Category Archives: This Week In My Classes

This Week In My Classes: The Comforts of Cranford

We’ve started our discussions of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford in 19th-Century Fiction, and like last week’s reading, it has special resonance in these turbulent times, but not because it is a call to action: more because it provides a refuge. This is not to say that it’s “escapist” in the pejorative way that term is often applied, or […]

This Week In My Classes: Social Justice and Warriors

Although it is often difficult to concentrate on reading fiction right now, amidst the clamor of current events, it is also the case that current events have their usual uncanny way of making some of the novels I’m reading seem more important than ever. Take Bleak House, for instance, which we have just wrapped up in 19th-Century Fiction. As […]

This Week In My Classes: Ups and Downs

The past couple of weeks have felt pretty hectic to me, mostly because any time you teach a new course, or just new material, you have to build up all its materials from scratch. This term it’s Pulp Fiction that needs, well, everything! Not only do I not have any lecture notes to draw on for […]

This Week In My Classes: Here We Go Again, Again

It starts to feel as if I have written a lot of these ‘start of the term’ posts: I’ve used up every variation I can think of for titles! It’s in the nature of academic work to be cyclical, though, and on the bright side, this term I am doing one all-new course, so at least […]

2017: In with the New Year, Much Like the Old Year!

We don’t stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve anymore. I can’t remember when we gave up on this tradition, exactly. The last New Year’s Eve I specifically remember was 1999-2000: remember the Y2K panic? We didn’t really expect a dramatic catastrophe on the stroke of midnight, but it was hard not to wonder […]

This Week In My Classes: Whither the Apostrophe?

In case you were wondering why it has been so quiet here at Novel Readings, I’ve been grading papers industriously, trying to get through them as efficiently as I could consistent with still paying really close attention. I did well at sticking with it, partly thanks to my students, many of whom wrote really good essays! […]

This Week In My Classes: A Brief Lull!

We had our last day of classes yesterday. Owing to a very peculiar scheduling plan devised (of course) by a committee, although yesterday was actually a Tuesday, it was designated an “extra Monday” to make up for “losing” a day of Monday classes to Thanksgiving (so much for the concept of a day off — […]

This Week In My Classes: Appeasing Fascists

You never know what twists of fate will bring new relevance to the readings you’ve assigned. Teaching A Room of One’s Own soon after the David Gilmour fiasco, for instance, made Woolf’s arguments about women’s writing (“everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists”) seem unhappily current; teaching Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress just […]

This Week In My Classes: Revisiting Chartres Cathedral

From the Novel Readings Archives: Since I started this blog almost ten years ago, one of its most important roles for me has been as a place for me to reflect on my teaching, which is the part of my professional life I value the most and that takes up, usually, the majority of my […]

This Week In My Classes: No Classes!

This week will be our first ever week-long fall break, one of several adjustments to the academic schedule that have come into effect this year. I’m against it in principle, because no matter how long the break, more and more students (in my experience) leave early for it and come back late, which, along with […]

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