English 2111: World Literature I
Office: Arts and Letters (SOAL) 239
As indicated in the MGA Catalog, English 2111 is "a survey of important works of world literature from the beginning through the seventeenth century." We will read extensively and explore a variety of genres, with concentrated attention on such canonical giants as Homer, Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Milton. Our primary aim is discovering continuing relevance for contemporary American readers in these venerable "classics." Ultimately, through close exploration of selected major works in world literature we will improve your abilities in critical thinking, analytical reading, and effective writing. Additionally, I hope to foster your understanding of literature as not merely matter for scholastic study, a hoop to negotiate along the way to a diploma, but as truly meaningful beyond the classroom because literature speaks to and about us all in the most fundamental ways as human beings, offering intelligent and thinking people an inexhaustible life resource throughout their lives.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Fourth edition (2018), Package 1: Volumes A, B, and C. ISBN 978-0-393-26590-3.
Attendance: Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class on time every class. I record attendance, and absences do affect your grade. Students with more than four non-illness-related absences fail the class. Students who must miss class because of illness (COVID or otherwise) should notify me before the missed class meeting. I will try to work with you on any major assignments you happen to miss (assignments other than reading quizzes), especially when you notify me of the absence missing class: email me whenever you must miss class.
Late work: Late work receives a letter-grade penalty for each class day (i.e. Tuesday or Thursday) the assignment is late.
Minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in both formal papers, submit five critical responses, complete corrections assignments for both the formal papers and your first two critical responses, and take the midterm and final exams.
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 considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. Note that "writings of others" includes work produced by Artificial Intelligence such as ChatGPT. I submit cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Student Conduct Officer. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. See the more specific definition of plagiarism in the English 21XX syllabus supplement; also see "On Plagiarism."
Cell phones/personal electronics: Generally, the use of cell phones and other hand-held personal electronic devices is forbidden in the classroom. All such devices must be kept out of sight for the duration of class—off of desks and out of laps.
Content advisory: This is a college class, at a State University, and although some students may legally be minors, I will consider all students adults. We may read and discuss material that makes you uncomfortable or that some deem offensive or counter to their beliefs, including matters relating to religion, race, sex, and sexuality.
Class discussion: Most class periods involve open discussion of reading assignments with little lecture, so your participation in discussion is essential. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students. To participate, obviously, you must be present in class; to score higher than B- in participation you will need to contribute in discussion spontaneously and appropriately each class meeting.
Reading quizzes: unannounced quizzes testing your close attention to the readings.
Critical responses: You will submit a minimum of five informal writings as "critical responses" to the readings. I will post critical response topics and requirements for each class day. Note that you are required to submit only five of these responses. There will be about thirty critical response assignments posted over the course of the semester, so you could do the first five and have them out of the way; or you could do one response every third week; or, if you think you "work better under pressure," you might do the last five responsesI do not recommend this approach! These informal writings are graded with an emphasis on content, but they should reflect care in writing style and mechanics. You may do up to two extra critical responses to replace the lowest two grades among the first five responses you submit.
The Writing Matters test covers a variety of rules, conventions, and matters of mechanics outlined in several web pages from my site: the Golden Rules are important rules of grammar and style; the Nuggets cover a variety of conventions and problems, especially in the handling of quotations; a number of common problems in spelling and diction are described in Word Problems; the Quotations page presents basic conventions in MLA-style citation and documentation of sources.
Terminology test: a test assessing your mastery of literary terminology which we will cover early in the semester.
Exams: The midterm and final exams will consist of two parts: 1) "short answers," or brief paragraph-length commentary on the significance of specific passages from our readings, and 2) essays on central themes of the works we cover. There will be one essay on the midterm and two on the final. You will have some choice in the short answer and essay portions of each exam: you might on one exam, for instance, select 6 of 8 short answer questions and 1 of 3 essay options.
Papers: In two essays of 4-6 typed pages (1200-1250 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject you choose from a list of paper topics I will post on the web at the appropriate time. You will turn in a topic sentence outline, or paper proposal, before each paper is due as indicated on the schedule of readings and assignments.
Corrections: For the first two critical responses you submit and the formal papers, after your work is graded you will hand in corrected drafts with all changes highlighted. For specifics, see corrections instructions.
Conferences: I strongly recommend one-on-one conferences in my office 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.Paper "Rewrites": You may rewrite and resubmit the two graded formal papers for re-grading. Rewrite grades replace original grades completely. Note that rewriting involves more substantial revision than correcting grammatical errors (which you do in corrections): rewrites should also address larger problems in focus, structure, content, and style. The starting point for revision is my typed comments on your graded papers; rewrites should also address comments and questions written in the margins of the original graded papers. The deadline for all rewrites is the date of the final exam.
Final grade breakdown
Tracking grades: Check your grades periodically in Brightspace (D2L). Let me know of any concerns about your class average or grades on specific assignments before you consider withdrawing from the course.
A note on note-taking: Although this course involves comparatively little lecture, you should take notes every class period. "A" students typically take extensive notes. Even in class periods where your classmates do more "discussing" than the professor, you should make note of any significant points made by anyone in the discussion. You would also do well to underline, highlight, or otherwise note all passages from the readings that we take special notice of in class, as I usually select short-answer quotations for exams mainly from those we've read or examined in discussion.
For high achievers: Tutoring is available free of charge in the Writing Center and in Student Success Centers (SSC) on all campuses. The Macon campus Writing Center is in TEB 226 and the SSC is in the lower level of the Library building.
To check the schedules for subjects tutored and tutor availability, visit the SSC website at http://www.mga.edu/student-success-center/. On the Macon campus you can book tutoring sessions by visiting mga.mywconline.com/. The SSC website also posts tutoring schedules for other centers across the five campuses, including the Writing Center (in Macon, TEB 226: 478-471-3542). All tutoring centers across the five campuses are free of charge. Other services at the SSC include online academic workshops and a robust website with resources for academic assistance. The centers also have computer workstations, free printing, and Internet access.
The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do all I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrongthe standards for "A" work are high. The number-one key to succeeding in this class is that you take responsibility for your own success, meaning that you attend to all assignments with careful, earnest diligence, that you respond positively to any setbacks and heed my feedback on all assignments, and that you seek my help as much and as often as you need it. I guarantee you have one of the most accessible professors at Middle Georgia State: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver.