If you come to class prepared and ready to participate in discussion, English 303 will be among the most challenging, most interesting, and most beneficial of all the courses you take as an English major or minor. You will not only read literary and critical texts, but you will practice analyzing and writing about literature according to different interpretive methods. You will learn how to find critical essays and books about your topic using bibliographies and how to locate them in the UNCG library. You will also become more adept at evaluating critical arguments and developing your own interpretations in well written and researched scholarly essays.
Steven Lynn, Texts and Contexts: Writing About Literature with Critical Theory, 4th ed.
Gerald Graff and James Phelan, eds. The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy
Student Learning Goals:
1. To identify the major tenets of different critical methodologies for analyzing literature, including New Criticism, Reader Response, Deconstruction, varieties of Historicism, Postcolonial, Cultural Studies, Psychological, and Feminist.
2. To analyze and evaluate critical arguments about literary works.
3. To write about literature using different interpretive strategies and developing well organized and coherently argued positions.
4. To incorporate secondary material into an essay correctly and without plagiarizing.
5. To use bibliographies to locate secondary materials in the library.
6. To document primary and secondary materials according to the MLA Style.
You are expected to come to class prepared to participate in the discussion and other class activities. If you miss more than three classes without an excuse documented by a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc.) before Oct. 8, I may drop you from the class. Assignments are due on the date given on the syllabus unless you have permission from me beforehand to turn them in at a different time. If you have not received an extension, I will penalize late papers 3 points for every day beyond the deadline.
Journal entries (1 side of a loose-leaf page) 10%
Informal writing to be handed in on the day assignment is due; I will only grade journals S/U.
Essays 1 and 2 (3-4 pages) 10% each 20%
Essay 3 (4-6 pages) 20%
Research paper (5-8 pages) 30%
Final exam 20%
Up to five extra points can be gained for exceptionally strong class participation.
All work you hand in for this course must be your own unless you acknowledge your sources following the MLA Style for citations. For the Academic Integrity Policy, see http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/academicintegrity. You must write the academic integrity pledge on all papers (not journal entries) and exams: I have abided by the UNCG Academic Integrity Policy on this assignment. Then sign your name.
Your syllabus and essays on e-reserve are available through Blackboard.
To access Blackboard from the UNCG Website, go to Current Students in the yellow banner at the top, then to Blackboard under Resources on the right hand menu.
You must know your UNCG Novell Netware username and password (email username and password). If you do not know your Novell password, you can reset it at http://accounts.uncg.edu. Select the Self Service Password Resetting and answer the questions. On one screen you will be asked to indicate the account password you are changing. Select the Novell Directory (Netware) password. You do not need to know your current password to do this.
If you have not activated your UNCG account, you will not appear in Blackboard since you have not been assigned a UNCG username. Accounts can be activated at http://accounts.uncg.edu by selecting Unix Communications, Netware and Campus Pipeline Account Creation.
Aug. 18 Introduction: T & C, chap. 1. Journal entry: read and respond to excerpt from Here at “The New Yorker” at the bottom of 14 to top of 16.
23 Overview of critical methods:
T & C, chap. 2.
25 New Criticism: T & C, chap. 3. Journal entry: read, respond to, and answer questions on either “forgiving my father” (55-56) or “My Father’s Martial Art” (56-57).
30 2-3 page draft of New Critical interpretation of either of the poems above.
Sept. 1 Reader Response Criticism: T & C, chap. 4; continue working on first essay and bring draft to class.
6 First essay due (3-4 pages).
8 Deconstructive Criticism: T & C, chap. 5. Journal entry: read and respond to “London” (128); then answer questions on 129-30.
13 2-3 page draft of New Critical
or Deconstructive interpretation of “London”
15 Research and Documentation: T & C, chap. 9, 252-63. Meet in Electronic CITI in Library.
20 Second essay due (3-4 pages). Meet in Electronic CITI in Library.
22 Read Heather Glen. Vision
and Disenchantment: Blake’s Songs and
Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1983. 208-221. (On electronic reserve through Blackboard; print out and bring
27 Read and outline E. P. Thompson. “London.” Interpreting Blake. Ed. Michael Phillips. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978. 5-25. (On electronic reserve through Blackboard; print out and bring to class.)
29 Plan your revision of your
essay on “London;” Do you wish
to change your interpretation in any way? What evidence from Glen’s and/or
Thompson’s essay will you use to support your argument? Bring your notes
and paper to class. Academic integrity workshop.
Oct. 4 Psychological Criticism: skim chap. 8; continue revising essay on “London” and bring revision to class.
6 Third essay due (4-6 pages). Feminist criticism: T & C, chap. 8.
13 The Tempest, Acts 1 through 3. Journal entry: comment on these acts and list all the questions you have about them.
18 The Tempest, Acts 4-5. Preliminary to research paper: choosing a character,
theme, scene, language pattern or other element in The Tempest, free write
2 pages of observations and questions on this topic.
20 Biographical, Historical, and Postcolonial Criticism: T & C, chap. 6, 133- 56. Graff & Phelan, 116-24, 140-72. Journal entry: how can these readings be useful in an interpretation of The Tempest?
25 Kermode essay in Graff & Phelan, 174-82. Journal entry: outline Kermode’s argument. What critical approach(es) does he employ?
27 Barker & Hulme essay in Graff & Phelan, 229-46. Journal entry: outline Barker & Hulme’s argument. How do they respond to Kermode and whose interpretation do you find most persuasive? Why?
Begin planning your research essay (5-8 pages): In your research essay on The Tempest, you may either present your own interpretation of a topic supported by evidence from the play and criticism or you may do an evaluation of two essays that consider the same topic from two different critical perspectives, explaining how the two critics arrive at different interpretations of the same issue by analyzing their critical methods, assumptions, foci, arguments, and evidence.
Nov. 1 Brown essay in Graff & Phelan, 205-229. Journal entry: summarize the main points of Brown’s argument. How does his interpretation differ from Barker & Hulme’s? How does it agree?
3 Willis essay in Graff & Phelan, 256-68. Journal entry: How does Willis respond to Brown and whose interpretation do you find most persuasive? Why? T & C, chap. 9, 245-52, 263-79. Revise preliminary free-write about research essay into a more focused draft. If you are analyzing two critical essays, identify the questions and issues important to your topic before you find the secondary essays you will analyze.
Begin library research due on Nov. 15: find four articles and/or book chapters that present interpretations of your topic from at least two different critical perspectives. After identifying the articles or chapters on your topic in the MLA Bibliography and locating them in the Library, quickly skim each to see what critical perspective it represents. Select the four that best address your topic and exemplify different critical methodologies. (If you are doing the analysis of two essays, try to find a pair which work well together.) Provide bibliographical citations on 3 x 5 cards and take notes on 4x6 or 5x8 cards. (I also recommend you photocopy the essays in case you need to consult them later.)
8 Skura essay in Graff & Phelan, 286-322. Journal entry: what questions does Skura raise about the other essays you’ve read?
10 Loomba and Thompson essays
in Graff & Phelan, 324-47. Journal entry:
how does feminist criticism agree or disagree with the other interpretations
15 Revise rough draft of your research essay into a better developed essay without using secondary material. Bring it to class with your bibliographical and note cards on the four articles and/or book chapters.
17, 22 Scheduled conferences—no class.
29 Bring research essay to class.
Dec. 1 Research essay due (6-8 pages). Review for final exam.
8 Final exam, 8-11.