ENG 205: British Literature I
Section DA: Monday 9:30–10:45; Thursday 10:00–11:15
North Hall 112

Brian T. Murphy

Bradley Hall, Y-16
516-572-7185, ext. 25686

e-mail: brian.murphy@ncc.edu

Schedule and Office Hours
 

 
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
 

Description

Objectives

Texts

Policies 

Assignments

 Grading 

Schedule

Links

Important Announcements and Updates: Click HERE
 

Print-friendly (MS Word) course outline here.
Other printable documents:
Model for Evaluation of Student Writing
Revision and Editing Checklist
Essay Outline

 

“Don’t let anyone talk you into a course where they make you read Beowulf.
—Woody Allen, Annie Hall

 

DESCRIPTION:
According to the official catalog description for ENG 205, “Students are introduced to major English writers in Britain from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 18th century. Themes, ideas and literary form of literary works are examined with the aims of appreciating the aesthetics and understanding the historical background. Literature is examined as both a product of its time and as influential force in society. Representative writers include: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Defoe, Swift, and Pope. Writing is an integral component of the course.

 

SUNY GEN ED-GHUM; NCC GEN ED-HUM, LIT, WESH

 

Prerequisite: ENG 102 or ENG 109.
It is assumed that students have successfully completed the prerequisite for this course, ENG 102 or ENG 109 (or the equivalent).  Therefore, students are expected to have the necessary background and experience in analyzing, discussing, and responding to written works, as well as the ability to conduct independent research and to write correctly documented research essays using MLA format.

Students are cautioned that this course requires extensive reading, writing, and discussions; students not prepared to read  and to write on a regular basis and to take an active part in class discussions should not consider taking this course.

 

 

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OBJECTIVES:
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

1.  Discuss the works of major British writers in the following contexts:
     ~  Literary periods (Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration, and Eighteenth Century)
     ~  Social movements
     ~  Intellectual movements
2.  Trace the development of themes and genres within their historical contexts;
3.  Analyze literary works for their aesthetic features and thematic patterns;
4.  Identify styles, themes, and works of major writers;
5.  Examine a variety of critical approaches to literature.

 

 

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TEXTS:
Required:
Greenblatt, Stephen, ed.  The Norton Anthology of English Literature, The Major Authors, 9 ed. Vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.* (Available used starting at $24.93 at Amazon.com***)

Supplemental handouts, to be distributed in class.

A good college-level (paperback) dictionary (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).

Recommended:

Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers, 7 ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. ISBN 9780312647360.
(Available used starting at $35.00 at Amazon.com***), or another current college-level handbook.

Recommended additional texts:**
Ackroyd, Peter. Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2002 (Available used starting at $9.49 at Amazon.com).

Armitage, Simon. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation. [New York?]: , 2007.

Ashe, Geoffrey. The Discovery of King Arthur. New York: Henry Holt, 1985.

---., ed. The Quest for Arthur’s Britaiin. Chicago: Academy, 1987.

Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language, 3 ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978.

Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why. New York: Scribner, 2000. (Available starting at $1.00 at Amazon.com)

Casagrande, June. Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. New York: Penguin, 2006. (Available starting at $4.27 at Amazon.com)

Chance, Jane. "Grendel’s Mother as Epic Anti-Type of the Virgin and the Queen." Chapter Seven of Chance, Jane. Woman as Hero in Old English Literature. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse U. P, 1986. 95-108, 131-5. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 251-263)

Chase, Colin, ed. The Dating of Beowulf. Toronto: U. of Toronto P., 1997.

Cornwall, Bernard. The Saxon Tales. New York: HarperCollins, 2005-2008, comprised of:

     I.   The Last Kingdom, 2005.

     II.  The Pale Horseman, 2006.

     III. The Lords of the North, 2007.

     IV. Sword Song: The Battle for London, 2008.† and so on....

Crichton, Michael. Eaters of the Dead.

Crystal, David. The Stories of English. New York: Overlook Press, 2004.

---. Words, Words, Words. New York: Oxford U P, 2006. (Available used starting at $9.28 at Amazon.com)

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999. (Available used, starting at $8.50, at Amazon.com).

Dirda, Michael. Classics for Pleasure. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2007.

Fraser, Rebecca. The Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present: A Narrative History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005.

