Major British Writers I
Sections 04 & 05
|Dr. Chip Rogers
Web address: www.citadel.edu/faculty/rogers
|Office: 121A Capers
Office phone: 953-7907
Office hours: MWF 11:00-12:00,
TTH 2:30-3:30, and by appointment
The Citadel's 2003-2004 Catalogue describes English 201 as in-depth study of the "major writers in British literature" from the medieval period through the eighteenth century, with specific focus on Beowulf, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Alexander Pope, and Jonathan Swift (228). The Citadel requires the course for all sophomores who are not English majors because one aim of the college's mission in the core curriculum is that all undergraduate students learn to appreciate and "assess great works of literature . . . , oblig[ing] students to become adept in handling the important values of civilization and also to become sensitive to the subtle nuances that great writers have found in them. Such studies also refine aesthetic sense and thereby teach, among other things, [the use of] language with appropriate grace and force." Further, the Catalogue states, "Literary studies contribute to the development of a student's character by requiring the student to evaluate human conduct and judge what people have made of their lives. English studies are central to a college education because they are a forum where the rival and complementary claims of philosophy, practicality, science, ethics, politics, and religion come alive in concrete situations" (95).
My aim is to lead you through close exploration of selected masterpieces in British literature also to facilitate the development of your abilities in critical thinking, reading and writing. Additionally, I intend to foster your understanding of literature not merely as "matter for scholastic study," or a hoop that you must negotiate on your way to a college diploma, but as truly significant beyond the classroom because literature speaks directly to and about us all in the most fundamental ways as human beings, offering intelligent and thinking people a valuable and inexhaustible life resource throughout their lives.Prerequisites
Successful completion of English 101 and 102 or their equivalent at The Citadel or elsewhere.
Texts and Materials
The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, 7th edition, Volume A.
The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, Penguin Classics edition. Trans. by Nevill Coghill.
Henry V, by William Shakespeare, Bantam Classics edition. Ed. by David Bevington.
The Bedford Handbook, 6th edition, by Diana Hacker (recommended, not required).
"Handouts" from my web site and readings on reserve in the library.
Participation in class discussion.
Quizzes and exams or exercises on grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics.
8 informal critical response writings (200 word minimum each).
2 midterm exams and a final exam.
2 formal papers of 1200-1500 words (4-6 pages).
Corrections of graded formal essays.
Attendance: Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class on time every day. I record attendance daily, and absences will affect your grade. I will issue warnings to students with three unexcused absencesstudents with four unexcused absences will be dropped from the roster or given an automatic F. You cannot make up assignments missed through unexcused absences. If you become ill or there is a death in your family, or if there is any other reason you cannot attend class, let me know to excuse your absence and make arrangements for missed assignments you miss class: call me at home or send email. Doctor's notes, police reports, parental phone calls, even handwritten notes by President Bush himself will not excuse absences after the fact.
Late work: Late work will be penalized one letter grade for each class day the assignment is late. Work turned in more than three class days late will receive no higher grade than F.
Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in both formal papers and both sets of essay corrections, submit at least six critical response writings, and take both midterm exams and the final exam.
Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others is an infraction of the Honor Code, and penalties for plagiarism are severe, ranging from an F for the course to expulsion from The Citadel. For a fuller definition of plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my web site. Also see both the passage on cheating in your Honor Manual and the attached "Instructions for the Preparation of Work Performed Outside the Classroom."
Class discussion: Most class periods will involve open discussion of the readings with relatively little lecture, only as needed to provide background for the different eras, writers, and works we are exploring. Your participation in discussion is mandatory. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students frequently, and class participation does factor into your semester grade.
Reading quizzes: unannounced quizzes testing your close attention to the readings.
Grammar and mechanics quizzes and exams: on basic concepts in grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics following discussion of "Simple Stuff," "Golden Rules," "Nuggets," "Word Problems," and "Quotes and Documentation." My "Simple Stuff" web page presents basic conventions for the MLA method of formatting written work (margins, headers, etc.). The Golden Rules are important rules of grammar and style, and the Nuggets cover a variety of conventions and problems, mostly in the handling of quotations. A number of common problems in diction are described in Word Problems. The Quotes and Documentation handout presents basic conventions for citing and documenting sources according to MLA guidelines.
Critical response writings: typed informal writings of at least 200 words responding to the readings before we discuss them in class. Note that each critical response assignment is valid for one class period only, and that critical responses are accepted only by the beginning of the period for which they are assigned. I will post critical response questions on the web and announce them in class the meeting before each reading assignment is due.
Exams: Both midterms and the final will consist of two parts: 1) "short answers," or brief paragraph-length commentary on the significance of specific passages, and 2) essays making connections in theme or technique between different works and writers. There will be one essay on each midterm and two on the final. You will have some choice in the short answer and essay portions of each exam: you might, for instance, select 5 of 7 short answer questions and 1 of 3 essay options.
Papers: In two essays of 4-6 typed pages (1200 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject you choose from a list of paper topics. For at least one of the papers, you will be required to incorporate some token library research into the essayi.e. you will be required to cite two or three secondary sources of quality scholarship or criticism in addition to the primary work(s) you discuss. You will be required to turn in a brief outline or topic proposal before the paper is due as indicated on the schedule of readings and assignments.
Corrections: After each formal essay is graded, you 1) record all marked errors on corrections worksheets, and 2) hand in corrected drafts with all changes highlighted. Since corrections require a freshly printed draft after the paper has been graded, you should save all papers on disk to avoid having to retype entire drafts. For specifics, see corrections instructions.
Web-page "handouts": For each major period, writer, and work we study, I will post on the web some background information and notes on significant themes, techniques, motifs, etc. These web pages serve as "handouts," and you are responsible for them on exams. You should print and read these handouts before doing the readings and then bring them to class.
Conferences: Conferences are not mandatory, but I strongly recommend them if you struggle with any aspect of the readings and at any stage of the paper-writing processexploring topics, drafting, revising, or editing. My typical aim in paper conferences is to head off potential problems in your essays and to offer helpful, critical response to your work before you submit it for grading.
As you will see, I am a firm believer in using the Internet as a teaching tool. Most handouts and all out-of-class assignments will be posted on my web site rather than being distributed as "hard copy" in classyou are responsible for printing and reading these web-page "handouts" before we discuss them in class. Most handouts will be indicated as linked pages on the schedule of readings and assignments. You may submit critical responses and other work for grading through email, and I encourage you to email me with questions or concerns on any course matters large or small.
You should track your grades throughout the semester by keeping a "Scorecard." See me to check your cumulative grade at any timeI keep grades on computer spreadsheets that are updated weekly.
The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do everything I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrongthe standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on absences, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. But I guarantee you have one of the most accessible instructors at The Citadel: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver.