Nineteenth-Century Classroom

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 Description: What is the distinction between “a novel” and “The Novel”? We’ll be exploring the complexity of individual texts as well as the novel genre as a whole over the course of the fall semester. In moving between primary texts, secondary source literary criticism and overarching literary theory, we’ll be exploring some of the many approaches to this vital literary genre, which is always changing and developing.

In looking over the texts we’ll be reading this semester, you’ll see that our texts will lead us into discussions about the novel’s origins, narrative structures, and voice (singular and communal). We’ll be pairing older novels with more recent texts: Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders with Toni Morrison’s A Mercy; Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Jo Baker’s Longbourn and Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway with Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Finally, nearly every one of the texts we’re reading has been adapted for the big screen, the small screen and/or the stage. Throughout the semester we’ll be considering what happens to narrative when it moves from its original medium to another.

Attendance: More than three unexcused absences prior to midpoint will result in your being dropped from the roll. After three absences over the course of the semester, your final grade will be negatively effected. I also expect you to come to class on time; late arrivals will be noted.

Course Assignments

Assigned reading must be completed before the day it is discussed: Go over the literature attentively and, if necessary, repeatedly. Please don’t just skim the material. I would suggest that you keep an informal reading journal in which you note any questions about the assignment, as well as your responses to the material; you should also take copious notes within your texts.

In-Class Technology: While I understand that it is useful to have a laptop open in order to take notes, access ebooks, and upon occasion, go online as a class, I also expect you to stay on task and focused on this class. Please do not surf the web while in class.

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

Internet Resources: There are several internet sites which should be of interest to you; the internet can serve as an invaluable resource if you use it wisely. If you do use material from the internet, please cite it appropriately by date of access and web site location. Please refer to the MLA Handbook for specifics. 

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.

Buying essays over the internet is not a wise use of its resources. I am aware of the pertinent sites and will periodically check them for available essays on the material covered in this class.

House Bill 280, commonly known as the “campus carry” legislation, is effective as of July 1, 2017. Here are guidelines developed by the Office of Legal Affairs for the implementation of House Bill 280 that must be followed on all University System campuses on and after that date:

Listserv: Once our class roll is set, I’ll be creating a class listserv as the best means to contact you about changes to the schedule and assignments. You should use the list to pose questions about the course and to set up study groups for the exams.

Listserv Address:

Office Hours: Please note my office hours. 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 speak with me and you can’t make it to my office hours, talk to me after class about scheduling an appointment.

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’s secure site to record your evaluation.