British Literature 1800 to Present

English 56B (Fall 2010)
Dr. Katherine D. Harris
Syllabus subject to change

Legend of Symbols, etc.
All page numbers refer to the Norton Anthology, Vols. D, E & F (8th ed.)
HO =
PPT = Powerpoint shown in class


Office Hours: W 1-3 & via online tools
Office:  FO 220
Phone: 408.924.4475

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August    September   October   November   December

 Mid-Term Exam    Final Essay    Final Exam



Reading Due

Assignment Due
Thur 8/26 Introductions: You, Me and Managing a Literature Survey Course Greensheet Policies & Schedule

Hints for Reading Poetry & Fiction
Timeline & Reading Materials
Presentation Instructions

Student Questionnaire

Refer to Norton Literature Online to contextualize each period

Tues 8/31 Romanticism
(See Online Resources)

Apocalypse & Revolution
  • Introduction & Timeline (1-25)
  • "The Revolution Controversy" (148-9)
  • Burke, Reflections (152-157)
  • Wollstonecraft, Introduction to Vindications of Rights of Woman (170-174)
  • Barbauld, "The Rights of Woman" (35-36)
  • Hemans, "Casabianca" (868-70)
  • British Newspaper Coverage of the French Revolution

Wollstonecraft’s Vindications Summary

3 Questions

Sign up for Presentations via email by 10am
Thur 9/2 Landscape, Tourism & Beauty
  • Hemans, "Casabianca" (868-70) (moved from 8/31)
  • Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (305), "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" (259-262)
  • Keats, Letter to George & Thomas Keats (942), "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (905)
  • Smith, "On Being Cautioned" (41) (deleted 8/31)
  • Wollstonecraft, Letters Written (196-202)
  • Coleridge, "The Eolian Harp" (426-28)
  • Shelley, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" (766-68)

Table of Contents, Lyrical Ballads
Romantic Poetic Forms

Landscape, Tourism & Beauty (pdf)

Recommended Readings
Guide to the Lakes
Rap of Wordsworth’s "Daffodils"
New Yorker Cartoon
D. Wordsworth, Alfoxden & Grasmere Journals (389-402)

Relevant Websites
Literary Landscapes
A Picture of Britain, a Tate Museum exhibit of landscape artists from over 300 years
Lyrical Ballads, Renascence Editions
Lyrical Ballads: A Concordance
Lyrical Ballads: An Electronic Scholarly Edition

Images of the Aeolian Harp
The Life & Death of Dr. Syntax (BBC)

3 Questions (DELETED EXERCISE 9/2/2010)

Intellectual Autobiography
(400 words, typed, double-spaced) – counts as an In-Class Essay; email to me by 10am


Tues 9/7  

No class meeting

Thur 9/9 Representing the Laboring Classes NOTE: Room change to SH 239

Contd from last week

  • Wordsworth, "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" (259-262)
  • Keats, Letter to George & Thomas Keats (942), "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (905)

(all deleted so we could talk about the above (9/9/10)

  • Blake, "The Chimney Sweeper" in SoI & SoE (85 & 90), "The Little Black Boy" (84)
  • More, "The Sorrows of Yamba"
  • Edgeworth, "The Irish Incognito" (228-42)
  • Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads (262-74)
  • Coleridge, Chps.13 & 14 of Biographia Literaria (477-483)
  • Shelley, Defense of Poetry (837-50)

ICE Writing Tips

Recommended Reading
Shelley’s Defense Comparison

Race & Working Class (pdf)

Relevant Websites
The Blake Archive

Holy Soul Jelly Roll by Allen Ginsberg
Portrait of William Blake from the National Portrait Gallery, London
Blake Exhibit at the Tate Britain Museum
William Blake Online, a learning exhibit by the Tate Britain Museum

3 Questions
In-Class Essay
Tues 9/14 The Gothic, Satan & Byronic Heroes
  • "The Gothic & the Development of a Mass Readership" (577-79)
  • Coleridge, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (430-46), "Kubla Khan" (446-49), Illustration (C8); "The Satanic Hero" (490-91)
  • Robinson, "To the Poet Coleridge" (74)
  • Byron, "Prometheus"
  • Fuseli, "The Nightmare" Painting (C8)

Gothic Novel Background

The Gothic Beyond the Romantics (pdf)

Recommended Reading
Modern References to Kubla Khan
Lamb, Glenarvon excerpt
Scott, "Wandering Willie’s Tale," (410-23)