Freeman, Philip. The Philosopher and the Druids: A Journey Among the Ancient Celts. 2006.

Fulghum, W. B. A Dictionary of Biblical Allusions in English Literature. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1965. (Available used, starting at $3.99, at Amazon.com).

Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991.

Gardner, John. Grendel. (Available used starting at $0.20 at Amazon.com).

Hardyment, Christina. Malory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur’s Chronicler. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.

Hinds, Gareth, adapt. and illus. Beowulf [graphic novel]. Cambridge, MA: Candelwick P, 2007.

Jackson, Kenneth H. "The Arthur of History." Loomis, ed. 1-11.

Kress, Nancy. "Unto the Daughters." Sisters in Fantasy. Eds. Susan Schwartz and Martin H. Greenberg. New York: Roc, 1995. Reprinted in A Beaker's Dozen. New York: Tor, 1998. 163-172.

Leyerle, John. "The Interlace Structure of Beowulf." University of Toronto Quarterly 37 (1967): 1-17. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 146-167)

Loomis, Laura Hibbard. "Gawain and the Green Knight." Loomis, ed. 528-540.

Loomis, Roger Sherman, ed. Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959, 2001.

---. The Development of Arthurian Romance. New York: Norton, 1963.

Magoun, Francis P. "The Oral-Formulaic Character of Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry." Speculum 28 (1963): 446-67. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 45-65).

McLynn, Frank. 1066: The Year of the Three Battles. 2006.†

Nicolson, Adam. God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. New York: HaperCollins, 2003. (Available used, starting at $3.70, at Amazon.com).

Parry, John Jay and Robert A. Caldwell. "Geoffrey of Monmouth." Loomis, ed. 72-93.

Rideal, Rebecca. 1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire. New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, 2016.

Tolkien, J. R. R. "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics." Proceedings of the British Academy 22 (1936): 245-95. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 45-65)

---., trans. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo. New York: Ballantine, 1975.

---.  The Homecoming of Beorhtnothh Boerthelm’s Son. Essays and Studies for 1953. reprinted The Tolkien Reader. New York: Ballantine, 1966. 1-27. Also in Poems and Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. 75-109.

Wray, T. J. and Gregory Mobley. The Birth of Satan. 2006.†

 

*Note that all major reading selections for the semester are available online, as indicated by links (see Schedule, below). However, students must have a copy of the appropriate text(s) with them for each class session, whether they have purchased the textbook or printed out hardcopy from the Internet;  no excuses about computer or printer problems will be accepted. In addition, a large number of recommended readings are available in the textbook, but not readily available online. Finally, although the longer works (Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , Canterbury Tales, , Paradise Lost, and Gulliver’s Travels) are all available online, students who do not purchase The Norton Anthology of English Literature should for convenience consider obtaining paperback versions or library copies.

** Recommended additional texts are not required purchases, and have not been ordered for the course; however, they provide—depending on the course— alternative readings, historical and cultural backgrounds, criticism, personal literary responses, or entertaining (irreverent, possibly sacrilegious) revisions. Students who find themselves becoming deeply interested in one or more of the required readings may find these interesting and/or useful. When indicated with a dagger (†), texts are only provisionally recommended, as I have not read these works yet, although they have received excellent reviews or recommendations.

*** Prices listed at Amazon.com do not include shipping, and are accurate as of posting date only; no guarantees of prices or availability are express or implied§.

 

 

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CLASS POLICIES:

Attendance:
As per the Nassau Community College attendance policy“Students are expected to attend all classes. Absences due to illness or for other serious reasons may be excused at the discretion of the instructor. Students are advised that absences in excess of 10% of the total class meetings may result being dropped from the course.”  Students must not only attend every class and lab meeting, but also arrive on time, be prepared, and take an active part in class (see Participation, below); students may be required to sign in each class session to verify their attendance. Excessive absences or latenesses will adversely affect your grade: Students may miss no more than three classes or lab meetings; further absences will result in a reduction of the final grade by one full letter grade for each additional absence. Students unable to attend class should contact the instructor regarding their absence; in addition, students are responsible for submitting all work on time regardless of absences. In addition, once students get to class, they are expected to stay in the classroom until the class is over. Leaving class early or getting up in the middle of class is considered disruptive behavior and should happen only in extreme emergencies.

