Scottish Formalisms

ENGL 200 | University of Washington

Class description

This course is meant at once to introduce the literature, history, and literary history of Scotland while also providing outlines of, and opportunity for engagement with, the diverse forms that make up that literature.  

Scotland occupies a unique place within the history of British art-making, at once a colony and not, a marginalized people group with a strong sense of clan (and only sometimes, national) identity that nevertheless managed to lead both religious and philosophical revolutions that shook the known world. 

We owe them more than we generally think.

Student Learning Goals

The first goal of a class like this is enjoyment. We're reading some magnificent and engaging work, old and new, long and short; private diaries, epic poems, children's books, and love songs. The appreciation of some of those forms is dependent (though not wholly, thankfully) on our knowing some things about how they're built and what they're meant to do.   

The second goal is to further our mastery of the language through exposure to the challenges that reading work from eras and countries not our own offer.

Third, though by no means the last of the benefits and outcomes of our time together, will be increased practice in the methods of historical and literary research, and of writing forcefully and clearly in academic contexts.

General Method of Instruction

Guided reading, small and large group discussion, electronic and analog methods of research, lecture, journalling, memorization, recitation, and group and individual presentation will make up the bulk of our practices, though, this list is not exhaustive. We'll come at this work from all angles: historical, aesthetic, theoretical, and as children, unafraid to point out the obvious, or to feel a brush of wonder. 

Recommended Preparation

Participation in this class presupposes no prior knowledge of or particular affection for Scotland, her people, her cuisine, or her culture.  Students who have successfully completed a 100-level English class at the University of Washington are best positioned to gain from the level of attention we mean to pay both to the texts before us and to our own writing. Apart from that: get the books early, start reading whichever ones grab your affection, and steel yourselves: we're in for a whirlwind tour of high- and lowlands, across genres and centuries, and the campus not least. 

Assignments and Grading

More details about this sort of business is available to registrants at the Canvas site. Expect mainly reading, writing, and speaking. Lots. Of all of them.