Course Overview AP Course Description The purpose of this course is to provide students with in-depth study of great literary classics, both contemporary and pre-twentieth century. The literature is teacher-selected and represents a broad variety of genres and multicultural voices. A primary text is not used. Selections of literature are grouped according to various common traits: author, theme, or period. Full-length works of literature are provided, but students are expected to access certain shorter works and literary criticism on their own.
Major Works Studied Beowulf, A Dickens novel, two Shakespearean plays (usually Macbeth and Hamlet, a satire (The Loved One or Gulliver’s Travels) The French Lt.’s Woman. The students will also be examining poetry, short stories, and works of non-fiction including speeches, diaries, and historical overviews to gain a broader perspective of what it means to be British or non-American. They will learn to understand the historical context of a work. These works may be taken from their textbooks which include The Norton Introduction to Literature. Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes,British Writers. Supplementary may include: How to Read Like a Professor, A Short History of Myth, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Literary Theory: An Introduction.MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers,Mythology and various AP test preparatory texts. Other Text Options include
Michael Crichton The Thirteenth Warrior Anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Geoffrey Chaucer Excerpts from The Canterbury Tales (other than those included in the anthology)
Malory Morte d’Artur
A satire of recognized literary merit including works by
Moliere Jonathan Swift Alexander Pope Jane Austen George Orwell
Charles Dickens Oscar Wilde Evelyn Waugh Aldous Huxley
Any Shakespearean text
Novels, plays and shorter works by:
Chinua Achebe Edward Albee Kingsley Amis Margaret Atwood Jane Austen
Samuel Beckett Jorge Luis Borges Bertold Brecht Charlotte Bronte Emily Bronte
Italo Calvino Albert Camus Anton Chekhov Joseph Conrad Daniel Defoe
Isak Dinesen Fyodor Dostoevsky Alexander Dumas George Eliot T. S. Eliot
Thomas Hardy Beth Henley Khaled Hosseini Henrik Ibsen Eugene Ionesco
Kazou Ishiguro Henry James James Joyce Rudyard Kipling D.H. Lawrence
Doris Lessing Katherine Mansfield Gabriel Garcia Marquez W. Somerset Maugham Ian McEwan Vladimir Nabokov Harold Pinter Jean Rhys Saki
Jean Paul Sartre Mary Shelley Richard Sheridan Zadie Smith Alexander Solzhenitsyn Leo Tolstoy H. G. Wells Tennessee Williams Virginia Wolfe
You will notice that there is not a particular expository prose section in this syllabus. It is integrated within the curriculum where appropriate, commonly tied to a particular period or topic which we are covering. Authors studied include, but are not limited to the following:
Joseph Addison Matthew Arnold Francis Bacon James Boswell Thomas Carlyle William Hazlitt Samuel Johnson Charles Lamb John Stuart Mill George Orwell
Richard Steele Virginia Woolf
Common Course Assessments
Each unit will contain both formal and informal assessment. Unit tests will involve objective (multiple choice, true/false, identifications, etc.) and performance based assessments (projects, critical and literary essays).
Presentations, papers and other major assessments will be graded according to our school-wide rubrics.
It is expected that all students signed up for the course will take the AP exam in May. Student designed exit projects often take the place of final examinations for students who have taken the AP exam.
Writing The writing component consists of a wide variety of genres, academic and casual. Students are expected to produce written responses roughly bi-weekly and more formal essays three to four times a quarter. All writing is formally assessed. During second quarter, we begin writing timed essays more frequently to practice on-demand essay writing for the AP test. All writing, except for the timed essays, follows the writing workshop model, which features production of multiple drafts and conferencing individually with both peers and the teacher. The development of a wide-ranging vocabulary (showcased in a varied sentence structure and used both appropriately and effectively to the context) is a natural development of this process. Through various writing assignments, students also study the effective usage of rhetoric, which includes controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure. Organization, an issue students find problematic, is addressed throughout the year. Before students begin written assignments, they must submit a formal, concise outline which features parallel structure. Specific writing techniques that enhance coherence, such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis are targeted and developed through multiple assignments. All papers, except for the timed assignments, require a balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail, including primary textual and secondary critical sources.
AP students are required to produce two in-depth critical literary research papers. The first is a, 10-12 page critical literary research paper that is due by the end of first quarter. (See summer reading packet for author options and further information.) Students do each step of this with me, following the writing workshop model.
