This course surveys English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the middle of the eighteenth century, encompassing a number of major writers and important genres and themes. The course aims to provide a basic context for understanding literature written during the first millennium of English literary history by focusing on the historical and cultural contexts in which the literature was written and the changing conventions it employs. Note: This course does not attempt in depth readings of the texts; instead, it emphasises understanding the historical contexts which formed the basis for all intellectual and material culture during the period studied. As such, you will be expected to learn (i.e. remember) a fair amount of history: names, dates, and cultural terminology. This is a crash course on all the chronological background you may have missed out on but which is crucial for understanding the origins and early development of western culture. Students in this course will:
We are using a custom course pack based on The Broadview Anthology British Literature, 2nd edition: Concise Edition, Volume A. The course pack is available from the Matador bookstore. If they run out of copies, you may order a copy of the full edition from the Broadview web site. Make sure you order Volume A!
Always bring your textbook to class. Really.
Your grade will consist of the following elements: multiple short quizzes in class, preparation and participation, two online quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam.
Each week, I will take attendance for a randomly generated list of students, either in the morning class, the afternoon class, or both (the dates also be randomly generated). The information collected will be used in determining your grade for Preparation and Participation.
Preparation and Participation will make up approximately 5% of your final grade according to my discretion. I will assign points based factors such as on-time attendance, classroom participation/disruption, bringing your textbook to class, and so on. For further information on factors that can influence your grade, see under Class Policies below.
Throughout the semester, I will administer short (ten-minute) quizzes at the beginning of class. These quizzes are designed to make sure that you are keeping up with the reading, and are reading thoughtfully, as well to make sure that you are remembering important background information. They are essentially study guides for the online quizzes and exams. These assignments will be worth 20% of your final grade. These quizzes will be self-graded before you turn them in. You can miss up to three quizzes, after which your overall grade will be lowered 5% per quiz.
There will be 2 online quizzes (administered in Canvas) worth 25% of your total grade.
Quizzes will be graded as follows:
|A||The quiz was completed, showed excellent knowledge of factual information, excellent comprehension of texts and their relation to historical context, and excellent ability to write about the material in correct English spelling and grammar.|
|B||The quiz was completed, showed good knowledge of factual information and/or comprehension of texts and their relation to historical context. The quiz showed good ability to write about the material in correct English spelling and grammar.|
|C||The quiz was quiz completed and showed some knowledge of factual information and some comprehension of texts and their relation to historical context. The quiz contained significant problems in the use of correct English spelling and grammar.|
|D||The quiz was quiz completed and showed little knowledge of factual information or comprehension of texts and their relation to historical context. The quiz contained significant problems in the use of correct English spelling and grammar.|
|F||The quiz was not completed at the scheduled time.|
Plus and minus grades will be awarded where some criteria are satisfied, but not others.
There will be 2 exams, a midterm and a final exam, each worth 25% of your final grade. Exams are graded according to the same criteria as quizzes.
By enrolling in this course you agree to be bound for the purposes of this class by the policies below, which serve as a formal legal agreement. You may reject these policies by dropping the class within the time allotted by the University.
Grades are A, B, C, D, or F and can receive a plus or minus. To receive a grade other than a WU, you must have completed more than half the coursework (no exceptions).
Since students in English courses are expected by society at large to be acquiring writing skills, I privilege grammar, spelling, and editing in my grading. Work containing distracting numbers of typos, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors will be graded primarily on these criteria on a sliding scale which may supersede the percentages given in the Coursework and Grading section above. That is, the more distracting these factors are, the more they are worth (up to 100% of your grade). A rough guide to what is distracting is any sign that might give an employer pause when evaluating a job application.
I will only administer tests once and am not required to provide you with the opportunity to take make-up tests if you miss them at the assigned time. I will only administer make-up tests if 1) you have a legitimate excuse recognised by the university, 2) I am able to do so without adversely impacting other students either by taking time from my other duties or by creating conditions that would give you an unfair advantage for the purposes of grading.
Although I may award extra credit for some non-required activities (such as attendance at guest lectures), I regret that I am unable to grade assignments beyond those required for class in order to award extra credit.
Enrolling in this class requires a commitment to participate in a community of learners in which you agree to contribute to and not to detract from the learning environment. In order to receive full credit for participation, you must do the readings in advance, bring assigned textbooks to each class, be prepared to discuss the materials, and complete all assignments. You must also arrive to class on time and remain in the class room for the duration of the class period. For disruptive behaviour, I reserve the right to increase the proportion of your final grade allotted to participation, as I feel appropriate.
Ringing and/or vibrating cell phones in class disrupt my concentration and that of your fellow students, inevitably lowering the quality of the learning environment. If your cell phone goes off in class, I reserve the right to impose penalties to your grade or to ask you to leave the classroom, as I deem appropriate. If your cell phone disrupts my thought process as I am teaching, I may call a “class break” in order to recover from the distraction. It is in your interest to remember that you will have deprived your fellow classmates of this class time.
If you have a computer or smart phone in the classroom, it will be very tempting to check your e-mail, read Facebook, or generally surf the web for purposes unrelated to the class. Resist. If I catch you engaged in these activities, I reserve the right to impose penalties to your grade or ask you to leave the classroom, as I deem appropriate. Please be aware that this has the same effect on my teaching as cell phones and may also trigger the “class break” response.
