Syllabus for English 9

English 9, "From Epic to Hypertext," with Jack Lynch.

The course description, the requirements, and the grading policy are available online, as is a complete list of suggested additional reading. All the course readings are also available on the gopher.


Jump to January -- February -- March -- April

16 January

Introduction: The Varieties of Narrative.

The Classical World

There are many classical texts in English translation. Oxford's Alex catalogues them by date, splitting the eighth through first century BCE from the first century CE. Mythology is treated in alt.mythology. The Bryn Mawr Classical Review, edited by Jim O'Donnell, includes reviews of many books on the ancient world, including the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Metamorphoses. See also Homer and Ovid in the additional readings section.

18 January

Homer, Odyssey, books I, II, and III.

20 January

Homer, Odyssey, books IV, V, and VI.

23 January

Homer, Odyssey, books VII, VIII, and IX. Two-page paper due -- Odyssey I-VI.

25 January

Homer, Odyssey, books X, XI, and XII.

27 January

Ovid, selections from the Metamorphoses: Report: The Epic (Virgil, Spenser, Milton, &c.).

30 January

Ovid, selections from the Metamorphoses: Two-page paper due -- Homer or Ovid.

The Bible

There are dozens of Internet Bible resources. Check out soc.religion.christian.bible-study and alt.christnet.bible. See also the additional readings.

1 February

Stories from the Old Testament:

3 February

Stories from the New Testament: Report: Chronicle history.

Medieval Literature

There is an excellent collection of Medieval resources on the Internet called the Labyrinth. We also maintain pointers to most Medieval mailing lists. The Bryn Mawr Medieval Review, co-edited by Jim O'Donnell, includes reviews of many books on the Medieval world, including Chaucer. See also Chaucer and Sir Gawain in the additional readings section.

6 February

Chaucer, The Miller's Tale. First Paper Due: 4-5 pages on Homer, Ovid, or the Bible.

8 February

Chaucer, The Nun's Priest's Tale.

10 February

Chaucer, continued. Writing Seminar: Organizing an Argument. Report: Fables.

13 February

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight. Two-page paper due -- Chaucer.

15 February

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight.

The Renaissance

There are countless resources on the Renaissance. Check out Alex (by author, not period; the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are improperly catalogued) and our list of mailing lists. The Renaissance gets short-shrifted in this class, since the great Renaissance narratives, such as The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost, would eat up too much of the semester, and many of the greatest works of the period are dramatic and lyric. See Columbus and Shakespeare in the additional readings section.

17 February

Selections from Mandeville's Travels, Marco Polo's Travels, and Columbus's Diaries. Report: The Oriental tale.

There's an online exhibition related to Columbus at the Library of Congress.

20 Feb

William Shakespeare, The Phoenix and the Turtle.

The Eighteenth Century

C18-L is the best Internet source for eighteenth-century studies; it's available as a newsgroup. I've assembled other eighteenth-century resources as well. See also Pope, Swift, and Boswell in the additional readings section.

22 February

Pope, The Rape of the Lock.

24 February

Pope, The Rape of the Lock. Report: Allegory.

27 February

Swift, Gulliver's Travels, part one (Lilliput). Two-page paper due -- Sir Gawain, travel literature, or Pope.

1 March

Swift, Gulliver's Travels, part four (Houyhnhnmland).

3 March

Swift, Gulliver's Travels, part four, continued. Report: Children's books.

6 March

Spring Break.

8 March

Spring Break.

10 March

Spring Break.

13 March

Boswell, Selections from The Life of Johnson: section I (pp. 35-62).

15 March

Boswell, Selections from The Life of Johnson: section II (pp. 65-80).

17 March

Boswell, Selections from The Life of Johnson: section III (pp. 93-122); Johnson's courage (pp. 174-75); dinner with Wilkes (pp. 216-24); Uttoxeter Market & Johnson's death (pp. 333-42). Report: Literary biography.

The Nineteenth Century

Alex includes many nineteenth-century E-Texts from both England and America. We also maintain pointers to most Romantic and Victorian mailing lists. See also Coleridge and Douglass in the additional readings section.

20 March

Coleridge, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Second paper due: 5-6 pages on Swift or Boswell.

22 March

Ballads & folk songs.

24 March

Ballads & folk songs. Report: Folktakes and fairytales.

The ballads listed here aren't restricted to the nineteenth century; some go all the way back to the seventeenth. There are good folk music resources on the rec.music.folk newsgroup, and some very good web sites at FolkWeb, FolkBook, and the Folk Music Home Page. See also the additional readings section.

27 March

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of an American Slave. Two-page paper due -- Coleridge, ballads, or Douglass.

29 March

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of an American Slave.

31 March

Douglass, continued. Writing Seminar--Polishing prose and revising. Report: Autobiography and memoir.

3 April

Victorian narrative poetry, including Tennyson, "Charge of the Light Brigade"; Carroll, "Jabberwocky"; &c.

5 April

Short stories: Report: Nonsense verse.

7 April

No class.

The Twentieth Century (and Beyond)

Alex has many twentieth-century E-Texts from around the world. Since copyright is still a problem on most recent texts, the selection is idiosyncratic (not to say perverse). We also maintain pointers to most twentieth-century mailing lists. See also short stories, Nabokov, and hypertext in the additional reading ssection.

10 April

Short stories:

12 April

Short stories: Presentations on final paper.

14 April

Short stories. Presentations on final paper. Report: Erotica and pornography.

17 April

Nabokov, Pale Fire. Presentations on final paper (if necessary).

19 April

Nabokov, Pale Fire.

21 April

Nabokov, Pale Fire. Report: Urban folklore.

24 April

Hypertext. Third Paper Due: Either a new 5-6 page paper, or an expansion of one of your previous papers to 8-10 pages. If you choose to expand a previous paper, you will be required to use outside sources (critical articles, &c.).

26 April

Hypertext.

Check out alt.hypertext for discussions of new directions for hypertext.

28 April

Conclusion.