English 4155-01W: Twentieth Century British Literature

Dr. Maria Doyle

Fall 2009: MW 12:30-1:45, Hum 206


Office and Phone: TLC 2-248, 678-839-4853

Email: mdoyle@westga.edu

Office Hours: M 10:15-12:15, 3:30-4:30, W 11:15-12:15, 3:30-4:30 and by appt.

Virtual Office Hours: T 9-12 (log in to CourseDen and use the chat function)

Website: http://www.westga.edu/~mdoyle


Course Description:

Early in the twentieth century, W.B. Yeats asserted in “The Second Coming” that “things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” By the century’s end, Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia would posit: “We shed as we pick up, like travelers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind.” The movement from modernist disillusionment to postmodern fluidity will serve as a framework for our discussion of a century engrossed in the question of how things fall apart even as they move forward. Exploring anarchist bombers and evening parties, existential wastelands and postmodern fairy tales, this course will ask how the shifting currents of history – including the breakup of the British Empire, the politics of World Wars I and II and the rise of the British welfare state – have also fractured literary time, cultural meaning and the definition of Britishness itself. Classes will explore a variety of literary forms including short stories, plays, novels and poems from across the period.


A catalog description and learning outcomes for this course can be found online at http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/fr/CourseGuid/4155.html.


All handouts will be posted to the CourseDen course site, so be sure to check there if you miss a class, since, "I wasn't in class the day we discussed X" will not be considered an acceptable excuse for not keeping up with material or for turning in work late. Students should use their university email accounts or the CourseDen email function to correspond with the professor. Students who have questions or want to consult about assignments are also welcome to attend office hours or to use the virtual office hours on Tuesdays.


As a "Writing Across the Curriculum" course, this class will engage students in a variety of formal and informal writing activities. Students must have completed 6 hours of WAC credit to graduate. For more information on WAC goals and outcomes, see http://www.westga.edu/~wac/wacpolicy_rev10-04.htm



Short Paper (10%): Guidelines for this short (4-6 page) thesis-driven essay will be handed out in class. Students will be given the option of revising the finished paper; revisions will be due one week after essays are returned and the final grade for the project for those wishing to revise will be the average of the two grades.


Research project (40% total [30% final paper, 10% preparatory materials]): Students will complete an independent research project on a topic of their choosing for this course. This final product of this project will be a formal 9-11 page paper with an annotated bibliography of at least six secondary sources. To help students develop their project ideas, this final project will be preceded by two components: (1) a 300-500 word proposal that outlines the project idea, your rationale for exploring this question and the materials you will use to do so and (2) an oral presentation of the project in-process to be given in class in the last month of the course. I will provide students with written feedback and suggestions on their proposal; each presentation will be followed by student questions so that you can also receive peer feedback as you work on the finished product.


Quizzes (20%): Students will complete several online quizzes over the course of the semester. Quizzes will spot check your understanding of the historical and literary issues discussed in the preceding weeks and will include a mix of paragraph and multiple-choice questions. All quizzes are open book and note. Dates when quizzes will become available are listed on the syllabus: quizzes will open at 12 noon on the date listed (always a Thursday) and will close at noon on the following day (Friday). Instructions for each quiz will indicate how much time you have to complete the quiz once you begin it (generally this will be 20-30 minutes). I will drop your lowest quiz grade at the end of the semester. In addition to graded quizzes, students will be required to complete a course policy quiz at the beginning of the semester in order to be able to access other course assignments and materials.


Final Exam (20%): The final exam will ask students to identify and discuss passages, define terms, discuss significant events/stages in 20th century British literary development and analyze specific themes and ideas as they appear in the literary works on the syllabus. Students should also be able to discuss the historical and theoretical contexts covered in class. The exam will include short response and essay sections. No makeup exams will be scheduled, and students who arrive late to exams will not be given extra time.


Participation (10%): Class participation – your preparation for class meetings and your willingness to contribute to our discussions – is an important component of your grade.  Consistent, punctual attendance is the minimum expected of all students, and after four absences, you will lose half a letter grade in this category for each additional class missed. You do not need to explain your absences to me – I understand that sometimes illness, childcare issues, uncooperative automobiles or unforeseen emergencies prevent you from coming to class – but use those allowed days for real emergencies, as I will not differentiate between “excused” and  “unexcused” absences. Doing well in class participation means more than just coming to class.  Students are further expected to have read the material carefully before class meetings, to listen attentively both to the instructor and to the comments other students make during discussions, to ask questions and offer ideas about the material and to respond thoughtfully to ideas presented both by the instructor and the other students.




I do not give 'makeup' assignments, and unless an exceptional opportunity arises that is directly related to the course material, I do not offer 'extra credit' opportunities: you will all be assessed by the same methods on the same assignments. If you find that you are having trouble with the course material, adjust your study schedule, come to my office hours or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get help with your writing.


Special Needs: If you have a registered disability that will require accommodation, please see me at the beginning of the semester; I will be happy to discuss your situation. If you have a disability that you have not yet registered through the Disabled Student Services Office, please contact Dr. Ann Phillips in Student Development (678-839-6428).


Cell Phones: Please turn cell phones off when you enter the classroom. Your time during class is committed to the class, and you may check messages outside of class hours.


