Dr. Roberta Seelinger Trites 438-3297; seeling@ilstu.edu

Stevenson 337 Office hours: TR 2-3

Syllabus ENG 470, Spring 1998

Studies in Children's Literature:

"The Wonderful World of Disney?"

Course objective: The purpose of this course is to examine critically how Walt Disney transforms written fictions into movies. We will analytically assess Disney's contributions to children's culture, and we will evaluate each pairing of texts in terms of both aesthetics and ideologies.

Required texts: From Mouse to Mermaid, eds. Bell, Haas & Sells

Twelve Dancing Princesses, eds. David and Meek

Barrie, Peter Pan

Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Colloti, Pinocchio

Kipling, The Jungle Books

Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Norton, Bed-knob and Broomstick

Salter, Bambi

Smith, The Hundred and One Dalmatians

Travers, Mary Poppins

Pip packet #58 (all Pip materials are also on reserve at Milner Library)

Course requirements:

Discussion questions 10%

Oral presentation 10%

Short paper & bibliography 15%

Final paper 40%

Cumulative final exam 25%


You need to know that I am a stickler for things like deadlines and grammar. If you don't know how to punctuate, buy a grammar handbook and READ IT. If you don't know all the nuances of MLA style documentation, buy an MLA handbook and ditto. This is a graduate seminar; I expect you to write with respect for the conventions of responsible literary scholarship. And if you think you're going to need an extension on your paper, come talk to me, but you'd better have a tremendously good reason. Unexplained late papers will lose 10 points per day.

Moreover, I expect you to prepare for each class diligently. In other words, I expect you to have read every assignment before every class. If you can't participate in discussions because you haven't read the assignment, I may appear to be polite about it in class, but I will be far less understanding when I am assigning your final grade.

Course requirements

Discussion questions

Every week, please prepare two or three discussion questions that reflect some thought about the reading by noon on Tuesday. (Submitting them via e-mail is quite fine.) I expect these questions to generate intelligent discussion, so please write accordingly.

Oral presentation

Each week, one student will coordinate the discussion comparing the Disney film to the text on which it was drawn. A brief presentation of background material will be in order, although I expect the formal presentation to be quite short and the majority of the presentation to focus on student discussion.

Short paper and bibliography

The week following each student's presentation, s/he will submit a 4-5 page paper summing up the major points s/he made in the presentation. The student will also include a thorough bibliography on all materials pertaining to that week's texts, providing each of her/his classmates with a copy of the bibliography only.

Final project

You may pick any project that would be individually rewarding as the culminating experience for this class. I do, however, expect a critical evaluation of at least one Disney film to be part of your project. Typically, the standard project is a twenty-page seminar paper.

Final exam

The final exam is a two-hour cumulative exam covering all critical texts, narrative fiction, and films listed on the syllabus. The purpose of the exam is to help students synthesize the material, to help me evaluate your learning processes, and to prepare you for comprehensive examinations.

Reading schedule for English 470

(FMTM = From Mouse to Mermaid; 12DP = Twelve Dancing Princesses)

January 13: Fantasia (excerpt)

January 20: "Snow White" (12DP) and Zipes (FMTM 21) and May (packet)

January 27: Pinocchio and Card (FMTM 62)

February 3: Bambi and Payne (FMTM 137)

February 10: "Cinderella" (12DP) and Haas (FMTM 193)

February 17: Alice in Wonderland and Sayers (packet) and Hearne (packet)

February 24: Peter Pan and Tarr (packet)

March 2: Lois Lenski Lecture, 7:00, CVA 151

March 3: "Sleeping Beauty" (12DP), "Briar Rose" (12DP) and Bell (FMTM 107)

March 17: The Hundred and One Dalmatians and Murphy (FMTM 125)

March 24: Mary Poppins and Cuomo (FMTM 212)

March 31: The Jungle Books and Miller & Rode (FMTM 86)

April 7: Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Wojcik-Andrews (packet)

April 14: Winnie the Pooh --papers due

April 21: "The Little Mermaid" (12DP) Sells (FMTM 175)

April 28: "Beauty and the Beast" (12DP) and Jeffords (FMTM 161) and Cummins (packet)

May 5: Final exam