It is extremely important that all aspects of your work are come by honourably. Efforts to gain an advantage not given to all students are dishonest and regarded as an extremely serious matter by the academic community. Consequences range from probation to expulsion. University policy stipulates that plagiarism, the submission of another person’s work as your own, is a violation of academic honesty, even if it arises out of ignorance or oversight, rather than deliberate cheating. Enrolling in this class means that you agree to abide by my decision regarding the appropriate action to take in cases of academic dishonesty. If you have any questions about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, or collaboration, please consult me.
Students should make sure that they follow the university’s add/drop deadlines, outlined in the Schedule of Classes. According to university policy, drops are only allowed after the set date when “a) there is a serious and compelling reason–specifically the student’s emotional or physical health or financial condition is clearly in jeopardy, and b) there is no viable alternative–including repeating the class”. Students will need to provide documentation on official letterhead–a letter, on official stationery, from a doctor or an employer–to support their reasons. No adds will be allowed unless a student can provide documented proof–e.g., a clerical error–for the reason for the tardiness. Please make sure to meet the deadline!
The standard grade if a student fails to complete the work for a class is a “WU”. This is the equivalent of an “F”, but the grade may be changed if you re-take the course at a future time. This grade is also assigned to students who have not attended after the first few classes of the semester but have not officially “withdrawn” from the course.
I may assign an Incomplete (“I”) if and only if you meet all of the following conditions:
Once you take an incomplete, you have a year from the date recorded on the form to complete the requirements of the course and have your grade changed; therefore, you should submit work early enough to allow me to grade your work and fill out the necessary forms to assign you a new grade.
Keep in mind that, after you take an Incomplete, any grading of your work becomes an added burden on my busy timetable during the following year. Therefore you should not expect the normal amount of comments on your work or any extra teaching beyond my normal office hours.
You are responsible for having completed the reading by the dates indicated. We sometimes spend a little longer or a little less time than anticipated on individual texts, so, if you print this syllabus or miss class, make sure to check this page in case their are any adjustments.
|Tuesday 29||Introduction and Background|
|Thursday 31||Background Reading: pp. 1-11|
|Tuesday 5||Reading: Extracts from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (pp. 36-50)|
|Thursday 7||Background Reading: pp. 29-31; The Wanderer (pp. 51-54)|
|Tuesday 12||The Wanderer (continued)|
|Thursday 14||The Dream of the Rood (pp. 55-34)|
|Tuesday 19||Beowulf, lines 1-1887 (pp. 59-86). Please also look at the helpful background material on pp. 103-107.|
|Thursday 21||Beowulf (continued)|
|Tuesday 26||Beowulf, lines 1888-3182 (pp. 86-103)|
|Thursday 28||Beowulf (continued)|
|Tuesday 3||Background Reading: pp. 12-20; Lanval (pp. 108-125)|
|Thursday 5||Lanval (continued)|
|Tuesday 10||Middle English Lyrics (pp. 126-134)|
|Thursday 12||The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (pp. 134-156)|
|Tuesday 17||The General Prologue (continued)|
|Thursday 19||The Miller's Tale from the Canterbury Tales (pp. 156-165)|
|Tuesday 24||The Miller's Tale (continued)|
|Tuesday 31||Background Reading: pp.166-178; 200-211; 215-217|
|Thursday 2||Background Reading: pp. 179-185; Poems by Christopher Marlowe (pp. 221-223); Poems by Sir Walter Raleigh (pp. 218-220) (please read the Marlowe poems first)|
|Tuesday 7||Reading: pp. 254-264 (Shakespeare’s sonnets)|
|Thursday 9||Reading: pp. 254-264 (Shakespeare’s sonnets)|
|Tuesday 14||Reading: pp. 193-194;211-215; 265-269 (metaphysical poetry by John Donne)|
|Thursday 16||Reading: pp. 185-193; 224-253 (Doctor Faustus)|
|Tuesday 21||Doctor Faustus (continued)|
|Thursday 23||Thanksgiving Recess|
|Tuesday 28||Reading: pp. 195-200; 270-287 (Paradise Lost, Book 1)|
|Thursday 30||Paradise Lost (continued)|
|Tuesday 5||Reading: pp. 288-295; 296-303 (Poems by Behn and Rochester)|
|Tuesday 12||No Class|
|Thursday 14||Final Exam — 3:00PM-5:00PM|
Compiling a bibliography for this type of course is a daunting task. It cannot be expected that you will read too deeply about an single author or work, and that you only have a limited amount of time to get to know each historical period. Hence I have included a list of Companion volumes published by Cambridge University Press, which you should be able to delve into for background material and current thought about some of the texts we are studying. The links take you to the publisher’s web site, but you can also find these volumes in the university library (where indicated by a call number) and sometimes in local bookshops.
A: You need a multi-part plan.
A: Pretty much like the quizzes in format. It will just be longer. The scope of the material will be cumulative–meaning that it will cover everything we have discussed from the first day of class to the end of the Middle Ages. This does lead to a few differences in how you should study.