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					Survey of English Literature I
Dr. Leslie Stratyner
lstratyn@muw.edu
office hours: T-Th 10:45-12:30, Monday 5-6, and by appointment (always available via
email)
Painter 211b (329-7394)

Textbook:

Readings entirely online.

GOALS

Our goal for this course will be for each student to achieve an understanding and
appreciation of English Literature from the medieval period through the eighteenth
century. The attentive, determined student will, by the end of the semester, be able to
explicate texts both in class and in writing, analyze a variety of genres, and develop and
write tightly focused literary analyses.

METHOD OF EVALUATION

Weekly quizzes/in-class writings: 25%
Three (fact and essay based) tests: 25% each
“Optional” final: 25%

You will notice that technically points for this course add up to 125, not 100. Only three
of the four tests (including the final) are actually required for your grade. This gives you
an opportunity to miss or completely bomb one test (including the final) without penalty,
as I will drop your lowest grade. Keep in mind, however, that as only three of the four
tests are required for your grade, I do not give make-up tests, ever. If you miss a test, for
whatever reason, you miss your chance to drop the lowest grade, and the final becomes
mandatory.

I also do not give out make up quizzes or in-class writings. However, your grade is based
on one less quiz than you will take. This means you can miss or do poorly on a quiz and
it will not hurt your grade. If you take all the quizzes, your extra quiz will serve as extra
credit, and improve your overall grade!

You will be quizzed or take a test every week. Quizzes will require you to produce
factual information on your reading, or compose an impromptu mini-essay on the class
reading. As for your tests, 75% of your answers on each test will require you to generate
factual information on the texts and class lectures. These answers may range from one-
word identifications to 100-word mini essays; 25% of each test will comprise your
answer to a longer 400-word analytical essay, in which you will be required to produce
arguments about facts and to draw conclusions from them. Keep in mind I do not use
multiple choice, matching, or true/false questions.
Some testing tips:

The easiest and best tip I can give you is to follow directions. That means answering the
question the professor asked, not the question you wished she asked. That also means
doing what you are asked to do. If you are asked to write a minimum of 100 words, and
you write 50 instead, this will cost you half the points for that question. If you are asked
to analyze and you merely summarize, you will lose a significant amount of points as
well. You would be shocked at how many students fail tests they could have passed, or
get a “C” when they could have gotten an “A”, simply because they do not read and
follow the directions.

If you are not doing well on the quizzes or tests despite following the directions, 99% of
the time this can be traced to poor study skills and not investing enough time in doing the
reading. Each class you take requires you to spend at least twice the time outside of class
studying as you spend inside it. This is why fifteen hours spent in the classroom
translates to a full-time load, where in real life that would be a less than halftime job. If
you are enrolled in class full-time, this means you need to budget at least 45 hours a week
to spend on your studies. This is the minimum expected of you in order for you to do
competent work. As in real life, doing the minimum expected at work might only get you
average results on your performance evaluation. If you want to do really well in school,
as at work, you might have to put in extra time.

My basic advice for students wanting to do well on the quizzes and tests is not merely to
read the assignment but to also take notes. Summarize the plot, make character lists, etc.
Again, when I ask students that aren’t doing well about how much time, effort, and
energy they’re spending on the reading, 99% of the time the real answer is “not enough”.

Bottom line: COME TO CLASS PREPARED TO DO WELL ON THE QUIZZES, AND
STUDY FOR THE TESTS.

As plus or minus grades do not count towards your QPA, I do not assign them unless
specifically requested to do so. Please do so in writing during the last week of class and I
will be more than happy to accommodate you.

Grading scale: 91-100: A, 81-90: B, 71-80: C, 61-70: D, 60 and below: F

Contacting your professor:

Office hours:

Please come to my office hours anytime you would like to talk to me about your progress
in the course. For a variety of reasons I keep my office door closed at all times, so don’t
think a closed door means I’m not there. Knock loudly! If I’m not in my office during
my office hours, chances are I’m in the building somewhere, in the office downstairs or
in the bathroom or getting a diet coke. If I’m not there, please sit and wait outside for my
return. Keep in mind as well that I am generally not in my office unless I have office
hours. I am very happy, however, to make an appointment with you outside of office
hours, keeping in mind that if you do not come to one of these appointments, I will credit
you with an absence.

By phone:

My office phone number is listed at the top of the syllabus. I don’t have an answering
machine, or voicemail, so the only time you are likely to find me answering the phone in
my office is during office hours. Leaving a message for me via the department secretary
is a possibility, but my response might be slow as it could be another few days before I
check my faculty mailbox.

Email:

The quickest way to make contact with me outside of school or office hours is my school
email address. I check my school email several times a day, and always at night before I
go to sleep.

Any initial email to me should begin with the following address and information:

Dear Professor Stratyner,

This is (your full name here) in your (describe class by day, date, and title).

