English 221 D British Literature II, Winter 2001
click here for British Literature Links
click here for Image Links
Instructor: Michael Webster  Office: 129 LHH, 895-3071
e-mail: websterm@gvsu.edu  Class meets: 9:00-9:50 MWF, MAK 1169
homepage: http://www.gvsu.edu/websterm/ Office Hours: 1-2 MWF and 1:30-2:30 TH at EC 510. 



Reading assignments: Students should complete reading before class and read all introductions to periods and authors.

Week 1. [Jan. 8-12] Introduction to Neo-Classicism, concepts of period and genre. John Dryden, Three Odes, Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism, Part 1 and Part 2 (handouts and packet). Read definitions of "Neoclassical Period," "Genre," "Meter," "Irony," "Menippean Satire" and "Satire" in the back of Damrosch. Begin Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, parts I and IV. Read Introduction to Swift, pp. 1-9 and 14-19. Read also Swift's "Modest Proposal" (487-495). [Optional: Gulliver's Travels, part III, chapters 2-6; "Introduction" 9-14. Also optional: Essay on Man (packet).]

Week 2. [Jan. 15-19] Finish Swift, Gulliver's Travels, parts I and IV and Pope, Essay on Criticism (packet). Begin Jane Austen, Persuasion, and read Austen, from Chapter 1 of Pride and Prejudice (1020-1022). [Optional: Samuel Johnson, The Rambler #60 and The Rambler #134 (packet 71-76), Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution (57-66), Mary Wollstonecraft (67-71), Thomas Paine (76-82).]

Week 3. [Jan. 22-26] Jane Austen, Persuasion. Read Mary Wollstonecraft (206-232; 235-246), Thomas Gray, "Elegy" (packet 77-82), and "Sentimentalism" (packet 82-3). [Optional: Mary Robinson (195-198; 203-04), Hannah More, "from Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education" (269-275), William Blake (104-105, 110-131; packet) "Perspectives on the Slave Trade" (151-161; 181-190), and "The French Revolution."]

Week 4. [Jan. 29-Feb. 2] The Romantic Period: Finish Austen, Persuasion and Blake. Read Damrosch, "The Romantics and Their Contemporaries" (3-28), Edmund Burke, Enquiry . . . (packet 95-100) [for an overview, see "The Sublime"], and Two Scottish Popular Ballads" (packet). Start Robert Burns (301-308), Wordsworth, and Coleridge [See the course packet for specific reading assignments in Damrosch.] Draft of paper # 1 due?

Week 5. [Feb. 5-9] The Shelleys [Frankenstein 810-931; read also companion readings 938-957], Byron, Keats.

Week 6. [Feb. 12-16] The Victorian Age: Read "The Victorian Age" (1033-1055). Dickens, "Coketown" (1102-05); Henry Mayhew, from London Labour and the London Poor (1114-1119); Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1394-1440), Elizabeth Gaskell, "Our Society at Cranford" (1452-1466), J. S. Mill, Introduction (1120-1121); from Autobiography, Chapters 1 & 5 (1142-1151); Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Lady of Shallot" (for other Tennyson poems, see packet).

Final draft, paper # 1 due.

Week 7. [Feb. 19-23] Finish Tennyson. Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, George Eliot, "Brother Jacob" (1521-1548), John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold.


Week 8. [Feb. 26-Mar. 2] The end of an era: G. M. Hopkins, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde. [Also, read "Perspectives: Aestheticism" (1936-1940)].

Spring Break! [March 5-9]

Week 9. [March 12-16] The beginning of the modern: Damrosch, "The Twentieth Century" (1991-2003); Crash! Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, (2013-2072), "from Congo Diary (2072-74), Kipling, "Gunga Din" (1809-10), "Recessional" (1811-12), "The White Man's Burden" (packet). Stanley, from Through the Dark Continent" (1839-46), "Address" (2074-78). Thomas Hardy.

Week 10. [March 19-23] G. Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara (2092-2182). "The Great War" Blast (2191-2207), Sigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen (2239-2243). Katherine Mansfield and Robert Graves (2265-2294).

Week 11. [March 26-30] W. B. Yeats (2305-2331). "Speeches on Irish Independence" 2295-2304). Draft of paper # 2 due.

Week 12. [April 2-6] James Joyce, "Eveline," "Clay," "Ivy Day in the Committee Room," "The Dead" (2332-2379). Optional: from Ulysses (2379-2404). Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street" (2453-2461), "from A Room of One's Own" (2465-2499).

Week 13. [April 9-13] D. H. Lawrence, "Piano," "Snake," "Bavarian Gentians," "The Fox" (2563-2614) T. S. Eliot. Paper # 2 due.

Week 14. [April 16-20] T. S. Eliot. W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott. [George Orwell and Salman Rushdie?]

