Sonntag, 3. Februar 2008
Don't Panic!
...especially not in room UA136, where our course will meet. Thanks for working so hard, you won't regret it! See you there.

Please make sure to click on "Ältere Beiträge" in each archive section, I put up lots of material for the course, especially comments on each text.

Montag, 23. Juli 2007
Rule # 1: Don't Panic!
Hoping that you are on your way into the literature...seriously, a Blockseminar only makes sense if you guys read all texts before we meet...I want to drop a short line on the material we'll cover.

First of all, we are currently six students, so the course will definitely take place. I am glad that you joined the course, as students in EI tend to stick to what they know, especially if it happens to take place between Tuesdays and Thursdays around 1 pm. ;)

Possibly the style I used in the syllabus scared some off--though in that case they seem to have ignored the fourth sentence from the top (not a good sign), in which I point out that the syllabus is a collection of rules that will allow us to have more fun in class.
Many people also have problems with a Blockseminar, though I personally always thought it a great thing to take an extra course with my own pace of preparation during the semester.

Our fabulous reader is HERE, and you can pick it up at Frau Niegsch's office. The reader contains ALL short texts and a bunch of secondary literature, with short intros telling you what to do with it.

As I said before, please have ALL texts read BEFORE you come to class, this is really important. We only have a few hours on this or that text, with presentations and discussions we probably won't have time to read the texts in class.

You can read far more effectively in your own space and with all your resources at hand to answer any questions you have about the texts, you can take notes, look up vocabulary, etc...

The order of the texts you read does not matter, though I did structure the course in this way: usually AR courses start with Emerson as the forefather of it all, but he is rather abstract and philosophical, so I chose an easier author, at least more readable one first, namely Hawthorne, who is a good introduction.
I personally think Hawthorne - Thoreau - Emerson - Whitman - Melville is a good order, just because Hawthorne is a good read and his texts can be easily remembered, Thoreau is fun and lively, then you need some more abstract foundations for the texts in the form of Emerson, followed by the radical innovator Whitman, and everything culminates in the masterpieces by Melville. Again, this is an idea, you don't NEED to do this, and if you are well into Moby Dick, then go on reading, but make sure you read the info I posted on the blog on how to read effectively and with our course goals in mind. The texts don't really build on each other, but their ideas and concepts mix and connect.

Please do not hesitate to drop me a line if you have any further questions, go ahead and read the material I put online to help you on the blog, use the blog as a platform and contact each other and me if you need any help.

Now, obviously there are "simpler" and "more complex" texts. Already, I put these terms in quotation marks, but at least when it comes to readability, be it syntactically or psychologically, there are vastly different texts here.

Now mind you, it's all good, we are all friends here, and you've got somebody the good German tax payers invested a lot of money into to be able to help you through this stuff.

They all, as we say in German "kochen auch nur mit Wasser"!

So whether it is a novel, poem, or article, don't panic, we'll get it sorted out, just don't worry.

Make sure you follow a common approach of literary studies:

-Read the foreword of your edition. Ideally buy editions that have a good foreword, written by someone in the field. There are decent ones, and usually big publishers will take the time to look for someone qualified. If you want to, check out the Norton Critical Edition or similar, they come pre-loaded with a ton of footnotes, explanations, references, criticism, and other valuable material.
-Look at the text's structure (books, chapters, sections, verses, ...) and keep it in mind when reading the text. How does the structure relate to the content? Also, check when the text was first published and quickly browse the major historical facts of that time, what was on people's minds and does the text relate to events? If no, then why not?
-Rest assured that nothing "just happens to be written like that" in texts we assign you in literature classes, so if something seems strange, note it down and ask, it probably is something important. If the text(s) "fight back," if they are resisting your reading of them in any way (syntax, lexicon, content, characters, message), reflect on that too. Authors are aware of the option of making a text difficult or strange to read, and we want to watch ourselves read texts.

For our course, also look at the links I provided and let us all here know if you found a good site online, we will surely appreciate it!

It is important, however, for you to dive in and really sink your teeth into these texts, to wrestle with them, write down your questions, and so forth, so let's go.
Samstag, 21. Juli 2007
Sign-up sheet
The Old Manse Emerson and Hawthorne lived in
If you want to participate in this course, please sign up here and please drop me an email, that way you won't have to publish your email here online and fall prey to spam.
(To sign up, add a comment, state name, semester, major/minors)
Freitag, 20. Juli 2007
First of all...a question...
: I would like to go back in time and live in 19th century New England.
Where do I sign up?
No Way!

  view results

Created by sfroehlich on 2007.07.20, 22:29.

