English 280: Modern British Literature


John Rickard

Class meets
MWF 11:00 - 11:52 am

Carnegie 106

Office: Carnegie 202

Office Phone: 577-1424

Email: rickard@bucknell.edu

Office Hours:
Monday, 1:30 - 2:30 pm
Tuesday, 11:00 am - Noon
Thursday, 1:00 - 2:00 pm
And by Appointment

Home page: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rickard/





Please try to obtain the editions listed below, so that we can all work with the same texts and pagination. If you have a problem obtaining any of these texts, please let me know.


There is no paper syllabus for ENGL 280; this is the official syllabus. This is a provisional syllabus; changes will be discussed and announced in class. We may decide we need to spend more time on some things and less on others. You are responsible for learning of and responding to syllabus changes during the semester. I will expect you to have the works read by the first day they are listed on the syllabus.

Wednesday, August 24--Introduction to course

Friday, August 26--Introduction to course, "Modernism"

Monday, August 29

Wednesday, August 31

Friday, September 2

Monday, September 5

The Great War

Wednesday, September 7

Friday, September 9


The Irish Question

Monday, September 12

Wednesday, September 14

W. B. Yeats (LABL 2249 - 2270

Friday, September 16

W. B. Yeats (LABL 2249 - 2270)

Monday, September 19

Wednesday, September 21

James Joyce, "The Dead" (LABL 2284 - 2311)

Friday, September 23

James Joyce, "The Dead" (LABL 2284 - 2311)

Monday, September 26

Work in class on Paper 1; rough draft workshop

Wednesday, September 28

James Joyce, Excerpts from Ulysses and Finnegans Wake (LABL 2311 - 2343)

Modernist Classics

Friday, September 30

T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Gerontion" (LABL 2344 - 2356)

**Paper One Due

Monday, October 3

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (LABL 2356 - 2369)

Wednesday, October 5

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and "Burnt Norton" (LABL 2370 - 2374)

Friday, October 7

Introduction to Virginia Woolf (LABL 2380 - 2382); Excerpt from A Room of One's Own (LABL 2486-2520); and Diary entries for 16 August 1922 and 6 September 1922 (LABL 2539 - 2540)

Monday, October 10

Wednesday, October 12

Virginia Woolf, Diary entries from 19 June 1923 to end, and letter to Gerald Brennan (LABL 2540 - 2549) and begin Mrs. Dalloway (LABL 2386 - 2408)

Friday, October 14

Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway -- Read to the end


Monday, October 17

Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Wednesday, October 19

D. H. Lawrence, Poems and "The Odour of Chrysanthemums" (LABL 2788 - 2799) and "Surgery for the Novel--or, a Bomb" (LABL 2671 - 2674)

Friday, October 21

Monday, October 24

The English Abroad

Wednesday, October 26

Graham Greene, "A Chance for Mr. Lever" (LABL 2687 - 2697) and George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant" (LABL 2747 - 2751)

Friday, October 28

Monday, October 31

E. M. Forster, "The Life to Come" (LABL 2582 - 2594) and Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine (LABL 2838 - 2888)

Wednesday, November 2

Friday, November 4

Angela Carter, "Flesh and the Mirror" (MBSS 362 - 368) and Ian McEwan, "Psychopolis" (MBSS 341 - 361)

The Empire Writes Back

Monday, November 7

Salman Rushdie, "The Prophet's Hair" (MBSS 389 - 399) and "Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate Their Relationship" (LABL 2752 - 2757)

**Paper Two Due

Wednesday, November 9

Seamus Heaney (LABL 2890 - 2898) and Paul Muldoon (LABL 2941 - 2949)

Friday, November 11

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (LABL 2899 - 2912) and Eavan Boland (LABL 2933 - 2940)

Monday, November 14

Kazuo Ishiguro, "A Family Supper" (MBSS 434 - 442) and James Kelman, "Home for a Couple of Days" (LABL 2923 - 2932)

Wednesday, November 16

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, from "Decolonizing the Mind" (LABL 2912 - 2916), Nadine Gordimer, "What Were You Dreaming?" (LABL 2917 - 2922), and Derek Walcott (LABL 2949-2958)


Friday, November 18

Monday, November 21

Wednesday, November 22 and Friday, November 24



Monday, November 28

Poetry: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes (LABL 2808 - 2818)

Wednesday, November 30

Fay Weldon, "Weekend" (MBSS 309 - 325) and Emma Tennant, "Philomela" (MBSS 407 - 413)

Friday, December 2

Angela Carter, "The Tiger's Bride" and "The Company of Wolves" (Handouts)

Monday, December 5

J. G. Ballard, "Memories of the Space Age" (MBSS 234-261)

**Final Paper Due by 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 8, 2005



This course will acquaint you with modern British literature (with a focus on fiction and poetry) from approximately 1900 to the present. In covering such a large span of time, we will try to hold our discussions together by focusing on some central questions about what our sense of "modernity" is, what strategies writers have used in 20th century England and Ireland to respond to the changes they sense occurring in their time and in their countries, and what terms such as "modernism" and "postmodernism" might mean.

We will also work on developing reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through discussion, papers, and in-class writings.

Although at times I will present background information in class, I do expect most of our time to be spent in class discussion; therefore, participation is essential and will be part of your grade. Of course, I expect you to keep up with the reading and to prepare for class. Class attendance in a literature class is essential for a good grade, and I expect you to attend class regularly. MORE THAN SIX UNEXCUSED ABSENCES WILL RESULT IN AN F GRADE IN ENGLISH 280.


Papers: (1) two short papers (approximately 5-7 pages), either exploring historical or cultural elements related to the literature we are reading or focusing on your own interpretation of a character, critical problem, crucial passage, or a comparison of various readings; (2) a final essay, approximately 10-12 pages in length, incorporating researched sources to support an argument about one or more of the works we've read; and (3) a short reaction paper on one author or work, which you will present to the class orally, on a reading assignment to be selected from a schedule I will hand out and then post online early in the semester. I will also periodically assign in-class writing at the beginning of the class to focus our discussion for the day.

English 280 is a W2 course, so we will spend extra time on the essays, discussing essay writing strategies, research techniques, citation and documentation, and other relevant topics.  Your grades for essays will include participation in draft workshops and work on revising essays.


Paper 1 (September 30) -- 20%

Paper 2 (October 31) -- 25%

Paper 3 (December 6) -- 30%

Reaction Paper -- 15%

Class Participation (including in-class writing) -- 10%

**There will be no final exam for this class**


An important part of my job is making sure that you know how to use sources carefully and correctly in academic writing and that you understand the University's policies concerning plagiarism, which I define as the unacknowledged use, either intentional or unintentional, of material first expressed by another person. We'll discuss proper methods of documentation during the semester, but if, at any time, you have questions about plagiarism problems in this or any other class, please come and ask me about them.