St. Thomas University – Department of English


English 1006J – Introduction to Literature (TTH 11:30 – 12:50)

Instructor: David Ingham

Office: EC 119
Hours: MWF 11:30 – 12:30; 3:30 – 4:00
Phone: 460-0370

Course Description:
In this course we will look at a selection of poetry, drama, and prose texts covering a wide range of historical periods, forms, conventions, techniques, and concerns. Because I believe it is better to examine one flower closely than to drive past a garden at 100 kph, the course will proceed primarily by close readings of individual works, attempting to discover both what they mean and (more importantly) how they mean. The "default" mode for classes will be discussions, though I will do some lecturing as necessary, and there may also be some group work. Thus it is important that you read and be prepared to discuss the work assigned. To give you a nudge in the right direction, there will be regular quizzes, generally on the FIRST day of discussing a particular work. This course is NOT primarily focussed on transferring information: I am NOT the fountainhead of all knowledge, truth, and wisdom, nor do I have all the answers (at best I have some of the questions). This course is primarily about skill development: about improving your reading, writing, thinking, and speaking. For the most part, I already know what I think about the works we'll be studying; I want to know what YOU think. Thus assignments will frequently focus on demonstrating your ability to apply these skills to texts you haven't seen before; they will not focus on your ability to regurgitate material covered in class.

Attendance and Participation:

Students should plan to attend all classes, and (as noted above) should have read and be prepared to discuss the material assigned for that day. You won't get much out of class if you haven't read the material, and chronic absenteeism is grounds for an automatic failure. While diligent attendance and keeping up with the reading are key components of the learning process, participation in class discussions can also be invaluable, and is strongly encouraged. Since some students may find it extremely difficult to speak in front of others, though, it is not mandatory; however, because they make the class better for everyone, students who make significant contributions to class discussions may receive bonus marks.

Requirements/Mark Breakdown
Quizzes (best 5 of 6) 10%
Essays/writing assignments 60%
Final exam 30%

Essay Format:
All essays are to be typed (CG Times or Roman font, 12 points in size – most of this outline is in Times New Roman, 12 points), double-spaced, on one side only, with pages numbered, and paper-clipped (not stapled) together. Be sure to include a "Works Cited" section (even if you quote only the class text). (Needless to say, be sure to have an informative title, and include your name, my name, and the course number on the first page.)

Students who, for legitimate reasons, cannot complete their essays by the deadline should see me at least a day before the deadline to obtain an extension form, and avoid penalty.

Students should make and retain at least one extra (backup) copy of all essays – ideally both a hard copy (printout) and on disk.

Plagiarism means passing off another person's work or ideas as one's own (including the internet, other students' essays, or purchased essays). Debts to others must always be indicated, preferably using parenthetical documentation (MLA format – see your Pocket Guide). You must acknowledge such debts if you quote someone else's exact words, if you paraphrase someone else's words, or if you make use of someone else's original idea. The minimum penalty for substantial plagiarism is a zero for the assignment (Academic Calendar 237-38). If you have any doubts, please see me.

Required Texts:
Barnet, Butto & Cain, eds. An Introduction to Literature, 13th Edition (Pearson)
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (Dell)
Don LePan, The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English (Broadview) (or another good grammar handbook)
A good dictionary, such as the Gage Canadian

Remember to buy your books early: The Bookstore returns unsold texts rather quickly. Do read ahead if you can – you'll get a lot more out of a piece of literature if you can read it more than once.

If you ever have a problem (with me, with anyone else in the class, with anything that happens in the class, or with any other part of the course), please see me. It's part of my job, and I enjoy helping students. Please don't let things fester: A small problem at the beginning of the year might be easy to solve, but can turn into a nasty one if you leave it. Email is generally better than phoning – I should be able to get back to you within one school day (and I hate playing telephone tag). Seeing me in person is likely the best – I'm almost always in during my office hours, and many others, too. Please try to avoid coming to see me just before I teach a class, though (I'm usually madly preparing, and might not be able to give you the attention that I would otherwise and that you deserve). The "good" and "bad" times are posted on my office door. Finally, be prepared to work hard, have fun, and learn a good deal. Let's have a great year.