Saturday, March 12, 2011

For Credit: Adventures in ECCO

Respond to this thread with questions, advice for classmates, reflections, or random vents about working with ECCO.

Here's a copy of the assignment, in case you lost the attachment I sent. I'll also put it over there in the sidebar.

What challenges are you encountering?

What confusion do you have about the expectations for this assignment?

Questions or curiosity about the C18 texts you've been finding?

Difficulty or fun with ECCO?

Questions about how to go about choosing a text?

You can click here for an answer to the question many of you doubtless have by now: Why did C18 writers sometimes write "f" instead of "s"? (Short answer: they didn't). A longer and more technical explanation is available here.

Deadline is open until the proposal is due (Friday, March 18). Posts before Saturday midnight will count for Week 8 blogging. Posts after Saturday midnight will count towards Week 9.

Friday, March 11, 2011

For Credit: In the Land of the Houhynhms

What we have learned:

That perhaps Lemuel Gulliver is Gull-ible.
That Swift is entirely willing to poke fun at his earnest and adventurous hero.
That things may not be what they appear in this slippery novel.

And now: what would you like to know?
  • What questions do you have about Gulliver's encounter with the Houhynhms?
  • What issues would you like to hear discussed in class?
  • What puzzles you or interests you particularly about this book?
Deadline: Monday (3/14), start of class.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For Credit: Introducing Lemuel Gulliver

Here is the handout I'll be distributing in class on Friday.  It's the title page and first page of the book we now know as Gulliver's Travels.  The excerpt in your Longman anthology is the fourth part of Gulliver's Travels, describing Gulliver's final voyage, which takes him to the land of the Houhynhms.

In preparation for class Friday, feel free to ask either of the following two questions:

1.  The title page of a C18 book served the same purpose as the back cover of a modern paperback--it gave potential purchasers information about the book and sought to pique their interest.  How, specifically, does this title page serve as an advertisement for the book?  On what basis does it encourage the consumer to buy it?

2.  Based on your reading of the first chapter of the excerpt in Longman, what sort of person is Lemuel Gulliver?  What kinds of personal characteristics does he display?

Deadline: Friday (3/11), start of class.

For Credit: Follow-Up to Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North

From class today:

One day, is quite warm
Someone left open the

Pungent odor wafts
Panic! Household in crisis--
Spring unexpected.


Skies grey with tears
The awakening birds sing
Color returns

Color fades to grey
hopes for sunshine wash away
still have weeks to wait


Dry snow to moist slush
I can smell spring in the air
Memories awake

Yet I stay asleep
The grass still beneath the earth
Still hibernating


Puddles of rain sit
Formed by melted snow and mud
Weather is changing

Students trod to class
Drained from the winter's cold
Will it ever end?

Those were some examples of student haiku sequences, where it seemed to me that the second poem built with particular effectiveness on the first.

We're now embarking on a series of readings that center, in a variety of different ways, on journeys, both real and imagined. In class today I suggested that a central theme of Basho's journey (one that lends structure to the seemingly random combination of poetry, prose narrative, travelogue, and description it comprises) is eternity: both the effort to grapple with the concept of timelessness and an exploration of the idea of time as a way of organizing our understanding of the world.

What evidence do you find to support that interpretation? What other concepts or ideas might help to explain how this text functions? Cite some text to support your claims, or to support your collegial disagreement with a classmate.

Deadline: Friday (3/11), start of class.

Monday, March 7, 2011

For Credit: Basho's Journey

photo by N.Kimy, Flickr
Where is Basho going?

How does the haiku in his narrative help him get there?

Offer some thoughts here, or reflect on a classmate's ideas.

Alternatively, if you would like some more specific questions to prompt your thinking:

1. Which haiku do you find most effective in both presenting a striking image and illuminating the narrative account of the journey (or the author's thought processes)?

2. What makes the "boring mountain" (p.420) different from the mountains that Basho finds more interesting?

3. What does Basho mean when he says, "The days of uncertainty piled one on the other"? What is uncertain?

4. What difference, if any, does it make that this narrative was written long after the journey it describes, rather than in the course of the journey it describes?

5. According to the evidence of these excerpts, how does Basho understand his relationship to a larger poetic tradition?

Deadline: Wednesday (3/9), start of class.

For Credit: Enlightenment Religion Follow-Up

If you were in class today, feel free to post here with reflections on Boswell's last conversation with Hume or John Newton's "Amazing Grace."

Deadline: Wednesday (3/9), start of class.

(you can click on the image below to make it bigger):