Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

Course Overview

Welcome to EL 150, "Introduction to Literary Study."

The course website is located at I will update the online syllabus periodically, so the printout I gave you is only for your convenience today. The offical version of the syllabus is the online version (though I will notify you in advance of any significant changes).

Topics for today:

The front page of the blog only shows the main class topic and the main readings scheduled for that day. To get a full list of the lesson plan for any day, click on the date on the calendar. (You might want to see what's due on Jan 25.)

Preview Ex 1-1
Preview Intro to Weblogs
In class: Informal written response.

Permalink | 23 Jan 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reading Like an English Major

Meet in computer lab A 405.

Permalink | 25 Jan 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Introduction to Weblogs

All students will receive their own personal online journals (weblogs) at

In class: Post a quotation from the assigned readings, and briefly state what you would talk about if called on to lead a brief class discussion about your quotation. (That's your "agenda item" -- see the course FAQ page.)

Experienced bloggers, please help classmates if necessary... this is just practice today.

About Weblogs

A recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette focused on how Seton Hill University students have been using their academic weblogs. Maybe somebody you know got quoted!

Agenda Items and Online Discussion

Some time today, post your agenda item for the next class discussion.

By the beginning of that class period, post a brief response on the weblogs of two to four classmates. Find their blogs by clicking on their names, in the list to the left.

In class, I may call on you to share with the class the agenda item you posted on your own blog. I may also ask you to share with the class the comments you left on peer blogs. Most students find that hit helps to bring printouts of those online contributions, so you have something to consult when I call on you.

Permalink | 25 Jan 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Narrative Form

Permalink | 27 Jan 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Joy of Grammar

Permalink | 30 Jan 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Creative Writing Workshop

In class, we will read this newsgroup posting about a tandem story.

Permalink | 1 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conflict and Nature

Permalink | 3 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Joy of Grammar

Permalink | 6 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Permalink | 8 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Introduction to Poetry

Permalink | 10 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Poetry, Cont'd

Permalink | 13 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Shakespeare & Donne

Permalink | 17 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blank Verse Workshop

A ten-beat line of verse like Shakespeare wrote.

O lazy poets! Do not fill your lines
With really wasteful words that just fill space
Or words transpos'd, poetic to seem.
The truth is this: like Yoda do you sound.
Yet rhymeless soul-pack'd verse astounds the mind.
It echoes common speech you hear all day
Then surges up to soar with metaphor
And crashes, lashing out with sputt'ring rage.

Permalink | 17 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blank Verse , Cont'd

Permalink | 20 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Portfolio Workshop

A blog portfolio is a regular blog entry that contains links to your best work, categorized and/or worked into a narrative that demonstrates your ability to meet certain criteria (including coverage, depth, interaction, and timeliness). [I'll post more details on the criteria soon.]

Permalink | 20 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Discuss Antony and Cleopatra

Permalink | 22 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Discuss Antony and Cleopatra Cont'd

Permalink | 24 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Critical Approaches to Antony and Cleopatra

If we have time, I'd like to look at the following in class.

Davis, Timothy C. "Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra." Explicator 48.3 (1990) 176+. Academic Search Elite Seton Hill University Lib., Greensburg. 23 Feb 2005. (

Permalink | 27 Feb 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Critical Essay Workshop

Permalink | 3 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Joy of Punctuation

Permalink | 15 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Informal Presentations

For this assignment, I am asking you to come to class prepared to speak for 4-5 minutes on the changes you have made to your critical essay, based on the peer feedback you have received.

You should be able to show "before" and "after" examples to the class. You may do this by posting the examples on your blog or bringing printouts to class.

Permalink | 17 Mar 2006 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Reflection on The Joy of Punctuation

I blogged a personal response to Wednesday's class. I thought you might enjoy seeing it.

Jerz's Literacy Weblog (Online & Offline Literacy Links; Dennis G. Jerz)

Somewhere in there I managed to co-opt the lizard-brain hunting instinct (as opposed to the lizard brain-hunting instinct) and connect it to proofreading. I saw heads nodding, so I think it went pretty well.

Permalink | 17 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Joy of Punctuation, cont'd

Permalink | 20 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Critical Essay Workshop

Permalink | 22 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sonnet Workshop

Iambic Pentameter

bah BUM bah BUM bah BUM bah BUM bah BUM

Use elision to shorten multi-syllable "ed" words: shortened = "BUM bah BUM" while shorten'd = "BUM bah".

And don't put unimportant little words
Like "a" or "the" or "and" in stressed beats
Unless you want those words to jump right out
And shout out loud, above their neighbor words.

14 lines

8 LInes introducing the main idea (ABABCDCD or ABBACDDC or even ABABACAC or some variation)

[major break in thought, introducing a new idea]

4 Lines developing that new idea (continuing rhyming pattern previously established)

2 Lines concluding the poem (rhyming couplet)

Permalink | 22 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Joy of Punctuation, cont'd

Permalink | 24 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Resume Workshop

Permalink | 27 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Critical Essay Workshop 2

Permalink | 29 Mar 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sonnet Slam

Read your own original sonnet, and be prepared to discuss how you changed it after peer review.

