History & Mystery: Reading and Experiencing English & Scottish Literature
Connecting the dots: literature and location. A big part of our course is not just to teach literature, but to demonstrate and engage students in the phenomenon of literature’s connection to—dare we say it?—the real world. Great books do not just materialize from the ether; they don’t magically appear during a semester’s syllabus and then vanish into thin air once the course is done. Books are written BY real people FOR other real people to—dare we say it?—enjoy. To be sure, not all books are fun and games, but then again not all enjoyment is gotten from fun and games. Serious books engage people in different, deeper ways; this engagement is perhaps a superior (or at least more long-lasting) species of enjoyment than, say, eating ice cream.
In our class we will try to do several things.
First we want to examine the connection between literature and location. Shakespeare would not have had his plays performed had it not been the London of that time. And where would Doyle and Stevenson be without Edinburgh as a home base OR London as a subject?
But we also want to teach this literature as a reactive activity, as a part of a larger tradition. As a case in point, J.R.R. Tolkien, an Oxford professor whose specialty was Anglo-Saxon, clearly drew much of his creative output (LOTR, et al.) from Beowulf, a poem we have from a single, undated and damaged manuscript. And in turn, J.K. Rowling leaned heavily on Tolkien’s creative work to populate and characterize her Harry Potter opus (invisibility ring/robe, sagacious Gandalf/Dumbledore, one small person with an incredibly world-heavy responsibility, dragons, temptation of power, Dark Lord/Sauron, and on and on).
Based on our belief that students learn best when they do the teaching, we add to this class a “student-led” component to this faculty-led course. All students will conceive, research, develop, and orchestrate one or two on-site tours during our trip. For example, one group of students may want to bring the class to places in Oxford that were used in the Harry Potter films (the library was the Oxford Bodleian; Christ Church was the dining hall, etc.) To do this, the students might research film records, get permission to visit restricted places or perhaps contact a professional tour, show the class pictures and sound bites ahead of time, and maybe even invent some games (first student to find Blackwell Book Store gets a prize, e.g.). We’ve listed below a very few options; there are many more, and in fact we encourage you to create your own tours (always keeping them relevant to the reading list, mind). We would like to see each student part of at least two tours and to work with different teams.
In conjunction with the student tours, we’d also like students to take turns presiding at Open Readings, that is, to read a passage or two aloud to the group when we are at the appropriate location. E.G. a chapter of The Hobbit at the Child & Eagle pub; a speech from Hamlet outside the Globe, a paragraph of A Study in Scarlet on Baker Street, or a Burns lyric on our hike in the Highlands.
Sorcerer’s Stone (Oxford/Edinburgh)
Study in Scarlet (London/Edinburgh)
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (London/Edinburgh)
Robert Burns (Edinburgh)
As You Like It (London)
Student led tours –
Oxford: Eagle & Child, Hogwarts Dining Hall, Ashmolean Museum, Bodleian Library, Merton College, 2 or 3.
London: Locations in Stevenson, Doyle, Warner Brothers Studio Tour, St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, Globe and Southwark, 3 or 4
Edinburgh: Hiking tours, Rowling’s, Doyle’s, Burns’, Stevenson’s Edinburgh, Camera Obscura, Royal Mile/Castle, Greyfriars Kirk & Greyfriars Bobby, for additional ideas, check out this website - http://edinburgh.org/101/, 4 or five
--get familiar with the literature
--bond as a group
--prepare for travel
--determine tours & readings
--further activities (Lodge? Fundraising? Etc.) as appropriate.
--take student tours
--visit sites as determined in spring
--journal, journal, journal
May 28-August 1
Prepare research paper on accepted aspect/subject/topic.
16 T Introduction.
18 R Beowulf http://ebeowulf.uky.edu/
23 T Beowulf
25 R Beowulf
30 T Burns (Chavez)
1 R Burns (Chavez)
8 R Hobbit
13 T Hobbit
15 R Harry Potter http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Philosopher%27s_Stone
20 T Harry Potter
22 R Harry Potter
1 R Hamlet
6 T Hamlet
8 R Hamlet
13 T SPRING BREAK
15 R SPRING BREAK
22 R As You Like It
27 T As You Like It
29 R As You Like It
3 T Tour Presentations
5 R Tour Presentations
10 T Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Chavez) http://www.devlounge.net/column/the-jekyll-and-hyde-effect-philosophy-and-the-internet
12 R Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Chavez)
17 T Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Chavez)
19 R A Study in Scarlet (Chavez) http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/doyle/mormons.html
24 T A Study in Scarlet (Chavez)
26 R A Study in Scarlet (Chavez)
1 T Reading Presentations
3 R Reading Presentations
Grading: Participation in class discussion of literature: 40%
Tours & Readings: 20%
Students with special needs must inform the instructor in the first week of classes and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
Office Hours exist to aid students in progressing in the course. Come see me to discuss the readings, the papers, the class proceedings. Student who use office hours do better than if they did not; it’s just that simple. MWF 10-11, 12-1; TR 8:30-9:30, 11-1. I am not always in my office at these times, so please check with me beforehand. I am also available by appointment. OM312b. You may email me or leave a voice mail, but I cannot promise to respond before the next class meeting. 360-438-4336; firstname.lastname@example.org.