M A I N * N E W S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S


SUNY Fredonia
Division of Arts and Humanities
ENGL 332: American Romanticism
Spring 2006
Section 1: Thompson W-239, TTh 12:30-1:50
Office: Fenton 279; M-F 9-12 and by appointment; 673-3125
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
Blackboard Site: blackboard.fredonia.edu


About the Course Web Pages

This web site is designed to help you get as much out of this course as possible--you can use it to find out how your work will be assessed, what assignments are due and when, how to use the course Blackboard site, what books are on reserve for your use in Reed Library, and how to use the world-wide web for research, among other things. Please get in the habit of checking back to these pages to keep track of changes to the syllabus and advice on assignments, as well as to surf the ever-expanding list of links to interesting web pages related to the course. And please contact me anytime (see above for my coordinates) if you have ideas about how to improve these pages or the course as a whole.

Course Description/Goals

Study of romanticism in terms of influence, development, and characteristics within the context of American culture, including textual examples ranging from indigenous native sources to those of Europe and the East. This section is ENGL 332 is designed to introduce students to the analysis of major literary works, genres, and movements in the United States between the War of 1812 and the Civil War. We will focus on the ways in which literature represents, responds to, and shapes intellectual and political transformations in American society during the period, including developments in ideologies of nationalism and "manifest destiny," intensifying sectional conflicts over slavery and industrialization, and the mobilization of abolition, women's rights, labor, and reform movements. In the course of doing this, we will pay careful attention to multiple traditions of writing within the antebellum U.S., ethical and political ramifications of literary form, and intertextual relations among literary works of the period and, to a lesser extent, between works from 1812-1865 and those from other periods and traditions.

ENGL 332 is a period course for students in the English and English Adolescence Education majors and an elective in American Studies; it also satisfies Part 12 of the College Core Curriculum (CCC). As such, it is designed to give students the opportunity to develop a critical or analytical approach to this period of American literature; develop their ability to read and respond to a variety of primary sources with understanding and to integrate knowledge from different sources, their awareness of historical contexts for antebellum American literature, their understanding of contemporary U.S. society (as refined through attention to the contemporary implications or ramifications of antebellum American literature and history), and their understanding of values and/or assumptions we bring to the study of this period of American literature; and develop the curiosity to explore antebellum American literature and history further.

II. Rationale

In ENGL 332, as in most courses offered by the English Department, students from a range of majors, minors, and concentrations interact, and the goals of the professional programs are integrated with specific course and CCC goals. Achieving these goals (described in Section IV below) will require us to foster academic skills and intellectual habits of reading closely and carefully, thinking critically and creatively, listening actively and attentively, speaking thoughtfully and concisely, and writing clearly and analytically--skills and habits useful to everyone, but of particular importance to future teachers.

Texts. There are three books in the bookstore for you to purchase:

IV. Course Objectives and Outcomes

Courses in Part 12 of the CCC are designed to promote interdisciplinary approaches and to foster critical thinking and critical literacy. Hence, students in ENGL 332 will read, analyze, and compare a wide range of writings from and about the antebellum period; consider relations between literary, cultural, political, and historical events, topics, and issues in the period; and make connections between this period and other periods of American literature and history. To achieve these goals, students will

V. Instructional Methods and Activities

The methods used in the classroom will include lecture, in-class writing, guided discovery, open discussion, various kinds of cooperative group work, and other discussion-oriented activities.

VI. Evaluation and Grade Assignment

A. Methods

Preparation/Participation/Team Work (15%). Regular attendance and thoughtful participation are crucial to your enjoyment of and success in this course. If there is absolutely no way for you to avoid missing a class, please contact me ahead of time or soon after your absence, preferably by email. More important than showing up on time, of course, is coming to class prepared and focused. I expect you to read what has been assigned for a given date at least once (and preferably more than that!) by the time we begin to discuss it in class, and to familiarize yourself with and think about the discussion questions posted on the course Blackboard site (described below in Section VIIIB). This is a discussion rather than a lecture course, after all; although I will provide some context for and interpretations of our reading, the bulk of class time will be spent in small or large group discussions. Since it's difficult to make good contributions to discussions about a literary work if you haven't read it carefully or thought about it extensively, how well you budget your time outside of class will to a large degree determine how well you do in this class in general and how well you do on this portion of your course grade in particular. On the second day of class, students will be divided into ten teams. Each team will collaborate in and out of class and on the course Blackboard site.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of your attendance and your preparation/participation in class and on the course Blackboard site. As there are no exams in this course, think of my evaluation of your preparation/participation as a different but equally important method of assessing your overall performance and improvement in the course. The quality of your reading responses and contributions to team work will be factored into this grade. Due to the reliance on attendance of preparation and participation, more than one unexcused absence will hurt your preparation/participation/team work grade and each non-emergency absence after the third will lower your final course grade by one grade (e.g., with four such absences a B+ will become a C+; with six, it will become a D+).

