“Lit. & Hum.”
Summer B, 2019
Daily Entry • Friday, July 26th, 2019
Concluding Our Course
Our course has run its course! Again: many thanks for your commitment to our various modules. I hope that you’ve enjoyed our deep dive into selected literary works. Our aim was to reveal and explore humanities or humanistic themes and concerns in those works, each of which manifests connections to Irish identity, cultural nationalism, and physical-force nationalism. The global extent of those matters became obvious, whether on a Great War battlefield in northern France; an early-twentieth-century rubber plantation in the Upper Congo; or a posh mid-twentieth-century home on the Hudson River, north of New York City. Each of us lives in a radically interconnected world.
The final grades for the semester were strong. I’ve produced a randomized and anonymized version of the verified Final Grades Spreadsheet for the course. I wish you well in you future endeavors, especially your push towards graduation from Georgia Southern.
Daily Entry • Thursday, July 25th, 2019
As we reach the final day of the semester, I wish to thank you again for your work during this summer term. Especially in large classes, such as ours, these five-week terms provide few opportunities for features that are easy to incorporate into the standard, 15-week semester. Within the five-week timeframe, it’s just too hard to get students into discussion groups and give them enough time to conduct the research necessary to make discussions and other interactive fora substantive and meaningful. Thus, we deploy multiple-choice tests to help with learning the material (open-book quizzes) and test the degree of acquisition (closed-book exams).
Today at 11:00 pm, we attain the deadline for availability of the term’s final test: a 50-question, 50-point open-book engagement with Maeve Brennan’s “The Servants’ Dance” (1956), plus the Week Five Lecture Notes that accompany it. That test is coded Task E.3, and it’s available on our course Folio page. Please ensure that you get the test completed in a timely fashion. I will start checking grades and compiling the final Master Grades Spreadsheet for the course at 7:30 am on Friday. My plan is to share a randomized, anonymized version of that Spreadsheet with you by mid-morning on Friday.
Daily Entry • Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
First: many thanks for your hard work and perseverance this term. We’ve arrived at the second-to-last day. Last night was the deadline for the closed-book Week Four exam (Task D.6) about Maugham’s short story “P&O.” The grades for that test have dropped, so I’ve entered them into the MASTER GRADES SPREADSHEET for the course.
Right now, only one test remains in the semester. It’s an open-book combined quiz-exam that covers all the material for Week Five, our current, final Week. During Week Five, our focal text is Maeve Brennan’s short story “The Servants’ Dance,” first published in the New Yorker magazine in 1954. For the quiz-exam, you have to absorb the text itself, plus the Week Five Lecture Notes about it. There are 50 questions, each of which is worth one point. It’s by no means a difficult test, but due to the number of questions you should definitely not wait until the last minute to get started. The quiz-exam remains open on our course Folio page until 11:00 pm tomorrow: Thursday, July 25th, 2019. Many students have already completed this challenge, which has Task E.3 as its code. The university closes access to testing material for this course at 11:00 pm tomorrow, so please be mindful of the deadline as absolute.
Let’s talk about grades. I have painstakingly gone over the grade read-outs for each student individually. Do bear in mind that the grade-book feature on Folio is not functioning fully on the student interface. I, however, can bypass that system and check grades on a student-by-student basis. As a process, it’s a bit time-consuming, but it does confirm each student’s score for each quiz, exam, or other test attempted.
Here’s the Really Important Part: I’ve created and am making available a randomized and anonymized version of the most recently updated MASTER GRADES SPREADSHEET for the course. The update was completed at 10:00 am this morning, so if you’ve attempted work since then the document won’t reflect it. This version of the spreadsheet differs from the one I distributed by email yesterday afternoon, just because it includes all the grades for Task D.6, which closed last night. It also includes the grades for Task E.3, the final test, but only for those students who’ve already attempted that 50-question challenge. Again: it remains open on Folio until 11:00 pm tomorrow (Th., Jul. 25th, 2019), the last hour of the course.
PLEASE REVIEW YOUR GRADES as they’re recorded on the Master Grades Spreadsheet. If you have a question, you need to send me an email. Please do not attempt to send your message directly from the Email or the Discussion feature on our course Folio page. Those features are not fully functional right now. In fact, they’ve not functioned properly throughout the term. On the faculty interface on Folio, I cannot see any content that they contain. The only way to guarantee that I'll see your message is if you send it to the following email address:
Please use your official "@georgiasouthern.edu" email account (not an "@gmail.com" or other account). Non-Georgia Southern emails may be blocked by the university's filter or may go to Spam. It's really vital that you make your email message very clear. Indicate specific tasks by their codes (for example: "Task B.7" or "Task E.3"). If I need to do something on your behalf, I require unambiguous, actionable data, conveyed to me in a polite, helpful manner.
If you have a question, please get busy on conveying it as the clock is ticking on our term together. So, again: check out the recently updated MASTER GRADES SPREADSHEET to ensure that it is in accord with your personal records. Many thanks!
Daily Entry • Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
One Deadline Tonight
We continue to push towards the end of the semester. Thank you for keeping up with the work. We have just two test deadlines left: the first (Task D.6) is 11:00 pm tonight, 7/23; the second (Task E.3) is 11:00 pm on Thursday night, 7/25. Both of the tasks are available on our course Folio page. Task D.6 is the closed-book, 30-point exam over the Week Four Lecture/Exam Notes about W. Somerset Maugham’s short story “P&O” (1926). Task E.3 is the open-book, 50-point combined quiz-exam over the text of Maeve Brennan’s short story “The Servants’ Dance” (1954), plus the Week Five Lecture Notes, which interrogate that story.
Maeve Brennan’s “The Servants’ Dance” offers compelling insights into the lives of the numerous Irish women who worked as domestic servants in the U.S. As with all the texts studied this semester, the tale explicitly reveals only some of its topics and themes. The reader has to go between the lines of the narrative to reveal, analyze, and evaluate other concerns. In addition: while one should be careful not to map an author’s life onto her (or his) text too directly, it’s hard not to contemplate Brennan’s extraordinary life when reading “The Servants’ Dance.” The tragedy of the destitution that characterized her final years tends to haunt any encounter with her literary opus.
If you’d like to discover more about Maeve Brennan, her career, and her writing, I recommend a biography entitled Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker (2004) researched and composed by Angela Bourke. However, the best strategy is to read Brennan’s own words, perhaps especially her descriptions of New York City and her fictionalized recollections of her childhood and adolescence in Dublin.
Daily Entry • Monday, July 22nd, 2019
Week Five Begins
Welcome to Week Five: the final Week of this short summer term. To get up to speed with our tasks for the Week ahead, you can either visit the custom-made website for Week Five or keep reading this Daily entry. Three straightforward tasks render the workload for Week Five relatively light. Essentially, you just need to: (a) read Maeve Brennan’s short story “The Servants’ Dance,” first published in 1954 (Task E.1); (b) study the Week Five Lecture Notes about the tale (Task E.2); and (c) attempt the 50-question, 50-point combined quiz-exam over all the Week Five content (Task E.3). Available on our course Folio page, the quiz-exam or test is fully open-book in nature. The first 24 questions can be attempted as you work through “The Servants’ Dance”; they are reading-comprehension challenges that follow the tale’s chronology. The final 26 questions can be attempted as you study the Week Five Lecture Notes. Those questions guide you through key points in the Lecture Notes, from start to finish. Everyone should be able to achieve a perfect or near-perfect score on the combined quiz-exam.
