Freshman Seminar 120
Spring 2003: Sections 01 & 02
Instructor: Dan Albergotti
Office Hours: T & TH, W • other times by appointment
Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays (Robert Fagles, trans.; Penguin Classics)
Shakespeare, Hamlet (A. R. Braunmuller, ed.; Pelican Shakespeare/Penguin)
Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (Dover Thrift Editions)
Beckett, Waiting for Godot (Grove Press)
Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Grove Press)
American Beauty (video/dvd purchase optional; we will view in class)
In this seminar, we will read several dramatic works, some separated by centuries and cultures, but all addressing a universal human question: What does it mean to be alive in this world?† We will examine how different authors from various times and places have dealt with the theme of the meaning of existence.† You will explore your own ideas of the works through writing in response to both informal and formal assignments.
In addition to the obvious goal of understanding how ideas on the meaning of life have been approached in a number of classic works, this seminar has other objectives.† These include helping the student:
• identify and understand various characteristics of literature,
• apply techniques of literary analysis to texts,
• develop skills in careful reading and clear writing, and
• understand the diverse social and historical contexts in which the works were written.
This is a writing-intensive course, so writing will be a regular part of your work for it.† Throughout the term, you will write several informal response papers in which you explore your ideas about a text through writing.† You will also write a longer, more formal essay.† You will work on this essay for several weeks, receiving feedback on drafts from both your peers and your instructor.† The formal essay will constitute a significant portion of your grade for the course.
In this course, you must complete six response papers, two exams, and a formal seminar essay.† Your final grade will be determined as follows:
Midterm exam: 25%
Final exam: 25%
Formal essay: 30%
Response papers: 20%
I highly recommend that you attend every class meeting that you possibly can.† You are responsible for all of the material covered in each class; if you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get notes and learn of any announcements from a classmate.† In addition, students who have excellent attendance records typically outperform those with poor attendance records.† In short, good attendance will probably help you, and poor attendance will probably hurt you.
No act of academic dishonesty will be tolerated.† In English courses, most cases of academic dishonesty involve plagiarism, i.e. representing the words or ideas of others as oneís own (such as copying words and ideas from secondary sources, including internet sources).† Penalties for academic misconduct may range from official reprimands and the designated failure of work (or courses) to suspension from the university for definite or indefinite periods of time.† But the most important thing to consider here is that the cheater cheats him- or herself far more than any other person.† Donít impede your education by not doing the work yourself.
Students who need special accommodations in class and/or during testing should make an individual appointment with me as soon as possible to insure that arrangements can be made.
M, Jan 13: Introductions
W, Jan 15: Course design; discussion in groups; preview of Oedipus the King
Jan 20: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
W, Jan 22: Sophocles, Oedipus the King • response paper
M, Jan 27: Sophocles, Oedipus the King
W, Jan 29: Sophocles, Oedipus the King
M, Feb 3: Shakespeare, Hamlet • response paper
W, Feb 5: Shakespeare, Hamlet
M, Feb 10: Shakespeare, Hamlet
W, Feb 12: Shakespeare, Hamlet
M, Feb 17: Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest • response paper
W, Feb 19: Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
M, Feb 24: Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
W, Feb 26: Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest • midterm review
M, Mar 3: Midterm Exam
W, Mar 5: Explore ideas for formal essay
Spring Break: March 10-14
M, Mar 17: Beckett, Waiting for Godot • response paper
W, Mar 19: Beckett, Waiting for Godot
M, Mar 24: Beckett, Waiting for Godot
W, Mar 26: Beckett, Waiting for Godot
M, Mar 31: Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead • response paper
W, Apr 2: Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
M, Apr 7: Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
W, Apr 9: Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead • draft of formal essay
M, Apr 14: American Beauty
W, Apr 16: American Beauty
M, Apr 21: American Beauty • response paper
W, Apr 23: American Beauty • peer and instructor review of revised formal essay draft
M, Apr 28: Final discussion and review
W, Apr 30: Final discussion and review • formal essay due
M, May 5: Review for final exam
Reading Day: May 7
Section 01: Monday, May
Section 02: Monday, May 12:
NOTE: The policies and schedule described in this syllabus are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.