Intro to Literary Study: Literature and the Viral (Undergrad)


English 10 – Introduction to Literary Study
Literature and the Viral
Summer B 2007


Catalog No. 5181
Meets: MTWR 3:30 – 4:55, SH 1417

Instructor: Kim Knight,
Office Hours: T W 5pm – 6pm and by appointment, SH 2509

Course web site
Course wiki

Course website: Http://
Course wiki: Http://

Course Description

English 10 is designed to introduce students to the principles of literary analysis and will include instruction in close reading, critical frameworks, and literary and theoretical terminology. In this particular version of English 10, our reading will center on the theme of “the viral.” Always anxiety-inducing, the viral takes many forms: from the “wet” viruses of HIV/AIDS to the “dry” viruses unleashed by computer hackers, to the viral as a metaphor for dissemination (as in “viral video”). We will explore the ways in which the viral functions in literature across the genres of poetry, prose, drama, and electronic literature. In these forms we will encounter viruses both as material subject and as metaphor and we will pursue the question of whether literature itself might be considered viral.

English 10 fulfills the second half of the GE Area A requirement and is required for all English majors and recommended for English minors. Anyone interested in pursuing the Literature and Culture of Information specialization may count this course toward the requirements of the specialization by substituting for the final paper a web project of equal depth and length.

Required Texts

(available at the UCSB bookstore, unless otherwise noted)

  • Hayles, N. Katherine. Writing Machines.
  • Hall, Donald E., ed. Literary and Cultural Theory.
  • Kunzru, Hari. Transmission.
  • Nakata, Hideo, dir. Ringu. To be screened in class.
  • Stoker, Bram. Dracula.
  • Course Reader available at Associated Students.
  • Various online readings.

Course Policies

Much of the most valuable information will come out of our class discussions and your participation is necessary for our success. It is important that you come to every class prepared and on time. Because your presence in class is important, two or more absences will impact your final grade. In most circumstances, four absences will result in failure. Two instances of tardiness will equal one absence.

Cell phones are to be turned off and kept out of my sight. If your phone rings during class, or if I see you checking your messages during class, you will be marked absent. No exceptions.

Electronic Communications
Please be aware that I respond to most email messages within 24 hours Monday – Friday. If you send me an email and I do not respond during this time frame, chances are that I did not receive it. It is your responsibility to re-send the email or to contact me another way.

As we will undoubtedly discover in class, the finer points of online communication can be tricky. Emotions are difficult to express and read. Our many online assignments will require vigilance to ensure that we are always preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect. Disagreements may arise and consensus may not be possible. We can, however, respect each person’s right to an opinion. Name calling or menacing behavior will not be tolerated.

Academic Honesty
From the UCSB General Catalog: “Materials submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student’s own efforts. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or other forms of cheating, is unacceptable and will be met with disciplinary action.” Plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the plagiarized assignment and possible disciplinary action by the university. We will review the proper way to use outside sources in order to avoid plagiarism; however, I encourage you to meet with me if you are at all uncertain about whether your writing could be misconstrued as plagiarism.


Participation, including reading journals: 15%
Wiki project, ongoing due dates: 20%
Midterm Exam I, Aug 27: 20%
Midterm Exam II, Sept 13: 20%
Final Paper, 7 – 9 pages, due Sept 16 by 11:59 pm in the course wiki: 25%


Week 1: Early Modern to Victorian Poetry

Mon, August 6

  • Introduction and syllabus review
  • Defining “the viral.”

Tue, August 7 – Early Modern Poetry

  • First Day Wiki Assignment Due – Create your reading journal
  • Intro to poetry.
  • Thomas Nashe, “In Time of Pestilence”
  • Sir Philip Sidney, “A Dirge”
  • William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXLI “In Faith I do not love Thee with Mine Eyes”

Wed, August 8 – Romantic & Victorian Poetry
***We begin meeting in SH 1417 on Wed Aug 8th and will remain there for the duration of the quarter***

  • Letitia Landon “Scene during the Plague at Gibraltar”
  • Christina Rosetti – “Goblin Market”

Thu, August 9 – Theory

  • Hall, Ch 1 “The New Criticism and Formalist Analysis”
  • Wiki project due – terminology (Robbie and Mikael)
  • Wiki project due – New Criticism/Formalism (Kristen and Ana)

Terms: meter, rhyme, tropes, poetic diction, Early Modern, Romanticism, Victorian, lyric, cacophony, euphony, persona.