Reading Responses (15%). Detailed instructions for subscribing to and using the course Blackboard site (www.blackboard.fredonia.edu) are given below (see Section VIIIB) and will be discussed in class. We will be using the Blackboard site to prepare for and extend class discussions and to facilitate intrateam communication. Students must submit a certain number of reading responses over the course of the semester (no more than 1 RR/week will be counted toward the semester's total, so don't wait till the last week of the semester to do this); you can get credit for doing a reading response in a given week by either a) submitting to the reading response discussion forum a total of three discussion questions on upcoming readings in time for people to read them by early morning T or Th, or b) replying to at least one discussion question in a thoughtful mini-essay by the end of that week. Advice on generating reading responses can be found on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl332s06/rr.htm.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be determined by the number of on-time, passing reading responses you post to the course Blackboard site. Since there are fourteen weeks when reading responses are due in the semester, and since you are allowed six missed weeks without penalty, 8 or more reading responses=A; 7=B+; 6=B; 5=C+; 4=C, 3=D; 2 or less=F. The quality of your reading responses will be factored into your preparation/participation/team work grade (see above).

Critical Essay (20%). I provide detailed information on the 4-to-6-page critical essay on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl332s06/ce.htm.

Group Presentation Project (20%). I provide detailed information on the 30-minute group presentation on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl332s06/gpp.htm.

Final Project (30%). I will provide detailed information on the final project on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl332s06/fp.htm. Possibilities include a research-based critical essay, a research-based pedagogical essay, a creative writing project with author's note, or an analytical web site. We will arrange for a mandatory individual conference on your final project topic after spring break.

B. Grading. All work during the semester will be graded on a letter basis (A=outstanding, B=good, C=average, D=bad, F=awful) and converted into a number for purposes of calculating final grades. I use the following conversion system (the number in parentheses is the "typical" or "normal" conversion, but any number in the range may be assigned to a given letter grade):

A+=97-100 (98); A=93-96.99 (95); A-=90-92.99 (91); B+=87-89.99 (88); B=83-86.99 (85); B-=80-82.99 (81); C+=77-79.99 (78); C=73-76.99 (75); C-=70-72.99 (71); D+=67-69.99 (68); D=63-66.99 (65); D-=60-62.99 (61); F=0-59.99 (55)

Your final grade is determined by converting the weighted numerical average of the above assignments into a letter grade, according to the above scale.

C. Portfolio. English and English Adolescence Education majors should be aware of the English department's guidelines for ongoing portfolio submissions.

VII. Bibliography. The following works and others may be found on reserve at the circulation desk in Reed Library (click here for the reserves list):

A. Contemporary References

B. Classic References

C. Key Journals



VIII. Course Schedule and Policies

A. Tentative Course Schedule. The following course schedule is subject to revision--please refer here regularly for updates to this schedule, notes on the texts, and suggestions for further reading. Please recall that you need to submit 8 reading responses to earn an A for that segment of your final grade (see Section VI). It's expected that you will read the introductory essay for each author assigned for a given day and refer back to the introduction and editorial apparatus in the Norton Anthology as necessary for basic context and understanding of what you're reading. It's also expected that you'll make use of the links page to prepare for class discussion. If you have factual, biographical, or historical questions, it's your responsibility to use the many resources available to you to try to answer them on your own. In discussion, we'll largely be focusing on interpretive, comparative, evaluative issues, guided by your discussion questions. (Key: NAAL=The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. B [6th ed.].)


