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English 5555D: Transatlantic Authorship; Winter 2008; University of Missouri-Kansas City

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago

Syllabus for English 5555D: Transatlantic Authorship

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Phegley 


In this course, we will investigate the conditions of authorship and publishing in both England and America during the second half of the nineteenth century.  During this period, dramatic increases in literacy rates, rapid improvements in the technologies of printing, the professionalization of authorship and publishing, and the development of mass media and advertising transformed relationships among writers, readers, and publishers.  We will explore representations of these modern publishing conditions on both sides of the Atlantic in travel narratives, auto/biographies, critical essays, short stories, and novels.  We will focus particularly on gendered differences in relationships between authors and their readers, and authors and their publishers.



Course Texts:

Fanny Fern, Ruth Hall, Penguin (1855)

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor's Wife, Oxford (1864)

Charlotte Yonge, The Clever Woman of the Family, Broadview (1865)

George Gissing, New Grub Street, Broadview (1891)



Course Requirements:

Class Participation (10%): Because this is a course that emphasizes class discussion and collective investigation, your success depends greatly on your willingness to participate actively. This means attending class, doing the reading, coming to class prepared, contributing to class discussion, evaluating your peers' written work, and participating in small group work.  Everyone will be expected to read-carefully and thoughtfully-the assigned readings and to participate in class discussions in productive ways.


If you have more than three unexcused absences, your final grade will be lowered by half a letter grade for each additional unexcused absence.  Absences that are the result of a documented illness, the illness of an immediate family member for whom you are required to care, the death of an immediate family member, the observance of a religious holiday, or the representation of UMKC in an official capacity will be excused.  You should notify me of excused absences and make arrangements to make up work in advance when possible.


Daily Reading Quizzes (10%):  We will not have either a mid-term or a final exam in this class (yeah!).  However, we will have a heavy reading load each day (boo!).  In order to ensure that you keep up with the reading, I will frequently give a quiz at the beginning of class that is geared toward making sure you have read and comprehended the assigned texts for that day.  Therefore, you must be on time to class.  Missed quizzes and essays cannot be made up unless your absence is excused.  I will give 10 quizzes worth ten points each adding up to a total possible score of 100 points, which will be converted to the corresponding letter grade before being factored into your final grade.


Book Review/Presentation (20%): You will each write a 4-5 page review of one of the books about the literary marketplace listed on the daily schedule.  This should provide everyone in the class with a sense of the kind of scholarship that is being done on nineteenth-century authorship, reading, and publishing and will give you ideas and resources for your final papers.  I will provide a sample book review as a guide, but generally you should summarize the major arguments and approaches covered in the book and assess its strengths and weaknesses. In the review you might address the following questions: What is the critic's main argument?  What evidence does the critic use to support his/her point?  Is the book convincing?  Why or why not?  What can it teach us about authorship, reading, and/or publishing?  Remember that your larger purpose is to guide your classmates in judging the value and interpreting the significance of the book.  You are not expected to read the entire book word for word, but you should read the introduction and at least one chapter closely, skimming the rest of the book to get a sense of the author's purpose. 


You will discuss your review with the class on the day designated on the schedule.  Your goals during the presentation are to concisely convey the major concepts presented in the book and to explain how the book is relevant to the course and/or to the novels we are reading. You will have about 15 minutes to summarize the contents of the book and your assessment of it.  You should end with a few discussion questions that will get the class to think about the relationship of the book to the reading we have done for that day. Your discussion questions should be included in a handout you share with the class during your presentation. 


Victorian Wiki Assignment (25%):  Andrea Kaston Tange, Associate Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, has set up a student-generated, publicly available online “wiki” that will house original documents from the nineteenth century (e.g., periodical articles, cartoons, letters, etc.) with annotations and analysis. The goal is to begin to build an archive of primary materials that provide useful constellations of perspectives within which to understand nineteenth-century literature.  Dr. Tange has invited us to help build this site and we will be instrumental in launching the wiki this semester! 


Here are the nuts and bolts: In teams, you will do archival research to locate a short text relevant to our course themes of authorship, reading, and publishing that will be posted on the wiki for use by students around the country.   For example, you might find a Punch cartoon poking fun at women readers, a Harper's Magazine story about a country bumpkin who decides to become a “worldly” writer, or a period "how to" guide to getting published.  The document you choose must be an original text from the period that is not easily accessible or frequently reprinted.  You may scan or-if it is something that is copyright protected-retype the text in preparation for annotating and posting it to the website. 


After being assigned to teams, you will:

1.    Identify several possible documents for my approval

2.    Narrow your focus to one document

3.    Generate a “clean” and copyright compliant copy

4.    Annotate the text with hyperlinks or footnotes that explain key terms, phrases, and references

5.    Write a brief analysis of the meaning of the text and its significance to our understanding of the Victorian literary marketplace

6.    Present your analysis in class and turn in a draft for feedback

7.    Use feedback to produce a final draft that you will post to the wiki site

8.    Evaluate yourself and your team members in writing; I will consider both the final project and your team evaluations when assigning each person's grade


VictorianContexts.pbwiki.com does not currently have any documents posted on it, but you can preview the template for adding new documents to the site by going to the bottom of the home page, and clicking the "Show all pages" link.  Choose the "Add a text template" from the list that comes up.  There is also a sidebar of quick links on the home page, but you have to choose the "sidebar" option on the top right of the home page.


