Professor Karen Weyler
English 251-01-S/Honors: Survey of American Literature, Colonial through Romantic Eras
Spring 2003 MWF
Office: McIver 109
Office hours: MF ; W And by appointment.
Heath Anthology of American Literature, 4th ed., Vol. 1
Our objective in Honors English 251 is to
introduce you to representative writings from the geographical area that would
become known as the
This is a discussion-oriented class: Students have a responsibility both to speak and to listen to their instructor and their classmates. Students will be expected to participate on a daily basis by engaging in small group and whole class discussions, being attentive to discussions, asking questions, and reading aloud passages from our text.
Student Learning Goals
In this speaking-intensive course, students will speak frequently, both formally and informally. We will use discussion and formal presentations as means of exploring important questions about the development of American literature. By the end of the semester, students will understand the historical and cultural contexts in which pre-1865 American literature has been produced by diverse groups of people, as well as the various genres in which Americans have expressed themselves. By the end of the semester, students will be able to speak clearly, coherently, and insightfully about pre-1865 American literature.
Course Requirements and Evaluation
You must complete and turn in all assignments on the dates that they are due in order to pass this course. The final grade for this course will be based on the following:
Three oral presentations (10% each) 30%
6-7 page essay 15%
Mid-term examination 15%
Final examination 20%
Class discussion 10%
In-class and Blackboard writing 10%
Office Hours and Conferences
At the beginning of the semester, I will schedule brief (10 minute) introductory conferences in my office so that we will have a chance to speak individually. You are also welcome to visit my office at any point during the semester or to schedule an appointment outside of my usual office hours in order to discuss reading assignments, presentation topics, etc.
You may choose to visit the
UNCG Speaking Center
You may choose to visit the
English majors should subscribe to the departmental email list to receive information about the major. From the computer account through which you receive email, send the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org: Subscribe English-l yourfirstname yourlastname (note that is a lower case L, not the numeral 1, following English).
Academic Integrity Policy
I expect every student to abide by the principles of the Academic Integrity Policy, which appears in the Student Handbook. Students will need to sign the Academic Integrity Pledge on all major work. In addition, you must properly document any use of another's words, ideas, or research; unacknowledged use of someone else's thoughts is plagiarism. Please use MLA style documentation to document any sources used in written work. Work that is not properly documented will receive a zero; further penalties may be assessed according to the criteria established under the Academic Integrity Policy. If you have questions concerning documentation, please consult me.
I expect students to attend class and arrive on time. Since we will use class time for discussion and oral reports, your presence is important to the success of the class as a whole. Students will be allowed to make up missed work from excused absences only; arrangements must be made in advance of the absence. Grounds for excused absence include such events as illness or death in the family. More than two unexcused absences will lower your final grade; each unexcused absence after two will lower your final grade by one-half of a letter grade. If you miss more than two consecutive classes without contacting me, you may be dropped from this course. Ten or more absences, regardless of excuse, will result in a failing grade. It is your responsibility to determine what you have missed.
What Can You Expect from Your Professor?
You can expect that I will treat you as an adult, encourage your participation in this class, listen carefully to what you have to say, and challenge your thinking. You can also expect me to evaluate your work fairly, offer constructive criticism and praise of your oral and written work, and evaluate your work in a timely fashion.
Please complete each day's readings before coming to class. In case of inclement weather, you should be guided by the UNCG adverse weather policy. If class is cancelled for any reason, please continue with your reading.