Welcome my dear friends, to the show that never ends....

This show is certain to end, and that rather quickly, but at least here we will have some time before, during, and after the actual class to discuss texts, ask questions, (hopefully) find answers.

This blog is an additional outlet for the course participants, a way to contact your instructor (that would be me, Sören Fröhlich), and to discuss your findings in a more fashionable way than writing letters to me or waiting for the class.

Whenever you find yourself stuck with your reading, post a story or add a comment regarding it, and we all will help to the best of our abilities.

Whenever you have a question that you feel is not that relevant to the course, but that you want to discuss anyway, post it.

Whenever you found something you think is neat and want to share it, go ahead.

Oh, and if you are absolutely worried about signing up with to comment here--sorry about that, I just don't have a website where I could publish this site--just email me your comments, I will happily publish them for you. Also, since this is a blog, I have no choice but to post the most recent post on top, so don't let yourself be confused by this reversed order.

Some "fine print" regarding the status of this blog:

Please respect this space as an official site associated with the course, so watch your language and refrain from inappropriate comments, they could be censored.

Now, let me make some things clear: what happens here, stays here (as they say about Vegas), and it has NO formal bearing on the course as such.
In other words: unless I ask you to post something here or the like, the posts here are NOT a formal part of your grade, which
a) hopefully will relax you...there is no "right" or "wrong" here (though there rarely will be one in the classroom anyhow)
b) will not help you if you miss your deadlines ony any of the course requirements and then post something five to midnight...I will entirely disregard this and you'll be in trouble...apart from the fact that you will have shown that you were aware you're messing up, so you might be in even bigger trouble.
Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
Lehrstuhl für Amerikanistik
Wintersemester 2007/08
Proseminar: “The American Renaissance:
Canonical Cacophony of American Literature”
Instructor: Sören Fröhlich, M.A.

This Proseminar focuses on 19th century American literature.
Prerequisites are: successful passing of the “Introduction to Literary Studies,” advanced knowledge of English, a basic knowledge of American history, and a thirst of knowledge! This syllabus will be your course guide. The rules of the course are written down so that we will not have to spend much time discussing them in class, as we the course itself is meant to be fun and will focus on the material at hand.

Class Meeting Time and Place:
This class meets as a Blockseminar. That means that ALL units take place on four days (February 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th), with a total of 6,5 hours (Zeitstunden) per day, in two sessions and a lunch break (so a day will look something like this: session 1 from 09:30-13:00, lunch break, session 2 from 14:00-17:00).

Signing up:
Since the instructor will unfortunately not be on campus until shortly before the course, you will want to communicate your intention to participate via email. You can also sign up on the course blog: , but to protect your data—it is a public blog—please don’t post your email there, but sign up and drop your instructor a line via email. Your information will be deleted off the blog after the course is over, but the blog will remain online.

Instructor’s Contact Information:
Sören Fröhlich, M.A., Lehrbeauftragter
American Studies Department
KUE-I, Universitätsallee UA207

Office hours:
February 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th: 9:00-9:25, UA207.
February 15th: 10:00-17:00,
or by appointment.
For appointments outside of these office hours please email me.

This course aims to give students a firm understanding of works and authors of a certain period in the history of American Literature. In addition to introducing basic literary concepts, it furthermore stresses these basic skills: reading and analyzing English prose and poetry, researching, rewriting and presenting materials in a scientific manner, speaking freely before the class, and writing a paper with a clear thesis, according to scientific standards. As much as possible, and time permitting, we will attempt to achieve these goals through communicative activities in the group. This course will be reading-centered, so the chief requirement is that you make a commitment to keeping up with the reading, and that you come to class prepared to discuss what you have read. It is recommended that you read all literature at your own pace and leisure during the semester as you will most likely not be able to read the literature along with the course progression.

Required Books:
Except for full-length novels, required texts and materials will be copied in the course reader, available at the American Studies Department, UA209. All additional reading and discussions of the texts will be presented at .

