British Literature 1800 to Present
English 56B (Spring 2011)
T/R 4:30-5:45pm, SH 229


Printer-Friendly Version

Dr. Katherine D. Harris
Office Hours
: W 11:30-1:30 & via online tools
:  FO 220
Phone: 408.924.4475


Course Description  § Course Objectives § Course Policies § General Policies §  Grading Policy

Grade Distribution  §  Late Policy  §  Plagiarism  §  Required  Books


Course Description
The Romantic poets began a journey through Nature to find themselves. The Victorian novelists recognized social injustice. The Modernists heralded World War I and its destructiveness. The Postmodernists take all of this, revise, repackage and re-sell to the 20th Century reader. In this course, we will read texts that reflect some of the variety of cultural and historical experiences in Great Britain from about 1800 to now. The authors to be studied have been selected for their considerable influence on the future directions of British life and thought and their ability to startle and compel contemporary readers.
Student Learning Objectives
  1. Read closely in a variety of forms, styles, structures, and modes, and articulate the value of close reading in the study of literature
  2. Show familiarity with major critical approaches to British, American and World Literature;
  3. Write clearly, effectively, and creatively, and adjust writing style appropriately to the content, the context, and the nature of the subject;
  4. Develop and carry out research projects, and locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate information effectively; and
  5. Articulate the relations among culture, history, and texts.

Required Books & Materials (all on Course Reserve in King Library; see Amazon listing for ISBN & proper edition)
  • Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vols. D, E & F. 8th edition.
  • BrontŽ, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 3RD edition. New York: Norton, 2001.
  • Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. New York: Norton, 1986.
  • Cunningham, Michael. The Hours. VHPS, 2000.
  • Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Penguin
  • Gaiman, Neil. Sandman: Endless Nights. 2004.
  • Jackson, Shelly, Patchwork Girl. Eastgate, 1995 Ė CD-Rom
  • Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. New York: Norton, 1999.
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Longman, 2006
  • Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, 2005.
  • Exam Booklets (for in-class exams & final exam)
  • Flash drive
  • Email account & account


  • A Research Guide for Undergraduates in English & American Literature. MLA, 2006
  • Hacker, Diana. A Writerís Reference (or other writing handbook)
  • Dictionary, Collegiate-level
Grade Distribution
10% Class Discussion, Participation (SLO 1)
15% Weekly Response Essays (ICE/OCE) (SLO 1, 2, 3, 5)
15% Mid-Term Exam (SLO 1, 2, 3, 5)
20% Group Presentation & Essay (1000 words) (SLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
20% Final Exam (SLO 1, 2, 3, 5)

20% Final Essay (2000 words) (SLO 1, 2, 3, 5)


Class Discussion, Participation
This course traces the various political, social and cultural upheavals of the nineteenth century as reflected in the novel. Since we will build on our definition of the novel and nineteenth-century culture from the first day of class, your participation in each class meeting is imperative. A studentís participation is assessed by his/her contribution throughout the semester. Use the following as guidelines for this portion of your final grade:
  • To earn a "C," do the minimum: at every meeting, read and prepare assigned readings so you are never at a loss if you are asked a question, but speak only when called upon, do "ordinary," plain-vanilla presentations and responses. This is the "bottom line" for getting a "C" in this part of the course.
  • To earn a "B," at every meeting, prepare assigned readings thoroughly, initiate discussions about them by asking good questions or suggesting ways to interpret readings, do presentations that reveal that you have done good additional work that you can make both interesting and meaningful to our discussions, and participate actively in those discussions.
  • For an "A," take it up another level entirely: at every meeting, prepare readings thoroughly, find and talk about connections among them and among other aspects of culture (then and now), take a real leadership role in class discussions, including working actively to get others involved in the talk, make your presentations and responses "sparkle" by bringing to them something really special in terms of your own contributions, interests, skills, and abilities to think in broad even interdisciplinary terms. Most of all, remember that an "A" indicates the very best grade a person can get; that should tell you what sort of work you need to do to earn the grade of "A."
  • If you miss class, contact a classmate for notes, reading assignments and handouts Ė or check our Course Website. (Please do not email me to ask "Did I miss anything important?")

    Weekly Response Essays (ICE/OCE)
    Each week, we will have either an in-class written response (ICE) to an assigned question about the current reading assignment or, as the semester progresses, an out-of-class emailed essay (OCE) of approximately 300-500 words. Each essay will receive a grade based on the quality of your response. This weekly writing will also allow you to practice your in-class writing skills. We will discuss what makes an effective response. The OCE is formal writing that should conform to MLA style with proper citation format and should be edited for grammar and typographical mistakes. Sloppy writing will be penalized by a letter grade. (See tips for writing effective In-Class Essays.)

