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British Literature II 212-1 TTH 12:30-1:45pm
Fall 2023

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This is a "real time" syllabus that, unlike a print syllabus, will always be up to date and reflect our progress throughout the semester.  You can easily check it from a mobile device or from any computer. 

The syllabus consists of the Reading Schedule and Course Policies.  You are responsible for understanding and following the schedule and the course policies, which are in effect beginning the first day of class. Please read them carefully (more than once and review throughout the semester).  See me if you have any questions about them.

Think of the syllabus as a flexible guide. It will structure our semester, but we will adjust it as needed to fit our needs as the semester progresses. Not all assignments (e.g., quizzes) are listed at the beginning of the semester; some will be added throughout the semester. It may also be necessary to finish some readings the following class periods, in which case I will update the syllabus after each class. Again, be sure to check the syllabus regularly. 

You do not need to print this syllabus, but if you decide to, be sure to check the online syllabus regularly for new information, added assignments, or reading schedule changes.  The print icon above is for print copies.

Our main vehicle this semester for course content will be the Course Website, but it is linked to the course Canvas site, which we will use for some things, such as discussion posts or for accessing video. We will not use the Canvas Gradebook; instead, the Grade Sheet on our Course Notes page (on the course website) will help you track assignments and grades.

All readings are from the Norton Anthology= NA. You can find works in the table of contents or index.  Also, the appendices have helpful information, including a glossary of literary terms.  Helpful information and context for readings that are on the Course Notes page (Course Website) will be noted on the syllabus, e.g., "Songs of Innocence and Experience" (Course Notes).  This means you should read the Course Notes along with the assigned text.  You may find it helpful to preview the Course Notes material first, then read it again after you read the story. (Be careful of any spoiler info.)  

"Quick read poems" are poems we will not formally study; we will read together once in class to experience additional works of literature.  While they will not be on the quizzes or exams, they will help your understanding of the literature and periods we study.  And you can briefly reference them on quizzes or exams if you think they will help you support a response.  Be sure to read the biographical introductions for each author we study. 

Readings should be finished for the day assigned. For example, the introduction to the Romantic Period should be read (completed) by Sept 7.         

Tuesday Thursday
05 Course Introduction

E. Brontë - "I'm happiest when most away" (NA, Vol E, p 375)

Review Course Website/Canvas site

07 Review Course Website/Canvas Site

NA: Intro to Romantic Period, Vol D (1-30)

12 NA: Finish Intro - Romantic Period, Vol D

Barbauld - "The Rights of Woman" (Course Notes)

Cowper - "The Negro's Complaint" (102-04; Bkgrd: 105; 95-96)

Painting: The Revolution Controversy (193-94)
Le triomphe de la Liberté
. . . C2


14 Final Thoughts from 9/12 readings

Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience
(5 poems total)

**Blake's concept of Contraries (Course Notes)

1.) The Lamb/The Tyger
2.) The Chimney Sweeper (Inn & Exp poems)
3.) London
19 Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience
(5 poems total)

**Blake's concept of Contraries (see Course Notes)

1.) The Lamb/The Tyger
2.) The Chimney Sweeper (Inn & Exp poems)
3.) London

21 Quick read: Wordsworth - "Lines Written in Early  Spring" & Expostulation and Reply" (Not on midterm exam)

Wordsworth - Preface to Lyrical Ballads (Course Notes)

Quiz 1: Intro to the Romantic Period; "The Rights of Woman"; Blake's Songs (all 5 poems)

26 Finish Preface

Wordsworth - "Michael"
(see Course Notes)

28 Wordsworth:  Finish Preface (pp 312-13; 314); Finish "Michael"

Tuesday Thursday
03 Quick read: Coleridge - "Frost at Midnight"/
Byron - "She Walks in Beauty"  (These are not on midterm exam)

"Michael"/Wordsworth - Loose Ends/Final Thoughts

Shelley - "To a Sky-Lark" (see Course Notes - Study Questions)
(Course Notes - Study Questions: Write out answers in your notebook)

