This course introduces you to British literature from around 1800 to the present. While we will focus our attention on significant examples of the literature of this period and will consider the structural and stylistic devices of each text, we will do so in the larger context of a discussion of the thematic concerns of the writers and their relevance to us today, as well as the specific historical events and cultural influences to which these writers responded.
1. To help students develop the critical reading skills necessary to understand complex texts generated in a culture not their own.
2. To model for students the many ways that scholars talk about literature, and to encourage students to use these tools of literary analysis.
3. To give students practice in creating oral and written discourse about literature.
4. To help students appreciate literature as aesthetic object, rhetorical performance, and cultural artifact.
5. To inspire students with a love of learning.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2, 6th
Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre (Norton; packaged with the anthology)
Thomas, D. M., The White Hotel (HBJ)
1. Midterm examination (25%)
2. Final examination (30%)
3. Paper (5-8 pages; 30%)
4. Participation (includes attendance and contributions to class discussion; 15%). You may miss three classes without affecting your participation grade; each class missed thereafter will drop your participation grade by 1/3 grade. For example, if you miss four classes and have earned a "B" in participation, you will receive a "B-."
I'll give you more details about examinations and the paper as we go along.
All of the readings are in the Norton Anthology, with the exception of Jane Eyre, The White Hotel, and a few noncanonical texts and secondary materials available in electronic form on the WWW, such as The History of Mary Prince. You should have read and be prepared to discuss all reading selections by the date for which they're assigned. Please bring your text along to class with you--I will frequently allude to works not assigned and it will help you immensely to be able to follow along. In addition to the works listed and any headnotes prefacing them, read the Norton introduction for each writer assigned. Due to time constraints, we will naturally not be able to discuss all of the works assigned in equal depth; examinations will, however, cover all of the works listed for individual authors.
28 Th W. Wordsworth, "Lines . . . Tintern Abbey" (136-140), "It is a Beauteous Evening" (198). An excerpt from
4 Th Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes" (777-786), "La Belle Dame sans Merci" (787-788), "Ode to a Nightingale" (790-792), "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (792-794)
16 T Byron, Don Juan, Canto 1 (566-593)
23 T C. Bronte, Jane Eyre (as close to halfway as possible)
23 T D.G. Rossetti, "The Blessed Damozel" (1461-1464), and from The House of Life: "The Sonnet" (1467), "Nuptial Sleep" (1468); C. Rossetti, "In an Artist's Studio" (1476), "Winter: My Secret" (1477-78); if it's available, I may ask you to look at Victorian Painters, Victorian Poets at Norton Topics Online.
25 Th C. Rossetti, "Goblin Market" (1479-1490); "No, Thank You, John" (1490-91)
30 T Wilde, Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray (1627-1628), The Importance of Being Earnest (1628-1667)
6 T Yeats, "The Wild Swans at Coole" (1875-1876), "The Second Coming" (1880-1881), "Sailing to Byzantium" (1883-1884), "Leda and the Swan" (1884), "Among School Children" (1885-1886), "The Circus Animals' Desertion" (1893-1894)
8 Th Joyce, "The Dead" (2008-2036)
13 T Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1240-43), "Sweeney Among the Nightingales" (1243-44) and "Journey of the Magi" (1260-61)
15 Th Auden, "Spain 1937" (2263-2265), "The Shield of Achilles" (2272-73); Poetry of World War II (2287-2300); Geoffrey Hill, "September Song" (2383); James Fenton, "A German Requiem" (2443-45)
20 T and 22 Th Thomas, The White Hotel
27 T Gordimer, "The Moment Before the Gun Went Off" (2331-34); Walcott, "A Far Cry from Africa" (2358), "Nights in the Gardens of Port of Spain" (2359), "The Glory Trumpeter" (2359-2360), "Midsummer" (2360-2361); Heaney, "Digging" (2422-2423), "Punishment" (2424-2425), "Casualty" (2425-2428), from Station Island (2428-2430); if it's available, I may ask you to look at Imperialism to Postcolonialism at Norton Topics Online.
Paper due today at the beginning of class.
29 Th Stoppard, The Real Inspector Hound (2395-2421)