English 103, Autumn 2000
Go directly to:
Office: (973) 353-5279 x 516; 516 Hill Hall.
Hours: Monday, 2:00-4:00, and by appointment (appointments
Home: (609) 882-4642 (before 10:30 p.m.!).
(the best way to reach me).
Listserv: firstname.lastname@example.org (for the whole
English 103 involves the following responsibilities on your part:
- Written Assignments: There will be six papers of
varying lengths. There are also a number of shorter writing
assignments, in-class writing assignments, and six short "OED
Exercises," in which you'll provide one-page reports of your
discoveries in the Oxford English Dictionary (we'll discuss these
in class). An unannounced quiz might begin any class.
- Attendance: Almost any excuse, given in advance
(in person, by phone, or by E-mail), will receive my blessing.
Absences not excused in advance will be frowned upon (which means
a lower final grade). The same policy applies to late papers:
I'll grant extensions, but only if you talk to me before
the due date.
- Class Participation: Regular and active class
participation (including doing the readings) is essential, and
counts for fully 30% of your grade. Each class will begin with a
ten-minute oral presentation by a student. If you're unwilling to
speak in public, drop the class now.
- E-Mail Participation: All students will be
required to have an E-mail account by the end of the
second week of classes; E-mail participation will count
toward the class participation grade, and some essential
information will be available only electronically. I'll
provide any computing help you need.
Four books -- The Nature Reader (abbreviated NR),
Steven Jay Gould, Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of
Worms (abbreviated LMC), King Lear, and The
American Heritage Dictionary -- are available from New Jersey
Books. The remainder of the required readings are available in a
photocopy pack or on-line.
This class has a mailing list called
email@example.com; all students are required to have
an E-mail account by the send of the second week of classes and
to participate in the discussions on the list. Although I have
the greatest sympathy for those suffering from technological
nightmares, don't expect to use computer problems as an excuse
for not doing the reading or writing. If you have a computer
problem, contact me.
Schedule of Class Meetings
- Wed., 6 Sept.
- Introduction. In-Class Writing Exercise.
- Mon., 11 Sept.
- From The Oxford English Dictionary, "Nature"
- Wed., 13 Sept.
- John Hay, "The Nature Writer's Dilemma" (NR, pp. 5-8);
Joyce Carol Oates, "Against Nature" (NR, pp. 226-33);
Steven Jay Gould, "Pieces of Eight: Confessions of a Humanistic
Naturalist" (LMC, pp. 1-13); Grammar and Style Guide: "Audience,"
- Mon., 18 Sept.
- Ann Zwinger, "A World of Infinite Variety" (NR, pp.
24-34); Edward Hoagland, "In Praise of John Muir" (NR, pp.
35-48). OED Exercise No. 1 Due: Report on five words from
Hay, Oates, or Gould.
- Wed., 20 Sept.
- Leslie Marmon Silko, "Landscape, History, and the Pueblo
Imagination" (NR, pp. 72-83); Keith H. Basso, "'Stalking
with Stories': Names, Places, and Moral Narratives among the
Western Apaches" (NR, pp. 84-105).
- Mon., 25 Sept.
- Bruce Chatwin, "The Drought" (NR, pp. 284-85); Paul
Bowles, "The New Day" (NR, pp. 286-87); David Malouf, "An
Imaginary Life" (NR, pp. 288-90); Cormac McCarthy, "The
Mountain" (NR, pp. 291-92); Gabriel Garc¡a M rquez, "To
the Sea" (NR, pp. 293-94); Richard Ford, "Hunters"
(NR, pp. 295-97); John Berger, "Goats" (NR, pp.
298-300); Jim Crace, "The Prospect from the Silver Hill"
(NR, pp. 301-8). Paper No. 1 Due: 500 words on your
own experience of "nature," however defined.
- Wed., 27 Sept.
- John Fowles, "The Green Man" (NR, pp. 132-39); Annie
Dillard, "Total Eclipse" (NR, pp. 148-59); Edward O.
Wilson, "Storm over the Amazon" (NR, pp. 170-72). OED
Exercise No. 2 Due: Report on five words from the fiction
writers (readings from 25 September).
