EN 2490 Syllabus

Welcome to Brit Lit II!

EN 2490  Rethinking Modern British Literature, 1660-1945 (4 Credits)

Professor Nic Helms (nrhelms@plymouth.edu)

I’ll be in touch daily this semester via email and MS Teams (an Office 365 app available in myPlymouth). You can send me an email or chat in either platform, or you can book an online appointment with me for any available time Mondays through Thursdays 9:00-5:00 PM.

I try to respond to all communications within twenty-four hours, except on weekends.

This course focuses on British literature from 1660 through the mid-20th century. It builds off of students’ preconceptions of modern British literature and analyses historical, national, and aesthetic constructions of the literary canon. Assignments require working creatively and critically with themes of disability, gender, and race. Not open to students who have earned credit for EN 3611. Falls. (TECO)

TECO: Technology in the Disciplines

In the modern world, technology has applications to every academic discipline, and educated people must have an understanding of technology that will allow them to adapt to rapid technological change.

Students take a three-credit Technology in the Disciplines (T) course specified as required for the major. This course may be taught within the major discipline or not. The course will help students examine the role of technology within their own discipline and within a larger societal and cultural context. The TECO course will provide students with hands-on experience using current technologies; with a broad understanding of the concepts underlying current technology; with an understanding of the potential ethical issues involved with the use of technology; and with an understanding of forces, based in the needs and values of our culture, that drive technological innovation.

(These Connections are 3 or 4 credit experiences taken as part of the major and hence add no credits to those required for the major.)

Student Learning Outcomes

Use cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts to inform their understanding of all kinds of texts.

Display analytical skill in their written responses to texts.

Write fluently and understand writing as an artistic and/or intellectual process.

Understand the conventions of literary genre as creative writers and critics.

Capably use research to accomplish their reading, writing, and thinking goals.

Understand the role of emerging digital technologies in writing, literature, and communication.

Draw connections between literature and contemporary society, tracing back the roots of present-day systems of oppression.

Recommended Texts


Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue Edition (2016), ISBN-10 : 0393352560

Highly Recommended: 

(I’ll be providing free online options, but I expect a lot of you will want physical texts anyway)

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Bantam (1983),  ISBN-10 : 0553211404

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Edited by Dr. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. Simon & Schuster (2012), ISBN13: 9781451669411

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: or `The Modern Prometheus’: The 1818 Text. Ed. by Nick Groom. Oxford World’s Classics, 3rd Edition (2020),  ISBN-10 : 0198840829


If you’re feeling anxious about academic or literary writing, I suggest

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Brikenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Fourth Edition. Norton (2018); ISBN: 978-0-393-63167-8

Course Modality

This course will be completely online and will contain optional synchronous sessions and required asynchronous assignments. The synchronous sessions are live video-chats on Microsoft Teams and will take place Tuesdays only during our normally scheduled class times (Tues, 12:00-1:40 PM).

Participation in Teams sessions is optional, as are microphone and camera use. Come as you are, participate as you’d like! We’ll devote significant time on February 2nd to discuss Microsoft Teams and WordPress, our digital platforms for the course.

Lectures or other class meetings for this course may be recorded by the university using USNH media platforms. (Most likely this will be in Teams). Such recordings may be available for educational use by other students enrolled in the class (including both for instruction and as a review tool), the course instructor(s), and other university officials who support course instruction. Your voice or image may be captured on the recordings, and by enrolling in this course you are consenting to such recording for these purposes.

If you’d like to not be recorded during segments of our synchronous sessions where such recording occurs, you’re free to turn off you microphone and camera during these sessions. If you have additional privacy concerns, please let me know.

Week 1 of Class

Tuesday, February 2: Class Introductions, Syllabus Discussion, Plymouth Create, WordPress, and Microsoft Teams workshop; introductory discussion of oppression

On WordPress: 

  • Write a 300-word personal perspective on disability.

In  about 30-60  minutes,  describe  something  that  is  important  to  you.  This  “something”  could  be  anything from your major (nursing) to a hobby (cooking) to a favorite pastime (watching sports) that you enjoy doing or learning about. If you’re an English Education major, for instance, you might write about what specifically attracts you to the field — do you have a family member who is a teacher? Are there particular aspects of the field that inspire you? Be sure to organize your  writing  into  paragraphs,  include  vivid  detail,  and  make  the  significance  of  your  interest(s)  clear.  

Take  a  few  minutes  to  generate  ideas  and  organize  your  thoughts  before  you start writing. I encourage you to select something to write about that is related to broader social issues in contemporary America, especially issues related to disability, the theme of our course. You  may  continue to  address  today’s  topic  throughout  the  semester  in  various  forms

Some  examples  of  contemporary  social  issues  related  to disability include (but are not limited to): accessibility; addiction; anxiety; class; COVID-19; crime; depression; diversity; drug legalization; education; gender; gun violence; healthcare; homelessness; mass shootings; poverty; the prison system; race; sexuality; social media; stereotypes; suicide; and veterans.

Post these to our shared WordPress website (comp.nrhelms.plymouthcreate.net) categorized as “Questions and Reflections.” This will count as your Week 1 reflection.

For Weeks 2-13, visit the EN 2490 Course Schedule page.

Syllabus Contents

Accessibility and Disability



Care and Campus Resources

Diversity and Inclusion

HyFlex Teaching

Land Acknowledgement

Student-Centered Teaching

Study Support


You made it to the end! Here’s hoping 2021 is better than 2020…