English 3328:
Masterpieces of British Literature
from the 19th Century to the Present

Professor John McNamara

Assistant Instructor: Dr. Mark Womack

Spring 2016

Course Website:
This site contains course information and materials, including the syllabus and study questions.

Blackboard Learn:
You will submit ALL your work for this course (Weekly Journals, Term Paper, and Final Exam) on-line through Blackboard Learn.

We recommend that you use a safe, reliable browser to access the course, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Opera. (Internet Explorer is not secure, not dependable, and does not comply with Web Standards.)

You can find Professor McNamara’s lectures for the class on the YouTube play list.

Format of the Course

While students were originally present with the professor in a studio classroom where classes were taped for later television broadcast, you will be taking this course in a form that is now known as “distance education.” Since you are viewing taped versions of these classes on YouTube, you will interact with the professor in different ways than the students in the “live” sessions. Thus, while you will be able to see and hear how those students responded to, or asked questions of, the professor, you will send in your own questions by e-mail to the assistant instructor or by leaving a telephone message at the number listed below. The assistant instructor for this course is Dr. Mark Womack.

Each class meeting of the original “live” version of the course consisted of two segments (A and B) of about an hour and fifteen minutes each, with a break of about 10 minutes after the first segment of each class. You should plan to view a total of 14 complete classes (of 2 segments each) following the syllabus given below. (Please note that the Study Questions presented in Class 14 will also be on the course website listed above.)

Contact Information

To contact the professor or assistant instructor for any reason, you may send a message by e-mail or regular mail. For most communications, we prefer e-mail as the most reliable method. (Do not rely on the email system within Blackboard to contact the instructors.)

Prof. McNamara:

Dr. Womack:


The Norton Anthology of English Literature:
Volume 2
(9th Edition)
Hard Times
Charles Dickens
Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf

You may use ANY edition of Hard Times or Mrs. Dalloway for the class.

Schedule of Lectures, Topics & Assignments

Week Lecture Topics & Assignments
1: Jan 19 1 (A, B) Introduction. Historical context for the emergence of Romanticism.
2: Jan 25 2 (A, B) Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience. Wordsworth, “Tintern Abbey.”
3: Feb 1 3 (A, B) Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections). Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (selections), Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. Robinson, “The Haunted Beach.”
4: Feb 8 4 (A, B) Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto 3. Landon, “Love’s Last Lesson” and “The Proud Ladye.” Shelley, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, “A Song: Men of England” and “England in 1819.” Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Letter to George and Thomas Keats and To Autumn.
5: Feb 15 5 (A, B) Victorian Issues (all selections). Additional illustrations from Wolstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, and Carlyle, “Captains of Industry.”
6: Feb 22 6 (A, B) Dickens, Hard Times.
7: Feb 29 7 (A, B) Tennyson, In Memoriam. Browning, “My last Duchess,” Fra Lippo Lippi, and Caliban upon Setybos.
8: March 7 8 (A, B) Ruskin, Modern Painters and Stones of Venice. Arnold, Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse and “Dover Beach.” Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur” and “The Windhover.”
March 14–19 Spring Holiday
9: March 21 9 (A, B) Pater, Preface to The Renaissance. Wilde, Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dowson, Brooke, Sassoon, Owen (all selections).
10: March 28 10 (A, B) The Emergence of Modernism 1: Conrad, The Heart of Darkness. Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden.” Achebe, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.”
April 1 Last Day to drop a course or withdraw with a “W”
11: April 4 11 (A, B) The Emergence of Modernism 2: Yeats, “Easter 1916” and “The Second Coming.” Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
12: April 11 12 (A, B) Eliot, The Waste Land. Woolf, A Room of One’s Own.
13: April 18 13 (A, B) Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway.
14: April 25 14 (A, B) Larkin, Hughes, and Heaney (all selections of each). Review for the Final Examination.
(See instructions below for submitting your paper on Blackboard Learn.)
(See instructions below for taking your exam on Blackboard Learn.)

Weekly Journals

Your will submit your Journals on the Blackboard Learn Discussion Boards.

You will hear some discussion of submitting journals via e-mail in the lectures, but that requirement applied only to an earlier version of this course.

Each week you will post your personal responses to one or more of the works covered that week. You should post your responses in the Journal component of Blackboard Learn. Please DO NOT submit your journals as attached files. You should have a total of at least twelve substantial postings (one per week, excluding Week 1 and Week 14) by the end of the course.

Depth is more important than breadth in your journals. So do not try to “cover” every work discussed in class each week. Instead, pick one or two works, or short passages from longer works, and share your insights on and reactions to them.

You must submit all your journal entries by April 29. We strongly encourage you to keep up with your weekly journal entries. But because we want to accommodate the greater scheduling flexibility of a distance learning class, we have not set specific due dates for each weekly journal.