Classroom Behavior:
Students are expected to be present, prepared, attentive, and active participants in the learning process. As such, any distracting or inappropriate behavior or unauthorized use of electronic devices* is strictly prohibited. Students who wish to use a laptop for note-taking may be allowed to do so at the instructors discretion, but will be required to sit in the front row and to submit a copy of their notes to the professor at the end of each class; failure to do so will result in being recorded as absent. Eating, sleeping, texting, or other inappropriate behavior may result in your being asked to leave the class and will adversely affect your final grade. According to the “Student Code of Conduct,” “The College is committed to providing an atmosphere in which students have freedom to learn and engage in the search for truth, knowledge, and reason in accordance with the standards set forth by the academic community. Conduct that adversely affects a student’s responsible membership in the academic community shall result in appropriate disciplinary action.” Appropriate disciplinary action may include but is not limited to probation, suspension, and expulsion from the college. See the Nassau Community College Classroom Management Policy and Student Code of Conduct in the college catalog.

*On cell phone use in class, see Andrew Lepp, Jacob E. Barkley, and Aryn C. Karpinski. The Relationship between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students.” SAGE Open 19 Feb. 2015.

Plagiarism and Cheating:
Plagiarism includes copying or paraphrasing another’s words, ideas, or facts without crediting the source; submitting a paper written by someone else, either in whole or in part, as one’s own work; or submitting work previously submitted for another course or instructor. Plagiarism, cheating, or other forms of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in failure (a grade of zero) for that assignment and may result in further disciplinary action, including but not limited to failure for the course and expulsion from the college. See the Nassau Community College policy on Academic Dishonesty & Plagiarism.

Homework/Essay Submission:
All writing assignments must be received by the instructor on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, as indicated on the schedule, below. Students may also be required to submit an electronic copy of their work via TurnItIn.com; details to be announced. Essays submitted by email will not be accepted, and late work if accepted will be penalized 10% for each day it is late; see below. All at-home work must be typed (in 12-point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and stapled when submitted. In-class work must be neatly printed in blue or black ink on loose-leaf composition paper or in bluebooks provided by the instructor and double-spaced§. All essays must also include a proper heading (see Purdue Online Writing Lab’s Formatting and Style Guide), including Word Count; have an appropriate, original title; contain a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and (unless otherwise indicated) avoid use of I or you throughout. Finally, all work should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. Please refer to the Paragraph Outline or Essay Outline and Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance.

§  On format, handwriting, and neatness, see Chase, Clinton I. “Essay Test Scoring: Interaction of Relevant Variables.” Journal of Educational Measurement 23.1 (1986): 33-41; and  Marshall, Jon C. and Jerry M. Powers. “Writing Neatness, Composition Errors, and Essay Grades.” Journal of Educational Measurement 6.2 (1988): 306-324.

Revisions:
All failing essays may be revised and resubmitted by the due dates announced when the graded essays are returned. Essays receiving a passing grade may also be revised and resubmitted, but only after the student has met with the instructor during office hours (by appointment only) to discuss revisions. Revisions must be substantially revised, not merely “corrected” versions of the original essay (revisions should be based upon the Revising and Editing Checklist and relevant information from class and the textbooks), and must be submitted with the original graded essay and/or draft(s) attached as well as one full typed page detailing the changes made, in the following  pattern:

  • Paragraph 1: Changes in content. What was added, deleted, or modified.

  • Paragraph 2: Changes in organization. What sentences, ideas, or paragraphs were moved, how things were rearranged, and why.

  • Paragraph 3: Cosmetic level changes. What specific editing for grammar was performed, or what corrections made in punctuation, mechanics, and diction.

Evidence of substantial revision may result in a better grade for the assignment. If you did not submit a completed essay on time, or if you submit a plagiarized essay, you will receive a grade of zero and may not submit a “revision.”

Make-up Exams/Late Work:
All assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester; therefore, no make-up opportunities will be offered or late work accepted, except under extraordinary circumstances with appropriate documentation, and late work will be penalized 10% for each day or portion thereof it is submitted after the due date. Note: As all work is due at the beginning of the class period, this includes work submitted after class has begun on the due date.

