AMERICAN LITERATURE AND THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT (352:368) Fall 2011
Professor H. Bruce Franklin Office: Hill 515
Phone: 973-353-5444 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: MON: 1:00-2:10; WED 2:30-4:00; and by appointment.
Home page: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~hbf
Teaching Assistant: Sara Grossman E-mail: email@example.com
Office Hours: MON: 11:30-1:00; WED: 4:00-5:00.
John Hersey, Blues. Vintage paperback.
Mark Kurlansky, Cod. Penguin paperback.
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea. Scribner paperback.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 2009. (O.k. to substitute any other unabridged edition.)
It’s strongly recommended that you also get an audio version. Three are available from Audible.com, any of which can be downloaded to a computer or almost any mobile device for convenient listening. The best of the three (and the cheapest) is read by Frank Muller. You may, if you prefer, just listen to the audio version instead of reading the book, but you will still need to bring the book to class.
Neal Stephenson, Zodiac. Bantam or Grove.
September 7 Introductory class.
8 Deborah Cramer,
Deep Blue (video; shown in class)
September 19 Henry Beston, “The Headlong Wave (ASW 454-63); Jack London, “A Royal Sport” (ASW 393-403); Marianne Moore, “The Fish” (ASW 452-53); E. B. White, “The Sea and the Wind that Blows” (ASW 610-13); Rachel Carson, “The Marginal World” (ASW 562-68); Elizabeth Bishop, “At the Fishhouses” (ASW 559-61); Sylvia Earle, from Sea Change (ASW 639-48).
September 21 Walt Whitman, “As I Ebb’d
September 26 J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur, from Peculiar Customs at Nantucket (ASW 34-36) Celia Thaxter, from Among the Isles of the Shoals (ASW 294-306); Olaudah Equiano, from The Interesting Narrative of the Life (ASW 26-33); Washington Irving, “The Voyage” (ASW 58-64); Fanny Kemble, from Journals of a Young Actress ASW 101-110); Richard Henry Dana, Jr., from Two Years Before the Mast (ASW, 145-51).
Introductory lecture on Melville and Moby-Dick
September 28 Owen Chase, from Narrative . . . of the Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex (ASW) 70-79; Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale, “Extracts” and Chapters 1-4.
Into the Deep:
October 3 Moby-Dick, Chapters 5-31, 33-34. (Chapter 32, “Cetology,” which is a satire of shallow book knowledge, is optional.)
Into the Deep (2nd half)
October 5 Moby-Dick, Chapters 35-47.
October 10 Moby-Dick, Chapters 48-84.
October 12 Moby-Dick, Chapters 85-98.
October 17 Moby-Dick, Chapters 99-Epilogue.
October 19 Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, pp. 1-60 (feel free to skip all the recipes in this book).
October 24 Cod, pp. 62-233.
October 26 Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat” (ASW 347-72).
October 31 First Writing Project Due. Part of this class will be reserved for guidance and discussion of second writing project.
November 2 Mary Rowland, “from Remarks on Board Brig Thomas W. Roland (ASW, 253-63); Eugene O’Neill, Ile (ASW, 423-39).
November 7 Gary Snyder, “Oil” (ASW, 583); Joseph Mitchell, “The Bottom of the Harbor” (ASW, 584-608); Barry Lopez, “A Presentation of Whales” (ASW 618-38). In John Hersey’s Blues, the following poems: Robert Penn Warren, “The Red Mullet” (22); Elizabeth Bishop, “The Fish” (37-39).
November 9 In John Hersey’s Blues, the following poems: John Ciardi, “The Lung Fish” (74-76); Ted Hughes, “Pike” (139-40); Richard Wilbur, “Trolling for Blues” (158-59); W.H. Auden, “A Voyage” (178-79); The Pier: Under Pisces” (190-91).
November 14 Blues, pp. 1-138.
November 16 Blues, pp. 139-205.
November 21 Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.
