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Charles Dickens & JK Rowling385-1 TTH 12:30-1:45
Spring 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. 

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 about them.

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., quizzes) and due dates are listed at the beginning of the semester; some will be added throughout the semester. Some assignment due dates may change or be added as we progress through the semester.  It may also be necessary to finish some readings the following class periods, in which case I will update the syllabus after each class. Again, be sure to check the syllabus regularly. 

If you decide to print out 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.

All readings are from the three novels.  See TEXTS below. The Penguin edition of David Copperfield has helpful biographical and historical information that you should read along with the novel.  The notes will clarify references.

D2L (Discussion Forum) Link:  This Forum, which is for students in the course, gives you the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas about the literature we are reading as well as ask questions that other students can answer.  Participation is voluntary, but it's a great way to communicate outside of class in an informal manner.  It's like Facebook, only better! 

 Readings should be finished for the day assigned. For example, reading for the introduction to the Victorian Age (NA online) should be read (completed) by January 24.         

Tuesday Thursday
22Course Introduction

J K Rowling & Charles Dickens?

Course Website/Syllabus

House Sorting Ceremony

24Review Course Website/Syllabus

Reading/Taking Notes

Victorian Age

David Copperfield (bring novel to class)
**Introduction, pp xvi-xviii

NA of English Lit Website (See Resources menu---British Literature Links---NA of English Literature Website---Victorian Age.)
**The Victorian Age: Introduction
**Industrialism - Progress or Decline?: Overview

Victorian Age - PPt slide

Dickens's Life

Dickens Chronology in Penguin David Copperfield
**Introduction, pp xviii-xx

29Dickens's life - final preliminary thoughts (1/24)

owling's Life (20th - 21st Century)

Oprah Interview with Rowling (select clips in class)

Genre: Children's fantasy literature/19th-century realism/fairytales

HPSS - Introduction (Bring novel to class)

Reading Schedule Card Due
31HPSS - Introduction (Have entire novel finished)

How we read over time

Characterization: (Slytherin: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco;
Traddlesforth: Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Quirrell;
Gryffindor: Dursleys, Neville, Weasleys; Ravenclaw: Hagrid, Filtch, Voldemort)

"Harry Potter's Girl Trouble" article (handout)

Tuesday Thursday

Continue discussing characters
"Harry Potter's Girl Trouble" article

Education (chpts 7 - 8)
Quidditch (chpts 9 - 11, 13)


Finish "Harry Potter's Girl Trouble" article

Education (chpts 7 - 8)
Quidditch (chpts 9 - 11, 13)
(Outlined these 2/5)

12  Class cancelled due to weather (Follow syllabus on your own.  Prepare for TH's class as scheduled)


1. Continue our discussion of Quidditch (2/7)

2. Key points for the following chapters:
**Mirror of Erised (ch 12)
**N Flamel (ch 13)
**Forbidden Forest (ch 15)

3. Finding the sorcerer's stone/Voldemort/Conclusion (chpts 16 - 17)


Quiz 1: Entire novel is in play.  Special focus: Characterization, Chpts 9-15

1. Continue our discussion of Quidditch (2/7)

2. Key points for the following chapters:
**Mirror of Erised (ch 12)
**N Flamel (ch 13)
**Forbidden Forest (ch 15)

19 Bring both HP novels


Final Thoughts from TH's class (2/14)

Diagon Alley (ch 5)
Finding the sorcerer's stone/Voldemort/Conclusion (chpts 16 - 17)

 Summary Statements--Characters/Themes//Final Thoughts

PGF - Introduction

Brief summary of each chapter

Chpts 1 - 3


Chpts 4 - 10

Brief summary of each chapter

Analysis of chapter illustrations  & text

In-class group work--card due at the end of class

D2L Assignment for HPSS due Monday, 2/25, by 5pm


Wrap up House discussions--cards/Brief discussion of chpts 5,6,10 (2/21)

Chpts 11- 15

Brief summary of each chapter



Quiz 2: HPGF--Chpts 1-15

Chapts 11-15 (Use pages I gave you in class)
**Mad-Eyed Moody--character/description
**Professor Trelawney--character/description
**Hermione--SPEW campaign
**Unforgivable Curses
**Beauxbatons & Durmstrang

