Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reading Period 25: February 26 - March 4: Charles Dickens


In your textbook, pages 685-689.
A Tale of Two Cities, chapter 1.
Great Expectations, chapter 1.
Oliver Twist, chapters 1 and 2.
Watch this video from the musical, Oliver!


Art Connection:

George Cruikshank was the illustrator for Oliver Twist. In fact, he caused a controversy by claiming to have also come up with most of the plot. Take a look at some of his drawings for Oliver Twist at this link. Create an illustration in his style of the scene in chapter 2 of Oliver Twist, where Oliver asks for "more." 

History Connection:

Read this essay on the serialization of Oliver Twist and other Dickens novels, and write your own 250 word essay comparing the serializing of novels in Victorian times with series of television shows in our lives today, incorporating your own opinions. Would people still read serialized novels? Stephen King published The Green Mile in 1996 and the idea didn't really go anywhere, but now with e-books, the serial novel is making a comeback. On the other hand, people are defying serialization by watching entire series back to back via Netflix, instead of the traditional way, waiting a week for each episode and talking about it in between. What's the future of this form? 

Writing Connection:

Reread chapter 2 of Oliver Twist, paying special attention to the way Dickens uses sarcasm to make his point about Victorian attitudes toward the poor. Write a 250 word stern letter to the board of the workhouse, using sarcasm to critique the workhouse conditions and argue for better treatment of the orphans and elderly.


The quiz is over the material in this biography of Charles Dickens

1. What was Charles Dickens' first job?

2. Where was the rest of his family living, when Charles was out on his own working at the age of 12? 

3. Who were some of Dickens' favorite writers in school?

4. What job did Dickens' skill at shorthand allow him to get? 

5. When Dickens first published, he used a pseudonym. What was it? 

6. How many children did Charles Dickens have?

7. Who was the editor of Bentley's Miscellany, the magazine where Oliver Twist was published in serial form?

8. How did Dickens feel about America? 

9. Name two other periodicals that Dickens edited?

10. What did some of his friends suspect brought on Dickens' death? 


If you could create an ice cream flavor for Oliver Twist, what would you put in it and why? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reading Period 24: February 19-25: Dante Rossetti and Christina Rossetti


In your textbook, 670-671.
Read Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. Yes, you must read ALL of it.
Listen to this BBC podcast, "In Our Time," featuring a discussion of Christina Rossetti.
Flip through this gallery of Dante Rossetti's artwork at the Tate Gallery.


Art Connection: 

Read this article at the Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. Who were the Pre-Raphaelites? What did they want, and what did they NOT want? Who did they respect, and who did they disdain? What were the characteristics of their work? Write 250 words about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a founding member, and reference at least one of Rossetti's paintings as an example. 

History Connection: 

Take a look at the Rossetti archive, which is a product of the NINES project (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteeth Century Electronic Scholarship). Part of this site is devoted to displaying Dante Rossetti's poems along with the pictures that inspire them. Do you think this works well, in electronic form? Were you able to understand the poems better, seeing them in this context? Or was it more difficult to read and navigate the text, hyperlinked and adjacent to the imags? Write 250 words giving your thoughts on using electronic media to display historical objects and texts.

Writing Connection:

Watch this clip from the BBC show "The Love School," in which Dante Gabriel Rossetti reads a poem he's written to Lizzie Siddal. Write a poem, using the same rhyme scheme as Rossetti's poem "Silent Noon," on page 670, in which you describe something or someone you find beautiful.


To complete this quiz, you may need to also do some research online. Take a look at Dante Rossetti's Wikipedia page and Christina Rossetti's Wikipedia page.

1. Dante Rossetti was not only a poet, he was also a ___________.
2. In what ways did Dante Rossetti's two art forms intersect and overlap?
3. What "brotherhood" did Dante Rossetti found and what was the significance of the name?
4. How did Dante Rossetti meet his wife and what was her name? Why has she been called the original supermodel?
5. What dramatic act did Dante Rossetti engage in when his wife died, that he later took back?
6. What animal was Rossetti particularly fascinated by?
7. Dante Rossetti was addicted to chloral. What is it and how is it administered?
8. Take a look at Dante Rossetti's illustration for Christina Rossetti's poem, Goblin Market: ( Write down five observations about this illustration.
9. What was the St. Mary Magdalene "house of charity" where Christina Rossetti worked? How did that place possibly inspire her work?
10. What popular Christmas carol did Christina Rossetti write?


