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Cal State L.A.


English 510 Syllabus

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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:30-4:00 and by appt
Phone:  (323) 343-4163
Course web site:

Prerequisites: English 501 or 502 as prerequisite or co-requisite.

Description: Up until 1914, whenever a Briton spoke of the "Great War" he or she meant the nearly uninterrupted twenty-two years of conflict between Britain and France at the turn of the nineteenth century. While the impact of the French Revolution on British literature and culture has been studied at length, the impact of this first modern war—modern in terms of weapons, tactics, scope and devastation—has only recently attracted the attention of scholars of literature and culture.

This relative lack of interest in wartime Britain is surprising when one considers the prominence of the war—its images, its seductions, its savagery—in virtually every aspect of British life during the two decade period generally considered the core of British Romanticism. It is the war that produces the beggars, drifters, discharged soldiers, widows and orphans that crowd Wordsworth’s poems. It is the war that encourages Walter Scott to collect the ballads and songs of the "borders" to celebrate the valor of warrior Scots. It is the war that provides Byron with the gruesome background against which he constructs his larger-than-life self. It is the war that propels Shelley, Blake, Barbauld and others into dangerous opposition to the idea of war.

In this course we will read a wide-range of texts published between 1793 and 1815 by significant writers of the time, including Burke, Paine, Godwin, Barbauld, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Scott, Austen, Byron and Shelley. We will also look at less traditional works such as popular ballads, periodical literature, and journalistic accounts, as well as recent historical scholarship on Britain and the war.

Course Requirements: This course is designed primarily as a reading seminar, and while no prior background in the literature of this period is assumed, a basic understanding of the outlines of British literary history is expected. Furthermore, some familiarity with the basic texts of the British Romantic Period, such as a student would encounter in an entry-level survey of British literature is assumed. Such a list of basic texts would probably include the following: Blake, selections from Songs of Innocence and Experience; Byron, Manfred; Coleridge, "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison," "Kubla Khan"; Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; Wordsworth, "We Are Seven," "Lines Written in Early Spring," "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey," "I wandered lonely as a cloud," "Ode: Intimations of Immortality."

Our reading schedule is full, and if you have no prior experience in the literature of the Romantic period in Britain, the schedule might be challenging. In addition to the reading, the following projects are required:

1.      A presentation on an assigned topic—students will sign-up for presentations during the first class meeting for presentations between weeks two and ten (10% of course grade)

2.      Two papers (each approximately 6-8 pages in length) (each 30% of course grade)

3.      A final exam. (30% of course grade)


Grading Policy: Course grades are based on standard percentages (i.e. 90% and greater is some version of an A, 80%-89% is some version of a B and so on). Plus and minus grades are used in the class.

Cell Phones and Pagers: Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, portable radios, televisions, computers, MP3/CD/Disc/Mini-disc players, and any other electronic communication and/or entertainment devices before coming to class.

Contacting the Instructor: Email is the most effective way of communicating with me.

Attendance: Be there or miss out on the fun.

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 character or scene 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:

       Written assignments must be typed following standard formatting practices for college writing—use a readable type style (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 written assignments, 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, after the above information.

       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). 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 after 2000) 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.

Textbooks: The following texts are required for this class:

Austen, Jane. Persuasion. New York : Oxford UP, 2004. (978-0192802637)

Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging a Nation, 1707-1837. Third edition. New Haven , Conn : Yale University Press, 2009. (978-0300152807)

Godwin, William. Caleb Williams. London : Broadview, 2000. (978-1551112497)

Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848. New York : Vintage, 1996. (978-0679772538)

Scott, Walter. Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field. <

Shelley, Percy. Percy Bysshe Shelley. Ed. Stephen C. Behrendt. New York: Longman, 2009. (978-0321202109)

Wolfson, Manning, eds. The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volume 2A. Fourth Edition. New York : Longman. (978-0205655281)

Wordsworth, William and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Lyrical Ballads. Ed. R. L. Brett and A. R. Jones. London : Routledge Classics, 2005. (978-0415355292)

The following text is optional for this class:

Bennett, Betty T. Ed. British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism, 1793-1815. Romantic Circles (online). University of Maryland , 2005. <>

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Last Update: 03/29/2011