A Defense of Poetry
[1.) Intro. 870-71; 2.) 876-77; 3.) 878 - middle paragraph (pleasure/pain); 4.) 880 - creation as "fading coal"]

05 Shelley - "To a Sky-Lark" (see Course Notes - Study Questions)
(Course Notes - Study Questions: Write out answers in your notebook)

A Defense of Poetry
[1.) Intro. 870-71; 2.) 876-77; 3.) 878 - middle paragraph (pleasure/pain); 4.) 880 - creation as "fading coal"]

Keats - "Ode to a Nightingale" (see Course Notes)

Quiz 2: Preface to Lyrical Ballads; "Michael"; "To a Sky-Lark"
10 Bring NA, both vols D & E

Final Thoughts - Shelley

Finish Keats "Ode to a Nightingale

Final Thoughts - Romanticism

Introduction to the Victorian Age, NA, Vol E

Watch segments of Queen Victoria's Empire video, Part I
Available on Canvas (Watch segments: Industrial Revolution 0:00-9:00 & 10:09-13:15)
12 Bring NA, both vols D & E

Keats - bio (NA, Vol D)

Introduction to the Victorian Age, NA, Vol E

Mill - from On Liberty (81-90).  (See study questions--Course Notes: Write out answers in your notebook)

Watch segments of Queen Victoria's Empire video, Part I
Available on Canvas (Watch segment on the Great Exhibition: 45:30-53:20)
17 Continue Introduction to the Victorian Age, NA, Vol E

Final Thoughts - Mill

Browning - "Porphyria's Lover" (Course Notes--dramatic monologue)

In-class grp work - card due

19 Browning - "Porphyria's Lover" (Course Notes--dramatic monologue)

In-class grp work due - card (5pts)

Finish Introduction to the Victorian Age, NA, Vol E

E. B. Browning - "The Cry of the Children" (Bkgrd: 8; 626-27; 633-34)

24 Intro to the Victorian Age

Finish "The Cry of the Children"

Some thoughts (so far) on the Victorian Age

Tennyson - "Ulysses" (Course Notes) - Initial thoughts

Midterm review as time allows (bring NA, Vols D & E, quizzes)

26 Midterm Examination
(Please - No Early Exams)

31 Loose ends: "The Cry of the Children" (Bkgrd: 8; 626-27; 633-34) (Not on the final exam)

Tennyson - "Ulysses" (Course Notes)
02 November - See Below
Tuesday Thursday
31 October - See Above 02 Finish "Ulysses"

Dickens - from Hard Times, 718-24
(Bkgrd: 261-3; 713-18)
07Finish Hard Times

Conan Doyle - "The Speckled Band"

Movie Clip: A Study in Pink (BBC - Benedict Cumberbatch)

Read the story in NA, then look at the story in The Strand magazine (link below) as Victorian readers would have experienced it.

The Strand
includes the Sidney Paget illustrations


09 Bring NA: Vols E & F

Finish "The Speckled Band"

Introduction to the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, NA, Vol F

14 Introduction to the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, NA, Vol F

Voices from WWI (Bkgrd: 136-38)

Quick read: Rupert  Brooke's "The Soldier" (Not on final exam)
Sassoon - "The Rear-Guard"; "Glory of Women"; "They"; "The General" (See study questions--Course Notes)

Video Clip: All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)

Paintings C2: The Merry-Go-Round; C3: Over the Top, 1st Artists' Rifles at Marcoing, 30th Dec. 1917
16 Final Thoughts - Sassoon

Yeats - "Easter, 1916"

Quiz 3
: "The Speckled Band"; "Ulysses"; Sassoon's poems (4)

21 Finish "Easter, 1916" (Stzs 3 & 4)

Rhys - "The Day They Burned the Books"
23 Thanksgiving Break - No Class Meeting
28 Final Thoughts Rhys - "The Day They Burned the Books"

