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Introduction to Literary Genres

Dual Credit English 175
Introduction to Literary Genres
Mrs. Rankin

Course Description and Goals: English 175 is an introduction to the terminology, techniques, and formal characteristics of literary genres. Students will demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

  1. Recognize and identify the formal and thematic characteristics of the literary genres of fiction, poetry, and drama. Writing assignments will require students to show how these literary elements are used to produce meaning through their aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional effects. Moreover, students will synthesize their knowledge of these literary elements in reading and responding to one British novel, Jane Eyre.
  2. Possess and use a critical vocabulary and analytical and interpretive skills to read and participate in the academic and popular conversations surrounding literary works. 
  3. Through close analysis of literary works and their historical and modern contexts, explain how the themes and issues in these works are relevant to contemporary culture and in a student’s personal life.
  4. Write in various modes – formal and informal, personal, analytical, and persuasive – demonstrating critical thinking skills and an appropriate sense of audience and use of conventions for each.

Reading and writing assignments, exams, lectures, and discussions, and instruction will be designed to scaffold toward a major research-based literature paper of 7-10 pages due at the end of the semester. You will submit this research-based paper to the University of Idaho as evidence that you have mastered the objectives of the class.

In a nutshell, then, students will be expected to speak intelligently about literature, using the terminology of the discipline; explain how literature “works;” make connections between literature and their own lives in ways that enlarge their understanding of the human condition; understand the continuing relevance of literature to society; and finally, love reading great literature.

Requirements: There will be four major exams, one major essay, and multiple quizzes and homework assignments. There will also be daily reading assignments. Reading is due the date listed on the course reading schedule. Some of the reading will be in the British literature textbooks you’ll receive in class; if not, you will be directed to a website or another text.

All exams are to be taken in class on the scheduled day listed on the syllabus. In the event of a conflict, make arrangements to take the exam before the rest of the class. The only exception is an absolute emergency.

In-class quizzes cannot be made up. Missing one or even two quizzes will not hurt your grade if you are a good student.

All written assignments are due in class in printed and electronic form on the due date. Assignments handed in after class are “late” and will not be accepted. The final essay, of course, may not be submitted late under any circumstances. Students missing any assignment (not counting quizzes) will not pass the course.

Computer problems are not accepted as excuses; every student has the same due date. Get assignments done the night before, not the morning before class.

Exams (40 % of your grade): The exams will be challenging, and will include some objective questions as well as short answer and short essays. Everything we’ve discussed in class is fair game; take good notes and read everything several times.

Major Essay (25% of your grade): The major essay is a seven to ten page paper on a piece of literature (novel, short story, play, or poem) that you will select from a list provided by me. The essay is due at the end of the semester, but you will be working on the skills necessary to write it all through the semester.

Participation in class (10% of your grade): This class is discussion-intensive, and requires your preparation and engagement. You must be prepared to share ideas, opinions, and thoughts, and be ready to volunteer rather than expecting me to call on you. Participation includes bringing your book to class and doing the reading as well as sharing your ideas and taking notes (get used to taking notes during class discussions and lectures about everything that is discussed, including what the instructor writes on the board or presents in a handout or powerpoint). I will assign a participation grade at midterm and at the end of each quarter. Poor attendance will result in a lower participation grade.

Homework (25% of your grade): The homework grade includes anything you turn in for a grade besides the major essay and the exams. This includes pop quizzes, homework, and in-class assignments. Homework can only be turned in late if you had an excused absence the day it was due. If so, homework is due the first day you are back in class. Anything you are still completing when class begins is considered late and will be marked down. Homework will be grade with a V+ (100%), V (75%), V- (50%) or a 0. See rubric for short essay questions as a guideline to grading and expectations.

Plagiarism Policy

There are two basic kinds of plagiarism:

  1. Malicious or intentional. This is the most serious kind of academic theft. It involves using someone else’s work as your own without citing the source, including direct copying, rephrasing, and summarizing, submitting someone else’s paper as your own, or submitting your own work from a different course. It also involves taking someone else’s idea and putting it in different words. Even if several different sources were copied, it is still plagiarism. 
  2. “Plagia-phrasing” or mosaic plagiarism. Not indicating directly quoted passages or ideas while citing the work as a general source.

The consequences of plagiarism:

If a paper involves plagiarism of the second kind, I may ask you to rewrite the paper, using correct forms of documentation. However, if you persist in committing this kind of plagiarism, even after I have explained it to you more than once, you could be subjected to a more severe penalty. Please see the academic dishonesty policy in your student handbook.

