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Eng. 2322.501: British Literature Before 1800 SP 2018 R 5:40 PM to 8:20 PM

Instructor: Dr. Mark Wildermuth

Office : 3118 MB

Office Phone:

Office Hours: TBA

Email: Wildermuth_M@utpb.edu
Course Description:

The class is a broad survey of British literature roughly from the Middle Ages to 1800. We will study representative examples of the prose, poetry, fiction and drama of the time. Our purpose is to study these texts in their original historical and cultural contexts that we may learn what they teach us about the development of British culture before 1800 and how that culture influences our world today.


Course Objectives/Outcomes:

Core Objective: Critical Thinking Skills

• Student Learning Outcome: Students will draw well-reasoned, logically supported conclusions from information provided within the course. Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in creative thinking, innovation, inquiry and analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information.

• Learning Strategies and Activities

Students will demonstrate their ability to think critically through the analysis and interpretation of literary texts. Students will also engage with these literary texts by understanding their cultural, historical, and social contexts and by appreciating style, form, and other aesthetic principles. Learning activities will include class discussions of the texts and written responses, as either informal discussion board entries or more formal essay assignments.

Assessable Assignment

Students will write a Final Essay. This assignment involves a critical analysis of the cultural contexts and ethical implications of a literary work. In addition, this assignment will satisfy the Critical Thinking Core Objectives because students must evaluate and analyze literary texts and synthesize information of cultural, historical, social, and ethical importance in their evaluations. The Final Essay will be assessed using the Critical Thinking Core Objective Rubric. Students will be expected to score a 3 or above on the Critical Thinking COR.



Core Objective: Communication Skills

• Student Learning Outcome: Students will demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills

• Learning Strategies and Activities

Students will engage in learning activities appropriate for acquiring Communication Skills: they will read, discuss, and respond orally and in writing to literary texts. Reading and analyzing published literary works and critical essays will allow students to learn the skills of writing and communication, and they will also develop communication skills by producing and revising their own written work and receiving evaluations from their instructors. In addition, each student will produce a PowerPoint presentation on an assigned literary work or specific author. Within this PowerPoint presentation, students will demonstrate written, oral, and visual communications skills to convey their understanding of the works.

• Assessable Assignment

Students will produce a PowerPoint presentation on a specific work or author. This is intended to measure a student’s written, oral, and visual communication skills. Students must write persuasive, well-reasoned, and cohesive PowerPoint presentations of no less than 6 and no more than 10 slides covering the material regarding their assigned author or literary work. The entire presentation must have voice narration adequately presenting each slide. The PowerPoint presentation will be assessed using the Communication Skills Core Objective Rubric. Students will be expected to score a 3 or above using the Communication Skills COR.



Core Objective: Social Responsibility

• Student Learning Outcome: Students will demonstrate intercultural competence, civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.

• Learning Strategies and Activities

Reading and writing about literary texts are activities that readily lend themselves to the Core Objective of Social Responsibility. Students will recognize how a literary work represents a specific cultural community, with regards to historical contexts and with respect to political and social issues, whether at the national or global level. Plot and characterization in a literary text allow students to consider matters of social and cultural conflicts and agreements, ethical dilemmas, and individual and social responsibility.

• Assessable Assignment

Students will write a Final Essay. This assignment will measure a student’s understanding of social responsibility. Students will formulate a critical analysis of the cultural contexts and ethical implications of a literary work, analyze representations of community at the regional, national, and global levels, and evaluate questions of social responsibility as it relates to a literary text. The Final Essay will be assessed using the Social Responsibility Core Objectives Rubric. Students will be expected to score a 3 or higher on the Social Responsibility COR.



Core Objective: Personal Responsibility

• Student Learning Outcome: Students will be able to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision-making.

• Learning Strategies and Activities

Reading and writing about literary texts are activities that also lend themselves to the Core Objective of Personal Responsibility. As students read and analyze literary texts, they consider ethical dilemmas as presented in the text. Students can consider, for instance, the ethical decisions of a character or a social group or weigh the ethical viewpoint of a particular writer. An understanding of the ethical implications of a literary text requires reflection upon both one’s own ethical viewpoint and the ethical values of a particular society.

