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Course Description

Academic Year 2020-2021 • Grade 12 and above • Literature Sequence

Senior English (Literature)

This is possibly the toughest course you will ever take. So people tell me after college. It’s not hard to pass; it’s just a lot of continuous and serious work, including a huge amount of writing — thirty papers, give or take one or two. I grade those brutally and then scale the results generously. Overall, my plan is to stretch your capacities and challenge your assumptions. The class is partly a composition course, partly a course in literary theory, partly an exploration of propositional logic, and a little left over that’s pure fun.

In terms of content, the course fills some of the gaps left by the other courses in the literature sequence, and to revisit older authors and topics of particular importance, while helping to build a greater synthetic understanding of literary operations and theory, and a stronger proficiency in writing. Accordingly it includes some French classicism, the Russian novel, early German romanticism, and the English gothic as well as more Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, Hawthorne, Melville, and Austen.

We primarily read modern literature in the western tradition, with a few excursions into areas that seem too important to ignore — some of which are also specially noted as relevant in the College Board's AP materials, since the other point of this class is to address the requirements of the College Board Advanced Placement English program, leading to the AP exam. It is not an officially approved AP course; meeting the College Board’s qualifications would, I am persuaded, require me to dumb the course down. Taking the AP Exam is not required.

Course Website: Senior English (Literature)

Sections and Teachers

Section 1:

Instructor: Bruce McMenomy

Starts: September 1, 2020
Ends: May 27, 2021

Tuesday 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET • Thursday 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET

Tuition: $700.00



Prerequisites

To be admitted to Senior English, a student should: (a) be a senior; (b) have completed English and American Literature or their equivalents; (c) secure permission from the instructor. I am willing to consider exceptions to either of the first two, but they tend to be fairly rare.

Recommended background

While it is possible to waive one or another of the various prerequisites, the course presumes serious commitment to literature and literary thinking, and should not be undertaken without some solid background. Some solid writing preparation is also strongly advised.

Textbooks and Materials

This textbook is required:

An Experiment in Criticism , Authors: C. S. Lewis

ISBN: 1107604729

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any edition of this book will do.


This textbook is required:

Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays (Norton Critical Editions) [Edition 2], Authors: Anton Chekhov, Laurence Senelick (Translator)

ISBN: 0393924653

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities. Cited in some places as "Second revised edition"


This textbook is required:

Billy Budd and Other Tales , Authors: Hermann Melville, Joyce Carol Oates

ISBN: 0451526872

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

Copenhagen , Authors: Michael Frayn

ISBN: 0385720793

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

Emma (Norton Critical Edition) [Edition 4], Authors: Jane Austen

ISBN: 0393927644

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Ethan Frome: Authoritative Text Backgrounds and Contexts Criticism (Norton Critical Editions) [Edition 1], Authors: Edith Wharton, Kristin O. Lauer, Cynthia Griffin Wolff

ISBN: 0393966356

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Fathers and Children (Norton Critical Edition) [Edition 2], Authors: Ivan Turgenev, ed. Michael R. Katz

ISBN: 0393927970

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: It is essential to get this edition of the book. Other versions are not going to provide the correct critical material for our class discussions.


This textbook is required:

Hamlet: An Authoritative Text, Intellectual Backgrounds, Extracts from the Sources, Essays in Criticism (Norton Critical Editions) [Edition 2], Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0393929582

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities. For reasons passing understanding, it's not billed as the second edition, but as the New Edition. That's still the one we want, though.


This textbook is required:

Heart of Darkness (Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism) [Edition 3], Authors: Joseph Conrad, Ross Murfin (Editor)

ISBN: 0312457537

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Henry IV, Part 2 (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 074348505X

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Henry IV, Part I (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0743485041

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Henry V (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0743484878

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Ibsen's Selected Plays (Norton Critical Editions) , Authors: Henrik Ibsen, Brian Johnston (Editor)

ISBN: 0393924041

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Iphigenia; Phaedra; Athaliah (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Jean Baptiste Racine

ISBN: 0140441220

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any complete text of this play in a reasonable translation will suffice.


This textbook is required:

Measure for Measure (Folger Shakespeare Library) , Authors: William Shakespeare

ISBN: 0743484908

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry [Edition 15], Authors: Thomas R. Arp, Greg Johnson

ISBN: 1337097616

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: It is imperative that you get and use this edition only. It is signficantly changed from previous editions.


This textbook is required:

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Anniversary Edition) , Authors: Tom Stoppard

ISBN: 0802126219

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any complete edition of this play will suffice.


This textbook is required:

Ten Greek Plays in Contemporary Translations , Authors: Levy Lind (ed.)

ISBN: 0395051177

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

The Cid, Cinna, The Theatrical Illusion (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Pierre Corneille, John Cairncross

ISBN: 0140443126

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any complete edition of this play will suffice.


This textbook is required:

The Complete Greek Tragedies: Euripides I , Authors: David Grene (Editor), Richmond Lattimore (Editor)

ISBN: 0226307808

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

The Great Gatsby , Authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald

ISBN: 0743273567

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

The House of the Seven Gables (Norton Critical Edition) [Edition 2], Authors: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert S. Levine (Editor)

ISBN: 0393924769

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

The Life of the Drama , Authors: Eric Bentley

ISBN: 1557831106

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

The Misanthrope and Other Plays (Signet Classics) , Authors: Jean-Baptiste Moliere, Donald M. Frame

ISBN: 0451529871

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any complete edition of the play will suffice.


This textbook is required:

The Remains of the Day , Authors: Kazuo Ishiguro

ISBN: 0679731725

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

The Rhetoric of Fiction [Edition 2], Authors: Wayne C. Booth

ISBN: 0226065588

Publisher's website: The Rhetoric of Fiction

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: A reasonable search online or through Amazon’s secondary dealers can often turn up inexpensive used copies of this volume.


This textbook is required:

The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin Classics) , Authors: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Michael Hulse (Translator)

ISBN: 014044503X

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore


This textbook is required:

The Waste Land (Norton Critical Editions) [Edition 1], Authors: T. S. Eliot, Michael North (Editor)

ISBN: 0393974995

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


This textbook is required:

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold , Authors: C. S. Lewis

ISBN: 0062565419

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any edition of this work is fine.


This textbook is required:

War and Peace , Authors: Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, tr.

ISBN: 1400079985

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Any complete version will suffice, but I strongly recommend this version or the Dunnigan version (from Signet) for readability. The Maude translation is very dated and rather painful to read.


This textbook is required:

Wuthering Heights (Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism) [Edition 2], Authors: Emily Bronte, Linda H. Peterson

ISBN: 0312256868

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Please get this edition specifically. We will be using the unique critical materials in the back for various class activities.


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

100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses and Misuses , Authors: Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries

ISBN: 0618493336

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: Highly recommended for writing guidance on questions of usage. Not strictly required.


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Classes start August 31, 2020. Enroll by August 20 to attend orientation to avoid late enrollment fees.


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