Suggestions for locating original documents:

o    Illustrated Magazines in Hard Copy at MNL: Issues of Punch from 1842-1864 are housed on the second floor of Miller Nichols Library with the periodicals.  Issues of the Illustrated London News from 1844-1898 are stored on the third floor with the oversized books.  PLEASE, PLEASE treat these valuable historical documents with care.  They are extremely fragile and can disintegrate with rough handling or even rapid turning of the pages.


o    Microfilm Periodicals Collections at MNL:  UMKC's library houses several excellent microfilm collections that feature thousands of pages of periodicals. Located in the lower level of the library in large files that line the south wall are the Early British Periodical Microfilm Collection, the English Literary Periodical Microfilm Collection, and the American Periodicals Microfilm Collections, Series I and II.  You can find the guides to these collections in the first floor microfilm reference section (EBP: PR408.P37 E32; ELP: PR1 .B74 1968; AP: PN4832 .A486 1971).  These guides will list the titles of periodicals included in the collections.  In order to find relevant articles, you will have to choose the periodical you want to search and then browse the reels that contain that periodical.  Unfortunately, the articles are not indexed by key word or title. 


To assist you in determining which periodicals you might want to search, consult the following reference works that give overviews of many nineteenth-century magazines: Alvin Sullivan's British Literary Magazines (Ref. PN5124.L6 B74 / Vol. 3); Walter Houghton's Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (Ref. Z2005. H6 / Vol. 3); and Edward E. Chielens's American Literary Magazines: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Ref. PS201 .A43 1986).


I also hope to obtain a trial subscription to a new comprehensive on-line database called C19 that allows you to keyword search through more than 11 million documents, including all of the articles included the three microfilm periodical collections listed above. Needless to say, this will make your searches much more efficient! We may also have trial access to British Periodicals Online, which would allow you to link to full text articles and to dispense with the microfilm searches altogether.  More information about this to come.


o    Other Indices: The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals on CD-ROM (found on one of the computers near the Music and Media Desk on the first floor) searches the tables of contents of 43 major periodicals and is also available in hard copy in the reference area of the library. The 19th Century Masterfile, an on-line database accessible from MNL's website, includes hundreds of keyword searchable citations from British newspapers and periodicals.  When you find the citations you want, you will need to locate the articles in our microfilm collections or order them through ILL. Charles Dickens's magazine All the Year Round, which is included in the microfilm collections, is thoroughly indexed in Ella Ann Oppenlander's Dickens' All the Year Round: Descriptive Index and Contributor List (PR4572.A44 O6 1984).


o    Newspaper Databases: MNL has several useful newspaper databases accessible from its webpage including the 19th-Century U.S. Newspapers Database, the Godey's Lady's Book Full Text Archive, the Times Digital Archive (the Times of London full text archive starting in 1875), and the New York Times full-text database starting in 1851.


o    Making of America On-Line: You can find the Making of America Archives on-line at the Cornell University site (http://library8.library.cornell.edu/moa/moa_browse.html) and the University of Michigan site (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moajrnl/).  Each site offers full texts with full tables of contents for hundreds of American magazines (the selections are different on each site).


o    Google Books: The potential sources here are amazing! You might find many periodicals reproduced here as well as writing and publishing “self-help” books and plenty of other things that I can't predict.


Final Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliography (10%): You will write a 2-3 page paper proposal on some topic related to the course so that I can make suggestions that will help you refine and focus your ideas for your final paper.  This proposal should follow the form of a conference abstract/proposal (I will provide some examples).  It should include a general description of your goals, a summary of the evidence you will use, and a preliminary thesis statement.  You should also include a brief annotated bibliography that includes at least five secondary sources that relate to the topic of your paper.  Your annotations should be about 1-2 paragraphs long and should explain how the source listed will further your purpose in your paper.  Use proper MLA Style for citations.


Final Paper (25%): You will be responsible for one major research paper (approximately 15-20 pages) on a topic related to the course.  This essay will investigate some element of the course by providing an  original analysis of both primary and secondary sources.  You should feel free to build on your work for the book review and wiki assignment when developing your topic for the paper.  You can focus on a literary text we've read in class or a cultural document you located during your team project or on any topic related to authorship, publishing, and reading in the nineteenth century.  I encourage you to use a combination of resources from the nineteenth-century and today to support your claims.




