Thursday, August 18, 2011

The First Week of Class

Welcome back to the fall semester! I look forward to meeting everyone on Tuesday (and saying hello to a few familiar faces). Let me answer a few questions right off the bat...

Can I get a copy of the syllabus?

I'll be e-mailing everyone the syllabus, but there's a "Syllabus" link over there in the sidebar in case you need another copy. I'll be killing enough trees over the course of the semester, so you will not be getting a hard copy of the syllabus in class (though you can of course print one out for yourself).

What's this blog all about? How does it work?

Over in the sidebar on the right (under "Course Information") are links to guidelines for how the blog functions as a course requirement and some suggestions for troubleshooting. There's a post below you can respond to in order to get comfortable with the blog. It's worth a point (if you respond you get the point; if not, not). More posts will be available for you to respond to for full credit after the first day of class. Please e-mail me if you run into any problems or have any questions!

Is there any reading for the first week of class?

There is no reading that you need to do in advance for our first day of class (Tuesday), but for Thursday you should read Fantomina by Eliza Haywood, which is available in a reliable online edition. Please print it out and bring the hard copy to class with you!

Why do I have to bring a hard copy of the reading to class? I'll be reading it in advance on my Ipad (laptop, tablet, smartphone, Kindle...), which I'll be bringing with me anyway.

Two reasons:
(1) I do not allow electronic gizmos of any variety (laptops, tablets, ereaders, smartphones) in class: they are distracting and they dilute the shared communal experience of class discussion.

(2) Ereaders serve many excellent purposes, but to get the most out of an upper-level discussion and analysis of literature, you need a hard copy of the text. An ereader makes it difficult to locate passages quickly in the course of discussion, and you cannot annotate and underline (which is helpful when it comes time to write for the course). Many of the course readings ARE available in cheap electronic editions, but you get what you pay for: such texts are often poorly edited, differ substantially from the assigned edition, and make it difficult to stay on track with your classmates as we talk about the readings. If this course inspires you to read more widely in eighteenth-century fiction for your own pleasure, cheap ebooks are a great way to go, but the scholarly purposes of this course require the assigned print editions.

You didn't answer my question here; what should I do?

If the syllabus doesn't give you an answer to your question, you can e-mail me (, ask me after class, or come to office hours (2pm - 3pm Tues. and Thurs., 321 English Bldg.)

No comments:

Post a Comment