November 28 Neal Stephenson, Zodiac.
November 30 By this time, your essay or story should be well under way. Part of the class this day will be devoted to providing help on your writing project.
December 5 H. Bruce Franklin, “The Most Important Fish in the Sea” (essay to be distributed via Blackboard); Walt Whitman, “A Paumanok Picture” (ASW 250).
Video on the menhaden reduction industry to be shown in class.
December 8 Discussion of writing project and review of themes and issues in the course.
December 12 Final day for submission of original essay or short story (minimum length 2,500 words). Do not leave the writing or typing of this project for the last minute. The hard copy is due in class. You must also submit a digitized copy (by e-mail or otherwise), within 24 hours of this class meeting. This class will provide important review and preparation for the final examination.
It is essential for everybody to keep up with the reading schedule. There will be several brief tests on the reading, given without prior announcement. Missed tests will count as zero unless the absence is excused; please submit written requests for excused absences. There will be a final examination but no mid‑term.
In determining the grade for the course, weighting will be approximately as follows: (1) Contributions to discussion in class. 20% (2) Evidence of thorough and thoughtful completion of the assigned readings, mainly determined by performance on the quizzes. 20% (3) The two writing projects. 30% (4) the final examination. 30% In addition, each student's work will be evaluated on overall performance (including attendance) and the level of knowledge and understanding ultimately reached.
Instructions for Writing Projects
Two writing projects, both of which should be thought of as creative writing, are required.
The first writing project, due on October 27, is a brief personal essay (minimum length 1500 words) based on some experience or experiences you have had in relation to the marine environment. The writings we will be exploring in the course show the range of possibilities and can help serve as models or inspirations for your essay. Look, for example, at the vast differences between Henry Beston’s careful observation of the sounds and forms of waves on a beach and Jack London’s intimate knowledge of waves as he learns to surf. Or think about all the different kinds of experience in ships and boats many of these authors describe. I am especially keen to hear about people’s experiences with the wildlife of the sea. Note here the complex and often contradictory emotional and intellectual responses to catching fish described by several of these authors. For those who have never fished, I urge you to have this experience (unless you have a moral taboo against fishing, even when the fish get released). Many other possibilities to write about include observations and interactions with other people in the marine environment, as well as encounters with the pollution or destruction of the marine environment. This first piece of experiential writing may serve as raw material for the second required writing, which is a short story or essay due on the last day of class (December 12).
The second writing project is an essay or short story that should be an original, valuable achievement. Think of it as something you are preparing for publication. That is, you are addressing an audience of reasonably intelligent strangers whom you must entice to read your work and who will have a valuable experience reading it. Most questions about form and content can be answered easily if you put yourself in your readers' shoes. The essay or story should contribute to your readers' understanding of some aspect of the subject matter of the course.
If you choose to write an essay, please avoid the boring "term paper" mode and do not just regurgitate what's already available in books, magazines, or web sites. Many of the most interesting essays are based, at least in part, on the authors' own experience.
If you choose to write a story, this should also be based on your own research, knowledge, and experience. Some of the finest stories done in previous years used a point-of-view character quite similar to the author. Study the techniques and methods used in fiction that you find effective. Remember that you need to develop believable characters and scenes in order to get your readers to experience your fictional world. Short stories usually consist of very few scenes, sometimes only one, developed in detail.
The minimum length is 2,500 words. If you are having difficulty reaching this length, you can be sure there is some problem in your conception and development of your essay or story. There is no maximum length.
proper use and acknowledgement of sources, be sure you have a copy of the
The physical appearance of your work should be attractive and professional looking. It should be double-spaced throughout. The print should be very black (not gray and faded) and pleasant to read. There is no adequate excuse for frequent errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. So allow yourself ample time for proofreading. Late papers will be penalized unless there is a medical or other emergency. Be sure to back up your work on a disk, flash drive, or cloud and keep a copy of your paper when you turn it in.