Excuses such as “crashed computers,” “lost flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. All essays or work should be saved both on your computer’s hard drive and again on removable storage device as well as uploaded to cloud storage. (OneDrive, et cetera) Students should also keep backup copies of all work submitted.

*See also,  Mike Adams, “The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome.”

Disabilities and Accommodations:
If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out the assigned coursework, I urge you to contact the staff at the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), Building U (516 572-7241), TTY (516) 572-7617. The counselors at CSD will review your concerns and determine to what reasonable accommodations you are entitled as covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. All information and documentation pertaining to personal disabilities will be kept confidential.

Additional Assistance:
Students should avail themselves of the Writing Centers located in Bradley Hall and the Library.

 

 

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ASSIGNMENTS:
Attendance and Participation (5%):
As this class will combine both lecture and discussion, students are expected both to attend every session and to take an active part in c
lass—joining in discussions and raising questions. Discussion is one of the best ways to clarify your understandings and to test your conclusions; therefore, it is imperative that all students participate regularly in order that we may together discover what each selection “means” to us. Open discussion always involves personal exposure, and thus the taking of risks: your ideas may not be the same as your fellow students’ or even the instructor’s. Yet as long as your points are honest and supportable, they will be respected by all of us in the classroom. Questions, discussion, disagreement, and laughter are all encouraged in this class. However, ridicule or scoffing is never tolerated.

Quizzes (7.5% total):
With the exception of the first day, class may begin with a short (five- to ten-minute) quiz on the reading for the day, at the instructor’s discretion. Quizzes missed due to tardiness may not be made up. At the end of the semester, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Total number of quizzes during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if six quizzes are given (lowest quiz grade dropped), each quiz is worth up to 1.5 points.

In-Class Writing (7.5% total):
Students will also complete various short in-class writing assignments during the semester, including short summaries, mini-essays, and response papers. Total number of assignments during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if five assignments are required, each is worth up to 1.5 points.

Essays (2 @ 20%):
Students will complete two major essays during the semester; topics should be selected from the list of suggestions provided (see Essay Topics, below) or developed in consultation with the instructor. Essays must be at least five to seven pages, typed (12-point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with a correct Works Cited page (Works Cited page is not included in the page or word count); include a minimum of three sources, properly documented (utilizing MLA format for documentation); and be stapled when submitted. Essays should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing.

Please refer to the Essay Outline and Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance, as well as Writing About Literature, Writing a Literature Paper, and Getting an A on an English Paper.

Exams (2 @ 20%):
Students will complete two 75-minute exams: an in-class midterm and a final during the designated final exam period. These exams will each evaluate students’ recognition and comprehension of material studied during the previous weeks, covering specific texts, literary themes, and cultural and historical backgrounds. The exams may combine objective questions and short essay answers, and students may be allowed to use notes or textbooks for the essay portion of the exams.

Poetic Recitation (2-4 points Extra Credit):
Memorization serves the student’s skills of reading lines carefully and making judgments about how particular passages can be interpreted. Therefore, there will be opportunities for recitation twice during the semester, at midterm and during finals week. Students may select and memorize one of the selections listed below to recite in front of the class for extra credit on each occasion; each recitation is worth up to 2 points. Students must sign up for these dates at least one week in advance, as sufficient time must be allocated for completion of the exam; in addition, no more than two students may elect to recite each poem.

Selections for Recitation 1 (Midterm):
(Note: Specific poems/selections from poems to be determined)
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Selections for Recitation 2 (Final Exam week):
Students may select from any of the above, or one of the following poems.
(
Note: Specific poems/selections from poems to be determined)

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Extra Credit (possibly various opportunities, at 1–2 points each):
In addition to Poetic Recitation, above, students may be notified of opportunities for extra credit during the semester, including attendance at various workshops or cultural events related to the class (Recommended Field Trips). If students attend one or more of these events, and provide evidence of attendance (ticket stub, program, unretouched digital image, et cetera) along with a typed one- to two-page personal response (review, analysis, reflection, critique, et cetera), they can receive additional points: a single event and written response is usually worth 2 points extra credit; attendance at additional events will earn one additional point each.