As we’re in an abbreviated Week, the last week, it’s especially important to pay attention to deadlines. At 11:00 pm today — Monday, July 22nd, 2019 — a couple of tests close on our course Folio page: Task D.2, the open-book quiz about W. Somerset Maugham’s short story “P&O”; and Task D.4, the open-book quiz about the Roger Casement-focused podcast. (You can also access the podcast on iTunes by searching for “RTÉ Roger Casement Apocalypse Africa.” A Documentary on One file will pop up for playing.)
Another deadline: If you’re choosing to attempt the optional re-do of Task C.3 (the open-book quiz about Roy Foster’s Yeats-focused essay), the open window to access it is also through 11:00 pm on 7/22. At 11:00 pm tomorrow — Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 — Task D.6, the closed-book exam about the Week Four Lecture/Exam Notes on Maugham’s “P&O,” ceases to be live on Folio. Finally, 11:00 pm on Thursday, July 25th, 2019, marks the last opportunity to attempt the open-book combined quiz-exam for Week Five, which considers Maeve Brennan’s short story “The Servant’s Dance” (24 chronologically ordered questions) and the Week Five Lecture Notes about that text (26 chronologically ordered questions).
Daily Entry • Friday, July 19th, and Saturday, July 20th, 2019
One Small Step … One Giant Leap
The truly awesome achievement that was the moon-landing continues to be on our minds. It’s worth remembering the principal text on the plaque left on the lunar surface 50 years ago by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin: “We came in peace for all mankind.”
For Week Five, to wrap up the term, we’ll read a fairly straightforward American short story, “The Servants’ Dance,” written by Irish-born Maeve Brennan and first published in the New Yorker magazine in 1954, as the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. continued. We’ll also read a set of Lecture Notes about “The Servants’ Dance.” To keep things simple for you, there will be just one test for Week Five, worth the full 50 Test Points for the Week. That test will be completely open book, drawing on the text of the short story and the accompanying Lecture Notes. The test will appear on our course Folio page during Monday morning, and it will remain live until the last hour of the term: 11:00 pm on Thursday, July 25th, 2019.
Brennan’s father had served as the Irish Free State’s Minister (i.e. ambassador) to the United States during World War II, so she had a firm grip on geopolitics. After university in Washington, D.C., Brennan transferred to New York to work as a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Later, she became a contributing journalist and creative writer at the New Yorker. For the latter publication, she composed a series of a half-dozen tales, known as the Herbert’s Retreat stories. Set in a fictional version of the artists’ “colony” Snedens Landing, 30 miles up the Hudson River from New York City, the tales interrogate the relationship between the American homeowners and their Irish maids or servants. “The Servants’ Dance” concerns an annual dance or ball, used by the maids to attempt to secure Irish-immigrant husbands who work as policemen, firemen, and sanitation men in New York City. Tensions between the maids and their employers become manifest as the dance — a midsummer affair — takes a different direction than in years past.
Daily Entry • Thursday, July 18th, 2019
Week Five Preview
Hi, everyone. Let’s take a look ahead to Week Five, our final week. It officially kicks off at 8:00 am on Monday, July 22nd. When mentioning Monday, it’s smart to remind ourselves that at 11:00 pm on that day, both of the open-book quizzes for Week Four (Task D.2 and Task D.4) close. So, please ensure that you attempt them over the next few days, if you haven’t already. The deadline for the closed-book exam for Week Four (Task D.5) is 24 hours later: 11:00 pm on Tuesday, July 23rd. The two open-book quizzes and the closed-book exam are available under Week Four on our course Folio page. Also under Week Four, you’ll find the opportunity to retake Task C.3, the single open-book quiz assigned for Week Three. Attempting that quiz to try to raise your score is entirely optional. Most students did great on the quiz, but I want to ensure that the quiz, being open-book, does what it’s fundamentally supposed to, namely, teach. Whatever you decide, I’ll count the highest score you achieve. The retake deadline is 11:00 pm on Monday, July 22nd.
As Week Five is so short, I’m going to combine the testing for it into a single quiz-exam, which (great news!) will be open-book and multiple-choice in nature. This fact means that everyone should be able to achieve a high score — indeed, a very high score — on the test. It will cover a short story from 1954, written by the Irish-born, American-based author Maeve Brennan. The tale’s title is “The Servants’s Dance,” and you can access it here: PDF containing Maeve Brennan’s “The Servants’ Dance.” You can read the story now. On Saturday, I’ll share with you a set of Lecture Notes about “The Servant’s Dance,” and the single Quiz-Exam (worth 50 points) will appear on your course Folio page early on Monday morning. You’ll have from then until 11:00 pm on Thursday, July 25th, to complete the test. Again: it will be open-book in nature.
Daily Entry • Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
Extra Time & Second Shot
Hello, folks: Happy Wednesday! I’m using this message to share a couple of “housekeeping” matters. First: I experienced some significant technical difficulties last evening when attempting to render the 30-question, 30-point Exam for Week Four (Task D.6) “live” on our course Folio page. Challenges of this nature come along with online courses, which is why I allow generous timelines. It wasn’t until a little before 9:00 am today that I managed to publish the Exam, which, of course, is closed-book. It’s a very straightforward test, based only on the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Four, which analyze — and add humanities content to — W. Somerset Maugham’s 1926 short story “P&O.” While all other test requirements for Week Four (i.e. the open-book quizzes labeled Task D.2 and Task D.4) are and will continue to be due no later than 11:00 PM on Monday, July 22nd, 2019, I’ve set a later deadline for the closed-book exam (Task D.6), just because of yesterday’s technical snafu. You can have an additional 24 hours to attempt the exam — that is, it will remain available until 11:00 pm on Tuesday, July 23rd. I’m trying to as fair as possible.
In that same vein: When reviewing (during yesterday) the results for one of the tests assigned as part of Week Three, I saw that a few — and I emphasize “a few” — students seemed to find it challenging. The test in question was Task C.3: the open-book, multiple-choice quiz, primarily about an extract from Roy Foster’s second volume of Yeats autobiography. While the questions didn’t appear per the chronology of the reading, they pertained to the reading. Furthermore, the test-taking environment was fully open-book. Many students did extremely well on Test C.3, and I congratulate all of you who did. (That didn’t surprise me: we’ve been racking up great performances during this term. Furthermore, I’ve used the quiz very successfully in the past.)
While I’m a pretty traditional instructor who maintains a tight ship, I’m also keen to maximize your learning. Given the open-book character of the quiz (Task C.3), I’ve decided to give anyone who wants to avail of the opportunity a chance to try the quiz one more time. I need to underscore that the second attempt is entirely optional. If you’re happy with the grade you achieved, just skip the re-do. The “rules” about the re-do are simple: (a) it’s available under Week Four (not Week Three) on our course Folio page (please refer to the image below); (b) it closes at 11:00 pm on Monday, July 22nd, 2019; and (c) I will count the highest of a student’s two attempts (assuming there are two attempts) towards her/his final grade. I hope that this pedagogical decision seems both fair and helpful.