• Assessable Assignment

The Final Essay will measure a student’s understanding of personal responsibility. This artifact offers the opportunity for the student to convey his or her awareness of ethical concerns as depicted in a literary work and demonstrate the student’s focused examination of ethical choices and cultural values. The Final Essay will be assessed using the Personal Responsibility Core Objective Rubric. Students will be expected to score a 3 or higher on the Personal Responsibility COR.



Course Requirements:

Regular attendance is required. Three or more unexcused absences constitute grounds for failure in the course. Missing 25% of class meetings, even if excused, can be grounds for failure also. Tardiness is also unacceptable: 10 min. late = one unexcused absence. Students are also responsible for the following:


Two 3-5 pp. typed critical papers 30%
One final exam 25%
Class participation/ Oral Reports 20%
Mid-term Exam 25%
You will receive information on all of these types of assignments later on.
(Note: before the first paper is due, I will also provide a handout on how I evaluate and grade assignments in this class).

Required Texts:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume I

Broadview Anthology of Eighteenth-Century Plays


Prerequisite: 6 hours of composition.
Other policies:

Plagiarism is the use of other writers' words or ideas without acknowledging the source. Even if you commit it by accident in this class, the result will be an F on the assignment—and there can be more serious consequences, such as expulsion from school. Use the latest edition of the MLA style manual to write papers. It will show you how to avoid plagiarism and how to quote works of literature correctly.
Decorum and Misconduct. Language which demeans others on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference will not be tolerated in this class—nor will any forms of misbehavior which impede the educational process. People guilty of such misconduct will face expulsion from this classroom and possibly more serious charges and consequences, as indicated in the Student Guide.
Portable telephones must be turned off while in this class.
All papers and drafts of papers are to be typed on a word processor. (A draft is a first attempt at a writing assignment which you turn in on days marked DRAFT DUE on the course calendar. Drafts are commented upon by instructors so that when you turn your final version of the paper in on days marked PAPER DUE, you will have a chance to do your best). Drafts that are not typed will be returned without comment. Papers that are not typed will receive a grade of 0. Late papers will not be accepted--nor will assigments that are e-mailed to me without my permisssion.

COURSE CALENDAR (schedule is tentative and subject to change. You are responsible for knowing about any changes announced in class whether you are present or not). All readings come from Norton except for the plays. Have each reading finished by the day it is listed for the syllabus.
Week 1

Intro. to Course



The Wanderer
Week 2

Beowulf (Prologue, Heorot is Attacked)

Beowulf (The Hero Comes to Heorot & Feast at Heorot)

Beowulf (The Fight with Grendel & Celebration at Heorot)
Wk 3

Beowulf (Another Attack , Another Celebration & Beo. Returns Home)

Beowulf (The Dragon Wakes, Beo. Attacks Dragon & Beowulf’s Funeral)
Wk4

Canterbury Tales—General Prologue

General Prologue

Catch up day DRAFT PAPER # 1 DUE
Wk 5

CT—Wife of Bath’s Prologue

CT—Wife of Bath’s Prologue

Wife of Bath’s Tale


Wk 6

Fulke Greville’s Poetry

More Greville

Ben Jonson’s “On My First Son” PAPER # 1 DUE (turn in final version and draft with my comments written on it.)


Wk 7

George Herbert’s “The Altar”

Herbert’s “The Collar” and “Love (3)”

John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet 14”

Wk 8

Donne’s “The Flea” and “Song (Go and catch a falling star)”



Shakespeare’s Sonnets 18 and 73

Paradise Lost Book I
Wk 9

Paradise Lost Book I

PL Book 4

Book 4 MID TERM DUE
Wk 10

PL Book 9

Book 9

PL Book 10


Wk 11

PL Book 10

Book 12

The Fair Penitent (in Eighteenth-Century Plays book)
Wk 12

The Fair Penitent

The Beggar’s Opera

The Beggar’s Opera
Wk13

The Beggar’s Opera

The Beggar’s Opera

Anne Finch’s poems DRAFT PAPER # 2 DUE

Wk 14

Samuel Johnson’s Rambler No. 4


Wk 15

Samuel Johnson’s “The Death of Robert Levet”

Review for final exam PAPER # 2 DUE (turn in with draft).

More review.


FINAL EXAM: essay test on material covered since the mid-term. Due date to be announced in class.

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