Note: As a general rule, extra credit only helps if you have already completed all of the assigned work, and will not make up for missing an essay (or two, or three). Extra credit opportunities will be announced in class, and they will also be posted here as well as on the class Announcements page, so do not ask at the end of the semester for extra credit to bring your average up. Students asking for extra points or changes to their grade may have their grade reduced, instead.

Extra credit opportunities to date:

 

Writing Center Grammar Review Workshops (1 point each)
Sentence Building and Avoiding Run-ons, Comma Splices, and Fragments
Using Correct Punctuation: Commas, Semicolons, and Colons
Subject-Verb Agreement, Verb Formation, Tense Usage

Dates, Times, and Locations TBA

The Writing Centers are located in Bradley Hall (Bldg. Y) and on the second floor of the Library, room L233
572-7195 or 572-3595
wcenter@ncc.edu      www.ncc.edu/writingcenter

 

Writing Center MLA Research and Documentation Workshops (1 point)
Topics include: Locating and Evaluating Sources
Integrating Sources into an Essay
Creating and Formatting a Works Cited List

Dates, Times, and Locations TBA

Academic Success Workshops and Learning Skills Workshops (1 point each)
NCC Center for Educational and Retention Counseling

Includes:

Listening/Note-Taking
Studying for Classes
Reading College Textbooks
Test-Taking

Dates, Times, and Locations TBA

For questions, call 516-572-7141
CERC Office, Nassau Hall, M19

 

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GRADING:
Final grades will be determined as follows:

Attendance/Class Participation

5%

Quizzes

 7.5%

In-class Writing

 7.5%

At-Home Essays: 2 @ 20%

40%

Midterm Exam

20%

Final Exam

20%

Extra Credit (if any) will be added to the final total.

Total Points earned (Final Average) will determine the grade received for the course, as follows:

Final Percentage

Final Grade

90–100+

A

8589

  B+

8084 B

7579

  C+

7074

C

6569

D+
6064 D

059

F

Note: Percentages ending in .5 or greater are rounded up. Therefore, 79.5 rounds to 80, a B, but 79.4 rounds to 79, a C+.

 

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SCHEDULE AND PROJECTED OUTLINE:

 

important dates: SPRING 2017 SEMESTER

Mon. 16 Jan. Martin Luther King, Jr. – COLLEGE HOLIDAY – offices closed
Tue. 17 Jan. Day, Evening & Distance Education classes begin
Fri.20 Jan. Weekend College classes begin
Mon. 23 Jan. Full, 1st half semester & Distance Education classes last day drop/add;
1st half semester classes last day drop without a W grade
Mon. 6 Feb. Full semester classes last day drop without a W grade
Tue. 14 Feb. Evening Activity Hour: 5:30 p.m. class will not meet; all other classes follow a regular schedule
Fri. 17 Feb. Evening classes do not meet (classes beginning after 5:01 p.m.)
Sat.-Thu. 18-23 Feb. Classes do not meet
Mon. 20 Feb. Presidents’ Day – COLLEGE HOLIDAY – offices closed
Fri. 24 Feb. Day classes do not meet; Evening classes meet on a regular schedule (classes beginning after 5:01 p.m.)
Fri. 10 March 1st half semester classes last day automatic W
Mon. 20 March 1st half semester classes end
Tue. 21 March 2nd half semester classes begin;
Evening Activity Hour: 7:00 p.m. class will not meet; all other classes follow a regular schedule
Wed. 22 March 2nd half semester classes last day drop/add
Mon. 27 March 2nd half semester classes last day drop without a W grade
Sat. 1 Apr. Classes do not meet; MW – if necessary, WEEKEND COLLEGE classes will meet
Sun. 2 Apr. Classes do not meet
Fri. 7 Apr. Full semester classes last day automatic W
Mon.–Sun. 10-16 Apr. Classes do not meet
Tue. 11 Apr. Passover – COLLEGE HOLIDAY – offices closed
Fri. 14 April Good Friday – COLLEGE HOLIDAY – offices closed
Tue. 18 April Evening Activity Hour: 8:30 p.m. classes will not meet; all other classes follow a regular schedule
Wed. 3 May Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams
Mon. 8 May 2nd half semester classes last day automatic W;
Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams
Tue. 9 May Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams;
Evening classes end
Wed. 10 May ME – if necessary EVENING classes will meet if a Monday or Wednesday is being made up
Thu. 11 May ME – if necessary, EVENING classes will meet if a Tuesday or Thursday is being made up
Sun. 14 May Weekend College ends
Mon. 15 May Day, 2nd half semester & Distance Education classes end

NOTE: All dates subject to change.
See
ACADEMIC STUDENT CALENDAR Spring 2017 (.pdf)

Readings and Assignments

Note: All readings below are required, and must be completed by the session indicated; the only exceptions are those indicated with an asterisk (*), which are recommended additional readings or resources.

