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Cal State L.A.


English 200c Syllabus

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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: T/TH 9-9:45am, TH 3:30-6pm and by appt
Phone:  (323) 343-4163
Course web site:

Course Information

Catalog Description: A survey of representative literary texts from the eighteenth century through the present. Frequent compositions on literary topics.

Prerequisites: ENGL 102 or its equivalent.

Description: “These fragments I have shored against my ruin.” The speaker of T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland utters these cryptic words amid the despair of a post-World War I Europe, a war fought according to Ezra Pound for “a botched civilization ... For two gross of broken statues, / For a few thousand battered books.” But what books they were and still are--brilliant, beautiful, painful, provocative, alive in their own time and alive in ours. Our whirlwind survey of three centuries of British literature will provide at best an aerial view of the landscape from eighteenth century satire to twentieth century absurdism, with Romanticism, Realism, and all kinds of strangeness between. We will begin the process of locating these texts in their specific historical and cultural contexts as well as in the broader and more contentious context of literary and aesthetic history. Since we will attempt to cover nearly three hundred years in less than ten weeks, we will be forced to move too quickly, omit too much, and generalize too frequently.


Upon completion of ENGL 200C, students will be able to

  1. Identify key authors and texts of the period (1700-1950)
  2. Identify and analyze the principal literary genres and conventions in each period (i.e. Romantic, Victorian, etc.) and across the entire period (1700-1850)
  3. Make effective comparisons and connections between relevant aspects of different texts
  4. Identify historical and cultural developments important to each period (i.e. Romantic, Modernist, etc.)
  5. Recognize the possible relationships between a text and its historical and cultural context
  6. Account for and explain historical trends and issues that affected the development of British literature and culture within each period and across the entire period
  7. Demonstrate general skills in reading comprehension, critical thinking, literary analysis, and academic writing in the humanities.

By actively participating in this course, students will

  1. Develop their skills as critical readers—particularly close reading, making connections within a literary work, and generating thought-provoking questions—through active reading and guided class preparation.
  2. Develop their skills at presenting questions and ideas verbally, and at responding to those of others, through seminar-style class discussions.
  3. Develop their skills as critical writers about language and literature through analytical paper assignments, including an opportunity for revision, and essay exams.

The ultimate objective, though, is that each of us will consider the acts of reading and writing as ways of making the world, of making it cohere or come apart, of inscribing it with purpose and meaning.

Course Requirements: Because this course attempts to survey nearly three hundred years of literature, you will need to be diligent about planning ahead and completing your tasks on time. Listed below are the required assignments for this course:

  1. One writing assignment (approx. 4 page graded argumentative essay) (50 points)
  2. Four literary period responses (short 2-page CR/NC written assignments) (10 points each, 40 points total)
  3. A midterm (short answer questions, identifications, and one essay question) (50 points)
  4. A final exam (short answer questions and identifications, and one or two essay questions) (50 points)
  5. Attendance and participation (discussion, oral close reading, pop quizzes (if any), in-class writing, presentations). (10 points)

In order to pass this course all assignments (papers and exams) must be legitimately attempted.  Plagiarism (see description below) does not constitute a legitimate attempt of the assignment.

Textbooks: The following texts are required for this class and are available in the University Bookstore:

Austen, Jane. Emma. New York: Oxford UP, 2003.
(ISBN-13: 978-0199535521)

Eliot, George. Silas Marner. New York: Dover Publishing, 1996.
(ISBN-13: 978-0486292465)

Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day. New York: Vintage, 1990.
(ISBN-13: 978-0679731726)

Shaw, George Bernard. Plays by George Bernard Shaw. New York: Signet, 2004.
(ISBN-13: 978-0451529442)

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels. New York: Puffin, 1997.
(ISBN-13: 978-0140382402).

Course Reader: In addition to the above texts, a course reader containing additional readings for the class is available on the Handouts page. Also, links to introductions to the various literary periods can also be found on the Handouts page. 


ADA Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accommodation.

Grading Policy: The distribution of points for the individual assignments in this course is listed in “Requirements” above. Course grades are based on standard percentages (i.e. A = 90%-100%, B = 80%-89% and so on). Plus and minus grades are used in the class.

Electronic Devices: Please be respectful of the classroom experience of others. Every quarter I receive earnest complaints from students about the distracting behavior of other students using electronic devices. Unless the use of such devices is approved by the Office of Students with Disabilities, please do not use electronic devices during class.

Contacting Me: I am available in my office during my posted office hours and, schedule allowing, by appointment. Email is also an effective way of contacting me.

Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance at the start of every class. If you are not present I will mark you absent. Arriving late will count as half of an absence. You are allowed one absence without penalty. Each absence beyond the first one will reduce your course grade. If you miss more than four classes you will be disqualified from taking the final and therefore will fail the class.

Preparing for Class: Please read the assigned texts before class. Often I will offer some guidelines about future reading assignments in class. For example, I might tell you to focus on a particular text for the next class meeting. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting the assignment from a classmate.

Written Assignments: Please note the following carefully when preparing your written assignments for this class:

Academic Dishonesty/Cheating: Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and learn. However, when you write your papers, the text needs to be your own.

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Last Update: 04/2/2013