The second, shorter paper is a critical 6-8 page MLA style research paper on a non-American short story writer of their choice. Students produce this critical literary author paper independently by the end of second quarter. Authors may include, but are not limited to the following:
Margaret Atwood Evelyn Waugh Jorge Luis Borges Italo Calvino Albert Camus
Angela Carter Anton Chekhov Daniel Defoe Guy de Maupassant
Roald Dahl Isak Dinesen Neil Gaiman James Joyce Franz Kafka
Rudyard Kipling D.H. Lawrence Doris Lessing Thomas Mann
Katherine Mansfield Gabriel Garcia Marquez Luigi Pirandello Saki
Jean Paul Sartre Alexander Solzhenitsyn
80% Major Assessments (Papers, Projects, etc.) & Quizzes
10 % Class work, Participation
The school is fortunate enough to enjoy a close relationship with a nationally renowned theatre, Trinity Repertory Company. The curriculum is often supplemented with various plays that are performed by Trinity. Students, therefore, view plays performed by professional actors and also have the opportunity to perform as student actors; students study the plays as works of literature in historical context. In past years we have read, studied and also attended workshops on Moliere - The Moliere Impromptu, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Richard the III, Macbeth and Twelfth Night, Charles Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
Immediately proceding Labor Day, we begin school. The demanding nature of the AP curriculum requires that the students enter the classroom prepared to enter into a formal dialogue about the nature of English as a course and “Literature” as a designation. To facilitate this dialogue, students are required summer reading texts. These tend to vary and have ranged in recent years from selections from The King James Bible to Jane Austen to Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Listed below are a sampling of titles:
Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart) Isabel Allende (The House of Spirits, Eva Luna)
Martin Amis (Time's Arrow) Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, Surfacing) J.G. Ballard (The Drowned World, Empire of the Sun, Vermillion Sands)
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities, The Baron in the Trees)
The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell
Angela Carter (Nights at the Circus, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories)
Arthur C. Clarke (Rendezvous With Rama, 2001: A Space Odyssey)
J.M. Coetzee (The Life and Times of Michael K) Louis DeBernieres (Corelli's Mandolin)
Anita Desai (Clear Light of Day) Literary Criticism Terry Eagleton
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose) Sebastian Faulks (Charlotte Gray)
John Fowles (A Maggot, The Magus) Neil Gaiman (Stardust, American Gods, Anansi Boys)
Graham Greene (The Heart of the Matter) Mythology Edith Hamilton
Joanne Harris (Five Quarters of an Orange) Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day, Never Say Goodbye)
Ha Jin (Waiting) Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook, The Fifth Child)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
Ian McEwan (Atonement, Saturday) Alan Moore (The Watchmen, V for Vendetta)
V.S. Naipaul (A Bend in the River) Alan Paton (Cry the Beloved Country)
Iain Pears (Instance of the Fingerpost) Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy)
Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series: including The Colour of Magic)
Salman Rushdie (The Moor’s Last Sigh) Jose Samarago (Blindness) Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
September begins with a review of the summer reading and the application of the concepts introduced therein to other literary texts. The class follows a vaguely chronological approach to literature so that students, although engaged in the AP curriculum, also share some commonality with their peers in regular education classes. Since British literature is the designation for senior year, you will notice a concentration of British Literature that is supplemented with non-American, American and contemporary writers.
Students who elect to participate in AP their senior year will have had exposure to both classic and contemporary American writers in previous courses. Authors of short stories, novels, plays and poems they will have studied include, but are not limited to the following authors: Thomas Paine, George Washington, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Kate Chopin, John Steinbeck, J. D. Salinger, Ray Bradbury and Tim O’Brien. Students are encouraged to reference and draw parallels between the American writers they have studied and their British and non-American contemporaries.
Unit I Introduction to AP, Literary Criticism, & Anglo-Saxons. Discussion of what English as a course entails, how it came to be, and the direction(s) in which it is moving. Students are assigned Beowulf and an introduction to the origins of the English language.
Weeks 2-3: . Various approaches to literary criticism are examined, discussed in light of Eagleton’s essay, Foster’s How to Read Like a Professor, Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth and articles by and on Joseph Campbell’s A Hero With A Thousand Faces and applied to Beowulf. Students begin research on their critical literary papers.
Assessments may include: Students analyze two myths, according to Campbell’s breakdown of the Heroic Quest. They also explain each critical literary approach. Beowulf and a classic film of each student’s choice are analyzed (in light of the Heroic Journey) in the form of a short paper. Quiz grades for research paper steps.
Weeks 4 - 5: Poetry. Elegiac Poetry and Medieval Ballads are analyzed by theme and literary devices. Selections include: “The Seafarer,” “The Wanderer,” “The Wife’s Lament,” “Twa Corbies,” “Barbara Allen,” “Lord Randall” and “The Ballad of Birmingham.”
Research Paper. Prospectus, Works cited and drafting.
