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Major Authors - Arthur Conan Doyle 385-2

MW 8-9:15   
Fall 2019

This is a "real time" syllabus that, unlike a print syllabus, will always be up to date and reflect our progress throughout the semester.  You can easily check it from a mobile device or from any computer.  There is no need to print a copy of the syllabus, but if you decide to print a copy, be sure to check the online syllabus regularly for new information, added assignments, or reading schedule changes.  The print icon above is for print copies.

The syllabus consists of the Reading Schedule and Course Policies.  You are responsible for understanding and following the schedule and the course policies, which are in effect beginning the first day of class. Please read them carefully (more than once and throughout the semester).  See me if you have any questions.

Think of the syllabus as a flexible guide. It will structure our semester, but we will adjust it as needed to fit our needs as the semester progresses. Not all assignments (e.g., in-class work, quizzes) are listed at the beginning of the semester; some will be added throughout the semester or some dates may be changed. It may also be necessary to finish some readings for upcoming class periods, in which case I will update the syllabus after each class. Again, be sure to check the syllabus regularly. 

Readings (including stories and novels) should be finished for the (first) day assigned. For example, the critical introduction to our Sherlock Holmes collection and "The Blue Carbuncle" should be finished (completed) by Sept 11, when we will discuss it.  

02Labor Day 04Course Introduction: Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes and Beyond

Review Course Website
09Review Course Website

Lecture: History of detective fiction/Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

11 Reading: Introduction to Penguin Sherlock Holmes

Stephen Knight Summary (Course Notes)

"The Blue Carbuncle"

16  Final Thoughts "The Blue Carbuncle"
Stephen Knight Summary (Course Notes)

"A Case of Identity"

In-class card: groups (5pts)
18 Finish "A Case of Identity"

In-class card due

Streaky Bacon website: Adaptation Theory

Read (and take notes): Intro page + introductory essay on adaptation (link)
Read (and take notes), under "Articles"/"TV": "BBC's Sherlock" & "South Park's Pip"

Note Sheet--House (handout)
23 In-class screening: House (Handout--Note Sheet)

25 Quiz 1 (Brief history of detective fiction, "TBC," ACI," House--pilot episode)

Finish discussion - House

"A Scandal in Bohemia"

List and description of illustrations for "A Scandal" (handout)
30 Finish "A Scandal in Bohemia"
**Focus on topics from 9/25)

**Discuss illustrations to the story from The Strand website (Resources menu on the course website.)  Refer to handout

"The Boscombe Valley Mystery"
02 October

Look Below
30 September

Look Above
02 Finish "TBVM"

Short presentation:  In class, everyone will explain their topic and focus for essay one and offer a working thesis/some brief
supporting evidence.  Cards with your information, working thesis, and notes/pg references will be collected in class.
(See Course Notes for essay one link)

07 In-class screening: Elementary (Handout--Note Sheet)


09 Finish discussion--Elementary

"The Yellow Face"

Bring draft of outline & essay one to class: print copies and/or electronic versions on laptop/tablet

14 Quiz 2 ("TBVM," "TYF," Elementary--"Flight Risk" episode)

outline + draft to class

"Silver Blaze"

"The Man with the Twisted Lip"

16 In-class screening: Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Bring to class: Note sheets (5pts) you design (Word doc, not handwritten).  See two note sheets I have already given you for models, but feel free to design your own.  Also, see Course Notes


Due: 1. Essay One + 2. Scratch Outline
(Do not turn in your draft)

21 Finish discussion--Criminal Intent

"Silver Blaze"

"The Man with the Twisted Lip"
**1912 Adaptation--Film Clip
(For these stories, refer to topics we outlined in class last Wed)

Review for Midterm--as time allows

23 Midterm (No early exams, please)

28  "The Final Problem"

30"The Empty House"  (Bring notes to class and your laptop/tablet)

Game Playing in the Holmes stories (Course Notes)
04Adaptation Film Clips: The Hound of the Baskervilles; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


Game Playing in the Holmes stories (Course Notes)

Bring The Lost World.  I may begin introducing it if/as time allows
06 Sherlock Holmes. 