M Jan. 13 Course Introduction
W Jan. 15 Exploration and
Settlement of the
F Jan. 17 "
M Jan. 20 No Class: Martin Luther King Holiday
W Jan. 22 Discuss Speaking Intensive projects;
English settlement in the
F Jan. 24 Smith, 242-44; Generall Historie 245-50; Description 251-53
M Jan. 27 Bradford, 311-21; from Of
W Jan. 29 Winthrop, 294-96; from "A Model of Christian Charity" 296-304
F Jan. 31 Williams, 335-36; skim Key 337-53; read "To the Town of Providence" 353-54
M Feb. 3 Bradstreet, 282-83; "The Prologue" 384-85; "The Author to Her Book" 390; "The Flesh and the Spirit" 391-93; "Before the Birth of One of her Children" 394; "To My Dear and Loving Husband" 394-95; "Upon the Burning of Our House" 397-98
W Feb. 5 Rowlandson, 425-27; Narrative 428-56; Report: Derounian-Stodola and Levernier, "The Captivity Tradition in Fact and Fiction," in The Indian Captivity Narrative 1-38
F Feb. 7 Rowlandson, 425-27; Narrative 428-56; Report: Ebersole, "The Captivating Text: The Mary Rowlandson Narrative," in Captured by Texts 15-60
M Feb. 10 Mather, 495-97; from Wonders 497-502; Reports: Karlsen, "The Economic Basis of Witchcraft," in Spellbound 1-24; Reis, "Gender and the Meaning of Confession," in Spellbound 53-71; and Rosenthal, "Dark Eve," in Spellbound 75-98
W Feb. 12 The Great Awakening: "Eighteenth Century," 553-71; Edwards, 620-22; "Personal Narrative" 631-41; Sinners 641-52; Report: The Great Awakening: when, where, and what was it?
F Feb. 14 The American
Revolution: "The Age of
M Feb. 17 Paine, 934-36; The Crisis 942-47; Report: Paine's Common Sense
F Feb. 21 Abigail and John Adams, correspondence 957-61; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, correspondence 965-68; Report: "The Anti-Republican Implications of Coverture," from Linda Kerber's Women of the Republic
M Feb. 24 Freneau, 1175-76; "To Sir Toby" 1181-83; Wheatley, 1203-05; "On Being Brought" 1212; "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield 1770" 1210-11; "To the Right Honorable" 1208-09; letter to Occom 1220-21; Reports: Carretta, "Phillis Wheatley, the Mansfield Decision of 1772, and the Choice of Identity," in Early American Re-Explored; essay: "From 'Uncultivated Barbarian' to 'Poetical Genius': The Public Presence of Phillis Wheatley"
W Feb. 26 Crevecoeur, 898-99; Letters, 899-918
F Feb. 28 Native American Voices: Occom, 1078-79; "Narrative" 1079-84; Apess, 1397-98; An Indian's Looking Glass 1398-1403
M Mar. 3 Midterm Examination
W Mar. 5 Early
F Mar. 7 The Culture of Reform: Emerson, 1512-15; "Self-Reliance" 1555-72; Report: The self-culture movement in Rubin, The Making of Middlebrow Culture
March 10 – 14: No Class: Spring Break
M Mar. 17 Fuller, 1626-28; from Woman in the
Nineteenth Century 1631-53; Report:
W Mar. 19 Thoreau, 1669-72; "Resistance to Civil Government" 1672-86; Report: "Economy," from Walden
F Mar. 21 "Race, Slavery, and the Invention of the 'South,'" 1774-75; David Walker, 1775-76; Appeal 1777-86; Douglass, 1814-16; Narrative 1817-43
M Mar. 24 Douglass, Narrative 1843-80
W Mar. 26 Stowe, 2475-78; from Uncle Tom's Cabin 2478-2490; Report: Critical reception of UTC
F Mar. 28 Stowe, from Uncle Tom's Cabin 2490-2517; Report: Uncle Tom's Cabin and popular culture
M Mar. 31 Romantic Poetry: Bryant, 2811-13; "Thanatopsis" 2813-15; "The Yellow Violet" 2815-26; "The Waterfowl" 2816-17; Longfellow, 2822-23; "Chaucer" 2828
W Apr. 2 Osgood, 2829-31; "The Maiden's Mistake" 2833; "Little Children" 2840-41; Sigourney, 1497-99; "The Indian's Welcome to the Pilgrim Fathers" 1507-08; "Indian Names" 1508-09; "To a Shred of Linen" 1510-12;
F Apr. 4 Three Romantic poets respond to science: Poe, "Sonnet—To Science" 2457; Dickinson #185 "Faith is a Fine Invention" (handout); "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" 2934; Reports: Poe, "The Philosophy of Composition"; free verse
