Dr. L. Adam Mekler 
English 411.01
Fall 2022
Office:  Holmes Hall 228
Office Phone: (443) 885-4032
Email@Morgan: adam.mekler@morgan.edu
Secondary Class Homepage: http://l-adam-mekler.com/411links.htm
Any revisions to this syllabus will be posted on our Canvas class page. Please check that page regularly for any announcements, especially if you have missed class.

Go To Assignments For:
August/September October November  December 

Required Text:
All readings for the course will be made available as PDFs.

Purpose of the Course:

This course will explore the evolution of poetry during the reign of Queen Victoria, a period that saw remarkable cultural, political, and social changes in the British Empire. A variety of works will be examined from several different writers, investigating the ways in which those works reflect the climate of the times.

American with Disabilities Act


All papers will follow MLA format: Typed, double-spaced, use parenthetical citations and, when necessary, a list of works cited, including references made to primary sources. (Sample MLA-style papers can be found in Canvas)  The main point of the response papers is to allow you the opportunity to explore specific aspects of texts that you find interesting in terms of the major themes and issues we discuss. More specific guidelines will be found in Canvas.

English 411 aims to teach students to:

After completing English 411, students should be able to:
  1. evaluate the influence of historical and biographical events on the poetry of the Victorian period.
  2. analyze the texts discussed in the course in terms of representative themes.
  3. distinguish between different texts in terms of their aesthetic, political, and philosophical viewpoints.
  4. produce effective arguments, in both oral and written forms, regarding the assigned texts, incorporating relevant critical theory.
Student learning will be assessed using the following assignments:


  • Class Participation
  • Critical Response Paper
  • Midterm Exam
  • Student Presentation
  • Research Paper
  • Final Exam
  • 20 %
  • 10 %
  • 20 %
  • 10 %
  • 20 %
  • 20 %
A: 90-100
B: 80-89
C: 70-79
D: 60-69
F: 0-59

Attendance. Students are expected to attend every class. If you are forced to miss class, written verification for the reason for your absence is expected. Because of the importance of regular attendance, excessive (more than three) unexcused class absences will result in the loss of points from the final average. Excessive lates will also lower your grade. The complete attendance policy can be found on the class homepage . Please come speak with me if you have any questions.

Reading Assignments, and Participation.  All assigned readings must be completed before coming to class. Please keep in mind that students are expected to read the biographical introduction for each writer. You are expected to arrive prepared to provide thoughtful discussion of the daily readings, including the biographical introductions, responding to questions from the instructor or your classmates as they arise.  Classroom discussion will involve the open sharing of ideas and interpretations of the literature.  Because every person's opinion is valid, we will demonstrate civility and respect for each other, taking turns to provide our observations and not interrupting each other.  Only raised hands will be acknowledged.

Writing Assignments. There will be one (1) brief (1000-word minimum) critical response paper,  in addition to one (1) documented research paper (3000-word minimum), using a minimum of six documented secondary sources.

All papers will follow MLA format: Typed, double-spaced, use parenthetical citations and a list of works cited, including references made to the textbook (Sample MLA papers can be found in Canvas).  The critical response paper will require you to provide an analysis of a critical biography of one of the assigned poets for the course. A list of acceptable titles will be provided. The main point of the research paper is to allow you the opportunity to explore specific aspects of one or more of the poems we have discussed, focusing on the major themes and issues we will have discussed. The specific focus, though, is largely up to you.

Oral presentations. Students will also take part in a presentation of a minimum forty minutes. These presentations will require the students to lead the class discussion for the day, examining and explaining all relevant information and interpretations for the assigned reading(s) for the day. Your ability to provide thoughtful responses to questions from your classmates and/or instructor will also be an important component of your grade.

If you require an accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Office of Student Disability Support Services (SDSS) to register. More information regarding the intake procedure can be found on the SDSS website: http://www.morgan.edu/SDSS. It is your responsibility to request an accommodation from SDSS before or at the beginning of the semester.

Reading List (Subject to Subtle Revision):
Aug 22
** No Class **

24 ** No Class **

** No Class **

** No Class ** 

** No Class **
Sept 2
** No Class **

Labor Day: No Class

Course Introduction 

Victorian Literature, Introduction

Victorian Literature, Chapter Three

Tennyson, "Break, Break, Break," "The Eagle," "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

Tennyson, In Memoriam

Tennyson,  In Memoriam, cont.

Tennyson, Idylls of the King: "The Coming of Arthur," "The Holy Grail," "The Last Tournament"

Tennyson, Idylls of the King: "Guinevere," "The Passing of Arthur"

Bronte, "I am the only being," "Remembrance"

28 Bronte, "Stars ("Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun")," "No Coward Soul"

E. B. Browning, "The Cry of the Children"
Oct 3
E. B. Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese, 14, 20, 28

E. B. Browning, Aurora Leigh: Books One and Two

E. B. Browning, Aurora Leigh: Books Three and Five

E. B. Browning, Aurora Leigh: Books Eight and Nine

R. Browning, "The Bishop Orders His Tomb," "Fra Lippo Lippi"

R. Browning, "Caliban Upon Setebos"

R. Browning, The Ring and the Book: Books One and Five

R. Browning, The Ring and the Book: Books Six and Seven

R. Browning, The Ring and the Book: Books Ten and Eleven

Mid-Term Exam
Last Day to Submit Assignments or Excuses for Absences/Lates for 1st Part of Class

26 C. Rossetti, "In an Artist's Studio," "A Birthday," "No, Thank You, John"
Research Paper Topic Due

C. Rossetti, "Goblin Market"

FitzGerald, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Critical Response Paper Due
Last Day to Drop Classes
Nov 2
Arnold, "Dover Beach," "The Buried Life"

Arnold, "Stanza From the Grand Chartreuse"

Arnold, "The Scholar Gypsy"

Patmore, from The Angel in the House
Annotated Bibliography For the Research Paper Due

11 Lear, "There Was an Old Man with a Beard," "The Jumblies," "The Owl and the Pussycat"

14 Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Stevenson, Treasure Island, Children's Garden of Verses

Hardy, "Hap," "The Ruined Maid"

Hardy, "The Darkling Thrush"

Wellness Day: No Class

25 Thanksgiving Break: No Class

Hopkins, Poems
Dec 30
Kipling, "Gunga Din," 

Kipling, "The Last of the Light Brigade," "If"
Last Day for Graduating Seniors to Take Final Exam and submit work for the class (including the Research Paper)

Wilde, Ballad of Reading Gaol
Research Paper Due

Housman, A Shropshire Lad

Final Review
Last Day to Submit Assignments or Excuses for Absences/Lates for 2nd Part of Class

Final Exam:  Place and Date TBA
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