Relevant Websites
Gothic Exhibition at the Tate Britain

"Xanadu" in Oxford English Dictionary
Online Resources for the Gothic Novel

Pop Culture References to Romantic Literature (Romantic Circles)
Fictional Representations of Romantics & Romanticism (Romantic Circles)
Movies about the Romantics or Romantic Era

3 Questions

Consider testing yourself against the Norton Romantic Period Quiz

Thur 9/16 Victorian Age
(See Online Resources)

Withering of the Individual

Transition to the Victorians

Images of Colonialism
Images of Evolution

Relevant Websites -- added more after class discussion
Royal Bedlam Hospital (Dickens compares to Newgate Prison)
Hanoverian Monarchy (Georges)

Madness of King George
A Rake's Progress (ends up in Bethlem Hospital)
Anatomy of a pregnant corpse
Carl Linneaus (botanist)
Facsimiles of conduct manuals (pre-Victorian)
Frances Burney's Mastectomy

3 Questions

In-Class Essay

Out of Class Essay due by email, Monday, 9/20, 12pm  (changed during class 9/16/10)

Tues 9/21 The Angel in the House
  • Patmore, "Angel in the House" (1585-87)
  • Tennyson, "Lady of Shalott (1114-19)
  • Morris, "Defence of Guenevere" (1483-91)
  • R. Browning, "My Last Duchess" (1255)
  • E.B. Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese (1084-85)

Recommended Readings
Ruskin, Of Queens’ Gardens (1587-89)

3 Questions
Thur 9/23 Scribbling Women

Relevant Websites
Jane Eyre Revisited

Stage Production of Jane Eyre

Recommended Reading
Eliot, "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists" (1342)

3 Questions

Group Presentation on Jane Eyre:
Rachelle, Har-roop, Amanda (Group PPT)
Tues 9/28 Empire of the Sun

Relevant Websites
Revising the Ending, YouTube

Marriage Certificates in Victorian England (a ? from discussion)

Some Jokes/Modernizations about the Brontes?
Brontes Garden Party Shirt 
Bronte Action Figures (video)

Recommended Reading
Pear’s Soap Ad from 1899
Kipling, "White Man’s Burden" (1821)
Imperial Views
Chamberlain, The True Conception of Empire (1630-32)

3 Questions
Thur 9/30 "...and reader I married him"
  • Continue Jane Eyre discussions

Relevant Websites
Victorian Periodicals & the Empire

Recommended Reading
First Report of the Children’s Employment Commission (1563-65)Engels, The Great Towns (1565-72)
Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (1576-77)

3 Questions
Out of Class Essay due by email, Monday, 12pm
Tues 10/5 Painterly Images of Poetry
  • Ruskin, Of Pathetic Fallacy (1322-24)
  • Rossetti, "Goblin Market" (1466-78)
  • Browning, "Fra Lippo Lippi" (deleted 10/5/10)

Relevant Websites
Christopher Walken reads "The Raven"

Overview of "Goblin Market"

Recommended Reading
Rossetti, "The Blessed Damozel" (1443-47)
See accompanying illustration in Rossetti Archive

3 Questions
Thur 10/7 Decadent Fin de Siecle

[Optional] Consider testing yourself against the Norton Victorian Period Quiz (Online)

Discussion & Interesting Things
"Reproduction" Song from Grease 2
"Earthquake," Modern Family -- mentions Wilde

3 Questions
Out of Class Essay due by email, Monday, 12pm

Group Presentation on Play
(Group PPT)
Alix, Rob, Samantha
Video clips: Dame Edith Evans & Dame Wendy Hiller (starts around 8:08)
Tues 10/12 Review for Mid-Term Bring all texts to class to we can discuss  
Thur 10/14 Mid-Term Exam
(Bring exam booklets & pens)


Tues 10/19


Disillusionment with Victorians & The Great War

Recommended Reading
Yeats, "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"
Owen, "Anthem for Doomed Youth" (1971)

3 Questions
Out of Class Essay due by email, Wed, 10am
Thur 10/21 Modernist Experiments
  • Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (pub. 1925) - read at least 1/2

Relevant Websites
Flapper Jane

3 Questions
In-Class Essay

Group Presentation on Mrs. Dalloway
Nick I., Rose, Mary (Group PPT)
Tues 10/26 Professional Women
  • Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway - finish

