Required work for the course includes careful reading of all assigned material and active participation in class discussions.  Please come to class prepared with questions and comments about the assigned reading for each day–the success of the course depends on your involvement.  Here’s a brief description of the papers and presentations that will be required in the course.

Critical Reception Paper (20%) and Presentation (10%): 
Early in the semester, you will choose (or be assigned) one of the fictional works on the syllabus.  Your first paper will analyze the critical reception of this work.  You will be required to present your research findings to the class as well. The critical reception paper and presentation are both due on the day we discuss your novel in class.

Read a sample critical reception paper here.

Researched Analysis including Draft and Final Version (30%):
Each of you will write a 10-12 page researched analysis of the novel you have been assigned. This paper will first be turned in as a draft, which will be commented on by other students and by myself. Drafts are not graded, but failure to turn in a draft on time will result in an automatic 20-point deduction on the final paper. The due dates for these drafts are staggered throughout the semester, with each being two weeks after your critical reception paper. You will receive readers’ reports from fellow students the following week. Your final researched analysis is due at the end of the semester. See the assignment due date schedule for specific dates.

Readers’ Reports (10%):
Each draft will be treated like a submission to an academic journal. It will be sent to two anonymous readers (classmates) who will prepare detailed readers’ reports that make suggestions for revision.  Each student in the class will be responsible for serving as anonymous readers on two other students’ drafts.

Read some sample reader’s reports here:

Class Blog (15%):
In order to make sure you keep up with the reading and in preparation for in-class discussion, I will ask you to respond to the various novels on a class blog 8 times throughout the semester. For every novel, I will provide several prompts to get you started thinking.  You may respond to the prompt if you like, but you may also respond to other students’ comments, or to anything else that interests you in the work. Blog posts must be at least 150 words to receive full credit for the day, and they must be posted before class discussion for the day. Blog posts will not receive letter grades, but you will receive credit for the number of comments you post, with 8 posts equaling 100%.

Final Novel Evaluation (15%)
In lieu of a final exam, I will ask you to complete a fun assignment (purloined from Kurt Vonnegut) in which you assess the novels we read in class according to your specific tastes and inclinations.

NOTE:  I’ve added some additional options to this assignment from when we first discussed it in class.