Week 2: Modernist to Contemporary Poetry

Mon, August 13 Modernist Poetry

  • Carl Sandburg, “Foot and Mouth Plague”
  • Ezra Pound, “La Fraisne”
  • Stevie Smith, “Our Bog is Dood”
  • Archibald MacLeish, “Ars Poetica”
  • Wiki project due – terminology (Lindsey M. and Lindsey T.)

Tue, August 14 – Postmodern/Contemporary Poetry

  • Tory Dent, “Omen”
  • Adrienne Rich, “Power”
  • John Agard, “Palm Tree King”
  • Billy Collins, “Sonnet”

Wed, August 15 – Visual Poetry

  • Ian Hamilton Finlay, “Star/Steer” and “Ajar”
  • Michael P. Garofalo, “Concrete Block”
  • jwcurry, “i”
  • Edward Baraga, “poema”
  • Stephen MallarmÈ, “One Toss of the Dice Never Will Abolish Chance”

Thu, August 16 – Theory

  • Hall, Ch 5 “Structuralism and Semiotic Analysis”
  • Wiki project due – Structuralism & Semiotics (Chris and Yesenia)

Terms: free verse, modernism, postmodernism, shaped poetics, exegesis, irony, confessional poetry, expressionism. skeltonics, imagism.

Week 3: Dracula

Mon, August 20

  • Wiki project due – terminology (Bianca and Jennifer K.)
  • Dracula, 1 – 126

Tue, August 21

  • Dracula, 127 – 256

Wed, August 22

  • Dracula, 257 – 378

Thu, August 23

  • Hall, Ch 7 “Feminist Analysis”
  • Wiki project due – Feminist Analysis (Jakriza, Kelly, and Michelle)

Terms: narrative, epistolary novel, gothic, motif, realism, story, plot.

Week 4: Transmission

Mon, August 27

  • Mid-term exam.

Tue, August 28

  • Transmission, 1 – 79
  • Wiki project due – terminology (Jinni and Lauren)

Wed, August 29

  • Transmission, 80 – 175

Thu, August 30

  • Transmission, 176 – 276
  • Hall, Ch 9 “Race, Ethnicity, and Post-Colonial Analysis”
  • Wiki Project due – Race, Ethnicity, and Post-Colonial Analysis (Sanjay and Marie)

Terms: antihero, black humor, dÈnouement, tone, atmosphere, tragic flaw, satire.

Week 5: Ringu

Mon, September 3

  • Labor Day Holiday – no class

Tue, September 4

  • Ringu viewing
  • No Reading Journal Due
  • Research / Bibliography Workshop: 5 pm, SH 2509

Wed, September 5

  • Ringu discussion
  • Wiki project due – terminology

Thu, September 6

  • Hall, Ch 4 “Psychoanalytic Analysis”
  • Wiki project due – Psychoanalytic Analysis (Jennifer T. and Asad)
  • Dreamweaver Workshop: 5 pm, SH 2509

Terms: lighting, shot, focus, mise-en-scene, montage.

Week 6: Electronic Literature

Mon, September 10

Tue, September 11

Wed, September 12

  • Hall, Ch 6 “Deconstruction and Post-structuralist Analysis”
  • Wiki project due – Deconstruction/Post-structuralism (Jonathon and Colin)

Thu, September 13

  • Midterm Exam II.

Terms: aporia, hypertext, electronic texts, interface, materiality, epiphany, media-specific analysis.

Sun, Sept 16: Final Paper, due in course wiki by 11:59 pm




To participate in a course means that you consistently come to class prepared and contribute to class discussions . To be “prepared” means that you have thoughtfully engaged with the reading, completed the reading journal, are willing to participate in discussion, and that you are equipped with the necessary supplies (books, paper, writing instruments, etc.)

Participation grades will be divided into two halves, one for each half of the term. These will be averaged at the end of the quarter to determine your final participation grade.

Reading Journals

Reading Journals, due daily

Every student will be required to maintain a reading journal in the course wiki. The journal is for you to record impressions of, responses to, and reflections on assigned literary works (note that the purpose of the journal is not to summarize the reading).

These journals should be useful to you in several ways. First, they will help you to notice what you notice as you read — the first step toward becoming an independent and powerful reader. Recording what you notice in your journal will also help you discover the value of your own impressions, observations, questions, and other responses as starting points for discussions of literary works. Your journal will also provide you with a place to do some low-stakes writing, experimenting with critical approaches and new strategies of analysis introduced to you in this course. Finally, the responses, reflections, and experiments recorded in your journal will serve as a reservoir of ideas and first draft writing you can draw upon for exams and papers.

