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Class time and place

MWF, 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m., Milne 105

Office hours

MTF, 1-2, and by appointment. Invite me to a meeting in Google calendar.

Learning outcomes

Individual learning outcomes

Students who have completed English 170 will:

Community learning outcomes

The Engl 170-01 (Fall 2012) community will:


Note: You must complete all assignments to receive a passing grade in this course.



Papers, exams, other assignments


Some activities for this course will require the use of Geneseo's subscription to Google Apps for Education. If you haven't yet set up your Google Apps account, follow the link and do that now.

Other activities will take place inside the wiki, for example collaborative writing on such pages as

To participate in the wiki activities, the first thing you'll need to do is set up your personal space in the wiki. To do that, follow these instructions in the Confluence User Guide. (Confluence is the name of the software that powers the Geneseo wiki. The user guide is inside a wiki that looks a lot like the Geneseo wiki because it's running on the same Confluence software.)

Once you've set up your personal space, you should play in it! Try doing these things first:

Confluence takes a little getting used to, but it's really pretty easy to use, and you can contact me by email or IM (see my profile information at right) any time you run into trouble with it.

Online writing

You are required to participate in online discussion for this class.

In addition, you are required to participate in collaborative writing on the SUNY Geneseo wiki. To fulfill this requirement, you may annotate a passage from one or more of the novels on the syllabus; contribute to a collaborative essay or article; help develop genetically modified literature; or propose another collaborative project.

Your online writing will be evaluated using this matrix.

Optional project

You may permit 50% of your final exam exam grade (i.e., 10% of your course grade) to be determined by an optional project that explores, examines, or illuminates one or more of the semester's texts using means other than the conventional literary essay. Examples of such a project might be:

This is not an exhaustive list; you are welcome to propose other kinds of unconventional project. However, bear in mind the following constraints:

Students with disabilities

SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented physical, emotional or learning disabilities. Contact Tabitha Buggie-Hunt, Director of Disability Services to discuss needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.

Exam and paper details

A make-up exam will be administered for medical reasons only. You must supply documentation of all illnesses and accidents. (A note indicating merely that you were seen at the infirmary won't suffice.) Please do not request special arrangements to alleviate any of the following: a crowded exam schedule; a heavy workload; conflicts with employment, extra-curricular responsibilities, or job-hunting; familial celebrations (e.g., weddings or graduations); crises in other people's lives (e.g., severe depression of best friend's roommate); crises in your own life that are a normal and inevitable part of the collegiate experience (e.g., demise of relationship with boyfriend or girlfriend.) Fairness dictates that such accommodations cannot be made for one without being offered to all.

For help writing exam essays, consult Writing Essays Exams in the SUNY Geneseo Writing Guide.

The "due-date" for each of the papers in this class is not a single date but a one-week range during which you may submit your finished work. I grade and return papers in the order in which I receive them, so the earlier you submit, the sooner your work will be returned. Looking at this rubric will give you a good idea of the qualities I'll be looking for in your essays.

The first paper is due  9/17 - 9/24 (no later than 11:59 p.m. on 9/24). Target length: 4-5 double-spaced pages.

The   second paper is due 11/12 - 11/19 11/16 - 11/28 (no later than 11:59 p.m. on 11/28). Target length: 4-5 double-spaced pages.

Be sure to keep a copy of your work.




What is the Practice of Criticism?



Introduction: A course, a practice, criticism



What is Literature?



Labor Day - No Class


  • Frye, from "The Educated Imagination" (in Readings)
  • Graff and Birkenstein, Part 2 (pp. 53-103)
  • Shakespeare (here and here)
  • Blake, "A Divine Image," "A Poison Tree," "Earth's Answer," "Holy Thursday" (both), "I Saw a Chapel," "Infant Joy," "Infant Sorrow," "London," "The Chimney Sweeper" (both), "The Divine Image," "The Garden of Love," "The Sick Rose," "The Lamb," "The Tyger"
  • Auden






What is Narrative? 




What is Drama? 



