ENGL 301 A: Introduction To The Study Of English Language And Literature

Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:30am - 11:20am
Location: 
SMI 102
SLN: 
13834
Instructor:
LaPorte photo
Charles LaPorte

Syllabus Description:

 

Introduction to the study of English Language and Literature

English 301, Spring 2015

MWF 10:30-11:20

SMI 102

 

Professor Charles LaPorte

Office: A508 Padelford Hall

Office Hours: M 11:30-1:30

Email: laporte@uw.edu

 

Course Description: Why study English?  Why study literature?  Are literary power or poetic beauty truly accessible to analysis?  Does impassioned rhetoric move us because of its passion or because of its rhetoric?  And whatever can it mean that various books or poems or writers are so often called great?  Great for what, exactly?

 

This course is a "gateway" introduction to the English major.  You need to take it if you are to be an English major (though you may also take it without any such intentions).  It is designed to introduce students to the historical, cultural, and critical contexts of literature and literary study.  Among other things, it will entail the reading and discussion of poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction.  And it will introduce students to the kinds of debates that surrounded the creation of the first English departments in the nineteenth century, when the serious academic study of anglophone literature began.  It cannot introduce you to every aspect of the English major (e.g., we will probably do no creative writing), but it will leave you with a broad sense of the field, with some grasp of major critical vantages like historicism and feminist theory, and with real training in the bread-and-butter parts of the discipline: genre analysis and explication de texte, or close reading.  In it, I promise at least a little impassioned rhetoric and a lot of great reading.

 

n.b. -- The course requires concurrent enrollment in English 297.

 

Learning objectives for this course will include the following:

To gain a deeper insight into and appreciation for anglophone literary and cultural expression, including fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

To understand some of the politics and technologies that have facilitated and shaped literary production.

To better appreciate the importance of national and transnational contexts for literary and cultural works.

To be able to produce a close reading (explication de texte) of a given literary object. 

To enhance analytical, interpretative, and argumentative skills for discussing and writing about cultural objects.

 

Books:  William Shakespeare's Hamlet, New Cambridge edition (isbn 9780521532525)

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Norton edition (isbn 0393975428)

The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter fifth edition (isbn 0393979210)

Also please pick up a Coursepack from Ave Copy Center, 4141 University Way

[**** Please do buy THESE editions, in paper and not in electronic format****]

Class Participation: Your attendance is required at all sections and recommended for all lectures. This is not a textbook course, and the ideas that we will discuss are not ideas that you can figure out alone in your room with a compass and protractor.  Rather, the course concerns the evolution of cultural ideas, and I wish to give each of you ample opportunity to share your ideas about art and culture.  (Don't worry if you feel like you don't have any such ideas to share; as we progress you will find that you have plenty!)  Accordingly, I reward with high participation marks those who contribute to the classroom learning experience as a whole. 

            Kindly let your section leader know in advance if you'll miss a section but do not feel compelled to relate to me any reason behind a given absence.  We trust your judgment, and do not wish to be the arbiters of legitimate and illegitimate excuses.  Simply remember that the quarter is long, and that your participation points at the end of the term depend upon your contribution to the class.  In order to get good marks in participation, you will also need to appear at class on time.

            The Midterm and Final Exam times are non-negotiableIf you know that you will not be able to make the midterm or final, please drop this class and enroll in English 301 next term. (The English department offers it every Aut/Win/Spr Qtrs.)

 

Literary Activity Write-Up: The only out-of-class writing I will have you do for 301 is a short report on a literary activity that you will do outside of class.  You will have discretion in picking what you would like to do for this activity.  For instance, you might choose to attend the Seattle Repertory Theater's production of John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar (Apr 24-May 17).  You might attend Seattle Shakespeare Company's Othello (Apr 29-May 17).  You might (without even leaving campus) spend a couple of hours at the amazing Anne Hamilton exhibit on commonplace books at our Henry Art Gallery (through April 26).  You might join spend an afternoon reading a play with Seattle's Shakespeare Meet-up Read-through Group (http://www.meetup.com/shakespeare-50/).   You may get a bit of extra credit for doing more than one of these, should you like, before the end of term.  Details to follow.

 

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s work as your own.  The University of Washington does not condone plagiarism – please consult the Faculty Resource on Grading Website if you have any questions about this: <http://depts.washington.edu/grading/

issue1/honesty.htm>.

 

Grade Distribution: 

  Midterm Exam:

 

25%

  Literary Activity Write-Up:

  In-Class Response Papers (ca.10%)

 

10%

  & Class Participation (ca. 20%):

 

30%

Cumulative Final Exam:                                                          35%

 

On Electronic Readers & Laptops:

Please be advised that I do not permit the use of electronic screens during class discussion or lecture.  I realize that some students prefer to take notes on laptops, but this convenience is counterbalanced by the fact that they distract others.  They also tempt users to multi-task (further distracting others).  Before class, then, please put away your laptop (likewise your smartphone, ipad, etc.).  There is lots of research demonstrating that students learn better by taking notes the old fashioned way, with paper and ink.  I would be glad to go over some of this research with you, should you like. 

