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Assignments: Victorian Literature

Due dates can be found in the course calendar.

(More detailed instructions will follow, throughout the term.)

Assignment 1: Epistolary Fiction (10%). We will have discussed the genre of the ‘gift annual’, to which The Keepsake belongs, within early Victorian reading culture. Write a 500-1000 word letter from an imaginary giver of the 1829 edition of The Keepsake to its recipient. In your letter, quote, cite, and close-read content from The Keepsake and relate it to your character’s life. What does the writer want the reader to learn from his/her interpretation of Keepsake content? Post your letter in the D2L dropbox for this assignment.

Assignment 2: 4 blog entries x 500 words/entry (20% [5% each]). To share your insights on the assigned texts, images, and contextualizing artifacts with the class and the general public, you will write and post several 500-word blog entries on specified topics. Unless you are otherwise instructed, each blog entry should include close-reading of quoted, cited passages and constructive use of multimedia (images, video, sound, field trip artifacts, in-class artifacts, etc.) is encouraged.

Assignment 3: NINES Tutorial (15%). As a blog post, make an online tutorial of a virtual archive. You will be assigned one of the NINES-based digital archives. Both are accessible on the NINES website. Your tutorial should:

– Introduce your archive. What is its focus? What media, genre(s), author(s), does it showcase? Who published it (edited it?) At what university, if applicable? Is it constantly updated or fixed? (C) what date(s)?
– Show your audience how to navigate it. Use screenshots and text. You can use Szoter or Paint to annotate the screenshots.
– Identify 1 or 2 exciting texts, images, or artifacts accessible via the site, and relate them to assigned texts by the relevant writers.
– What aspects of the assigned texts does this resource help you to better understand? Why? Perform at least one close reading, quoting, paraphrasing, and citing the assigned text and the database material.
– Make your tutorial clear, creative, and useful to fellow undergraduate students of Victorian literature. Some tutorials will be posted online for public use.
– Make sure to use clear, eloquent language (no padding!); spell-check and proofread as best you can.
– Use a tone and style appropriate to the genre and audience.

Assignment 4: Sweeney Todd’s Atlas (20%). 

Assignment 5: 7-10 page final paper, plus bibliography (20%). The paper prompts will exercise your ability to conduct research, relate texts to contexts (such as the Keepsake’s business model or the geography of The String of Pearls), use the NINES-based archives and secondary sources, and make persuasive, well-evidenced arguments that incorporate close reading. You will have opportunities for brainstorming, peer and instructor-given formative feedback, and revision. Submit all draft material brought to or generated in class, including your revision checklist.

Assignment 6: Participation (15%). I expect all students not only to be physically present in class, but to be mentally present. In other words, while you are in class, pay attention, analyze course materials, grapple with ideas and possibilities, help your classmates, and uni-task. Active mental presence is the only way to learn, and you can’t do it while passively consuming information on a computer or other electronic device. There are specific penalties, taken off your participation grade, for: (1) not having the homework (1pt each incident); missing a blog post (3); and missing a workshop or other unrepeatable exercise (5 points).

Due dates can be found in the course calendar or the sign-up sheets on Dr. Nesvet’s door (TH358).


All assignments must be turned in on the due date; any assignments (excluding oral presentations) not turned in will be penalized one full letter grade per day. Any oral presentations not turned in on the day might receive a zero, if in my judgment they cannot be incorporated into later class sessions without negative impact on your classmates’ learning.

There are 100 possible points available. Once a percentage of the points earned is determined, I will assign final grades based on the following scale (100 pts equals 100 percent, etc.):

92-100 A 89-91 A/B
82-88 B 79-81 B/C
72-78 C 69-71 C/D
60-68 D F is below 60

Pop quizzes might take place. Therefore, be certain that you have read the reading.

Due dates can be found in the course calendar.

Children: London Maps

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