online syllabus:


electronic reserve: (100)

course description




~ schedule ~


Literature 100: Reading of Literature
Introduction to Literature
Poetry ~ Fiction ~ Drama


summer 2004

Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office Hours: Monday & Tuesday 2:50 - 3:50 PM

~ or by appointment ~

Section One; Registration #41460
Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday 1:00 - 2:50 PM
Pray-Harrold Hall 308



 “The private person who squares his accounts with reality in his office demands that the interior be maintained in his illusions. …  From this springs the phantasmagorias of the interior.  For the private individual the private environment represents the universe.  In it he gathers remote places and the past.  His drawing room is a box in the world theater.”

Walter Benjamin, “Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century,” Reflections

Course Description: Reading of Literature

Literature 100 is a class in which you will explore a wide variety of literature — novels, short stories, poetry, and drama — ranging in period from the fifteenth-century to the present and encompassing authors from around the world.  The aim is to provide a general introduction to literature, including an examination of the major literary periods, movements, and genres.  By the end of the course, you will have surveyed representative works written in English, honed your interpretative skills, familiarized yourself with literary conventions, and learned to think critically and carefully about those conventions.  Whether discussing literature or world events, we will attempt to expand rather than confine our engagement with the material, ultimately seeing how literature offers a means to (re)envision and hopefully to (re)create the material world in which we all live.

Required Texts

The following books (one anthology and one novel) are available at Ned’s bookstore —; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross Street — although additional copies may be available at other EMU bookstores:





v       Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, edited by Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs, Compact 2nd Edition (Prentice Hall, 2002; ISBN #0130978027)

v       Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Penguin Signet Classic, 2000; ISBN #0451527712)

Make sure to get the same editions pictured and listed above; otherwise, the differing page numbers will make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to follow along with class discussions.  Nothing is more vital for success in this class than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the daily reading assignments and class discussions. 


Many other required texts are located in the Halle Library’s Electronic Reserve:  (Contact another student or myself if you forget the password.)  If you experience difficulty viewing these texts on your computer, see the link “Problems viewing PDF or other file formats?  Read this!”  You may need to download small versions applications (Adobe, MS Word, etc.) in order to open them.  It is best to print out the Electronic Reserve materials in one sitting in advance from the computers on the first floor of the Halle library, where you will see a station with multimedia computers equipped with the course reserve software.  These computers are much more likely to be able to open the files (and to open them quickly) than your own computer. 


Make sure to bring a copy of each text that we will be discussing to class.  You will need to have read the assigned material, and have it on hand, when I call on you in class or when we do group work, which will be often.  There will also be periodic quizzes. 






Daily Responses, Quizzes, Poetry Presentation,
& Class Participation




Examination #1: The Novel & Short Story

Monday, July 19



Examination #2: Poetry & Drama

Tuesday, August 17



Five-Page Critical Essay

Thursday, August 19

(12:00 PM sharp)


The participation grade, largely based on responses, quizzes, and the poetry presentation, is a considerable portion of your final grade — 20% — so keep up with the reading and response assignments and make your voice heard in class.  Late assignments are marked down only minimally, but they must be turned in within a week of the initial due date.  Your total participation points will be averaged, put on a fair grading curve, and then bumped up or down slightly depending on how actively you engage in class discussions. 


The exams will consist only of essay questions.  The first exam will have one question on the novel and another on short fiction; the second exam will have one question on poetry and another on drama.  You will be able refer to an outline during the exams, but not to the texts themselves. 


The critical essay will be given two grades — one for the quality of the theme and one for the quality of the writing — which will be averaged together equally for a final grade.


Because this class primarily consists of reading and discussion — rather than facts, figures, or memorization — attendance is crucial.  You may be absent four times without penalty.  Each absence after that will result in a reduction of your final grade by one-third the letter grade: that is, the fifth class missed will turn a final grade of an A into an A-; the sixth, into a B+; and so on.  The four absences are for emergencies, so if you ditch the class four times, do not expect a reprieve from the rule if you become ill or have other extenuating circumstances towards the end of the semester. 