- Introduction/ Act I, scene 1
(See Course Notes throughout our discussion of the play)
30 Arcadia -  Act 1, Scenes 1-2 (Handout: "Geometry and the Garden")

Performance of the opening of scene 1 in class!
Tuesday Thursday
05 Brief review of scenes 1-2 (Act 1)

Arcadia - Act 1, scenes 3-4
(Handout: "From Newton to Chaos")

07 Brief review of scenes 3-4 (Act 1)

Arcadia - Act 2, scene 5

In-class grp work - card (5pts)

Quiz 4: Dickens (from Hard Times), "Easter, 1916," Arcadia, (Act 1, scenes 1-2)
12 Arcadia

Act 2, scene 5:  In-class grp work - card due
**Sit in groups from TH

Act 2, scenes 6-7

14 Arcadia - Act 2, scene 7/Final Thoughts

**Steam engine: 2nd law of thermodynamics/determistic chaos
**Waltz (dancing):  Septimus & Thomisina, Bernard & Chloe,
Hannah & Gus
**Hannah's success, Bernard's failure

Final Exam Review as time allows
**Bring midterms

Course Wrap Up

**Semester Review Discussion Post (10pts)--see Canvas for info.  Due Wed, Dec 20, by midnight.  (See below)

Final Exam Week: Dec 18 - 22
Office hours finals week:  See website home page

Final Exam: Dec 18, Monday, 2:45-4:45pm, in our usual classroom

Semester Review Discussion Post (on Canvas):  Due Wed, Dec 20, by midnight

Course Grades Available on Access Point (not Canvas): Dec 29

Learning Outcomes and Course Description/Learning Outcomes
The General Education Program Learning Outcomes for Humanities (Human Cultures and Sciences Level) are as follows:
  • Read closely, think critically, and write effectively about texts or cultural artifacts that reflect on perennial questions concerning the human condition (such as the search for truth and meaning, the confrontation with suffering and mortality, or the struggle for justice, equality, and human dignity.
  • Investigate and thoughtfully respond to a variety of ideas, beliefs or values held by persons in situations other than one's own.
English 212

This section not only prepares you for and supports your specific major and career, but also provides you with the knowledge and awareness to be an informed and thoughtful individual as well as citizen. English 212 will give you the opportunity to read and think critically, to understand human nature, to consider the society you belong to, and to write effectively. In addition, the course gives you experience speaking in front of others and writing about literature as well as some experience collaborating with your peers.  Finally, the course will give you knowledge of British literature that will help you enjoy reading literature in the future.

In this course we will read and discuss mainly poetry but also prose, fiction, and drama from the British Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods, including such writers as Barbauld, Wordsworth, Dickens, Tennyson, Yeats, Rhys, and Stoppard. In addition to thinking about each work's artistic value, we will also read to understand the social, historical, and political contexts that define these works and the periods in which they were written.

During the semester, we will work to (these Learning Outcomes link to the General Education Learning Outcomes above)

  • Analyze British literature during class discussions and through writing to demonstrate knowledge of literary genres and of the conventions and language of literature. (LO #1)
  • Demonstrate reading strategies for interpreting literature through speaking and writing by using personal experiences, in-class discussion and collaboration, and quizzes/exams in order to read carefully, speak clearly, think critically, and write persuasively. (LOs # 1 & 2)
  • Identify the reciprocal relationship between the historical, social, and political contexts of British Romantic, Victorian, and Modern literature and nineteenth- and twentieth-century British culture. (LO #1)
  • Investigate literature as an imaginative expression of the human condition, considering both personal experience and values and beliefs not your own. (LOs #2)


Text Rental

Greenblatt, Stephen,, gen. ed., et al.  The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 10th ed.
Vols. D, E, F


This is a reading-intensive course.  Success in the course will require that you establish set (and consistent) reading times outside of class when reading and thinking can occur.  Our class discussions will focus on the assigned readings, but we cannot read every work line by line. In keeping with the course learning outcomes, you will be able to use our class discussions to help you study sections of works we do not have time to cover fully in class. It is useful to mark key passages that point to central concerns or ideas in works that are read and to write down questions you have. The purpose of class discussion is not to give you answers; instead, class discussions will help you develop reading strategies, understand background/contexts, and raise questions that you will think about and answer.

