ENGL 10: Introduction to Literary Theory

“The Monster in the Mirror”

Summer Session A 2014


Lecture: Monday through Thursday, 11:00am to 12:25pm

Teaching Associate: Elizabeth Shayne

Course Website: TBD

Office Hours: Tuesday andWednesday, 1:00 to 2:00 or by appointment, SH 2509


Mailbox: SH 3421

Twitter: @LizShayne


Course Description

This course introduces literary studies as a discipline and provides the concepts, tools and ideas that we use in order to interpret what we read. My goal is to show you how to read, think and write like a student of literature. To that end, we will spend the next six weeks explaining and exploring the following concepts: what it means to “close read” a text and what other different forms of reading there might be; how we identify and explain the purpose of literary concepts (such as metaphor, poetic rhythm, symbolic language and narrative structures) in a given text; textual authority and what it means for a text to mean something; and, finally, how we take these ideas and apply them to new works.

In addition, this class will teach you how to analyze and critique like an English major by asking you to craft essays that not only demonstrate your analytic abilities and your writing competence, but also meet the standards set out by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

This class, as you see, has an additional title. English 10: “The Monster in the Mirror” focuses on texts that are about our encounters with the frightening, the monstrous, the things that are different than we are and the things that are not so different. These are works of literature that make us think about how we, as people, deal with the idea of monster especially as a reflection of ourselves. We will use these texts to learn how literary language complicates and helps us cope with the figure of the monster, especially when it stares back at us through the mirror.

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Literary Criticism on Social Media: 20%

Short Writing Assignment (3-4 pages): 15%

Final Exam: 20%

Final Paper (5-7 pages): 25%


Class Policies

Attendance: Attendance will be taken every day and you are expected to be present on time. If you are late, it is your responsibility to see that you are marked as present. You will not be penalized for missing up to two class meetings over the course of the session. There is no requirement for you to provide an excuse—these are your sick days, so to speak, and you should use them accordingly. Bear in mind, however, that these are the only absences you will get. Any subsequent absences will result in 2 points off your final grade in the course. Attendance cannot be made up. If a situation arises that you believe warrants an exception to this rule, come and speak to me.

Participation: There are many different ways to participate and I welcome visits to my office during office hours, emails, and conversations on your social media platform of choice beyond the requirement. However, full participation in this seminar involves taking part in smaller group discussions when they occur and being heard during larger class discussions. Attendance and participation comprise 20% of your final grade and, in order to do well, you are expected to come to class on time, complete ALL the assigned reading and participate in class discussion.

Classroom Ethics: Especially because this is a class that takes on questions of identity, self-reflection and fear, I ask you all to treat your classmates (and me) with courtesy and respect. This extends, in particular, to the language we use in class discussion. As students of literature, you know the power of words, of implications, of unstated inferences and of context. So while the texts we read often bear the hallmarks of oppression and hatred and can make us uncomfortable, part of our goal here is to analyze that ideology without allowing it to infiltrate our own attitudes and conversations. To whit, language that is racist, sexist, homophobic, trans-exclusionary, classist or in other fashion marginalizes a minority group will not be a part of the language we unselfconsciously use. We are all better than that and, as part of the respect that we accord those who are both like and not like us, we refrain from using language that wounds.

At the same time, this is not a class designed to teach you what to think. It is a class designed to give you the tools and larger context with which to think. Your opinions are important and I look forward to engaging with you as individuals and a class as we work with these texts.



Literary Criticism on Social Media: This class requires you to create or maintain a social media account where you post about the readings and ideas that are on the syllabus. You can choose whatever platform you wish, including Twitter, Tumblr, any blogging platform, podcasting or videos. (I advise very strongly against using these last two unless you have prior experience with recording and editing audio/visual media). You are expected to write a substantive analysis of each week’s text on your platform of choice. The quantity of posts per week and approximate length each depends on the platform (see the Social Media Handout for more details on what qualifies as substantive for each platform).

This is not a formal essay and you will be graded on your creative use of the medium as well as the quality of the thoughts you convey. Remember that while you are writing for this class, you are also writing for the Internet at large and you want to take this opportunity to hone your creativity, your persuasiveness, your capacity to entertain and your ability to communicate well on the web. If that sounds like a tall order, then remember that you need not work on all of those at once.

Your weekly contributions are due by 5pm on Sunday. Any posts after then will be counted as part of the next week’s.

You are also expected to keep up with four other blogs produced by your classmates and respond accordingly to at least two of them each week. The classmates you follow need not be using the same medium you are. Your responses CAN count towards your weekly requirement. The full list will be posted privately to the course website and you are welcome to remain anonymous (except to me), though you do not have to.

Short and Long Paper: While,I will accept your papers in whatever format you feel most comfortable giving them to me, I prefer digital copies and request that you email your papers to me by the beginning of class on the day they are due. If you have an affinity for print, however, I will accept your assignments in printed form in addition to the email copy. With the exceptions of the final exam and in-class assignments, I will not accept any assignment that is handwritten.

If you need an extension, you must request one at least 24 hours in advance. Do not skip class to finish your paper, you will get the same grade deduction whether it is in by 11:25am or 11:25pm. For every day that your paper is late, 1/3 of a letter grade will be deducted. So a paper that deserves a B+ but that is handed in two days late will receive a B-.

