English 422. Special Topics in 18th Century Literature

Fall 1999

English 422
MWF 11-11:50
Dr. Roxanne Kent-Drury
Office: LAN 509
Hours: M-F 9-10
Phone: (606) 572-6636
e-mail: rkdrury@nku.edu
Website: http://www.nku.edu/~rkdrury/
Course Description.   The British 17th and 18th centuries comprised a period of unparalleled social, political, and economic revolution that simultaneously brought about a re-evaluation of what it meant to be a civilized human being.  One way to measure the results of this evaluation is to investigate the complex ways in which British and non-British writers represented themselves and others.  In this course we will avoid the traditional division between the study of English, American, and diasporic literatures and instead investigate a number of works that consciously cross international, social, racial, and gender boundaries as their authors grapple with the complex sense of identity that emerged during the period of British colonization and exploration.  We will also read these works as part of a larger conversation:  all can be read as part of a larger discussion by reading them alongside the parodies and sequels that follow them.  Armed with this knowledge, our study will conclude with a careful reading of works usually thought of as "American" texts, including the Declaration of Independence and Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography as documents that emerged from this discussion.

Texts and Materials

Behn, Aphra.  Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works.  Ed. Janet Todd.  New York: Penguin, 1992.
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. Ed. Angus Ross. New York:  Penguin, 1985.
Gay, John. The Beggar's Opera. Ed. Loughrey and Treadwell.  New York: Penguin, 1986.
Equiano, Olaudah.  The Interesting Narrative of the Live.  Ed. Vincent Carretta.  New York:  Penguin, 1995.
Andrews, William, ed. Classic American Autobiographies. New York:  Mentor Penguin, 1992
Jefferson, Thomas. The Portable Thomas Jefferson. Ed. Merrill Peterson.  New York: Viking Penguin, 1975.
Course Policies and Requirements

Late work All work is due at the beginning of class on the date posted on the course schedule. I will not accept late work except in extraordinary circumstances. If you cannot attend class on a due date, send your work along with one of your classmates, or make arrangements with me to turn it in before the due date. I will distribute a voluntary student contact sheet to help you contact one another should it be necessary.

Attendance. Although I do not take attendance, daily in-class writing and frequent in-class assignments make attendance mandatory (see In-class Writing component below).

Cheating & Plagiarism. All work submitted must be written exclusively for this course. The use of sources (ideas, quotations, and paraphrases) must be properly documented. Please see me if you have any questions about your use of sources. The use, without citation, of anyone else's actual or paraphrased words will result automatically in a failing grade in this course. Cheating on any exam will result in failure of the exam.

Grading. Grades will be calculated as follows:
In-class writing 20%
Midterm 20%
Presentation 20%
Paper 20%
Final 20%
Total 100% 

Course components.

In-class writing. At some point during most class sessions, I will ask you to respond in writing to a question pertaining to the reading assigned for that day. These responses help us to focus collectively on the material at hand and provide me with important insight into your needs as a class. Although these responses are not graded for content, they must attempt to address the question posed and demonstrate engagement with the assigned reading (that is, off-topic or contentless responses will not count). I will keep all of your responses in my files and will return them to you at the end of the semester. Your grade on in-class writing will be assigned based upon the number of appropriate responses you turned in. In-class writing assignments are collected immediately and cannot be made up, even the same day.

Group Presentation. Each student will sign up for a group that will read one outside primary text that is connected with the assigned reading for the class.  On the presentation date, the group will lead the discussion for that day.  A more detailed set of instructions will be provided separately.

Exams. Detailed information about exact point breakdowns for in-class exam questions will be provided later in the term. For all identifications on exams, you are expected to be able to explain both the context of each quotation within the work as well as the quotation's significance to the period under study. Following are general descriptions of exam formats.

Midterm. The midterm will include identifications of terms, characters, and quotations from the materials assigned during the portion of the exam indicated on the schedule.

Final Exam. The final exam follow the same format as the midterm, but will cover materials assigned during the final third of the course.

Papers. During the term, you will write one paper on a topic you choose in consultation with me. Papers must be written on the materials we study in this course and must meet the requirements of the assignment. Papers written on topics or materials not studied in this class will not receive a passing grade unless you receive prior approval. In addition, papers that do not make a recognizable point, do not use appropriate quotations from the text, or do not cite the sources used cannot receive a grade higher than a "D." Papers are expected to be at least 8 pages in length and must be typed in a 10-12 point font, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins all around. All quotations and sources must be cited in proper MLA documentation style. You are also expected to use and cite at least three critical sources in your paper in addition to the primary text and that edition's introductory material. Please review the grading criteria for written work several times during the semester.

Course Schedule

Roxanne Kent-Drury