There will be weekly quizzes (mostly announced but possbily unannounced) and two examinations (a midterm and a final).  The course grade will be determined mathematically using the percentages below. Please remember that your course grade will be based on the work that you complete, not simply the effort you make or my subjective opinion.

Course Grade %
Assignments/Quizzes** 20%
Midterm 40%
Final 40%
** Will be determined by point values: 10pt Assigns: A=10-9; B=8; C=7; D=6; F=5-0/5pts Assigns: A=5; B=4; C=3.5; D=3; F=2.5-0
Exams will receive letter grades.  See Course Grade Sheet for information about calculating grades.

All work must be completed on time. It is your responsibility to keep copies of all of your essays and assignments. Some assignments maybe submitted via email, and email communication will be required throughout the semester.

Late Assignments:  An assignment that is finished but not printed and ready to hand in is late. Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date, but will lose one letter grade or the point equivalent. After that, no credit will be given. (Assignments due on Friday that are late must be turned in by 5pm.)  Assignments due electronically must be received by the day and time specified. Late email assignments will be accepted 24hrs from the original due date.  For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. No incompletes will given in the course.  There are no extra credit assignments.

For any special circumstances or problems, please contact me ahead of time. Also, no incompletes for the course will be given.


Regular attendance is your responsibility and is essential for success in the course. As stated in the online UWSP Course Catalog (UWSP Course Catalog pgs 25-26), you cannot "cut" classes.

There are no excused or unexcused absences in this course.  The only relevant factor is your number of absences.  However, you have personal days to use and manage as needed: For three-days-a-week classes: 5.  For two-days-a-week classes: 3.  Use personal days for family situations or sickness.  Be careful not to squander them.

If you miss a total of two weeks of class (six class meetings for classes meeting three times a week; four class meetings for classes meeting twice a week), you may fail the course.  If you are on a sports team, absences for games still count as personal days.  However, we will adjust your absence limit if absences because of games exceed the absence limit.  The attendance policy begins with the second class meeting. 

It may be possible to make up missed assignments/quizzes with my approval; therefore, it is your responsibility to contact me to determine work that needs to be completed and to follow up with all logistical requirements.  However, it may not be possible to make up some assignments or quizzes.

If you are absent and have not exceeded your absence limit, you do not need to email me to explain your absence. If you would like to find out about missed information or assignments, it is best to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me. You can also email me, but I may not be able to respond before our next class meeting. However, you should email about an absence ahead of the due date if an assignment is due.

For an extended absence, do the following:  Follow the syllabus and keep up with readings/assignments; Stay in contact with me for information/resources/help; Look into getting notes from classmates (I can help with this); See me during office hours when you return to class.

Classroom Etiquitte

During class meetings, we will discuss and debate issues about writing and literature.  It is fine to express your views passionately and debate others in class, but do so in a civil, constructive manner.  Please do not use phones and mobile devices during class, even if you believe you are doing so quietly.  Not only is this rude, but also it distracts other students as well as your ablity to focus on and follow class instruction and discussion.  Also, please do not wear headphones. It is English Department policy that students cannot and should not record class lectures and discussion without permission from the intstructor. Also, please get drinks of water or use the washroom before or after class, not during class, so that our classroom does not become a bus station. Please see me if you need special accomodations.

Plagiarism (from the Latin "to Kidnap")

You will be expected to do your own work throughout the course. Intentionally or unintentionally passing off the ideas, words, or sentences of others (e.g., published authors, website authors, other students) as your own is plagiarism, which will result in failing the plagiarized assignment and possibly the course. Please review the University policy regarding plagiarism.