Please Note: While your posting will feature your personal response(s) to the work covered that week, your response should be thoughtful and make specific references to the text you are considering.

Term Paper

You are to choose one of the “Victorian Issues” outlined in the Norton Anthology, then select a major work by an author who deals with one of those issues and write a paper of 8– 10 pages (about 1,800 to 2,300 words) in which you provide (1) a brief historical context for the issue your author treats, (2) an analysis of a specific work by your author showing how it treats the particular issue, and (3) an assessment of your author’s contribution to one of these “Victorian Issues.”

Please bear in mind that these “Victorian Issues” began to emerge some time before they were fully articulated in Victorian England, and they continued to exert considerable influence during the 20th century—and now into the 21st century. Moreover, some writers of the last two centuries have dealt with more than one of these issues, sometimes even exploring the relations among them. Accordingly, you may choose any British author writing during the time period covered by the course, and you may choose an author whose work deals with more than one of the “Victorian Issues.”

Alternative Topic:
You may rather choose to write on the colonial or post-colonial experience in the British Empire as depicted by an author from the last two centuries. In that case, you will provide (1) a brief historical context for the work you choose to analyze, (2) a detailed analysis of that work showing how it depicts the colonial or post-colonial experience, and (3) an assessment of your author’s contribution to this topic.

Norton Topics Online, a free on-line supplement to the Norton Anthology, includes a section on The Victorian Age that provides many helpful resources on Industrialism, The Woman Question, and Victorian Imperialism. You may find the supplementary texts, study questions, and research links provided there useful in shaping your term paper on those topics.

Please also bear in mind that while your primary task is analyzing a particular work, some research will be necessary for you to establish the historical context in which your author wrote that work, and all sources you use should be carefully acknowledged and documented.

All sources must be documented. While the MLA form is preferred, any reasonable and clear form for citing sources will be acceptable.

Due to be received by April 30.
You must submit your paper electronically (see instructions below). You do not need to submit a hard copy version of your essay.

How to submit your Term Paper:

  • Find the Term Paper—Spring 16 link on the main Blackboard Learn page (NB: You can only submit your paper through this Blackboard Learn link, NOT through the Turnitin web site.)
  • Click the View/Complete link for the assignment.
  • Enter your Name from the drop-down Author menu.
  • Enter the Title of your paper.
  • Click the “Browse” button.
  • Find the document file on your computer and click “Open.”
  • Click the “Upload” button.
  • Review the file and click on the “Submit” button.

N.B. Remember always to keep a copy of your paper.

Final Examination

This examination will be comprehensive in that it will cover all the works on the syllabus and the material introduced in class lectures and discussions. In order to help you focus on the most important subjects for your review, a list of Study Questions for the Final Examination is available on the class website. The examination will be based on these study questions, which are taken from subjects discussed in detail during the classes sessions. Note that the last two hours of class time will be devoted to a review of the course using these study questions as a guide.

The final will be available on Blackboard Vista all day on May 7. You will have 3 hours to complete the exam. On the honor system, you may use your text books during the exam but no other materials.

Please use paragraphs in your answers, they help organize and clarify your arguments.

NB: After you finish the exam, YOU MUST PRESS THE SUBMIT BUTTON TO SEND THE EXAM; otherwise your answer will be lost.

Final Grade

Term Paper


Final Exam


Weekly Journals


Withdrawal Policy

While all students are encouraged to complete the course, we recognize that occasionally a student may need to withdraw, especially for non-academic reasons. Please bear in mind that it is your responsibility to fill out and turn in the necessary forms in order to withdraw formally from the course.

According to university policy, if you wish to withdraw from the course you must do so by April 1, the “Last Day to Drop a Course” on the official academic calendar.

Please note that if you do not withdraw by April 1, then you must receive a grade for the course. If a student simply does not turn in assignments and does not warrant a grade of “I” (Incomplete) then current university policy is to assign that student a failing grade for the course.

Policy on Incomplete Greades

The grade of “I” (Incomplete) is a conditional and temporary grade given when students are passing a course or still have a reasonable chance of passing in the judgment of the instructor but, for non-academic reasons beyond their control, have not completed a relatively small part of all requirements. Students are responsible for informing the instructor immediately of the reasons for not submitting an assignment on time or not taking an examination. Students must contact the instructor to make arrangements to complete the course requirements.

An Incomplete is granted only if (a) the student has sufficient non-academic reason for not completing the coursework within the term allotted; (b) the student has already completed a substantial portion of the coursework; and (c) the student requests a grade of Incomplete before the date of the Final Examination. Students who do receive an Incomplete grade must complete all the course requirements by a deadline set by the instructor. If the student fails to submit the work on time, the grade will be changed to reflect the work completed in the course. Bear in mind that a grade of “I” automatically changes to “F” at the end of a calendar year if all course requirements are not fulfilled by that time.

Page Last Updated: 21 March 2016