Major English Writers 1

R. Rambo Home Page | Illinois Valley Community College

LIT 2001-01 Course Outline (Fall 2012)


R. Rambo
Office: A313
Phone: (815) 224-0338
Instructor Home Page:

Office Hours
Mon/Wed/Fri: 9:00-9:50 a.m.,11:00-11:50 a.m.
(and by appointment)

Required Text

Greenblatt, Stephen, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. Vols. A-C. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.

Course Description

LIT 2001 is an examination of representative works by major English writers from the Anglo-Saxon period to the eighteenth century (approximately 700 to 1800). Emphasis is given to close and careful readings of texts and to the personal, political, religious, social, economic, and philosophical forces that have helped shape those texts.

We have a challenging but amazing journey ahead of us. We will read about monsters that attack in the night, about brave knights that must prove their worth, about Satan being thrust down to Hell and seeking revenge against God, about a man who sells his soul to Satan, and about a traveler who finds himself in a world of tiny people. We will see vivid portraits of life hundreds of years ago and will also see that, after all of these years, people have remained basically the same. You will read some of the finest works of literature in English. The readings for the course will be among the most challenging that you have encountered, but the effort is well worth the rewards.


 Successful completion of both ENG 1001 and ENG 1002, or their equivalents, are prerequisites for this course.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing LIT 2001 will be able to

  1. Read literary texts with appreciation and understanding.
  2. Develop insightful and informed responses to literary texts.
  3. Continue to develop the ability to organize, develop, and support critical interpretations of literary texts in formal papers.
  4. Demonstrate a familiarity with concepts associated with the study of literature (theme, metaphor, symbol, allegory, etc.).
  5. Gain an understanding of various critical approaches to literature (formalism, feminist criticism, etc.).
  6. Become familiar with representative works of major English writers from the Anglo-Saxon period to 1800.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the personal, political, religious, social, economic, and philosophical forces that inform English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to 1800.
  8. Demonstrate an understanding both of the continuity of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to 1800 and of the major literary movements and changes within that time period.

Course Work

The course work is divided into eight units with each unit spanning approximately two weeks. Each unit is comprised of the following:

  1. Selected readings from the textbook.
  2. Readings of secondary sources.
  3. A writing assignment: a two-page to four-page response to one essay question (the questions appear under the unit headings below).
  4.  Discussion of the reading assignment with the instructor (at least one half-hour meeting each week).

Expectations for the Writing Assignments
The course requires a total of twenty-four pages of formal writing spread out over eight writing assignments. Each written response to an essay question should be from two to four double-spaced pages (word processed) and should demonstrate an understanding of the assigned readings. As students read the assignments for each unit, they should conduct informal research to help them understand the texts (such as the reading of information found during a Web search), but research material should not be quoted or cited in the essays. Instead, each essay should reflect the student’s own ideas about the literary text and should be supported with plenty of specific evidence from the text being analyzed. A “Works Cited” page does not need to be included with each paper, but proper MLA conventions should be followed when quotations from the assigned texts appear in the papers (for example, line numbers should be cited in parentheses for quotations from a poem).

Evaluation and Assessment

Each unit in the course is worth 12.5 percent of the final course grade. The unit grade will be determined by the essay written for that unit, but the final course grade also will be influenced by the understanding of the material demonstrated by the student during meetings with the instructor. The writing assignment for each unit should reflect a meaningful interaction with the texts. The college’s criteria for the assessment of formal papers, which appear in IVCC’s Style Book, apply to writing assignments for the course.

At the end of the semester, final course grades will be calculated using the following scale: 90%-100% = A, 80%-89% = B, 70%-79% = C, 60%-69%= D, 0%-59%= F.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to demonstrate academic integrity. Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses and will be treated as such. Do not resort to cheating or plagiarizing if you are not doing well in the course. Instead, take advantage of the resources available to help you succeed.

If a student is discovered submitting work that is plagiarized, depending on the severity of the plagiarism, the student will receive a failing grade on the assignment, or will receive a grade of "0" on the assignment, or will receive a failing grade in the course. In addition, the student's name and a description of the incident will be reported to IVCC's Office of Academic Affairs. The Office of Academic Affairs will keep a file of these submissions. According to IVCC's "Student Code of Conduct," "when a student has been identified as committing an act of academic dishonesty twice [in any courses], the VPAA [Vice President of Academic Affairs] and VPSS [Vice President of Student Services] will conduct an investigation, which may include a formal hearing, and will recommend or impose appropriate discipline." 

Academic Accommodations

If you need support or assistance because of a disability, you may be eligible for academic accommodations through IVCC's Special Populations Office. Visit office B-204 or call (815) 224-0284 for more information.

Most Important of All

It's my job to help you succeed in the course, so please let me help you. If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns about the course and your work in it, please feel free to let me know.

Dates to Know

LIT 2001-01 Assignments


Unit 1 (August 20-31)
Read: "The Middle Ages to ca. 1485" (3-19), Beowulf (36-108), "The Wanderer" (117-120), and "The Wife's Lament" (120-122).

Paper Topics


Unit 2 (September 3-14)
Read: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (183-238).

Paper Topics


Unit 3 (September 17-28)
Read: "Medieval English" (19-25); Introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer (238-241); Introduction to The Canterbury Tales and The General Prologue (241-243); Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue (243-264); Chaucer, The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale (282-310).

Paper Topics


Unit 4 (October 1-12)
Read: Introduction to Christopher Marlowe (1106-1107); Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1127-1163).

Paper Topics


Unit 5 (October 15-26)
Read: Introduction to William Shakespeare (1166-1170); Shakespeare, Hamlet (online).

Paper Topics


Unit 6 (October 29-November 9)
Read: Introduction to the Early Seventeenth Century (1341-1369); Introduction to John Milton (1897-1901); Milton, Paradise Lost, Introduction, Book 1 and 2 (1943-1986), Books 4 and 5 (2003-2044), Books 9, 10 and 12 (2091-2140, 2160-2175).

Paper Topics

Unit 7 (November 12-23)
Read: "The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century" (2177-2207); Introduction to Jonathan Swift (2464-2466); Swift, selections from Gulliver's Travels: Opening letters and Part 1 (2487-2531).

Paper Topics

Unit 8 (November 26-December 7)
For the last unit of the course, you will choose any work from the textbook to read. You may choose any one text of a substantial length, or you may choose to read several short works by one author. You will read the text or texts, and then, working with the instructor, you will decide on a good paper topic.

Copyright Randy Rambo, 2012.