E324 [29915] Spring, 1997

Texas and England: Art and Architecture, Landscape and Literature 1800-1900.


WEL 2.246 TT 2-330.

Our goal is to make 19th-century English literature as relevant as possible to your life today. Therefore, throughout the semester, and in the take-home final exam, we will compare and contrast the 19th century with the 20th, and England with Texas. We will begin with a novel written in 1974, The French Lietutenant's Woman, and the movie based on it, that invites us to compare the two centuries. Then we will look around us at 19th century architecture in Texas and trace its roots to an English author, John Ruskin. Following the example of our own J. Frank Dobie's A Texan in England, we will compare English and Texas landscapes, focusing on parallels between the hill country, as described in our own Roy Bedicheck's Adventures of a Texas Naturalist, and the lake country of England. Our first unit will conclude with the question, why did the the authors of the Texas Constitution demand a "university of the first class ... for the promotion of literature?" In other words, what did "literature" stand for in 1876, and what is its value today? The answer to that question gives us some direction to our website discussion.

This is a multimedia, multidiscplinary course. We will compare classics of 19th-century English literature to their 20th-century American and English movie versions. Using slides, personal observation, and an essay by John Ruskin we will compare English medievalist architecture to medievalist architecture in Austin and elsewhere in Texas. We will use slides also to compare the verbal and visual art of 19th c. medievalist painters, and, in order to understand the nature writing of that time, to contrast the English landscape with that around Austin. You have the option of "writing your essays" by constructing multimedia sites on the course web page.

We will also use the course web site to conduct most of our discussions. Discussions is essential but difficult in a large course. In the past we have had discussion sections which met an extra day per week. Students prefer computerized discussions at the class web site because they can join in any time of the day or night. Getting access is not always convenient for students without their own computers and modems, but there is the added bonus of learning a skill valuable in today's job market.

50% of your grade in this course will be determined by your contributions to computerized discussions on the Internet. To do this you will need to have a computer with a modem or use the university computers connected to the Internet (you may have to get up early to get access to one). Your Internet discussions will be evaluated weekly. 15% of your grade will be determined by an essay on Victorian architecture in Texas, 25% by the final exam, and 10% by attendance and participation in the lecture sections. Due dates for assignments and readings are listed in the Schedule.

Texts: The French Lieutenant's Woman,Jane Eyre, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, Vol. 2; a collection of photocopied materials to be purchased from Jenn's, 2000 Guadelupe, 473-8669.

INTERNET ACCESS. For Internet Access an IF (Individually Funded) computer account is required. It can be obtained from the Student Microcomputer Facility (SMF) in FAC 212. It will enable you to participate in the discussions and help us to communicate with you and vice versa. You will also be able to communicate with anyone in the world with an Internet address. Also available in the SMF is SLIP software which will enable you to use e-mail from your apartment or dorm-room (you may also need a modem); it includes Eudora, the recommended e-mail program, and Netscape, a program that enables you to participate in the Internet class discussions. Your IF (Individually-Funded) account will also give you access to the printing facilities on campus.

If you are going to use campus computers or any computer other than your own you may also need diskettes and a diskette carrying case to protect against accidental damage to the diskettes which contain your writing and messages. Be sure to label your diskettes with your name and phone number so that you can retrieve them if they are lost.

Office hours etc. I will be in my office at 1:30 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will usually be in the classroom just before class, but the best way to get in touch with me is through electronic mail

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This site was initiated with help from Bret Benjamin and is sponsored by the Computer Writing and Research Lab and currently maintained by Jerome Bump. Send comments to him .

updated January 15, 1997

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