January 26, 2023

From Gerald R. Lucas
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ENGL 4430, Week 2

Let me begin by apologizing. Our class’ schedule has Tuesdays at 23:59 as the due date each week; Packback listed Wednesdays at 23:59 as the due date. Packback is incorrect, but it should be fixed going forward. We must stick with the Tuesday due date. As a consequence, some of you might have missed the deadline this week, but fret not. I believe I have read all the posts for the Russian unit and evaluated accordingly. If I missed something, please reach out. I apologize for this error, but I hope it is remedied. Just to be clear: the schedule’s due date is correct: Tuesdays at 23:59.

Anna with Her Dog // Midjourney 2023

The posts this week were strong, and many were insightful, thoughtful, and creative. I enjoyed reading your insights, especially in your comparisons of the stories’ protagonists. Yes, all of them prefer a fantasy world, right? Reality is hard, especially when you’re a creep like Gurov. Maybe he was redeemed by the end of the story? Even if I didn’t like him (or Victor) all that much, at least I can empathize with them.

If you scored less than a 70, it means you did not do the full assignment: 1 question and 2 responses. Be sure you are doing at least the minimum. Pay attention to that curiosity score as you write.

A couple of notes: please write in paragraphs for readability. Many of you did this already—much appreciated. We don’t really read well on computer screens, so giving plenty of line breaks allows us to digest the information a bit better. Big blocks of text are very difficult to read on the screen.

As far as in-text citations go, all you need to do is give us page numbers in parenthesis, like (20). Since we all share the same texts, any additional information is superfluous. In addition, if the text you’re writing about is not clear by the context, use the author’s last name in your citation, like (Chekhov 34). This is all that’s necessary on Packback.

Likewise, you must use the standard conventions when writing about literature, especially when writing titles. Short story titles must be in quotations marks, like “Spring in Fialta.” They are not italicized. Please review the conventions I link above, if you are uncertain. As you are English majors and should know better, I will take points off for this going forward.

Anna and Gurov in the style of Ilya Repin // Midjournay 2023

Finally, I would like to encourage you to take risks with your interpretations and analyses—be creative. Try a feminist reading, or maybe a deconstructionist, or psychological. Focus on a narrow idea, or do a close line reading. I will reward creativity and risk-taking. Also, I have tried to keep the reading light, as well, so you can include research in your weekly work. Incorporate secondary sources in your posts. You’re going to have to do this anyway for your final paper or project, so why not begin now? In other words: don’t be too conventional with these posts. I want to be entertained. 😉

Speaking of your paper or project, please be sure you communicate your intentions with me about your project plan. I encourage a digital project, but a research paper is fine. My point: you should be thinking about this sooner rather than later, especially if you plan to do something other than a research paper. For example, I’ve been playing with AI art lately, and I’ve been trying to create scenes from the stories that include crucial details. I’ve included two of my attempts on this post (yes, Gurov should look older, I know). I could see a web site that posts artistic interpretations of many of the stories with descriptions and explanations about vision and composition. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Other options abound. Spend some time considering this and maybe researching unique approaches. Send me an email or make an appointment to chat about what you would like to do. I’m happy to help you decide on an approach.