Effective Date of this Description/Syllabus: Fall 2012

Prepared by: Dr. Rhonda Wilcox

Office: Honors House 104

Phone: (678) 359-5296

email: rhonda_w@gdn.edu

Spring office hours: TR 12:30-1:45, 3:30-4:30;

W 12:30-2, 3:00-5:00




Course Designation: English 2122H

Course Title: British Literature II, Honors

Class hours per week: 3

Credit hours: 3

Division offering course: Humanities

Prerequisite for the course: Grade of C or better in English 1101; Honors Program membership and/or permission of the Director of the Honors Program

If you need academic accommodations for a disability, you should contact the Office of Counseling Services, in the Student Center (second floor). Call Dr. Laura Bowen of that office at 678-359-5585.

Course description for college bulletin: A survey of important works in British literature from the Romantic period to the present.


Teacher’s course objectives:

For students to gain a thorough knowledge and genuine enjoyment of a representative selection of the best literature of the time period;

For students to gain understanding of the authors’ lives and the cultural milieux in which the works were produced;

For students to acquire a background for appreciating the varieties of literary genres and traditions;

For students to gain the skills to inspire confidence that they can explore powerful literature on their own, both for the sake of the literature’s aesthetic value and for the sake of the human worlds the literature reveals.


Course Content:

The course plan is to focus on the following authors: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot, and James Joyce. We will also engage with the work of other authors of the period, to be announced later (in fact, to be chosen by you). We will be reading world-famous novels, stories, and poems; people have enjoyed them for centuries. However, if you do not budget enough time for your reading, you may start to view them as a burden rather than a pleasure. Instead, expect to take a great deal of time—then relax and enjoy yourself. The best pleasures cannot be hurried.

Required Texts:

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Coleridge’s Poetry and Prose: Authoritative Texts, Criticism. Ed. Nicholas Halmi, Paul Magnuson, and Raimonda Modiano. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2004. Print.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, Contexts, Criticism. 2nd Ed. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House: An Authoritative and Annotated Text, Illustrations, A Note on the Text, Genesis and Composition, Backgrounds, Criticism. Ed. George Ford and Sylvère Monod. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 1977. Print.

Eliot, T. S. The Waste Land: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Ed. Michael North. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.

Joyce, James. Dubliners: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Ed. Margot Norris and Hans Walter Gabler. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2006. Print.

Grading:              Class participation/quizzes:                                                               15%

                                         Honors Project                                                                            30%

Midterm Exam:                                                                        25%

Final Exam:                                                                               30%

Standards: A=90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69 (B+=88; B=85; B-=82, C+=78, etc.)


Your failure to do any assignment listed above (except a limited number of pop quizzes) will result in your failing the course. If you believe you have a good reason for being excused from a pop quiz or other in-class work, discuss it with me promptly; I will decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to keep the zero, excuse the quiz, or give a make-up with or without grade penalty.

Your Honors Project will be divided up into separate assignments which will gain individual grades. For the project, you will research another author of this period and, near the end of the semester, present information on this author to the class. Each of you will work on a different author; thus, the class’s knowledge of the literary period will be expanded, and you will become expert on one literary figure in particular. We will be doing a variation of “Meeting of Minds,” a program designed originally by Steve Allen and applied to Honors Composition classes here at Gordon by Dr. David Janssen and his Honors students. Since we are in a literature class, there will be some variation in the plan.  I will provide hand-outs on the individual assignments (such as a progress report essay with bibliography) as the class proceeds.

                Your exams (midterm and final) will include some “objective” questions (e.g. identifying quotations); they will also include some discussion questions. Each will cover approximately half the course work.


Attendance policy: Without class discussions and lectures, you might as well read this literature on your own. You will find that experiencing a group’s reaction to a piece of writing is something that cannot be recreated through merely reading class notes. This is not just a lecture class. Furthermore, you can contribute to the class: thoughtful questions can be just as valuable as insightful comments (though they should be the questions of a person who has read the material). Missing classes will reduce your ability to contribute and will therefore lower your class participation grade. (Significant tardiness or cell phone interruption will do the same.) Furthermore, specific in-class activities will be used to help establish your participation grade, and in most cases these activities must be carried out during a particular class period. People that miss more than three weeks of classes normally cannot keep up and fail the course as a result. In any case, my experience has been that people in Honors classes truly enjoy talking with each other. If you must miss a class, let me know beforehand if you can (or leave a phone or email message even during class if need be); ask me or a classmate about assignments so you can prepare in case there is a pop quiz when you return to class. My home phone number is (404) 373-5328. My cell phone, alas, does not normally work in Barnesville.


