Final exam instructions

Wednesday, December 11, 7:30-10:30pm, GIRV 1004
Please bring a blue book.

Close reading (6 points each)
Identify all of the following passages. Give the author and title and place the passage within the context of the work as a whole. Address its significance and comment upon the major ideas and themes raised within it. Analyze the form (and/or design, if applicable) in relation to the content. If the passage is from a non-fiction work, try to restate the major claims of the author. You will not need to organize your close readings as if you were writing a paper.

Digital bibliography exercise

Due: hard copy in lecture on the last day of the term (Thursday, December 5)

Format: typed questionnaire, no length requirement

(1) Find a copy of your favorite pre-1920 text in three of the following online repositories: Google Books, Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, HathiTrust Digital Library.

// Exception: it cannot be Hard Times because I used it as an example in lecture.
// Choose just 3 of the 4 listed here.
// I specify “favorite” because you are likely to be more interested in the results, but any pre-1920 text will suffice.
// “a copy” = one copy

(2) Answer these questions for each repository (questionnaire format is fine):

Which editions of your chosen book are held there (publisher & year)?
Which formats are available?
Can you download a copy?
What is the source of the digital text?
Can you annotate and report errors? What is the search functionality?
What are the restrictions on use?
Anything else notable?

Short audio about SocialBook assignment

An additional audio file about the SocialBook assignment

Reminder: If you choose the OED option, you will be researching word usage around the time the novel was published, not in the contemporary moment.

<Please email me if you are having difficulty with the SocialBook invitation. Resending seems to solve the problem.>

SocialBook assignment


Use an online library resource to create a scholarly footnote for Hard Times. Your footnote will entail both annotation (comment upon) and historical research.

- Email invitations to a SocialBook group were sent Saturday. Let me know if you have not yet received one.
– Browser recommendation: Safari or Chrome
– The English department has a dedicated TA to assist with media/technology issues. She holds regular lab hours in South Hall 2509 (e.g. Wednesdays from 11:00-4:00).
– Assessment: exemplary, proficient, developing

Library resources
Oxford English Dictionary; Times (London) archive; Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO); C19 Index; Historical Newspapers Online
–> Other indexes and research databases available from the Davidson Library page:

  1.  OED option: gloss a word in Hard Times. See what meaning is operative in a twenty-year period around the date of publication. How does a change or difference in definition affect your reading?
  2. Everyday life: look up some aspect of the fictional world of the novel (again working with about a 20-year period). How does it illuminate your reading?
  3. Object option: look up a material object to find out the meaning or significance of this object in Dickens’ moment. How does it function within the text?
  4. Periodicals option: look up a review of Hard Times from around the date of publication. What aspects of the text were singled out for comment?
  5. Manuscript option: research some aspect of the publication of Hard Times (e.g. serialization, advertisements in the magazine, Household Words). What do you learn about the audience or publication practices?