In the Classroom

Gustatory Romanticism Update

UPDATE (12/13/11)

Last night, the Gustatory Romanticists met for a dinner party and attempted to adhere to the "Man of Taste" virtues and follow the decorum dictated by our various cookery and social experts. (Food is always an incredible way to gather people.) After we dined on red-wine braised short ribs, challah bread, mango salad, black bean salad, apple butter & ginger cookies, egg salad, mashed potatoes, some good wine, we moved to the eggnog, brownies, and a synopsis of final projects.

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Mid-Semester Round-up

Though it may or may not technically be mid-semester where you are, here in the Valley we've just sailed through Fall Break, have had mid-semester reports requested, stared down a few stacks of papers, and the leaves are still pondering a color change. We thought it might be try a new format, a few recent posts on technology, pedagogy, and the classroom from around the interwebs. If you have another favorite post or site from the past month or so, please do pass it along.

Mark Sample on reading Frankenstein aloud. A practical guide and reflection on how reading prose aloud might help enhance classroom discussion and analysis.

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Biography in the Romantic Literature Classroom

I’ve just now had the chance to read Heather Jackson’s engaging essay “What’s Biography Got to Do With It?” in the June 2011 ERR (this was her plenary at the 2010 NASSR, a conference I sadly had to miss; from the papers in ERR, it looks like it was extraordinary!). I’d been meaning to get to this article since the issue arrived and I’m glad I finally did. Jackson looks back at the world of Romantic-era literary biography in order to think about why our own students (and the general public) often seem so stubbornly invested in talking about writers’ lives when we want them to talk about literary works, and she comes up with some provocative answers—for instance:

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Digital Pedagogy and Student Interaction: An Interview

The following interview was originally conducted by the Day of the Digital Humanities event hosted by the University of Alberta. I'm reposting it on Teaching Romanticism to give a sense of how digital pedagogy informs my own teaching. I don't really talk all that much about Romanticism, or even William Blake, until the end of the interview. I do think, however, that this interview provides an interesting look into the ways digital technology impacts our students and how they view digital assignments and applications like Twitter and blogs in the classroom.

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Putting Together my Fall Class: Visualizing 19th Century British Poetry

Inspired by Katherine's discussion of her graduate class, I decided to chart the development of my fall 1102 undergraduate class. I'd appreciate suggestions on readings, projects, etc. The course deals with the entire 19th century, not just the Romantic period and was developed in conversation with Leeann Hunter. I'm planning on having this class be a paperless class, so any reading has to be available for free online.

Visualizing Nineteenth-Century British Poetry

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New Graduate Course Help

This Fall, I'm teaching a graduate course in Romanticism. The last time I offered a graduate course (2 years ago on William Wordsworth), it was cancelled for low enrollment (only 7 signed up; I needed at least 10). This means that an entire generation of our MA graduate students haven't had any Romantic-era literature for their comprehensive exams.

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The inheritance of classroom culture

A recent episode of This American Life includes the account of David MacLean, who loses his memory in India. It's a terrific story for many reasons, and want to pick up on a detail that comes up along the way.

Having regained some of his memories and visited his family in Ohio, MacLean returns to his apartment in India.

I was alone, and lonelier than I thought I could be in a room filled with things that I had selected. There were books. I opened them and found my handwriting in the margins. Still nothing. I had read these books. And now I had to read them again. But why bother? If I lost my memory again, all that work would be futile.

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Frankenstein, Encore! (Or not?)

I , like Katherine, have also been teaching Frankenstein, in my case in the “Romantic Poetry and Prose” survey I’ve been conducting since September. It’s hard to imagine a version of that course that could dispense with Frankenstein.

For a start, the novel itself enacts a kind of retrospective postmortem on the Romantic period, with its quotations from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Tintern Abbey” and Percy Shelley’s “Mutability.” At this stage in the academic year, I’m urging my students to look back and survey the literary history we’ve covered and, wonderfully, Shelley herself can look to be doing just wht I’m asking them to do.

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Down & Dirty Frankenstein

I posted a blog last month about re-instating Frankenstein into my British Literature Survey course 1800-present. With most of our blogs here, that one was more fully formed than what I'm about to post. So, this constitutes my foray into brainstorming blogging rather than essaying blogging:

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