Download: ENGL 3328 Syllabus

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

Dr. Mark Womack Spring 2017
Skype Username:
Skype Office Hours:
by appointment

You will submit ALL your work for this course (Stylistic Analyses, Critical Essays, and Final Exam) online through Blackboard.

This site contains all course materials — including this syllabus, assignment sheets, handouts, and so forth.

Class Format

Since this is a distance learning course, we will have no face-to-face classroom meetings. Instead, you can listen to the class lectures online at One great advantage of this format is that you can listen to the lectures at your own pace; one potential disadvantage is that it it very easy to fall behind. (See suggested schedule below.)

If you have questions, you can email me: I will also hold virtual office hours on Skype by appointment. My Skype username is drmarkwomack. In addition, I will monitor and occasionally post on the BlackBoard Discussion Forums.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to major works of British literature from the 19th century through the present. We will study these literary texts as literary texts — works of verbal art designed to delight readers and auditors — not primarily as historical documents. We will spend virtually all our time analyzing specific passages in great detail, thinking about how the text in front of us works on our minds and ears as we read it. This course will thus provide an opportunity to learn how to read literature closely and to write about it with precision and clarity.

Although not organized around any particular themes, the course will grapple with two critical questions: 1) “Why have these works persisted in our culture for so long?” and 2) “How do these writers manipulate the resources of language to shape our experience as readers?” As you will see, I believe these questions about canon formation and about literary form are inseparably related.


The Norton Anthology
of English Literature

Volume 2 (9th Edition)
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

You may use ANY well-annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice for the class.

NOTE: You can probably find all of the nineteenth-century and many of the twentieth-century texts we will read this semester online for free. But those free versions typically lack any footnotes or scholarly introductions. Such annotations are invaluable when studying complex works of literature, so please use the Norton Anthology, not Google, for these texts.


You will write ten brief Stylistic Analyses of texts discussed in class and one Critical Essay: analyzing either a nineteenth-century sonnet or analyzing the first chapter of a classic British novel. You will also take a comprehensive Final Exam. All the material for the final will come directly from readings and lectures. Failure to complete any assignment may result in a failing grade for the course. You will submit all your work (analyses, essays, and final exam) online through Blackboard. Assignments not submitted on time will receive a zero. I never assign extra credit or make-up work. I discuss grades only in private, and only forty-eight hours (at least) after I have returned an assignment.

Stylistic Analyses

Throughout the semester, you will write ten brief analyses (about 300 words each) of specific stylistic choices in the works covered in class. For each analysis, you should pick a few lines from one of the assigned texts, then focus on a particular linguistic detail in them (a surprising word choice, an arresting metaphor, a complex allusion, a striking use of enjambment), and offer your insights into what that specific stylistic nuance does for a reader.

Everything you say in your analysis should relate directly to the actual words of the text. Don’t get sidetracked; stick with the words. Think about how the author has shaped and arranged the language. I am looking for fine-grained analysis, not mushy generalizations.

Post your Stylistic Analyses in the Journal component of Blackboard. Please DO NOT submit your analyses as attached files. The final deadline for all analyses is April 30. But I encourage you not to wait till the last minute to submit them.

Critical Essays

You will find detailed assignment sheets for the Critical Essay on the main website. You have a choice of two topics — Topic 1: On a 19th-century Sonnet OR Topic 2: On a Novel’s First Chapter. I will also discuss the essay assignments in detail during class lectures.

Submitting Essays

  • Find the submission link on the main Blackboard page. (Use only the Blackboard links; do not use the TurnItIn web site.)
  • Click the View/Complete link for the assignment.
  • Enter your Name from the drop-down Author menu.
  • Enter a Title for 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.

Final Exam

The final will be an essay exam: you will answer four questions, writing short essay answers for each of them. For each question, you will have a choice of three specific topics to write on.

The final will be available on Blackboard all day on Saturday, May 5. 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.

Course Grade
Stylistic Analyses 20%
Critical Essay 40%
Final Exam 40%

Numerical Values of Letter Grades
A+ (100–97) A (96–93) A- (92–90)
B+ (89–87) B (86–83) B- (82–80)
C+ (79–77) C (76–73) C- (72–70)
F (59–0)

