CRITICAL ESSAYS ARE DUE TODAY, April 30 And do not forget that you should log into Blackboard to take your on-line final between 6 pm and 9 pm next Thursday, May 7. You will have one hour to complete the exam, which should be at least twice as much time as you need. But note that you must finish the exam within the time allotted once you begin.
Prof. M. Keith Booker
234 Kimpel Hall, 575-7248
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 5:20-5:50 pm and by appointment. Please e-mail the instructor for an appointment.
On-line textbook supplied free of charge. This syllabus provides links to the relevant sections.
The following novels will be needed in order to complete the class reading assignments. It will be helpful, though not essential, to have the specific edition stocked in the bookstore of each text:
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
This course will examine the literature and culture of modern Britain (from about 1900 forward), as well as the postcolonial culture that arose in the wake of global British imperialism. This is a special period in British cultural history, because it sees the emergence of importance literatures in English from around the world as well as the emergence of new cultural forms (such as film and television) that will ultimately supplant literature in terms of cultural power and importance. Special attention will be paid to the literature and culture of Ireland, a special case because it was the first British colony, while remaining unique as a colony (and postcolonial nation) that was also European. Emphasis will also be placed on India, which was the colony most crucial to Britain’s political and economic development.
Essays, exams, and other major requirements:
There will be a four quizzes administered periodically during the semester. Only the three highest quiz scores will count toward the final grade for each student. Students will write one critical essay (4-5 pages, double-spaced) and have an in-class mid-term exam and an in-class final exam. Prompts for the critical essay are included at the end of this syllabus.
Secondary reading assignments for each class are linked to the schedule below. Simply click on the link to access the assignment for each class. It will generally be best to read these assignments before the class to which they are attached. For classes in which we are viewing a film, however, you may also wait to read the relevant materials until after we view the film, to avoid spoilers.
Grades and Grading
Quiz Grades: 15%
Mid-term exam: 25%
Final exam: 25%
Critical essay: 35%
Tuesday, January 14
Introduction to the class. The Nineteenth Century and the Birth of the Modern. On-line reading assignment.
Thursday, January 16
Modern British Literature Before World War II: From Realism to Modernism. On-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, January 21
Modern British Literature Before World War II: From Realism to Modernism (continued). On-line reading assignment.
Thursday, January 23
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Achebe, “An Image of Africa.” To prepare for this class, you should read the novel and the essay, as well as the on-line reading assignment. (A link to the Achebe essay can be found within the reading assignment.)
Tuesday, January 28
Modern British Poetry: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. On-line reading assignment (section on Prufrock.)
Thursday, January 30
Modern British Poetry: T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land. On-line reading assignment (section on The Waste Land.)
Tuesday, February 4
Quiz 1, covering the classes of January 14- and January 30.
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Thursday, February 6
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (complete).
“How to Write a Critical Essay.”
Tuesday, February 11
Dystopian Fiction. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Thursday, February 13
Review class: Modern British Literature.
Tuesday, February 18
Modern British Film. Film viewing: Brief Encounter (1945, 86 min.)
Thursday, February 20
Quiz 2, covering the classes of February 4-February 13.
Complete viewing of Brief Encounter. To prepare for this class, you might wish to read the on-line reading assignment in advance. Alternatively, you might want to read the assignment after viewing the film in order to avoid spoilers.
Tuesday, February 25
Film viewing: The Third Man (1949, 93 min). To prepare for this class, you might wish to read the on-line reading assignment in advance. Alternatively, you might want to read the assignment after viewing the film in order to avoid spoilers.
Thursday, February 27
Complete viewing of The Third Man.
Tuesday, March 3
Modern Irish Literature: The Search for a New Cultural Identity. To prepare for this class, read the on-line reading assignment.
Thursday, March 5
Mid-term exam, covering all material through the class of February 20.
Tuesday, March 10
The Poetry of William Butler Yeats. To prepare for this class, read the on-line reading assignment.
Thursday, March 12
The Poetry of William Butler Yeats (complete). Students should have carefully read through and studied the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, March 17
Introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). Begin by reading through the PowerPoints as an introduction. Then read my annotated Chapter 1 of Ulysses in preparation for the class (and the exam). Or, you might find it more convenient to read this on-line version of that chapter, which includes excellent clickable links to the annotations, though there are fewer of them than in my own.
Thursday, March 19
Tuesday, March 24—Spring break. No class.
Thursday, March 26—Spring break. No class.
Tuesday, March 31
The African Postcolonial Novel in English. Click here to access the lecture.
Thursday, April 2
Quiz 3, covering the classes of February 25-March 19.
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart. To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, April 7
The Indian postcolonial novel in English. Click here to access the lecture.
To prepare for this class, you should read the on-line reading assignment.
Thursday, April 9
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things. Click here to access the lecture.
