Canon Formation

This project is an exploration of canon formation – specifically, the ways in which some literary works are considered “major” while others are marginalized as “minor” or even “unimportant.”  Often genre work (like most of your reading list for this semester — horror, mystery, fantasy, speculative, etc.) is dismissed by literary critics as being irrelevant to literature.  However, you will have noticed that certain pieces dismissed as “genre” early in their published existence are now considered canonical. Your task, then, will be to select a particular, recent (original publication no earlier than 2015) written fiction text (prose or poetry, and it must be novel-length) that is a “genre” work that targets a non-juvenile audience (no novels / texts marketed as Young Adult or Juvenile-targeted fiction) and is written by a British author and write a paper that

A) presents a brief account of the writer’s career to contextualize the writing of the work (as an introductory movement; you are not writing a biography here),

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B) provides a detailed analysis of the text in a variety of manners:

    1) in relation to the social, political, and/or religious events of the time of its writing (new historicism)

    2) an exploration of the literary and/or rhetorical tropes used in the work (a close, text-based analysis), and

    3) an analysis via a defined literary theory of that work,

and

C) argues for its inclusion in (or exclusion from) the canon of major British works of literature.

The essay is to be a minimum of 3000 words in length, follow MLA format (heading on first page – no cover sheet), and include a works cited page and parenthetical citations, using sources to support your analysis and evaluation of the work and author.  Be aware that the matter of MLA requirements (the header, the first page information, the title, and the work cited entry list, which must consist of the 5-7 sources used in the essay [including the primary source analyzed]), do not count toward the required length for this assignment; any particularly large quotations (especially block quotations) also are not part of the required word count. 

All sources, with the sole exception of the primary text being analyzed, MUST at minimum be college-level academic sources.  You may use .edu sources and the HCC library databases.  Any other source type will render the submission unacceptable.

Via email, by the deadline for submitting the research essay, you MUST have emailed to me digital copies of all source material used, with the particular passages / information appearing in the essay clearly marked (i.e., highlighted).  I do not need a copy of your primary text.  It do, however, need to be able to read it myself.  Be sure that all your works cited entries are correct to the format in which you accessed the source.

The research essay itself MUST be submitted via its designated depository no later than the deadline already established.  No emailed work or file attached to comments in the depository will be evaluated for a grade.

Grade Rubric

Your submission must be an original, unique, self-produced work complying completely with MLA requirements regarding both formatting and citations  It also must meet all minimum requirements.  Otherwise, it earns an automatic zero; any evidence of plagiarism will result in an F in the class.

MECHANICS–You are expected to proofread effectively and accurately. Any essay submitted with surface errors will have the result of a reduction of the grade by 5 points per each instance of any error compared the grade it would have earned for content without the errors. And, yes, commas matter, even the ones before conjunctions in lists.  Simply consider this class’ writing assignments as exercises in the correct use of the Oxford comma. For more information visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_New_Testament_canon

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MLA– assumed knowledge at this point.  Formatting (whole essay, first-page information, header, margins, quotations [block and internal to sentences corrected for grammar]), parenthetical citations, and works cited entries are all things you are expected to know how to do. Errors in MLA formatting will result in a minimum of 10 points being deducted from the overall grade of the assignment.  Errors in citations and/or works cited entries will result in an automatic zero for the assignment with no option for correction and resubmission.

CONTENT

1) present a short account of the writer’s career (10%)

2) provide an original, three-tiered analysis of the work (60%)

3) argue for the inclusion or exclusion of the work from the canon of British literature (20%)

4) have a useful introduction setting up a provable thesis, transitions, attributive tags to source materials that serve the overall effort of the essay, and a reasoned and viable conclusion based upon the evaluation and analysis committed in the body of the essay (10%)

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