English Composition 101
Week 1 (27-31 August) Cinema
Here are my notes on Susan Sontag's 'A Century of Cinema'.
Week 2 (3-7 September) Thinking and Writing
Here are my notes on William Golding's 'Thinking as a Hobby'.
Week 3 (10-14 September) Forms of Expression
There are three sets of notes this week. They are on:
Joan Didion's 'On Keeping a Notebook'
Garrison Keillor's 'How to Write a Letter'
Italo Calvino's 'Before you Say Hello'.
In-lab Exercise: On Punctuation
Today's in-class exercise concerns punctuation. To this end, I have provided you with some dialogue from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
In order to complete this exercise in a timely fashion, you should make haste in clicking on the appropriate hyperlink. Then, you should copy the entire text to Microsoft Word and begin punctuating (bearing in mind that the exercise was designed to be completed by the end of class).
Week 4 (17-21 September) Popular Culture
Here are my notes on Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch. Also, these internet sources might prove helpful to you as you begin work on your second formal essay:
On Nick Hornby and Fever Pitch:
Books Unlimited (features brief biographical background, influences, and reviews):
Penguin books (Hornby's UK publisher provides some very good information on the man and his writings):
Riverhead Books (another review):
SportsJones (another review):
On the film adaptation of the novel:
On Arsenal Football Club (to give you a flavour of the English football atmosphere):
The official website: http://www.arsenal.co.uk/
Two (of the many) unofficial sites:
Week 7 (8-12 October) Shakespeare
I will attach copies of my own notes on Shakespeare and Love's Labour's Lost later this week, in the meantime, you should read the introduction to the Folger edition of the text.
In-lab Exercise: Quoting
Today's in-class exercise concerns the proper quoting of source material. To this end, I have provided you with an excerpt from one of Bill Bryson's many writings. To access your assignment, you should click on the appropriate hyperlink, which bears the remarkably uninspired title quoting exercise.
Week 8 (15-19 October) Shakespeare
Third Formal Essay
You will answer one of the following questions:
1. Wordplay is very important in Love's Labour's Lost. Each character has his or her own way of playing with (or, in some cases, misplaying) language. Choose a character, and elaborate on the way he or she uses (or abuses) language.
2. We talked in class about the conflict between 'the active life' and 'the contemplative life'. In Love's Labour's Lost, many of the characters strive to find a balance between the two. Choose a character, and elaborate on the way he or she achieves (or tries to achieve) this balance.
3. Your text's editors write that '[m]uch of the action of Love's Labour's Lost turns on the discrepancy between, on the one hand, what the men think about the women and, on the other, how the women see themselves (and see the men).' What is meant by this quote - and how does it help explain one of Shakespeare's more common themes?
Week 10 (28 October - 1 November) Politics and Prose
There are three sets of notes this week:
An extract from Machiavelli'sThe Prince
Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal
Lani Guinier's 'The Tyranny of the Majority'
In addition, here is a copy of the handout for your fourth formal essay:
Formal Essay #4
Your last formal essay will be a research paper. This task should not be too daunting; after all, you have been working (and working well) with sources in all of your previous essays. The only difference is that, in this case, the research paper (and the sources you will incorporate into it) will be entirely of your own design. My only stipulations are as follows:
1. Your paper will be six pages in length. (Please note that this length does not take into account your bibliography.) Also, it will be argumentative in nature.
2. Your paper will not be a reworked version of an assignment for another class (nor will it be a paper you have submitted - even in part - for an earlier class). If this is found to be the case, you will be given a zero for both the assignment and the course.
3. I would prefer that your paper is in some way based on (or inspired by) one or more of the readings assigned for this course.
4. You will incorporate at least five sources into your paper. These sources will include books, periodicals, and on-line sources. (At least four of your sources must be from off-line sources - that's old-fashioned research for you.)While you are free to use encyclopaedias, they will not be cited (or used directly) in your paper.
5. You will provide proper citation for your paper. For the purposes of this class, you will follow the MLA documentation style.
6. You will pay particular attention to you use of sources, and be diligent in avoiding plagiarism. (See LB, 687) If you are caught plagiarising (even in draft form), you will be given a zero for both the assignment and the course.
N.B. You should have fun with this paper (though, of course, this is not a requirement). You are all more than capable of producing good work in the time provided. You should think of this paper as nothing more than a longer-than-usual formal essay.
For your reference:
Chapter 42: 'Planning a Research Project'
Chapter 43: 'Finding Sources'
Chapters 44 and 45: 'Working with Sources'
Chapter 46: 'Documenting Sources'