For the First Day Wiki Assignment, create your reading journal. Begin by downloading the Wiki User’s Guide found at Next create an article entitled “Your Name Reading Journal.” Create a section for day for which you are responding. And finally, add the categories “Your Name” and “Reading Journal” to the article. And of course you should also write your journal entry for each of the day’s assigned readings.

Each time that you add an entry to your journal, you should use the “signature” button to add your name and a time stamp to the entry. See the Wiki User’s Guide in the “Tools” section if you have any questions.

Wiki Project

Wiki Project, ongoing due dates

The wiki project consists of two components: a detailed entry (or entries) in the course wiki and an in-class presentation. The subject of each wiki project will be either a set of literary terms related to the week’s genre or a school of literary criticism. Depending upon the number of students enrolled in the section, these may be individual or group assignments.

Literary Terms: Students will take the assigned group of literary terms and create a wiki article for each term in which they 1) give the denotative definition, i.e. based upon the definition found in the dictionary; 2) give a connotative definition which relates the term to the context of the course; 3) provide detailed examples which illustrate the term, either from course readings or other literary works, and 4) provide a list of references, including links or suggested reading. Each term should be tagged with the categories “Glossary” and “Your Name” (for each member of the team).

Literary Criticism: Students will approach an assigned school of literary criticism and write a detailed wiki article in which they 1) summarize the history/background of the movement, defining any necessary key terms and concepts (terms and concepts should be given their own articles); 2) suggest how the theory might be applied to the Christina Rossetti poem, “Goblin Market”; 3) provide a list of suggested reading and online resources. Terms and concepts should be tagged with the categories “Glossary” and “Your Name” (for each member of the team). The main wiki article should be tagged “Theory” and “Your Name” (for each member of the team).

For both literary terms and literary criticism, the student(s) will give a 15 – 20 minute in-class presentation during which they will provide an overview of their work in the wiki and lead the class in a discussion of the assigned terms or concepts. The wiki will act as a resource for paper writing and as a study guide for the mid-term examinations. Requests for computer equipment must be made via email at least one week in advance.

You are encouraged to meet with me prior to the due date of your wiki project. This assignment will be evaluated in terms of the student’s comprehension of the assigned terms and concepts, the quality of the writing in the wiki article(s), and the quality of the in-class presentation.


There are many resources where one might find assistance with the Wiki Project.

The best place to begin is always with our own library’s offerings:

Other online resources include:

Of course, all research conducted on these sites must be cited according to MLA format, including proper use of quoting and paraphrasing.

Wiki Project Grading Rubric

All wiki projects in English 10 will be evaluated along two axes: that of the written entries in the course wiki and that of the quality of the in-class presentation.

A- to A (Superior)
An “A” level project includes a well-written wiki entry that fulfills all of the required elements of the assignment. Glossary entries or articles on schools of criticism are well-organized, thorough, and stylistically effective. Additionally, the in-class component presents material in a way that is clear and engaging. The class is involved in the presentation and the presenters do not go significantly over or under the 15 – 20 minute time slot. All of the students in the group participate in the class presentation.

B- to B+ (Above Average)
A “B” level wiki project contains a wiki component that is written to the specifications outlined above. The in-class presentation may have slips or minor gaps in clarity, effectiveness, or time management.

C- to C+ (Average)
A “C” level wiki project may exhibit minor problems with the wiki component and/or issues in clarity, effectiveness, or time management of the presentation.

D- to D+ (Below Average)
A “D” level wiki project has a) substantial problems with the wiki component or presentation OR b) problems in both the wiki article and the in-class component.

Let’s just not go there.

Midterm Exam 1

Midterm Exam I, August 27

On the first midterm exam, you will be tested on the material from weeks 1 – 3 in the course, including literary terms and criticism. The exam will consist of two sections. The first section will be multiple choice and may include: questions on the definition of terms, definition of critical concepts, passage identifications, and matching terms /concepts with schools of criticism. The second section will be either a series of short answer questions or one essay question. You are strongly encouraged to use the wiki as a study guide for this exam.

Midterm Exam 2

Midterm Exam II, Sept 13

On the second midterm exam, you will be tested on the material from weeks 4 – 6 in the course, including literary terms and criticism. The exam will consist of two sections. The first section will be multiple choice and may include: questions on the definition of terms, definition of critical concepts, passage identifications, and matching terms / concepts with schools of criticism. The second section will be either a series of short answer questions or one essay question. You are strongly encouraged to use the wiki as a study guide for this exam.

