Form and Transformation, From Novels to Blogs
English 209/ Bryn Mawr College/ Anne Dalke 
Spring Semester, 2008
Dalton 119, TTH 11:30 AM—1:00 PM
Photos of Final Performances
& of Re-writing the Law of Genres 
Course Forum Area 
Archive of Class Notes
1: Thinking Generically About Moby-Dick and...
 2: Thinking Generically About Uncle Tom's Cabin and...
3: Thinking Generically About Blogs and... 
4: Thinking Generically About...Everything
Teaching and Technology: What I Do On-Line 
(“The study of forms is the study of transformations”—Goethe, via Propp)
"...in genre, you’re sort of buying a guarantee that you are going to
have essentially the same experience again and again.
It’s a novel. It won’t be too novel. Don’t worry."
(William Gibson, "Back From the Future,"
New York Times Magazine, August 19, 2007)
Following Bakhtin’s claim that “faced with the problem of the novel, genre theory must submit to a radical restructuring,” three hybrid novel forms will function as the first set of exemplars for this range of concepts. All were written in the United States during the same decade as The Origin of the Species: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “romance,” The Scarlet Letter (1850), Herman Melville’s “anatomy,” Moby-Dick (1851), and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “sentimental novel,” Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).
Our second ongoing set of imaginative test cases will be found in the emerging genre of blogging . Four tri-co professors who are engaging in this activity in a variety of ways will be guest lecturers in the class, and each of us will also be writing a blog on Serendip as a portion of our work for this course.
In a series of linked writing projects, students will 1) post weekly on-line reflections about the readings ; 2) reflect on the generic concept of genres; 3) explore the specific genre of the 19th c. American novel and 4) the new genre of blogging before 5) examining a topic that has arisen for them in the course of the course, which they wish to explore further. In addition to the weekly postings, a total of twenty-four pages of writing will be required by semester’s end.
Bi-weekly attendance and participation in class
10 reflections on assigned readings, posted on the world-wide web 
Three 4-pp. papers:
- 2/22: what are you thinking about, generically?
- 3/26: what are you thinking about the emergence of the genre of the novel?
- 4/28: what are you thinking about the emergence of the genre of the blog?
5/16: Final 12-pp. project, portfolio and self-evaluation 
A selection of theoretical essays
T, Jan. 22 Introduction: Reading Some Images & Imagining Some Forms
Th, Jan. 24 Anne Freadman, “Anyone for Tennis?,"  Genre and the New Rhetoric,
ed. Aviva Freedman and Peter Medway (Bristol, Pa: Taylor & Francis, 1994), pp. 43-66.
T, Jan. 29 Adena Rosmarin, "A Theoretical Introduction," The Power of Genre
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), 3-22.
Th, Jan. 31 Rosmarin, "Defining a Theory of Genre," The Power of Genre, 23-51.
T, Feb. 5 Moby-Dick, Chapters 1-36
Th, Feb. 7 Moby-Dick, Chapters 37-81
"From Complexity to Emergence and Beyond: Towards Empirical Non-Foundationalism as a Guide to Inquiry ," Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2007 (90, 1/2): 301-323.
T, Feb. 19 Introduction, abstracts, and Croce's "Criticism of the Theory of Artistic and Literary Kinds." Modern Genre Theory, ed. David Duff. New York: Longman, 2000. 1-28.
Th, Feb. 21 Moby-Dick finale
T, Feb. 26 Yury Tynyanov, "The Literary Fact" (1924), Vladimir Propp, "Fairy Tale Transformations" (1928), Mikhail Bakhtin, "Epic and Novel" (1941) and "The Problem of Speech Genres"(1952), from Modern Genre Theory
Th, Feb. 28 Uncle Tom's Cabin
T, Mar. 4 "
Th, Mar. 6 "
T, Mar. 18 Uncle Tom's Cabin
Th, Mar. 20 Northrop Frye, "The Mythos of Summer: Romance" (1957) &
Fredric Jameson, "Magical Narratives: On the Dialectical Use of Genre Criticism" (1975) from Modern Genre Theory
T, Mar. 25 Jacques Derrida, "The Law of Genre" (1980) and
Mary Eagleton, "Genre and Gender" (1989), from Modern Genre Theory
or about the generic qualities of Uncle Tom's Cabin in particular
Th, Mar. 27 The Scarlet Letter
T, Apr. 8 Writing as Jo(e), "Blogging as Emerging Genre"  (November 16, 2005).
Biography 26, 1 (2003): 24-47.
Th, Apr. 10 Boxer, Sarah. Blogs . New York Review of Books, 55, 2 (February 14, 2008).
Miller,Carolyn R. and Dawn Shepherd, "Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog."  Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. Ed. Laura J. Gurak, Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman (2004).
T, Apr. 15 Tim Burke, Easily Distracted: Culture, Politics, Academic and Other Shiny Objects 
Th, Apr. 17 Kate Thomas, Syllabub: Words on Food 
T, Apr. 22 Laura Blankenship, My description of a blog 
"To Blog...Or Not to Blog" 
The "How" of Story-Sharing I 
The "How" of Story-Sharing II 
Serendip's Evolving Web Principles 
explore the relation between the particular and the general, the personal and
the theoretical in The Scarlet Letter and/or on blogs you know
A 12-pp. final project, portfolio and self-evaluation 
due by 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 16