English 322: Children and Childhood
in Anglo-American Literature and Culture

of the Nineteenth Century

Spring Term 2013
Professor Kenneth  McNeil 
Office phone: 5-4578 
e-mail: mcneilk@easternct.edu
Office: Webb Hall  230

Office Hours: 
Tuesday, Thursday 12:15-1:45
Wednesday 10:00-12:00

And by appointment 

Required Materials
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped,

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Other Plays

Copy Packet

Course Description
"They cannot represent themselves, they must be represented. "So said Karl Marx about the oppressed peasant class in France in the early nineteenth century, and it has been the task of many literary and cultural critics in the past few decades to prove Marx wrong, to unearth the voices of marginalized groups--in their letters, songs, and literature--to show that they did indeed represent themselves. But Marx's claim still holds true for an entire population in the nineteenth century and today: children cannot represent themselves and so must be represented. In this course we will explore that representation in British literature and culture, as the image of the child and childhood became increasingly popular and powerful in the nineteenth century.

In the course we will be asking: How do adult writers use the image of the child and childhood to advance their own literary, political, and social ideas? How do adult writers recall and imagine the state of their own childhoods? How did the image of the child advance certain social and political causes in the nineteenth century?

This course is a special "cluster course" combined with Dr. Lisa Fraustino's ENG 328, Children's Literature. In this cluster, you will be asked to play guinea pigs for a new English major proposal in which two different English courses are linked together by a common theme: in this case"images of childhood and children's literature." We will be asking you to make connections and participate in some shared assignments in this cluster to encourage you to think deeply about the topics and to make connections, between and across different literary periods and specialties, in your writing and in your class discussion.

Course Requirements
Literary Research Essay 20%
Response papers 35%
    Response One

    Response Two

    Response Three
    Response Four
Presentation 10%
Quizzes 5%
Final 20%
Participation 10%

Literary Essay
You will have the opportunity to write a literary analysis (6-8 pages) on the literature we will cover.

During the 13th week of the class, you will meet with me for a 20-minute or so conference of your Literary Essay topic.

Response Papers
There are four response papers, one due about every fourth  week. You are to respond to any one day's questions from the list. Response questions must be typed, double-spaced and turned in on the day that you have selected. For example, answers to questions from February 11th's reading must be turned in on that day.

Papers are due in class on the assigned date. Late papers will be subject to a reduction in grade. If you feel you have a good reason for requiring an extension, please come talk to me about it beforehand. However, after-due date extensions, except in the case of emergencies, will be difficult to obtain.

Avoid plagiarism (stealing the exact words or ideas of another) like the plague. In this class acts of plagiarism incur a zero and could also result in course failure.

At some point early in the semester I will divide the class into four or five groups. Each group will then be given the task of putting together an oral presentation. There are several throughout the semester. Each presentation will be devoted on a specific topic. (See the Calendar for specific topics) Each presentation should be at least 15 minutes (and last no more than 20 minutes) and must include at least one handout to be given to the class as a whole. In addition you must provide me with a bibliography of your research materials in MLA format. Beyond the handout and the bibliography, the materials and format of the presentations are only limited by the group's imagination and may include use of a variety of media. .

In addition to a cumulative final exam, there will be three short surprise quizzes given throughout the semester.  These are intended merely to give friendly encouragement to keep up with the assigned reading in class.

Regular attendance of classes is absolutely expected for this course. Three or more unexcused absences will lower your participation grade significantly.

Week 1
January 15: Introduction

Defining and Celebrating Childhood

January 17: the changing image of childhood; John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau on children

Week 2

January 22: Joanna Baillie, "A Mother to her Waking Infant" Edgar Allan Poe "Annabel Lee," "The Lament of the Border Widow, from Walter Scott's Minstresy of the Scottish Border

January 24: William Wordsworth, "Anecdote for Fathers," "We Are Seven,"

 Week 3

January 29: William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood"

Innocence and the Production of Sympathy

January 31: William Blake, from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

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Week 4
February 5:
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (read to Chapter 15, pg. 110)

February 7: Oral Presentation: child labor and reform of the labor laws

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (read to Chapter 28, pg. 216)

Week 5
February 12: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (read to Chapter 42, pg. 336)

February 14: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (read to end)

Week 6

The Child is Father of the Man (and Woman): Childhood and Autobiography

February 19: William Wordsworth, The Prelude, or Growth of the Poet's Mind, "Book First: Introduction, Childhood, and School Time"

February 21: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Week 7

February 26: Oral Presentation: slavery, children, and the antebellum American south

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (read to Chapter Ten, "A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl's Life," pg. 78)

February 28: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (read to end)

Week 8

Victorian Childhood

March 5: Christina Rossetti, "Goblin Market"

March 7: Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

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Week 9
March 12: Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

March 14: Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Week 10
March 19:
Oral Presentation: Education in the nineteenth century

Charles and Mary Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare (excerpts)

March 21: Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (excerpts)

Week 11

Happy Spring break!

Week 12

Adventureland: Britain's Empire

April 2 No class; homework: read Kidnapped

April 4: Oral Presentation: Children and the British empire in the late nineteenth century

Stories for Boys: Our Soldiers and the Victoria Cross (excerpts)

Week 13Conference week, meet with me in Webb Hall 230

April 9: Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnappped (read to pg. 118, Chapter 18 "I Talk with Alan in the Wood of Lettermore")

April 11: Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped (read to end)

Week 14
April 16: Research Methods and Materials

April 18: J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (the play)

Week 15
April 23:
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (the play)

April 25: Oral Presentation: Teaching the theme of childhood in nineteenth-century literature, in the American classroom

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (the play)

Week 16

April 30: TBA

May 2: Reading Day Literary Essay Due 4 pm.

Final Exam Week
Final exam:
8:00(!)-10:00, Tuesday, May 7

Some Useful Links
A Bibliography on

The Library's Guide to MLA Citation

Historical Backgrounds:
Spartacus Educational

Romantics Unbound Page

Voice of the Shuttle's Romanticism Page

The Romantic Chronology

William Blake

John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1692

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile; or, On Education, 1762

Illustrations:  A Child's World, John Everett Millais, 1886; Lewis Hine, "Little Spinner," 1909

"If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of Disability Services at (860) 465-5573.  To avoid any delay in the receipt of accommodations, you should contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible.  Please understand that I cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until I have received an accommodation letter from the Office of Disability Services.  Your cooperation is appreciated."

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