English 290 Syllabus

English 290, Section 01: Proseminar in Literature

Meets in Vaughan Lit. 203, TR 9:30 - 10:52 am

Instructor: John Rickard

Office: Vaughan Lit. 209C
Office Hours: TR 2:30 - 4:00 pm, and by appointment

E-mail Address: rickard@bucknell.edu

WWW Homepage: http://www.bucknell.edu/~rickard

English 290 webpage: http://www.bucknell.edu/~rickard/EN290.html


These books should be available in the Bucknell Bookstore; if you have any problems obtaining them, please let me know.


This is a provisional syllabus; changes will be discussed and announced in class. You are responsible for learning of and responding to syllabus changes during the semester. I expect you to have the works read by the first day they are listed on the syllabus.

Thursday, August 28

Tuesday, September 2

Thursday, September 4

Tuesday, September 9

Thursday, September 11

Tuesday, September 16

Thursday, September 18

Tuesday, September 23

Thursday, September 25

Tuesday, September 30

Thursday, October 2

Tuesday, October 7

Thursday, October 9

Tuesday, October 14

Thursday, October 16

Tuesday, October 21

Thursday, October 23

Tuesday, October 28

Thursday, October 30

Tuesday, November 4

Thursday, November 6

Tuesday, November 11

Thursday, November 13

Tuesday, November 18

Thursday, November 20

Tuesday, November 25

Thursday, November 27

Tuesday, December 2

Thursday, December 4

Tuesday, December 9


English 290 will serve as an introductory course for the English major, focusing on developing reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through in-depth explorations of "ways of reading," the writing process, and the close analysis of literature. We will write a series of essays aimed at developing various types of writing, and students will present oral reports and reaction papers on our readings.

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 will discuss plagiarism and 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.


Unlike many other courses at the University, English 290 does not focus primarily on transmitting subject matter or data to students, but instead attempts to incite learning through an active encounter with large issues and complex texts to which a number of responses are possible. Although at times I will lecture in order to present background information, class participation in discussion and in other in-class activities is essential and will certainly be a significant part of your grade. Seminars always require a maximum of student participation, and your experience in this class will include eager participation in our conversations, in-class writing and workshops, oral presentations to the class, and of course turning in timely and neat written assignments. Excessive absences (or tardiness) will hurt your grade in English 290--after three absences your participation grade will begin to drop. More than four absences will generally mean a grade of "F" for this class. I expect you to keep up with the reading and to prepare for class; it will be your responsibility to find out what we covered in any classes you missed and whether any extra out-of-class work was assigned.


We will practice a variety of forms of writing and oral presentation in this class, some involving formal analysis and some inviting more direct reaction. The first two papers will require analyses of fiction and poetry; the "poetry project" will require you to memorize and recite a poem, as well as to provide a written scansion and close reading of the same poem. Each student will present one "reaction paper" to the class on a reading assignment to be selected from a list I will hand out early in the semester. Students will also be expected to contribute to poetry discussions by preparing comments on "focus poems" to be announced in class. Your final project for the course will involve a researched investigation of a writer, movement, approach, text, or related art form that you found particularly interesting. I may assign other (mostly ungraded) writing both in and out of class. Part of your grade for each writing assignment will be based on your preparation of drafts and participation in rough draft workshops in class.



I will at times allow students an extra day to work on finishing a late paper, but only if you have an acceptable reason for turning the essay in late and only if you ask me for an extension before the paper is due. Many students who get their essays in on time consider it unfair for a professor to allow other students extra time to finish assignments; therefore, unexcused late papers will go down one letter grade for every day they are late. I will not allow extensions on the reaction paper or on the final project.


As noted above, my office is 209C in the Vaughan Literature Building. I am available during my normally-scheduled office hours to meet with you. If you need to speak with me outside of my scheduled office hours, you can e-mail me (rickard@bucknell.edu) or call me at 524-1424; if it's really important, you can call me at home, but please always try at the office first.