Daily Entry • Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
Hi, everyone: thanks for getting all the Week Three activities completed. I’ll be reviewing grades and progress today, and tomorrow (probably around noon) I’ll both post an update on this Daily Webpage and send a group email about how things stand at the three-fifths mark of the course! Just to reiterate the good news: as Week Five (i.e. next week) is short — just four days — the workload for that week won’t be too extensive. Concerning Week Four (i.e, this week): the only component not yet released via our course Folio page is the 30-question, 30-point Exam over the Week Four Lecture/Exam Notes. My strategy is to reserve that test for a bit to ensure that everyone has time to give adequate consideration to the Notes on which the Exam is based. As stated earlier: the Exam (Task D.6) will be live on our course Folio page before 11:00 pm tonight, a full six days before it’s due.
Today we celebrate the extraordinary achievement that was the Gemini program and the Apollo program as we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the mission that first put humans on the moon. The danger inherent the greater enterprise was significant. In recalling the successes, it’s also appropriate and, indeed, necessary to mourn the three astronauts of Apollo 1 — Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee — who perished when their space capsule endured a horrific fire during a launch-test exercise at the Kennedy Space Center on January 27th, 1967.
We should also acknowledge the controversy during those early years over the lack of African-Americans in the astronaut corps. President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, pushed NASA to reflect America’s racial diversity, but progress was slow. If you’re not already familiar with it, I recommend that you acquaint yourselves with the story of Ed Dwight, now 85, described by the New York Times as “a charismatic flier with a cum laude aeronautics degree from Arizona State University.” He was the first African-American selected to participate in the astronaut-preparation regime. In October 1963, NASA held a Houston news conference to introduce Buzz Aldrin and the 13 other men (yes, all men), graduates of that regime, who were to become the second group of full-program astronauts. Although his service branch, the Air Force, had recommend Dwight, he wasn’t in the line up. It would take two decades after Dwight commenced astronaut training for an African American to fly in space.
Daily Entry • Monday, July 15th, 2019
Week Four Begins @ 8:00 am & Week Three Ends @ 11:00 pm
Hello, everyone: I hope that this message finds each of you well. Thank you for continuing to engage in our course. These summer semesters are a workout — not least for your instructor! Today, we step int0 Week Four, which is our last full week. Next week (Week Five) begins on Monday, July 22nd, and ends (together with the entire summer term) on Thursday, July 25th. Due to the shorter time window, you’ll be assigned less work than usual during Week Five.
You can find a full set of instructions for Week Four on a custom-made webpage. I also rehearsed basic information about Week Four in my Daily Webpage entry for Thursday, July 11th, 2019. Our focal text for the week is a short story entitled “P&O,” written and published in 1926 by W. Somerset Maugham, the most commercially successful author of his era. Maugham was an Englishman, and the tale emerged out of five months that he spent traveling in the Federated Malay States (F.M.S.), a British colonial possession on the Malay Peninsula, north of Singapore, in 1921. The story is rather unusual for Maugham because its central male protagonist is an Irishman. Identified only as Gallagher, he has been managing a rubber plantation in a place called Selantan (perhaps a made-up name) in a remote part of the F.M.S. The reader follows Gallagher’s attempt to quit the plantation and retire to Ireland, using as his Asia-to-Europe conveyance an old ocean steamer operated by the P&O shipping company. En route, Gallagher befriends an English woman, Mrs. Hamlyn, who’s exiting her Far East-based marriage to an English silk-merchant.
As we study “P&O,” we’ll we gaining more insights into colonialism, which has been a theme of our term so far. We’ve speculated that Gabriel Conroy, the leading character in James Joyce’s “The Dead,” may be a physical-force Irish nationalist, committed to using the gun and/or the bomb to bring an end to British colonial rule over Ireland. And we’ve also examined how William Butler Yeats memorialized “in a verse” an actual anti-colonial insurrection: the Easter 1916 Rising.
With respect to “P&O,” one critical matter that we’ll examine is the strong possibility that Maugham based Gallagher on a real-life individual: Roger Casement. Irish-born and (unlike most members of his family) an Irish nationalist, Casement became one of the most famous men in the world due to his work monitoring the industry with which Maugham associates his character, Gallagher: Rubber. As we’ll discover, Casement’s fame did not prevent his being hanged, on August 3rd, 1916, so that he became the last of the “Sixteen Dead Men”: the group of Irish rebels executed by the British for participating at a senior level in the Easter 1916 Rising.
I’ve divided Week Four into six tasks. The first and second tasks can be handled together. While reading the story (Task D.1), you can answer a series of multiple-choice questions about it (Task D.2, available already on our course Folio page). Your responses to the questions, which (to keep things simple) follow the chronology of the story, yield the first 10 of the 20 Quiz Points for Week Four.
The third and fourth tasks can also be handed together. While listening to a podcast about Roger Casement (Task D.3), you can answer a series of multiple-choice questions about it (Task D.4, available already on our course Folio page). Your responses to the questions, which (to keep things simple) follow the chronology of the podcast, yield the second 10 of the 20 Quiz Points for Week Four.
At 8:00 pm on Monday, July 15th (i.e. this evening), I’ll release the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Four. They’ll contain some essential information about “P&O” and, in addition, about Roger Casement; and they’ll also draw some potential connections between Maugham’s story from 1926 and the famous Irishman, who died in 1916. Studying those Lecture/Exam Notes will constitute the penultimate task (Task D.5) for Week Four. Once you’ve absorbed the Notes, you’ll be ready to conclude your responsibilities for Week Four by taking a closed-book exam over them (Task D.6). It will yield the 30 Exam Points for Week Four. The exam is scheduled to release on our course Folio page at 11:00 pm on Tuesday, July 16th (i.e. tomorrow night).
As I wrap up this message, I remind all of us that the single 20-point quiz (Task C.3) and the single 30-point exam (Task C,5) for Week Three will cease to be “live” (i.e. available to open) on our course Folio page at 11:00 pm Eastern tonight: Monday, July 15th, 2019. Again: thank you for keeping on keeping on. Hang in there: we’re getting close to the end of the term!
Daily Entry • Friday, July 12th, and Saturday, July 13th, 2019
Spotlighting Women in the Easter 1916 Rising
Given the era in which it occurred, the Easter 1916 Rising was remarkable for its incorporation of women as rebel combatants. In Yeats’s poem “Easter, 1916,” we read, at the start of the second stanza or verse, “That woman’s days were spent | In ignorant good will, | Her nights in argument | Until her voice grew shrill” (ll. 17-20). These lines refer to Constance Markievicz (1868-1927), an Irishwoman who gained her distinctly non-Irish last name by marrying a Polish artist and author, Casimir Markievicz, whom she’d met while studying art in Paris. In popular Irish discourse, she is remembered as “The Countess.” Constance Markievicz was born Constance Gore-Booth, the scion of a Protestant (Church of Ireland) landlord — that is, owner of a landed estate. Called Lissadell, the Gore-Booth property was located in County Sligo on Ireland’s west (Atlantic) coast. Yeats’s mother was a native of that county, and he became acquainted with the Gore-Booth family while visiting his maternal grandparents.
