Twentieth-Century Fiction I

Requirements and grading

5% Participation in class

This class emphasizes active learning. Since every class session will require you to discuss the readings with your peers and with the instructors, attendance and participation are required. You will be graded according to whether you come to class, on time, with the reading done and the texts in hand; during the small group discussions, instructors will visit groups and take careful note of who is contributing thoughtfully and actively. Disruptive behavior during either lecture or discussion—including non-class use of computers or phones, inappropriate talking, multiple or group bathroom breaks, loud eating—harms everyone’s learning and will damage your participation mark.

All this is meant to encourage you to engage seriously with the ideas and ways of thinking we are developing in this course. You aren’t supposed to know all the answers in advance—but you are required to make your best effort to figure things out as we go along, and to work with your classmates to help them do so as well.

5% Regular informal writing assignments

The other aspect of course participation consists in informal writing outside of class. Every week each student will add to an electronic commonplace book; occasionally further analytic writing, on the basis of your own or others’ commonplace-book entries, will also be required and graded on a pass-fail basis. Each student will also be required to visit either the professor or the CA in office hours at least once during the term.

30% Paper 1 (5–7 pp.)

An interpretive essay making an argument about one text by James, Conrad, or Stein. Choice of topics distributed in advance.

30% Paper 2 (5–7 pp.)

An interpretive essay making an argument about one text by Joyce, Sayers, Hemingway, Woolf, Faulkner, or Hurston. Choice of topics distributed in advance.

30% Take-home final

Essay questions, open book, no collaboration. Two comparative questions covering the whole course and one question emphasizing Anand, Hurston, Barnes, and Narayan.

Grading standards

N.B. You cannot pass the course unless you complete both papers and the take-home final.

Grades will be given on the four-point scale as specified in the Undergraduate Catalog. For the purpose of converting the final numerical mark to a letter, the equivalents specified in the Catalog will be considered to be the maxima of intervals open on the left and closed on the right. Thus A corresponds to scores strictly greater than 3.5 and less than or equal to 4.0, B+ to scores greater than 3.0 and less than or equal to 3.5, B to scores greater than 2.5 and less than or equal to 3.0, and so on. Final grades will not be normalized to fit any particular distribution or “curve.” The general standards for grades are as follows; numerical equivalents use the mathematical notation for an interval which does not include its lower end but does include its upper end:

A range (3.5, 4.0]: Outstanding. The student’s work demonstrates thorough mastery of course materials and skills.

B range (2.5, 3.5]: Good. The student’s work demonstrates serious engagement with all aspects of the course but incomplete mastery of course materials and skills.

C range (1.5, 2.5]: Satisfactory. The student’s work satisfies requirements but shows significant problems or major gaps in mastery of course material.

D (0.5, 1.5]: Poor or minimal pass. The student completes the basic course requirements, but the student’s work is frequently unsatisfactory in several major areas.

F [0, 0.5]: Failure. Student has not completed all course requirements or turns in consistently unsatisfactory work.

Academic integrity

Students and instructors have a duty to each other and to our community to abide by norms of academic honesty and responsibility. To present something as your own original writing when it is not is plagiarism. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating are serious violations of trust. Academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will have severe consequences, in accordance with the University Policy on Academic Integrity and the Code of Student Conduct. For details about the University’s academic integrity policies, please see

Students with disabilities

All reasonable accommodation will be given to students with disabilities. Students who may require accommodation should speak with the professor at the start of the semester. For more information, please consult the Office of Disability Services on the web at or by phone at 848-445-6800.