Th 1/19 introductions; review in class Hershel Parker, "American Literature, 1820-1865" and timeline (NAAL 957-977)

Declarations of Independence


T 1/24 set up teams; 1835: Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Young Goodman Brown" and "The May-Pole of Merry Mount" (NAAL 1263-1280); 1860: Harriet Prescott Spofford, "Circumstance" (NAAL 2588-2597)
Th 1/26 1819: Washington Irving, "Rip Van Winkle" (NAAL 980-992); 1832: Nathaniel Hawthorne, "My Kinsman, Major Molineux" (NAAL 1250-1263); 1834: Catharine Maria Sedgwick, "A Reminiscence of Federalism" (NAAL 1051-1071)


T 1/31 1837: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar" (NAAL 1135-1147); 1850: Herman Melville, "Hawthorne and His Mosses" (NAAL 2292-2304)
Th 2/2 1841: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance" (NAAL 1160-1176); 1853: Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (NAAL 2330-2355); 1855: Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass [Song of Myself]" (NAAL 2147-2189)


T 2/7 1844: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet" (NAAL 1177-1191); 1855, 1856: Walt Whitman, Preface to Leaves of Grass (NAAL 2131-2145) and "Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson" (NAAL 2194-2200)
Th 2/9 1861: Rebecca Harding Davis, "Life in the Iron-Mills" (NAAL 2547-2573); 1862, 1864, 1868: Emily Dickinson, #435, #448, #632, #952, #1129 (NAAL 2515, 2516, 2522, 2528, 2532)


T 2/14 1843: Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Birth-Mark" (NAAL 1289-1300) and Margaret Fuller, "The Great Lawsuit" (NAAL 1620-1654)
Th 2/16 1855: Herman Melville, "The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids" (NAAL 2355-2371); 1858: Fanny Fern (Sarah Willis Parton), "Blackwell's Island Number III" (NAAL 1755-1757); 1860, 1862: Emily Dickinson, #199, #1072 (NAAL 2506, 2530)

Manifest Destinies


T 2/21 1833: William Apess, "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man" (NAAL 1079-1084); 1849: Henry David Thoreau, "Resistance to Civil Government" (NAAL 1792-1807)
Th 2/23 1829-1830: The Cherokee Memorials (NAAL 1029-1039); 1834: William Cullen Bryant, "The Prairies" (NAAL 1075-1078); CRITICAL ESSAY due


T 2/28 1814: William Cullen Bryant, "Thanatopsis" (NAAL 1072-1074); 1823: James Fenimore Cooper, from The Pioneers (NAAL 1015-1023); 1836: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (NAAL 1106-1134); 1862, 1864, 1884: Emily Dickinson, #314, #978, #1624 (NAAL 2511-2512, 2528-2529, 2539); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Team Mocha
Th 3/2 1854: Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods, Ch. 1-4 (NAAL 1807-1875); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Team Norton


T 3/7 1854: Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods, Ch. 5-12 (NAAL 1875-1931)
Th 3/9 1854: Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods, Ch. 13-18 (NAAL 1931-1982); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Busy Bugs


T 3/14 1839: Caroline Stansbury Kirkland, from A New Home--Who'll Follow? (NAAL 1090-1093); 1850: Bayard Taylor, from Eldorado (NAAL 2488-2499); 1855: Louise Amelia Smith Clappe, "California, in 1852" (NAAL 2276-2287); 1863: Henry David Thoreau, "Life without Principle" (NAAL 2016-2029); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: New Kids on the Block
Th 3/16 1860: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Fate" (NAAL 1216-1235) and Walt Whitman, "Facing West from California's Shores" (NAAL 2208); 1862: Henry David Thoreau, "Walking" (NAAL 1993-2016)


T 3/21 1886-1891: Herman Melville, "Billy Budd, Sailor" (NAAL 2431-2487); CLASS CANCELLED/DISCUSS ON BLACKBOARD SITE
Th 3/23 1981: Simon Ortiz, from Sand Creek; DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: The Three Amigos


F 3/24-F 3/31 NO CLASSES--Spring Break

The Peculiar Institution


T 4/4 1845: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life (NAAL 2029-2059); 1855: Frederick Douglass, from My Bondage and My Freedom (NAAL 2097-2108)
Th 4/6 1845: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life (NAAL 2059-2097); 1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. III, VII, XII, XIV (NAAL 1673-1685, 1697-1716); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Team Illiterate


