English 199: Survey of British and American Literature
Professors Michael Drexler and John Rickard

Fall 2010

Faculty Offices and Office Hours

Michael Drexler, Vaughan Literature Building 233; Office Hours: TBA

John Rickard, Vaughan Literature Building 231; Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:00-3:00pm and Thursday 11:00 am to noon, and by appointment



English 199 explores the historical, generic, and transnational range of literature in English. Since a “complete” survey of English and American literature in one semester is impractical, the course has been designed to introduce students to texts that resonate with the most provocative and foundational questions animating these disciplines of study. Weekly guest lectures by faculty in the department will offer a range of perspectives and cumulatively will introduce key concepts and broader issues. Among these are issues of canon formation, periodicity, literary value, and national identity. We will explore both literary value (What is literature? Who decides what gets read? Why and how are some texts designated as "classics?") and the values that literature supports (ie. perspectives on race, class, gender, and sexuality). Though organized chronologically, the course will give students a variety of ways to conceive literary history including but not limited to concerns of literary production (questions about authorship, the emergence and transformation of genres), reception (the composition of reading publics, the circulation of literary texts), and criticism. Discussion sections following the weekly Monday lecture will address problems and questions of reading and comprehension, add complementary short texts, or invite critical commentary on the lecture.

Course Materials

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, Eighth Edition (NAEL)

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Seventh Edition (NAAL)

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Norton Critical Edition

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Norton Critical Edition

Mary Rowlandson, The Account of Mary Rowlandson and Other Indian Captivity Narratives, Online at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/851

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot. Grove Press

PLEASE NOTE: The Bucknell Bookstore is selling all four of the Norton texts above in a "bundle" package that provides the two critical editions for free.

Various PDF files on Blackboard



Attendance is mandatory; unexcused absences will severely affect your grade.

You must bring the relevant textbook(s) to each Monday common hour lecture in O'Leary 232.

All reading assignments must be completed ahead of each Weekly Unit — in other words, before the Monday lecture.

Participation in some English Department functions, such as readings and lectures, to be announced in class.

Participation in class discussion.

Make sure to read all period and author headnotes in the anthologies.



Two comparative analysis essays, one prior to the midterm examination and one following it; each essay will compare and contrast two texts on the syllabus from different weeks, using the faculty lectures and the accompanying texts and auxiliary readings (e.g., headnotes in the anthologies) as support.

Short midterm exam, details TBA

Final oral comprehensive exam (based on readings, lectures, headnotes), date and time during finals period to be arranged.

Weekly quizzes on lectures and readings.

NOTE: All required written work and both examinations must be completed in order to pass ENGL 199. Failure to turn in either of the two required essays or to take either of the two examinations will result in an F grade.



First Comparative Analysis Essay – 20%

Second Comparative Response Paper – 20%

Midterm – 20%

Final Exam – 25%

Quizzes and participation – 15%



Attendance and active participation are crucial parts of your experience in English 199 and are integral elements in your grade for the class. You are expected to attend every Monday lecture session. Repeated absences from class will result in a significant lowering of your grade; more than six unexcused absences will result in a grade of F for the class.



A different member of the English Department will lecture on the week's reading every Monday; for more background on our lecturers, please follow the links on the English Department's "Faculty and Staff" web page at http://www.bucknell.edu/x925.xml



Period Coverage

Week 1

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Lecture:  Professor Alf Siewers, Monday, August 30

Reading: "The Middle Ages to ca. 1485" (NAEL 1-23) and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (NAEL 112-165)


Middle Ages

Week 2

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Lecture:  Professor Alex Block, Monday, September 6

Reading: "The Sixteenth Century: 1485-1608" (NAEL 319-347); Shakespeare headnote (NAEL 493-496); and Shakespeare, The Tempest (Norton Critical Edition), pp. 3-77



