This is the first paper in British Literature, 1660-1740, and it’s really not that hard. It’s due on the third day the class meets, and I recognize that’s pretty early. The point is to get students into their work mode as soon as possible, instead of letting them do what I did as a student: ease my way into the semester. So, this is designed to ensure that they get that introduction read and that they do some thinking about the period in question. Also, it functions as a diagnostic essay, allowing me to get a sense of them as writers, to bug them about the formal parts of papers that students seem to be continually forgetting, and to set a tone for the level of intellectual rigor I expect. They will learn up front what my standards are. And I hope to keep those standards high.
Summary & analysis of introduction to anthology
Due Date: Friday, January 19
Length: 500-750 words
Value: 5% of your final grade
Description: The purpose of this essay is to allow me to get a sense of you as a writer. In part, I’d like to evaluate some basic writing skills. Do you know how to quote, paraphrase, and summarize effectively? Do you know how to format your writing according to MLA style? Are you able to avoid major errors of grammar, syntax, and punctuation? And in part, I’d like to be able to evaluate your critical thinking skills.
This assignment requires you to write a summary and analysis of Stuart Sherman and Steven N. Zwicker’s essay “The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century” (Longman, 2121-2144). You must quote from the text at least once to demonstrate that you know how to do so in accordance with proper MLA style. Remember that even when you paraphrase or summarize, you still must provide parenthetical citations.
What do you think is the most important information contained in this introduction? Can you think of any topics about the historical period in question that are missing? (Note that this question does not require you to have prior knowledge about the eighteenth century, just an expectation about what you’d like to know about the period.) What kind of literature do you expect to find in this anthology after reading this introduction?
I’m not crazy about that second paragraph. I think I need to rephrase the questions more specifically so they address the content of Sherman and Zwicker’s introduction.
As always, I welcome your feedback.