Final Exam: The final exam will be held on the last day of class and will be entirely IDs and Short Answers. More information will be provided closer to the exam, however, you should be aware that you will be asked to identify people, ideas or passages not explicitly discussed in lecture. These IDs will not be tricky, nor will they be obscure. They will test whether you have been doing the reading and whether you can recall and apply the concepts we discuss in lecture. If you do all the reading, attend lecture and participate throughout the quarter, especially by asking questions when you are confused, you should do well.


Academic Dishonesty Policy:

“Any work (written or otherwise) submitted to fulfill an academic requirement must represent a student’s original work. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as cheating or plagiarism, will subject a person to University disciplinary action. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, looking at another student’s examination, referring to unauthorized notes during an exam, providing answers, having another person take an exam for you, etc. Representing the words, ideas, or concepts of another person without appropriate attribution is plagiarism. Whenever another person’s written work is utilized, whether it be a single phrase or longer, quotation marks must be used and sources cited. Paraphrasing another’s work, i.e., borrowing the ideas or concepts and putting them into one’s “own” words, must also be acknowledged.” (Taken from the UCSB Campus Regulations,

Or, to put it another way, don’t cheat and don’t plagiarize. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism or how to properly cite sources, come speak to me during office hours and I will be happy to help you.


Disability: I encourage any students with disabilities who have not already contacted the University’s Disabled Student’s Program to do so immediately and to come and speak to me to let me know what accommodations are necessary. Unfortunately, I cannot make any disability related accommodations regarding exams if you don’t go through DSP. Note that DSP provides services for temporary disabilities as well. There is more information on their website, Speaking to DSP can only help you.


Contacting Me: The two best ways to speak to me are via email and during my office hours. While I look forward to hearing from you and very much want to hear your questions and comments and thoughts, I do have a few guidelines. If you have a question about course policies, check the syllabus before asking me to make sure that I have not already covered it. If you have a question about material covered in class while you were absent, please ask your classmates for notes. I will not answer any questions about the exam or the papers after 11pm the night before they are due.

Having said all of that, please do email me and come to my office hours if you would like help with your papers, have questions about class materials, are worried about deadlines or workload, and so on. The sooner you bring me into the loop, the sooner I can help you.


Reading List

The Tempest by William Shakespeare. ISBN: 978-0-312-08073-0

The Dead by James Joyce. ISBN: 978-0-451-52712-7

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. ISBN: 978-0-393-92793-1

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. ISBN: 978-0-393-92754-2

All texts with asterisks are digital texts. All handouts are digital and, rather than handing them out in class, can be accessed from this syllabus or from the Readings and Handouts post. Please note that that post is password protected and the password was provided on the first day of class. If you forget that password, email me.

All books are available either through the bookstore or online through Amazon or your bookseller of choice. Even if you already own a copy of Joyce’s The Dead, you are required to have this edition.


Schedule of Readings

Week 1: Seeing clearly and reading closely

  • June 23rd: Introduction,
  • June 24th: “Goblin Market”* by Christina Rossetti
  • June 25th: “Bright Star” by John Keats, Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare, The Dead by James Joyce (p. 21 – 59)
  • June 26th: The Dead by James Joyce (p. 60-84)


Week 2: Why does Caliban matter? Symbolism and figures of figurative language

  • June 30th: The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Acts I and II
  • July 1st: The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Acts III and IV
  • July 2nd: The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Act V
  • July 3rd: Caliban and Colonialism


Week 3: The Uncanny: Making monsters in man’s image

  • July 7th: “Caliban upon Setebos,”* Porphyria’s Lover”* and “My Last Duchess”* by Robert Browning, “The Uncanny”* by Sigmund Freud and “What is Psychoanalytic Criticism?” (The Dead, 85-102)
  • July 8th: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Volume I
  • July 9th: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Volume II
  • July 10th: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Volume III
    Short Paper Due


Week 4: Reflecting on screens: new forms of reading old monsters

  • July 14th: Browse the New York Public Library’s Biblion:Frankenstein website. Examine some of the following Digital Frankensteins
    Digital Frankensteins
  • July 15th: Playthrough of Patchwork Girl by Shelley Jackson
  • July 16th: Excerpt from How We Think* by N. Katherine Hayles. Excerpt from Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto”.
  • July 17th: “The Death of the Author”* by Roland Barthes
    The Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.


Week 5: “Caliban’s face in the glass” Making and finding meaning in art

  • July 21st: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
  • July 22nd: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
  • July 23rd: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
  • July 24th: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.


Week 6: (Post)modern Prometheus, contemporary fiction and the figure of the monster

  • July 28th: “Immersion”* by Aliette de Bodard, “The Trojan Girl”* by N. K. Jemisin.
  • July 29th: (Catch-up Day – subject to change)
    Final Paper Due
  • July 30th: Review and Closing Remarks
  • July 31st: Final Exam.


This syllabus is always provisional and subject to change. All changes to the syllabus will be accompanied by an announcement in class.


I'm a doctoral student in English Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My interests lie in the field known very broadly as the Digital Humanities and I focus on reading digital books (what happens to books as they become not merely digitized, but digital) and reading books digitally (how can we use computers to learn new things about literature). In what spare time I have, I read speculative fiction, transform long strings of yarn into apparel and decor and play with my friends' dogs while eagerly awaiting the day when we move to an apartment complex that will allow us to have one.

Posted in English 10: M14
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