Moving in many of the same circles as Yeats in early-twentieth-century Dublin, Constance Markievicz became increasingly engaged in Irish cultural nationalism. However, her interests expanded to embrace, in addition, physical-force nationalism. She joined a revolutionary organization for women, known by the Gaeilge (Irish-language) name Inghinidhe na hÉireann (“Daughters of Ireland”). Founded by Yeats’s great love interest, Maud Gonne, in 1900, it embraced several goals, not least “[t]he re-establishment of the complete independence of Ireland” and the “combat[ing] in every way [of] English [cultural] influence.” In 1909, Markievicz and another Irish Protestant nationalist, Bulmer Hobson, established a paramilitary scouting organization, Na Fianna Éireann (“Band of Irish Warriors”), to train male Irish youths for the anticipated revolution.
In 1914, as the revolutionary temperature rose, Inghinidhe na hÉireann re-imagined itself as Cumann na mBan (“The Women’s Council) so it could constitute a female equivalent to the nationalist Volunteer movement, created the prior year. During the Easter 1916 Rising, members of Cumann na mBan provided both armed service and support services at all the major rebel strongholds, including the General Post Office, Dublin. Although she was a member of Cumann na mBan, Markievicz participated in the Rising as a member of another nationalist entity: the socialist, trade union-based Irish Citizen Army. The I.C.A. was charged with securing St. Stephen’s Green, an important park in central Dublin. It did so successfully, holding the site for six days. A nurse, Geraldine Fitzgerald, recorded some of the Countess’s combat activities in St. Stephen’s Green during the Rising: “A lady in a green uniform, the same as the men were wearing (breeches, slouch hat with green feathers, etc.) … holding a revolver in one hand and a cigarette in the other, was standing on the footpath giving orders to the men. We recognized her as the Countess de Markievicz – such a specimen of womanhood.”
After her arrest by the British authorities, Markievicz faced a court martial, at which she asserted, "I went out to fight for Ireland's freedom and it does not matter what happens to me. I did what I thought was right and I stand by it.” Although sentenced to death, she was not executed “on account of her sex”; instead, she endured imprisonment until the issuance of a general amnesty in 1917. The following year, during a general election for the overall U.K. parliament (Westminster, in London), Markievicz stood — and won — as a candidate for a Dublin seat. Her party, the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin (“Ourselves”) party, operated an abstentionist policy. Thus, while Markievicz became the first woman ever elected to the British House of Commons, the lower house of the Westminster parliament, she refused to take her seat.
Daily Entry • Thursday, July 11th, 2019
Week Four Preview: Maugham’s “P&O”
As we power forward with Week Three — an in-depth study of Yeats’s famous poem “Easter, 1916” — let’s take a moment to begin previewing Week Four, the second-to-last Week of the course. Our focus will be “P&O”: a short story from 1926, composed by W. Somerset Maugham, who become the most financially successful literary author of his time. Throughout the English-speaking world, the general public had a huge appetite for his works, which included plays, as well as novels and short stories.
To make the tasks for Week Four as clear as possible, I’ve created (as usual) a custom webpage for the week. Here it is: Webpage for Week Four of Literature and Humanities (Summer B, 2019). (The page opens in a new window.) Below, please find a chart that summarizes what’s what for Week Four.
Daily Entry • Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
Hi, everyone! We’ve arrived at the hump day of the hump week for our course: the halfway point! As you continue to work on the Week Three material, you’ll encounter in the Lecture/Exam Notes a photograph of the burnt-out General Post Office on Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street), Dublin: rebel headquarters for the Easter 1916 Rising. It was taken shortly after the insurgents surrendered. We’re suggesting that Yeats may have derived inspiration for the “long and skinny” shape of his poem, “Easter, 1916,” from the columnar monument — Nelson’s Pillar — that stands in front of the G.P.O. Known as Nelson’s Pillar (or, simply, The Pillar), it symbolized British imperial might. In addition, it served as the hub of Dublin’s electric-tram system, for there one changed trams to transfer from one route to another. In fine, the postal, telegraph, and tram networks were peculiarly concentrated in the zone around the G.P.O., which is one reason for its strategic attractiveness to the rebels. Below, I’m pasting a larger version of the photograph featured in your Lecture/Exam Notes.
In the photograph, the G.P.O. is rendered visible (on the viewer’s left) because the adjacent building was shelled into rubble by a British gunship, the Aud, brought up the River Liffey to fire at rebel positions. The open-top, double-decker trams, distinguished by large advertising displays, are visible in proximity to Nelson’s Pillar (which the Irish Republican Army destroyed during 1966, the year of the Rising’s fiftieth anniversary).
In Literature and Humanities courses, such as this one, we generally synthesize a range of assets to enhance our understanding of the literary text under scrutiny at a particular time. As regards the literature of the Easter 1916 Rising, the Google corporation is a friend! Google maintains one of its largest international campuses in Dublin, and as part of the commemoration of the Rising’s centenary, Google’s Arts and Culture division created an extensive website to coordinate a bunch of relevant, high-quality resources. While I encourage you to explore the entire website, I especially recommend a gallery of 44 photographs taken in the days after the Easter 1916 Rising by Thomas Johnson Westropp, an antiquarian and archaeologist. They are in the collection of the University of Dublin (Trinity College).
Daily Entry • Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
Tests for Week Three; Test Results from Week Two
As promised, every scrap of material necessary to complete the Week Three requirements is live on our course Folio page today. The one missing piece coming into the day was the Exam over the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Three. Designated Task C.5, that exam became live on Folio at 10:00 am (a full 11 hours ahead of schedule). It will remain live until the official end of Week Three — that is, 11:00 pm on Monday, July 15th, 2019. Please remember that while our quizzes (worth 20 points each week) are open-book and not time-limited, our exams (worth 30 points each week) are strictly closed-book. In addition, the exams are time-limited, but in a very generous fashion. The tests for Week Three (one quiz and one exam) are multiple-choice in nature. That method of testing allows us to cover the required material in a comprehensive manner, making it ideal for folks who are getting acquainted with a new field — especially in the context of the compressed, five-week summer term.
Let’s preview the 20-point Week Three quiz (Task C.3) and the 30-point Week Three exam (Task C.5) for Week Three. For the quiz, the primary focus is a portion of a chapter of Professor Roy Foster’s authorized biography of William Butler Yeats. In it, Foster examines the months in 1916 during which the 51-year-old Yeats, the dominant Irish literary figure of the time, contemplated and then composed his great political poem, “Easter, 1916.” The 80-line lyric reacts to the Easter 1916 Rising, a failed week-long rebellion, primarily in Dublin, during late April 1916. Although unsuccessful, the Rising set Ireland — a British colony for eight centuries — on a course to a considerable measure of national independence. The quiz consists of 30 questions, most of which are worth 0.7 of a point each and a small number of which (the simplest ones) are worth less. The final math gets us to the 20 Quiz Points for Week Three. Please be aware that The More Questions The Better applies in the case of multiple-choice testing, simply because a wrong answer has less impact in a 30-question quiz than a 20-question one.
As has been our pattern, the exam for the Week covers my Lecture/Exam Notes about the focal material. The Week Three exam (Task C.5) presents 41 straightforward questions, of which 40 are about Yeats’s “Easter, 1916” (text and context) and worth 0.7 of a point each for a total of 28 points. To get us to the necessary 30 Exam Points for Week Three, the remaining question is a True/False one (worth 2 points) that simply reaffirms your personal commitment to academic honestly, especially vis-à-vis our closed-book rule for taking exams.
To conclude: in addition to launching Week Three, yesterday saw us wrap up Week Two. I have now processed the test grades for Week Two and can present hem to you by means of an anonymized, randomized spreadsheet. In fact, the spreadsheet covers all your grades to date. A dot (•) in a given slot simply indicates that you’ve not yet attempted the item in question. The vast majority of you are making great grades. For those who may be disappointed with a grade or two, please feel at ease about sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I check that account very regularly.
Daily Entry • Monday, July 8th, 2019
Week Three Begins @ 8:00 am; Week Two Ends @ 11:00 pm
Hello, everyone! Welcome to Week Three! To review what you need to do this Week, please read the Daily posts (below) for Friday, July 5th, and Saturday, July 6th. They rehearse the various tasks that must be accomplished. The tests for Week Three (one 20-point quiz and one 30-point exam) will remain “live” on our course Folio page until 11:00 pm on Monday, July 15th, 2019. After that time, they close. The quiz is already available, and the exam will be posted before 9:00 pm on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019 (i.e. tomorrow).
Today is, of course, the final day of Week Two (in addition to being the first day of Week Three). Almost everyone has taken the three tests associated with Week Two: two open-book quizzes (worth 10 Quiz Points each); and one closed-book exam (worth 30 Exam Points). If you haven’t completed all of those tasks, please remember that the tests cease to be “live” (i.e. available) on our course Folio page at 11:00 pm Eastern today. As usual on Mondays in the course, an email from email@example.com will drop in your university email inbox today with the end week/start week orientation data covered on the Daily webpage.
Daily Entry • Saturday, July 6th, 2019
Previewing Week Three (Continued from Yesterday)
Let’s take a more detailed look at Week Three, which is just around the corner. These summer terms fly by! Our essential focus during Week Three is a humanistic (or humanities) exploration of William Butler Yeats’s poem, “Easter, 1916.” This study complements what we accomplished during Weeks One and Two, for while Joyce’s “The Dead” anticipates a physical-force nationalist rebellion in Ireland, “Easter, 1916” reacts to just such an event. As its name indicates, the Easter 1916 Rising occurred during the Easter season of 1916. While short-lived and unsuccessful, it nevertheless became the founding event in the emergence of the present-day Republic of Ireland (officially called Éire).
I’m keeping things pretty straightforward for Week Three, which begins at 8:00 am on Monday, July 8th, 2019. You will have just one open-book quiz (30 questions, yielding 20 Quiz Points; Task C.3) and one closed-book exam (yielding 30 Exam Points; Task C.5). All the material for Week Three is already available, with the exception of Task C.5. That exam will be “live” on our course Folio page no later than 9:00 pm Eastern on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019. In the main, the quiz covers a brief portion of the authorized biography of W.B. Yeats, written by the great Irish historian Roy Foster. It’s available for study as Task C.2. For its part, the exam focuses on a set of Lecture/Exam notes, available for study as Task C.4. You can orient yourself for Week Three by visiting the custom-made overview webpage. (The link opens in a new window. If prompted for a password, use: lithum.)
The selection from the Foster biography examines the period between the Easter 1916 Rising in Dublin and Yeats’s completion — on September 25th, 1916 — of his primary poem about the event: “Easter, 1916.” As stated in yesterday’s post, “Easter, 1916” is considered one of the finest political poems in the English language. The 51-year-old Yeats composed its 80 lines while moving between several locales, including a seaside residence on the French Atlantic coast and a rural Big House (or mansion) in County Galway in the West of Ireland. His host in the former place was Maud Gonne MacBride, for whom he had long carried a romantic flame. In the latter place, Lady Augusta Gregory, his principal mentor, provided the hospitality. Both women were widows. Maud Gonne’s husband, from whom she had been estranged (due to domestic abuse), became an Irish nationalist martyr: he was one of the 16 men executed by the British for participating in the Easter 1916 Rising. He features by name in “Easter, 1916.” Lady Gregory’s husband, Sir William Robert Gregory, had died in 1892. His colorful career had included a stint as the British imperial Governor of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His reputation in Ireland took a hit due to legislation he sponsored during the Great Hunger (the potato famine of the 1840s), which earned him the negative moniker “Quarter Acre Gregory.”
While the insurrectionists who staged the Easter 1916 Rising had initially designated Easter Sunday as the start day, a misunderstanding within their ranks resulted in a one-day delay. Beginning on Easter Monday, April 24th, 1916, the conflict lasted barely a week. On Saturday, April 29th, the rebel chief, Patrick Pearse, issued orders to surrender and dispatched one of the female rebels, Elizabeth O’Farrell, a nurse, to the British military commander in Dublin, General William Lowe, with a note articulating the surrender rationale: “to prevent the further slaughter of the civilian population and in the hope of saving our followers, now hopelessly surrounded and outnumbered.”
Daily Entry • Friday, July 5th, 2019
Previewing Week Three
Post-fireworks, we’re back at it! It’s time to remind ourselves that the deadline for the two quizzes and one exam for Week Two — Unit B of our study of James Joyce’s “The Dead” — is approaching. Those Week Two tests remain “live” on the course Folio page until 11:00 pm on Monday, July 8th, 2019.
The above acknowledged, we should begin thinking about Week Three of the course: the halfway mark! That Week officially begins at 8:00 am on Monday, July 8th, 2019, and runs until 11:00 pm on the following Monday. Its focus is William Butler Yeats’s poem, “Easter, 1916,” written over the summer and early fall of that year. Considered to be among the finest political poems ever crafted, “Easter, 1916” concerns a republican revolution that (having hovered as a threat in Joyce’s “The Dead”) became actual in 1916, beginning on Easter Monday, April 24th, and lasting for almost a week before the rebels surrendered.
Already, much of the Week Three material is available. You can preview it on the custom-made orientation webpage for Week Three. (The link opens in a new page.) Below, please find a summary of the tasks you must accomplish to satisfy the Week Three requirements.
The diagram indicates in blue the two tests you’ll need to take as you complete the requirements for Week Three. The 30-question, open-book quiz (worth 20 Quiz Points) is mainly over a piece of biography. The quiz is available now on our course Folio page. Focused on the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Three, the closed-book exam (worth 30 Exam Points) will be available on our course Folio page no later than 9:00 pm Eastern on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019.
Daily Entry • Thursday, July 4th, 2019
I hope that everyone can take time away from studying today in order to celebrate America. If you have to work in the military, police, healthcare, food-service, the first-responder sector, or any other vocation or industry on this holiday: thank you for making the Fourth all the more possible for the rest of us.
The Irish are proud of their contributions to the United States. The core American tenant of “inalienable rights,” included by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, may be traced to the Irish political philosopher Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), a key figure of the Enlightenment. In An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, which first appeared in print in 1725 (the year he married and turned 31), Hutcheson insisted on a principle that he labeled “unalienable rights.” He conveyed that notion to his pupils (at the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland), among whom was William Small. When William Small served on the faculty of the College of William and Mary (in Williamsburg, Virginia), he taught “unalienable rights” as a moral imperative to his student Thomas Jefferson. In a letter written in January 1815, Jefferson reflected that “Dr. Small was … to me as a father. To his enlightened and affectionate guidance of my studies while at College, I am indebted for everything.” Six years later, Jefferson memorialized Small in his autobiography: “It was my great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life, that Dr. … Small … was … professor of Mathematics [at the College of William and Mary], a man … with … a happy talent of communication, correct and gentlemanly manners, and an enlarged and liberal mind.” High praise indeed!