Assessments may include: In-class, timed analysis of an additional Anglo-Saxon Elegiac poem and Medieval Ballad. Students will break down the structure and theme of both a ballad and elegiac poem and demonstrate how one reinforces the other. Quiz grades for research paper steps.
Weeks 5-6:Medieval Romance. Selections from Morte d’Arthur and Sir Gawain are read and analyzed in light of two literary approaches: psychoanalytic and structural. This is supplemented with a movie biography of King Arthur that examines the man, myth, and impact of the Arthurian legend on both British literature and culture.
Assessments may include: In class discussion of texts; structural, symbolic, and thematic breakdown of the medieval romance; an analysis of the development of a hero. Quiz grades for research paper steps.
Weeks 6-7: Medieval Satire. Selections from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales are read. Options include, but are not limited to: The Prologue, The Miller’s Tale, The Monk’s Tale, The Nun’s Priest Tale, The Wife of Bath’s Tale and The Pardoner’s Tale. Assessments may include:Two oral presentations. The Prologue is divided by characters and each student has several about which he must report orally to the class. The students break down each character’s position in society, physical attributes, moral outlook and Chaucer’s opinion of that character. The students also pair up and research a particular tale and then present their findings to the class.
Objective in-class test on Anglo – Saxon and Medieval literature with a section that has a free response essay question from a previous AP test.
Quiz grades for research paper steps.
Weeks 7-9: Poetry: The Renaissance. At this point, the class is divided into groups who will analyze sonnets, metaphysical, and pastoral poetry. Literary structure, including various devises and themes, will be utilized.
Satire as a literary genre is examined. Students study what satire is and read selections that may include, but are not limited to the following authors:
Horace / Juvenal Geoffrey Chaucer Jean Baptiste Moliere
Alexander Pope Jane Austen Charles Dickens
Oscar Wilde Evelyn Waugh Aldous Huxley
Assessments may include:
Poetry. Student will have a timed AP poetry essay, as well as sample objective sections from AP practice tests. They may also write their own sonnet, reflecting the structure of a Shakespearean, Spenserian or Petrarchan sonnet.
Satire: Students will have an objective satire test which includes a timed AP practice essay. They may also write their own 2-3 page satire, analyzing a topical issue of their choice.
First Quarter Benchmark: Students will be able to write short, critical response essays that utilize both a literary text(s) and criticism. They will trace the development of British literature from the Anglo-Saxon through the Renaissance periods and have a fundamental understanding of the concept of satire. Students will exhibit familiarity with the structure of the AP test. Students will hand in their 10-12 page critical literary essay.
Weeks 10: Introduction to drama:Greek tragedy. Students will read and analyze Oedipus Rex.
Students will select the author they will examine in the independent author paper.
Assessments may include: AP practice essay may be utilized for assessment of this unit.
Weeks 11-16: Introduction to Renaissance theatre. Characteristics, devices, symbols and authors are discussed. Students will read, analyze, view, perform, and critique two to three Shakespearean plays which may include, but are not limited to: Richard the Third, Macbeth and Hamlet. Criticism of all three plays will supplement the readings. Author paper work.
Assessments may include: Shakespearean Drama. Various objective reading quizzes and the writing of a critical analysis. The development and conception of the hero during the Renaissance will also be examined in essay format. A minimum of three practice essays and two practice objective sections of the AP test will be given.
Weeks 10-17: Author Paper. Students will independently produce a 6-8 page research paper that analyzes a short story author of their choice. Approaches to this are determined by the student and may include thematic, stylistic, etc. This is due the last class before exams.
Week 18: Midterm Exams: Format mimics AP test. Part objective, part essay, all timed.
Midterm Benchmarks: Students will exhibit an understanding of the development, underlying structure and characteristics of the English language from Anglo-Saxon to Renaissance literature. They will also demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the structure and tradition of both Greek and Shakespearean drama. Students should be able to apply Aristotle’s definition of tragedy to both forms. Two longer well-researched critical literary analysis and a coherent essay in response to a timed AP English and Literature prompt will also be produced.
Second Semester: Focus on the novel and poetry. Week: 19-23 Half class: 18th Century Poetry Students will study how to read and interpret poetry, utilizing meter, rhyme, figurative language, figures of speech, poetic types, and movements.
Selections may include, but are not limited to the following:
John Donne John Dryden Robert Herrick Samuel Johnson
Ben Jonson Andrew Marvel John Milton Alexander Pope
Robert Burns Thomas Gray
Half class: 18th or 19th Century novel: This includes development of the novel, literary movement(s), analysis and interpretation, as well as biographical analysis. Authors may include, but are not limited to the following:
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice / Emma Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness
Daniel Defoe Moll Flanders Charles Dickens Great Expectations etc.