Final Paper

English 10: Literature and the Viral
Final Paper Assignment Sheet
25% of Course Grade


This assignment is the culmination of all that you have learned throughout English 10. As such, you are strongly encouraged to utilize the terminology, concepts, and theories that we have encountered all along the way. You will notice that I am not supplying any sort of topic. This is because I want you to select the text(s) that most interest you and to approach them in a way that you find intellectually satisfying. You may focus your work on one text, or you may choose a small selection about which to write. As a general guideline, no more than two novels or three poems can be treated with any kind of depth in a paper of this length.

In addition, don’t forget to use your reading journals as a resource – are there any themes or topics in your journals which might be turned into a paper topic? If you are having trouble coming up with a topic, see me during office hours. That is what I am there for and I am pretty good at it.

Alternative Assignment for those seeking LCI credit for the course: a project of equal depth and length, completed in an online format. A Dreamweaver workshop will be offered to facilitate web publishing.

Outside Research:

This assignment requires that you conduct outside research. You will read a total of four secondary sources in preparation for the topic proposal. A minimum of two secondary sources should be utilized in the paper itself. Secondary sources are those which write about literature or engage in literary or critical theory.

Topic Proposal:

The topic proposal consists of a 300-word proposal plus annotated bibliography. The prose portion of the proposal should outline which text(s) you will write about, the areas of the text(s) which interest you, and any questions that will guide your research. This should be written in well-organized prose appropriate for an academic audience. The annotated bibliography portion should list and annotate four secondary sources that either address the literary text(s) about which you are writing or engage in literary or cultural criticism. You may not count Hall as one of your four sources. The topic proposal is due in the wiki and in class on Monday, September 10.

A “Research and Annotated Bibliography” workshop will be offered after class on Tuesday, Sept. 4.


*Topic Proposal due in class and in the wiki 3:30 pm on Sept. 10
*Final Paper 7 – 9 pages
**Format according to MLA standards: double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins.
**Include a Works Cited page.
**Minimum two secondary sources required.
*Final Paper due in the wiki 11:59 pm on Sept. 16
**all MLA formatting, except double spacing and margins, should be observed (i.e. italics, title, works cited format, in-text parenthetical citations, etc.)

Timeline and Due Dates:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 4 – Research / Annotated Bibliography Workshop at 5 pm in SH 2509
  • Thursday, Sept. 6 – Dreamweaver Workshop at 5 pm in SH 2509
  • Monday, Sept. 10 – topic proposal due in class and wiki by 3:30 pm
  • Sunday, Sept. 16 – final paper due in the wiki by 11:59 pm

See the paper grading rubric in the “Tools” section.

Final Paper Grading Rubric

The final paper in English 10 will be evaluated along two axes: that of the subject matter and that of the quality of writing. The subject matter is defined as the thesis and support. The quality of writing includes organization, style, formatting, etc.

A- to A (Superior)
An “A” level paper contains a thought-provoking thesis which is carefully supported using details from the text and outside research. This paper exhibits thinking that extends beyond class discussion and shows awareness of the wider context of the writer’s argument. Additionally, an “A” level paper is well-written. It is well-organized on both the paragraph and global levels and exhibits an attention to stylistic details such as title, tone, grammar/mechanics, word choice, etc. Finally, an “A” level paper is properly formatted according to MLA guidelines. If completing the web project, the internet component should be more than simply posting your paper online. You should use the medium of the Internet to help extend the concepts you’ve developed in your paper. Web projects should include multiple pages, multimedia components (pictures, music, etc.) and links, both internal and external.

B- to B+ (Above Average)
A “B” level paper attempts to engage with ideas that do not merely mimic class discussion. The argument is supported using textual details and outside research (if required). Additionally, a B level paper is well-written, according to the criteria outlined above. If completing a web project, the web component either extends the argument or enhances the credibility of the paper.

C- to C+ (Average)
A “C” level paper exhibits minor problems either in the subject matter or the quality of writing. For web projects, a C level project puts the paper online without utilizing the uniqueness of the web medium to extend the argument or enhance the writer’s credibility.

D- to D+ (Below Average)
A “D” level paper has a) substantial problems with the subject matter or writing OR b) problems in both the subject matter and quality of writing. For web projects, the web component is poorly organized, confusing, or detracts from the argument.

Let’s just not go there.