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EN 316: Theoretical Reading of 19th-Century Novels from Britain & Europe

Assignment

Welcome

This guide is designed to point you in the direction of resources that will help you with your research project for Prof. Rajan's EN 316 course.  I know all of you have had library instruction before, and that you may already be familiar with some of these resources. However, if you run into any problems, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to work with you. 

--CF

Your assignment

 

EN 316: Theoretical Readings of the 19th C Novel

Prof. Rajan

Research Assignment: Final Paper

Please submit your paper via e-mail. Due Date: 5/15/2014

This is a 17 to 20 page paper worth a total 55% of the grade:  the paper is 40%, and the annotated research component is 15%.

In the paper, use an introductory paragraph to make your argument/position clear to the reader. In the body of the essay, make sure you support this argument using explanations, and both textual specifics and external source materials. The paper needs to have a clear/lucid explanation of theoretical ideas as this course is titled “Theoretical Readings of 19th C Novels.” For the conclusion, summarize your paper in such a way that it shows the significance of the argument you have made.

The Research component carries another 15% of the grade: Use 5 external scholarly sources to find evidence supporting your position; these can be journal articles or books that support your argument. See the library website for how to decide whether a source is scholarly: /tutorials/knowscholarly

You may also use reputable websites and other digital/web-based sources in addition to the 5 scholarly sources. The Final paper must have a Works Cited list that is part of your paper.

See the library website for how to check the credibility of sources: /criticallyevaluating   Note: these are in addition to the 5 scholarly sources mentioned above.

You must write an annotated bibliography for the scholarly sources; see below for instructions. This is part of the research grade. Please note that the annotated bibliography is a separate assignment that is in addition to the paper. The following two links offer extensive information on how to prepare the annotated bibliography (the links are on the assignments page of the WebCT site, so that you can easily get access to them):

  • Cornell University website:

http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill28.htm#what

 

  • University of Wisconsin website:

http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/AnnotatedBibliography.html

 

  • You can also look at Perdue University’s OWL site (check google for this page and look at their annotated site)

Your research grade is made up of four factors: choice of good sources; annotated bibliography; productive use of sources within the paper itself; correct use of MLA citation style (parenthetical citations) within the paper and in the Works Cited list.

 

Planning and choosing a topic from Possible final paper topics

All these topics are deliberately structured to make you think beyond plot or character summaries. Each question has a theoretical question that you must think about and figure out, and then use as a scaffolding to analyze the novels. Also, you have to do an annotated bibliography of outside sources (5 sources-essays/articles, books written after the year 2004), which can give you a blueprint of both how to read theory and how to complement that reading with analyses of 3 novels)

This is a 300 level final paper, so please use that mark as you begin your research and the construction of your argument.

Finally, chart a timeline to ensure that can realistically enable you to map the research topic, begin and master research sources, and write a strong paper by the due date (May 15).

None of these topics are mandatory, but they will lead you to formulating your own ideas if you choose to write about other issues.

Get your ideas on wiki, as required, and be prepared to discuss your final paper choice with specificity and substance when we meet in class next

Choose one topic from below

 

  • Foucault explains the checkered path that speaking of sex, i.e., a discourse on sex has permeated our society, in “We Other Victorians.” Next, in “The Repressive Hypothesis” he delineates a series of cultural factors that kept a range of such discourses on sex in circulation, but all under the guise of not discussing sex. This essay can be theoretically linked to his radical work, This is not a Pipe. First, explain lucidly the theoretic in each of these works, finding places of assonance and dissonance in linking his three primary arguments. Then, illuminate his arguments using examples form 3 of the novels you have studied thus far.
  • Nancy Armstrong speaks about Desire in Domestic fiction in the 19th C as a political off shoot of the times. Pierre Bourdieu in The Field of Cultural Production speaks of how culture and society were shaping influences in the production of literature and art. Again, using 3 novels and insights from these two theoretical works prove if they are indeed right.
  • Using history, politics, and literary movements (in short, your lecture notes to begin) demonstrate how 2 novels + 1 theory text can be read as examples of surrealism (you can use actual instances of language excesses/scarcity to give readers meaning and canonical art to explain what surrealism means).  Here, A Rebours and Picture of Dorian Gray will work well, and you can use Magritte as your art example.
  • Although the readings are organized by chronology and genre, trace a number of formal and thematic questions which link together novels from different genres and periods. In formal terms, what can you say about the narrative structure of the "multi plot" novel (Vanity Fair and/or A Rebours); the autobiographical impulse with a gendered slant (Story of my Life); and, a decadent text (Picture of Dorian Gray).  In thematic terms, you can discuss the deconstruction of gender roles; definitions of nationhood, social class, and cultural norms; and the conceptions of history and politics that are incorporated within the novels.

 

Grading Rubric:

  • Has the student fulfilled the assignment by addressing one of the topics above through “close reading” and strategic use of assigned texts and external sources?
  • Is the topic made into a clear argument in the introductory paragraph?
  • Has the student used a clear logical thread in unpacking the argument through the body of the paper that is not a derivative or reductive plot summary?
  • Is there pertinent textual support?
    Are the external sources cited accurately?
  • Is the assignment free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors?
  • Does the concluding paragraph show the significance of the topic or theme the writer has argued? Or is it a simple repetition of the introductory paragraph? 
  • Is the annotated bibliography in accurate MLA style?

 

An “A” paper must be exceptional in every way: have a clear, focused argument that makes a claim and argue that point, rather than give a description or re-state the question.  A sound way to judge if something is an argument is to see if the sentence can be debated. If it is a mere statement and no one can debate it, it is a not an argument. This central argument and all the supporting points in the body of the essay must demonstrate logically how textual sources and external sources have aided the writer in making the argument. There must a clear demonstration of critical thinking and a full development of the ideas discussed. It must be free of spelling and grammar errors. Paper must have an accurate annotated bibliography (MLA). Citation must also be accurate (MLA). 

 

A “B” must be strong. It must have a clear, focused argument that makes a claim rather than give a description.  A sound way to judge if something is an argument is to see if the sentence can be debated. If it is a mere statement and no one can debate it, it is a not an argument. This central argument and all the supporting points in the body of the essay must demonstrate logically how textual sources and external sources help the writer in making the argument. It must be free of spelling and grammar errors. Paper must have an accurate annotated bibliography (MLA). Citation must also be accurate (MLA). 

 

A “C” paper must have a basic argument that makes a claim rather than give a description.  A sound way to judge if something is an argument is to see if the sentence can be debated. If it is a mere statement and no one can debate it, it is a not an argument. This central argument and all the supporting points in the body of the essay must show an understanding of incorporating both textual and external source materials. It must be free of spelling and grammar errors. Paper must have made an attempt to write an annotated bibliography and cite accurately (MLA).

 

Below this level, the paper will be marked a “D”

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