The Monsters: Masterpieces of British Literature ENGLISH 200-01 Fall 2008Prof. Cordón Stein Hall 216Office: Fenwick 225 MWF 11:00-11:50 firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: Office Hours: Monday 10--11 a.m., Wednesday 9-10 a.m., Friday 1-2 p.m., & by appointment Course Description and Goals Monster=Originally: a mythical creature which is part animal and part human, or combines elements of two or more animal forms, and is frequently of great size and ferocious appearance. Later, more generally: any imaginary creature that is large, ugly, and frightening. A person of repulsively unnatural character, or exhibiting such extreme cruelty or wickedness as to appear inhuman; a monstrous example of evil, a vice, etc.Oxford English DictionaryOur monsters are always trying to show us something, if we would only pay attention. The word “monster” itself goes back to the Latin verb monstrare, “show” or “reveal.” Monsters are inherently demonstrative. So what are they trying to show us now? TimothyBeal, “Our Monsters, Ourselves” This class provides a broad survey of British literature fromBeowulfto the present. In order to make the thousand years of British literature more manageable, this semester we will read about monsters: The monster, both the literal and the figurative version, is a central figure in much of British literature, and this class will introduce you to an array of monsters from medieval literature through the present. Looking at monsters across a thousand years of British literature will give us a chance to consider some key questions. For instance, what makes a monster a monster, how do monsters change (or stay the same) in different historical periods, and how do monsters provide insight into the fears and challenges of humankind? Required Texts and Materials R. M. Liuzza, ed.Beowulf(Broadview) James Winny, ed.Sir Gawain and the Green Knight(Broadview) William Shakespeare,King Lear(New Folgers) William Wycherley,The Country Wifein Wycherley, Etheredge, Behn and Vanbrugh,Four Great Restoration Comedies. (Dover) Aphra Behn,The History of the Nun(ERes) Jonathan Swift, “The Ladys Dressing Room,” and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to write a Poem called The Ladys Dressing Room” (ERes) Mary Shelley,Frankenstein(Broadview) Robert Browning, selected poems (ERes) Robert Louis Stevenson,The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. (Broadview) Oscar Wilde,The Importance of Being Earnest(Dover) Fay Weldon,Life and Loves of a She-Devil(Ballantine)
Course Requirements A c t i vere adi n g:This class will take you through a number of poems, three plays and four novels that span a thousand years and five literary periods. In order to get the most from this class, you will want to give yourself time to read and digest what you have read. Cl as sD i s cu s s io n s :You will need to actively participate in class discussions, voicing your opinions on discussion topics and sharing your questions and comments on the texts and projects of the class. To help you process the reading, you will post your immediate responses to the material on the Discussion Boards on Blackboard, and when you get to class, you will have more opportunities to express your thoughts about the “masterpieces” of the class, including the question of whether there are masterpieces of British literature. Bl ac k bo ard :Before the class discusses a text, you will talk about it in the Discussion Board portion of Blackboard. I expect that you will use this forum to test drive ideas, document your immediate responses to our works, ask the kind of searching questions that the poems, plays and novels that your fertile imaginations suggest; in short, you will write brief, specific, informal responses to the work of the course. All students should check the discussions to keep up with what your classmates are writing about the texts. The Discussion Board on Blackboard previews and extends the class discussion, and in order to receive the grades listed below, your Blackboard posting must be a paragraph in length, commenting specifically on the text and providing page numbers for passages or quotations. Respond to the text we are reading by midnight before class. 20posts=A; 17 posts=B; 14 posts=C; 12 posts=D; 11 or fewer=0 Mi dt e rman dF i n alE x am:The midterms and final exam will contain two parts, one with brief factual questions about the works we have studied and one with a selection of essay questions. The essay questions will reflect highlights of class discussion. Tw opape rs :You will hand in one short and one longer essay during the course of the semester. Paper # 1: Story illustration (5 pages) You will look at the illustration of a key scene inBeowulf,Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,King Lear, Frankenstein, orDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. These stories have been imagined and re-imagined in a variety of sources, from carefully illustrated scholarly editions of these texts and childrens books to graphic novels and movies. You are encouraged to search out the most original or unusual illustrations; as a result, you are not allowed to write about mainstream movie posters; the “Monster Comes Alive” scene inFrankensteinand the transformation scene inDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydeare both off limits. In your essay, you will explain how the illustration illuminates the scene from the story. Does the illustration explore a characters motivation, challenge the traditional view of the story, or provide insight into an under-examined aspect of the tale? The paper is not a comparison and contrast: Your thesis will analyze the way in which the illustration enhances your understanding of the text. The paper requires a proposal and a first draft. A good proposal will identify the text you are using, the image you will be analyzing, and a tentative thesis; the first draft will be a full analysis of your image. Proposal is worth 20% of the final paper; the first draft is worth 30% of the grade, and the final draft will be weighted at 50% of the grade. When you hand in your proposal, you will include a photocopy of your image; movie images from the Internet are not the best sources for an intriguing paper. Note: Multiple papers on the same image are not allowed; the student who submits the image first is the only one allowed to write about that image.
