Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


Weekly journals (1-2 pp.); four essays, totalling 20 pp. or more; revision of first essay; pre-submitted draft of second essay. At least one oral presentation. No final examination. 21L.002 can be taken to fulfill the CI requirement.

Work for the Subject


You will be submitting a weekly journal to be on the reading via email. Unless otherwise indicated on the syllabus, these will be due Monday by 10 p.m. These journals are not formal essays, but should be thoughtful responses to the reading (which may include questions, problems, puzzlement). The journals will help me to focus discussions in class; for you, they can also serve as a first step towards your essays.

Both of the first two essays have provisions for revising and feedback. The first is an absolute prerequisite for anyone who cares about writing effectively, the second an extremely useful tool. Everyone should count on meeting with the course tutor at least three times: once each for essays #1 and #2, and once more at your discretion.

The four assigned essays may be of varying lengths, but must amount to a total of at least twenty pages. Please keep all of your essays in a dark-colored folder with the most recent work on top, and your name only on the inside back cover of the folder; when you hand in an essay for grading, it should be in the folder accompanied by a draft and any previous written work.

While some find it helpful to look at criticism (if only to discover what they don’t think) or at historical context, using secondary sources is not required; if used, they must be acknowledged and properly cited. This includes internet sources! (A useful guide to evaluating on-line sources can be found at .) Writing is almost always a collaborative process at some level, but failure to respect the intellectual property of others counts as plagiarism. Plagiarism–use of another’s intellectual work without acknowledgement–is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarise will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else’s work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student’s own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution see me, or consult the style guides available in the Writing and Communication Center, and the MIT Website on Plagiarism located at .

MIT’s academic honesty policy can be found at the following link: .

Essays must be submitted by 3 p.m. on the due date. Late work will receive a lower grade; however, you can revise any essay for regrading if it has been submitted on time.


Mandatory. As this is largely a discussion-based subject, and also focuses on a series of writers who reflect on each other’s work, you do a disservice to your colleagues and your own understanding of the material by missing class; absences will affect your final grade.

Oral Presentations

Once the class enrollment is stabilized, you’ll sign up as part of a small group (3-4 people). In the first part of the semester, you should be reading each other’s written work. In the second part of the semester, you’ll be working together on a group presentation related to the reading. We’ll talk about the presentations more in class, and each group will meet with me or the class tutor during the planning stages.


Journals/participation, 20%; Presentation, 20%; Essays 60%.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments