English 299, Seminar for ProspectiveMajors           Fall term 2011 MWF A hour, Payne 2121
Professor Suzanne Keen, Payne 124, 540-458-8759 skeen@wlu.edu  Office hours:   MW 9-10:30

Charles Dickens and his Circle

Popular novelist, reforming crusader, amateur actor, and professional journalist, Charles Dickens wore many masks. He could be hilarious, sentimental, or scathing, a moralist, and a hypocrite. He rivals Shakespeare in his creation of iconic fictional characters. In his work with the journal Household Words and All the Year Round, he brought his contemporaries to wide audiences. In this course we will read fiction by members of his circle (Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell) as well as several short stories and long novels by Dickens himself. We will examine the impact of modes of publication on narrative form. Independent research projects will culminate in seminar papers, with an emphasis on the writing process.

Components of the grade.

10% participation and attendance: participation matters most, but excessive absences result in failure no matter how well you do when you are there.
10% paper #1: 4-5 pages, 1200 words, close reading
10% paper #2 4-5 pages, 1200 words, motif-tracing w/ link to Household Words
4% cumulative grade on topic & bibliography; prospectus; outline; and thesis paragraph
11% draft: a full draft of the research paper
40% research paper: 12-15 pages, 3600-4500 words including notes and works cited
10% objective final examination. A grade of 59 or less earns the course grade of E.

Required Texts. Do not buy alternate editions.

Booth, The Craft of Research, 3rd ed. Chicago, ISBN: 978-0226065663
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199536726
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199219766
Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199536276
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199536306
Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199538218
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199536252
Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199538270
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition. MLA 2009, ISBN:  978-1-60329-024-1

See Sakai site for details of the schedule and full syllabus.