English 2006E– Introduction to the Study of Literature

Instructor: David Ingham

Office: EC 119
Hours: MWF 2:30 – 3:30; TuTh 2:30 – 4:30
Phone: 460-0370

Course Description:
In this course we will look at a selection of poetry, drama, and prose texts from Old English to contemporary with a view to examining their forms, conventions, techniques, and concerns. With so vast a field to traverse, the course can hardly aim at complete coverage: Instead of surveying at breakneck speed, we will glean selectively. That is, the course will proceed primarily by close readings of individual works, attempting to discover both what they mean and (more importantly) how they mean, providing students with the skills, insights, and analytical tools they need to read and discuss virtually any work on their own. In short, the aim of the course is to provide students with a general knowledge of some of the ways literature works, and with specific knowledge of historical periods and critical methods – in other words, to prepare them for advanced study in the discipline of English.

Attendance and Participation:
Students should plan to attend all classes, and to 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.

The "default" mode for class will be discussion: For the most part, I already know what I think; I want to know what YOU think.

Requirements/Mark Breakdown
Quizzes (best 5 of 6) 10%
Three essays 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 12pt Times New Roman), double-spaced, on one side only, with pages numbered, and paper-clipped (not stapled) together. Be sure to include a "Works Cited" (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). 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; you could even be dismissed from the University. (See the Academic Calendar, section E, pp. 244-246.) If you have any questions or doubts, please consult me.

Required Texts:
The Norton Anthology of English Literature – Major Authors Edition (2 volumes, paperback), Ed M. H. Abrams et al. (Norton)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Broadview)
Sylvan Barnet & Reid Gilbert, A Short Guide to Writing about Literature (Addison Wesley)
A good dictionary, such as the Gage Canadian
Don LePan, The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English (Broadview)

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 I otherwise would and that you deserve). The "good" and "bad" hours 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.