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Ghostnews


Hey, everyone. (Our first order of business is to come up with a cool name for me to call you all. Ghostbusters is a bit off, and ghostreaders is a bit boring. Extra credit to someone who can come up with a better tag. [So far Ghost Crusaders is winning--see 2/4 below.]) From now on, I'll be putting announcements on this page having to do with course requirements, changes in these web pages, and other matters. I recommend looking here every time you visit the course ghostpages--at least once a week.

4/27/99

I've updated the links page--good sources is you're writing a paper on a particular work can be found here. Remember that if you want extra credit, one way to get it is to propose new links to be added to the page--for every four I add, you get credit for one reading response if you are behind in those....

4/22/99

Well, it wasn't a half-hour, but the suggestions for revising the second critical response paper are now up. Those revisions are now due next Monday in class rather than this Friday afternoon (tomorrow). I'm updating the reading response pages as I'm grading your third critical response essays, so that's going fairly slowly. Neither will be ready tomorrow. Sorry!

4/21/99

Hey everybody! There's a lot to catch up on. I've changed the syllabus to reflect more accurately what's going to happen in the last seven class meetings of the semester; look for more specifics on which Bowen stories you'll be assigned to read in the coming weeks alongside the Erdrich novel. DuWayne Bowen will be coming here on Wednesday, 5/5/99, to speak in class about his writings. The last day of class, Friday, 5/7/99, will be devoted to pizza eating, soda drinking, evaluation filling out, and reflecting on the course as a whole. Be thinking about your final project already--5/12/99 is not that far away! And be on the lookout for updated reading response pages, which I'll be putting up tomorrow, as well as suggestions for revisions on your second critical response essay (now due Monday!), which should be up in about a half hour.

4/7/99

Welcome back from break, everyone! The assignment sheet for critical response essay #3 is now up, for those who want an early start. Also, please let me know if you can make a showing of Beloved at 4:00 in Jewett 101 next Wednesday.

3/21/99

Check out the reading response page (at the bottom) for a new set of links to excerpted/ranked reading responses from the past five weeks! They're finally up....

3/15/99

The new critical response essay assignment sheet is up. Please be advised that I recommend choosing your own topic. See the page for details.

3/11/99

Hola, ghost crusaders! I've just put up a brand-new page of comments on your performance on the mid-term examination. Please read this page and the page with suggestions for rewriting your first critical response essay carefully over the weekend. Taken together, they should give you a clear sense of how the various components of the course relate to each other as well as a long list of things you can do over the rest of the semester to get more out of the class (as well as improve your grades). Coming soon: an assignment sheet for the second critical response essay, due the Wednesday before spring break.

3/3/99

OK, folks, as of this evening the preview of Friday's exam is up, complete with your essay question options for Part III. I added a new page that answers frequently asked questions about the mid-term, and also made serious revisions to the critical response essay #1 page that will have some useful suggestions not only for rewriting the first critical response essay but also for composing your essay for Part III of the exam.

So now is the time to ask any questions you have about the exam. I'll be checking email regularly and will be in my office from 3-5 pm tomorrow, returning papers to those who want to pick them up before the exam.

2/23/99

Please email me to let me know which of the following times you absolutely can't make a viewing of the Disney film Mulan (all on Wednesday, 2/24): 1 pm, 4 pm, 8 pm. So far, 4 pm seems like the time the fewest people can't make, but please get back to me by early tomorrow morning, because the voting is close. If you've already seen the movie recently, you're not required to come to this showing; however, you might notice something new, even if you've seen it several times, after having read a few of the different versions of it in class. I'll announce the time and place of the viewing in class tomorrow. Finally, be sure to check out the links page for an interesting web site on the Mulan story.

2/17/99

It's not too early to start thinking about the mid-term examination, just a few short weeks away. I've revised the mid-term exam page a bit and will be revising the on-line preview of the exam during the last week of February. It's not too early to start familiarizing yourself with the set-up of the test and to begin asking questions, especially about Part II of the exam. More on this to come.

