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ENGL 2543: British Literature I

General Information

ZAP Number: 1311

Time: 2-4:30 p.m.

Place: BH 201

Instructor: Dr. Dial-Driver

Office: BH 201-A

Phone/Voice Mail: 343-7747


My schedule is posted. You may see me before or after class, make an appointment, or call. If you call and do not reach me, please leave a voice mail message. If you come by and I am out of the office, please leave a message on the message sheet. Make an appointment to be sure of catching me since I often attend meetings in another building or even off-campus. I will help you any time you ask (and sometimes when you don't ask!).

Course Prerequisites

ACT score of 19 or equivalent


Course Description

A survey of British literature from the origins of the language to 1700.

Next course: ENG 2653 (British Literature II), if desired.


Course Introduction

This course is designed to introduce you to the great literature of early Britain from the origins of the English language to 1700. This course may be a substitute for general humanities in some programs.

This course will assume that you know the basic terms of literature, but we will go over any terms with which you are not familiar. The course will consist of some lecture and some discussion. That means you need to read the material so you can talk about it! You must participate in class discussion to practice the skills necessary to successfully complete the required assignments.

Class Resources: Names and phone numbers of classmates:





Textbooks and Resources

A Guide to College Writing, 2000 ed.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. 1. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000.

Other materials: Printer paper

Library Materials: Materials relating to this course, including the textbook, are on reserve in Thunderbird Library.

Teaching Methods and Evaluation Instruments: This class will include some lecture and some discussion, and much writing practice. Your grade will be based on two tests, a research paper, a project, and weekly reading and research.

Learning Objectives

In accordance with the Rogers State University mission and the mission of the Department of Communications and Fine Arts, this course is intended to provide the opportunity for students to develop and display effective communication skills, both written and oral; critical and creative thinking; multicultural exposure; global perspective, and a appreciation for the diverse views of art, knowledge, culture, and the world.

During the semester, you will study the literary works of early British literature: non-fiction, drama, and poetry. You will

1. use literary terms

2. learn facts about various works of literature

3. learn why these works of literature are evaluated as important

4. write about literary works

5. research information about early British literature

6. respond to questions about literature, using literary terms and evaluation criteria, especially in realms of synthesis and evaluation

Assessment Tools

By the end of the semester you will have

Fulfilled Objective

1. passed two tests on the reading and study material

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

2. written an acceptable, short, documented paper using MLA format

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

3. researched a variety of early British works

2, 3, 5, 6

4. created/submitted a project responding to text

1,2, 3,4, 5, 6

Mid-Level (Class Assessment): Students will be assessed on their knowledge of the works and on their ability to write about the works by taking a mid-term essay test.

Exit Assessment: Students will be assessed on their knowledge of the works and on their ability to write about the works by taking a final examination.

Tests: Tests will be essay question and comprehensive.

Research Paper

Before beginning the research paper, read the section in the Guide to College Writing on "The Research Paper" carefully.

The length for this paper is three to five pages of text, typed. (You will include a Works Cited page that is part of the paper but is not a page of text.)

Decide on a work of early British literature in which you are interested. You may choose more than one selection but not more than three. Do research on the selection(s). Decide on the limited topic you intend to handle and on which you can find sufficient resource material. Do NOT do a biography of an author.

You should use five or more sources in the paper, three of which must be print sources, one of which must be an Internet or other electronic source. (General encyclopedias are not appropriate sources.) Be sure that you include not only paraphrased but also quoted material. Use MLA-style documentation.

Weekly Reading and Research

Each week, choose a piece of literature from the selections for that week. Research the piece in at least two places, one on the Internet and one text-based. Bring a copy of your sources to class. However, it is not enough to have made a copy. You must be able to share the information you glean with the class. You will be sharing so others can use the information; you will be taking notes on information you receive from others. This information may be useful to you on the tests.


Choose a piece of literature or quotations from one piece of literature we read or one quotation from each of three pieces or a theme running through a series of texts or one piece of literature. Using the selection(s) as a basis, develop the equivalent of a ten-page journal that is textual and imagistic. Use color, font, print, pictures, and/or text in any manner which you wish to illustrate the quotations. You may write a series of your own pieces or use pictures as response. Be creative. Take chances. ENJOY THIS (yes, that's part of the assignment—and required!). Don't worry; we'll look at some examples. You won't die from this.

You must complete all assignments to receive credit for the course.

Standards of Achievement

All student work will be held to the following academic criteria:

Accuracy of information

Organization and clarity of thoughts

Depth of critical thinking and observation

Satisfaction of defined requirements (deadlines, etc.)

Acceptable writing mechanics

Fidelity of work (no plagiarism, cheating, etc.)