To prepare for this class, you should read the novel and the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, April 14
Film viewing: The Commitments (1991, 118 min.). To prepare for this class, you might wish to read the on-line reading assignment in advance. Alternatively, you might wish to read this assignment after viewing the film in order to avoid spoilers.
Click here for the introductory lecture for this film.
Thursday, April 16
Film viewing: The Commitments (complete).
Tuesday, April 21
Multiculturalism and Contemporary British Literature. To prepare for this class, read the on-line reading assignment.
Click here to watch the lecture.
Zadie Smith, White Teeth. To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Click here to watch the lecture.
Thursday, April 23
White Teeth (complete).
Quiz 4, covering the classes of March 31-April 16. This quiz will be available via Blackboard from 4:00 pm on this day until 4 p, on April 26.
Tuesday, April 28
Film viewing: Shaun of the Dead (2004). To prepare for this class, you might wish to read the on-line reading assignment. Alternatively, you might wish to read this assignment after viewing the film in order to avoid spoilers.
Click here for the introductory lecture for this film.
Thursday, April 30
Film viewing: Shaun of the Dead (complete).
Critical essays due by noon on this date. Essays should be submitted to the instructor by e-mail as a Word-compatible attachment.
Thursday, May 7
Final Exam, covering all material from The Third Man through Shaun of the Dead. Available on Blackboard at 6:00 pm. Open book,multiple-choice, but limited time (one hour).
Miscellaneous Relevant University Policies:
Disabilities: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Moreover, the University of Arkansas Academic Policy Series 1520.10 requires that students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact me privately at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through the Center for Educational Access (contact 479–575–3104 or visit http://cea.uark.edu for more information on registration procedures).
Discrimination and Sexual Harassment: Anyone experiencing discrimination and/or sexual harassment while at the university may report it to a complaint officer appointed by the Chancellor. The complaint officer will discuss any situation or event that the complainant considers discriminatory or constitutive of sexual harassment. Reports may be made by the person experiencing the harassment or by a third party, such as a witness to the harassment or someone who is told of the harassment. For more information and to report allegations of discrimination and/or sexual harassment, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, 346 N. West Avenue (West Avenue Annex), 479-575-4019 (voice) or 479-575-3646 (tdd).
Academic Integrity: “As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is possible only when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail. Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with, and abide by, the University’s ‘Academic Integrity Policy,’ which may be found at http://provost.uark.edu/academicintegrity/245.php
Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact their instructor.”
Attendance: “Student absences resulting from illness, family crisis, University-sponsored activities involving scholarship or leadership/participation responsibilities, jury duty or subpoena for court appearance, military duty, and religious observances are excusable according to university rules. The instructor has the right to require that the student provide appropriate documentation for any absence for which the student wishes to be excused. Moreover, during the first week of the semester, students must give to the instructor a list of the religious observances that will affect their attendance.”
Emergency Procedures – Many types of emergencies can occur on campus; instructions for specific emergencies such as severe weather, active shooter, or fire can be found at emergency.uark.edu.
Severe Weather (Tornado Warning):
Follow the directions of the instructor or emergency personnel
Seek shelter in the basement or interior room or hallway on the lowest floor, putting as many walls as possible between you and the outside
If you are in a multi-story building, and you cannot get to the lowest floor, pick a hallway in the center of the building
Stay in the center of the room, away from exterior walls, windows, and doors
Violence / Active Shooter (CADD):
- CALL- 9-1-1
- AVOID- If possible, self-evacuate to a safe area outside the building. Follow directions of police officers.
- DENY- Barricade the door with desk, chairs, bookcases or any items. Move to a place inside the room where you are not visible. Turn off the lights and remain quiet. Remain there until told by police it’s safe.
- DEFEND- Use chairs, desks, cell phones or whatever is immediately available to distract and/or defend yourself and others from attack.
The following suggested topics are intended to give students an idea of the kinds of topics that are likely to make successful critical essays. These topics my be used directly, or they simply may be used as guidance for students who wish to develop their own topics.
1. Using examples from THE WASTE LAND and/or “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” discuss the ways in which the poetry of T. S. Eliot epitomizes literary modernism.
2. Citing specific examples from the novels HEART OF DARKNESS, THINGS FALL APART, and THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS, discuss some of the ways in which modern literature has engaged with the legacy of colonialism.
3. Compare and contrast the films THE THIRD MAN and THE COMMITMENTS in terms of their formal techniques. How does a comparison of these two films suggest the distinction between modernism and postmodernism?
4. Using examples from THE COMMITMENTS and THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS, discuss the ways in which the cultures of former British colonies are coming more and more to resemble American popular culture. What do you see as some of the implications of this cultural convergence?
5. Discuss the ways in which even the first chapter of ULYSSES is already beginning to identify the novel as a modernist text.
6. Discuss the ways in which WHITE TEETH and THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS address the legacy of the British Empire.
7. Compare and contrast the treatment of the theme of alienation between men and women in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and TO THE LIGHTHOUSE.