So, your initial email to me might begin:

Dear Professor Stratyner,

This is Jane Smith in your T-Th 8 a.m. EN201.

I don’t usually respond at all to unsigned emails from students asking random questions
like “How many absences do I have?” This is because much of the time (especially since
MUW student email addresses are acronyms) unless you provide that information I won’t
know who you are, or how to help you. You need to keep in mind that (especially with
201) I often teach two sections of the same class, with different due dates, etc. Many
students also have the same first names, or last names, or even (yes, it has happened) first
and last names. And many of my students are in more than one of my classes. So
identifying yourself by full name and class and time is absolutely essential for me to
identify and help you.

Classroom atmosphere:

I expect you to come prepared and to participate, showing respect at all times towards
your peers and towards me. It is up to all of us to create a positive learning environment.
Use of electronic devices (including tape recorders, cell phones, palm pilots, laptops,
etc.), are prohibited in this classroom.
You may not record this class for any reason. Here’s why: This is not a public venue.
Thus, if you wish to record this class you must not only get permission from me, but
every single student here. If some students know they are being recorded, they may feel
stifled from fully participating in the discussion.


You may not text or use your phone in any way. Here’s why: See the section on
attendance. Texting is grounds for an immediate absence. And yes, I can see you texting
under your desk. I do realize that cell phones also serve as calendars and to-do lists, and
many people use them to enter messages and assignments and even notes. Unfortunately,
I cannot tell the difference between a student texting a friend and a student taking notes.
Write your notes down the old fashioned way, and enter them later.


The same goes for laptop use. Here’s why: I have allowed them in the past, but
unfortunately too many students took advantage of the privilege, and began to surf the
net, and write emails, and IM, and do other work not associated with class.


And unless you are a member of the Borg collective, please remove any Bluetooth sets
attached to you when you sit down for class. They can be unnerving in a classroom
setting.

CLASS POLICIES:

Cheating:

Often students cheat, either on exams or quizzes. Any form of cheating is the most
grievous sin you can commit as a student. Sometimes I can’t tell. Sometimes, I very
much can. If you do so and I can prove it, you will receive a zero for that test or quiz,
and a letter will be sent to Welty Hall reporting your transgression. Two such letters in
your file will result in your expulsion from the university.

Why I do this: There is a mandated university procedure regarding cheaters, which I
follow. For me personally it has to do with equity, and fairness to the class as a whole.
Most students are honest and do honest work, and accept their grades, good or bad or
mediocre, as the consequence of that work. The cheater, however, wants to make things
easy on themselves, and wishes to collect credit for work they did not do. The honest
students deserve to know that they are working in an environment where dishonest
students cannot get away with cutting corners. If you receive credit for work that is not
yours, it is an insult to those honest students.

Attendance:
With regard to attendance, I follow the minimum standards of my department. You must
attend 75% of the classes in order to pass. This is not my rule. This is a departmental
rule. Thus, if you miss more than 7 class days for any reason (this includes classes you
might have missed before you added the course) you will automatically receive an F in
this course. There will be absolutely no exceptions made to this rule, regardless of
circumstances. Excused and unexcused absences don’t matter. You can be in a coma. If
you’ve missed 7 days, my department has determined that this is too much for you to
miss and still pass.

Remember too that attendance is a matter of mind as well as body. Thus, this is not the
place to sleep, chat with friends, text, do work for other classes, apply makeup, figure out
your course schedule for next year, text, etc. If you are engaged in something other than
the course I will quietly mark you absent for that day, even if you've already said "here".

Punctuality:
You can be late to class twice; after that, I will deduct one point from your final grade for
each additional time you are tardy. “Late” means showing up during the first ten minutes
of class. After that, it’s an absence. If you do show up late, it is YOUR responsibility
(after class) to make sure I’ve changed the absence to a late in my book. If you want to
leave early, the rule works in reverse.

We take the quizzes at the very beginning of class. I do not repeat any portion of the quiz
to accommodate latecomers. Whatever questions you miss because you are late, will stay
missed.

The Water Closet:
Students who saunter off and return in the middle of class are a distraction. Please leave
only if you absolutely must, and keep your absence brief.

Cell Phones:
Keep your cell phones turned OFF during class. If yours rings while class is in session, I
reserve the right to mark you late for that day.

Why I do this: We have all been in that class where there is no late policy—where many
students straggle in during the first half-hour, at whim. We all know this makes it
difficult to get class started, and stay on track. Students coming in late are a distraction to
the work of the class as a whole. Students getting up and leaving in the middle of class
and students playing solitaire on their computer or sending instant messages are a
distraction as well. Cell phones ringing are a distraction. Students wildly texting are a
distraction. These rules are in place to minimize distractions.