In an outdoor speech, delivered on College Green in central Dublin in May 2011, President Barack Obama — the great-great-great grandson of an Irish immigrant into the United States — reflected on other Irish-U.S. connections. Obama observed, “[N]ever has a nation so small [Ireland] inspired so much in another [the U.S.].” He continued, “Irish signatures are on our founding documents. Irish blood was spilled on our battlefields. Irish sweat built our great cities. Our spirit is eternally refreshed by Irish story and Irish song; our public life by the humor and heart and dedication of servants with names like Kennedy and Reagan, O’Neill and Moynihan. So, you could say there’s always been a little green behind the red, white and blue.”
Obama noted, “When the father of our country, George Washington, needed an army, it was the fierce fighting of your sons that caused a British official to lament, ‘We have lost America through the Irish.’ And as George Washington said himself, ‘When our friendless standards were first unfurled, who were the strangers who first mustered around our staff? And when it reeled in the light, who more brilliantly sustained it than Erin’s [Ireland’s] generous sons?’ When we strove to blot out the stain of slavery and advance the rights of man, we found common cause with your struggles against oppression. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and our great abolitionist, forged an unlikely friendship right here in Dublin with your great liberator, Daniel O’Connell. His time here, Frederick Douglass said, defined him not as a color but as a man. And it strengthened the non-violent campaign he would return home [to the U.S.] to wage.”
Again: Happy July 4th!
Daily Entry • Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019
Dubliners beyond “The Dead”
Several of you have asked about other stories in the collection Dubliners. It’s Joyce’s only book of short stories, and “The Dead” is the fifteenth, final, and longest tale within it. For almost a decade, Joyce attempted to get a version of Dubliners into print, dealing with some 15 publishers. The book eventually appeared in 1914, from the London house of Grant Richards (which had rejected it earlier). Often, either a publisher or a printer would object to a sexual innuendo in a given story.
I think it’s fair to say that each of the stories contains subtexts about darker aspects of Irish life in the early twentieth century. Some interpret the first tale, “The Sisters,” as hinting at an inappropriate relationship between a Roman Catholic priest and a boy. Others contend that the elderly priest in the story is suffering from syphilis. In 1904, a version of “The Sisters” had appeared in a magazine, The Irish Homestead, associated with George William Russell (also known by his pen-name, AE). That same publication would later print two more stories destined for inclusion in Dubliners: “Eveline” and “After the Race.” They are my favorites from Dubliners, apart from “The Dead.”
In “Eveline,” the title character contemplates emigrating to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her sailor boyfriend, Frank. To a degree, Joyce uses “Eveline” to create a parody of popular (or pulp) romantic fiction. For its part, “After the Race” captures the excitement of an international automobile race, held in Dublin in July 1903: the Gordon Bennet Cup. The winner of the actual contest was a Belgian contender, who completed the 370-mile course in a Mercedes in 6 hours and 36 minutes! While Joyce enjoyed much modern technology, especially the motion picture, he declared himself unhappy with “After the Race” as a story!
Daily Entry • Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Results from the Tests for Week One
Hello, everybody! This morning I emailed all members of the course a spreadsheet with your grades for the quiz and the exam mandated in Week One. I was very happy with the class averages: well done! Communicating with several of you individually via email, it seems that the logistics for the course are satisfactory. In essence, each of the five Weeks has an anchor webpage that links to the material you need to study. That assigned material is then tested by means of a quiz or two and an exam. Those tests are available on the course Folio page.
If you have the time and interest, I highly recommend your viewing the American director John Huston’s The Dead, a movie version of Joyce’s short story, first released in 1987. Huston’s daughter, Angelica Huston, plays Gretta Conroy; and Donal McCann, an Irish actor, plays Gabriel. The task of adapting the tale for the screen fell to Huston’s son, Tony Huston, and it’s pretty faithful to the original.
Daily Entry • Monday, July 1st, 2019
A Deeper Look at the Academic Article
Happy July, everyone! Today, we begin Week Two of the course. Relatively early this morning, I sent each student an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make some time to read it as it reminds you of today’s 11:00 pm cut-off for the single quiz and the single exam that constitute what must be submitted for your Week One grade. The email also previews Week Two in detail.
Here’s a summary of what’s due before the official end of Week Two, seven days from today. Week Two is our second and final week focused on James Joyce’s “The Dead.” Before 11:00 pm on Monday, July 8th, you need to attempt the following on the course’s Folio site: Quiz (Task B.3) over U.C.D.’s Podcasts #4 through #6 about “The Dead” • Quiz (Task B.5) over C. Roland Wagner’s academic article about “The Dead”; Exam (Task B.7) over the Week Two set of Lecture/Exam Notes about “The Dead.” The two Quizzes are available on Folio before Monday, July 1st. The Exam is available on Folio from 1:00 pm on Monday, July 1st.
As discussed in my last post (on Saturday, June 29th), Wagner’s article examines the Gretta-on-the-stairs (or Distant Music) scene in “The Dead” vis-à-vis the traditional depiction of the Annunciation (also known as Conceptio Christi) in Christian paintings. In that depiction, the messenger archangel, Gabriel, informs the Virgin Mary of God’s choosing her as Jesus’s mother — that’s the announcement or Annunciation part. As to the conception or Conceptio Christi part: God in the form of the Holy Ghost enters Mary’s right ear as a fertilizing breath or beam of light or set of words. Within the paintings, a dove often represents the Holy Ghost, while lilies symbolize Mary’s purity. Although I don’t intend to review every other aspect of Wagner’s article here. it’s worth clarifying a couple of additional things.
When developing his argument, Wagner discusses an influential essay about the Annunciation in art and culture, written by the Welsh psychoanalyst, Ernest Jones, a colleague of Sigmund Freud. The essay first appeared in 1914 in a German journal, and another version of it was included in Jones’s 1923 English book, Essays on Applied Psycho-Analysis. The essay’s (pretty long) title is “The Madonna's Conception through the Ear: A Contribution to the Relation between Aesthetics and Religion.” One of Jones’s points is that the effort, on the part of the church and the artists, to make the act of divine impregnation seem pure — a breath in the ear — must have required them to think, too, of an opposite, gross scenario. Thus, we find in the Western cultural imagination fanciful ideas of conception involving the anus and intestinal gas (farting).
Wagner finds Jones’s presentation of anal matters to be useful, particularly when analyzing how “The Dead” inscribes Mr. Browne, who characterizes himself as “all brown.” The narrator perhaps alludes to men’s nether regions when he highlights Browne’s “wizen‐faced” appearance, especially his “stiff grizzled mustache and swarthy skin.” But Wagner also claims that the anal subtext in “The Dead” allows us to contemplate the anal phase, the second of the five stages in human psycho-sexual development, lasting roughly from 18 to 36 months — at least according to the likes of Sigmund Freud and Ernest Jones. Such psychiatrists maintained that a successful transition through the anal phase is essential for healthy sexual identity and practice in adulthood. Wagner questions the degree of psycho-sexual maturity exhibited by the characters Michael Furey and Gabriel Conroy, as well as the real-life author James Joyce. As regards the two literary figures, he points out how, at certain junctures, “The Dead” characterizes each man as having “delicate” qualities that can be interpreted as symbolic of psycho-sexual puerility and/or anxiety. Wagner suggests that Gabriel’s condition may have emerged due to his domineering, judgmental mother, who likely impeded his progress through the childhood portions of the five phases of psych-sexual development: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital.
