Test One Essay

This essay is entirely optional (worth extra credit). If you choose to do it, it will be due the end of the day, the day after the test.

Click here for the instructions.

Charles Baudelaire

Background of the author
Read about The Flowers of Evil

Class Discussion Questions:
  1. Why is boredom such an important concept in "To the Reader"? Is the speaker simply criticizing us (and himself), or is he announcing that we might have a remedy?
  2. What is corresponding in "Correspondences"? And why does the speaker make a distinction between Nature and Man?
  3. Are the sexual implications in "Her Hair" an answer for the BOREDOM?
  4. How does "The Carcass" function as a reminder of death? This might seem like an obvious question, but I am curious how this poem "reminds" us of death in ways we don't normally experience in poetry.
  5. Is "Song of Autumn" an ironic title? Is the poet able to mold his subject into a pleasing song?

Percy Shelley

Background of the author
Read about "A Defence of Poetry"

Class Discussion Questions:
  1. Why does Shelley make a distinction between reason and imagination? Is this a productive distinction?
  2. According to Shelley, language is the most direct medium of representation. What does he mean by this claim?
  3. Is this true: "poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted"? Are we the ones who create order? Why is the natural state of a thing distorted?
  4. How, according to Shelley, can poetry make us better people? How can it save us from utter ruin?
  5. What are the ethical and artistic implications of the final sentence: "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world"?

Mary Wollstonecraft

Background of the author
Read about A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Class Discussion Questions:
  1. Why does Wollstonecraft concede that women are inferior to men? Who is her audience? What distinction does she make between "masculine" and "feminine"?
  2. "My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures"--what do you make of Wollstonecraft's attitude toward her audience? Is her tone sarcastic or condescending?
  3. I am curious about Wollstonecraft's goal: "to show that elegance is inferior to virtue." Can she do so without merely asserting her preference that women care about the same values that she cares about?
  4. Why is Wollstonecraft up front about her use of language in this work: "I shall be employed about things, not words!"?
  5. Where do you see Enlightenment ideals in Wollstonecraft's argument?
  6. What is, according to Wollstonecraft, "the test of judgment"? What is the problem with acquiring "manners before morals"?

Olympe de Gouges

Background of the author
Read about Declaration of the Rights of Woman

Class Discussion Questions:
  1. To whom is the author directing her argument, and what is the nature of reason that she is appealing to?
  2. How does the structure of de Gouges' declaration reflect Enlightenment ideals?
  3. What could be the benefit, in the face of power, of her command to "unite under the banner of philosophy"?
  4. Is de Gouges being too much of an optimist when she says, "Whatever barriers are thrown in your way it is in your power to overcome them; you simply have to want to." Does she show herself to be more a pragmatist by the end?

First Day

Welcome to your English 2112 course! I hope this semester will be both fun and challenging for you! Your professor's name is Dr. Matthew Horton (that's me!), but you can call him Dr. H. I have high hopes that this semester will help you improve your skills as a college-level reader and writer.

Click on these icons and see what you can do! This course is about reading great literature, but I also want to make you familiar with some useful technology that can help you discover new possibilities. Keep in mind, these tools are just for your benefit--the only required one is Google Drive:

Also, go ahead and look through some of the most important resources on this course website:

Read the syllabus
Check the calendar
Using Google Drive

Other resources are available by clicking the tabs across the top and various links in the right-hand margin. As much as you can, familiarize yourself with this course website. My contact info is in the right-hand margin at well, towards the top.


Description of Course
English 2112 is World Literature II, a 3-credit hour course offered by the English Department in the College of Arts and Letters that fulfills the Area C "Literature" requirement OR the Area B "Global Course" requirement. You must have earned a "C" in English 1102 before you can take this course.

In this course, you can achieve the following goals:
  • Learn methods for measuring the value of selected works of literature around the world.
  • Understand the intersection between appreciation, evaluation, and enjoyment.
  • Apply characters and dramatic situations to important ethical questions:
    • How do we define human goodness and excellence?
    • In what ways do the standards of goodness and excellence shift and change?
    • What sorts of conflict between values give rise to ethical crisis?
  • Interpret characters and dramatic situations as examples of ethical complexity:
    • What sorts of choices do characters or speakers make?
    • What sorts of values do characters or speakers defend?
    • What motivates them to make those choices or hold those beliefs?
    • Where does their confidence come from?
  • Become proficient in responsible reading.
  • Learn literary terms to help you engage with the literature we read
  • Analyze works of literature with thoughtful and developed written responses
  • Develop confidence discussing literature with your classmates