- Mon., 2 Oct.
- Seamus Heaney, "Death of a Naturalist" (NR, pp. 3-4);
Derek Walcott, "The Sea Is History" (NR, pp. 11-13);
Louise Glück, "All Hallows" (NR, p. 71); Robert Hass,
"The Apple Trees at Olema" (NR, pp. 181-82); Ted Hughes,
"Hawk Roosting" (NR, p. 237); Elizabeth Bishop, "The Map"
(NR, p. 283); W. S. Merwin, "The Last One" (NR, pp.
311-13). Paper No. 2 Due: 1,000 words on fiction (readings
from 25 September).
- Wed., 4 Oct.
- Gary Snyder, "The Rediscovery of Turtle Island" (NR,
pp. 183-91); Jim Harrison, "Passacaglia on Getting Lost"
(NR, pp. 214-19). OED Exercise No. 3 Due: Report on
five words from the poetry writers (readings from 2
- Mon., 9 Oct.
- Italo Calvino, "Man, the Sky, and the Elephant: On Pliny's
Natural History" (NR, pp. 59-68); Steven Jay Gould,
"Upwardly Mobile Fossils" (LMC, pp. 17-44). Paper No. 3
Due: 1,000 words on poetry (readings from 2 October).
- Wed., 11 Oct.
- Gould, "Seeing Eye to Eye" (LMC, pp. 57-73), "The Clam
Stripped Bare by Her Naturalists, Even" (LMC, pp. 77-98);
Grammar and Style Guide: "Diction,"
versus Germanic Diction," "Revision,"
- Mon., 16 Oct.
- Gould, "Darwin's American Soulmate: A Bird's-Eye View"
(LMC, pp. 99-118). Revision Exercise Due: Described
- Wed., 18 Oct.
- Gould, "The Dodo in the Caucus Race" (LMC, pp.
231-49); Grammar and Style Guide: "Concrete
- Mon., 23 Oct.
- Gould, "Up against a Wall" (LMC, pp. 161-78); "A
Lesson from the Old Masters" (LMC, pp. 179-95).
- Wed., 25 Oct.
- Gould, "Mr. Sophia's Pony" (LMC, pp. 141-58); Grammar
and Style Guide: "Obfuscation,"
- Mon., 30 Oct.
- Gould, "A Seahorse for All Races" (LMC, pp. 119-40).
Paper No. 4 Due: 1,000 words explaining a technical matter
(of your choosing) to a nonspecialist.
- Wed., 1 Nov.
- Gould, "The Diet of Worms and the Defenestration of Prague"
(LMC, pp. 251-65); Grammar and Style Guide: "Mechanics,"
and Quotation Marks," "Semicolon."
- Mon., 6 Nov.
- Gould, "Non-Overlapping Magisteria" (LMC, pp.
- Wed., 8 Nov.
- In-Class Debate: "Resolved, publicly funded schools
colleges should not teach Creationism."
- Mon., 13 Nov.
- Gould, "War of the Worldviews" (LMC, pp. 339-54).
Paper No. 5 Due: 1,500 words on the relation between
science, religion, and government.
- Wed., 15 Nov.
- Gould, "Reversing Established Orders" (LMC, pp.
393-404); Grammar and Style Guide: "Sexist
Language and the Indefinite Third Person," "Foreign
Words and Phrases," "Hypercorrection,"
- Mon., 20 Nov.
Lear, introductory material and Act I. OED Exercise
No. 4 Due: Report on five words from Gould.
- Wed., 22 Nov.
- No class (Friday schedule).
- Mon., 27 Nov.
Lear, Act II.
- Wed., 29 Nov.
Lear, Act III.
- Mon., 4 Dec.
Lear, Act IV. OED Exercise No. 5 Due: Report on
five words from King Lear, Acts I-III.
- Wed., 6 Dec.
Lear, Act V.
- Mon., 11 Dec.
Johnson on Shakespeare; King Lear on film (in class).
OED Exercise No. 6 Due: Report on five words from King
Lear, Acts IV-V.
- Wed., 13 Dec.
- Conclusion. Paper No. 6 Due: 2,000 words on King