Readings from The Norton Anthology of English Literature (Greenblatt) are identified below by page number or by author and title as well as page numbers, e.g., “Middle English Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries” (13-18) or  Marie de France, “Lanval” (Greenblatt 120-134). Additional readings, including handouts or online texts, will also be assigned.

Red text indicates due dates or links to assignments; Blue text indicates links to assignments, resources, or online versions of texts. (Note: Links on this page have not been checked or verified for more than a year. I will be updating this page throughout the semester. Please notify me of any broken or outdated links at Brian.Murphy@NCC.edu.)

Note: This schedule is subject to revision according to the instructor’s discretion, the academic calendar for the semester, school closings due to inclement weather or other reasons, and the progress of the class. Additions or changes will be announced in class, and they will also be posted here as well as on the class Announcements page.

 

Readings and Assignments:

Tue.,
 17 Jan

Day, Evening & Distance Education classes begin

Thu.,
 19 Jan

Course Introduction: Syllabus, texts, policies, assignments, web page

Mon.,
 23 Jan

Old English History, Language and Poetry:
“The Middle Ages to ca. 1485,” “Anglo-Saxon Literature” (3-10), “Old and Middle English Prosody” (23-25)

Religious Poetry: Bede and “Cædmon’s Hymn” (29-32); “The Dream of the Rood”: Old English text/Modern English translation (32-36)

*See also, Timeline of British History, 5000 BC-397 AD, 402 BC- 597 AD, and 633-1065 AD

*Recommended reading:

Magoun, Francis P. "The Oral-Formulaic Character of Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry." Speculum 28 (1963): 446-67. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 45-65).

Tolkien, J.R.R.  The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Boerthelm’s Son. Essays and Studies for 1953. reprinted The Tolkien Reader. New York: Ballantine, 1966. 1-27. Also in Poems and Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. 75-109.

Thu.,
 26 Jan

Heroic and Elegiac Poetry: The Battle of Maldon” (Handout);  “The Wanderer” (107-110); “The Wife's Lament” (110-111)

*Recommended reading:

Tolkien, J.R.R.  The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Boerthelm’s Son. Essays and Studies for 1953. reprinted The Tolkien Reader. New York: Ballantine, 1966. 1-27. Also in Poems and Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. 75-109.

Mon.,
 30 Jan

Selections from Beowulf (36-106), esp.ll. 1-490, 662-835, 1251-1650, 2200-2353, 2397-2424, 2510-end

*See also, Klaeber’s edition of Beowulf (Old English text), Beowulf (translation by Francis B. Gummere) and Beowulf (another modern English translation) Summary and Analysis of  Beowulf and Beowulf in Five Minutes  ("and there was much rejoicing...") or, even shorter, Beowulf from Book-a-Minute Classics
Note: The above links are provided as an aid to understanding the text, not as a substitute; You are still expected to read the assigned text.

*Recommended reading:

Chance, Jane. "Grendel’s Mother as Epic Anti-Type of the Virgin and the Queen." Chapter Seven of Chance, Jane. Woman as Hero in Old English Literature. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse U. P, 1986. 95-108, 131-5. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 251-263)

Crichton, Michael. Eaters of the Dead.

Dirda, Michael. "Beowulf." Classics for Pleasure. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2007. 38-40.

Gardner, John. Grendel.

Hinds, Gareth, adapt. and illus. Beowulf [graphic novel]. Cambridge, MA: Candelwick P, 2007.