Above all, make sure to withdraw from the course if you find that you cannot attend class regularly or fall too far behind in the reading.  Aside from the grade reduction, missing classes will hinder your ability to do the assignments properly and promptly.  Likewise, even though there will be no penalty for lateness, it can have several undesirable consequences: you may miss crucial information (such as the extension of a deadline) often covered in the first ten minutes of class and, of course, you will likely distract other students and myself while entering the room.  If you are late, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have not been marked absent.  If you are absent from class, contact another student who can fill you in on missed work before contacting me. 


In the unlikely event that you experience an emergency of any kind at the end of the semester (a death in the family, lost limb, prison term, &c.), I will go out of my way to help in any way I can, including giving you an incomplete, supposing that you document the situation in some fashion and have otherwise kept up with the assignments, attended class regularly, and finished a majority of the course. 


Academic Dishonesty

Any academic dishonesty will result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment.  Thus, if you plagiarize on the essay, you can expect, at most, to receive a C (or 75%) for your final grade, supposing that you did everything else in the class perfectly.  Similarly, if you cheat on the second exam, you can expect at most to receive a C- (or 70%), again supposing that you did everything else perfectly. 


Plagiarism is a very serious offense against the Code of Student Conduct.  According to Funk and Wagnalls’ New Standard Dictionary (1921), plagiarism is the “act of plagiarizing or appropriating the ideas, writings, or inventions of another without due acknowledgment; specifically, the stealing of passages either for word or in substance, from the writings of another and publishing them as one’s own.”  The general rule is that if you use three or more words of another writer in a row without enclosing those words in quotation marks and acknowledging your source, you are guilty of plagiarism. 


With the internet, plagiarism is quite easy and tempting to do; however, plagiarism is also that much more easy to catch and document, so do not even think about doing it in this class or elsewhere.  Note: Turning in a paper that you wrote for another class as an essay for this class, i.e. recycling the same words for double credit, also constitutes academic dishonesty at EMU. 



Section One: The Novel

Monday, June 28: Student Introductions; Introduction to Literature 100; Class Itinerary; Selection from Adrienne Rich, “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision”

Homework: Review Syllabus (write down any questions that you have); Get Books; Read Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing (1-3); Read Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (iii-27), including the Forward, Author’s Introduction, and Preface

Tuesday, June 29: Discuss Approaches to Literature and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Groupwork on Critical Approaches to Literature (Literature, 1309-21)

Homework: Read Literature (57-61); Read Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (28-77)

Thursday, July 1: Discuss Elements of Fiction and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Watch and discuss James Whale’s film adaptation of Frankenstein (1931); Begin watching Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

      Homework: Read Literature (61-69); Read Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (78-152)

Monday, July 5: Independence Day - University Closed

Tuesday, July 6: Watch and Discuss Branagh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Homework: Read Literature (98-104); Finish Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (153-198); Begin Groupwork on Frankenstein

Thursday, July 8: Discuss Literary Plot, Form, and Structure; Discuss Film Adaptations of Frankenstein; Groupwork on Frankenstein

Homework: Read Literature (135-42, 192-202); Read Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour,” Literature (295-97); Read Michael Herr, “Dispatches” (200-208) and Ambrose Bierce,  Chickamauga” (213-218), each available in the Electronic Reserves:  Bring copies of all ER materials to class.

Section Two: The Short Story

Monday, July 12: Discuss Character and Point of View; Watch filmic representations of Chopin; Discuss Chopin, Herr, and Bierce

Homework: Read Literature (238-43, 288-95); Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Yellow Wallpaper,” Literature (431-41); Read James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” (86-122), available in the Electronic Reserves:  Bring copies of ER materials to class.

Tuesday, July 13: Discuss Setting, Style; Discuss Gilman and Baldwin; Debate on “Yellow Wallpaper” and “Sonny’s Blues”

Homework: Read Literature (326-32); Review the short stories that we have read so far and find examples of each of the following literary devices: symbolism, allegory, and allusion.  You will turn in this assignment, so write your findings down as you proceed. 