Schedule of Lectures, Readings & Assignments

Week One
M 1/15 Martin Luther King Day
W 1/17 First Day Lecture: a review of instructions, policies, & syllabus
F 1/19 William Wordsworth: “Composed upon Westminster Bridge …”
John Keats: “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”
Week Two
M 1/22 William Blake: Songs of Innocence and of Experience
W 1/24 William Wordsworth: Selected Poems
F 1/26 William Wordsworth: Selected Poems
Week Three
M 1/29 Samuel Tayler Coleridge: “The Rime of the Ancient Marriner” & “Kubla Khan”
W 1/31 George Gordon, Lord Byron: Selected Poems
F 2/2 John Keats: Letter [“Negative Capability”] & Odes
Week Four
M 2/5 Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, 1.1–13 (1–13)
W 2/7 Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, 1.14–23 (14–23)
F 2/9 Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, 2.1–10 (24–33)
Week Five
M 2/12 Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, 2.11–19 (34–42)
W 2/14 Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, 3.1–9 (43–51)
F 2/176 Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, 3.10–19 (52–61)
Week Six
M 2/19 Charles Dickens: Bleak House, Great Expectations, & Our Mutual Friend (1st chapters)
W 2/21 Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selected Poems
F 2/23 Robert Browning: Selected Poems
Week Seven
M 2/26 Robert Louis Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
W 2/28 Robert Louis Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
F 3/2 Gerard Manley Hopkins: Selected Poems
Week Eight
M 3/5 Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
W 3/7 Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
F 3/9

SPRING HOLIDAY: March 12 — March 17

Week Nine
M 3/19 Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness, part 1
W 3/21 Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness, part 2
F 3/23 Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness, part 3
Week Ten
M 3/26 William Butler Yeats: Selected Poems
W 3/28 William Butler Yeats: Selected Poems
Week Eleven
M 4/2 James Joyce: “The Dead”
T 4/3 Last day to drop a course or withdraw with a “W.”
W 4/4 T. S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” & “The Hollow Men”
F 4/6 T. S. Eliot: The Wasteland
Week Twelve
M 4/9 Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway (2156–71)
W 4/11 Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway (2171–91)
F 4/13 Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway (2191–2213)
Week Thirteen
M 4/16 Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway (2214–39)
W 4/18 Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway (2239–64)
F 4/20 Final Deadline for Critical Essay
Week Fourteen
M 4/23 Salmon Rushdie: “The Prophet’s Hair”
W 4/25 Tom Stoppard: Arcadia, Act 1
F 4/27 Tom Stoppard: Arcadia, Act 2
Week Fifteen
M 4/30 Final Deadline for Stylistic Analyses
Final Exam
The final will be available on Blackboard all day on May 5. You will have three hours to complete the exam. On the honor system, you may use your text books during the exam but no other materials.

Selected Poems
Wordsworth Preface to Lyrical Ballads [“Emotion Recollected in Tranquility”], “Lines” [Tintern Abey], “Strange fits of passion have I known,” “She dwelt among untrodden ways,” “Three years she grew,” “A slumber did my spirit seal,” & “I travelled among unknown men”

“I wandered lonely as a cloud,” “My heart leaps up,” “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” & The Prelude, Book 5 [The Boy of Winander; The Drowned Man] and Book 7 [The Blind Beggar; Bartholomew Fair]

Byron “Written after Swimming … ,” “She Walks in Beauty,” “Darkness,” “So we’ll go no more a roving,” & Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: A Romaunt
Keats Letter: To George and Thomas Keats [“Negative Capability”] 
“Ode to Psyche,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy,” “Ode on Indolence,” & “To Autumn”
Tennyson “Mariana,” “The Lady of Shalott,” “Ulysses,” “Break, Break, Break,” “Tears, Idle Tears,” “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” & “Crossing the Bar”
Browning “Porphyria’s Lover,” “My Last Duchess,” “The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church,” “Fra Lippo Lippi,” & “Andrea del Sarto”
Hopkins “God’s Grandeur,” “As Kingsfishers Catch Fire,” “Spring,” “The Windhover,” “Pied Beauty,” “Felix Randal,” “Spring and Fall,” [Carion Comfort], “No worst, there is none,” & “Thou art indeed just Lord”
Yeats “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” “When You Are Old,” “No Second Troy,” “The Fascination of What’s Difficult,” “Easter, 1916,” “The Wild Swans at Coole,” “The Second Coming,” & “A Prayer for My Daughter”

“Leda and the Swan,” “Sailing to Byzantium,” “Among School Children,” “Byzantium,” “Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop,” “Lapus Lazuli,” & “The Circus Animals’ Desertion”

Withdrawal Policy

I strongly encourage every student to complete the course, but I 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 the “Last Day to Drop a Course” on the official academic calendar.

If you have not withdrawn by then you will receive a grade for the course. Current university policy dictates that students who fail to submit their required work and do not qualify for an Incomplete will receive a failing grade for the course.

Last Day to Drop a Course: April 3

Policy on Incomplete Grades

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 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 the student has not fulfilled all course requirements by then.

Final Exam Date: May 5

Your instructor, Mark Womack, reserves the right to amend any policies listed here with sufficient written notice.

Page Last Updated: 31 December 2017