The short texts we will read:
· Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Wakefield.”
· Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” “Bartleby the Scrivener.”
· Whitman, Walt. “Song of Myself,” “Drum-Taps,”
· Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “The American Scholar,” “Nature,” “Experience.”
· Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Purloined Letter”
· Dickinson, Emily. “Dying,” “Parting,” “Pain Has An Element”

You MUST read the FULL text of and bring one copy for yourself (library, friend's book, bought, though purchasing is probably best any way is fine, just have it read before the lecture starts) to class of:
· Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlett Letter.
· Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, or Life in the Woods.
· Melville, Herman. Moby Dick.

(Beginning your quest to academic knowledge can be intimidating and confusing, so here are some general tools that may be of use to you, for more specific problems with any aspect of the material covered, please contact the instructor.)

Miscellaneous tools to help you with your writing:
· Roget's Thesaurus,
· Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (or comparable),
· German-English dictionary (PONS, Oxford-Duden, or comparable),
· Strunk&White. The Elements of Style. NYC: Longman Publishers,
· MLA Handbook (6th edition or 2nd ed. of the “Publishing Manual”).

Standard Resources for the Study of American Literature:
· Drabble, Margaret. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP.
· Zapf, Hubert. Amerikanische Literaturgeschichte. Stuttgart: Metzler.
· Baym et al. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. NYC: W.W. Norton.
· Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
· For basic questions regarding literary terms and concepts you may want to look into Abrams, Michael H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Boston: Heinle&Heinle.
· Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Malden: Blackwell.
· Jahn: Introduction to Narratology.
· Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. NYC: W.W. Norton.

Other Resources (Sonstiges):
· The course blog: Feel free to discuss any issues related to the course on the blog right now. Since you will read the texts before coming to class, and since you will not see each other in the classroom, this is a good way to exchange ideas and opinions or ask questions. Your instructor will be participating in the blog activity, and can help you with any questions and/or problems you might have regarding the material. Additional course material will be posted on the blog. This material is not part of the reader, but is merely meant to help you in your research and your reading of the texts.
· The Sprachenzentrum
· University Library, check the OPAC. CAUTION: if you order books via Fernleihe, do it early, they may take weeks (part of writing a research paper is getting your sources together at the right time)!

Your grade will be calculated according to the following percentages:

Presentation of assigned readings 35%
Oral Class Work 15%
Written Paper 50%
Total grade 100%

Grades issued are defined as follows:
1 Excellent
2 Good
3 Satisfactory
4 Passing, but unsatisfactory
5 Failing
6 Failed
Please note: Failing=4.6
Missing an assignment =6

The Paper:
Half of your grade depends on the quality of research paper you write.
The paper will be written in clear, college-level English, on DIN A-4 paper, 1.5 spaces, Times New Roman pt. 12 font, about 15 pages (15 plus end of paragraph, 14 to the very end of the page, not counting cover, index, and bibliography) with a cover sheet, an index or outline, an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion, as well as a section for works cited. Apart from this, your paper has to conform to the general standards explained in the MLA handbooks. Please ask any questions regarding the paper BEFORE starting on it, especially with regard to finding literature and citation (for example: Wikipedia is NOT a scientific resource, find the corresponding entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica or, more ideally, in dictionaries specialized in your topic).
You have to chose the topic of the paper yourself and consult on the subject with the instructor BEFORE writing the paper (this is for your own protection, as instructors can often help you avoid bad topic choices). The paper will be written on the topic of your in-class presentation, unless you make other arrangements with the instructor if you find another, more interesting topic. Please give sufficient time for research and composition, as some topics can be very time-consuming. In the paper, you are expected to display a) a high level of familiarity with the topic discussed b) a familiarity with secondary sources that support and frame your thesis c) a firm grasp on formal aspects of scientific papers such as quotations, bibliography, and development of an original thesis by fully explaining it in an argument.
Alternatively, you can also write a 10-page essay on a topic. This essay will rely less on (but also cannot do without) formal requirements and secondary sources, but will be expected to show much deeper reflection on and a much more thorough understanding of the subject as well as a higher level of originality. Talk to the instructor if you prefer this form of a final paper.

A note on plagiarism (Plagiate):
Because a foreign language is best learned by communicating and interacting with others, I encourage you to work together to learn vocabulary, discuss texts and theories, to practice presentations, help each other out with words or phrases in class, or even to assist one another with written assignments.
However, there are limits, and plagiarism will result in automatic failing of the class. In this course, the following activities will be considered plagiarism:
· Cheating on tests, quizzes, questions, presentations, at home or in class.
· Copying someone else’s presentations, questions, or presentations.
· Copying papers from the internet or any other source, copying papers from other students, using ANY text without indicating the source in a scientifically sound way.
· Having someone else take tests or write papers for you.
(It is OK to cite original sources mentioned in one work and not that work itself as long as these sources are relevant to your paper. Best consult the MLA handbook on how to use texts in this way—you will have to add “as quoted in:”—because after all, they could have misquoted that original source.)