Chpts 16 - 20

Brief summary of each chapter

**Role of food
**Ghosts as characters

Tuesday Thursday

Chapters 11-20

**Hermione--SPEW campaign
**Beauxbatons & Durmstrang
**Goblet of Fire: First Task (Film Clip)

Chpts 21 - 25

Brief summary of each chapter

**SPEW campaign/slavery, labor (wages)
**Yule Ball: Adolsecent (Boy-Girl) Relationships (Film Clip)


Themes/Ideas from previous chapters
**Yule Ball (Film Clip)
**Role of food
**Professor Trelawney--character/description
**Rita Skeeter/Media

Chpts 26 - 30

Brief summary of each chapter


**Professor Trelawney--The Dream

Annotated Bib Sample (Handout)

Part I - Take-Home Portion.  Due at the beginning of class 3/14 - no exceptions.


Themes/Ideas from previous chapters
**The Second Task (pp 493-507)
**Beauxbatons & Durmstrang
**Ghosts as characters
**Harry and Sirius

Chpts 31 - 35

Brief summary of each chapter


**First, Second, Third Task:  Game Playing (Play Theory): Quidditch and Triwizard Tournament (See Course Notes--Game Playing in HPSS & HPGF

Part I Due at the beginning of class or you will receive a zero for Part I and fail the midterm

Part II - In-Class Portion
(Please - No Early Exams)

**Think about essay topic over break.  See Essay Topic Assginment (Course Notes--Research Paper
Directions link)

19Spring Break

21Spring Break


Themes/Ideas from previous chapters
**First, Second, Third Task:  Game Playing (Play Theory): Quidditch and Triwizard Tournament (See Course Notes--Game Playing in HPSS & HPGF
**Voldermort's story
**Rita Skeeter--role of the media

Chpts 36 - 37

Brief summary of each chapter


**Assessment of reviews (handout): In-class group work


**Assessment of reviews (handout): In-class group work--card due at the end of class
**Movie Clip - ending
**Chpts 36 - 37 (Dumbledore's comments/Hagrid's comments)

Final Thoughts


DC - Introduction

DC I-II (Reading divisions are given in monthly parts - see table of contents to the Penguin DC.  We will begin each class with a brief plot summary of chapters in assigned monthly parts)

**Preface to DC
**Movie Clip (Chpts 1 - 3 from the novel)

**Aunt Betsy, Clara Copperfield, Peggotty (Aunt Betsy)
**Peggottys (Boat house): parents/family
**Fictional Autobiography//Memory, Imagination/Childhood

Tuesday Thursday

Dickens Chronology - DC (Charles Dickens) as autobiographical fiction
Number Plans (Appendix Two)

Charles Dickens: A Concise Biography - Films on Demand (UWSP Library website): Watch in class

**Aunt Betsy, Clara Copperfield, Peggotty (Aunt Betsy)
**Peggottys (Boat house): parents/family
**Memory, imagination/Childhood


Brief Summary of each chapter: 1-12

Salem House (education) /Mr. Creakle
**David's mother
**Murdstone and Grinby (see Penguin, 895-96)
**Decision to run away

04DC I-IV (Previous chapters)

**Peggottys (Boat house): parents/family
**Memory, imagination/Childhood
**Salem House (education) /Mr. Creakle
**Murdstone and Grinby (see Penguin, 895-96)/Micawbers
**Decision to run away


Brief Summary of each chapter

**Aunt Betsy/Mr. Dick
**Dr Strong, Annie/School/David's "beginning"
**Retrospective chapter (18)

Essay Topic Assignment Due via email by 5pm today OR by 5pm on Friday, 4/5. (See Course Notes)

09DC I-VI (Previous chapters)

**Writing--David: Heep, Dr. Strong, Mr. Micawber, Mr. Dick
**Memory, imagination/Childhood
**Peggottys (Boat house): parents/family
**Salem House (education) /Mr. Creakle---Dr Strong, Annie/School/David's "beginning"
**Wickfields/Agnes/Uriah Heep
**Retrospective chapter (18)


Brief Summary of each chapter

**Steerforth's home/Rosa Dartle
**Peggotty & Barkis/Martha Endell
**Miss Mowcher
**David's childhood home
**David chooses a profession/the law
**David parties too hard (Agnes)

Outline Template for course research essay (Handout)

11DC I-VIII (Previous chapters)

**Memory, imagination/Childhood
**Peggottys (Boat house): parents/family
**Retrospective chapter (18)

**Steerforth's home/Rosa Dartle
**Peggotty & Barkis/Martha Endell
**Miss Mowcher
**David's childhood home; chooses a profession/the law
**David parties too hard (Agnes)


