FAQs for English 242

FAQs for English 242: Literary History

  • What is English 242? This course explores literary history as a mode of inquiry, asking how authors and their creations have responded to predecessors, and how such responses have transformed literature in English over time. The course examines both how literary traditions have been constructed in the past and what conceptual tools we now have available for defining and describing literary traditions. The course includes material from before 1800 and after 1800, as well as material from at least two national literatures.The texts included span at least two centuries, with at least one portion of the course focused on poetry.
  • Should I be concerned with coverage in English 242 and try to expose my students to as much literary history as possible in this course? While literary history might seem to imply coverage, this course isn’t intended to survey all of literary history (an impossible task!). Instead, choose texts from at least two national literatures, before and after 1800, that span at least 200 years and that you think exemplify how literary history is often organized around certain concepts.
  • Does the course need to be organized chronologically? Absolutely not. In fact, you might find that not organizing the course chronologically might help students understand how conceptual ideas organizing literary history have emerged over time. On the other hand, you might also find that some chronological organization is helpful to demonstrate to students how literary histories develop.
  • Do I have to teach poetry in English 242? Yes, poetry should be a focus of the course, and you should consider devoting at least one unit to poetry in English 242 or integrating the discussion and analysis of representative poems throughout your syllabus.
  • Where can I find sample syllabi and assignments from past sections of English 242? Please click here for sample syllabi. You can also find sample assignments in the links above.
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About Karen Weingarten

Karen Weingarten is an assistant professor at Queens College.
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