English 4188-02, Spring 2004
Individual Authors: Edith Wharton and the House of Fiction
Dr. Debra MacComb
Office: TELC 2232
Office Phone: 836-6512 (messages); email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: TR 11-12 and 2-3; W 9-1. I will also happily see you by appointment
Dwight, Eleanor. Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life. (Abrams)
Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence. (Norton Critical)
The Custom of the Country. (Penguin)
Ethan Frome and Summer. (Houghton Mifflin)
The Fruit of the Tree. (Northeastern)
Glimpses of the Moon. (Signet)
The House of Mirth. (Signet)
Roman Fever and Other Stories. (Scribner’s)
The Writing of Fiction. (Touchstone)
Various handouts as noted on syllabus.
his Preface to the
The house of fiction has in short not one window, but a million—a number of possible windows not to be reckoned, rather; every one of which has been pierced, or is still pierceable, in its vast front, by the need of the individual vision and the pressure of the individual will. These apertures, of dissimilar shape and size, hang so, all together, over the human scene. . . . The spreading field, the human scene, is the “choice of subject”; the pierced aperture . . . is the “literary form”; but they are, singly or together, as nothing without the posted presence of the watcher—without, in other words, the consciousness of the artist.
One of these “posted presence[s],” Edith Wharton was certainly a mistress of the house of fiction and one who could—perhaps better than most—understand the aptness of James’s metaphor, for her first published work, The Decoration of Houses, articulates principles for constructing and relating interior and exterior spaces with regard for both tradition and innovation. This course will study Wharton’s career as a writer—certainly of outstanding works of fiction, but also of travelogues and aesthetic theory—in terms of her varied interests in form, space and relation.
This is a writing intensive course. By successfully completing this course, you
will receive WAC (Writing across the Curriculum) credit toward graduation. The goals of WAC are to encourage students to
use writing as a way to learn, to show students how to write more effectively
in their disciplines, and to improve students’ writing skills. All students with a major in the
Attendance: Missing more than 10% of class will be grounds for lowering your grade; missing 20% will be grounds for failure.
Late Response papers, Prospecti, Researched Essay will be accepted only with a documented excuse. Other late work will be penalized at the rate of ½ grade per class day late.
The in-class assignments and the reading questions are informal, writing-to-learn activities in which you will be using the writing exercise itself to come to terms with the material you have read. Your responses will be used to generate class discussion as well as to help you develop you abilities to read and write about what you have read. These assignments will be evaluated according to these expectations with a /+, / and /-. The other writing you do for this class may grow out of these informal exercises; however, the response papers, research project and final exam will be evaluated in terms of departmental expectations for formal academic writing.
Plagiarism is grounds for failure in the course; in addition, I will report any instance of plagiarism to the Dean for disciplinary action. Plagiarism is the use of another’s words or ideas as if they were one’s own. Therefore, if you borrow an idea, either
--express it in language entirely your own and acknowledge your borrowing with a parenthetical reference or footnote
indicate the exact extent of your debt to the actual words of the source by enclosing them in quotation marks and document the source according to MLA conventions.
Further, submitting the same paper in multiple classes—no matter whether those courses are taken in the same or different semesters—is a form of academic dishonesty and will result in a failing grade for the course.
T 1/6 Course Introduction
R 1/8 Discussion: Dwight, 7-68; excerpts from The Decoration of Houses (1897) and “Italian Villas and Their Gardens” (1904) (handouts)
T 1/13 Dwight, 69-118; *The House of Mirth
R 1/15 The House of Mirth
T 1/20 The House of Mirth
R 1/22 The House of Mirth
T 1/27 Dwight, 119-140; *“A Motor-Flight Through France” (1906—handout); The Fruit of the Tree
R 1/29 *The Fruit of the Tree
T 2/3 The Fruit of the Tree Directed response #1 due
R 2/5 *“The Other Two,” “Souls Belated,” “Autres Temps”
(All in Roman Fever and other Stories)
T 2/10 *The Custom of the Country
R 2/12 The Custom of the Country
T 2/17 The Custom of the Country
R 2/19 Dwight, 141-210; *“Fighting France” (1915—handout)
T 2/24 *Ethan Frome
R 2/26 Ethan Frome Directed response #2 due
F 2/27 Last Day to Withdraw with grade of “W”
T 3/2 Ethan Frome
R 3/4 *Summer
T 3/9 Summer
R 3/11 Summer Deadline to discuss prospectus
T 3/16 *The Writing of Fiction, “
R 3/18 The Writing of Fiction, “After Holbein” Prospectus due
Spring Break 3/22-3/26
T 3/30 Dwight, 211-end; *The Age of Innocence
R 4/1 The Age of Innocence Directed response #3 due
T 4/6 The Age of Innocence
R 4/8 The Age of Innocence
T 4/13 *Glimpses of the Moon
R 4/15 Glimpses of the Moon
T 4/20 “The Last Asset,” “Angel at the Grave,” “Roman Fever”
R 4/22 Last Day of Class: Final Exam preview Documented Essay due
R 4/29 Final Exam, ; please bring large bluebooks