T 4/11 1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. XXX, XXI, XXXIV (NAAL 1727-1746); 1861: Harriet Jacobs, from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (NAAL 1757-1779); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Dill Pickles
Th 4/13 1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. IX (NAAL 1686-1697); 1850: John Greenleaf Whittier, "Ichabod!" (NAAL 1488); 1854: Henry David Thoreau, "Slavery in Massachusetts" (NAAL 1982-1992); 1854: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Last of the Anti-Slavery Lectures" (NAAL 1207-1216); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Team Name
F 4/14 CRITICAL ESSAY due (required if didn't do first one; lowest grade dropped if both done)


T 4/18 1852: Frederick Douglass, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" (NAAL 2108-2127); 1859: Lydia Maria Child, "Mrs. Child's Reply" (NAAL 1095-1103); 1858, 1863, 1865: Abraham Lincoln, "A House Divided," "Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg," and "Second Inaugural Address" (NAAL 1609-1617); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: Utter Chaos
Th 4/20 1855: Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno" (NAAL 2371-2427); DISCUSSION LEADING PROJECT: A Faithful Trio


T 4/25 1986: Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose 5-71
Th 4/27 CLASS CANCELLED: MAYA KITAMURA SIMON BORN!


T 5/2 1986: Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose 73-159
Th 5/4 1986: Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose 161-239; wrap-up course; course evaluations; peer review session


F 5/12 FINAL PROJECT due no later than 5 pm

B. Class Policies

1. Attendance. As stated in Section VI above, barring emergencies each absence after the third will lower your final course grade by one grade. Be aware that absences due to emergencies are the only absences that will not be counted toward your total for the semester. Emergencies include but are not limited to death in the family, hospitalization or serious illness, natural disasters, and snow days; scheduled and unavoidable school-sponsored events (games, meets, performances, etc.) are also counted as emergencies for the purpose of this attendance policy. Besides emergencies, the only other absences that won't affect your participation/preparation grade are excused absences. Please notify the instructor over email, in advance if possible and, if not, as soon after the absence as possible, if you wish an absence to be considered as an emergency or excused absence; the decision will be made at the instructor's discretion.

2. Team Work. As stated in Section VI above, students will be assigned to a team on the second day of class and will be graded on their participation in team work over the course of the semester. Please make sure you have multiple ways of contacting team members and that your schedules allow you to meet outside class when needed. If scheduling problems emerge, contact me to be switched to another team.

3. Course Blackboard Site. You must enroll in the course Blackboard site by the beginning of the second week of class and use it throughout the semester. To do this, use a web browser to get to blackboard.fredonia.edu. Login using your network password. Then search for ENGL 332-01 (or American Romanticism) and click on the enroll tab. This will send an enrollment request to me and I will enroll you. You should receive a confirmation message within 24 hours of completing your part of the enrollment process. Please familiarize yourself with the college's "Computer and Network Usage Policy" (Undergraduate Catalog 2005-2007, pp. 216-221) and check with me first before posting something to the Blackboard site that is not directly related to the course.

4. Late Assignments. Only students who ask for an extension at least two days before the due date of any written project will be granted an extension. For everyone else, late work is penalized by a grade off per day late.

5. Plagiarism and Academic Integrity. To plagiarize is "to steal and pass off as one's own the ideas or words of another" (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). SUNY Fredonia strongly condemns plagiarism and takes severe action against those who plagiarize. Disciplinary action may extend to suspension from privileges or expulsion from college. Please familiarize yourself with the college's "Academic Integrity Policy" (Undergraduate Catalog 2005-2007, pp. 212-215, see also p. 199) and check with your instructor if you have any questions about it.

6. Cell Phones. Please turn them off before you enter the class. If you forget and it rings, I'll be holding it the rest of the class.


M A I N * N E W S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S



ENGL 332: American Romanticism, Spring 2006
Created: 1/18/06 1:02 am
Last modified: 5/2/06 12:15 pm
Click here for the Spring 2001 version of this course and here for the Spring 2003 version.
Webmaster: Bruce Simon, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Fredonia