Evidence of creative or innovative thinking

Effective cooperative learning

Grade Composition

Grades will be based on the following:

Tests 100 pts. each 200 points

Research paper 100 points

Project 100 points

Weekly reading and research 100 points

approximate TOTAL 500 points

You need to keep track of your grades and not ask "How am I doing?" or "What is my average?" Do not expect to call and ask about a grade. Grades will not be posted. If you want your final grade earlier than it is sent to you by the Registrar’s office, you can give me a stamped, self-addressed envelope and I will send it to you.

Grading Scale and Academic Profiles

The Department of Communications and Fine Arts Division has adopted a standard grading scale

90-100% A

80-89% B

70-79% C

60-69% D

59% and below F


Academic Profile






Students receiving an "A" can be considered to have exhibited extraordinary effort in class and scholarship exceeding the expectations of the instructor and to have exhibited most or all of the following: to have attended regularly and on time (missed fewer than the equivalent of one week of class meetings); to have participated fully in class discussion, revealing personal initiative; to have used well-supported and well-structured logical arguments in writing; to have revealed a grasp of mechanics that prevents errors; to have revealed depth of critical thought and observation; to have exhibited timeliness in turning in assignments; to have revealed strong interest in intellectual, cultural, and personal growth by reading and discussing assigned material; to have shown consistent improvement in academics.


Above Average

Students receiving a "B" can be considered to have exhibited above-average effort in class, revealing noticeable improvement in academics, and showing accurate and complete scholarship. The student will have exhibited most or all of the following: have attended regularly (not missed more than the equivalent of one week of class meetings) and on time; have participated honestly and solidly in class discussion; have used supported and structured logical arguments in writing; have revealed a grasp of mechanics that prevents many errors; have revealed critical thought and observation; have exhibited a moderate grasp of timeliness in turning in assignments; have revealed interest in intellectual, cultural, and personal growth by reading and discussing assigned material.



Students receiving a "C" can be considered to have exhibited average effort in class, performing satisfactorily but not above average, with some self-direction, and have shown signs of academic progress, meeting assignment parameters accurately. The student will have exhibited most or all of the following: attended regularly (not missed more than the equivalent of one week of class meetings) and on time; participated willingly in class discussion; have used supported and structured arguments in writing; have revealed an average grasp of mechanics that prevents most errors; have revealed average critical thought and observation; have exhibited a moderate grasp of timeliness in turning in assignments; have revealed average interest in intellectual, cultural, and personal growth by reading and discussing assigned material.


Below Average

Students receiving a "D" can be considered to have exhibited some effort in class, but not enough to show fully engagement with the subject and with the course material, showing little or no initiative and academic improvement, and not meeting the scholarship requirements of assignments. The student will have exhibited most or all of the following: have participated somewhat in class discussion; have attended somewhat regularly (missed more than the equivalent of one week and less than the equivalent of two weeks) and usually on time; have used some structured and supported arguments in writing; have revealed a sub-standard grasp of mechanics that prevents only some errors; have revealed below average critical thought and observation; have exhibited some grasp of timeliness in turning in assignments; have revealed below average interest in intellectual, cultural, and personal growth by reading and discussing assigned material; have not met the scholarship requirements of assignments; have not shown initiative; have not revealed academic improvement.



Students receiving an "F" can be considered to have exhibited little or no desire to pass the course. This will usually involve poor participation and attendance (missed more than the equivalent of two weeks of class meetings) and little or no effort to attempt improvement as well as scholarship deficiencies and lack of effort to complete assignments.

Important Considerations

The research paper should be typed.

I prefer that you not use ANY tobacco products in the classroom OR wear hats or caps. Failure to comply with these requests will be seen as denoting lack of respect for the class, the instructor, and your classmates.

Sample Essays

The Guide to College Writing includes essays in an appendix. Each of these essays is an above-average essay.

Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to follow university policies as put forth in the institution’s Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct. In accordance with Title 12 of The Student Code (page 11), instances of alleged academic misconduct will follow the policies and procedures as described in Title 12. As a general rule, Faculty at Rogers State University have the responsibility of enforcing the academic code. Therefore, if academic conduct is suspected, I will submit a letter of alleged academic misconduct to the Office of Student Affairs.

Non-Academic Misconduct

In order to maintain an effective learning environment, students are expected to fully comply with The Student Code. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of each student to read and become familiar with the policies of The Student Code.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is vital. You cannot discuss if you are not here. Excessive absences (more than one—the equivalent of one week of class) will affect your grade.

It is your responsibility to be in class on time. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out what has happened in class and what is due. Absence is not an excuse for not having assignments or for not being aware of what is due or what is required. Please tell me if you come in late. Otherwise you will be marked absent. If you are more than 10 minutes late, you will not receive credit for attendance for that class meeting. It is better to be late than to miss a complete class, but it is better not to be late.

