M A I N * L I N K S


SUNY Fredonia
College of Arts and Humanities
ENGL 299: Fantasy Fiction
Fall 2010
Section 1: MW 3-4:20, Fenton 179
Office: Fenton 265; MW 1-3, TTh 10-12, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu, brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL Space: https://fredonia.sln.suny.edu/default.asp


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 what assignments are due and when, how your work will be assessed, how to use the course ANGEL space, 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.

I. Course Description

Historical and generic survey of fantasy fiction through representative works and major authors. Provides an examination of fantasy fiction's relationship with other kinds of literature and allows for comparison of different authors' narrative strategies, themes, and visions, along with developments in the genre, relations between the works and their time periods, and relations between the works and our time.

II. Rationale

In ENGL 299, as in most courses offered by the English Department, 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.

III. Textbooks. The textbooks adopted for this course are:

IV. Course Objectives and Outcomes

ENGL 299 is designed to help students develop as readers, critics, and scholars of fantasy fiction, to provide a foundation and a context for further explorations in fantasy fiction, and to get students thinking about the uses and stakes of fantasy fiction. To achieve this, students will

V. Instructional Methods and Activities

The methods used in the classroom will include lecture, in-class writing, guided discovery, open discussion, cooperative group work, and other student-centered and learning-centered activities.

VI. Evaluation and Grade Assignment

A. Methods

Attendance/Preparation/Participation (15%). Regular attendance and thoughtful participation in class are crucial to your enjoyment of and success in this course. If there is absolutely no way for you to avoid missing a class, you must contact me ahead of time or soon after your absence, preferably by email. Even 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 by the time we begin to discuss it in class. This is a discussion rather than a lecture course, after all; although I will provide some context and background for our reading, the bulk of class time will be spent in small- or large-group discussions and activities.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of your attendance, the quality of your participation in class and on the course ANGEL space (described below), and your preparation, effort, and improvement over the course of the semester. As there is no final exam in this course, think of my evaluation of your preparation/participation as a different but equally important method of assessing your overall performance in the course. Due to the importance of attendance and participation, more than two unexcused absences will hurt your preparation/participation grade and each non-emergency absence after the fourth will lower your final course grade by a full grade (e.g., with five such absences a B+ will become a C+; with seven, it will become an F). Please see Section VIIIB, below, for definitions of excused and emergency absences.

Online Participation (15%). The discussion board on our course ANGEL space will give you the chance to prepare for and extend our in-class discussions and, in so doing, develop your writing and critical thinking skills, demonstrate your engagement with the course material, and consider and respond to others' questions, ideas, experiences, and analyses. Here are some ways you can participate on it:


During the semester we'll be meeting, I will keep track of the timing, amount, and quality of your posts to the course discussion board, including the quality of the ensuing online discussions initiated by them. Your grade for this segment of the course will be determined by your total number of discussion board posts (as well as posts made on our course reddit site and comments posted on the course blog, sf@SF): 0-4 posts/comments will earn you a zero, 5-9 an F, 10-14 a D, 15-19 a C, 20-24 a B, and 25+ an A. The quality of your posts/comments as well as any extraordinary contributions to our online discussions, will also help me determine your participation/preparation grade.

Response Essay (15%). I provide detailed information on the response essay on a critical question of your choice (to be posted on the course blog) on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/ff1/re.htm.

Your grade for the response essay will be determined by how well you use your example(s) to answer the question you have chosen, how well you capture the reader's attention, interest, and curiosity while doing so, and how well your writing, organization, and formatting (including diction, grammar, syntax, and punctuation) work together.

Critical Essay (20%): I provide detailed information on the four-to-six-page critical essay on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/ff1/ce.htm.

Final Research Project (35%). I provide detailed information on the seven-to-ten-page final project on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/ff1/frp.htm.

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 majors should be aware of the English department's guidelines for ongoing portfolio submissions.

VII. Bibliography.

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.


M 8/23 INTRODUCTIONS. People, Expectations, Associations.
W 8/25 GETTING STARTED. Course, Goals, Units, Texts, Assignments, Questions. Be prepared to generate your own questions about fantasy fiction.


M 8/30 GETTING STARTED: ANTHOLOGIES/COLLECTIONS. Be prepared to discuss at least one story from your chosen anthology/short story collection in class, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from last week.
W 9/1 GETTING STARTED: ANTHOLOGIES/COLLECTIONS. Be prepared to discuss notable patterns in your chosen anthology/short story collection in class, and to relate them to our class-generated questions from last week.