Thursday, July 15: Discuss Symbolism, Allegory, and Allusion; Review for Exam One (Fiction: Novel and Short Story)

Homework: Prepare outlines for Exam One.  Optional: Read “Taking Examinations on Literature,” Literature (1324-34)

Monday, July 19: Exam One (Fiction) — The Novel and Short Story 

Homework: Read Literature (451,456-58, 480-87); Read Langston Hughes, “Harlem,” Literature (546) and T. S. Eliot’s “Preludes” (518-19); Read Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” (1 pg.), Wallace Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West” (1 pg.), Sharon Olds, “The Solution” (1 pg.), and Robert Creeley’s “Oh Max” (2 pgs.), each available in the Electronic Reserves:  Bring copies of all ER materials to class.

Section Three: Poetry

Tuesday, July 20: Discuss the Difference Between Sound and Text; Poetry on Video (Plath, Creeley, Eliot, Hughes, Stevens, Olds)

Homework: Read Literature (506-508, 534-542); Read e. e. cummings, “next to of course god america I,” Literature (492), William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18” (551); Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (626); Read Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed” (1 pg.), Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” (1 pg.), and Dorothy Parker, “Résumé” (1 pg.), each available in the Electronic Reserves:  Bring copies of all ER materials to class.

Thursday, July 22: Discuss what to think about when you think about poetry; Audio selections from the Caedmon Poetry Collection (Yeats, Thomas, Sandburg, cummings, Moore, Stein, Plath, Atwood); Groupwork on Poetry

Homework: Select a poem from the anthology to discuss for Poetry Presentation, turning in a list of four poems in the order that you desire to present on them; Read Literature (593-604, 639-47); Read William Blake, “The Tiger,” Literature (514-15), Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan” (516-17), Ray Durem, “I Know I’m Not Sufficiently Obscure” (517-18), and Emily Dickenson, “Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant” (721); Read Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” (4 pgs.), available in the Electronic Reserves:  Bring copies of all ER materials to class.

Monday, July 26: Discuss Poetry and Figurative Language; Poets on Video (Ginsberg, Ginsberg reads Blake, Dickenson)

Homework: Work on Poetry Presentation; Begin Homework due August 3; Start writing the critical essay (perhaps on your chosen poem), due Aug. 19.

Tuesday, July 27 — Monday, August 2: Poetry Presentations

Homework: 1) Work on Poetry Presentation; 2) Start writing the critical essay (perhaps on your chosen poem), due Aug. 19; 3) Begin Homework (due Tuesday, August 3): Read Literature (801-13, 819-20); Read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (43 pgs.), available in the Electronic Reserves:  Bring a copy to class.

Section Four: Drama

Tuesday, August 3: Discuss Drama, Dramatic Conventions, and Lysistrata

Homework: Read Literature (1027-36); Prepare for Debate on Lysistrata  

Thursday, August 5: Discuss the conventions of comedy; Debate on Lysistrata

Homework: Read Literature (850-61); Read William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Literature (909-939)

Monday, August 9: Discuss Tragedy and Hamlet

Homework: Read William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2-3, Literature (939-981)

Tuesday, August 10: Discuss Hamlet; Begin Watching Franco Zeffirelli’s film adaptation of Hamlet

Homework: Read William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4-5, Literature (981-1016)

Thursday, August 12: Watch and discuss Franco Zeffirelli’s film adaptation of Hamlet

Homework: Write a response comparing and contrasting Shakespeare’s and Zeffirelli’s Hamlet

Monday, August 16: Discuss Hamlet; Review for Exam Two; Discuss Essay Requirements

Homework: Prepare outlines for Exam Two.  Optional: Read “Taking Examinations on Literature,” Literature (1324-34)

Tuesday, August 17: Exam Two — Poetry and Drama

Homework: Write a five-page essay on at least one of the works in Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing that is not listed above and that we have not covered in class.  The essay — double-spaced, typed, with one-inch margins, and in Times New Roman 12-point font — is due Thursday, August 19 by 12 PM sharp.  Drop it in my mailbox in the English Department (612 Pray Harrold) or slide it under my office door (603G Pray Harrold).