 

 

Schedule:[1]

 

Part I: Why Study Poetry?

Week 1: 

Mar 30: Course intro; Alice Walker, "We Alone" [handout]

April 1: William Wordsworth,  "We Are Seven" [handout], "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey," "Resolution and Independence," "It is a Beauteous Evening," "Nuns Fret Not" [Norton Anthology (hereafter NA)]; Elizabeth Bishop, "Filling Station," "In the Waiting Room" [NA]

April 3: No class: Prof LaPorte at Shakespeare Association of America Conference

 

Week 2: 

April 6: Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself (all from NA), "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" "A Noiseless Patient Spider" [NA]; Emily Dickinson #39, 112, 202, 340, 372, 620, 1263, 1489, 1793, 1788

April 8: Thomas De Quincey: from Letters to a Young Man Whose Education Has Been Neglected [Coursepack (hereafter CP)]

April 10: De Quincey: Letters to a Young Man Whose Education Has Been Neglected [CP]

 

Part II: Why Study Drama?

Week 3:

April 13: Shakespeare, Hamlet Act I

April 15: Shakespeare, Hamlet Act II

April 17: Shakespeare, Hamlet Act III

 

 

Week 4: [All Classes this Week Held in EXED 110]

April 20: Shakespeare, Hamlet Act IV

April 22: Shakespeare, Hamlet Act V

April 24: Shakespeare, contd.

 

Week 5:

April 27: Shakespeare, contd.(?) Shakespeare, Sonnets #18, 55, 138; T. S. Eliot, from The Sacred Wood [CP]

April 29: Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author [CP];  Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" [NA]

 

May 1: *Midterm Examination*

 

Part III: Why Study the Novel?

Week 6:

May 4: Brontë Jane Eyre I-VIII

May 6: Brontë Jane Eyre IX-XIV

May 8: Brontë Jane Eyre XV-XX

 

Week 7:

May 11:  Brontë Jane Eyre XXI-XXVII

May 13:  Brontë Jane Eyre XXVIII-XXXIII

May 15: No class: Prof LaPorte at Folger Shakespeare Library

 

Week 8: 

May 18:  Brontë Jane Eyre XXXIV-end

May 20:  Guest Lecture Faye Christenberry, English Studies Librarian, Reference and Research Services Division

May 22: Arnold, "Dover Beach," (NA); Anthony Hecht "The Dover Bitch," (NA); Daljit Nagra, "Our Town with the Whole of India," "Look We Have Coming to Dover!" "The Furtherance of Mr. Bulram's Education," "Singh Song" [CP]

 

Part IV: Why Study English?

Week 9:

May 25: Memorial Day -- no class.

May 27: from Bacon, The Nineteenth-Century History of English Studies, 236-276 [CP]; Theodore Roethke, all from NA

May 28: Roethke Reading by David Ferry.  Roethke Auditorium (130 Kane Hall) 8 pm.

May 29: The Nineteenth-Century History of English Studies, contd.; Hannah Sanghee Park, "The Fox Bead in May,"  "Norroway in February," "And a Lie" (see http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/hannah-sanghee-park)

 

Week 10:

June 1: Sherman Alexie, The Search Engine, Whatever Happened to Frank Snake Church? [CP]   

June 3: Alexie, contd. 

June 5: Alexie, contd.  Walker, "How Poems Are Made/A Discredited View," "I Said to Poetry" [CP]

 

Exam Week:

June 8: Cumulative Final Exam: 8:30-10:20, SMI 102 [required]



[1]  This schedule is my best approximation of how the class ought to move along.  I have attempted to negotiate between assigning too much reading and giving you insufficient exposure to the field.  I reserve the right to change the order of works as seems best to suit our needs as a learning community.  --CPL

Additional Details:

English 301: Introduction to the study of English Language and Literature

Why study English? Why study literature? Are literary power or poetic
beauty truly accessible to analysis? Does impassioned rhetoric move us
because of its passion or because of its rhetoric? And whatever can it
mean that various books or poems or writers are so often called great?
Great for what, exactly?

This course is a "gateway" introduction to the English major. You need
to take it if you are to be an English major (though you may also take
it without any such intentions). It is designed to introduce students to
the historical, cultural, and critical contexts of literature and
literary study. Among other things, it will entail the reading and
discussion of poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction. And it will
introduce students to the kinds of debates that surrounded the creation
of the first English departments in the nineteenth century, when the
serious academic study of anglophone literature began. It cannot
introduce you to every aspect of the English major (e.g., we will
probably do no creative writing), but it will leave you with a broad
sense of the field, with some grasp of major critical vantages like
historicism and feminist theory, and with real training in the
bread-and-butter parts of the discipline: genre analysis and explication
de texte, or close reading. In it, I promise at least a little
impassioned rhetoric and a lot of great reading.

The course requires concurrent enrollment in English 297.

GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:20am