English 223: Survey of British Literature, 1789-present

Dr. Richard Ruppel: Department of English

Updated May 9, 2017

Useful Links

Office: 428 N. Glassell, Office 101
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 10:30-11:30am & by appointment    

Phone: 997-6754 (office)
Email: ruppel@chapman.edu
Class Meetings: Tuesday & Thursday:  2:30-3:45pm.  103 Doti Hall
Text: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, Volumes D, E, & F

Course Description and Objectives: This course introduces a wide range of literature written in Great Britain between 1789 (when Blake published Songs of Innocence) and the present (we'll conclude with Salmon Rushdie’s, “The Prophet’s Hair," first published in 1981). An enormous amount of important work was written over these two centuries, and they span four major periods: Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Post-Modern. We will read a relatively small, representative sample, but you will still need to do a lot of reading, and the poetry, essays, fiction, and drama will require your full attention, so don’t fall behind.  My lectures and our class discussions will be much more interesting and useful to you if you keep up.

I make significant use of the Web.  Our syllabus will be updated on this Web page, where I will post assignments & useful Web links.  I will also ask you to contribute regularly to threaded discussions in Blackboard, and I may ask you to engage in other online activities. 

Since this course is the third part of a historical survey, we will pay attention to the historical context as we read each of these authors, and we will pay attention to the way British literature changed through these decades.  We will become more familiar with the characteristics of the poetry and prose of each period, but we will also pay attention to what makes the work of each of these writers unique. 

As in most literature courses, this class has an important writing component, including the Blackboard threaded discussions, the two required essays, and the final exam.  We will devote class time to developing your essay topics, and we will review the criteria I will use to evaluate your essays.  You will discuss and clear your topics with me, and I will accept a revision of one of your essays.  You can expect me to read your essays closely. 

Finally, 223 is a required course taken to fulfill the English major.  We will pay special attention to numbers 1, 2, 4, and 6 of the English Literature Program Learning Objectives listed below, and you will be able to develop and demonstrate these skills in your discussion board responses, formal essays, and final exam: 

1.    Skill in critical reading, or the practice of identifying and interpreting the formal, rhetorical, and stylistic features of a text


2.    Ability to identify and compare key literary movements and genres


3.    Ability to explain and apply significant theoretical and critical approaches in the field of English studies


4.    Skill in writing grammatically, coherently, and persuasively


5.    Skill in finding, analyzing, and utilizing secondary sources (including the appropriate methods of citation)


6.    Skill in crafting a compelling thesis-driven essay, with substantiating evidence


Our Course Learning Outcomes are the following:


1.    We will practice critical reading, especially of poetry, leading us to identify the formal, rhetorical, and stylistic features not only of individual texts but of the texts we associate with particular literary movements – this should help you identify and compare the key literary movements and genres of the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Post-Modern periods.

2.    You will improve your understanding of the development of English literature from 1789 to the present within its historical context. 

3.    We will work on your writing this semester.  We will have writing workshops before the first essay is due, and you will be allowed to revise one of your essays.

Weekly Syllabus*

Week 1 – January 31-February 2: Introduction and William Blake
Week 2 – February 7-9:  Blake 

Week 3 – February 14-16: William Wordsworth
Week 4 – February 21-23: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Week 5 – February 28-March 2: Coleridge.
Week 6 – March 7-9: Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats (Discussion of paper topics & papers)
Week 7 March 14-16: John Keats. (Paper 1 due, March 14)

                                                Spring Break!

Week 8March 28-30: Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning
Week 9
April 4-6: Browning, G B Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Week 10
– April 11-13:  Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band,” and Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would be King.” 
Week 11 April 18-20:  W. B. Yeats.
Week 12 April 25-27: Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own & “Professions for Women.” 
Week 13 May 2-4: James Joyce, "The Dead” [No class meeting May 2 for Henley Award Ceremony]
Week 14 May 9-11: Doris Lessing, "To Room Nineteen." (Paper 2 due, May 11) 
Week 15 - Final: Wednesday, May 17: 1:30-4pm.     

*These authors or works may change, but I'll give you plenty of notice, and I'll keep the syllabus updated on the Web. 

Course and Paper Requirements

Final drafts of your papers should be submitted both as hard copies in class and via email.  All students will write one of the required essays.  But some of you might decide to submit some other project in lieu of one of the essays.  We’ll discuss possibilities in class. 

If you anticipate having trouble getting an assignment in on time, let me know in advance. Unexcused late papers or projects will be marked down one letter grade per week.

You will be allowed 4 free absences through the semester. Any absences after that will affect your grade, and you can't pass this class if you miss 7 or more classes.

Keep on top of the reading and other work through the semester. If you haven't read the assignment, you will find our class discussion both incomprehensible and dull.

Assignments & Participation*: 15%
Minutes:  10% (Each student will work with a partner to keep the week’s minutes)
Essay 1: 20% (4-5 pages)
Essay 2: 25% (5-6 pages)
Final: 30%

*This is primarily your grade on the Blackboard Discussion Board posts.  Here are my criteria for evaluating your posts:

1. The posting should respond as specifically as possible to the prompt (or you should indicate why you’re modifying the prompt).

2. The posting should reveal close engagement with the work under discussion.

3. The posting should contribute to the discussion, so later postings should not simply repeat earlier postings, and they should reflect some engagement with earlier postings.

4. Postings should be substantive. 

One junior or senior will lead the discussion every Thursday, bringing a set of questions and/or observations to class.  In exchange, they can skip one Blackboard post of their choosing. 


Chapman University Academic Integrity Policy

Chapman University is a community of scholars that emphasizes the mutual responsibility of all members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith.  Students are responsible for doing their own work, and academic dishonesty of any kind will be subject to sanction by the instructor and referral to the university's Academic Integrity Committee, which may impose additional sanctions up to and including dismissal.  (See the Undergraduate Catalog for the full policy.)