**Adaptations from Mon--any final observations?
**Read Abstract: Takanashi, Kyoko article from PMLA (Course Notes)
**SH--Final Thoughts


Introduction:  The Lost World

**Doyle chronology
**Epigraph (shown in class)

Chpts 1-5
**Professor Challenger (Mark key passages)//connections to SH?

11 The Lost World, Chpts 6-11

**Brief summary of each chapter

**Women characters (Gladys?)
**Journalism and narration (storytelling)
**Description of the journey to the lost world (Ch 8)
**Interaction of characters, particularly Profs Challenger and Summerlee
13 The Lost World, Chpts 12-16

**Brief summary of each chapter

**Prof Challenger--SH
****Journalism and narration (storytelling)

**Malone's visit to Lake Gladys
**Encounter with the apemen
**Character of Lord John Roxton (blue clay)
**Chapter 16 (pterodactyl)
18 Quiz 3: Holmes stories "TFP," "TEH"; TLW

The White Company

Introduction: Victorian Medievalism: The White Company

20The White Company

Short presentation: Essay 2.  Details TBA

25 The White Company

Encyclopedia Brown Assign Due:  Send in body of an email by today, 5pm
27 Reading/Writing Day (No class meeting

02 Quiz 4: The White Company

The White Company

Characters: Alleyne and Sir Nigel/Chpts 16, 20, 23, 28

04 The White Company

Bring draft of outline & essay two--in progress

09The White Company

11 The White Company

Review for Final Exam as time allows

Course Wrap Up


Final Exam Week: Dec 16-20
Final Exam: Mon, Dec 16, 12:30-2:30pm, in our usual classroom (No early exams, please)
Essay (+ outline) Due: TBA

Office Hrs during Finals Week: See Home Page
Day Course Grades Posted: TBA

The General Education Program Humanities Learning Outcomes

The humanities explore the fundamental ideas and values shaping cultures and civilization, in life and as represented in the written word, using scholarly approaches that are primarily analytical, critical, or interpretive. By introducing students to concepts and beliefs within and outside their own perspectives, courses in the humanities help students to understand and critically engage a variety of worldviews and the ideas that give them meaning.

Upon completing this requirement, students will be able to:

  • Read closely, think critically, and write effectively about texts or cultural artifacts that reflect on perennial questions concerning the human condition (such as the search for truth and meaning, the confrontation with suffering and mortality, or the struggle for justice, equality, and human dignity).
  • Investigate and thoughtfully respond to a variety of ideas, beliefs or values held by persons in situations other than one's own.
Course Description and Learning Outcomes

In this course we will read and discuss the Sherlock Holmes short stories as well as screen adaptations of the stories.  Our investigations will certainly focus on the following questions: How has Sherlock Holmes evolved as a character from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, and what do modern adaptions reveal about our attraction to the Sherlock Holmes? Although Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, we will also read two novels that reveal Doyle's interest in science and history.  We will consider and discuss a variety of issues, concerns, and questions, including genre, aesthetics, philosophy, history, gender, culture, and empire. Related to these are the meaning of individualism, the social issues that define the world of the novels, and the ways in which individuals relate to the world they inhabit.  Questions about the Victorian period and its relationship to our own times will also be crucial to our investigations. 

During the semester, we will work to:

  • Summarize and explain plots and themes when reading literature individually and during class discussions.
  • Analyze literature critically through writing to demonstrate an understanding of key themes, of the conventions/language of literature, and of key concepts/theories about nineteenth-century British history, society, and culture.  Explain the reciprocal relationship between literature and culture—how literature and culture interact to reinforce and challenge social, historical, political, and economic perspectives.
  • Evaluate and engage literature as an imaginative expression of the human condition.

All novels below are Penguin and Dover editions, available at the bookstore.  Please purchase all books at the beginning of the semester.  If you do not purchase these editions, you will have trouble following class discussions and accessing critical introductions.

