SYLLABUS CL101/Fall 1994: Great Books I

Instructor: David A. Goldfarb

T-Th 9:30-10:45, Office Hours: T 11:00-1:00


Grades will be weighted as follows:
Short paper 20%
Close Reading 20%
Proposal and Conference 10%
Final Paper 35%
Participation 15%

There will be no final exam, and it is not necessary to write about every book in the course. Class participation, therefore, will be taken very seriously in the determination of your final grade. You are expected to do all the reading carefully and to make arguments on the basis of it in class. If you get behind, however, it would be better to skip ahead and be on schedule, rather than getting further behind and missing out on class discussion altogether.

All assignments should be typed, double spaced, and properly annotated, following the format of the MLA Handbook, 3rd ed. If you do not own the MLA Handbook, you are strongly advised to purchase it at the bookstore.

You are encouraged to consult secondary materials. We learn to make good arguments by analyzing the good arguments of others. However, these are not research papers. You will be writing about the works on the reading list, and you must substantiate your arguments with evidence from the texts themselves. If secondary sources figure into your paper, appropriate citations must be provided. FAILURE TO PROVIDE PROPER CITATIONS IS A COMMON FORM OF INADVERTANT PLAGIARISM. All your assignments will be graded primarily on the basis of evidence and argument. Weaknesses in documentation constitute faults in evidence. Style and grammar will not directly be reflected in your grade, though it is difficult to make clear and precise arguments in a muddled style or with poor grammar. We will discuss each assignment in greater detail in class.

Short Paper:
4-6 pg. comparison of the positions of Plato and Aristotle on one of the issues discussed in class. Due XXXX.
Close reading:
You will receive a detailed assignment sheet in class.
Final paper:
10-12 pg. paper substantially discussing at least three of the works we have read, engaging the discourse established in class. You may build on one your oral presentation. If you want to use Plato or Aristotle, you may not repeat what you wrote in the short paper, and you should clear your topic with me early.

A 1-2 page proposal stating the works to be discussed, your thesis and a sketch of the argument will be due XXXX. These will be returned to you in conferences with me the next class day or as soon as possible. You will not get credit for the proposal without a conference, and you will not receive credit for a conference without a written proposal. If you know what you want to do, and want to take advantage of the Thanksgiving break to write, you may turn in your proposal early. This is highly recommended if you want to turn in a draft for comment.

You are strongly encouraged to discuss your papers, as well as all of the assignments, with me at my office hour, Mondays and Wednesdays after class. If you would like feedback on your final papers before handing in the final draft, I will accept drafts for comment up to XXXX. The final paper is due XXXX.

BOOKLIST CL101: Great Books I

REQUIRED READING (campus bookstore):*


* N.B.: This is the form that your bibliography entries should take, when you write your papers. See MLA Handbook, 3rd edition for more details.

You are generally discouraged from using other editions. Even if you have read some of the works already in another version, it is wise to acquire the assigned texts so that you can follow along in class. Abridgements are unacceptable. Some of these books may be offered in other classes. Make sure you use the editions listed for this class. If you prefer, the Revised Standard Version, the Anchor Bible, the Oxford Bible, and the Jewish Publication Society of America edition are all acceptable English versions of Exodus and Genesis. The Good News Bible is not suitable for academic use. Other versions of Gilgamesh are outdated, and not acceptable, though the Gardner/Maier version has some useful introductory material. If you already own the 2nd edition of Grube's translation of The Republic, you may use it, but if you are buying it for the first time, get the 3rd edition. The Revised Oxford Translation of Aristotle in The Complete Works of Aristotle, edited by Jonathan Barnes is acceptable, but the notes and bibliographic material in Janko are much better. Fitzgerald's Aeneid is more popular and a good translation, but get Mandelbaum's even if you already have Fitzgerald's or you will be lost in class. Same goes for Beowulf, though you might also look at the prose version published by Norton in various editions or Chickering's dual-language edition. Rebsamen's translation is actually good poetry. The Seidensticker translation of Genji came out in an Everyman edition recently. The pagination is different and the 17th century woodcuts are omitted, but it is clothbound and one or two dollars cheaper than the one ordered, so you may use that one. Do not use the Arthur Waley translation or the abridged (12 chapter) version or the edition published by Tuttle. You are welcome and encouraged to read in the original language, if you can, but standards are the same no abridgements or "modernized" versions.

You are probably paying a substantial amount of money to attend Queens College. Do not squander it by skimping on books or by failing to bring them to class.


6 September 1995