The Syllabus

English 429: The Eighteenth-Century Novel
9:30 – 10:45 TuTh, 119 English Building
Office: 321 English Building (333-7059)
Office hours: 2:00 – 3:00 TuTh

Course Blog:

In this course we will examine the murky origins, the unsettling possibilities, and the glorious rise of the novel.  As we read some of the early fictions that defined this emerging genre and shaped its early development, you will gain insight into the power of novels to teach, to question, and to accommodate changing definitions of nation, class, and family.  You will also get to read some engrossing stories that will challenge your assumptions about what life was like three hundred years ago.  

Required Books

·      Eliza Haywood, Fantomina (online)
·      Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin: 978-0-14-143977-8)
·      Samuel Richardson, Pamela (Oxford: 978-0199536498)
·      Henry Fielding, Shamela (online)
·      Unca Eliza Winkfield, The Female American (Broadview: 978-1551112374)
·      Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (Penguin: 978-0-14-1439-77-8)
·      Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Penguin: 978-01430437676)
·      Frances Burney, Evelina (Broadview: 978-1551112374)
·      William Beckford, Vathek (Oxford: 978-0199537228)

Course Requirements

You will be getting more detailed information about the writing assignments in the weeks ahead.  Please review the information about attendance and the course blog carefully and let me know if you have any questions.


45 points
   Evaluated 9/23, 10/28, 12/7              

Blog Questions
50 points

Blog Responses
60 points

Rare Book Library Assignment
20 points

First Paper  
50 points

Final Paper 
75 points
Proposal due 10/24, Part I due 11/14; Part II due 12/2; Final Paper due 12/13

300 points

Your participation grade is the sum of your attendance points and participation quality.   Attendance will be taken by your responses to a short-answer question posed on the board at the start of each day’s class.  If you hand in a response, you get a point for the day’s attendance.  If you aren’t there to hand in a response, you don’t.   There is no distinction between excused and unexcused absences, but if you have ongoing health issues or university commitments that make this requirement a hardship, please discuss the situation with me.  You get an additional 2 attendance points for the first time you come to office hours (or meet with me at another time if you can’t make my office hours).   Every five weeks I evaluate the quality of your participation in the class on a five-point scale: 

5 pts
Weekly contributions to class discussion in all formats that demonstrate a command of the reading and move the conversation forward.
3 pts
Occasional contributions to full-class discussions or active participation in small-group discussions
1 pt
Present but silent.

To sum up:

Attendance:                                                 1 pt/class X 28 classes: 28 points
Office hour attendance:                         1 X 2 pts: 2 pts
Quality of participation:                         3 X 5 pts: 15 pts
Total: 45 pts.

The Course Blog
The writing requirements for this course include informal writing on the blog:  You will sign up to write blog posts for your classmates to respond to, and you will also respond on the blog to posts, made by either your classmates of me.  The blog is also where you can find the two online readings, some background information on the readings, course information (like this syllabus), and class announcements.    

The ground rules:

·      You can respond to any posts that are designated “For Credit.” 
·      To respond to a “For Credit” blog post, click on the “0 Responses” (if will have a number other than zero if others have already responded) button at the bottom of the blog post and typing in the window that opens up.
·      You are NOT expected to respond to all blog posts. 
·      No more than three blog responses in any given week will get credit.  
·      Each blog week begins on Saturday at midnight and ends the following Saturday at midnight. 
·      Blog responses posted after a stated deadline will not get credit.
·      Blog responses are graded weekly; each response is generally worth up to 3 points (sometimes more, sometimes less—the post will specify if this is the case).   Generally, posts will get one point if they are intelligible and accurate and two points if they are insightful and supported (where relevant) with evidence.  The vast majority of thoughtful and intelligent posts get two points.  Posts only get a third point if they push the boundaries of the conversation: challenge a previous response, take issue with the question, make unexpected connections to other course readings, and the like.
·      The blog is available to the public, so I encourage you to use a pseudonym (I myself go by “KW” on the blog, so it won’t turn up in Google searches of my name).  Just let me know by e-mail what your pseudonym is so you can get credit for your responses. 
·      New posts are generally available a few hours after class ends and at the beginning of each blogging week.  I try to have at least one post available for responses at any given time, and often there are more.  It’s a good idea to bookmark the blog in your web browser, subscribe to it if you use a web reader, and check the site two or three times a week, preferably right before you do the reading for class.
·      Aimiable disagreement, rhetorically effective profanity, thoughtful rebuttals, well-intentioned errors, and irony are all acceptable in a blog response and will not be penalized.  Anything unkind, offensive, or uncollegial will be deleted and receive zero credit. 

Writing Assignments
The writing assignments include:

·      The First Assignment: a 4- to 6-page paper on a choice of topics requiring a close reading of one of our assigned texts from early in the semester.
·      Required Blog Posts: You will sign up for specific dates/topics for making posts to the blog that explore one of our readings in greater depth and elicit further insight and commentary from your classmates.
·      The Rare Book Library Assignment: You will expand your knowledge of eighteenth-century fiction by going to the Rare Book Library and looking at a first edition of a novel from the eighteenth century.
·      The Final Assignment: You will work on this paper during the latter half of this course.  It will involve devising your own topic, doing research in secondary sources, and bringing several of our readings into dialogue with each other.

Final Exam
The completed Final Paper is due at the end of the scheduled finals week exam slot for this course; it will take the place of a conventional final exam.

