Loving Husband" "A Letter to Her Husband" "In Memory . . . and Half Old" "In Memory . . . Seven Months Old" "On My Dear Grandchild . . . Old" "Here Follows . . . 1666"
9/1 W Michael Wigglesworth Day of Doom pp. 283-297
9/3 F Edward Taylor "Prologue" pp 332-3, Handouts, from God's Determinations pp. 340-345.
9/6 M Student Holiday No class
9/8 W Edward Taylor cont.
9/10 F Mary Rowlandson, pp. 297-330 9/13 M Jonathan Edwards "Personal Narrative" "Sarah Pierrepont" "A Divine and Supernatural Light" "Letter . . . Colman" handout on images
9/15 W Edwards cont.
9/17 F Library Day--no class meeting
9/20 M Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography Part One
9/22 W Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography cont. Parts Two and Three
9/24 F de Crevecoeur Letters From an American Farmer (skip Nantucket section)
9/27 M Thomas Jefferson "The Declaration of Independence" "Query 17" "Letter to Peter Carr"
9/30 W Thomas Paine pp. 693-712.
10/1 F Olaudah Equiano pp. 751-785; Judith Sargent Murray "On the Equality of the Sexes" pp.787-794.
10/4 M Susanna Rowson Charlotte: A Tale of Truth
10/6 W Susanna Rowson Charlotte: A Tale of Truth cont.
10/8 F In-class Midterm
10/11 M Ralph Waldo Emerson "Nature" "Divinity School Address"
10/13 W Emerson "Self Reliance" "The Over-Soul" (handout)
10/15 F Emerson "Experience"
10/18 M Henry David Thoreau Walden 1768-1841
10/20 W Thoreau Walden 1841 to end
10/22 F Thoreau "Resistance to Civil Government" "Life Without Principle"
10/25 M Frederick Douglass "Narrative . . . written by Himself"
10/27 W finish "Narrative . . . written by Himself" "Meaning of July 4th . . . ."
10/29 F Margaret Fuller pp. 1590-1626
11/1 M Nathaniel Hawthorne "Young Goodman Brown" "The May-Pole of Merry Mount"
11/3 W Scarlet Letter pp. 1306-1353
11/5 F Scarlet Letter pp. 1353-1404 Paper Assignment Given Out
11/8 M Scarlet Letter pp. 1404-end
11/10 W Herman Melville "Bartleby, the Scrivener"
11/12 F Melville "Benito Cereno"
11/15 M Melville "Billy Budd, Sailor"
11/17 W Walt Whitman (specific poems will be designated as we approach this date)
11/19 Whitman cont.
11/22 M Whitman continued (schedule conference times)
11/24 W Break!--no class
11/26 F Break continued--no class
11/29 M No class (conferences required re paper--draft versions)
12/1 W Emily Dickinson (specific poems will be designated as we approach this date)
12/3 F Dickinson continued
12/8 M Dickinson continued
12/9 W Dickinson continued
12/10 F Final summations, discuss questions for final
Final is scheduled for Thursday 12/16 at 2:00 to 3:50. PAPER DUE