Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Course Syllabus

Be up-to-date with the reading schedule and you will be ahead of lecture. Note, however, that this schedule is not a Procrustean bed : week by week, lecture will follow students' developing interests and the course dynamic. Thus will all material be covered, sublimely, by the end.


Required Texts:
Course Wk. 1: Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
Course Wk. 2: Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
Course Wk. 3: Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones' Diary
Course Wk. 4: Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones' Diary
Course Wk. 5: Monica Ali, Brick Lane
Course Wk. 6: Monica Ali, Brick Lane
Course Wk. 7: Janice Galloway, The Trick is to Keep Breathing
Course Wk. 8: Janice Galloway, The Trick is to Keep Breathing
Course Wk. 9: Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Course Wk. 10: Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Course Wk. 11: Sara Maitland, On Becoming a Fairy Godmother
Course Wk. 12: Sara Maitland, On Becoming a Fairy Godmother

Recommended Texts
Read Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good on your own schedule in the first half of the course. The book is delightfully brief, and I heartily encourage you to read it some spare hour or three in the opening fortnight.

Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, enjoyable, engaging, and easy to read, should be completed in a breeze somewhere in the opening weeks of the second half of our course.

Support material available on Library Reserve.

Nb: “For purposes of the Class Participation Grade, attendance and punctuality in seminar and at lecture, as well as contributions to discussion, are necessary conditions.

Schedule of Assignment Due Dates
(Assignments coded by colour. See assignment posts for details.)
Update: Assignment Deadlines.

Nb: There is a four percent per day late penalty for all assignments, documented medical or bereavement leave excepted. For medical exemptions, provide a letter from a physician on letterhead which declares his or her medical judgement that illness or injury prevented work on the essay. The letter must cover the entire period over which the assignment was scheduled and may be verified by telephone. For any matter effecting deadlines, consult with the Lecturer in person and before the assignment period.

May 21st, Mid-Term Essay topics posted.
June 2nd, Group Polemic Project, proposals and schedule of due dates submitted in lecture.
June 16th or 18th: Mid-Term Essay outline or thesis ¶ due in seminar for peer editing.
June 23rd or 25th: Mid-Term Essay outline or thesis ¶returned with Lecturer's comments.
July 9th, Mid-Term Essay due in Lecturer's Dept. Mailbox.
August 5th, Final Essay due in Dept. Mailbox.

Individual Seminar Presentation
A five-to-ten minute panegyric of some aspect of any of the course texts which is strikingly wonderful. The design is to convince the seminar of the singular literary excellence of your chosen aspect, using your highest abilities as rhetor. Sign-up sheet for presentation date in seminar course week 2, with schedule then posted on-line.

Technology should be used sparingly, if at all, and must be fully set up in advance of the start of the seminar. Any technology used in the assignment becomes a criterion used in grading: including its set-up, operation, and ultimate effectiveness.

Grading criteria include evident research, command of material, validity and salience of insight, worth of the literary aspect or aspects being advanced, oratory strengths and delivery techniques.

Group Polemical Project

Two projects designed to allow expression of strong ideas and engagements with the fiction, or the larger social ideas with which the course texts engage, or the ideas and analysis presented in lecture. "Polemic," from polemos, the Greek word for war; implying that the project will be designed with victory in mind.

  • Find a strong idea that your group is interested in—for or against. Some examples are, an idea of assumptions of women's fiction; or the power of one of the course authors; or the representations of male characters in the texts; or examples from popular culture which illuminate the literary programme in one or more course texts; etc. etc.
  • Decide if both of the two parts of this project will be for or against, or will each of the two take a different side in turn.
  • Decide upon the format that your project will take: e.g. scholarly essays, a blog, video production, submission to local media, etc.
  • Decide upon the due dates for the two projects: the one requirement for dates is that the two cannot be less than three weeks apart.
  • A written proposal and the due dates are due in lecture no later than June 2nd.
  • Time will be given through the Term in seminar to work on the group projects.
  • If a creative method is used—i.e. something beside a scholarly essay—then the proposal must be in the form of failure standards.

Instructor Contact:

Office Hours: AQ 6094 -- Monday 14:30-18:00, Tuesday 12:00-15:00, Wednesday 11:30-12:30, 14:30-15:00. Bring your coffee and discuss course matters freely. E-mail to ogden@sfu.ca. Telephone 778-782-5820
The course will read the books on their own terms, from the axiom that they 'instruct by delighting.' The books share a characteristic of post-war British novels written by women that their female protagonist triumphs—in terms that are realistic and are her own. Aspects political, ideological, or social that are empirically present in the texts or the lives of their authors will be treated in lecture and seminar. Those which are present merely in the minds of the reader will either stay there or find expression in one or both of the group polemical assignments. The teleology of the course is toward understanding of how the fiction expresses confidence and triumph "....intimately connected to the workings of the society around it." [Peter Keating.]

No comments: