For texts that have an *, you must purchase the specific edition listed in the syllabus. All the editions listed in the syllabus are available from Wright State’s bookstore as well as from a popular online retailer of books.
Working with the required editions is important because eighteenth-century texts were often pirated, corrupted, or revised – and the editions I’ve required are standardized. That means we are all guaranteed to be reading the same word in the same order on the same pages. Students who have decided to download free copies of eighteenth-century texts often find themselves failing quizzes or introducing scenes, characters, and themes in discussions that are a complete surprise to the rest of us. Also, the editions I’ve required have footnotes that help you make sense of what you’re reading and contain additional sources and/or bibliographies that it will be necessary for you to consult. I try to remain mindful of financial need when choosing texts to assign in a course, opting often for books that can be purchased used at steep discounts.
If you can’t afford to purchase textbooks, please know that they are still required for the course. Many can be checked out from your local library (but be sure to get the correct edition when necessary); all the books required for the course are also on reserve at WSU Library.
For each of the assigned texts, I’ve provided you with some data you might find helpful:
- total page counts per text
- the average number of pages you should plan to read every evening ~ 7 days a week
- the total time it should take you to complete reading the text (TTR). This estimate is based on the assumption that it takes the average reader about 15 minutes to read 15 pages of contemporary prose and about 20 minutes to read 15 pages of eighteenth-century prose.
- the average amount of time per evening you should plan to spend reading the text
But of course, students in English classes need to read more carefully – taking notes, identifying themes as well as patterns, developing questions for discussion – than those who are reading just for pleasure. And most weeks, I have assigned an additional 5-25 pages of reading from other sources.
The short version: you’ll need to set aside about 30-45 minutes every evening ~ 7 days a week to read the works assigned in this course.
Because we don’t read for days on end and then only meet to discuss a novel once we’ve all finished reading it, this class is built around a paced reading load. That means that we will discuss a lot of pages on Tuesdays and fewer pages on Thursdays. And while I’ve designed this way of reading in order to make your workload lighter by distributing it across a seven-day workweek, pacing you through the class like a tortoise in a race with a hare, this way of managing your workload can really make your life awful if you put off even one night of reading. Suddenly, then, you have to carve out an hour and a half the next night to catch up and read as many as 60 pages instead of 30. And it only gets worse from there; the students who struggle the most in my classes are the ones who are trying to cram around four hours worth of reading (or 150 pages of eighteenth-century prose) into the night before class starts.
If you devote 30-45 minutes every evening ~ 7 days a week to chipping away at the assigned texts, you should not only feel organized, calm, and well prepared for quizzes and discussions, but you will also have an additional 45 minutes – 2 ½ hours each week to work on your reading responses as well as your final project. This course follows the general guidelines offered by Wright State University to its students (and their professors): every hour spent in the classroom ought to be matched by a minimum of two hours of work on the course assignments and readings outside of the classroom.