Well, it is almost time to order books for my second semester lit survey, so some early courseblogging:
1) Has anybody ever used the deal Norton advertises where they package the Norton Critical Edition of your choice with one of the anthologies at no extra cost? How does it work, exactly? Does it make it impossible for students to buy used books, and / or is the bookstore likely to screw the order up?
2) Let's say you're teaching a survey course, pitched at about the sophomore level, for a mixed population that ranges from really bright budding English majors to students who will probably never read another serious work of literature in their lives. Let's also say that you've decided you want the students to read one mid-length novel in addition to the works in the anthology.
Do you pick:
A) a work by a really hyper-canonical author, someone you think everyone with a college education should at least have heard of, and ideally read? (There is a chance students will have already read it in high school and will have a been-there-done-that attitude. It may also not be a totally "representative" work, in terms of being typical of the period when it was written.)
B) a work by a somewhat less well-known author which feels more "representative," in that it hits a whole bunch of themes and concerns that feel pretty typical for the period, and it represents certain historical conditions and trends that you want students to know about. (The author is not super-obscure -- I'd expect most English majors to run across this writer at some point -- but I wouldn't be surprised if a well-educated person in a different field had never heard of him / her.)
(I'm being deliberately vague about the specific authors / books involved, partly because I'm contemplating multiple works in each category, and partly because I'm more interested in how my readers think texts for surveys should be selected in general than how they feel about the individual novels in question.)