Brief Summary of each chapter

**Steerforth/Rosa Dartle

Review annotated bib assignment

16 DC Review of first 10 monthly parts/Connections to HPSS & HPGF (Bring Potter novels)

at least one draft entry from your annotatated bib--typed or written out clearly in your notebook
See sample annotated bib handout

**Steerforth, David, Rosa Dartle, Miss Mowcher
**Agnes, Dora, Martha Endell:  gender
**Emily/Waterbrooks: social class
**Peggottys, Murdstones
**David's childhood home; chooses a profession/the law/David parties too hard

18DC I-X (Previous chapters)

**Peggottys (Ham & Peggotty), Murdstones
**David's childhood home; chooses a profession/the law/David parties too hard
**Aunt Betsy/Mr. Dick

DC XI-XIII (three monthly parts)

Brief summary of each chapter

**Aunt Betsy is ruined
**David and Dora (Aunt Betsy)
**Social class (Ch 39; critical intro xxxiv-v).  See handout: Writing in DC--notes on Uriah Heep
**Mr. Peggotty, Emily, Martha
**Mr. Micawber, Heep, Mr. Wickfield


23DC I-XIII (Previous chapters)

**David's career/Drs Commons (law): pages given in class (4/18)

House Assignments
**[Slyth/Gryff] Dr. Strong, Annie, Jack Malden (Uriah Heep/Mr. Dick)
**[Raven/Traddles] Mr. Micawber (Mrs. Micawber), Uriah Heep

(Prepare overview and assessment of (sub)plot, character, and theme, from previous chapters and chapters for today (see below)

DC XIV-XVI (three monthly parts)

Brief summary of each chapter

**Retrospective chapter (David's wedding; illustration)
**David and Dora's housekeeping
**Dr. Strong, Annie, Jack Malden (Uriah Heep/Mr. Dick)
**Mr. Micawber (Mrs. Micawber), Uriah Heep
**Mr Peggotty, Martha Endell//Emily & Rosa Dartle

Working Annotated Bibliography Due

25 Quiz: DC, Chpts 1-34

Briefly Review Outline Template for course research essay

I-XVI (Previous chapters)

**Retrospective chapter (David's wedding; illustration)
**David and Dora's housekeeping
**Mr Peggotty, Martha Endell//Emily & Rosa Dartle


Brief summary of each chapter

**Writing and language (Ch 52)
**Retrospective Chapter (Ch 53)
**Steerforth (Ch 55)

30DC I-XVIII (Previous chapters)

Brief summary of each chapter: chpts 51-57

**Mr Peggotty, Martha Endell//Emily & Rosa Dartle (Chpts 46, 50)

**Writing and language (Ch 52)
**Steerforth (Ch 55)
**Emigrants (Ch 57)

XIX-XX (Chpts 58-60)

Brief summary of each chapter: 58-60

**David's Absence and Return

Look Below
Tuesday Thursday
Look Above
02 Quiz: DC, Chpts 35 - 60

I-XX (Previous chapters)

Brief summary of chapters: 58-60

Writing and Language (handout; discussion from Tues (4/30)
Mr. Micawber (see intro in Penguin on him)

**Steerforth (Ch 55)
**Emigrants (Ch 57)
**David's Absence and Return

DC XIX-XX (61-64)

Brief summary of chapters: 61-64

**Memory and narrative (xxvi-xxvii)
           *Illustrations (p 870)
**David and Agnes



Short Take-Home Assign--handout given in class--Due our last class meeting

Brief summaries of chapters (60-64)

1. DC: Language and writing:  David as a writer

3. Memory and narrative (Penguin Intro: xxvi-xxvii)
           *Illustration (p 870)

Peer Review Day (10pts)
PR Question Sheet (Handout)

Each person brings

1. copy of his/her outline (handwritten or typed)--this should be the full outline with main + supporting points, the working thesis, and sources--see handout for formatting.

2. a hard, typed copy of his/her essay draft (in progress) to class--minimum 3 1/2 pages.  Include name, page #s, the essay's working title.  Draft should include some quotations from both novels and secondary sources

09No Class Meeting

Writing Day: Work on course research essay

We will meet during our final exam meeting time--May 16--in our usual classroom.  See below.