Please look at and memorize Christina Rossetti's poem "When I am Dead, My Dearest." Yes it's another cheerful poem from a cheerful Victorian!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reading Period 23 : February 12-18 : Gerard Manley Hopkins and A.E. Housman


In the textbook, read pages 657-666.
Online, read the following:


Choose two of the following:

Art Connection:

Read about the details of the shipwreck that inspired the poem, "The Wreck of the Deutschland." Create a picture illustrating the scene. 

History Connection:

Complete this history lesson about Victorian times from the National Archives in England. Post about your experience with this site. Was it a good way to learn the material? Do you think you will retain this lesson? 

Writing Connection:

Write a poem in the style of "Is My Team Ploughing" by A.E. Housman, giving a dialogue, stanza by stanza, between someone who has died and someone still alive. Make the details from modern life, like maybe "Is that My Cell Phone Ringing?" or "Is that My Email Inbox Filling Up?" 


1. What does it mean that Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems were published posthumously?

2. What big change did Gerard Manley Hopkins experience in his practice of religion and what effect did that have on his work?

3. What literary device is at work in the first two lines of “The Windhover”?

4. Read about “Sprung Rhythm” on page 662. Then type the first stanza of Pied Beauty with the stressed syllables in capital letters. How does this demonstrate sprung rhythm?

5. How many stanzas of “The Wreck of the Deutschland” does it take to get to a mention of actual ship and shipwreck? Tell me the line where it first comes up.

6. Give three examples of invented words in Hopkins’ “Epithalamion.” Choose your three favorite.

7. Having read “The Beginning of the End,” would you say it is an example of Hopkins’ use of sprung rhythm or is it an example of the more traditional running rhythm?

8. A. E. Housman’s most famous collection of poems is called “A Shropshire Lad.” Google Shropshire, and tell me something interesting about Shropshire, where A. E. Housman grew up.

9. Looking at Housman’s poems in the book, would you say he was innovating with form, or would you say he was using traditional forms?

10. Describe the dialogue in “Is My Team Ploughing?” Who is asking questions and who is answering those questions?

11. Why does the speaker say that the athlete in “To an Athlete Dying Young” is fortunate?

12. What did Housman teach at Cambridge University?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reading Period 22: Feb 5 - 11: Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Read the selections on Robert Browning in the textbook: pages 638-646.
Read about Elizabeth Barrett Browning on her Wikipedia page.
Read The Cry of the Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Read two sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning on page 669.


Choose two of these assignments to occupy you this week:

Art Connection:

Is that you, my last duchess? You big flirt?
Take a look at some Italian Renaissance portraits at this Google Images link. Then read the poem "My Last Duchess" and try to imagine what the Duke's wife's portrait would have looked like. Reproduce it in color in the medium of your choice, with as many period details as you can include, and using details from the poem to guide you.

History Connection:

Read this article about child labor during the industrial revolution. The Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem "The Cry of the Children" was written in support of the "Ten Hours Bill." What was the Ten Hour Bill, what relief did it bring to working children? Google it, write 250 words connecting the poem to the legislature. 

Writing Connection:

Write a poem as if you are out of the country and missing Virginia. Model it on Browning's poem "Home Thoughts, from Abroad." You can set it in any season, but make sure you include lots of Virginia-specific imagery, like the birds, trees, and plants that Browning included in his poem.


Write the answers to these questions and submit them to me in an email by midnight on Monday.

1. Why do we have so many of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poems that she wrote as a child? And what is this collection called, when we read works that an author created when they were very young?
2. How did Elizabeth's father respond to her marriage to Robert Browning?
3. How long were Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning married?
4. To whom did Elizabeth Barrett Browning write her "Sonnets from the Portuguese" and why did she call them that?
5. Based on the poem "My Last Duchess," will the Duke make a nice husband for the count's daughter?
6. How would you characterize the Duke's wife who's pictured in the portrait? What sort of person was she?
7. What is a dramatic monologue?
8. What clue does the speaker of "Home Thoughts, From Abroad" give as to the place where he currently lives?
9. What does Browning imagine is on the other side of death, in the poem "Prospice"?
10. What two features of Browning's poetry are considered significant, in his lasting contribution to British Literature? His interest in _____________ and his openness to ________, and his stylistic experimentation, including rough ______ and surprising _______.


Every day, read Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43, found on page 669, out loud to yourself or someone else. In class, see how much of it you can recite from memory.