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English 209: Literature and History (Dante and Others)

download the Journal Form

Midterm Study Guide

Go to Class Message Board

Summer , 2004
MTWRF:12:15 - 2:15 PM
Coulter 304

Professor: Mary Adams
Office: Coulter 409
Telephone: 227-3921
Office Hours: MTWRF 9 -10 or by appointment
E-mail address:madams@wcu.edu
Course Description and Goals: In this course we will look at one author's conception of hell and several other author's reaction to it. We will read a modern mystery novel, a medieval epic, and some 18th century poems, and we will look at the periods that influenced those works.

Required texts:

  • Pinsky, Robert, trans. The Inferno of Dante: A new verse translation (bilingual edition). New York: Farrar Strauss & Geroux, 1994.
  • Pearl, Matthew. The Dante Club: a novel. NY: Random House Paperbacks 1994.
  • Lovett, Sarah. Dante's Inferno. Pocket books 2002.

Books on Reserve

Course Policies:

  • Attendance: Each class day is equivalent to 2/3 of a week in a regular semester. After three absences, you will have missed the equivalent of two full weeks of a regular semester, so your final grade will be dropped one letter for each additional absence. It doesn't matter if your absences are excused or not, so please budget carefully and don't ask me to excuse you for family emergencies, court appearances, car accidents, illnesses, or anything else. Extreme or extensive tardiness could count as an absence. If you are absent on the day you are assigned minutes or are making a presentation, you should arrange for a substitute to avoid losing credit for that assignment.
    When will I mark you absent?
    • When you aren't here, no matter what your excuse is
    • When you are significantly tardy at least twice
    • When you leave before class is over
    • When you don't have the book
  • Missed assignments. I hold you responsible for assignments made in class whether you are here or not. Ask classmates for the assignments. I will never consider "I didn't know" a valid excuse.
  • Journals: 50% of your grade is comprised of journals, which are due every day we have class, unless I say otherwise. Journals for an assigned reading can only be handed in on the day we discuss it, not afterwards. If you have more than one assignment on a class day, you can choose which one to write the journal about unless I specify. I grade each journal based on detail and on evidence that you did the reading, but I do not record the grade until you hand in all the journals in a folder at the end of the semester. The moral: do journals regularly, and never throw them away.
  • Academic Dishonesty is defined as: An intentional act of deception in which a student seeks to claim credit for the work or effort of another person or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic work. Students are expected to be honest and ethical in their academic work. Academic dishonesty includes:
    • CHEATING- use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids OR an act of deceit by which a student attempts to misrepresent mastery of academic effort or information. This includes unauthorized copying or collaboration on a test or assignment or using prohibited materials and texts.
    • FABRICATION- falsification or invention of any information (including falsifying research, inventing or exaggerating data and listing incorrect or fictitious references.
    • ASSISTING- helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty. This includes paying or bribing someone to acquire a test or assignment, changing someone's grades or academic records, or taking a test/doing an assignment for someone else (or allowing someone to do these things for you).
    • TAMPERING- altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents.
    • PLAGIARISM- representing the words or ideas of another person as one's own OR presenting someone else's words, ideas, artistry or data as one's own. This includes copying another person's work (including unpublished material) without appropriate referencing, presenting someone else's opinions and theories as one's own, or working jointly on a project, then submitting it as one's own.
  • Penalties for Academic dishonesty: Automatic failure on the assignment and possible failure for the course.
Website: http://www.maryadams.net/
Use this web page to check assignments, download journal forms, follow links, and find academic resources. Since it is updated regularly, always hit "reload" after you access the site.

Other required reading will be available online, on reserve, or in handout form.

Class Message Board

Class Resources, Writing Guides, and other Links:

Grading: Description of scale

A  93-100

A-  90-92

B+  87-89

B  83-86

B-  80-82

C+  77-79

C  73-76

C-  70-72

D+  67-69

D  63-66

D-  60-62

F  0-59

Grade Breakdown:

  • Journals: 35%
  • Midterm 15%
  • Paper 15%
  • Presentation 10%
  • Participation (in class & online)10%
  • Final 15%

Paper grades: papers are graded in stages (thesis sentence, thesis + topic sentence/ body paragraph, final draft, revised draft). I cannot accept your paper unless you attach all preliminary work with grade.

Presentations: You will do your presentation on some aspect of culture and life in Dante's time. You will be graded on the thoroughness of your research (and the diversity of your sources--not just the internet). You should include multimedia and an annotated bibliography which you will distribute to your classmates. I will assign you a topic, and you can trade if you wish. These are the topics:

  • Painting and Sculpture in Dante's time
  • Architecture in Dante's time
  • Music in Dante's time
  • The organization of the catholic chuch (in particular--the Pope, papal schisms, in Dante's time
  • The medieval Italian city-state, and politics in Dante's time
  • Science and cosmology in Dante's time, including the effect of the Black Death on medieval Italy and Europe
  • Trade and Business in Dante's time
  • Translations of Dante throughout history
  • Medieval Literature (reserved for ninth student)

Exams: The final exam is divided into an essay portion (50%) and a short answer portion (50%). I will give a study guide before the exam.

Final examinations during class, on the last day

Does Participation Count? Participation counts for 10% of your grade. In addition, those who consistently prepare for class and participate in discussion will get credit if they are on the border between two grades. Those who aren't prepared when I call on them or haven't done the reading will receive 1/2 absence. Those who don't have the book in class will be asked to leave and marked absent.

Computer Policies:

  • Because I will use your WCU email address to contact you, make sure it is active. If you use another account, forward your WCU email to that account (consult the computer center in basement of Forsythe with questions). I will hold you responsible for information contained in my emails.
  • We will use the online syllabus. Check it frequentlly for changes. Remember to always hit reload. You must have access to the online syllabus to do your journal entries.
Policies Texts Online Resources Attendance Grading Computing Academic Dishonesty Schedule