English 238: Survey of British Literature, 1789-present

Dr. Richard Ruppel: Department of English

Updated December 2, 2013

Useful Links

Office: 428 N. Glassell, Office 101
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 9-11 am, and by appointment.   

Phone: 997-6754 (office)
Email: ruppel@chapman.edu
Class Meetings: Monday & Wednesday:  1-2:15 pm.  Argyros Forum 206A 
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 a Harold Pinter play: The Dumb Waiter, and “The Waiter’s Wife,” a story by Zadie Smith, who was born in 1975). 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'll read a relatively small, representative sample, but you'll 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 second part of a historical survey, we'll pay attention to the historical context as we read each of these authors, and we'll pay attention to the way British literature changed through these decades.  We'll become more familiar with the characteristics of the poetry and prose of each period, but we'll 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, both for the Blackboard threaded discussions and for your two required essays.  We will devote class time to developing your essay topics, and we'll go over the criteria I'll 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, 238 is one of the electives you may take to fulfill the English literature 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 essay exams: 

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’ll practice a good deal of 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’ll 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 - August 26-28: Introduction and William Blake
Week 2 - September 4:  Blake 

Week 3 - September 9-11: William Wordsworth
Week 4 - September 16-18: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Week 5 - September 23-25: Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley & Dr. Susan Oliver Visit
Week 6 - September 30-October 2: John Keats (Discussion of paper topics & papers)
Week 7 - October 7-9: Alfred Tennyson. (Paper 1 due, October 9)
Week 8
- October 14-16: Robert Browning
Week 9
- October 21-23: G B Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Week 10
- October 28-30:  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 - November 4-6:  W. B. Yeats.
Week 12 - November 11-13: Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own & “Professions for Women.”  James Joyce, "The Dead”
Week 13 - November 18-20: Doris Lessing, "To Room Nineteen," Harold Pinter, The Dumb Waiter. 
Week 14 - November 25: Salmon Rushdie, “The Prophet’s Hair." Thanksgiving.
Week 15 - December 2-4:  Zadie Smith, “The Waiter’s Wife.” Last words, preparation for final. (Paper 2 due, December 4) 
Week 16 - Final: Friday, December 13:  8-10:30 am.     

*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*: 25%
Essay 1: 20% (5-6 pages)
Essay 2: 25% (6-7 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. 

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:


For Wednesday, August 28:  Read the introduction to William Blake and all the selections from Songs of Innocence & Songs of Experience (112-35).  Come to class prepared to read one of the Songs out loud to the class and explain why you chose it.  
For Wednesday, September 4:  Read Blake’s “Book of Thel” (135-14).  Answer one of the Discussion questions in Blackboard by 7 pm Tuesday, September 3. 
For Monday, September 9:  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.
For Wednesday, September 11:  Read Wordsworth’s “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal” (307), “Nutting” (308), and “Ode:  Intimations of Immortality” (335). Answer one of the Discussion questions in Blackboard by 7 pm Tuesday, September 10.
For Monday, September 16:  Read the introduction to Coleridge (437-39), "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
& "Kubla Khan" (443-62).  (Iron Maiden’s musical version.)
For Wednesday, September 18:  No new reading.  Respond to one of the Blackboard questions by 7pm Tuesday, September 17.
For Monday, September 23:  Read Coleridge’s Christabel (462), the introduction to Percy Bysshe Shelley (748), and Shelley’s “Mutability” (751), “To Wordsworth” (752), and “Ozymandias” (776). 
For Wednesday, September 25:  Read the introduction to John Keats (901) and his “The Eve of
St. Agnes” (912) & “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (923).  Bring one question and one comment about the reading to class. 
For Monday, September 30:  Read Keats’s “Ode to Psyche” (925), “Ode to a Nightingale” (927), “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (930), and “Ode on Melancholy” (931).  Bring ideas for your first essay to class. 
For Wednesday, October 2:  No new reading.  Look over the Essay 1 Assignment Sheet posted in the Contents section of Blackboard.  Be sure to have your essay topic cleared in class or via email by Thursday evening.
For Monday, October 7:  Read the Introduction to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and his “The Lady of Shalott,” “Ulysses,” and “Tithonus.”  Bring a draft of the first essay to class for a workshop. 
For Wednesday, October 9:  No new reading.  The electronic copy of your first essay is due by 11:59 pm Wednesday.  Bring your hard copy to Wednesday’s class if you’re finished by then. 
For Monday, October 14:  Read the introduction to In Memoriam and the selected Cantos through 56:  pages 1187-1207.  Be prepared to read and discuss one Canto.  
For Wednesday, October 16:  Read the introduction to Browning (1275-1278), and "Porphyria's Lover" (1278), "Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister" (1280), "My Last Duchess" (1282) and "The Bishop Orders his Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" (1286). By 7pm Tuesday (October 15), write a brief character sketch of the speaker of one of these poems in Blackboard. 
For Monday, October 21:  Read the introduction to George Bernard Shaw and his play, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1780-1829).  Come to class with an idea about a paper or project about the play.   
For Wednesday, October 23: Post your idea for a paper or project concerned with Mrs. Warren’s Profession on our Blackboard Discussion Board. 
For Monday, October 28:  Read
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1734-77, satirical farce), Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1677-1719, horror), Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Speckled Band” (1831-48, detective fiction) or Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would be King” (1853-77, colonial adventure fiction). 
For Wednesday, October 30: No new assignment. 
For Monday, November 4:  Read the introduction to William Butler Yeats (2082-85) and “The Stolen Child” (2085), “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (2087), “When You are Old” (2088), “Adam’s Curse” (2090), “September, 1913” (2092), “Easter, 1916” (2093), “The Second Coming” (2099), “Leda and the Swan” (2102), and “Sailing to Byzantium” (2102).  Choose one poem to read and be prepared to explain why you chose it. 
For Monday, November 11:  Read the introduction to Virginia Woolf (2143-44) and the selection from A Room of One’s Own and “Professions for Women” (2264-76).  And read the introduction to James Joyce (2276-78) and “The Dead” (2282-2311).  
For Wednesday, November 13:  By 7pm Tuesday, November 12th, on the Blackboard discussion page, make one feminist observation about any of the works or authors we've read this semester, drawing on Virginia Woolf's observations in A Room of One's Own and "Professions for Women."
For Monday, November 18:  Read the introduction to Doris Lessing & “To Room Nineteen” (2758-80), and the introduction to Harold Pinter & The Dumb Waiter (2815-36). 
For Wednesday, November 20:  By 7pm Tuesday, November 19, identify the theme (or simply a theme) of “To Room 19” or The Dumb Waiter on our Blackboard discussion board.  Provide one piece of supporting evidence. 
For Monday, November 25:  Read the introduction to Salman Rushdie and “The Prophet’s Hair” (3000-11).  Formulate a topic and thesis for your final paper, or a description of your final project, to discuss on Monday. 
For Monday, December 2:  Read the introduction to Zadie Smith and her “The Waiter’s Wife” (3057-68). The final project/paper is due Wednesday. 
For Wednesday, December 4:  On Blackboard, post one final exam essay question. 

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