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Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: MTWTh 10:45-11:30am and by appt.
Phone: (323) 343-4163
Description: The novel in Britain from the late gothic and early
realism up to the beginning of modernism studied through representative
writers such as Shelley, Dickens, the Brontës, Thackeray, Gaskell,
Eliot, Trollope, and Hardy
Prerequisites: Upper division standing is prerequisite to enrollment in 400-level courses. ENGL 102 or its equivalent is prerequisite to all upper division English courses. Prerequisite for all literature courses: ENGL 250, or 200A, 200B or 200C unless otherwise stated.
Description: The novel has been a vibrant form in Britain since the end of the seventeenth century, though it was not until well into the nineteenth century that this immensely popular form was considered "serious" by literary critics. In this course we will use this somewhat arbitrary divide between popular and serious to examine how novelists both respond to the public's taste for the familiar and test the market's acceptance of novelty.
Nineteenth-century novels are strange, thought-provoking, beautiful, entertaining, and at times taxing and exasperating; they are also sometimes very, very, very long. While I have made every effort to give you enough time to read, be forewarned that the amount of reading required for the course is significant and for some possibly overwhelming. In short, you should enroll only if you are prepared to keep up with the reading (an average of 250-400 pages per week) and frequent short writing assignments. Because this is a lecture-discussion class rather than a formal lecture course, active and informed contribution to class discussion is expected from all students.
Upon completion of ENGL 446B, students will be able to
- Define the novel (as genre) and explain its development.
- Identify the basic characteristics of the form: settings, point of view and narrative technique, plot and narrative structure, characterization, allusions and figurative language.
- Identify representative writers and discuss characteristic features of their work, such as theme, characterization, narrative technique, style and so on.
- Identify important popular culture forms such as sensational narratives, "true-crime" stories, adventure novels, and boy and girl culture books and discuss their relationship to "high literary" form.
- Identify important cultural developments such as industrialism, imperialism, urbanization, scientism, and mass media and trace their effect on the development, popularity, and influence of the novel.
By actively participating in this course, students will
- 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.
- Develop their skills at presenting questions and ideas verbally, and at responding to those of others, through seminar-style class discussions.
- 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.
Requirements: Since this class focuses exclusively on the novel, the
assigned reading borders on overwhelming. I have attempted to alleviate
some of the inherent difficulties of courses on the novel, but if you
are not prepared to invest a significant amount of time each week into
reading and thinking about novels, then you should probably consider
taking a different course. In general you will need to read between
250-400 pages per week to keep up in this class, which translates into
10-20 hours of work outside of class. In short, you will need to be
diligent about planning ahead and completing your tasks on time.
In addition to reading assignments, students will also be responsible for completing other assignments both in class and outside of class. Listed below are the required assignments for this course:
- In-class Middlemarch Responses: Think of Tuesdays as Middlemarch Tuesday. Every Tuesday class meeting except the first one will be devoted to lecture, discussion, questions, and suffering through this greatest (in all of its meanings) of English novels. In addition, from 11:40-11:50am nearly every Tuesday, students will write brief responses to a question about the weekly Middlemarch reading assignment. These six Middlemarch in-class responses will be graded CR/NC and account for 10% of the course grade. (No make-up or alternative assignments are available, so please be on time.)
- In-class Reading Quizzes: Several Thursday class meetings will begin with a short reading quiz of the novel (or part of the novel) assigned for the week. From 11:40-11:50am nearly every week, students will take a short quiz on the reading assigned for that day. These seven quizzes will each be ten minutes in length and cumulatively account for 15% of the course grade (No make-up or alternative assignments are available, so please be on time.)
- Writing Assignments: The writing requirements for the course can be met in the following ways:
- Option A (Weekly Reading Responses): Complete four two-page reading responses (see schedule for due dates). Reading responses will be scored using a simple three-point scoring system.
- Option B (Argumentative Essays): Complete two short essays (approx. four pages each) that each present an argument about an assigned text. Essays will be scored using a standard essay scoring guide.
- Option C (The Combo Burrito): Complete two weekly reading responses and one short argumentative essay.
These writing assignments (options A, B, or C) account for 30% of the course grade.
- A short midterm exam (short answer questions and identifications, and one brief essay question) (20% of course grade)
- A final exam (short answer questions and identifications, and one or two essay questions) (25% of course grade)
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: All of the novels we will be reading in this class are available in many different editions. I have ordered the following tests for this class and I recommend that you acquire these editions, if possible, as it will facilitate our class discussions.
Jane. Persuasion. New York: Penguin, 2004. (978-0141439686)
Charles. Hard Times. New York:
Oxford (reissued 1998) (978-0199536276)
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The
Sign of Four. Dover (ISBN 978-0486431666)
Eliot, George. Middlemarch.
New York: Penguin. (ISBN 978-0141439549)
Thomas. Jude the Obscure.
Robert Louis. The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. New York: Penguin (rev. ed. 2003). (ISBN
H. G. The Time Machine/The War of
the Worlds. New York: Fawcett (ISBN 978-0449300435)
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: A considerable part of
the course grade is based on in-class work, so being absent or arriving
late to class has very clear consequences. It’s pretty annoying too,
by the way.
Classroom Preparation: Please read the assigned texts before
class. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting any weekly
assignments from me or from a classmate.
Written Assignments: Please note the following carefully when preparing your written assignments for this class:
- Written assignments must be typed following standard formatting practices for college writing—use a readable type style and size (12 point type), indent paragraphs, double space between lines, and use one inch margins. Any style guide will contain information on formatting your written assignments for submission.
- Before handing in a written assignment, edit and proofread your work carefully.
- Do not use plastic covers or report folders or title pages on your written assignments. Each assignment, though, should have your name, the course number, the date, and my name on separate lines (double-spaced) in the upper left corner of the first page. If the paper has a title, center it on the first page above the first paragraph.
- Use page numbers and place them in the upper right corner of the page. If you are uncertain how to have word processing software generate the correct page number in the header of your document, ask someone in one of the labs.
- MLA format and style conventions should be followed for all written assignments (essays and responses). Please note that MLA format for bibliographic entries (Works Cited page) have changed. For more information on MLA format and style conventions, see The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the appropriate section of a recent (published 2009 or after) writer’s handbook, or one of the many reputable online sources.
- Late papers are not accepted. The assignment due dates are distributed on the first day of class, and the assignments are made available often weeks before they are due.
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.
- You must carefully observe the standard rules for acknowledging the sources of words and ideas. If you make use of a phrase or a quote or if you paraphrase another writer’s words or ideas, you must acknowledge the source of these words or ideas telling us the source of these materials. APA and MLA style differ on the exact format of this attribution, but the simple version is the name of the author and the page number (if appropriate) in parentheses at the end of the sentence containing the use of the source material. If you fail to acknowledge properly the source of your text, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer.
- If you plagiarize or otherwise misrepresent the source of your work, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer.