Writing about Literature: Texts and Textuality

ENGL N220:051
Fall 2014              

Tuesdays 6:20-9:00 p.m.

Dr. Barbara C. Ewell 
 loyola university new orleans


All information here is subject to change: posted 15 March 2014. Check for updates.


  • Scholes, Robert, Nancy Comley, and Gregory Ulmer, eds. Text Book: Writing  through Literature. 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin's, 2002.
  • Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Selected Stories. New York, Penguin, 1984.
  • Shakespeare, William. Othello.New York: Signet, 2005.


  • Instant Access: The Pocket Reference for Writers. Eds. Michael L. Keene and Katherine H. Adams. NewYork: McGraw-Hill, 2003.

You will also be asked to view the films Casablanca and Play It Again, Sam outside class. We may also attend a play.

If you're trying to cut costs, many texts are also available secondhand through other commercial booksellers--or they may be available for rent at the Loyola bookstore.

"Writing about Literature" is required for all Loyola students as part of the Advanced Common Curriculum. This section is designed for non-traditional, adult students, and for students in the Distance Learning Program, although it is open to any Loyola student. Consult your advisor if you are in doubt. You should have completed a composition course or the equivalent of ENGL T122.

The purpose of this course is not only to learn how to analyze and interpret conventional literary texts (poems, plays, short stories and novels) but also to appreciate how literary language functions in everyday texts and contexts. Our goal will be to develop some tools for understanding how literary forms and language shape our experience as well as how they give meaning and pleasure to our lives.

            More formally:

       To develop and reinforce critical reading and thinking skills by analyzing works of literature, by comparing literary texts, and by making critical arguments about literature. This goal relates to A1, A2, A3, A8 and C1 of the Common Curriculum Program Review Rubric.

       To develop and reinforce critical/analytical writing skills by writing mechanically correct papers, by developing analytical skills in relation to literary conventions, and by developing global revision skills. This goal relates to A1, A2, A3, A8 and C1 of the Program Review Rubric.

       To develop and reinforce the ability to evaluate and incorporate relevant secondary sources into analysis of target literature. This goal relates to A6 and A8, and C1 of the Common Curriculum Program Review Rubric.


--Four essay
s, varying in length (800-1500 words) (40-50%). At least one essay may require participation in the WAC Lab's Advise/Revise program. Essays should be typed and double-spaced and include a title page.

--Writing Exercises submitted on the Discussion Board of Blackboard.com; these assignments will be graded contractually. Your grade for this portion of the course will then be based on the number and quality of the exercises you submit on time: 9 (A); 8 (B); 7 (C); 6 (D); 5 or fewer (F). Entries should typically range from 100 to 250 words--about 1-1 1/2 pages long (one or two screenfuls) . (25-30%)

--Optional Assignments: Some assignments are strictly optional; the completion of special assignments can be applied to the WRITING EXERCISE grade at a "two-for-one" rate; that is, two special assignments will be equivalent to one regular assignment.

--Class Participation. You are responsible for being prepared, for submitting assignments on time, for behaving responsibly in class (do I really have to say that?!), and for the work covered in classes you have missed. Please try to advise me of anticipated absences whenever possible, and call or see me about missed assignments. The penalty for each absence after the second will be one-half letter reduction in the final grade; more than four absences may result in failure of the course. (10-15%)

--Final Examination
A final, comprehensive examination, both essays and objective answers. (15-20%)

*Note on Loyola Email and Blackboard:
Announcements and any changes, as well as occasional writing or special assignments, will be posted on Blackboard.  Apart from announcements in class, Blackboard will be the default for any changes, so be sure you check the site regularly. If your email address is not listed correctly in LORA or on Blackboard, you may not receive important information about this course; please check.

College Policies on Intellectual Honesty
Intellectual honesty is simply acknowledging, through documentation, all those sources that the writer has used in preparing any written work. Any material that neither originates with the student nor is common knowledge among educated persons must be formally acknowledged.

The penalties for plagiarism are severe: a student who is found to have plagiarized or to have assisted another student in plagiarizing may be given a failing grade for the course on the first violation; a second offense may result in exclusion or dismissal from the university. For the complete details on standards and penalties, see "Integrity of Scholarship and Grades," Undergraduate Bulletin.

Check here for first class assignment--
  • Blackboard.com