Effective Date of this Description/Syllabus: Fall 2014

Prepared by: Dr. Rhonda Wilcox

Office: Honors House 104

Phone: (678) 359-5296

email: rhonda_w@gordonstate.edu

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

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





Course Designation: English 4602

Course Title: Foundational Authors: Shakespeare

Class hours per week: 3

Credit hours: 3

Division offering course: Humanities

Prerequisite for the course: A grade of C or better in English 1102 and completion of a 2000-level English course

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 close study of the major dramatic and poetic works of William Shakespeare.


Teacher’s Course objectives:

For students to gain a thorough knowledge and genuine enjoyment of a selection of Shakespeare’s best works;

For students to gain understanding of Shakespeare’s life and the cultural milieu in which his works were produced;

For students to acquire a background for appreciating the values and concerns of modern literature by studying the traditions which preceded it;

For students to be confident that they can appreciate Shakespeare outside the classroom.



Course Content:

The course plan is to focus on the following plays and a selection of the sonnets: Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Henry IV part one, Henry V, Hamlet, and The Tempest. Other plays and the narrative poems will receive less attention. We will be reading world-famous plays 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 Text: The Complete Pelican Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print. [There are many versions of Shakespeare. Pick this.]


Grading:              Class participation/pop quizzes:                              15%

First Paper:                                                           10%

Second Paper:                                                      20%

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 first paper (1000 words) should not have outside sources: it should represent your own response to the reading, supported by copious specific evidence from the reading, including multiple quotations. The subject should be a theme, character, or pattern of imagery from one of the plays we are reading; the specific subject choice must be approved by me beforehand. A planning conference is required. Your second paper (2000 words) will be a researched assignment--a traditional term paper. Again, the subject must be approved. Again, you will express your opinions about one of the plays, but for this assignment you will also include the views of scholars on the subject. MLA form for quotation, bibliography, etc., should be used for both these assignments. I will give further details when the assignment approaches.

                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 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. 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. Leave a message on my voicemail if you call me and I do not answer (letting me know you tried to reach me and giving me a phone number). If you cannot contact me or a classmate, then read the next assignment on the syllabus.


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 (unless the teacher has approved a collaboration). 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.

            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 an idea 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 [your paper]. 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)


Note, by the way, that the indention of the material above indicates that it is quoted.


Furthermore, you must avoid collusion. Here is a definition from the Humanities Department 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 or may not 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 about Shakespeare during office hours. My goal is for you to learn and to enjoy learning.



Week 1 (8/14) Introduction; Much Ado About Nothing Act 1


Week 2 (8/19-21) Much Ado Acts 2-4


Week 3 (8/26-28) Much Ado Act 5; Critical reading


Week 4 (9/2-4) Twelfth Night, or What You Will, Acts 1-3


Week 5 (9/9-11) Twelfth Night, Act 4-5


Week 6 (9/16-18) The First Part of King Henry IV, Acts 1-3


Week 7 (9/23-25) 1 Henry IV, Act 4-5


Week 8 (9/30-10/2) Midterm exam Tuesday; Paper One drafts due Thu


Week 9 (10/7-9) The Life of King Henry V, Act 1-2; Paper One due Thu


Week 10 (10/14-16) Fall Break Mon-Tues; Henry V Act 3-5


Week 11 (10/21-23) The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 1-2


Week 12 (10/28-30) Hamlet, Acts 3-4


Week 13 (11/4-6) Hamlet, Act 5


Week 14 (11/11-13) The Tempest, Acts 1-2


Week 15 (11/18-20) The Tempest, Acts 3-4


Week 16 (11/25-27) The Tempest, Act 5; Thanksgiving holiday Thu-Fri


Week 17 (12/2) Paper Two due Tuesday; exam preparation


There is a college-wide study day on Thursday Dec. 4, with exams on the succeeding days.


Final Exam: Monday Dec. 8, 1:30-3:30.


Throughout the semester, additional readings and writing may be assigned. You will also be expected to select one Shakespeare sonnet to read aloud.