Paper # 2: One character reads another(7-10 pages) Choosing two texts from different periods, you will have a character from one work analyze a character from another. In selecting your two texts, you will want to think about your pairing very carefully. Why would your first character be able to give insight into your second character? Do you pair a reformed monster with an unreformed one? Would a hero of one tale provide intriguing criticism on the tools used by another monster-hunter? Would a twentieth century monster be able to point out the unexpected traits of a medieval monster, or would a Renaissance character have the perfect tools to unlock a nineteenth-century text? Give careful consideration to which scene or scenes the commenting character would use as evidence of his/her main point. Policies A t t e n dan c e :Because so much of the learning in this class requires discussion, you are required to attend every class. Much of the richness of the class will come from the variety of perspectives that only the class as a whole can offer. L at eP ape rs :I do not accept late papers. Any paper not handed in at the beginning of class on the due date will not be accepted. G radi n g: Class participation10% (Class attendance/discussion/group work) Blackboard 10% Midterm 15% Final exam15% Paper #125% Paper #225% S t u de n tA dvo c ac y :During the average smooth semester, the requirements of the class are meant to be challenging and engaging for the student. If you find yourself having a problem with a classroom task or a deadline, come and talk to me as soon as possible. As long as you are professionaland, barring extraordinary circumstancesin advance of the deadline, I am happy to help you find a way to do the work of the class. A c ade mi cH o n e st y :When you hand in a paper, its words and ideas must be your own. If you use ideas or phrases from someone else, you need to fully and properly acknowledge your borrowings: All essays will use Modern Language Association (MLA) format of textual citation and Works Cited page. When you use a writers exact words, use quotation marks together with an in-text citation; use a block quotation for textual selections longer than four typed lines. If you summarize or paraphrase a writer, show exactly where the source begins and exactly where it ends by introducing the borrowing with a comment about its source and ending with an in-text citation in the proper MLA format. Always include a Works Cited page with your essay. Much of the plagiarism that pops up in college classes is unacknowledged cutting and pasting from online sources: Always remember to give full and proper citation for the ideas and/or words from a roommate, friend, tutor, web site, book, article, or other sources, you are guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism is the same thing as stealing, which makes it one of the most despicable intellectual crimes of the college. If you intentionally plagiarize in this class, you will receive an F for the assignment and may be suspended or expelled from the college.
8 September Beowulf 15 September Sir Gawain and the Green Knight22 September Sir Gawain and the Green Knight29 September Frankenstein 6 October Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde 13 October No Class Columbus Day20 October King Lear First draft for Paper 127 October The History of the Nun
3 November The Country Wife10 November Swift & Montagu face off 17 November Browning poems 24 November The Importance of Being Earnest 1 December Life and Loves of a She-Devil
8 December Life and Loves of a She-Devil
3 September Course Intro
10 September Beowulf 17 September Sir Gawain and the Green Knight24 September Frankenstein 1October Frankenstein 8 October Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde Proposal for Paper 115 October Midterm 22 October King Lear
29 October The Country Wife Paper 1 due5 November The Country Wife12 November Browning poems Proposal for Paper 219 November The Importance of Being Earnest 26 November Thanksgiving Break No class3 December Life and Loves of a She-Devil
5 September Beowulf 12 September Beowulf 19 September Sir Gawain and the Green Knight26 September Frankenstein 3 October Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde 10 October Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde 17 October King Lear
24 October King Lear
31 October The Country Wife
7 November Swift & Montagu face off14 November Browning poems
21 November The Importance of Being Earnest First draft for Paper 228 November Thanksgiving Break No class5 December Life and Loves of a She-Devil Paper 2 due