Also, I've gotten rid of the rrgrades.htm page, which used to be the place to go to find out if you got a plus on your reading response and read excerpts from the best observations and the list of most interesting questions. Instead, I've put up a series of links at the bottom of the reading response page. The links for the first three weeks of reading responses are now active. BTW, if you notice that I didn't give you credit for asking a question that's in the "Top 10+" for a given week, please be sure to notify me so I can change the appropriate page. And if you feel that based on your appearance in the observation excerpts/lists of questions you deserve a higher grade (in the +/0/-/F system), then by all means email me with your argument as to why this is so.

OK, GCers, good night, sleep tight, don't let Henry James or Joyce Carol Oates bite!

2/16/99

I've revised the reading group and main pages--small changes, but worth checking out.

2/10/99

Yo-ho, Ghost Crusaders! (At least that's the name that's leading in the voting. What do you think of "The Ghost Brigade"?) As you probably know by now, we're making attendance at Friday's class optional, as I will be out of town, taking some of my graduate students to a conference on Toni Morrison. Treat it as a reading day, a chance for informal discussion with whoever else comes to class that day, a day to reflect on what you like and don't like about the course thus far (and what you can do to change it, which might include notifying me), or simply as a day off.

Check out the main page for your revised reading assignments for next week and for a sense of how we'll handle next week's discussions of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. My students last year found this one of the most difficult texts they read all semester, so be sure to begin reading it immediately and have it done by next Monday's class. You have to give yourself time to reread this book at least once--and important passages in it more often than that--to enjoy and appreciate it. I haven't yet looked at the "quasi-quiz" I gave at the beginning of today's class, but judging from the body language of the majority of people in both sections, your general level of confidence in your answers to the questions I asked about Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Alice Doane's Appeal" was not very high. Those questions ranged from relatively easy to relatively tough, so think about the kind of preparation you put into the discussion for Hawthorne's story, think about what kind of contributions you want to make to a discussion of James's novella next week, and adjust your preparation time accordingly. Check out the topics page and the ranked reading responses page tomorrow afternoon for updates that may help you get ready for reading James.

2/4/99

Hey, y'all. Thanks to I'Lema Codrington and Sarah McNaughton for coming up with possible names to fill in for "everyone" above (and "y'all" in the previous sentence). (Their suggestions: Ghost Crusaders, The Ghostlings, The Ghost Gang, The Ghost Groupies.) So which do you all like best? Can anyone top these? (Don't forget related terms like spirit, haunting, or apparition!) Let me know your preferences when you get a chance on this. Before Black History Month ends, let's settle on a "tag" for the group....

Check out the critical response paper page for the assignment sheet for your first essay (a 2-4-pager that's due next Monday at 7 pm in the folder outside my office door [Fenton 240]).

Also be sure to see the revised reading group page, which gives much more specific guidelines and advice to reading groups on setting an agenda for class discussion.

On that topic of providing more guidance on these pages, I want to start doing a couple of new things to help you all get more out of the texts you read. First, I've decided to make public the names of those who get +'s on their reading responses for a given week and provide excerpts on the web page of observations they made; I will also come up with a "Top 10" list of the best questions asked that week. Click here to go to the page where these things can be found (or go to the reading response page and click on the link there). This will give you my sense of the best observations and questions that people are asking. Also be sure to think about the questions the reading groups ask, because that's a place for you all to identify the questions that are most interesting to you.

Second, what I'm going to do from now on is provide a list of some of the major terms, issues, questions, and connections between the texts that we've read thus far. I want this list to serve two main purposes: first, to give you all a sense of why I've organized the course the way I have and what I want you to be focusing on, and second, to provide a record of some of the topics we've discussed in class, so that we can track patterns as they emerge. You can also get a sense of the main themes of the course from several of the links off the main course page (the "How to Do Things with Ghosts" and "critical response paper" pages are particularly useful here, as will be the pages on the mid-term examination and the final essay, once I revise them to fit our semester's main concerns)--but this page will be the mst directly useful to you if you ever feel lost or disoriented. (Please note that links to this "topics" page are now available on the top and bottom of every single course page.)

1/26/99

I've made minor revisions on several course web pages (including the advice on reading responses) and added one new page on the "reading group" component of the course requirements. Click on the highlighted links to go directly to these pages, or head back to the main menu and find the links there.


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EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 1/15/99, 7:10 pm
Last modified: 4/27/99, 12:01 pm