Philip Nel > Courses > English 440: Harry Potter's Library (Fall 2013)
This class will examine the Harry Potter phenomenon by reading the novels themselves and the works of Rowling's antecedents, influences and contemporaries. We will approach these works from a variety of critical perspectives, and we will consult selected secondary sources. In this class, education will not be a passive experience: I expect discussion, debate, and exchanges of ideas. This requires that you not only be present but that you be an active presence. So, during the course, you will:
Requirements: Paper | Quizzes | Class Participation and Attendance | Technology | Message Board | Assignments
Quizzes: Approximately 12 times during the semester, there will be a quiz. Sometimes the quiz will be announced, and sometimes it won't. But the quiz will always address the reading for that day. Because everyone can have a bad day, I will drop the lowest quiz grade.
Message Board: Post comments to the message board once a week (or more frequently, if you wish). An average posting should run one or two paragraphs in length. In other words, your postings do not need to be long, but they must be substantive -- long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others' comments, as appropriate. I will monitor these discussions and asses a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness to both our readings and your classmates' comments on the message board. Though extra postings to the message board will not automatically replace participation in class discussions, regular contributions above and beyond your weekly posting can improve your class participation grade.
Access the message board via K-State On-Line.
Email: My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the subject line. Due to the sheer volume of email I receive, messages without clear subject lines will be deleted unread. You can write with questions, send a thesis statement or outline for an essay, make an appointment to meet me in my office, or do anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check email several times daily, but I am not on-line at all times.
[W] = Web. [CP] = Class Pack. [R] = On Reserve (at Hale Library).
Note: "through" means "to the end of" (not "up to"). Page numbers refer to the editions assigned.
Harry's Family Tree: Influences and Antecedents
|August||Tu 27||Introduction. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998, 1999).|
|Th 29||Thomas Hughes, excerpts from Tom Brown's School Days (1857) [CP].|
|September||Tu 3||Enid Blyton, First Term at Malory Towers (1946); Roald Dahl, excerpt from Boy (1984); Pratchett, excerpt from Pyramids (1984) [all CP].|
|Th 5||E. Nesbit, The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904), through Chapter 6 (p. 158); Rowling, "Let Me Tell You a Story" (2000) [CP].|
|Tu 10||Nesbit, The Phoenix and the Carpet, to end.|
|Th 12||Clement Freud, Grimble (1968) [CP]; C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950), through Chapter 9.|
|Tu 17||Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, to end.|
|Th 19||Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach (1961); Rowling, "Foreword" to Families Like Us: The One Parent Families Good Book Guide (2000) [CP] and "The Not Especially Fascinating Life So Far of J. K. Rowling" (1998) [CP].|
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series
|Tu 24||J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), through Chapter 11 (p. 232); Harold Bloom, "Can 35 Million Book Buyers Be Wrong? Yes" (2000); Philip Hensher, "Harry Potter, give me a break" (2000); Jessy Randall, "Wizard Words: The Literary, Latin, and Lexical Origins of Harry Potter's Vocabulary" (2001); Nel, "You Say 'Jelly,' I Say 'Jell-O': Harry Potter and the Transfiguration of Language" [all CP].|
|Th 26||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, to end.|
|October||Tu 1||J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), through Chapter 17 (p. 312).|
|Th 3||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, through Chapter 28 (p. 563).|
|Tu 8||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, to end. Also read at least two of the following: Westman, "Specters of Thatcherism: Contemporary British Culture in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series" (2002); Ximena Gallardo C. and C. Jason Smith, “Cinderfella: J. K. Rowling’s Wily Web of Gender”; Schoefer, "Harry Potter's Girl Trouble"; Dresang, "Hermione Granger and the Heritage of Gender" [all CP]|
|Th 10||J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), through Chapter 14 (p. 306).|
|Tu 15||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, through Chapter 28 (p. 623).|
|Th 17||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), to end. The Onion's "Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children" (2000); "Did you know??????" (email, 2001); Kimbra Wilder Gish, "Hunting Down Harry Potter: An Exploration of Religious Concerns About Children's Literature" (2000); Griesinger, “Harry Potter and the ‘Deeper Magic’”(2002); Nancy Churnin, "Easing Up on Harry Potter" (2005) [all CP]. Guest lecture: Kylie Kinley.|
|Tu 22||J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), through Chapter 9 (p. 194). Guest lecture: Alex Stinson.|
|Th 24||Midterm Exam.|
|Tu 29||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, through Chapter 19 (p. 422)|
|Th 31||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to end.|
|November||Tu 5||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), through Chapter 12 (p. 222).|
|Th 7||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, through Chapter 22 (p. 445).|
|Tu 12||Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, to end.|
|Th 14||Please read two articles from each category:
|Tu 19||Rowling, PotterMore (2011). N.B.: If you do not register, you will not be able to access this site. Please register as soon as you can. You can learn more about PotterMore on the PotterMore Insider blog.|
Friends of Harry: Contemporary British Fantasy
|Th 21||Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand (2003), through Part One (p. 133). Guest lecture: Steven Kelly.|
|Tu 26||University Holiday|
|Th 28||Thanksgiving. NO CLASS|
|December||Tu 3||Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand, to end.|
|Th 5||Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (1995), through Chapter 5 (p. 97). Paper Due.|
|Tu 10||Pullman, The Golden Compass, through Chapter 17 (p. 302).|
|Th 12||Pullman, The Golden Compass, to end.|
|W 18||Final Exam: 2:00-3:50 p.m.|