Who Wrote That?Shiao-Chuan Kung
sckung [at] mail.wtuc.edu.tw
Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages (Taiwan, Republic of China)
IntroductionProject Gutenberg has compiled a huge selection of literary works in the English language. All the texts are in electronic form. Since these works are now in the public domain, they can be read online or downloaded for later reading. This library of e-texts contains works by Plato, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Jane Austin, and Joseph Conrad as well as scripts of inaugural speeches of all the presidents of the United States. The web site is a great resource for both teachers and students. This lesson seeks to introduce students to this repository of authentic texts, to practice Internet searching skills, and to familiarize students with major authors and important works in English and American literature.
- Level: Intermediate
- Time: 1 hour
- Materials: Computers with a web browser and Internet access. Depending on the number of computers available and the size of the class, students can work individually or in teams of two or three.
- Introduce the activity by asking the students to name two famous books in the English language. Ask the students who wrote those books.
- Ask the students how they would attempt to find the author of Frankenstein and the books that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote.
- Ask the students to launch a web browser and point to the web site http://sailor.gutenberg.org.
- Briefly introduce Project Gutenberg and the organization of the site.
- Demonstrate how to find the author of Frankenstein and the books that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote through the listings by authors, the listings by titles and through the site's search engine.
- Give the following assignment.
- 1. What is the first line in Hamlet? (Ans: "Who's there?")
- 2. What did Lewis Carroll write? (Ans: Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, The Hunting of the Snark, Phantasmagoria and other poems)
- 3. Who wrote Peter Pan? (Ans: J.M. Barrie)
- 4. What other books did the author of Treasure Island write? (Ans: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Child's Garden of Verses, Songs of Travel, In the South Seas, etc.)
- 5. Did Edgar Allan Poe write poetry or prose? (Ans: both)
- 6. What is the name of the main character in The Secret Garden?" (Ans: Mary Lennox)
- 7. Where does Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels find himself after he is shipwrecked in his first voyage? (Ans: Lilliput)
- 8. Make up a question answerable with information on this web site.
- What is the first line of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities? (Ans: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.")
- What books did Nathaniel Hawthorne write? (Ans: The Scarlet Letter, House of the Seven Gables, Tanglewood Tales, etc.)
- What are the names of the two main characters in Jane Austin's Sense and Sensibility? (Ans: Elinor and Marianne)
- What other books did the author of Little Women write? (Ans: Flower Fables)
- Who wrote Moby Dick? (Ans: Herman Melville)
- Did William Blake write poetry or prose? (Ans: poetry)
- Is A Christmas Carol a poem, short story, play or novel? (Ans: novel)
Follow-upThe lesson can be followed up by the teacher compiling all the student-made questions into a homework assignment. If more than one version of the assignment were given, students can exchange information orally with classmates or groups who got a different set of questions. The teacher can also give a writing assignment by asking students to select a short story such as a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson and write a summary in the form of a paragraph of 150-200 words.
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VII, No. 6, June 2001