It is imperative that you attend our units (texts discussed). Any student who misses THREE or more class units will NOT receive a course grade. In addition, please be aware that there is a component in your grade for in-class work. If you are not in class, you can't earn this part of your grade unless you can prove medical or other such emergency.

Due to the time constraint and the nature of the class, being on time is important!!! If you are late to any three or more units, this will count as one absence. Also, be prepared to explain yourself, in fluent English, if you stumble in at half past the hour, or to receive extra assignments! Fair warning is hereby given!

In the Classroom:
You are expected to be polite, to respect one another and me, and to pay attention for the entire class time. Please help make our classroom atmosphere congenial so that everyone is comfortable to participate.
· The official policy does not allow for eating or drinking in classrooms.
· Pop quizzes are fair game (bun unlikely).
· The classroom is English only, including all questions, answers, papers, presentations,
· Refer to specific passages or texts you read. If possible, be substantial.
· Come to class ready to participate.
· Make sure you have done the homework, slept and eaten!
· Do not speak out of turn.

As with all university courses, you are expected to spend at least 2 hours on homework for every 45 minute lesson in the classroom. If you finish the homework assignment in less than 2 hours, it is best to use the extra time to prepare your own topic, look for relevant connections, go over the readings again, memorize vocabulary, or read more by an author you enjoyed reading.
-At any point you might have the following homework types of assignments for the next day:
1. A written assignment to be handed in or to be sent by email (please make sure your email works, no excuses).
2. A learning assignment, such as reading through an additional text.
3. Preparing questions on the texts you read.
-Assignments will be announced in class or on the course website.
-Any homework is due on the next class day and will NOT be accepted for credit afterward.
-You are expected to read and prepare the material to be covered in class BEFORE coming to class.

Approximate Schedule and Sample Topics:
You are expected to send in your topic with a short description together with a “handout” (thesis paper) to the instructor, at the latest two weeks before the classes start (on January 28, 2008).
(This is an approximate schedule of our course, we may vary content and time allotted to focus more on certain aspects and/or texts. Make sure you have read all texts before coming to class, to have your presentation ready and to be able to guide your fellow students through the topic and text you are presenting. The topics below are sample topics you may chose as they are, or which you may modify after checking with the instructor. You may also chose another topic altogether, if you feel comfortable with it and got an OK for that topic from your instructor.)

1. Formalities, Introduction
2. Before the American Renaissance
“The Establishment of 19th-century American Literature”
“Romanticism Versus the American Renaissance”
3. THE American Renaissance
“The American Renaissance: A Counterculture?”
“Cacophonous Canon: The Development of the American Renaissance in American Studies.”
4. Hawthorne
“Is the ‘A’ for Adultery?”
“The Doctor Is In: Chillingworth’s Science of Dissemination.”
5. Emerson (1)
“Signs of Spirit and Signs of Things: Emerson’s View on Language.”
1. Emerson (2)
2. Thoreau
“Thoreau: Punster Extraordinaire”
“Is Walden an Environmentalist Text?”
4. Whitman (1)
“Poe’s Rationcination and Whitman’s Cosmic Whole”
“‘Song of Myself’: An Encyclopedic Poem?”
“Whitman’s View(s) on Literature.”
1. Whitman (2)
“The Body in ‘Song of Myself’.”
“The ‘Catalogues’ and Whitman’s View on Language.”
2. Melville (1)
“What Is Moby Dick?”
“American History in Moby Dick.”
“The Pequod as Melting-Pot?”
1. Melville (2)
“The Whiteness of the Whale.”
“Obsession and Drivenness in Moby Dick.”
“Ahab: Visionary or Lunatic?”
2. A Darker Side
“‘Wakefield’ and the Problem of Perspective.”
“Whitman and War”
“How Significant is ‘Bartleby’ Today?”
“Poe and the American Renaissance”
“Dickinson and the American Renaissance”
3. Beyond the American Renaissance
“Literary Criticism and the Dead White Males.”
“Modernism and the American Renaissance”
“The American Renaissance Today”