But again there is another reason. Most students show up on time and pay attention,
simply because they understand that this is the minimum basic requirement for providing
a respectful environment for learning. Unfortunately, there are a portion of students that
and will do whatever they can get away with. These rules are in place with the good,
honest student in mind, so that their environment and their learning experience is not
compromised.

Extra Credit:

Yes, I do authorize extra credit assignments. However all prospects for extra credit are
subject to my approval, and I do not merely hand out generic homework; you must meet
with me in my office for a conference and design the assignment yourself. Remember
also that extra credit work is not the “magic pill” that will save your grade. The
assignment may add up to an extra 5% on your final grade, but your tests are each worth
five times that. Simple math reveals that if you do not know without a doubt you will get
an “A” on an upcoming test, your effort will be better spent studying for that rather than
attempting an extra credit assignment. It is most effective for you not to trust to extra
credit, but to do your best on the coursework. The best candidate for doing extra credit is
a student that is doing extremely well overall but has missed/done poorly on quizzes and
because of that may not get an “A”. All other students would be better mastering the
assigned work, even the student afraid of failing.

Caveat:

This course is for adults, and the texts themselves deal with very adult material, so much
so that if much of what is described in the literature you will be reading were depicted
onscreen, the movie would definitely be rated NC-17. In the course material itself you
will find instances of incredible violence and sexual behavior. If you stay in this course,
you will read grisly scenes of decapitations (several) and dismemberments and violent
deaths. The texts also describe a great deal of nudity, as well as oral sex, and sex in
general. You will find graphic descriptions of bodily functions, and some grotesque
descriptions of the human body as well. As a result of this, the class discussion will
occasionally be adult in nature as well. If you are uncomfortable with such literature and
such discussions, you absolutely need to drop this course immediately, and take another
one. You will be very uneasy as the semester progresses if you stay.

Information on the Early Alert Program:

MUW cares about the academic success of its students. Faculty encourage students to
perform their best on papers and tests, to attend class and come to class on time, to
complete assignments and take tests on time, to participate in class, and to show courtesy
to peers and instructors. Students who perform poorly at midterm (falling below a
midterm semester GPA of 2.0) will have holds placed on their accounts. Students who
have early-alert holds on their accounts for poor midterm performance should schedule
meetings with their faculty advisors, who will work with the students to draw up action
plans for academic success. Once those plans are in place, the early-alert holds for poor
midterm performance will be released.

Reminders:
Don't be afraid to ask to see how you're doing. You can check your absences/lates in my
grade book, as well as your overall progress in the course, anytime you like!!!
Remember too that THIS SYLLABUS IS A TWO-WAY CONTRACT. All of these policies
are non-negotiable, and your participation and continued attendance in this class
constitutes your acceptance of them. If you don't like the contract, don't take the course.
As in the real world, "forgetting" the terms of the contract, or not reading it properly,
does not absolve you of the responsibility of abiding by it. ABSOLUTELY NO
EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE, except as follows: If you have a disability that hinders
your meeting these requirements, please see Carol Frazier in Academic Support Services,
so that an accommodations plan can be arranged for you. I am forbidden to
accommodate any student without authorization from the university.

1/12 Introduction to the Course
1/14 Introduction to the Old English Period, and Beowulf. Read the entirety of Beowulf.
Also read Why Read Beowulf? and The Linguistic and Literary Contexts of Beowulf
1/19 Beowulf, continued
1/21 Beowulf, continued
1/26 Beowulf, continued
1/28 Introduction to the Middle Ages, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in adobe
acrobat). Read the entire poem
2/2: SGGK, continued
2/4: SGGK, continued
2/9: Test preparation. Bring one page of questions/potential i.d.s with you to class to
count as homework
2/11 TEST 1
2/16 Test review
2/18: Canterbury Tales. Read General Prologue, information and interlinear translation
2/23: Miller's Prologue and Tale, information and interlinear translation. Reeve's
Prologue and Tale, information and interlinear translation
2/25: Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale, information and interlinear translation. Read the
entire prologue.
3/2: “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.”
3/4: In-class group work on WoB
3/9: Merchant's Prologue and Tale, information and interlinear translation
3/11: Prioress' Prologue and Tale, information and interlinear translation
3/23: Test preparation. Bring one page of questions/potential i.d.s with you to class to
count as homework
3/25: TEST II
3/30: Test review
4/1: Shakespeare’s sonnets
4/6: Read Twelfth Night, and commentary
4/8: Twelfth Night, movie
4/13: Twelfth Night, movie, continued
4/15: Gulliver's Travels. Read A Letter From Captain Gulliver; The Publisher to the
Reader; A Voyage to Lilliput, and A Voyage to Brobdingnag
4/20: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
4/22: Test preparation. Bring one page of questions/potential i.d.s with you to class to
count as homework
4/27: TEST III
4/29: Test review/review for final

FINAL:

8:00 class: Wednesday, May 5th, 8-11
9:30 class: Monday, May 3rd, 8-11

				
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