Relevant Websites
"Mrs. Dalloway" Band, Netherlands

Recommended Readings
Woolf, "Professions for Women" (2152-55)

3 Questions
In-Class Essay

Discuss Final Essay/Project (See Instructions)
Thur 10/28 Nation & Language
  • Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (pub. 1966) (through page 56 in the Norton edition)
3 Questions
In-Class Essay
Out of Class Essay
due by email, Monday, 12pm

Group Presentation on Wide Sargasso Sea
Ryan, Julianne, Meryshayne (Group PPT)
Tues 11/2  
  • Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
  • (finish entire novel)
  • Rushdie, "English is an Indian Literary Language" (2540-41)
3 Questions

Thur 11/4 Postmodernism
(See Online Resources)

Performing Postmodernity
  • Pinter, The Dumb Waiter (2601-22)

Relevant Websites
"Don Draper Says 'What'" (video)
Pulp Fiction as Typography (video)

3 Questions
Out of Class Essay due by email, Monday, 5pm

Group Presentation on Play
Scott, Shannon, Erica (Group PPT)

Project Proposal

Tues 11/9 Realizing Postmodern Frankensteins
  • A Clockwork Orange (pub. 1962) - read through Part II, Chp. 3

Study Question & Questions for A Clockwork Orange

Relevant Websites
Nasdat to English Glossary

SLC Punk (movie mimics Chp. 21)

3 Questions
In-Class Essay

Out of Class Essay due by email, Mon, 5pm (requested by class)

Group Presentation on A Clockwork Orange
Dave, Dustin, Nate, Kristin (Group PPT)

Thur 11/11

Veteran's Day - No Class Meeting

Tues 11/16 Magic, Realism, Empire
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • - read remainder of novel
  • Rushdie, "The Prophet’s Hair" (2854-63)

Discussion Questions for The Hours

3 Questions
In-Class Essay
Thur 11/18 A New Depthlessness
  • Cunningham, The Hours (our edition pub. 1998; first pub. 1989) -- read half

Digital Project
Experimental Project on Woolf, letters, Mrs. Dalloway & other "afterings"

Interesting Websites
International Virginia Woolf Society
Talking to Virginia Woolf

3 Questions

Group Presentation on The Hours
Jewels, Lourans, Irma (Group PPT)
Tues 11/23  
  • Cunningham, The Hours -- finish the novel
3 Questions
In-Class Essay
Thur 11/25 Thanksgiving - No Class Meeting
Tues 11/30 Reflections of Victorians
  • Fforde, The Eyre Affair (pub. 2001)

Relevant Websites
Official site for The Eyre Affair
Meeting my Publisher for the First Time - Jasper Fforde

3 Questions

Group Presentation on The Eyre Affair
Penelope, Jonathan, Nick C., Heather E. (Group PPT)
Thurs 12/2 21st Century

The Uncontrollable Page
  • Jackson, Patchwork Girl (pub. 1995)

Handouts & PPT
Background & Summary of Frankenstein
PPT on hypertext fiction & Patchwork Girl

3 Questions

Group Presentation on Patchwork Girl
Heather R., Matthew, Hoan (Group PPT)

Out of Class Essay due by email, Mon, 2pm (as discussed in class) -- 12/2/2010

Tues 12/7 HTML is a Language (?)
  • Jackson, Patchwork Girl
  • "Code," rssgallery

Relevant Websites
Introduction to Patchwork Girl
Helpful Guide for Reading Patchwork Girl

Interview with Shelly Jackson
"Skin," another project by Jackson
Using StorySpace
Pulp Fiction as Typography (video)
A new, networked novel: Flight Paths

Web References
Introducing the Book (Video)
Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing Us (Video,)
Turning the Pages, British Library
Semaphore Exhibit
Spore game Trailer (Video)

3 Questions
In-Class Essay
Thurs 12/9 What is "Literature?"

Relevant Websites
Neil Gaiman's discusses his work (video)
Electronic Literature Collection Vol. I
Stardust Movie Trailer (video)
Neil Gaiman's Website/Blog

Review of Endless Nights
Plot Summary for Endless Nights
Crossing Mediums: TV's Heroes and Graphic Novels
Top Ten Graphic Novels

[Optional] Consider testing yourself against the Norton 20th Century Quiz

3 Questions

Group Presentation on Graphic Novel
Basia, Aaron (Group PPT)


Final Exam
December 14th, 9:45am-12pm
(Bring exam booklets)