M 9/6 NO CLASS: LABOR DAY
W 9/8 FOUNDATIONS: TOLKIEN. Be prepared to discuss The Hobbit in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 9/13 FOUNDATIONS: TOLKIEN/LEWIS. Be prepared to discuss The Hobbit and the first novel in The Chronicles of Narnia, and to relate them to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 9/15 FOUNDATIONS: LEWIS. Be prepared to discuss The Chronicles of Narnia (you may read as far beyond the first two novels in our edition as you wish), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 9/20 FOUNDATIONS: MCCAFFREY. Be prepared to discuss Dragonsong in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 9/22 FOUNDATIONS: MCCAFFREY. Be prepared to discuss Dragonsong in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 9/27 FOUNDATIONS: TEPPER. Be prepared to discuss the first novel in The True Game in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 9/29 FOUNDATIONS: TEPPER. Be prepared to discuss the The True Game (you may read as far beyond the first novel as you wish), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 10/4 REVISIONS: ANTHONY. Be prepared to discuss A Spell for Chameleon in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 10/6 REVISIONS: ANTHONY. Be prepared to discuss A Spell for Chameleon in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 10/11 REVISIONS: GAIMAN AND PRATCHETT. Be prepared to discuss Good Omens in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 10/13 REVISIONS: GAIMAN AND PRATCHETT. Be prepared to discuss Good Omens in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
F 10/15 RESPONSE ESSAY. Due by 11:30 pm in the RE drop box; you may turn it in any time after 15 September 2010.


M 10/18 REVISIONS: BRUST. Be prepared to discuss the first novel in The Book of Jhereg in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 10/20 REVISIONS: BRUST. Be prepared to discuss the first novel in The Book of Jhereg in its entirety (you may read as far beyond it as you wish), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 10/25 REVISIONS: KAY. Be prepared to discuss The Summer Tree in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 10/27 REVISIONS: KAY. Be prepared to discuss The Summer Tree in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 11/1 REVISIONS: ROWLING. Be prepared to discuss Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 11/3 REVISIONS: ROWLING. Be prepared to discuss Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week. GUEST APPEARANCE: Raymond Bonilla, Lecturer, Visual Arts and New Media, SUNY Fredonia.


M 11/8 REVISIONS: PULLMAN. Be prepared to discuss Part One of The Golden Compass (Ch. 1-9, pp. 3-140), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 11/10 REVISIONS: PULLMAN. Be prepared to discuss Part Two of The Golden Compass (Ch. 10-17, pp. 141-265), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
F 11/12 PROPOSAL for FINAL RESEARCH PROJECT. Due on discussion board by 11:30 pm; you may post it any time after 1 November 2010.


M 11/15 REVISIONS: PULLMAN. Be prepared to discuss The Golden Compass in its entirety (with a focus on Part Three, Ch. 18-23, pp. 266-351), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 11/17 REVISIONS: GROSSMAN. Be prepared to discuss Book I of The Magicians (pp. 1-222), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.


M 11/22 - F 11/26 NO CLASSES: THANKSGIVING BREAK


M 11/29 REVISIONS: GROSSMAN. Be prepared to discuss Books II and III of The Magicians (pp. 223-365), and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week.
W 12/1 REVISIONS: GROSSMAN. Be prepared to discuss Book IV of The Magicians (pp. 366-402), and the novel in its entirety, and to relate it to our class-generated questions from the first week. Course evaluations.
F 12/3 CRITICAL ESSAY. Due in the CE drop box by 11:30 pm; you may turn it in any time after 15 November 2010.


M 12/6 PRESENTATIONS: FINAL RESEARCH PROJECTS. Be prepared to relate your plans for the final project to one or more of our class-generated questions.
W 12/8 PRESENTATIONS: FINAL RESEARCH PROJECTS. Be prepared to relate your plans for the final project to one or more of our class-generated questions.
F 12/10 PRESENTATIONS: FINAL RESEARCH PROJECTS. Be prepared to connect your final project to one or more of our class-generated questions.


T 12/14 4-6 pm: PRESENTATIONS: FINAL RESEARCH PROJECTS. Be prepared to connect your final project to one or more of our class-generated questions.
F 12/17 FINAL RESEARCH PROJECT. Drop-dead deadline is 11:30 pm in the FP drop box; you may turn it in any time after 14 December 2010.

B. Class Policies

1. Attendance. As stated in Section VI above, barring emergencies each absence after the fourth will lower your final course grade by a full 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, and natural disasters; 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. Online Participation. Please familiarize yourself with the college's Computer and Network Usage Policy in the University Catalog 2010-2011 and check with your instructor first before posting something to the course ANGEL space that is not directly related to the course.

3. Late Assignments. Online posts that are not well-timed with the course material and fail to spark other students' interest and responses will not count the same as well-timed posts or posts that do inspire further discussion. Late critical essays will not be accepted or graded. Only students who ask for an extension at least two days before the due date of any written project will be granted an extension.

4. 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 in the University Catalog 2010-2011 and check with your instructor if you have any questions about it.

5. Students with Disabilities. If you have a documented disability, please contact our Office of Disability Support Services in the Learning Center at Reed Library.

6. Cell Phones and Other Portable Electronic Devices. Please turn them off before you enter the class. If I see you using them while class is in session, I will hold onto them for you until we are done for the day. I will consider requests to use laptops for notetaking purposes.


M A I N * L I N K S



ENGL 299: Fantasy Fiction, Fall 2010
Created: 8/23/10 2:55 pm
Last modified: 12/9/10 3:15 pm
Webmaster: Bruce Simon, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Fredonia