M Apr. 7 Whitman, 2846-49; "Preface" 2849-63; Reports: Emerson, "The Poet"; Price, Walt Whitman: The Contemporary Reviews
W Apr. 9 Whitman, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" 2941-48; Draft Workshop
F Apr. 11 No Class Meeting
M Apr. 14 Dickinson 2969-74; letters 3015-19;
W Apr. 16 Dickinson 2969-74; "I like a look of Agony" 2977; "After great pain, a formal feeling comes" 2985; "I heard a Fly Buzz—when I died—" 2989; "The Brain—is wider than the Sky—" 2994; "One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—" 2997; "Because I could not stop for Death—" 2998-99; "The Bustle in a House" 3003; "Volcanoes be in Sicily" 3007; Papers due in class
F Apr. 18 No Class Meeting: Spring
M Apr. 21 Fiction of the American Renaissance: Poe, 2387-89; "The Tell-Tale Heart" 2420-23; "The Black Cat" 2423-29; Report: mysterious circumstances of Poe's death and the theories it has spawned
W Apr. 23 Paper Presentations;
F Apr. 25 Paper Presentations;
M Apr. 28
W Apr. 30
F May 2 Melville, 2550-54; "Benito Cereno" 2598-2655
M May 5 Melville, "Benito Cereno" discussion continued; wrap-up; course evaluations
T May 6 Make-up day if needed
Final Examination: May 12,
English 251-S/Honors: Speaking Assignments and Evaluation
For the speaking-intensive portion of this course, you will be evaluated based on your contributions in the following areas:
1) Class Discussion (10% total):
8Informal discussion: Discussion, both small group and whole class, is an integral aspect of this course; in addition to soliciting individual comments, I will frequently ask small groups to report the results of their discussions to the class as a whole.
8Re-cap of previous day's discussion: We will begin each class by having one student briefly (2-3 minutes) re-cap the previous day's discussion and suggest continuities or connections to the present day's readings, followed by any questions for the instructor. When giving the re-cap, avoid simply re-creating our discussion point by point. Instead, synthesize and indicate the major areas of discussion. E.g.: The most important issues we discussed with regard to Writer X were . . . .
2) Presentations (30% total): Each student will give three formal oral presentations to the class over the course of the semester, as enumerated below. These presentations are intended to facilitate both individual and class-wide learning about the daily readings.
8Presentation 1: Introduction of authors: Each student will be responsible for a 4-5 minute presentation of important biographical and critical information about the authors whose works we will be reading. These reports will help shape and inform our understanding of the texts themselves. Your sources for these presentations will include both the introductions in our text as well as entries from the Dictionary of Literary Biography, which is shelved in the Reference area of Jackson Library. 10%
8Presentation 2: Each student will be responsible for making a 5-7 minute presentation to the class about a special topic, ranging from reporting on a critical article to providing information about the critical reception of a text. These topics are highlighted in bold text on the syllabus. 10%
8Presentation 3: The final presentations of the semester will be based on your formal essay. 10%
Assessment of oral communication competency:
On the back of this sheet, you will see a sample evaluation sheet for formal oral presentations. I will also ask you to do a self-assessment after your "special topic" presentation.
Please note: Due to the large number of presentations that will occur over the course of the semester, it is imperative that you be present on the days on which you are scheduled to present to the class. You will be able to make up missed work from excused absences only. You must clear these absences and re-schedule your presentation in advance; otherwise, you will receive a zero for the assignment. No exceptions.