**Short Take-Home Assignment Due   (See 5/7)
**Midterm Exam

1. Loose Ends/Final Thoughts: DC
**Ch 55--"The Tempest"
**Emigrants (Ch 57)
**David's Absence and Return
**Penitent Prisoners (Illustration, p 856)
**David and Agnes--David's realization of his love for Agnes
(Have key chapters passages/pages ready to share)
Ch 64: A Last Retrospect

2. Rowling & Dickens: Final Thoughts/Observations

Course Research Essay + Outline + Peer Review Question Sheet & Peer Review Draft due during final class meeting

Final Exam Week: May 13 - 17
Office hours finals week:  See website home page

Final Class Meeting: May 16, 12:30-2:30, in our usual classroom
Course Essay + Outline _ Peer Review Question Sheet & Peer Review Draft:  Due May 16 during class
Course Grades posted online: May 23 or 24

The General Education Program--The Humanities

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.

Engl 385 Course Description and learning Outcomes

This course is for Muggles who want to experience the adventurous, socially aware, magical worlds of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield (published serially, 1849-1850) and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000). We will read these novels for their imaginative worlds, heroes and villains, and descriptive language. In addition, we will compare and contrast novels, thinking about the parallels between the worlds of the novels and even our own (e.g., education, social class, and magic/fairytales). Through class discussions, you will have the chance to share your thoughts about the novels—to analyze and evaluate them, to debate issues, and to explore personal connections to the reading. Literature, after all, is an imaginative engagement of life. Films are the perfect complement to novels, so we will watch adaptations of the novels (clips), which will help us realize why these novels (and their authors) continue to have popularity and cultural power today.

During the semester, we will work to

  • Analyze literature critically in writing to demonstrate an understanding of key themes, of the conventions/language of literature, and of key concepts about nineteenth- and twentieth-century British culture
  • Summarize and explain plots and themes when reading literature individually and during class discussions
  • Explain the reciprocal relationship between literature and culture--how literature and culture interact to reinforce and challenge social attitudes and values--by comparing and contrasting Charles Dickens and J. K. Rowling as writers and as authors
  • Evaluate and engage literature as an imaginative expression of the human condition


Text Rental

DAVID COPPERFIELD (ED: TAMBLING) Penguin, 978-0-14-043944-1
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, Scholastic, 978-0-439-13960-1
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, Scholastic, 978-0-439-70818-0


This is a reading-intensive course.  Success in the course will require that you establish set (and consistent) reading times outside of class when reading and thinking can occur.  Our class discussions will focus on the assigned readings, but we cannot read every work line by line. In keeping with the course learning outcomes, you will be able to use our class discussions to help you study sections of works we do not have time to cover fully in class. Before each class meeting, it is useful to mark key passages that point to central concerns or ideas in works and to write down ideas and questions you have. The purpose of class discussion is not to give you answers; instead, class discussions will help you develop reading strategies, understand background/contexts, and raise questions that you will think about and answer.

There will be quizzes (mostly announced but possbily unannounced) and some assignments, a midterm examination, and a course essay.  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 complete, not simply the effort you make or my subjective opinion.

Course Grade %
Assignments/Quizzes** 25%
Midterm 45%
Course Essay 30%
** 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.

Late Assignments:  An assignment that is finished but not printed and ready to hand in is late. Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date, but will lose one letter grade or the point equivalent. After that, no credit will be given.  Assignments due electronically must be received by the day and time specified. Late email assignments will be accepted 24hrs from the original due date.  (Assignments due on Friday that are late must be turned in by 5pm to receive any credit.)  For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. No incompletes will given in the course.


Regular attendance is your responsibility and is essential for success in the course. As stated in the online UWSP Course Catalog (UWSP Course Catalog pgs 25-26), you should not "cut" classes.  For this course, there are no excused or unexcused absences. You have personal days to use and manage as needed for an illness or when genuine emergencies or significant family issues arise.

If you miss a total of two weeks of class (six days for classes meeting three times a week; four days for classes meeting twice a week), you may fail the course. It may be possible to make up missed assignments/quizzes with my approval; therefore, it is your responsibility to contact me to determine work that needs to be completed and to follow up with all logistical requirements.  However, it may not be possible 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 or assignments, it is best to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me. You can also email me, but I may not be able to respond before our next class meeting. However, you should email about an absence if an assignment is due.

Classroom Etiquitte

During class meetings, we will discuss and debate issues about 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. 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.