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Instructor Class Description

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Jennifer Mc Collum
ENGL 200
Seattle Campus

Reading Literary Forms

Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.

Class description


Children are strange, aren’t they? In every historical moment of the Western world, children have been re-imagined in fascinating ways that reflect the social and cultural fantasies of adults. Plato argued that the sexual love of little boys was the only way to recognize the true Forms of philosophical thought. Lewis Carroll and John Everett Millais were among the many artists who reveled in the prepubescent, naked body. Yet, by the end of the nineteenth century Henry James enraged readers with his portrayals of sexualized children, especially as he followed poets such as William Blake and Charles Lamb who described children as the heavenly embodiment of innocence. William Wordsworth believed that children were the nexus of creative thinking. The contradiction of the sexual/innocent child in nineteenth-century English literature has spawned numerous Jungian archetypes – including Mary Shelley’s ultimate child-creature and Thomas Hardy’s murderous “Father Time" – that articulate the child as a monstrous hybrid of adult sin and adolescent wonder.

In this general literature course we will consider nineteenth-century English novels, essays, poems, photographs, and paintings that confront the sexual/innocent child archetype in sometimes disconcerting but always intriguing ways. Students will participate in discussions about the texts that refine their critical thinking skills, and will compose ten pages of academic writing to satisfy the University of Washington writing requirement (W).

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course is primarily lecture and discussion based.

Students should enroll in ENG 200 after taking a 100-level writing class at UW, as writing is valued highly in this course but is not the focus of instruction. There will, however, be some workshops dedicated to writing for those students who need some guidance.

Recommended preparation

• Blake, William. Songs of Innocence and Experience. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1977. Print. [ISBN-10: 0192810898/ISBN-13: 978-0192810892] • Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print. [ISBN-10: 0199558299; ISBN-13: 978-0199558292] • Hardy, Thomas. Jude the Obscure. Ed. Norman Page. 2nd edition. New York: Norton, 1999. Print. [ISBN-10: 039397278X/ISBN-13: 978-0393972788] • James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. Ed. Peter G. Beidler. 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford, 2003. Print. [ISBN-10: 0312406916/ISBN-13: 978-0312406912] • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ed. Susan J. Wolfson. 2nd edition. New York: Pearson, 2006. Print. [ISBN: ISBN-10: 0321399536/ISBN-13: 978-0321399533]

Class assignments and grading

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The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Jennifer Mc Collum
Date: 02/25/2011