At the University of Idaho, the instructor is empowered by Regulation 0-2 of the general catalog to assign a grade of F for the course. In most cases of plagiarism, the instructor will also make a complaint to the Dean of Students Office, which is responsible for enforcing the Student Code of Conduct. So in addition to receiving a grade of F, you may also be subject to other penalties, including suspension or expulsion. Keep in mind that the Dean of Students Office maintains disciplinary records as part of a student’s overall academic record.

Teachers are very good at recognizing plagiarism. Even if a teacher cannot track down the plagiarized material, he or she is very familiar with your writing style, and your academic integrity will be questioned. When you need to take something from another person’s work – an idea, a powerful statement, facts, or an explanation – cite your source.

I may demonstrate that a paper involves plagiarism by identifying the source, showing a discrepancy of style between previous papers and the paper in question, or by examining you verbally.

Note that specific readings on unit assignment handouts are subject to change. Readings with page numbers are from the classroom set of literature texts. All others will be available online or in handout form. Dates indicate the day the reading is due for class.

Unit 1:

1/17: Introduction to the course, syllabus, and registration. Introduction to early British history.

1/19: Reading from the Anglo Saxon period pp 1-16 and pp 68-69; The Story of English video Section 1

1/23: Excerpts from Beowulf, 23-51

1/25: Reading from the Medieval Period and Morte d’Arthur pp 73-100

1/27: “The Lay of the Werewolf” (handout)

1/31: Excerpts from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (handout) and pp 168-185

2/ 2: The English Renaissance and the Poems of Wyatt pp 201-226 and handouts

2/6: Answering and Imitating: Marlowe and Raleigh p 230 and p 238

2/8: Shakespeare’s Sonnets pp 252-264 and handouts

2/10: Exam 1

Unit 2

2/14: “The Cultural Context of Shakespeare’s Plays” essay

2/16: Hamlet

2/21: Hamlet and Shakespearience (Macbeth)

2/23: Hamlet

2/27: Poetry of John Donne

2/29: Poetry of Marvell, Herrick, and Jonson

3/2: Essays of Defoe and Swift

3/6: Exam 2

Unit 3

3/8: Poetry of Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley; Jane Eyre assigned

3/12: Poetry of Tennyson, Browning, Arnold

3/14: Jane Eyre

3/16: Jane Eyre

3/20: Jane Eyre

3/22: Exam 3

Unit 4

4/2: Excerpts and shorts works of Dickens

4/4: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

4/6: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

4/10: Short fiction of James Joyce

4/12: Short stories of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf

4/16: Poetry of Yeats

4/18: Poetry of T.S. Eliot

4/20: Short fiction by Byatt and Sillitoe

4/24: A short story by Litt

4/26: Short fiction by McEwan

4/30: Assign Major Essay

5/2: A short story by Rushdie

5/4: Research

5/8: Thesis statement and outline due

5/10: Exam 4

5/14: Major Essay First Draft Due and Peer Review

5/16: Revise

5/18: Peer Review Final Draft

5/22: Final Major Essay Due - Submit to U of I









Introduction to the course and syllabus


Readings from The Anglo Saxon period p. 1-16 and p. 68-69; The Story of English video section 1 

Excerpts fromBeowulf and “The Seafarer”



Readings from The Medieval Period p. 73-90 and fromMorte d’Arthur


Excerpts fromSir Gawain and the Green Knight p. 168-186



“The Lay of the Werewolf”


“The Cultural Context of Shakespeare’s Plays” essay and p. 201-218 The English Renaissance


Wyatt and Sidney p. 220-226



Answering and Imitating:  Marlowe and Raleigh p.230 and p. 238


Shakespeare’s Sonnets p. 252-264



Exam 1 Feb 1












Donne p. 396-205


Marvell, Herrick and Jonson p. 408-430


Defoe and Swift p. 512-530


Blake p. 606-616

Exam 2 Feb 23


Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley p.639- 729 ; Jane Eyre assigned



Tennyson, Browning, Arnold p. 784-830


Jane Eyre


Jane Eyre



Jane Eyre


Exam 3 April 5



Dickens p. 868-880









Joyce p. 984- 992



Mansfield p. 935-938


Yeats p.1024-1036


Orwell p. 1010-1023



T. S. Eliot p. 1054-1063


Dylan Thomas, Auden, Owen p. 1074-1102




Byatt, Sillitoe p. 1266-1268


Litt; Assign Major Essay



Spring Break














Major Essay Due May 18


Exam 4  May 21