Leyerle, John. "The Interlace Structure of Beowulf." University of Toronto Quarterly 37 (1967): 1-17. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 146-167)

Tolkien, J. R. R. "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics." Proceedings of the British Academy 22 (1936): 245-95. (Reprinted in Fulk, R. D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U. P., 1991. 45-65)

Also, check out the free study guide to Beowulf from Paramount Pictures

Thu.,
 2 Feb

Beowulf continued.

Mon.,
 6 Feb

Beowulf continued.

Thu.,
9 Feb

The Anglo-Norman and Middle English Period: Arthurian Literature:
“Anglo-Norman Literature” (10-13), Selections from Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, Layamon (Handouts),
Marie de France, “Lanval” (120-134)

*Recommended reading:

Foulon, Charles. "Wace." Loomis, ed. 94-103.

Jackson, Kenneth H. "The Arthur of History." Loomis, ed. 1-11.

Loomis, Roger Sherman, ed. Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959, 2001.

---. "Layamon’s Brut." Loomis, ed. 104-111.

---. "The Oral Diffusion of the Arthurian Legend." Loomis, ed. 52-63.

Parry, John Jay and Robert A. Caldwell. "Geoffrey of Monmouth." Loomis, ed. 72-93.

Mon.,
 13 Feb

“Middle English Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries” (13-18), “Medieval English” (19-23), “Old and Middle English Prosody” (23-25); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (135-188)

*see also, Summary and Analysis of  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 40-question quiz on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Online Resources

Note: The above links are provided as an aid to understanding the text, not as a substitute; You are still expected to read the assigned text.

*see also, Timeline of British History, 1066-1485 AD

*Recommended reading:

Loomis, Laura Hibbard. "Gawain and the Green Knight." Loomis, ed. 528-540.

Tolkien, J. R. R., trans. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo. New York: Ballantine, 1975.

Thu.,
 16 Feb

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight continued.

Mon.,
 27 Feb

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight continued.

Thu.,
 2 Mar

Geoffrey Chaucer (188-191); The Canterbury Tales (191-288): General Prologue, Miller’s Prologue and Tale (194-230)

*see also, Summary and Analysis of  General Prologue and Miller’s Tale or the ultra-concise The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue) from Book-a-Minute Classics

Mon.,
 6 Mar

Canterbury Tales continued: Miller’s Prologue and Tale (194-230)

*see also, Summary and Analysis of the Miller’s Tale

Thu.,
 9 Mar

Canterbury Tales continued: Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale (230-258)

*see also, Summary and Analysis of the Wife of Bath’s Tale

Mon.,
 13 Mar

Canterbury Tales continued: Pardoner's Prologue and Tale (258-273);  Nun’s Priest’s Tale (273-287), Closing and Chaucer’s Retraction (287-288)

*see also,  Summary and Analysis of the Nun’s Priest’s Tale  and Retraction

Thu.,
 16 Mar

Midterm Exam

Mon.,
 20 Mar

The Sixteenth Century (349-381);
William Shakespeare (535-539); selected Sonnets: 1, 12, 15, 18, 20, 55, 73, 116, 129, 130, 135, 138 (539-552)

*see also, No Fear Shakespeare: The Sonnets

Thu.,
 23 Mar

Essay 1 Due

Shakespeare, Sonnets continued

Mon.,
 27 Mar

Shakespeare, Othello, The Moor of Venice (552-635): Introduction and Backgrounds, Act I (555-572)

*Are you smarter than a fifth-grader? See The Hobart Shakespeareans: description and trailer.

*See also, No Fear Shakespeare: Othello; Biography of William Shakespeare; About Shakespearean Theater; Summary and Analysis of Othello; and an extremely abbreviated Othello from Book-a-Minute Classics

* Recommended viewing:
 
The Bubble Boy.” Seinfeld. NBC. Originally aired 7 Oct. 1992.

* Recommended additional reading:
 
 Africanus, Leo. “The commendable actions and vertues of the Africans.” The History and Description of Africa. Trans. John Pory. 1600. (also here.)
   Boose, Lynda E. and Richard Burt. “Totally Clueless? Shakespeare Goes Hollywood in the 1990s” from Shakespeare, The Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. 8-21. (reprinted in Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader. Ed. Timothy Corrigan. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. 340-356).
   Cohen, Paula Marantz. “Shakespeare Goes to the Movies.DOJ: The Drexel Online Journal.
   Feldman, Gail M. “Adapting Shakespeare to Film.Inside Film Magazine Online.
   “Al Andalus” and  “The Ottoman Empire in 1580
  “The Sixteenth Century” and “The Early Seventeenth Century.”
The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Norton Topics Online.