Extra Credit
You can earn additional points in this course throughout the semester by making more than 60 points worth of blog posts over the course of the semester (up to three posts in any given week).  

Course Policies

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns by e-mail, during office hours (2  – 3pm TuTh, 321 English Building), or after class.  You may be informed of syllabus changes, clarification of assignments, and the like via e-mail or the course blog.  You are responsible for information conveyed by either of those means.  

Grades will be posted on Compass in a timely manner.  I cannot disclose grades by e-mail.  Please make an appointment with me or come to office hours to talk about specific grade-related issues.  Your final grade will be based on the total of your points for all the assignments and requirements as follows:

>290 points
279 – 289 points
269 – 278 points
259 – 268 points
248 – 258 points
238 – 247 points
228 – 237 points
217 – 227 points
207 – 216 points
197 – 206 points
186 – 196 points
176 – 185 points
< 175 points

Come to class prepared to talk about the day’s reading.  To focus your attention, please
·                        turn off phones and other devices for the duration of class;
·                        remove earbuds and earphones;
·                        put away laptop computers (unless they serve learning needs documented by DRES);
·                        put away newspapers and other distractions; and
·                        refrain from eating (beverages in spill-proof containers are okay).
If any of these expectations interfere with your documented learning needs or health issues, please let me know; the course is small enough that we should be able to work out some accommodation.

Plagiarism is representing someone else’s work as your own.  At a minimum I will fail any assignment that displays evidence of plagiarism and report the incident to the Dean of LAS and the Associate Head of the English department in accordance with university policies.  Stiffer penalties, up to and including a recommendation for expulsion, may apply depending on the nature of the offense.  The University’s policy on plagiarism, to which I adhere, can be found in Article 1, Part 4 of the University Student Code.
No written words (including those in cyberspace) are exempt from the requirement that you document your sources and identify quotations as such.  Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism or of the university’s policies will not protect you from a charge of plagiarism. If you are unsure about your use of a source, please ask!  A footnote is not always enough.  Footnotes must accurately reflect the source text, direct quotations from your source must also be indicated by quotation marks, and close paraphrases should be avoided altogether.
Plagiarism is often the result of poor choices made under pressure.  If you find yourself tempted to cut corners as a paper deadline approaches, please come talk to me about an extension, or take an extra day or two.  A late penalty is preferable to a charge of plagiarism.
Using work that you have handed in for another course to complete these course requirements is a form of academic dishonesty and will result at least in a failing grade on the assignment.   If you wish to incorporate the research or writing from another course in an assignment for this one, please talk to me about how to do it in an intellectually responsible way.

Special Circumstances
If unusual circumstances arise that keep you from fulfilling the course requirements, please get in touch with me as soon as possible so that we can work out alternative arrangements.  The more initiative you take in confronting such problems, the more helpful I can be.  If you are coping with an ongoing personal situation that interferes with your work for this course, I urge you to seek assistance from the Dean of Students office (300 Turner Student Services Building, 610 E. John St.; 333-0050;  The staff there can help you maintain your privacy while alerting me and your other instructors to your needs. 

 Readings and Assignments

The following list of dates and assignments may change as the semester progresses.  Any changes will be announced in class and posted on the course blog.   The specified reading should be completed in advance of class on the day specified. If there are no page numbers listed, you are expected to read the work in its entirety for the first day the work is assigned.

Week 1        8/23 (Tu)           "Spectator No. 1"
         8/25  (Th)           Fantomina
Week 2        8/30 (Tu)           Fantomina
         9/1 (Th)           Robinson Crusoe, p. 5 - 83
Week 3        9/6 (Tu)           Robinson Crusoe, p. 83 - 179
         9/8 (Th)           Robinson Crusoe, p. 179 - end
Week 4        9/13 (Tu)           Pamela, p. 1 - 98
         9/15 (Th)            Pamela, p. 92 – 219 (end Vol. 1)
Week 5        9/20 (Tu)           Pamela, Vol. II
         9/22 (Th)           Finish Pamela
Week 6        9/27 (Tu)           First paper due
         9/29 (Th)           Class cancelled (Rosh Hashanah)
Week 7        10/4 (Tu)           Shamela
         10/6 (Th)           Rare Book Library Assignment due
Week 8        10/11 (Tu)           Tristram Shandy, p. 1 - 11, 51-53, and 256 - 257 (I.i-vi, I.xx, and I                                 V.xiii)
         10/13 (Th)           Tristram Shandy, p. 298 - 354 (IV.xxxi - V.xxxii)
Week 9        10/18 (Tu)           Female American
         10/20 (Th)           Female American
         10/24 (M)           Final paper preliminary assignment due
Week 10        10/25 (Tu)           The Castle of Otranto
         10/27 (Th)           The Castle of Otranto

Week 11        11/1 (Tu)           Evelina, Vol I.
         11/3 (Th)           Evelina, Vol. II
Week 12        11/8 (Tu)           Evelina, Vol. III
         11/10 (Th)           finish Evelina
Week 13        11/14 (M)           Final Paper, Part I due
         11/15 (Tu)           Tristram Shandy, p. 490 - 539 (XIII)
         11/17 (Th)           Tristram Shandy, p. 544 - 588 (IX)
                    Happy Thanksgiving!
Week 14        11/29 (Tu)           Vathek
         12/1 (Th)           Vathek
         12/2 (F)           Final Paper, Part II due
Week 15        12/6 (Tu)           finish Vathek
         12/13 (Th)           Final Paper due