Jane Austen’s Writing Desk

Syllabus: “The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary” (OVPI for Instruction)

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes: English 4500 is an introduction to the poetry, prose, and fiction of the British Romantic Period (1789-1830). Writers working during this literary era include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, John Keats, and the Shelleys. Our twofold focus will move from examining the intricacies of poetic and novelistic form, even as we explore Romantic literature to considering the context of its historical production. How were the essays, poems, plays, and novels of the Romantics shaped by events of the day — events which included the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars? More importantly, perhaps, we will explore the ways in which Romantic-era authors sought to shape history through their art. After all, Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that poets were the “unacknowledged legislators of the World.” Throughout the semester we will be examining what Romantic-era authors hoped to “legislate” through their writing.

Attendance: Students should attend every class, and assignments must be read before the day they are to be discussed. More than three unexcused absences before the midpoint of the semester will result in your being dropped from the roll. Excessive tardiness and absences (more than 5 over the course of the semester) will hurt your final grade.

Office Hours: Please note that I will have scheduled office hours, as well as other appointment times. I urge you to make use of them; I’ll be there every week just to answer questions, talk about papers, the reading, how the class is going, etc. If you need to talk to me and you can’t make it to my office hours, talk to me after class about scheduling an appointment.

Exams: I will not give make-up exams. If a pressing emergency arises, please contact me prior to the due date, if at all possible.

Essays: All essays are due when stated on the schedule. Do not skip class to complete the essay or arrive at the end of class expecting to turn it in. All the essays should be written without recourse to outside sources.

There are several internet sites that may be of interest to you while reading; the internet can serve as an invaluable resource if you use it wisely. Although I would rather you did not use material from the internet for your essays, if you do, please cite it appropriately by date of access and website location. Please refer to the MLA Handbook for specifics. See our course website for some useful sites for study and do not use Wikipedia in your formal essays.

A Culture of Honesty: Although all of your papers can be completed without recourse to outside sources, you may on occasion want to consult critical works. According to the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, “All academic work must meet the standards contained in ‘A Culture of Honesty.’ Students are responsible for informing themselves about those standards before performing any academic work.” Please visit the OVPI website for more information. Suspected cases of plagiarism will be turned into the appropriate campus authorities.

Listserv: Our class listserv address will be established once our roll is set. You should use the list to pose questions about the course and to set up study groups for the exams.

End of term course evaluations: At the end of the semester, you’ll be asked to complete an online evaluation of this course. Please do take the opportunity to respond to the course and its content. The English department now participates in the online system. At the end of the semester, you’ll be asked to visit the Franklin College secure website to record your evaluation.