Spring 2016

ENGL 13186-01
University Literature Seminar

Chris VandenBossche
TR 9:30-10:45

 

Ways of Reading: An Introduction to the Study of Literature

This course examines the processes involved in reading literature. We will break these processes down into four elements, each of which we will study in one section of the course: 1) authors: questions about authors and literary creativity; 2) conventions: from figures of speech to genre; 3) worlds: the relation of literary texts to the worlds they represent; 4) readers: how readers find meaning in literary texts. We will discuss a variety of literary texts, and in each of the four sections we will focus in detail on one major literary work, including Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Athol Fugard “Master Harold”… and the boys, and Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess.”
                                                                                                                

Details about the organization of the course, specific readings, and assignments will be available at http://www.nd.edu/~cvandenb/13186.html

ENGL 13186-02
University Literature Seminar

Chris VandenBossche
TR 11:00-12:15

Ways of Reading: An Introduction to the Study of Literature

This course examines the processes involved in reading literature. We will break these processes down into four elements, each of which we will study in one section of the course: 1) authors: questions about authors and literary creativity; 2) conventions: from figures of speech to genre; 3) worlds: the relation of literary texts to the worlds they represent; 4) readers: how readers find meaning in literary texts. We will discuss a variety of literary texts, and in each of the four sections we will focus in detail on one major literary work, including Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Athol Fugard “Master Harold”… and the boys, and Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess.”

Details about the organization of the course, specific readings, and assignments will be available at http://www.nd.edu/~cvandenb/13186.html

ENGL 13186-03
University Literature Seminar
Margaret Doody
TR 11:00-12:15

Mystery Fiction

This course will deal with detection and mystery in fiction from Sophocles to Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie and Walter Mosley. We follow the detective and the criminal (often strangely connected). That pursuit encourages us to consider various genres, including classic tragedy, the Gothic novel, the “thriller,” film noir.  Moving into the dark Paris streets of Poe’s Dupin, the foggy London of Sherlock Holmes, or the pleasant Chinese tea-gardens and rough highways known to Judge Dee, readers hope to be surprised.  Such a repellent matter as murder presented in close association with normal social life and desires evidently provides strong entertainment. Encountering important concepts such as “tragedy,” “realism,” or “the Gothic,” we will consider the various kinds of pleasure the “mystery story” offers us. The study of “mystery” turns us towards philosophical questions regarding good and evil, revenge and justice, guilt and the law, the appeal of the ugly and the “sublime.” We will read works by writers of some of the world’s best short stories: Hawthorne, Hoffman, Poe, Doyle, and Chesterton.

Students participate in creation of the syllabus by picking films/TV shows for team reports.

ENGL 13186-04
University Literature Seminar
Susan Harris
TR 12:30-1:45

Crime and Detection In British & American Fiction

In this course we will look at the development of crime fiction as a genre from its nineteenth-century origins in Victorian sensationalist fiction to the latest developments of it in twenty-first- century American fiction. We will focus on the development of the two figures around which crime fiction revolves: the criminal and the detective. Discussions and written assignments will investigate questions about what these figures do for the cultures that create them. Why did Victorians love Sherlock Holmes--and why do we still love him now? Why, after the bloodbath of the First World War, did England become obsessed with the clue-puzzle murder mystery? Where did the police procedural come from, and why are we still fascinated by it? What explains the explosion of interest in serial killers in American popular culture at the end of the twentieth century? What do the fantasies and nightmares about the 'criminal' that we see in crime fiction tell us about the societies that produce and consume it? How are ideas about crime and criminality linked to beliefs about death, the supernatural, justice, and morality—as well as issues involving gender, race, sexuality, and class? How do all of those concerns affect the way crime fiction evolves as a literary form? Where do we find elements of this form in contemporary literary fiction? Authors will include but are not necessarily limited to Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Raymond Chandler, P.D. James, and Patricia Cornwell. Students will write three papers and will be responsible for one major presentation.

ENGL 13186-05
University Literature Seminar

Nan Da
TR 12:30-1:45
 

American Gothic

What is the purpose of gothic fiction? To someone like Jane Austen, they put you in the mindset to appreciate what is truly frightening—people and the social constructs they build. This course will explore nineteenth- and twentieth-century American Gothic fiction, a literary tradition that exhumes the deep fears, anxieties, and transgressive desires that are buried under national narratives of progress, liberalization, democratization, rationality, and freedom. Through the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, Margaret Atwood, and others, we will explore the shadowed parts of American history and the basements and attics of American culture.

ENGL 13186-06
University Literature Seminar
Matthew Wilkens
TR 5:05-6:20

"Literature as Data"

Contemporary literary criticism has a problem. We long ago gave up the idea that our task was to appreciate and explain a handful of great texts. We replaced that goal with a much more important and ambitious one: to understand cultural production as a whole by way of its (many) books. Even the ones that aren't so great. But how do we do that, when it takes days or years to come to grips with even one novel?

This is a course in the analysis of thousands or millions of books by way of computational methods. We will, in other words, treat books as data to be mined. But it doesn't assume any specific background in programming or computer science. Instead, we'll learn a handful of analytical techniques and read the best existing work in fields including literary history, media studies, information science, and sociology to help us understand what's possible when we apply computation to digital texts. The course thus serves as an introduction to computational methods in the humanities and prepares students to begin carrying out literary data analysis on their own.

This course counts toward the interdisciplinary minor in Computing and Digital Technologies. No prerequisites.
 

ENGL 13186-07
University Literature Seminar
Matthew Wilkens
TR 3:30-4:45

"Literature as Data"

Contemporary literary criticism has a problem. We long ago gave up the idea that our task was to appreciate and explain a handful of great texts. We replaced that goal with a much more important and ambitious one: to understand cultural production as a whole by way of its (many) books. Even the ones that aren't so great. But how do we do that, when it takes days or years to come to grips with even one novel?

This is a course in the analysis of thousands or millions of books by way of computational methods. We will, in other words, treat books as data to be mined. But it doesn't assume any specific background in programming or computer science. Instead, we'll learn a handful of analytical techniques and read the best existing work in fields including literary history, media studies, information science, and sociology to help us understand what's possible when we apply computation to digital texts. The course thus serves as an introduction to computational methods in the humanities and prepares students to begin carrying out literary data analysis on their own.

This course counts toward the interdisciplinary minor in Computing and Digital Technologies. No prerequisites.

ENGL 13186-08
University Literature Seminar
Edward Malloy

U 7:00-9:00

Biography/Autobiography: One’s Life Story

In the course of the semester, we will seek to understand the uniqueness of particular historical persons through an analysis of their stories as created either by themselves or others.  We will also be interested in what can be learned about that person in cultural and historical context.

Attendance is expected at each class.

The students in the course are expected to contribute to the seminar discussions and to write papers on each assignment.  All regular papers are to be two to three pages.  The final paper is to be five to seven pages.  It will provide an opportunity to tell one’s own story in light of the work of the semester.