ENGL 4336: 501

Tim Morris

Baseball and Writing Spring 2000

"Writing is exciting / and baseball is like writing" -- Marianne Moore

7-8:20 PM Mon / Wed

office hours: MTTh 11AM-1PM, W 11AM-noon (206 Carlisle)
tmorris@uta.edu

office phone: metro 817-272-2739

office mailbox 203 Carlisle Hall

mailing address Box 19035, UTA 76019

to the schedule of readings and assignments

course prerequisites: approval of instructor

required textbooks: John R Tunis, The Kid from Tomkinsville; Bernard Malamud, The Natural; Eric Rolfe Greenberg, The Celebrant; William Brashler, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings; Bette Bao Lord, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson; Mark Harris, Bang the Drum Slowly; Robert Coover, The Universal Baseball Association. Some of these texts should be available in public libraries.

syllabus: This syllabus may be updated as the semester goes on. I will hand out updated versions that indicate readings and discussion plans. However, every writing assignment and every component of your grade is here at the beginning. Please refer to the date and time of printing (at the bottom of each page) to see when the version you are holding was printed. For continuous updates look on line at http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/courses/4336s00/

course description: This is a course in baseball literature; we will also look at baseball history from a cultural-studies perspective, and look at writing about sports to see what it can tell us about American culture.

course objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will know several major works in the canon of baseball fiction, and will gain experience in three kinds of writing: literary criticism, the collection of oral history, and descriptive expository writing

attendance is mandatory. You may miss three classes for "free," each missed class over the limit costs you one grade point (see below).

drop policy: UTA instructors may not drop students for any reason. You may drop with a W until the first drop deadline (Friday 25 February). After that date, you may drop with a W only if you have a passing average on all assignments due on or before your drop date; otherwise, you will have to drop with an F. You may not drop at all after Friday 14 April.

assignments: Seven graded three-page papers, one interview project, and one game story. One ungraded paper is also due near the start of the semester. One ungraded presentation is required late in the semester. Papers and projects must be typed, must use MLA style, and must cite all sources used in their preparation. Late papers will not be accepted and will earn zero points.

grading: Grading is on a point system. Each paper may earn 0, 1, or 2 possible points, except for the interview and game story which may earn 0, 1, 2, or 3 points. (Each missed class over the limit of 3 costs you a point.)

That makes a total of 20 possible points for the semester. Your final grade is determined on the following scale:

Most papers will earn 1 point. Papers that are handwritten, late, irrelevant to the topic, fail to cite sources, fail to use MLA style, or are written in prose that falls below an acceptable college English standard will earn no points. Two points will be given for clearly excellent papers. One point will be given for adequate, two for good, and three for outstanding work on the final two projects. If you make one point on each paper and two on each of the final projects, and have no excessive absences, you will make a B for the semester. I think that a B is a good grade for an undergraduate course, and that a C grade is quite acceptable. The grade of A should indicate excellence rather than mere completion of the course.

academic dishonesty policy: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University. "Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." [Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter Vi, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22]

disability policy: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 93112--The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of new federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act - (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens. As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide "reasonable accommodation" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty at the beginning of the semester and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.

library: Noel Anderson is the Librarian for the English Department. He can be reached at 817 272 3000, ext. 4984, and by email at anderson@library.uta.edu You will find online databases for English among the Arts & Humanities databases at http://www.uta.edu/library/mavinfo/arts.html

schedule of assignments and readings

Wed 19 Jan: syllabus

Mon 24 Jan:. baseball & theory: a lecture. Preconceptions paper due: today, turn in an informal paper of whatever length seems appropriate, telling the rest of the class about your interest in and background with baseball & writing about baseball, your opinions and values about sport in general--or anything else that seems to need telling at the beginning of such a course. You might talk a bit about your expectations of the course, as well.

Wed 26 Jan: introductions; seminar meeting to discuss "preconceptions."

Mon 31 Jan: baseball history: a lecture

Wed 2 Feb: lecture: juveniles and the sport lit archetype

Mon 7 Feb: Paper One due: on Tunis, The Kid from Tomkinsville; lecture: adult baseball fiction: a survey (meet in 316 Ransom Hall)

Wed 9 Feb: seminar: discuss paper One

Mon 14 Feb: Paper Two due: on Malamud, The Natural; lecture: love and death in the baseball novel

Wed 16 Feb: seminar: discuss Paper Two

Mon 21 Feb: workshop: baseball poems

Wed 23 Feb: workshop: game stories

Mon 28 Feb: Paper Three due: on Harris, Bang the Drum Slowly; lecture: integration, race, and baseball

Wed 1 March: seminar: discuss Paper Three

Mon 6 March: Paper Four due: on Brashler, Bingo Long; lecture: language in baseball fiction

Wed 8 March: seminar: discuss Paper Four

Mon 13 March: Paper Five due: on Lord, In the Year of the Boar; lecture: assimilation, immigration, and baseball

Wed 15 March: seminar: discuss Paper Five

Mon 20 and Wed 22 March: Spring Break

Mon 27 March: Paper Six due: on Greenberg, The Celebrant; lecture: the bell curve, statistics, and the baseball novel

Wed 29 March: seminar: discuss Paper Six

Mon 3 April: Paper Seven due: on Coover, The UBA; lecture: To Be Announced

Wed 5 April: seminar: discuss Paper Seven

Mon 10, Wed 12 April: "comp week" (no class), to prepare final projects

Mon 17, Wed 19, Mon 24 April: presentations on interview projects. Interview projects all due no later than Mon 24 April. To do the interview project, conduct an interview with someone who has played, or is playing, organized baseball or softball at any level whatsoever. (Professional baseball players have frequently been interview subjects, but I want to stress that you are not limited at all to them; amateur baseball and softball players are excellent subjects, and some of the most interesting interviews are done with people remembering an intense past involvement in the sport that did not turn into a career involvement.) Record and then transcribe your interview. Please submit an audio or video tape of the interview along with your transcript; both tape and transcript will be returned to you. On one of these three days, you'll give an informal presentation to the class of your interview project, at which you may play excerpts from your tape if you wish.

Mon 24 and Wed 26 April: Course evaluations.

Wed 26 April: seminar: game stories. Game story project due. To do the game story paper, attend a baseball or softball game. (Document the game and your presence there--whether by including a program or ticket, or a line score or other newspaper documentation, or a scoresheet.) Write a concise story--1,000 word maximum--about the game you've attended. Try to find an intriguing angle to write about. As preparation, read lots of game stories--there are several in the novels we've read, and in the materials for the workshop on 23 Feb, but thousands more exist in newspapers, magazines, books, electronic media, &c. &c.