The Importance of Being Earnest  


The Importance of Being Earnest




The Importance of Being Earnest

What is Culture? 


Fall Break



Two Culture Texts 


Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • Abrams: Psychological and Psychoanalytic Criticism


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland  



Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass







Alice in Wonderland (film)


Dickens, A Christmas Carol


Dickens, A Christmas Carol


Dickens, A Christmas Carol


Dickens, A Christmas Carol

11/14Dickens, A Christmas Carol
11/19Dickens, A Christmas Carol
11/20-11/23Thanksgiving Break
11/26Capra, It's a Wonderful Life
11/28It's a Wonderful Life
11/30It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life


Share optional projects


Share optional projects

The End

12/10What have we learned?
12/14, 12-3 p.m.Final Exam

The Fine Print

Office hours

No need to make an appointment for an office hour; just drop in. I encourage you to come. I get to know you; you learn more from me. If you cannot make it to any of the scheduled office hours, we can set up a time to meet. Add me in your Google calendar and invite me to a meeting, or call 245-5273 to make an appointment.


From time to time I will need to communicate with the class as a whole or with you individually by means of email. When communicating with the class as a whole, I will use the class listserv address. Since emails sent to this address will come to students' Geneseo email accounts, it is absolutely imperative that you either regularly check your Geneseo email or have it automatically forwarded to the account you prefer to use. To set up automatic forwarding, go to from any internet-connected computer, on campus or off. Log in with your Geneseo username and email password. In the left-navigation bar, click "forward account" and carefully follow instructions.

Feel free to email me at schacht AT geneseo DOT edu on any matter related to the class or to academics generally. I will reply to whatever email address you send from; if the email comes back to me as undeliverable, I will reply to your Geneseo address.


Attendance is your responsibility. Please do not phone or email just to explain why you weren't in or won't be in class on a particular day. On the other hand, if sickness or genuine crisis keeps you from the classroom for any length of time, of course I want to know. Conflicts with other classes or your personal life (weddings, friends who've just broken up with boyfriends/girlfrieds, etc.) must be resolved by you. I regret that I cannot make special arrangements to accommodate them.

Laptops in the Classroom

Bring 'em.

Cellphones in the Classroom

Just be nice, okay?


Be sure to proofread your paper closely for faulty grammar or usage, spelling errors, and typos; you are being graded partly on your ability to produce presentable work, an ability that matters both in the classroom and in the world beyond it.

Papers must be submitted electronically. I will grade papers in the order that I receive them and return them electronically.


Though committed with alarming frequency and dispiriting casualness by people in high places, plagiarism is still a serious academic offense. You are committing plagiarism any time you borrow another writer's words without using quotation marks or providing appropriate documentation; borrow another writer's ideas without citing the source in which you found them.

If it is discovered that you have plagiarized on an assignment for this class, you will certainly fail the assignment and probably fail the class. In addition, the Dean of the College will be notified that you have committed an act of academic dishonesty, and you may face disciplinary measures from the administration. No excuses. No second chances. Not even for graduating seniors.

Examples of plagiarism:

There is no such thing as accidental plagiarism. If you are unsure of the proper conventions for documentation, see me and I will tell you how to find the information you need. Better yet, consult the reference librarian at Milne.

If you think for yourself and use sources properly, you will not run into trouble. But remember, in questionable cases you are unlikely to receive the benefit of the doubt. If you err, be sure it is on the side of caution.


For help writing exam essays, consult Writing Essays Exams in the SUNY Geneseo Writing Guide.


Must we? Well then...

Your grade reflects my honest and considered evaluation of your work. You have the right to question it. I have the right to stick by it, and that is what I invariably do (with certain obvious exceptions, such as miscalculation of an exam score). Total objectivity is no more possible in grading writing than in making any other judgment of value, but I do my best to maintain consistency and adhere to clearly defined standards. I base my grade on my opinion of your work, not on my opinion of you. If you have a question about your grade on an assignment, I encourage you to see me during office hours or schedule an appointment. I welcome the opportunity to explain to you why you got what you did. In grading papers and exams, my reference point is the "B."