Week 3

The Long 18th Century -- John Milton and Alexander Pope

NO LECTURE THIS WEEK -- Attend class in Vaughan Lit 103, Monday, September 13

Reading: "John Milton" (NAEL 693-696) and Book 1 of Paradise Lost (NAEL 723-743); "The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century" (NAEL 853-878); "Alexander Pope" (NAEL 1120-1124) and "The Rape of the Lock" (NAEL 1136-1155)


18th Century


Week 4


Early American Literature

Lecture:  Professor Michael Drexler, Monday, September 20

Reading: Mary Rowlandson, headnote in NAEL and "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson"; Phyllis Wheatley, headnote and "On Being Brought from Africa to America" and "To the University of Cambridge, in New England"(NAAL 419-421); and Herman Melville, headnote in NAEL and "Bartleby the Scrivener" (NAAL 1089-1118)



Early American


Week 5


English Romanticism

Lecture:  Professor Ghislaine McDayter, Monday, September 27

Reading: Mary Wollstonecraft, excerpt from A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Introduction and Chapter 2 (NAEL 1456-1484); William Blake, "The Garden of Love" and "London" (NAEL 1422-1423); William Wordsworth, "Nutting" (NAEL 1511-1512) and "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" (NAEL 1548-1549); and Percy Bysshe Shelley, "England in 1819" (NAEL 1742-1743)




19th Century


Week 6


American Romanticism: Frederick Douglass, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman

Lecture:  Professor Saundra Morris, Monday, October 4


Douglass: Headnote (NAAL 920-923) and "What To the Slave is the Fourth of July" (NAAL, pp. 988-991)

Whitman: Headnote (NAAL 991-995) and excerpts from Song of Myself, sections 1 through 11 and 48 through 52 (NAAL 1011-1018 and 1048-1055); and "Vigil Strange I Kept . . ." and "Reconciliation" online at http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mdrexler/ENG299/whitman.htm

Dickinson: Headnote (NAAL 1197-1200) and selected poems in NAAL pp. 1201-1221 by poem number: read poems #236; 260; 269; 340; 409; 479; 519; 591; 620; and 1263; also read online: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mdrexler/ENG299/dickinson.htm



19th Century

Week 7

Early Cinema

Lecture: Professor Eric Faden, Monday, October 11

Reading: Excerpts from Wolfgang Schivelbusch's The Railway Journey: Trains and Travel in the 19th Century and George Mitchell, "The Consolidation of the American Film Industry" -- download from "Early Cinema" folder in "Course Materials" folder of ENGL199-ALL Blackboard page



19th Century


Midterm Exam


Friday, October 22


Week 8


The Modern Novel: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Lecture:  Professor John Rickard, Monday, October 25

Reading: "The Twentieth Century and After," (NAEL 2293-2316); Joseph Conrad, "Introduction" and Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Edition ix-77); and Chinua Achebe, "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Edition 336-349)






Week 9


The Harlem Renaissance

Lecture: Professor James Peterson, Monday, November 1

Reading: Zora Neale Hurston (NAAL, 2157-2169) and Langston Hughes (NAAL, pp. 2263-2271)





Week 10


Modernist Drama

Lecture: Professor Meenakshi Ponnuswami, Monday, November 8

Reading: Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot




Week 11

Modern Short Stories

Lecture: Professor Harold Schweizer, Monday, November 15

Reading: Raymond Carver, "Cathedral" (NAAL 2732-2743) and other stories on Blackboard




Week 12


LIT Staff -- Information Literacy, Monday, November 22


Information Literacy


Week 13


Postcolonial Theory and Literature

Lecture: Professor Mara de Gennaro, Monday, November 29

Reading: Derek Walcott, NAEL 2770-2777 and Franz Fanon, "On Violence" (on Blackboard)



Modern and Contemporary


Week 14


Contemporary Poetry

Lecture: Professor G. C. Waldrep, Monday, December 6 (LAST CLASS)

Reading: TBA


Modern and Contemporary