Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Code Duello

From Sam Milligan (section 001), here are a couple of PBS sites (here and here) explaining the rules for dueling. I should add that, if I've incorrectly calculated your quiz point total, I prefer a less dangerous way of resolving the dispute.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Those Extraordinary Twins

Via Maegan Cary (section 002), here is a link to Those Extraordinary Twins.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Quiz 12 (take-home; due in class 5-5-10)

Pudd’nhead Wilson may or may not be your favorite text of the semester. Even if it isn’t, though, I think we can all acknowledge that it works perfectly well as a novel in and of itself. It can be said even to resemble an episode of the TV series Law and Order, since what we get in the first chapters is the commission of several crimes, in the middle chapters an investigation of those crimes, and in the final chapters a dramatic courtroom scene in which those crimes are revealed.

So why Those Extraordinary Twins? Why in the world might Twain have taken a perfectly good novel in Pudd’nhead Wilson and appended to it the strange “do-over” that Those Extraordinary Twins represents? For Wednesday, read all of the novella that concludes Twain’s text and think about its relationship to the main text. Then, as best you can, explain in ~500 words why you think Twain decided to rewrite the novel with the one significant variation involving Antonio and Luigi.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quiz 10

We discussed in class today how Harriet Jacobs presents a set of discrete incidents in her text rather than a seamless narrative. For Friday, finish the book then ask yourself which one incident from chapters 30-41 stands out to you as most important or evocative. Explain why in ~500 words.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mark Twain, Literary Critic

A link to a piece in yesterday's New York Times about the marginal notations Twain would make in the books he read. To know he read so widely and commented so pointedly may make Pudd'nhead Wilson seem all the more interesting a text.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Audiobooks for Jacobs, Stowe, etc.

David Hellberg (section 001) lets us know about a website, LibriVox, that provides free audio versions of several of the books on the syllabus. Both Stowe and Jacobs are available, e.g.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Monday's class CANCELED

I am called out of town on Monday, 4/12. Class will not meet. Instead we will discuss chapters 27-35 of Uncle Tom's Cabin on Wednesday and the remainder of the novel on Friday. Enjoy your day off (from English 303, anyway)!

Week 11 Lectures

DOWNLOAD 4-9-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 4-7-10 lecture.

(There is no lecture to download for 4-5-10 since the heat forced us outside. Elements of that lecture are incorporated into the 4-7 and 4-9 lectures.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Uncle Tom's Cabin & American Culture

The University of Virginia hosts an excellent site devoted to Uncle Tom's Cabin and its cultural contexts. In addition to information about its publication history and Stowe's life, it indexes a large number of images, many of them illustrations of the various editions of the novel published from 1851 (when it was first serialized) onward. Those of you who like to analyze visual culture might see the potential for a paper #3 here--how do the images in one edition compare to another, e.g., and/or how do they compare to what Stowe herself authors in the text?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quiz 8 (Take-home; due Monday, 4-5)

For Monday, read Uncle Tom's Cabin, chs. 1-8 + Stowe's preface. As you do, keep in mind that Benito Cereno was published only three years later and, of course, that it is also about slavery. Do the comparisons end there. Identify one interesting commonality or difference between the two texts and discuss it in ~500 words.

Week 10 lectures

DOWNLOAD 4-2-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 3-31-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 3-29-10 lecture.

Dickinson, Demonized!

Abby Morgan (section 002) contributes this interpretation of "My Life had stood--a Loaded Gun." It's a very original analysis--and a surprisingly plausible one, if one takes the "demon" to represent some force to which Dickinson feels drawn even though her society and religion forbids it. In any event, it suggests once again how extraordinarily flexible, hence meaningful, this amazing poem is.

"Sedgwick, Hawthorne, and Me"

A belated post, but as I say, I'm catching up. . . .

Rosalind Whitley (section 001) produced these in conjunction with the paper #1 assignment.

What does a woman have to do to get noticed at an English department function?

Week 9 lectures

DOWNLOAD 3-26-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 3-24-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 3-22-10 lecture.