English 38-281, Section 3: Introduction to English Studies, Fall, 2006
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:30-5 pm , Polk 22

Julie Shaffer (shaffer@uwosh.edu)

my home page
English Department


Office: Radford 208
Office Hours: Tues 12-3
Phone: 424-7288
(12-1 at Reeve Common Ground, 1-3 my office)


This class will introduce you to many ways to study, discuss, and write about English and American literature. Through reading poetry, fiction, and essays on various kinds of literary theory, you will learn about the central concepts and issues in the field. You will learn the basics of reading and writing about literary texts at the university level, and, through exposure to different literary theories, recognize that there are only heuristics rather than a single "right way" to interpret texts. You will also learn about the major portfolio that you will create as an English major and learn correct bibliographic methods for writing in the field.

As might be expected from a course central to an English major, the course will be reading and writing intensive. You must also participate in class discussion, occasionally being asked to make very informal presentations on readings and your reactions to them, either individually or in groups.

Required texts:

Peter Barry, Beginning Theory
Michael Meyer, ed., The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature . 6th ed.
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Bedford Case Studies ed.
Edgar V Roberts, Writingabout Literature, Brief 11 th ed.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed.

Course Requirements : Attendance and active participation are vital to making this course work for you and your classmates and participation counts towards your grade. Part of this element of the course will involve oral presentations.

Written work : exercises, active reading notes, position papers, short papers of various sorts.

Other rules : If you miss more than 2 weeks' classes (4 classes), your grade may drop. After 3 weeks' absence (6 classes), you may fail.If you miss a lot of classes without an excuse such as illness or death in the family and then miss more classes due to such events (which do count as excused absences), those earlier absences can be held against. If you miss a lot of classes for extended illness, consider getting a late drop approved by the office of Student Affairs. Very late arrivals and very early departures will count as absences, as will your coming to class unable to add to discussion from utter unpreparedness - from not having read the text or performed written work leading into discussion, for instance. If you are absent, find out what you missed and what assignments were given not be contacting me but by calling classmates, whose phone numbers and email addresses you will get during the first week of the semester (email addresses are also available on D2L). Papers handed in late may adversely affect your grade unless you have discussed your need to hand a paper in late beforehand with me. Generally, papers handed in late will drop one half letter grade for each day of the week they are late, and after one week, they may receive a fail. They must nonetheless be turned in for you to pass the class. Plagiarism will result in a fail on the paper, a fail in the course, and action taken against you through appropriate university channels. Newspaper reading, sleeping, private conversation in class, ringing cellphones, along with other rudenesses, will not be tolerated.


12 ½ % Poetry Paper
12 ½ % Fiction Paper
12 ½ % Theory Paper
15 % Research exercise, other exercises, & active reading notes
10 % Article Summary
25 % Jane Eyre Paper
12 ½ % Class participation

(You may use fiction/poetry we don't get around to discussing for writing assignments)
All reading assignments for a given day should be completed by class-time.)

Week 1:

Sept 6

Week 2:

Sept 11

Poetry ( Bedford readings):

Sept 13

Week 3:

Sept 18

Sept 20

Week 4:

Sept 25

Sept 27

Week 5:

Oct 2

Oct 4

What are your responses to the characters and what’s happening as the story progresses? Do you change your mind as you read? Why? What contributes to the way you view the text, either in the text or from your own experiences in life, or in reading other texts? Other questions tba (not all of the ones at the end of the story)