Blog Guidelines

Students enrolled in Dr. Szwydky’s Survey of British Literature, 1700-1900 are responsible for posting a write-up to the course blog located at  (See the course syllabus for specific due dates.)

General Guidelines
Blog posts will be graded based on the following criteria:

  • Meets word-length (1,000 words) and content-type requirements.
  • Demonstrates command of written English, including adhering to correct grammar and spelling.  (Less formal language may be used, but that should not be confused for sloppy writing or lack of editing.)
  • Provides a clear, argumentative thesis in a short, introductory paragraph.
  • Demonstrates understanding of paragraph formation, formatting, and organization.
  • Each paragraph begins with an appropriate, clear topic sentence.
  • Engages directly with the selected course text and uses outside sources to support claims as necessary.
  • Avoids repetition and unnecessary wordiness.
  • Includes quote/engagement with required peer-reviewed, scholarly source.
  • Correctly cites course texts and outside sources using MLA citation format.  Please use Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab as a resource for proper citation format.
  • Includes a relevant picture/image with a descriptive caption and provides citation in Works Cited/Consulted/Reference at the bottom of the post. Make sure to cite your images properly, as this is one of the most frequent error in blog posts and will result in a 10% deduction of your blog grade. You must also include abbreviated information and description as a caption immediately below the image. For guidelines on how to properly cite images, see this guide from the Academy of Art:
  • Includes a clear, descriptive title that includes relevant keywords/terms.
  • Provides at least 5 relevant tags and is appropriately categorized as either a text, context, or legacy post.
  • If providing links to outside material, please make sure that you designate the link to open in a new window (one of the blog formatting options).

Specific Guidelines for Post Under “Text” Category
Blog entries posted under the “Text” category are close readings and direct analysis of a text that you have read for this class.  You may write a comparative piece using 2 texts read for class, but (given word-length guidelines) the post must be very carefully crafted and focused.  Your entry should narrow in on a thematic, narrative, or stylistic element of your chosen text(s).  Focus on a few key scenes/moments and engage them directly.  (Example: Individualism in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.) Quoting directly from the text(s) is expected.  You should include at least one credible, scholarly source (such as a full-length article or critical book) to support your analysis. Websites generally do not meet the outside source requirement, unless they are a large scholarly website such as Romantic Circles.

Specific Guidelines for Post Under “Context” Category
Blog entries posted under the “Context” category draw on authorial, historical, or social information to guide interpretation of the selected text(s).  You will choose a specific text or author and explain how some specific event/occurrence influenced the text’s production, reception, or demonstrate how better understanding the historical moment sheds light on the text.  (Example: Specific information on eighteenth-century English-Irish relations as a backdrop to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.”)  You are expected to use credible outside sources for context entries in the form of scholarly articles, books, and academic websites.

Specific Guidelines for Post Under “Legacy/Impact” Category
Blog entries posted under the “Legacy/Impact” category illustrate connections between a text read in class and a later text or cultural artifact.  (The later text may also be a text that we read for class, but may focus on pieces completely outside of the historical or geographical focus of this course.)  For the later text, you might choose any of the following: a work that shows direct engagement with the selected text through extended allusions; a “direct” adaptation into another medium (for example, novel to film, television episode, or graphic novel); or a loose appropriation of the original text.  You may also choose to focus on how a text that we read for class influenced a completely new text or character.  (Example: Jekyll/Hyde has been noted as an influential precursor to The Hulk.  Explain this literary connection.)  You are expected to provide full citations for the all words discussed in your post as a “Works Consulted” or “Works Cited” – whichever is most appropriate. You are expected to use at least one credible, scholarly source for Legacy/Impact entries in the form of scholarly articles, books, or academic websites.  Posts in this category also often include links to other popular websites/media.