Literary Foundations II

Course Description

This course is part of the two-semester sequence for Writing and Literature majors that familiarizes students with key texts of world literary culture. In addition to preparing students for more advanced offerings in Literary Studies, these courses provide a basis for considering how we became the writers and readers that we are today and supply the tools to become the readers and writers of tomorrow. This second sequence of the Foundations will begin in the eighteenth century but concentrate on nineteenth- and twentieth-century works. The various texts under consideration will be brought into dialogue with their resonant “kin” so as to encourage comparisons in genre, subject, theme, literary techniques, and historical context. Literary Foundations I is required as a prerequisite for all Intermediate Writing courses and all 3000-level Literature courses in Literary Studies. Literary Foundations II is a prerequisite for all Advanced Writing courses and all 3000-level Literature courses in Literary Studies. Students are encouraged to take Foundations I and II in sequence.


05/18/2012: In conclusion...

We have reached the end of the course. It has been a pleasure, and an adventure. I have marked the final exams; my final comments on those are available via MyFiles; look for a file called <lastname>-final.pdf in the same directory I have been using for your paper comments. (The instructions are, once more, here.)

As for this website, over the summer it will move, for archival purposes, to my own website at That site will also show you how to reach me, should you ever wish to write!

All my best wishes for an excellent summer and beyond to everyone. And now that you have the foundations: read on!

05/06/2012: Comments on the Second Paper

I have finished marking all the papers that I received by the original deadline and am now returning them with my comments. It was a pleasure to think through your work. I am once again using MyFiles to return comments digitally; you will find them in the same folder where I returned my comments on the first paper and the presentation. Thus, you can follow the same instructions as before. Navigate through the MyFiles folder hierarchy to the directory I have created for you:
/Data/02/goldstoa/lf2/d/<lastname> or
Look for two files: one, <lastname>-paper2-marked.pdf, has my marginal notes, which you can view by opening the “Comment” pane in Adobe Reader. The other, <lastname>-paper2-cmt.pdf, contains a longer comment and your mark. Please ignore any funny files you see whose names begin with ._.

If I received your paper in hardcopy, you will not find the electronic marginal notes; I will return your paper tomorrow in class. If your paper came into my hands later than the deadline, I will be returning it to you electronically by Tuesday.

I’ll discuss the range of grades and give general comments to you all tomorrow. After that, if you have questions about my comments on your work, we can of course discuss them.

Please come prepared to discuss Kafka in class; and please bring your copies of Mrs. Dalloway as well so that we can wrap up our discussion of Woolf.

05/06/2012: Making up the commonplace book entries

As I’ve mentioned in class, if you have not completed all the commonplacing assignments this semester, you still have the chance to fill in your “gaps” now. I will be checking the commonplace book for the last time on Monday, May 14, at which point I will mark your completion of the assignment as part of my calculation of your course grade.

However, you will not receive credit if you seem to have simply flipped at random through the texts you didn’t commonplace. Instead, take this opportunity to make this a productive part of your final exam review: find an interesting passage in the text you earlier missed commonplacing, remind yourself of the context, and write a little commentary in your blog post. Students who have completed their commonplacing assignments are also welcome to continue to add entries to the commonplace book in this manner as well. On our last class meeting this Wednesday I will be bringing in a printout of our commonplace book as a stimulus to review. In fact, I will draw at least one of the passage-identification questions on the final exam from the commonplace book.

05/02/2012: Sample ID added to website

I have added the sample passage identification question to the course documents section of the website. Students in the 12 p.m. section will have already seen the question, though it may be helpful to review the evaluation criteria I have noted.

In general, passage ID’s will be chosen to illustrate central themes, problems, and devices in the course texts. They will offer you opportunities to use your skill at analyzing the language and recognizing the individual styles of each of our authors. Indeed, you can receive partial credit for analyzing the language of a passage even if you cannot identify it. I will not seek out trick passages or obscure lines. Though I will draw at least some of the passages from material we focused on in class discussion, I may also include important passages we did not discuss in seminar. If you have read each book carefully and thoughtfully, used the commonplace book, and taken some notes, you will be in a good position for the exam. You are not expected to reread whole books ahead of May 14.

Students are welcome to form groups if they wish to write practice exam questions for one another. I am happy to facilitate this for any students who wish it and need help finding others or dividing up the review work.