Daily Entry • Saturday, June 29th, 2019
Introducing an Academic Article for Study in Week Two
Week Two starts at 8:00 am on Monday, July 1st, 2019. (Can you believe that this year is half-way through already?) Week One ends at 11:00 pm on the same day, just because that’s when the 20-point, open-book Quiz and the 30-point, closed-book Exam about the content assigned for Week One cease to be available for completion on Folio. Make sure to take both the Quiz (Task A.3) and the Exam (Task A.5) before 11:00 pm on Monday, July 1st. You should receive notification of your grades immediately upon completion.
You have not two but three test challenges for Week Two. Don’t worry: they’re pretty straightforward! There’s a graph outlining what’s what in the Daily post from yesterday (which immediately follows this post). In essence, Week Two requires you to:
(1) take a 20-question Quiz (Task B.3; worth up to 10 points) focused on Podcasts #4 through #6 in the U.C.D. series about key aspects of “The Dead”;
(2) take a 20-question Quiz (Task B.5; worth up to 10 points) focused on an academic article that explores echoes in “The Dead” of traditional artistic depictions of the Annunciation (a Christian festival); and
(3) take a 30-question Exam (Task B.7; worth up to 30 points) about our second set of Lecture/Exam Notes, which consider when the action in “The Dead” occurs; how Irish land nationalism affects the story; and how the Gaeilge (i.e. Irish-language) word geis resonates in the story, even though it doesn’t appear in the printed text.
In this course, all quizzes are open-book, while all exams are strictly closed-book (i.e. no outside material is permitted, on your honor, including but not limited to: textbooks, notes, flashcards, webpages, help from another person).
Let’s focus now on the academic article assigned as part of the course content for Week Two. I’ll also offer details about it in the next post (i.e. on Monday, July 1st). When studying literature in a humanities context (which is the basic idea of this course), it’s important to expose yourself to researched content that has been peer-reviewed and approved for publication in a reputable forum, such as a book from a university press or a scholarly journal. As a rule, such content is primarily pitched at expert (versus lay) readers. Thus, at least initially, it can often seem a bit beyond one’s grasp. It’s important not to freak out when you first read a given article. Instead, bear in mind that you don’t have to understand, agree with, or use everything in it. The best plan is to extract from the article knowledge and insights that can help you in your education. In the case of the academic article we’ll be exploring in Week Two, my advice is that you begin by giving it a “once through” — i.e. a start-to-finish reading. As you proceed, mark up: elements that you find informative; references that seem obscure; and arguments that require further explanation (what’s sometimes called “unpacking”).
Once you’re done with the “once through,” you’ll be sufficiently ready to attempt Task B.5, which is the 20-question multiple-choice, open-book Quiz about the academic article. The 20 questions are as much a learning exercise as they are a test. They are presented chronologically. In other words: The first question addresses material from early in the article, while the twentieth question focuses on one of the last points that the piece makes. You’ll notice that some of the questions are pretty long. That’s deliberate: they seek to provide helpful background data and explain key arguments.
The article’s title is “A Birth Announcement in ‘The Dead,’” and its author is the late C. Roland Wagner. It was published in 1995 on pages 447 through 462 of Volume 23 of the scholarly journal Studies in Short Fiction. In the article, one of Wagner’s central ideas is that James Joyce likely based the Gretta-on-the-stairs (or Distant Music) scene in “The Dead” on how Medieval, Renaissance, and other painters depicted the episode in the Christian narrative known as the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary.
As Gabriel Conroy stares up the stairs at his wife, Gretta, he imagines himself in the role of a painter: “If he were a painter he would paint her [Gretta] in that attitude. ... Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.” Clearly, given how many times he inscribes “paint” and “painter,” Joyce wants his readers to situate themselves in the world of painting! Another arresting detail is that, finding himself “surprised at her [Gretta’s] stillness” on the stairs, Gabriel “strain[s] his ear to listen also” to the song that is causing Gretta to exhibit “grace and mystery.” If Joyce had omitted the phrase, “his ear,” the sentence would still have made sense, so he probably intends that we think about an ear, in addition to painting!
The bottom line is that Joyce was familiar with a legend that emerged about the Virgin Mary’s conceiving Jesus in her womb when the Holy Ghost (also known as the Holy Spirit) impregnated her by entering her body through her right ear. That miraculous conception occurred in the context of God’s dispatching his messenger archangel, Gabriel, to Mary’s home. Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary that she would be the Mother of God (in the form of Jesus) is often posited as all but simultaneous with her conception of Jesus by the Holy Ghost. In fact, many theologians use the term Conceptio Christi (“the Conception of Christ”) as an alternative for Annunciation.
If Gretta was once pregnant by Michael Furey, that fact is, in a way, reborn by virtue of the ghostly music that enters Gretta’s ear — and also Gabriel’s ear — in the scene on the stairs: a scene so full of “grace and mystery” as to be worth painting.
The paintings of the Annunciation that C. Roland Wagner discusses in his article, “A Birth Announcement in ‘The Dead,’” are versions of the narrative rehearsed above, namely, Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary and the Holy Ghost’s impregnating her with Jesus through her right ear. Some of the paintings indicate the Holy Spirit by means of a form or symbol associated with it: a dove. To reinforce the notion that the woman is Mary, most of the painting include one of her primary symbols: the lily. I’ll conclude this post with two of the paintings that Wagner’s article discusses.
Daily Entry • Friday, June 28th, 2019
Week One Ends @ 11:00 pm on Mo., Jul. 1st
Week Two Begins @ 8:00 am on that Day
Today, I posted onto Folio the two tests that constitute the quizzes for Week Two, which doesn’t officially kick off until Monday, July 1st, 2019. As Week One is our start-up (or ease-in) week, the number of tasks is limited. We’ll have a bit more to accomplish in Week Two, but not anything overwhelming. In order to test the work that you’ll undertake in/for Week Two, I’m dividing that Week’s 20-point quiz component between two quizzes. The first is about the final three podcasts (#4 through #6) in the University College Dublin (U.C.D.) series about “The Dead”; and the second concerns an academic article that explores how depictions in art of the Annunciation, a Christian festival, may inform the Distant Music scene — and some other scenes — in “The Dead.” (As promised in an earlier post, I’ll devote most of tomorrow’s Daily to introducing the academic article.) Each of the Week Two quizzes contains 20 multiple-choice questions worth a half-point per question. Within Week Two, there’ll also be the standard 30-question/30-point exam over the Lecture/Exam Notes for the Week.
Below, please find a graph of the tasks — plus what’s due when — for both Week One and Week Two. To reiterate: We’re devoting both Weeks to an in-depth study of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” Make sure that you’ve logged into our Course Site on Folio and attempted the Quiz and the Exam for Week One prior to their closing out at 11:00 pm on Monday, July 1st. Just to rehearse the course’s grading scheme again: for each of the five weeks, 50 points are available for a total of 250 points for the course. To calculate your final grade, multiple your total course points by 0.4. For example: 220 total points multiplied by 0.4 yields a final grade of 88%. In order to make an “A” in the course, you need to amass at least 225 points (225 X 0.4 = 90). Within each week, 20 points maximum derive from a quiz or quizzes and 30 points maximum derive from an exam or exams.
