E491: History of Literary Criticism

Course Policies for Fall 2004

Al Drake | 520 Hum. M/W 12:00-1:00 | ajdrake@ajdrake.com

Required Text: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN: 0393974294. (Titan Bookstore)

Course Particulars: English 491, Course Code 12816, will meet Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00-2:15 in McCarthy Hall 685. The in-class final exam (see syllabus) will take place on a date to be determined at the usual location. My office hours will be at Humanities 520, M/W 12-12:55.

Course Objectives: This is not a course in practical, applied criticism;* it is a course that aims to ground you in the history of literary criticism and theory. Studying the broad range of philosophers and critics I have assigned will help you contextualize and understand C17-19 English criticism and will provide you with a good starting point for future engagement with contemporary critical theory. What we call "criticism" has such a rich and complex history in itself that it is worth studying for its own sake, though of course our ultimate goal in studying it is to return to literature with fresh insights. Please read the following guide if time permits: Succeeding in College. As for the difficulty of some of our texts, patient study eventually yields good results; I suggest that you roll up your sleeves and repeat after Friedrich Nietzsche, "Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger!"

Major Study Units: Criticism from ancient times through the nineteenth century.

Classroom Activities: Lecture, class discussion, spotlight responses. I encourage participation. My tasks are to lecture well, to listen, to ask good questions, and to help you find out more about the periods and authors we study. Your task is to develop your own ideas. In humanities study, there are few worthwhile "facts"; the emphasis is on insight and interpretation.

Evaluation Methods: One 5-7 page paper, a journal requirement and in-class spotlight responses based on study questions, in-class final exam:

5-7 Page Paper Requirement. 30% of course grade. Final draft due on day of final exam. See Advance Draft Comments. The paper should follow recent MLA guidelines and include a works cited page. Graduate students should write a 10-15 page paper.

Journal Requirement. 30% of course grade. Consists of responses to a choice of study questions for each author. Due in class Wednesday of Weeks 4, 8, 12, and on final exam day. You may email them by the end of those evenings, if necessary.

Spotlight Response Requirement (includes schedule). 10% of course grade. Each class, three students will offer their responses to a different study question about the day's assigned text. Responses can be informal, and there is no need to turn in anything. Students will sign up in advance for three study questions, each on a different author. Responses need not take more than 2-3 minutes, not including others' remarks. I will bring in a hard-copy signup schedule and transfer the names to the online schedule that accompanies the hyperlinked page in this paragraph.

Final Exam Requirement. 30% of course grade. The exam will consist partly of substantive, prominently mentioned passages to identify, some short questions requiring a sentence or two in response, and one essay. Books and notes are not allowed for the first two parts, but are allowed for the essay. Due date will be listed when available.

Make-up Exams: If you run into a scheduling conflict or problem, taking the final a day or two before its scheduled date might be possible at our mutual convenience. Please inquire about this well before you make such a request.

Attendance: I encourage students to attend regularly, but attendance is not a percentage of the course grade. Students are responsible for keeping up with missed sessions via digital audio files on the syllabus page.

Rough Drafts: Not required, but it would be a good idea to submit a rough draft or at least a thesis paragraph or description of your topic so I can offer suggestions on how to improve the paper's focus and effectiveness. Whether you submit a draft or not, please read Advance Draft Comments for Everyone. I have also written detailed guides to help you with style and grammar: Sample Essay in MS Word | Grammar Guide | Deductive Essays | Citation | Analysis | Editing | Plagiphrasing | Bad English | Writing Links.

Final Drafts: Late final drafts of papers will be marked down 2/3 grade. Due date is same as day of final exam. Students can either turn the paper in on exam day, or email it by midnight the same day. If you email your paper, call me at 714-434-1612 if you do not receive a verification within one day.

Plagiarism: Cheating on papers and tests will result in an "F" for the course and more -- in severe or repeated cases, it can lead to suspension or even expulsion. Many problems in this area are caused by students not knowing how to deal with sources, please read Proper Citation and Plagiphrasing.

Source Work: While it is acceptable to consult legitimate sources of information -- scholarly articles and books -- the most important thing is to study the assigned texts patiently. Relying on commercial notes may well hinder this process. See the CSUF Library Site, especially the "Databases by Title" hyperlink at top left under the heading "Quick Links." Project Muse and JSTOR (which you can find by scrolling down the alphabetized list of databases) contain thousands of articles.