This syllabus should be checked regularly during the semester, as it will be periodically updated. No changes, however, will affect the basic schedule; they will generally simply involve added information.
Prof. M. Keith Booker
234 Kimpel Hall, 575-7248
Office Hours: Thursdays, 4-5 pm and by appointment. Please e-mail the instructor for an appointment even during the scheduled office hour.
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 this specific edition stocked in the bookstore of each text:
H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
This course is intended to provide an introductory survey of the modern British novel, including an investigation of what it means to be “modern,” as well as an introduction to the concepts of modernism and postmodernism. We will look at both “literary fiction” and “genre fiction” and will top off the course with an introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses, widely regarded as the greatest novel ever written, but in many ways more of an “anti-British” novel than a “British” novel, though it was, technically, written by a British subject. We will also watch several film adaptations of novels in order to expand our coverage.
Essays, exams, and other major requirements:
There will be a quiz at the beginning of many classes, as indicated in the course schedule below. Each quiz will cover the material from the previous classes, including the relevant assigned reading material from the on-line textbook. Only the five highest quiz scores will count toward the final grade for each student. Students will write one critical essay (5-10 pages, double-spaced) and have an in-class mid-term exam and an in-class final exam.
Grades and Grading
Quiz Grades: 25%
Mid-term exam: 25%
Final exam: 25%
Critical essay: 25%
Tuesday, August 27
Introduction to the class. The Nineteenth Century and the Birth of the Modern.
Read the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, September 3
Modern British Literature Before World War II: From Realism to Modernism.
Read the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, September 10
Quiz 1, covering the classes of August 27 and September 3.
H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds (1898). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, September 17
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, September 24
Quiz 2, covering the classes of September 10 and 17. (The War of the Worlds and Heart of Darkness.)
Film viewing: Howards End. Adapted from the 1910 novel by E. M. Forster. 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.
Tuesday, October 1
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Presentation: “How to Write a Critical Essay.”
Tuesday, October 8
Quiz 3, covering the classes of September 24 and October 1. (Howards End and The Good Soldier.)
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, October 15
Mid-term exam, covering all material through the class of October 8.
Introduction to 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.
Tuesday, October 22
Fall Break: No class.
Tuesday, October 29
Film viewing: 1984 (1984). Adapted from George Orwell’s 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-four. 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.
Tuesday, November 5
Quiz 4, covering the classes of October 15 and 29. (Brave New World and 1984.)
Film viewing: Goldfinger (1964). Adapted from Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel. 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.
Tuesday, November 12
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (1981). To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, November 19
Quiz 5, covering the classes of November 5 and November 12. (Goldfinger and Midnight’s Children.)
Film viewing: The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981). Adapted from John Fowles’ 1969 novel. 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.
Tuesday, November 26
Film viewing: Trainspotting (1996). Adapted from the 1993 novel by Irvine Welsh. 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.
Tuesday, December 3
Quiz 6, covering the classes of November 19 and November 26. (The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Trainspotting.)
Zadie Smith, White Teeth. To prepare for this class, you should read the novel, as well as the on-line reading assignment.
Tuesday, December 10
Quiz 7, covering the class of December 3 (White Teeth).
Final Exam, covering all material from Brave New World through Ulysses.
Bonus Text: An introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). 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.
Tuesday, December 17
Critical essays due by noon on this date. Essays should be submitted to the instructor by e-mail as a Word-compatible attachment.
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 undergraduate 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.
- Making reference to at least three novels from our syllabus, discuss the ways in which these novels reflect a sense of crisis in Britain during the time they were written.
- Choose any novel from our syllabus and discuss the ways in which this novel is either modernist or postmodernist.
- Discuss the ways in which colonialism and imperialism are reflected in at least three novels from our syllabus.
- Compare and contrast Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-four as dystopian texts.
- Discuss the ways in which the issue of class is reflected in at least three novels from our syllabus.
- Discuss the representation of women in at least three novels from our syllabus.
- Compare and contrast Midnight’s Children and White Teeth, using whatever aspects of the novels help you to make your argument most effectively.