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Course Description

Academic Year 2020-2021 • Grade 9 and above • Literature Sequence

English Literature

We survey English literature historically from the earliest survivals to the twentieth century, tracing the development of themes, ideas, and techniques of writing, as well as looking at the long and fascinating history of the language itself.

The course is built around a very solid textbook, England in Literature, part of the “America Reads” series from Scott, Foresman. It is unfortunately out of print, but copies remain available. We supplement the readings with a couple of Shakespeare plays and a few novels, and some incidental smaller items made available online.

From a pedagogical point of view, the course introduces the idea of close reading of texts: whereas Western Literature to Dante focuses on extensive reading of a wide range of material, all of it in translation, English Literature is more intensive: it looks at a smaller body of material more closely. In part this is possible because we will be examining most of the texts as they were originally written, with only the occasional minor adjustments for spelling. The Old and Middle English materials (not normally accessible to high school students without considerable specialized language study) are given here in modern translations, but beginning in the Renaissance, texts are as originally written. Throughout the course we try to mold careful and analytical readers, responding to the literature with a discerning and charitable eye. Students especially intrigued by the older forms of English are welcome to take Old English when we offer it.

Course Website: English Literature

Sections and Teachers

Section 1:

Instructor: Bruce McMenomy

Starts: September 2, 2020
Ends: May 26, 2021

Wednesday 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET

Tuition: $550.00



Prerequisites

None

Recommended background

This is a course that requires no formal prerequisite, but certainly no other literary material is going to prove disadvantageous. World Literature and Western Literature to Dante are both useful in providing background material in the broadest sense, but neither is required.

Textbooks and Materials

This textbook is required:

England in Literature (Macbeth Edition) , Authors: Helen McDonnell, John Pfordresher, Gladys Veidemanis

ISBN: 067329384X

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information:

If you cannot secure the Macbeth edition, the Hamlet edition is acceptable as well - merely make sure that you also have the optional Folger version of Macbeth listed below. That accounts for the only differences between the two volumes.

This book is now out of print, as Scott, Foresman has been assimilated by Prentice-Hall. Used copies are available.


This textbook is required:

Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0743482751

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please use this edition only. Unannotated editions of Shakespeare usually spell disaster for student comprehension, while using different texts (which often vary substantively) will merely create confusion in class.


This textbook is required:

Richard III (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0743482840

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please use this edition. Other editions are not acceptable for various reasons: chief among them the fact that unannotated texts tend to be impenetrable for the younger student.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Charles Dickens

ISBN: 0141439602

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: This or Great Expectations is required for the class. You do not need to acquire both, though you may. Any unabridged version of the novel will suffice.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

England in Literature (Hamlet Edition) , Authors: Helen McDonnell, John Pfordresher, Gladys Veidemanis

ISBN: 0673293831

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: NOTE: This is presented as an alternative if you cannot find the Macbeth edition. It is not otherwise needed. If you get this volume rather than the Macbeth edition, please ALSO secure the Folger Library Macbeth given as optional below.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Mary Shelley

ISBN: 0141439475

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: You may use any complete text of this book you have available. You should get either this or Pride and Prejudice, though you may read both.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Charles Dickens

ISBN: 0141439564

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: This or A Tale of Two Cities is required for the class. You need not get both, though of course you may. Any unabridged edition is sufficient.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0743477103

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: NOTE: Not normally required. This is offered as an alternative for those who buy the Hamlet Edition of the textbook. If you have the Macbeth Edition, it is not necessary.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Jane Austen

ISBN: 0141439513

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: This or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is required for the class; you need not get both (though you are free to do so).


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