Daily Entry • Thursday, June 27th, 2019
Some Posting Issues
I’ve deliberately kept the workload fairly light for Week One. Not everyone joins the course before it starts. In fact, students were still adding the course as late as yesterday (Wednesday), the third day of the semester. That’s A-OK: everyone is welcome!
Today has been a frustrating one for me when interacting with Folio. While you access that university resource via a student portal, I have to access it via a faculty portal. The bottom line is that I’ve been experiencing some stubborn posting issues when it comes to getting the Week Two content live on Folio. While my plan was to be done with that task today (Thursday), the system didn’t cooperate … at all! However, I’m confident that most everything for Week Two (which doesn’t officially begin until Monday, July 1st, 2019), will be in place and available to you by Saturday. Thanks for your patience as we navigate a few technological challenges! I’ve scheduled an in-person appointment with the university’s technology people for early on Monday morning; all start-up issues with web-hosting should get addressed — and resolved — then.
What I can do is make available right here the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Two. If you wish, you can begin studying them in anticipation of a 30-question multiple-choice, Folio-based exam about them that you’ll need to complete before 11:00 pm on Monday, July 8th, 2019, a whole 11 days from today! That exam is single-shot and closed-book, so you’re probably best advised to hold off attempting it until after the July 4th holiday, by which time you’ll have had plenty of opportunities to absorb the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Two. Also on the docket for Week Two are the three remaining podcasts (#4 through #6) in the University College Dublin suite about Joyce’s “The Dead” and an academic article, written by the scholar C. Roland Wagner, that interrogates how the Christian story of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, as depicted in Western painting, may inform James Joyce’s “The Dead.” I’ll post more details about Wagner’s article in Saturday’s Daily (i.e. my entry for June 29th).
Daily Entry • Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
Flavors of Nationalism
Hi, everyone: I hope you’re getting into “The Dead.” Over his career as a writer, James Joyce didn’t author many texts. However, he certainly provided us with exceptional quality in his literary works. One of the great humanities (or humanistic) concerns throughout Joyce’s opus or body of creative writing is nationalism. We live in an age where nationalism has strengthened within political discourse, an example of it in our country being President Donald J. Trump’s slogan, “America First.” Trump articulated economic nationalism during his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2017: “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. … We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.” We can observe similar attitudes elsewhere, too. While the European Union finances around 60% of Poland’s public investment, the nationalist government there (dominated by the Law and Justice Party) chronically criticizes the European Union (or E.U.). Some argue that nationalist, anti-E.U. rhetoric has become a kind of political default in Poland.
Joyce created “The Dead” in 1907, when several types of nationalism were intersecting in Ireland: a small but complex country long colonized by the British Empire. By Joyce’s coming-of-age, that empire had expanded to incorporate approximately a quarter of the world’s land area and a quarter of its population! Just before the action in the text (which occurs in early January 1904), the so-called Wyndham Land Act of 1903 had begun the process of transferring over half of Ireland’s land from colonial landlords to native tenant farmers. Thus, one “flavor” of nationalism — namely, land (or land-and-house) nationalism — achieved a signal success in early-twentieth-century Ireland: one of the biggest land-transfers in world history. For her part, Molly Ivors seems fixated on reviving the Irish language, properly called Gaeilge. Restoring the indigenous language as the lingua franca or everyday tongue is Molly’s ambition; however, Gabriel doesn’t see that type of cultural nationalism as worthwhile. As you try to get your head around how “The Dead” explores various kinds of early-twentieth-century Irish nationalism, the following diagram my prove useful. It’s also availble as part of the Lecture/Exam Notes for Week Two.
Daily Entry • Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
Up and Running!
Reflections on our “Start Up” day (i.e. yesterday) from Dr. Keeley: I spent many hours on Monday (morning and evening) engaging with you, the students, on an individual basis, via email. I thoroughly enjoyed absorbing the diverse insights you shared into your lives at Georgia Southern — and outside it. Thank you for producing such well-written and engaging self-introductions.
As regards academic majors, we seem to have a ton of folks committed to nursing and other health-related fields; to engineering of one type or another; and to sports management. While other concentrations also featured, those were the big three! A considerable number of you are balancing pursuit of your college degree with working full-time and/or being a parent. I see signs around the Statesboro campus (where I’m currently based) that proclaim, “Adulting Is Hard.” That about sums it up! One of the students is anticipating the birth of his first child, a son; two of the students are eager to pass the course because it’s all that stands between them and graduation. In fine: Y’all are super-busy. I can certainly relate. I did all my degrees while holding down a job. We had the first of our four children around halfway through my undergraduate studies!
Some of you have already completed the 20-question multiple-choice Quiz over Podcasts 1-3 about our focal text for Week One: James Joyce’s short story, “The Dead". As it’s such a rich story, we’re making the focus of Week Two as well. There’s plenty of time to take care of the Quiz, plus the other test assigned under Week One, namely, a 30-question multiple-choice Exam over the Week One Lecture/Exam Notes. Both the Quiz and the Exam for Week One are available for taking on our course Folio page until 11:00 pm on Monday, July 1st, 2019.
Daily Entry • Monday, June 24th, 2019
Welcome to Lit. & Hum.
Welcome to this Summer Term B 2019 course: Literature and Humanities or “Lit. & Hum.” The course is fully online. It opens at 8:00 am Eastern on Monday, June 24th, 2019, and runs for almost five weeks. The last day of course activity in Thursday, July 25th, 2019. Your instructor — that’s me, Dr. Keeley — posts your final course grade (a letter grade) to WINGS before 12:00 pm noon on Friday, July 26th, 2019.
As your instructor, I’m a fan of of online teaching. It radically increases your flexibility as a student. However, while I know that it has many great features, I’m not a huge fan of Folio. IMHO (in my humble opinion), it takes something that’s fairly straightforward and makes it over-complicated. So, I supplement what we do on Folio, such as quiz- and exam-taking, by using a few webpages that begin “irishgeorgia.com.” This is one of those pages, called “irishgeorgia.com/daily.” I strongly encourage you to visit this page very regularly throughout the run of the course, for I update it daily (except Sundays).
There are 45 of you and only one of me, If Student A has a question or a comment, it’s highly likely that Student B will have a similar question or comment. I want to hear all of your considered, well-written, and polite questions and comments, and the easiest way for you to get in touch is via email. You can use the email feature on our course Folio page or you can message me (from your official @georgiasouthern.edu account) at email@example.com. As stated on the Syllabus, I’ll respond to just you if your message is individual in nature. However, as much (perhaps most) content received via email is relevant to everyone taking the course, I’ll provide non-individual, useful-to-all feedback via this webpage, always posting the most recent entry at the top of the page, with a date a title.
While the course schedule is fully indicated on the Syllabus, it’s perhaps useful (as we get going) to take a quick, focused look at what you need to accomplish during Week One, by which is meant the days from 8:00 am on Monday, June 24th, 2019, through the close-out time for the two Week One tests: 11:00 pm on Monday, July 1st, 2019. (All times are Eastern U.S.)