Final Exam: Tuesday, April 24, 8-9:50 a.m.

Course Goals and Design, Eng 221, Winter 2001


· to enjoy reading, talking, and writing about English (and Irish) literature;
· to learn more about thinking, talking, and writing about good books;
· to see what different cultures and time periods enjoyed and expected from literature;
· to ask what we enjoy and expect from good literature;
· to explore and discover ideas and emotions through reading and writing.
Attendance: Since I've structured this course around discussion rather than lecture, your attendance and your participation is vital. Those who are absent (in body or mind) will find the course less interesting and the material more difficult than those who attend and participate. You cannot "make up" the discoveries and the intellectual give-and-take created by a classroom full of individual personalities. You also deprive the class of the unique perspective that only you can bring. If you have questions about the readings, please bring them up. If you feel hesitant to participate in class, talk with me about it (after class, at my office, or via e-mail). Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it definitely makes the grade go lower. Those who miss more than one week of classes without legitimate excuse will receive a failing grade for the course. Work is not a legitimate excuse for absence.

Questions: "The love of wisdom begins in wonder," said Socrates. We learn by asking and working out answers to questions. The study questions in the packet are designed to stimulate your thinking and activate your reading, to highlight important issues, and to prepare you for in-class discussion. I ask three kinds of questions, reading and interpretive, and critical. Reading questions ask about feeling, subject, content, plot, the literal story-line. Interpretive questions ask about thinking, theme, figurative language, symbolism, and form. Critical questions ask about evaluating, judging, taste, period, history, politics, and ethics. The best questions have no real "right" or "wrong" answer, only better or worse answers according to the evidence, reasoning, and feeling you can bring to back up your opinions. Interpretive and critical questions usually contain phrases like "do you think" or "why do you suppose."

Writing: You will have four kinds of writing assignments: 1) short (1-2 pages, hand-written) before or in-class exercises, 2) quizzes as necessary, 3) essay exams (midterm and final), and 4) two (4-5 pages, typewritten) papers.You will have the chance to revise at least one paper. Writing will be graded very carefully, so proofread carefully! The midterm and the final will account for 20% each of your grade; each paper counts 20%; and exercises, quizzes, participation together count 20%.

Readings: Except when noted in class, assignments always include biographical sketches and introductions in the Damrosch text. Feel free to ask questions about the readings, which, while they may come from unfamiliar time periods and cultures, are nevertheless exciting and entertaining. Come to class prepared, having read the material and thought about the study questions and any other questions you have raised on your own. Help make the discussion lively and the course more memorable.

SWS Requirements: This course is designated SWS. Completion of ENG 150 and/or ENG 305, as appropriate, with a grade of C or better (not C-) is/are the prerequisite(s). SWS credit will not be given to a student who completes this course before completing the prerequisite(s). SWS courses adhere to certain guidelines. Students turn in a total of at least 3000 words of writing. Part of that total may be essay exams, but a substantial amount of it is made up of finished essays, reports, or research papers. The instructor works with the students on revising drafts of papers, rather than simply grading the finished piece of writing. At least four hours of class time will be devoted to writing instruction. At least one third of the final grade in the course is based on the writing assignments.

British Literature Links

Image Links

Back to Webster home-page: http://www.gvsu.edu/websterm/.

Some WWW Sources for ENG 221:

Course Textbook Site:

Damrosch, David, et. al. The Longman Anthology of British Literature, http://www.awlonline.com/damrosch
Literature Links: (links to every sort of literature site)
Jack Lynch’s excellent "Literary Resources on the Net."
1. The Enlightenment, Age of Reason:
2. Jonathan Swift:
3. Jane Austen: Try starting at the Jane Austen Information Page: http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/janeinfo.html
Look also at the American Society of JA Scholars page: http://facstaff.uww.edu/hipchene/JAusten/home.htm
4. Romanticism: 4a. The Wordsworth Trust: http://www.wordsworth.org.uk/
4b. William Blake Archives: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/blake/
4c. The William Blake page: http://members.aa.net/~urizen/blake2.html
5. Victorian links: 5a. "The Victorian Web"http://landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/victov.html
5b. "A Timeline of British History"http://landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/history/historytl.html
5c. "Great Exhibition of 1851" (Good images of the Crystal Palace, etc.) http://www.engl.virginia.edu/~mhc/greatex.html
6. Modern Author sites:

Kipling, "The White Man's Burden," and British (and U. S.) Imperialism:

From Chinua Achebe's "An Image of Africa" [on Conrad's Heart of Darkness]

For George Bernard Shaw, see "The Complete Shavian":


A William Butler Yeats page:


7. Sources for Electronic texts: 7a. University of Virginia Electronic Text Center: [some access limited]


7b. University of Toronto English Library: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/www/utel/index.html

7c. Project Bartleby at Columbia University: http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/index.html