* SparkNotes: Quiz on Othello

Thu.,
 30 Mar

Shakespeare, Othello, continued: Read at least through Act II (573-589) and Act III (589-607)

Mon.,
 3 Apr

Shakespeare, Othello, continued: Read at least through Act IV (607-623) and Act V (623-635)

Thu.,
 6 Apr

John Milton (768-772); Paradise Lost (769-929): Book I (801-819), Book II (819-841)

*see also, Summary and Analysis of  Paradise Lost and 25-question quiz on Paradise Lost, or Paradise Lost (in under thirty seconds) from Book-a-Minute Classics

*Recommended reading:

Kress, Nancy. "Unto the Daughters." Sisters in Fantasy. Eds. Susan Schwartz and Martin H. Greenberg. New York: Roc, 1995. Reprinted in A Beaker's Dozen. New York: Tor, 1998. 163-172.

Wray, T. J. and Gregory Mobley. The Birth of Satan. 2006.†

Mon.,
 17 Apr

Selections from Paradise Lost Books III-XII (841-929):
III. 1-586; IV. 1-1015; V. 1-135, 377-512; VII. 1-39; VIII. 249-653; IX 1-1189; X. 414-584, 706-1104; XII 466-649

Thu.,
 20 Apr

Selections from Paradise Lost continued

Mon.,
 24 Apr

The Early Seventeenth Century (637-665)

John Donne (666-698); "The Flea" (669); "Song" (670); "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" (679-680); Holy Sonnets 1, 5, 10, 14, 18 (689-693)

Thu.,
 27 Apr

Essay 2 Due

George Herbert (730-738); "The Altar" (732); "Redemption" (732); "Easter Wings" (733); "The Collar" (735-736); "Love (3)" (738)

Mon.,
 1 May

The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (931-960)
John Dryden (961-962):  "London Reborn" from Annus Mirabilis (Handout); "To the Memory of Mr. Oldham" (2106); Criticism: from "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy" and "A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire" (995-998)

Thu.,
 4 May

Jonathan Swift (1055-1056); "A Modest Proposal" (1199-1205)

Mon.,
 8 May

Gulliver’s Travels (1058-1199): I (1059-1100), II (1101-1141)

*see also, Summary and Analysis of  Gulliver’s Travels and 25-question quiz on Gulliver’s Travels, or the ultra-concise Gulliver’s Travels from Book-a-Minute Classics

Thu.,
 11 May

Gulliver’s Travels IV (1155-1199)

*See also, Gulliver in Houyhnhnmland,” a reminder not to trust everything you read online

Mon.,
 15 May

Final Exam

 

 

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ESSAY INSTRUCTIONS AND TOPICS:

General Instructions:

For each of the assigned essays, a list of topic choices is provided. Your essay must be on one of the assigned topics for that assignment or developed in consultation with the instructor. All essays must be submitted on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period; late work will not be accepted.

For each of the essays, select one of the topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay of at least five to seven (5-7) pages; essays must be typed (in 12-point Times New Roman font), double-spaced, with a Works Cited page (the Works Cited page does not count toward the five-page requirement), and be stapled when submitted. Essays should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. In addition, essays must use a minimum of three authoritative sources, including at least one primary source (the text or texts discussed) and at least two reputable critical or scholarly secondary sources. Essays must contain quotations from or other references to your sources, and these references should be used to support your assertions about the text and be properly documented (utilizing MLA-style citations for documentation).

Be sure to focus carefully on the topic: formulate a strong, objectively worded thesis, and avoid plot summary. Remember that these are formal essays: they must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction, body, and conclusion; have a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement; and avoid use of “I” or “you” throughout.

Please feel free to communicate any concerns or questions to me before the essays are due; I will be available to meet with any student who needs assistance or additional instruction. Please speak to me before or after class or e-mail me to set up an appointment during my office hours.

Essay 1: Due

Topics to be announced

 

 

 

Essay 2: Due

Topics to be announced

 

 

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