Permalink | 31 Mar 2006 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


Permalink | 3 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Disability Studies

Permalink | 5 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Discuss Readings

Permalink | 7 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Discuss Readings

Permalink | 10 Apr 2006 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)


Permalink | 12 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Victorian Narrative

Permalink | 17 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Globalism and Utopia

Permalink | 19 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Term Paper Workshop

We'll also talk about TV Turn-off Week (April 24-30) and discuss the concept of a media fast.

Permalink | 21 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Introduction to Media Fasting

This week I am going to ask you to participate in a media fast for TV Turn-Off Week, as part of the Media Fasting Reflection due on May 3.

If you give up TV, but watch DVDs on your computer, are you really making any progress? If you turn off the TV, but turn up your iPod, are you really taking control of the technology that defines our lives?

Confession time:

While we don't have cable TV, we do have a fairly big library of kid videos. Sometimes I'll put on a video for them and sit on the couch with my laptop, answering e-mail, despamming my blog, marking a paper, or fiddling with my digital camera. If the movie ends and I'm not finished, I'll get them interested in the bloopers or deleted scenes. So my desire to spend time on the internet leads directly to their exposure to more TV.

I've tried to address that by creating "the book game," which involves Peter (8) picking out a book, Carolyn (4) picking out a book, and me picking out a book. Peter and Carolyn will sit on the couch, and Peter will read all the books to Carolyn. Yes, on one level this is very good, but I'm conscious that I use "the book game" when I want to see what's happening on the blogosphere.

I also sometimes use "the book game" to avoid playing with my daughter's Barbie. So while naturally as an English teacher and a parent I'm going to say that books are good, here I'm turning to media -- books -- when my daughter is asking me for one-on-one attention. (It's not the idea of playing dolls with my daughter that bothers me. Why, the other day I was playing with my daughter's pony castle, and I made an army of insect peasants rise up in rebellion against their pony overlords. They fought an epic battle, and our leaders -- a horned beetle and Pinky Pie (tm) agreed to settle this dispute in single combat, then had a tea party, had a bath together, and took a nap. But Barbie just kind of lies there staring up at me.)

Dr. Arnzen has already written an excellent introduction to using TV Turn-Off Week in the classroom. Here's a sample:

For one thing, I'm always surprised at how little television college students claim to watch -- and how media-dependent they really still are, despite being full-time scholars with active campus lives. While it's certainly true that they are not watching as much television, and perhaps don't even have a television in their rooms, most lounge facilities on a college campus (like cafeterias) and many dorm floors do have a television set running most of the time. Moreover, I suspect today's students are watching television programs asynchronously, through downloadable clips online, or through DVDs, which now sell the archives of almost every TV series a college kid might find appealling.

Neilsen reports say that college students watch an average of 24.3 hours of television per week. That's TWICE the amount of time the average full-time student sits in a class.

Permalink | 24 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Term Paper Workshop


Critical Theory

Permalink | 24 Apr 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Formal Oral Presentations 1 (50pts)

Update, 25 Apr: I am asking you to think of the oral presentation as a low-risk chance to push your own personal boundaries and try something new -- something that you don't know you'll be able to fit into a research paper.

Length: 4 minutes.

Your peers will respond better if you make good eye contact and keep them interested, but I am not going to evaluate you based on the number of "ums" you say during your presentation. This should be a working discussion of your ideas in progress, rather than a canned presentation.


Rather than read word-for-word from a section of your paper, lead the class in a discussion of an issue that you are struggling with -- something that you can see good arguments both for and against.

You might consider as launching points some of the following:

  • Quotes from the literary works you want to discuss, or academic articles that offer definitions of important terms.
  • A pointer or objective from the course website or How to Read Literature like a Professor that you would like the class to focus on when giving feedback
  • Your thesis statement, as it has changed during your recent writing activities.
  • Questions that you want the class to address after your presentation.
  • A list of your personal educational goals for this paper. (What do you hope you are learning? What can you teach your peers?)
  • A research question you haven't yet had time to invesigate, but that you think you might need to look into in order to make a strong paper. (Perhaps someone in the class has already started working in that area.)

Please avoid "yes/no" questions, or simple questions such as "Do you agree with my thesis?" Your goal isn't to invite the class to agree with you, but rather to learn from the class where your thought processes might be improved as we move this paper into the final stages.)

Permalink | 26 Apr 2006 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Portfolio Workshop

We will discuss how the intended audience for Exercise 3-2 should affect the writing process.

Permalink | 1 May 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Discuss Readings

Permalink | 3 May 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wrap-Up and Goodbye

Permalink | 5 May 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)