Chapman Equity and Diversity Policy:

Chapman University is committed to ensuring equality and valuing diversity.  Students and professors are reminded to show respect at all times as outlined in Chapman’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy.  Any violations of this policy should be discussed with the professor, the Dean of Students and/or otherwise reported in accordance with this policy. 

Chapman's Students with Disabilities Policy:

In compliance with ADA guidelines, students who have any condition, either permanent or temporary, that might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the beginning of the term. The University, through the Disability Services Office, will work with the appropriate faculty member who is asked to provide the accommodations for a student in determining what accommodations are suitable based on the documentation and the individual student needs. The granting of any accommodation will not be retroactive and cannot jeopardize the academic standards or integrity of the course.

Useful Links:


William Blake


William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge


John Keats


Alfred Lord Tennyson


Robert Browning


George Bernard Shaw


Arthur Conan Doyle


Robert Louis Stevenson

·         Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1941. 


·         Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s play, Salome. 

·         A quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche in The Gay Science, 1882. 

·         Women’s Suffrage in England timeline. 


WB Yeats


Oscar Wilde

·         Trailer for the 2002 Importance of Being Earnest. 

·         The Importance of Being Earnest, full length. 


Virginia Woolf


James Joyce


Harold Pinter


Doris Lessing




For Thursday, February 2:  Read the introduction to William Blake (112-16) and all the selections from Songs of Innocence & Songs of Experience (118-35).  Come to class prepared to read one of the Songs out loud to the class and explain why you chose it.

For Tuesday, February 7:  Read Blake’s “Book of Thel” (136-40).  Answer one of the Discussion questions in Blackboard by 10am, February 7. 

For Thursday, February 9:  Read “The Marriage of Heaven & Hell” (148-159).  Pick a favorite “Proverb of Hell” (151-53), and be prepared to read it to us. 


For Tuesday, February 14:  Read the introduction to William Wordsworth (270-272), and read “Simon Lee,” 275, “We Are Seven,” 278, & “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,” 288.  (It’s likely we won’t start Wordsworth until Thursday, February 16.)


For Thursday, February 16:  No new reading. 


For Tuesday, February 21:  Read Wordsworth’s “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal” (307) and “Nutting” (308).  And respond to the Blackboard question on Wordsworth, asking for an observation and question about one or more of his poems. 


For Thursday, February 23:  Read Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” (335-341). 


For Tuesday, February 28:  Read the introduction to Coleridge (437-39), "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" & "Kubla Khan" (443-62). 


For Thursday, March 2:  Read “Christabel” (462-477), and respond to the question about the theme of one of our Coleridge poems by 10am Thursday.


For Tuesday, March 7:  Read the introduction to Percy Bysshe Shelley (748), and Shelley’s “Mutability” (751), “To Wordsworth” (752), and “Ozymandias” (776).  Bring ideas for your first paper to class.


For Thursday, March 9:  No new assignment.


For Tuesday, March 14:  Read the introduction to John Keats (901) and his “When I Have Fears” (911), “The Eve of St. Agnes” (912) & “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (923).  Answer the Blackboard question, which asks you to make one observation and to raise one question about one of these poems.  First essay due. Bring a hard copy to class and submit an electronic copy to my email (ruppel@chapman.edu).


For Thursday, March 16:  Read Keats’s “Ode to Psyche” (925), “Ode to a Nightingale” (927), “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (930), and “Ode on Melancholy” (932). 


For Tuesday, March 28:  Read the introduction to Alfred Tennyson (1156-59) and his “Mariana” (1159), “The Lady of Shalott” (1161), and “Locksley Hall” (1177). 


For Thursday, March 30:  No new assignment.


For Tuesday, April 4:  Read the introduction to Robert Browning (1275-78) and “Porphyria’s Lover” (1278), “My Last Duchess” (1282), and “The Lost Leader” (1283).  And read the introduction to Bernard Shaw (1780-83) and first act of Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1783-94)


For Thursday, April 6:  Read Act 2 of Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1794-1808). 


For Tuesday, April 11:  Finish reading Mrs. Warren’s Profession and answer one of the questions about the play in Blackboard by 10am Tuesday.  Begin reading ONE of the following works:  Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band,” and Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would be King.”  All are in our anthology, and all have been adapted to film.


For Thursday, April 13:  Frame one question and make one observation about Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band,” or Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would be King” in the Discussion section of Blackboard.  Due 10am Thursday. 


For Tuesday, April 18:  Read the introduction to William Butler Yeats ( 2082-85) and his “The Stolen Child” (2085), “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (2087), “When You are Old” (2088), “Adam’s Curse” (2090), and “No Second Troy.” 


For Thursday, April 20: Read Yeats’s “September 1913” (2092), “Easter, 1916” (2093), “The Second Coming” (2099), and “Sailing to Byzantium” (2102). 


For Tuesday, April 25: No new assignment.


For Thursday, April 27: Read the introduction to Virginia Woolf (2143-44) and the selections from A Room of One’s Own (2264-72).  Answer the Blackboard question by 10am Tuesday.  Also read “Professions for Women” (2272-76).  We’ll begin discussion of James Joyce’s “The Dead” (2282-2311) Thursday, so read 2282-2300. 


For Tuesday, May 2:  No class meeting.  Finish Joyce’s “The Dead” for Thursday. 


For Thursday, May 4:  We’ll discuss “The Dead.” 


For Tuesday, May 9:  Read “To Room Nineteen.”  Develop one final exam question for the last Blackboard post. 


For Thursday, May 11: No new assignment.  Bring a hard copy of your second essay to class, and be sure to send me an electronic copy. 



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