Extra Credit and Late Work

Extra credit: 100 points maximum possible

1. Attend a cultural event related to early British literature and write a critique. (25 points possible for each one, 50 points maximum)

2. Find a mistake in the Guide to College Writing. (25 points each if you're the first to find the mistake)

3. Write a review on a film/television/video offering, related to early British literature. (25 pts. possible each , 50 points maximum)

Late Work

Assignments, other than in-class exercises, turned in late will lose 10% per day up to 30%. In-class research and reports cannot be made up; if you are not in class to share the research, you will not receive the 10 point credit for that exercise. No late work will be accepted more than two weeks after the initial submission date.

Rogers State University ADA Statement

If you have special physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities, please let me know immediately so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will need to provide documentation to the office of Student Relations, Prep. Hall 110.

Computer Writing Labs

Computers for student use are available in the UPA, Thunderbird Library, and Student Support Services. Computers are also available for class use in BH 205.

Closure Statement

he schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.

Schedule and Text Assignments

NOTE: Assignments are due the first day of class in the week in which they are listed. The section on "Mechanics" from the Guide to College Writing (153-178) will apply to all assignments. Pages numbers assigned are from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 (designated Norton) or from the Guide to College Writing (designated GCW).



Assignment Due


Course introduction and syllabus

Guide to College Writing (GCW) sections on literature, research papers, and essays


History of the English language and the British Isles

Norton 1-22




Norton 29-99


Arthur’s Return

Marie de France

Norton 124-141


Sir Gawain and the Green Night


Norton 156-280


Mystery Plays

Morte d’Arthur

Norton 391-438


Sir Thomas More

The Bible

Askew, Fox, Book of Common Prayer

Norton 506-522

Norton 538-542

Norton 544-557


Mid-Term Examination

Mid-term will be comprehensive.




Essay 1 due (mid-day of week)

MHR 500 ("The New Immorality")

JA 7 (2000 article of more than two pages from New Yorker OR Civilization OR Smithsonian: the reaction/evaluation paragraph should discuss the article support)


Research paper reports

Research paper due





Mary Herbert


Norton 894-97

Norton 970-1026



Norton 1043-1196






Norton 1276-1281

Norton 1285-87





Herbert, Herrick, Suckling, Marvell,




Norton 1535-1543



Norton 1759-1765

Norton 1815-2044






Norton 2075-99, 2106-09, 2114-2121

Norton 2122-31

Norton 2137-44

Norton 2145-50



Final will be comprehensive.

An Open Letter to Students

Attending college is analogous to being employed. Success on the job is achieved only with hard work and effort. This is also true of college.

Your employer expects you to be on the job every day, on time, and prepared to work. You are allowed only a specific number of sick days each year after which your pay is "docked." This is also true in composition classes. Regular and prompt attendance is essential.

Meetings are an essential part of the workplace culture, and everyone is expected to attend regularly and to contribute to the discussion. If you miss an excessive number of meetings and/or do not share information, your employment success is in jeopardy. The same holds true for this class. You are not only expected to attend all of our "meetings," but you are expected to contribute to the discussion. This requires that you come to each class prepared to discuss the assigned material. Failure to do so will put your success in jeopardy.

Your employer requires you to submit all reports on time. Failure to do so will endanger your employer’s business and your success. The same is true for this class. All "reports" (papers, etc.) are due at the scheduled time (see syllabus). If, for a justified reason, you will not be able to meet the time schedule, you must notify me, just as you would contact your employer if you needed an extension. However, as in the workplace, such extensions do not come without a cost. Extensions result in a decrease in your "salary" (grade).

Performance reviews occur periodically in the workplace, and your employer determines the degree of your success during these reviews. Such is the case in this class. The "performance reviews" for this class are papers and other assignments. These reviews require you to show not only your knowledge of the material, but also your ability to use this knowledge. Your "pay" (grade) depends on the quality of your performance.

If you attend class regularly, participate in class discussions, and submit all materials, well prepared and in a timely fashion, you have the potential to excel in this class. I am looking forward to working with you and to learning with you. I am always available if you need assistance.

Good luck! Good writing!


adapted, with permission, from Bremer, Joyce C. "The Responsible Student." Innovation Abstracts 20.17 (4 Sep. 1998): 1.



Name: ___________________________

Date: ___________________________


Student Contract for British Literature I

Initial each statement and turn this contract in. This contract must be on file for you to attend the class.

I have read and understood the guidelines and requirements in the syllabus.

I understand that this class is for three hours college credit; this implies three hours of class meeting.

I understand that each hour of college credit usually requires two or more hours per week study time outside of class.

I understand that attendance is required.

I understand literary selections for this class may contain controversial or "offensive" material; this is the nature of some academic works.

_____________________________   (signature)


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