English 223.1&2: Survey of British Literature, 1789-present

Dr. Richard Ruppel: Department of English

Updated February 13, 2019



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: Monday & Wednesday:  Sec. 1: 1-2:15, Sec. 2 2:30-3:45pm.  210 Wilkinson 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 28-30: Introduction and William Blake
Week 2 – February 4-6:  Blake & William Wordsworth

Week 3 – February 11-13: Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Week 4 – February 18-20: Coleridge & Percy Shelley 
Week 5 – February 25-27: Shelley & John Keats 
Week 6 – March 4-6: John Keats & Romantics wrap-up.  (Discussion of paper topics & requirements)
Week 7 March 11-13: Introduction to the Victorians, Alfred Tennyson. (Paper 1 due, March 13)

                                                Spring Break!

Week 8March 25-27: Tennyson, Robert Browning
Week 9
April 1-3: Christina Rosetti, G B Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Week 10
– April 8-10:  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.”  [Student choice.]
Week 11 April 15-17:  W. B. Yeats, Katherine Mansfield 
Week 12 April 22-24: Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own & “Professions for Women.” 
Week 13 April 29-May 1: James Joyce, "The Dead”; Doris Lessing, "To Room Nineteen"
Week 14 May 6-8: Salmon Rushdie. (Paper 2 due, May 11) 
Week 15 - Final: Section 1:  Wednesday, May 15: 1:30-4pm.  Section 2:  Thursday, May 16:  10:45-1:15pm.      

*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% (Beginning week 2, 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. 

It's very important to me that ALL students feel welcome and encouraged to learn in my classes.  If you have any concerns about participating in class, writing posts or papers, or taking our exam, don’t hesitate to speak with me. 

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 Wednesday, January 30:  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 Monday, February 4:  Read Blake’s “Book of Thel” (136-40).  Answer one of the Discussion questions in Blackboard by 10am, February 4. 

For Wednesday, February 6:  Read the introduction to William Wordsworth (270-272), and read “Simon Lee,” 275, “We Are Seven,” 278, “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal” (307) and “Nutting” (308).

For Monday, February 11:  Read Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” (335-341) and respond to the question in the Discussion section of Blackboard. 


For Wednesday, February 13:  Read the introduction to Coleridge (437-39), "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" & "Kubla Khan" (443-62). 


For Monday, February 18:  No new assignment. 


For Wednesday, February 20:  Read the introduction to Percy Bysshe Shelley (748), and Shelley’s “Mutability” (751), “To Wordsworth” (752), and “Ozymandias” (776). 

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