    There are no make-ups for an ICE/OCE; you simply receive a zero for that essay.
    If an OCE is assigned, it needs to be emailed by the date and time specified in order to receive credit; a late OCE will receive a zero. Please be aware that missing even a few of these essays will cause your final grade to drop significantly.


    Group Presentation & Short Essay
    Everyone will have an opportunity to present in a group on a literary work at some point during the semester. Each group member is responsible for his/her individual accompanying short essay which should be submitted prior to the start of the presentation. Each presentation will be graded on its effectiveness and clarity. To enhance your presentation, you may use handouts, digital information or dramatic performance. The Short Essay will be graded on standard English Department grading policy. (See instructions/handout here. See Presentation Assignments here [and in the Schedule].)
    Final Essay
    You will have several options for the Final Essay, ranging from creative to scholarly. No outside research will be required although you may certainly research primary sources or the historical aspects of a text, individual, theme, motif, etc. A project proposal will be submitted during the semester and returned with comments. Thorough instructions will be discussed at a later date (see the Schedule). My office door is always open to discuss potential topics, give web designing tutorials or workshop a draft. (See instructions here.)

    Mid-term and Final Exams
    Each exam will consist of definitions, short answer and essay questions. Portions of the Final Exam will be comprehensive. Keywords defined in lectures and use of the Norton Literature Online site will aid in studying for these exams.
    Grading Policy
    The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the official SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System"). Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure. Courses graded according to the A,B,C,NoCredit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC, for NoCredit, shall replace D or F. In A,B,C,NoCredit courses NC shall also substitute for W (for Withdrawl) because neither NC nor W affects studentsí grade point averages.

    In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of the ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

    For your final grades, 100-90 is an A, 89-80 is a B, 79-70 is a C, 69-60 is a D, and below 60 is an F. Pluses and minuses are the middle of each range. In calculating the final grade, a set number will represent each letter grade; for example, B+ is 87.5, B is 85, and B- is 82.5.


    Course Policies
    Late Assignments/Essays
    Any late ICE/OCE will not be accepted. For all other assignments: If you cannot meet a deadline, you must contact me at least 72 hours prior to our class meeting to discuss the situation. If this is not done, for every day that an essay is late, you will be penalized one grade step: A becomes A-, A- becomes a B+, etc. The weekend will count as one day. Unless you have prior permission or the assignment specifically requests it, absolutely no assignment will be accepted via email.

    SJSU Academic Integrity Policy
    Your commitment as a student to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The Universityís Academic Integrity policy, located at , requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at .

    Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another personís ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSUís Academic Policy F06-1 requires approval of instructors.

    Plagiarism checks will be performed by asking students to submit various written exercises or essays to, a service that scans documents for all references to online sources and essays. To sign up for Turnitin use the Class ID 3792664 and Password groovyreads. The instructor reserves the right to revise the requirements and to notify students of such revision in a timely manner.

    Classroom Environment
    Respect your fellow students and I: Arrive on time (excessive tardiness will effect your participation grade) and do not partake in disruptive behavior. We will all be respectful of each other in both our face-to-face and online communications. If you are late, wait for an appropriate moment to enter so you do not disturb the class. Turn off cell phones or put them on silent mode during the class period. You are welcome to use your laptop with the caveat that it is used to enhance our discussions.
    Email Protocols, Office Hours & Online Contact
    Email is the best possible way to contact me (9am-5pm) and has the added bonus of recording our conversations. When emailing me, please consider it a formal communication: include the appropriate salutation, your name, your question/comment, and be aware of tone. Know that long conversations over email are not fruitful merely because of the limitations of technology. If you have an extended question or dilemma, please visit me during office hours, schedule a phone conference or arrange for an online chat/video chat. If Iím in my office, I will usually turn on Google Chat. You might also be able to get my attention on Twitter. I will amass a class email list and will occasionally send out information regarding our meetings or the readings. Please provide an email address that you check daily.

    Google Chat ID: drkatherineharris
    Skype ID: katherinedharris
    Twitter ID: triproftri

    General Policies
    SJSU Writing Center
    The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall. It is staffed by professional instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges. Our writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The Writing Center website is located at
    Library Liaison
    For library research questions, contact Toby Matoush, the English Departmentís Library Liaison: (408) 808-2096 or King Library has created an extensive and very useful list of the libraryís resources specifically for English majors.


    Student Technology Resources
    Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers and laptops are also available in the Martin Luther King Library ( A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media Services located in IRC 112. These items include digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and Beta video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors. 


    Dropping and Adding Courses
    Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semesterís Catalog Policies section at . Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic calendar web page located at /. The Late Drop Policy is available at . Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes. Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at .


    Campus Policy on Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act
    If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities register with DRC to establish a record of their disability. The DRC website is



    Dr. Katherine D. Harris
    Last updated: 05/12/2011 11:42 AM
    SJSU logo; linked to homepage