Student Evaluation of Instruction: Near the end of this course, you may be asked to evaluate the instruction of the course. Your honest responses will help make this a better course. Also, please feel free to make suggestions during the course. Remember, I want to hear from you.


Plagiarism, Cheating:

                The English faculty of Gordon College views any form of cheating as a serious violation of commonly accepted standards of honesty. (I. e., don’t be a dirtbag.) All student work must be solely that of the person submitting the work. Any giving or receiving of unauthorized help from others or from notes or other materials during the course of taking a quiz, test, or exam or in writing a paper will result in an F on the work; any use of forbidden materials such as rough drafts during the course of in-class writing will also result in an F for the assignment. Note that an F on the work involved in cheating is the minimum punishment; a zero on the work is another possible consequence; if justified by aggravating circumstances, the matter may be referred to the Academic Dean or (according to a rule approved by the Faculty Senate in Fall 2009) the Dean of Students. See the Academic Dishonesty Policy in the Academic Catalog (pp. 62-63).

                Moreover, when source materials are used in the writing of papers, the student must document such use of sources both by clearly indicating material being used as quotation and by giving proper recognition when ideas or information has been paraphrased or summarized; the following principles enunciated in the section on avoiding plagiarism in James D. Lester's Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, 8th edition, should be scrupulously observed:

1. Acknowledge borrowed material by introducing the quotation or paraphrase with the name of the authority. This practice serves to indicate where borrowed materials begin.

2. Enclose within quotation marks all quoted materials.

3. Make certain that paraphrased material has been rewritten into your own style and language. The simple rearrangement of sentence patterns is unacceptable. [It is unacceptable to simply rearrange sentence patterns.]

4. Provide specific in-text documentation for each borrowed item. For example, MLA [Modern Language Association] style requires name and page for all in-text references. Requirements differ for other fields . . . .

5. Provide a bibliographic entry on the Works Cited page for every source cited in the paper.

6. Omit sources consulted but not cited in the text. This point is important.You do not want your instructor leafing back through the paper trying to find your use of a source that, in truth, was not cited. (140-41)

Furthermore, you must avoid collusion. Here is a definition from the Humanities Division Chair: Collusion is defined as receiving excessive help to the point that a work can no longer be considered the product of a single author and therefore cannot be accurately assessed an individual grade. If I suspect a submitted work to be the result of collusion, I reserve the right to refuse credit for that work if the claimed author is unable to demonstrate sole authorship. A good way to avoid this problem is to get help from the Student Success Center rather than from family or friends.

I may decide to have you submit some of your work to Turnitin.com. Terms and Conditions of Use may be found at http://www.turnitin.com/static/usage.html.


In general, if you have a question, feel free to ask it. Also feel free to come by and talk to me during office hours. My goal is for you to learn and to enjoy learning.



Honors Project assignments are italicized.

Week 1 (8/14-16) Course introduction; background: The Romantic Era; Coleridge


Week 2 (8/21-23) Coleridge; Honors Project Subject Choice: Pick your dead Brit by Tuesday.


Week 3 (8/28-30) Shelley; Prospectus (two pages) due by Thursday


Week 4 (9/4-6) Shelley; Interview expert this week or next week or the following.


Week 5 (9/11-13) Background: The Victorian Era; Dickens


Week 6 (9/18-20) Dickens


Week 7 (9/25-27) Dickens; Report (two pages) on meeting with expert by Tuesday


Week 8 (10/2-4) Midterm; more Dickens

[10/4: Last day to drop classes without WF]


Week 9 (10/9-11) Fall Break Mon-Tues; and still more Dickens; Progress report essay (1000 words with bibliography) due Thursday


Week 10 (10/16-18) Dickens


Week 11 (10/23-25) Background: The Modern Era; Eliot


Week 12 (10/30-11/1) Eliot


Week 13 (11/6-8) Joyce


Week 14 (11/13-15) Joyce; Work on Honors Project script on the selected authors


Week 15 (11/20-22) Work on Honors Project script; Thanksgiving holiday Thu-Fri


Week 16 (11/27-29) Honors Project: Turn in script by Tuesday; presentation Tuesday-Thursday


The last day of regular classes is Dec. 3, but since this is a Monday, it will not apply to our schedule. The college exam schedule runs from Tuesday through Friday, with each class’s exam time being assigned by the college according to the time of day the class is taught.

Final Exam: Wednesday Dec. 5, 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Throughout the semester, additional readings and writing may be assigned. Out-of-class essays and reports should be typed.