For Thursday (9/29)

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1)  Don’t forget – – we’ll be reading a selection of radical poetry from the 1930s for Thursday.  Remember to tweet discussion questions (#english630).

2) Essay on Martin Eden.  On Tuesday, you exchanged your favorite quotations from Martin Eden.  Your job is to explain the meaning and significance of this quotation within the context of Martin Eden‘s themes, motifs, conflicts, arguments, and contradictions.  In other words, how does this quotation help us to understand some of the larger issues at stake in Jack London’s novel?

Obviously, we discussed a lot of interesting things about Martin Eden.  You’ll need to look at your quotation and think about which one, or maybe two, of these ideas seem most important to your quotation.  Then, make the connections between the quotation, the idea you’re interested in, and the rest of the novel.

Your essay should be no more than two pages – – typed, double-spaced, regular black font.  (This might make your work a little tricky – – as you will have to think about the scope of your argument.  Your analysis and interpretation must be sharp and succinct.  There is no room within two pages to waste a single word.)

Questions?  Talk to me in class or email me.

Due: Thursday, October 6, 11:00 a.m.



For Tuesday (Sept. 20)

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For Tuesday, let’s pick up the pace.  Read up to at least Chapter 36 in Martin Eden.

Also, don’t forget, you must have a good draft of  your Martin Eden wiki page up by Tuesday.  Those groups with a good draft will receive credit; those groups lacking a good draft will not receive credit.  If you have questions, email me or message me on the wiki.

For Tuesday (9/13)

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Don’t forget to read at least up to Chapter 16 of Martin Eden.  And, don’t forget to tweet a discussion question about Martin Eden.  (Try to tweet at least a couple of hours before class so that Clayton and I have time to take a look at it.)

By Tuesday, you should have a plan for your London page outlined in the “Discussion” page attached to your page.  You should also be starting to research your page.  Try starting a draft of your London page itself.  This can be a very, very rough draft – – but try to start drafting an organizational sense of what your page will look like and adding some basic information.  Don’t forget to take a look at the example author  and novel pages I mentioned in an earlier blog post.


Some nifty things you can do with Democratic Vistas (MediaWiki)

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A few nifty features of Democratic Vistas, which is powered by opensource, MediaWiki software:

1.  Attached to each User page is a User Discussion page.  This is a space where you can leave messages for other users.  For instance, say I want to tell the user named “profhanley” that he needs to get to work on Jack London’s biography.  First I locate his user page – – either by clicking on the “History” link above the London bio page and finding his username in the list of contributors, or by simply searching for “profhanley” in the wiki search box.  Once I find his user page, I click on the “Discussion” link above it and then on the “Edit” link.  Now I type in a message: “Get to work!” and save the page.  The next time “profhanley” logs in – – to any page of the wiki – – he will see this message:

He can click on the “new message” link and see what I’ve written to him.  You can use this talk feature to message collaborators.

2.  Often when you make an edit or add something to a Discussion page, you need to sign that contribution to let people know who’s made it.  A quick and easy way to append your signature to edits is to simply use the tilda.  For instance, say I messaged “profhanley” to get to work and then wanted to let him know it was me that did so.  In his User Discussion page, I would write: Get to work! ~~~ .  Those three little tildas at the end automatically insert my wiki username.  If I add a fourth tilda, a date and time stamp is added to my signature.

3.  Discussion pages can get messy – – with lines and lines of comments and talk.  Rather than a series of endless lines of talk, you can create subsections within discussion pages that more clearly demarcate individual contributions and discussions.  To do this, notice the little “+” sign that appears between the Edit and History links at the top of a Discussion page:

Click on the “+” sign and a window opens up with a box to enter a title (in the example below: Discussion Subdivision) and a box below for entering your message (in the example below: “Wow . . now things are neater!”).  Save your page/edits and you’ll now see this:

More fun tips to come!

For Thursday (9/8)

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We’ll start Jack London’s Martin Eden on Thursday.   You want to read up to Chapter 8 in the novel.

By Thursday, you should also have hashed out a plan for your Martin Eden pages on the Democratic Vistas site.   Work out this plan on the “Discussion” page of your main page.  (All of the groups have started a Discussion page – – good!)  Before you really start editing, be sure to take a look at the Wikipedia tutorial.  This is a helpful resource.

And, don’t forget to tweet a discussion question about Martin Eden using the #english630 hashtag.

Some of you may be a bit leery or nervous about working on the wiki.  Relax.  First, you can’t really make a mistake on the wiki.  And, it’s a new thing, so with practice and time it will soon seem like second nature.  Clayton and I will be there along with you to coach and support.

Jack London on Democratic Vistas

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Let’s get started with some wiki work.

First, go to our digital anthology and create an account.

Look at our page on Martin Eden.  Note that neither the novel page, the author page, or the “1909” pages have been created.  We’ll break you up into groups and assign you to one of these pages.

You’ll need to get familiar with how to edit and format wiki pages.

Then, you and your group will have to start planning your page.  Here’s a good example of a wikipedia author page.  And, here’s a good example of a wikipedia novel page.  Study these: how they’re organized; what kind of information they contain.  These are your models.

Ask your group some questions: what kind of information will we need? where will we find it? who will find it?  Assign members to tasks and come up with a plan.  By next Tuesday (September 13), you should have a draft of your page.

For Tuesday (Sept.

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We’ll be discussing Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Don’t forget to tweet a question about the text before class – – using our #english630 hashtag.  Remember: these are questions that you have about the text, questions that arise from your experience of the text.  In other words, are there things in the narrative that puzzle you?  Moments or events that you find difficult to understand?  I.e. don’t use outside sources to generate questions.  Don’t tweet a question that you don’t really care about.  The whole point of tweeting questions is to help us find authentic beginning points for discussion.

For Thursday (Sept. 1)

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Before you come to class on Thursday, read through these excerpts from Edmund Burke’s famous 1757 treatise, “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.” (Click the link to take you to a page with fuller excerpts than the handout I distributed on Tuesday.)

Then, think about these questions: is the Hugh Wolfe’s “Korl woman” beautiful or sublime? How? Why?  (To help you here, look back over the description of the statue in Life in the Iron Mills and compare Wolfe’s statue to Powers’s “Greek Slave” – – you’ll find an image of Powers’ statute below the Burke excerpts.)




For Tuesday (August 30)

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We’ll continue onward with Davis’s “Life in the Iron Mills.”

I want to focus on the appearance of the “Korl woman” and the encounter between Hugh and the three visitors.

You might take a look back at this section of the narrative.

As you read the description of the “Korl woman” and the characters’ response to Hugh’s statue, take a look at this iconic mid-19th century sculpture – – Hiram Powers’ “The Greek Slave.”  (Here’s a nice little rundown of the context and reaction to Powers’ statue.)


For Thursday (August 25)

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For Thursday, we’ll start Rebecca Harding Davis’s “Life in the Iron Mills.” Try to read at least half of this short novel/long short story, originally published in 1861. (That means about up to the lines: “His right! The word struck him. Doctor May had used the same. He washed himself, and went out to find this man Mitchell. His right! Why did this chance word cling to him so obstinately? ” – – e.g. right after Hugh receives the money.) You might find it interesting to review Davis’s biography, even in its shortened web form.