Week One:

M 1/14    The Context of Transatlantic Authorship

o    Introduction to course

o    Overview of arguments about the Transatlantic Literary Marketplace

o    Group analysis of sample book reviews

o    Sign up for book reviews

W 1/16

    Authorship and Publishing in the Nineteenth-Century

o    Richard Altick, “Publishing” from A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture (Bb)

o    Meredith McGill, Introduction to American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834-1853 (Bb)



Week Two:

M 1/21 

o    No Class: Martin Luther King Day Observed

W 1/23

    Transatlantic Literary Identities

o    Charles Dickens, American Notes, “Concluding Remarks” and “Unpublished Introduction” (Bb)

o    Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses” and “Bartleby the Scrivener” (Bb)

o    Book Review: Meredith McGill, American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834-1853


Week Three:

M 1/28    Gendered Conceptions of Authorship

o    Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Bronte  (215-226; 239-297; 396-429) (Bb)

o    Book Review: Pauline Nestor, Female Friendships and Communities: Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell

W 1/30

o    Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography (7-102; 138-173) (Bb)

o    Book Review: Norman Feltes, Modes of Production of Victorian Novels

Week Four:

M 2/4

    Women Writers in America

o    Catherine Maria Sedgwick, “Cacoethes Scribendi” (Bb)

o    Gail Hamilton, The Battle of the Books (Bb)

o    Book Review: Susan Coultrap McQuin, Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth-Century


W 2/6   

o    Fanny Fern, Ruth Hall (13-122)

o    Book Review:  Michael Newbury, Figuring Authorship in Antebellum America


Week Five:

M 2/11

o    Fanny Fern, Ruth Hall (123-211)

o    Fanny Fern's Journalism: “A Practical Bluestocking” (232-235); “All About Satan” (240); “Borrowed Light” (251-252); “Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom” (255-257); “Tom Pax's Conjugal Soliloquy” (268-269); “Male Criticism on Ladies' Books” (285-286); “Fresh Leaves” (290-291); The Women of 1867” (342-344); “The Modern Old Maid” (360-361)

o    Book Review:  Melissa Homestead, American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869


W 2/13

o    Meet at Library to begin work on Wiki Team Project

Week Six:

M 2/18    Women Readers and Sensationalism

•    Ruth Hall Wrap-up

•    Book Review:  Michael Newbury, Figuring Authorship in Antebellum America (Jennifer)


W 2/20

•    Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor’s Wife (5-199)

•    Book Review: Kate Flint, The Woman Reader, 1837-1914 (Adam)

•    List of Possible Texts for Wiki Team Project Due

Week Seven:

M 2/25

•    Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor’s Wife (199-305)

•    Book Review: Deborah Wynne, The Sensation Novel and the Victorian Family Magazine (Kristin)


W 2/27

•    Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor’s Wife (305-404)

Week Eight:

M 3/3   

•    Meet in CH 105 to work on Wiki Team Projects: Bring PDF or Typed Copy of your text to upload


W 3/5

Women as Journalists, Editors, and Activists

•    Charlotte Yonge, The Clever Woman of the Family (35-158)

•    Book Review: Nicola Thompson, Reviewing Sex: Gender and the Reception of the Victorian Novel (Cynthia)


Week Nine:

M 3/10   

•    Charlotte Yonge, The Clever Woman of the Family (159-277)

•    Book Review: Margaret Beetham, A Magazine of Her Own?: Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800-1914 (Helen)


W 3/12

•    Charlotte Yonge, The Clever Woman of the Family (278-414)

•    Alexis Easley, First Person Anonymous: Women Writers and Victorian Print Media, 1830-1870 (Whitney)


Week Ten:

M 3/17   

•    Charlotte Yonge, The Clever Woman of the Family (415-547)

W 3/19

•    Meet in CH 105 for Wiki Team Project Presentations

Week Eleven:

M 3/24-F 3/28

•    No Class: Spring Break!

Week Twelve:

M 3/31

•    No Class: Work on Final Wiki Team Project

•    Work on Annotated Bibliography/Proposal

W 4/2

•    No Class: Post Final Wiki Team Projects

•    Work on Annotated Bibliography/Proposal

Week Thirteen:

M 4/7    Publish or Perish

•    George Gissing, New Grub Street (53-179)

W 4/9

•    George Gissing, New Grub Street (179-274)

•    F 4/11 at 5pm: Annotated Bibliography/Proposal Due on Bb Discussion Forum


Week Fourteen:

M 4/14

•    George Gissing, New Grub Street (274-393)

W 4/16

•    George Gissing, New Grub Street (393-494)

Week Fifteen:

M 4/21

•    No Class: Workshop 1 presenters complete paper drafts and post them to Blackboard by 5 p.m. on Sunday 4/20 (Adam, Lauren, Kelly, Whitney, Kristin)


W 4/23

•    Writing Workshop 1 (1:45-3:30)

Week Sixteen:

M 4/28

•    No Class: Workshop 2 presenters complete paper drafts and post them to Blackboard by 5 p.m. on Sunday 4/27 (Jennifer, Helen, Cynthia, Julie)


W 4/30

•    Writing Workshop 2 (1:45-3:30)

•    Course Evaluations

Finals Week:

•    Final Paper Due Thursday May 8 by noon on my office door (16F CH) or in my mailbox (106 CH)

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