Conan Doyle, Arthur.  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.  Intro by Iain Pears. Penguin.

---. The Lost World.  Dover.

---. The While Company.  Dover. 


This is a reading-intensive course. Students should be prepared to discuss all of the reading assignments for the days they are scheduled. Success in the course will require that students establish set (and consistent) reading times outside of class when reading and thinking can occur. To prepare for class discussions, it will be helpful to take notes outside of class when reading and during class discussions. Mark key passages or language that points to central concerns or ideas in the works, and write out key themes as well as questions that you have.

Our class discussions will focus on the assigned readings, but we will not read everyone work line by line. In keeping with the course learning outcomes, you will be able to use our class discussions to study sections of works we do not have time to cover fully in class. Office hours are also designed to help you with questions about the readings. Quizzes and exams will measure how you read, think, and formulate your own interpretations but also how you comprehend class lectures and discussions.  Effective written responses require more than personal opinion; they should articulate a thesis and support it with evidence as space and time allow.

The course grade will be determined mathematically using the percentages below. Please remember that your course grade will be based on the work that you submit, not simply the effort you make or just my subjective opinion.

Course Grade English 385 %
Assignments/Quizzes % 15
Midterm % 25
Final % 35
Essay One - Stories % 10
Essay Two - Novels % 15
** Will be determined by point values: A=10-9; B=8; C=7; D=6; F=5-0

All work must be completed on time. It is your responsibility to keep copies of all of your essays and assignments. Some assignments maybe submitted via email, and email communication will be required throughout the semester.
You should check your university email account at least once a day.

Late Assignments: Assignments due on a given day must be submitted during the class period. Assignments due electronically must be received by the day and time specified.An assignment finished but not printed out and ready to hand in is late. Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date (not necessarily the next class period), but will lose one letter grade or the point equivalent. After that, they will not be accepted. (Assignments due on Friday will be accepted as late on Monday with an additional penalty.)  For any special circumstances, please contact the instructor ahead of time. It may not be possible to make up some quizzes or assignments. Also, no incompletes will given in the course.

Essays submitted late will lose 1/3 of a letter grade each day they are late, including weekends (e.g., original grade B. Two days late, C+). For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. It may not be possible to make up some quizzes or assignments.


Regular attendance is your responsibility and is essential for success in the course. As stated in the online UWSP Course Catalog (UWSP Course Catalog), you cannot "cut" classes. There are no excused or unexcused absences. You have personal days to use and manage as needed.

If you miss a total of two weeks of class (six class meetings since we meet three times a week), you may fail the course. You may be able to make up missed assignments/quizzes with my approval; therefore, it is your responsibility to determine work that needs to be completed and to follow up with all logistical requirements. It may not be possible, however, to make up some assignments or quizzes.

If you are absent, you do not need to email me to explain your absence. If you would like to find out about missed information, it is best to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me. You can email me about missed information, but I may not be able to respond before our next class meeting.

However, if an assignment is due or there is a quiz, then you do need to email me before or the day of the assignment due date or quiz.  And you must have a legitimate reason for your absence.  You cannot just expect to be able to turn in a missed assignment or make up a quiz.

Classroom Etiquitte

During class meetings, we will discuss and debate issues about writing and literature.  It is fine to express your views passionately and debate others in class, but do so in a civil, constructive manner. 

Please do not use phones and mobile devices during class, even if you believe you are doing so quietly.  Not only is this rude, but also it distracts other students as well as your ablity to focus on and follow class instruction and discussion.  Also, do not wear headphones. It is English Department policy that students cannot and should not record class lectures and discussion without permission from the intstructor. Also, please get drinks of water or use the washroom before or after class, not during class, so that our classroom does not become a bus station. Please see me if you need special accomodations.

Plagiarism (from the Latin "to Kidnap")

You will be expected to do your own work throughout the course. Intentionally or unintentionally passing off the ideas, words, or sentences of others (e.g., published authors, website authors, other students) as your own is plagiarism, which will result in failing the plagiarized assignment and possibly the course. Please review the University policy regarding plagiarism.