Syllabus (Revised 3/20)

ENGL 220: Introduction to Literature

The Big Issues

  • Quentin Bailey 
  • AL 223
  • or 619.594.8435
  • Office Hours: W 10-11.30 and by appointment                                                                                         

Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, I have revised the syllabus to take into account the new modality (online). I have also added a couple of readings and removed several others in order to address the situation we find ourselves in.

Course Description:

It’s likely that you’ve been “introduced” to literature before so we’ll save a little time in this class by skipping the formalities and jumping straight into some of the major issues that writers have dealt with over the years: What is it like to live and love? What is it like to die? How do we deal with desires and fears? Can we ever really know other people? Most importantly, we’ll ask how we come to share in the experiences of literary characters, and what it might mean to experience lives very different from our own. We’ll be talking, in other words, about the ways in which the central aspects of human life—living, loving, working, dying—are depicted, both in terms of the ideas the writers put forth and how we might respond to them and, secondarily, in terms of the techniques they deploy.           

General Education Outcomes: Foundations in the Humanities and Fine Arts:

The course serves to fulfill certain General Education requirements.  In particular, it aims to give you the ability to: 

  1. Analyze written, visual, or performed texts in the humanities and fine arts with sensitivity to their diverse cultural contexts and historical moments. 
  2. Develop a familiarity with various aesthetic and other value systems and the ways they are communicated across time and cultures. 
  3. Argue from multiple perspectives about issues in the humanities that have personal and global relevance.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to approach complex problems and ask complex questions drawing upon knowledge of the humanities.

Let’s be clear: the sudden shift to an online environment, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, will significantly impact these outcomes. My hope is to mitigate these as best I can, and to offer an online supplement to the skills we developed in the first half of the semester.

Course Materials: 

  • Access to Course Reader [on Blackboard] or Class Website [
  • Notebook (for in-class writing)
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein [available at the bookstore and elsewhere]

Assessment and Major Assignments (revised 3/20): 

  1. Class journal: 5 points [Already submitted]
  2. Dramatic reading: 5 points [Already submitted]
  3. Essay (1200 words): 10 points    
  4. Blackboard journal: 25 points (5 points per entry)
  5. Final project: 5 points

Final grades will be calculated by doubling the points above.

Course Outline and Daily Reading Schedule (liable to change as needed)


Students who need accommodation of their disabilities should contact me privately to discuss specific accommodations for which they have received authorization. If you have a disability, but have not contacted Student Disability Services at 619-594-6473 (Calpulli Center, Suite 3101), please do so before making an appointment to see me. The web site for Student Disability Services is:  

Academic Integrity: 

Do not present other people’s work or ideas as your own. Always provide clear reference details when you cite other people’s work. This includes not only directly cited work, but also paraphrases of other people’s ideas. Remember: the skillful presentation of research improves a piece of writing; citing your sources is part of this process. All writing assignments for this class will be submitted via Turnitin, which checks for instances of academic dishonesty. As mandated by CSU policy, all incidents of academic dishonesty in this class will be reported to the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities. For further details of this process, go here.

A Few Notes on Grades: 

  1. I use #3 and #7 to distinguish minus and plus grades (e.g. 83 is a B; 87 is a B+)
  2. Grades are not rounded up. For example, a final score of 89.75% is a B+.
  3. If you are taking the class Credit/ No Credit, you must receive a C or higher as your final grade to earn a Credit grade.
  4. I make every effort to assess your work as fairly as possible and to provide you with details of your performance. But—unlike some other classes—literature is not about facts and figures. That is its beauty. Instead, it is about judgment, taste, and scholarly standards. If you have any questions about your grade, please let me know. I am happy to review your work and explain the reasons for my assessment.

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