Fyodor Dostoevski Crime and Punishment Alexander Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo
George Eliot Silas Marner Henry Fielding Joseph Andrews
Gustave Flaubert Madam Bovary Thomas Hardy Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Mary Shelley Frankenstein William Thackeray Vanity Fair
For the past several years, Charles Dickens has been the main focus for this section.
Assessment: Poetry: Practice AP objective and essay questions from previous essay tests, using selections from the above mentioned authors
18th / 19th Century Novel: reading quizzes. Literary analysis and objective test.
Weeks 24 -27: Half class: Poetry 19th Century. Students will study how to read and interpret poetry, utilizing meter, rhyme, figurative language, figures of speech, poem types and poetic movements.
Selections may include, but are not limited to the following:
William Blake Lord Byron Samuel Taylor Coleridge
John Keats Percy Bysshe Shelley William Wordsworth
Matthew Arnold Elizabeth Barrett Browning Robert Browning
Lewis Carroll Thomas Hardy Gerald Manley Hopkins
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Half Class: 20th Century Novel. This includes development of the novel, literary movement(s), analysis, interpretation and biographical information. Authors may include, but are not limited to the following:
Kingsley Amis Margaret Atwood Albert Camus Ford Maddox Ford E. M. Forster
Graham Green Aldous Huxley Kazou Ishiguro James Joyce D.H. Lawrence
Doris Lessing Vladimir Nabokov George Orwell Jean Rhys Zadie Smith
Evelyn Waugh Virginia Wolfe Ian McEwan W. Somerset Maugham
For the past several years, John Fowle’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman has been studied. The nature of postmodernism, the reliability of the narrator, and the impact of science as themes are examined, as well as basic literary conventions and devises.
Assessments may include:
Poetry. Sections from the above mentioned authors included in practice AP objective and essay tests are utilized.
Twentieth Century Novel: Thematic essay on the novel of choice. Timed practice essay and objective test.
3rd Quarter Benchmarks: Students will exhibit the ability to read, analyze and write about a novel. A final in-depth analysis reflecting a more thorough understanding of poetry, including a discussion of movements, style and content from the 18th and 19th centuries, will be produced.
Weeks 28-31: Half Class: The short story. Conventions and devices are examined. Students will do several practice AP tests, both objective and writing. Authors may include, but are not limited to the following:
Chinua Achebe Jorge Luis Borges Italo Calvino Albert Camus
Anton Chekhov Joseph Conrad Julio Cortazar Daniel Defoe
Charles Dickens Isak Dinesen Nikolai Gogal James Joyce
Rudyard Kipling D.H. Lawrence Doris Lessing Thomas Mann
Katherine Mansfield H. G. Wells R.K. Narayan Tim O’Brien
Liam O’Flaherty Luigi Pirandello Saki J. P. Sartre Solzhenitsyn Leo Tolstoy Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Half Class: Drama: Restoration to Modern: The elements of drama are studied, including time, speaker/character, dialogue, language, style and production, action, meaning, spectacle, and audience. Modern drama and comedy are the focus.
Works covered in this section may include, but are not limited to the following:
Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid Beth Henley’s Am I Blue, Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie Edward Albee Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Jean-Paul Sartre No Exit Samuel Beckett Endgame / Waiting for Godot
Eugene Ionesco The Lesson Bertold Brecht The Caucasion Chalk Circle
Anton Chekhov The Cherry Orchard / The Sea Gull
T. S. Eliot Murder In the Cathedral Oliver Goldsmith She Stoops to Conquer
Harold Pinter The Birthday Party Luigi Pirandello Six Characters in Search of an Author
Oscar Wilde TheImportance of Being Ernest Richard Sheridan The Rivals / The School for Scandal
Tom Stoppard Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead
Assessments may include: Students complete both objective tests and response essays. They also practice timed essay responses from previous AP Literature and Comprehension tests.
At about this point students are taking their AP exam. For the final five weeks, students will do the following: Weeks 31-36: Student Exit Project. Students choose a period, author, theme or literary text to dramatize for a select audience of peers and faculty. Student must produce formal scripts, set up a rehearsal schedule, utilize the whole classroom in their performance, and take into consideration everything from seating to costumes to food.
Assessment: The final evaluation includes the performance and a reflection on the whole process. Along the way, students will have specific due dates for particular parts graded as quizzes. They also are required to create all of the rubrics used for assessment.
Final Benchmark: AP students do not have a class final, since they are expected to take the AP test. Their exit project counts as a final test grade. It is expected that the final product of this work is a student who can closely read and analyze a variety of texts and then synthesize this understanding into a performance piece which is easily accessible and understandable to a diverse audience.