Outside Sources and Academic Honesty: Academic dishonesty involves any attempt on your part to claim ideas and/or specific phrasing that you have gotten from elsewhere – including, but not limited to, Wikipedia, the dictionary, The New York Times, Sparknotes, an article you found that just sounds "better" than you think you could say it or your Aunt Sally – as your own or to fabricate sources or evidence so as to make your argument sound stronger. Plagiarism thus includes actions such as copying papers or online responses from the internet or other sources (including word-for-word copying and paraphrasing without citation), cheating on exams, turning in work written by someone else or turning in work that you previously submitted for another course.

* All work that you turn in for this course must be your work completed in this semester in response to an assignment for this class; course assignments are designed to help you develop a set of skills, not just produce information, and failure to do your own work both shortchanges you in this skill development process – rather like attempting to play basketball or sculpt a piece of wood without mastering the dribble or learning about your tools – and violates the shared trust of this course.

* Academic dishonesty is a serious offense, and plagiarizing any assignment or part thereof, regardless of the relative value of the assignment in the calculation of your course grade, is grounds for failure of the course.

* In keeping with departmental and university honor policies, all cases of academic dishonesty will be reported both to the Chair of the English Department and to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In short, do your own work and when you use outside information, provide accurate citations for it. For more on the English Department's plagiarism policy, see http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/Plagiarism/pladef.html.

* Students should include a signed copy of the following statement with each written assignment (your short essay and final research project) submitted this semester: "I have read the course statement on academic honesty, and I pledge that the material I am submitting for credit in this class is my own work."


Deadlines and Late Policy: Due dates for all assignments are listed on the syllabus; make note of them and plan your schedule accordingly. For the final project, no late papers will be accepted, nor will papers be accepted over email. For the first paper, a late penalty of one half of a letter grade will be assessed for each day that a paper is late. Papers that are more than four days late (including weekend days and holidays) will receive an automatic "F." Extensions will be granted only if you have a verifiable medical or other sufficiently serious ("seriousness" will be determined at the instructor's discretion) excuse and you request an extension (in person, via email or phone) before the paper deadline. Regardless of your situation, no extensions will be granted beyond the four-day late period. Having papers or exams for other classes, a schedule conflict with work or other responsibilities, or simply being "swamped" are not sufficiently serious excuses and will not result in your being granted an extension. Late penalties for papers turned in outside of class will be assessed based on when I receive the paper, since if you do not hand it to me directly, I cannot verify when you turned it in.


Paper Format: All papers should be typed, double-spaced, in a standard 12 point font (preferably Times New Roman) with 1" top/bottom margins and 1-1.25" left/right margins. Big fonts, extra spaces between your paragraphs, and large margins are pretty easy to spot, so stick to the standard size guidelines and use the revision process to help you generate enough information to present a clear and well-reasoned analysis within the designated space limitations. Papers are required to have inline citations where appropriate and a descriptive title (i.e. not "Oedipus" but "The Chorus as Audience in Oedipus"), and you must number your pages and staple (NOT paper clip, glue, or origami fold) them together. Title pages are unnecessary; simply include your name, the course number and the date in the top right corner of your first page. Include your signed honor statement either at the end of your text or on your bibliography page.


Schedule of Readings:

Students are expected to have read the material listed below by the date for which it appears on the syllabus. Any change to this schedule will be announced in class and posted to the course website.


Mon 8/17          Introduction: Reacting Against the Victorians

Wed 8/19          W.B. Yeats, The Yeats Reader: Selections from The Rose, The Green Helmet and Responsibilities

Fri 8/21              Course policy quiz due by noon.


Mon 8/24          W.B. Yeats, The Yeats Reader: Selections from Michael Robartes and the Dancer, The Tower and Last Poems

Wed 8/26          Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Ch. 1-8)


Mon 8/31          Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Ch. 9-13)

Wed 9/2            James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Ch. 1)

Thu 9/3              Quiz #1


Mon 9/7            No class meeting

Wed 9/9            James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Ch. 2-3)


Mon 9/14          James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Ch. 4-5)

Wed 9/16          W.H. Auden, from Selected Poems: Poems #15, 19, 27, 33-67

                              Short essay due in class


Mon 9/21          W.H. Auden, from Selected Poems: Poems #71-74, 78-83, 89-95, 102, 110

Wed 9/23          Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (pp. 3-147)

Thu 9/24           Quiz #2


Mon 9/28          Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (pp. 147-end)

Wed 9/30          Stevie Smith, Selected Poems


Mon 10/5          Samuel Beckett, Happy Days

Tue 10/6           Last day to withdraw with a W

Wed 10/7          Continue discussion of Happy Days

Thu 10/8           Quiz #3


Mon 10/12       Ted Hughes, from Selected Poems 1957-1994: poems from Lupercal and Crow

Wed 10/14       Ted Hughes, from Selected Poems 1957-1994: poems from Cave Birds, Season Songs and Wolfwatching


Mon 10/19       Harold Pinter, The Homecoming

Wed 10/21       Continue discussion of The Homecoming

Thu 10/22        Proposals due electronically by 5 pm


Mon 10/26       Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (Book 1)

Wed 10/28       Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (Book 2)

Thu 10/29        Quiz #4


Mon 11/2          Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (Continue Book 2; Begin Book 3)

Wed 11/4          Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (Finish Book 3)


Mon 11/9          Presentations

Wed 11/11       Presentations

Thu 11/12        Quiz #5


Mon 11/16       Presentations

Wed 11/18       Presentations


Mon 11/23       Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

Wed 11/25       No class


Mon 11/30       Finish discussion of Arcadia

Wed 12/2          Last class

                              Final papers due in class


Wed 12/9          Final exam, 11 am -1 pm

                              Bring a bluebook to the final exam.