ENGL 20000 Intro to Creative Writing Section 01, Creative Writing Staff, MWF 10:40-11:30 Section 02, Creative Writing Staff, MWF 11:45-12:35
This course is an introduction to writing fiction and poetry, beginning with short exercises which will lengthen with the semester. Coursework will include outside reading in both fiction and poetry, coverage of basic critical terms, and in-class discussion of student work. Regular attendance and participation are essential; you will also be required to attend several readings on campus. Exams will be in the form of writing assignments.
ENGL 20011 Fiction Writing Steve Tomasula TR 9:30-10:45
As the name says, Fiction Writing is a course in writing short fiction. It is conducted through a discussion format centered on fiction written by students in the class as well as notable contemporary and modern writers. In either case, students will be encouraged to read fiction in terms of the techniques used to create them. We will examine the ways in which technique creates aesthetic experience and conveys ideas. No one style or type of fiction is advocated over another. In fact, students are encouraged to find their own voice, their own subject matter. However, students will be expected to write fiction that demonstrates an awareness of the difference between serious literature and formula entertainment. In general, the course load will consist of readings, critique of the readings, a number of brief exercises, three short stories to be turned in for class discussion, and a portfolio of re-written work. Regular attendance and individual conferences required. Texts: Paula Geyh, Fred G. Leebron, and Andrew Levy, eds., Postmodern American Fiction. Course packet of selected readings.
ENGL 20039 Poetry Writing Cornelius Eady TR 3:30-4:45
The class will be organized around two assumptions: Poems are made things, and no good poem is an accident. We will explore the idea of voice, and various ways and methods poets have used it to define and organize the world they know, in the ways they know it. Some of the questions we will ask as we read will be: How does one's culture influence a poet's language? Who is a poet's audience, and what obligations (if any) do they have to it? Who gets to tell the story, and what changes occur when
assumptions about the canon are questioned? Students will be required to write and revise poems, leading to a portfolio of revised work as a final project, keep a writers' journal, write response papers to the books we read, (there will be at least four, plus hand-outs), attend at least one reading, and commit to memory a poem to be recited by the end of the semester.
ENGL 20130 The Gothic in Film & Fiction Brett Paice MWF 9:35-10:25
This is a course on the Gothic and how it has historically employed fear as a means for social comment. We will track the development of the Gothic tradition, from its eighteenth century origins in Great Britain and Ireland, to its adaptations as it crossed the Atlantic to America, and, finally, to its contemporary manifestations as a global aesthetic in both texts and films. Important to our understanding of the Gothic will be the contexts within which the genre developed: its inception as a response to Enlightenment rationalism, its subsequent use as a response to Catholicism, and/or as a social commentary on the lived conditions of slavery in the American South. The course texts and films illustrate the Gothic’s historical impact on such socio-political categories as identity, gender, race, sexuality, and nationality. Course materials will include: short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Angela Carter; the novels, Frankenstein, Dracula, and Beloved; and films by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, and Takashi Miike. Required work will include weekly response papers, a 5-7-page essay/paper, a midterm, and a final.
ENGL 20222 Heroes & Villains in Medieval Literature Kathryn Veeman MWF 11:45-12:35
From Arthur and his knights to tales of Robin Hood, medieval heroes and villains have exercised a powerful hold on the imaginations of modern readers. However, what made a man a hero in the Middle Ages? Wielding weapons or paying undying loyalty to a lord? Styling oneself as a self-sacrificing lover or suppressing bodily desires? How are women represented and what power do women wield in medieval literature? In this course we will examine literary representations of heroism and villainy in medieval literature (including epic verse, romance, drama, saints’ lives, and ballads). We will look at how heroes and their roles evolve in response to societal developments and how the representation of villains adapts to reflect society’s changing anxieties, prejudices, and fears. We will also explore issues of gender, class, and power in relation to the construction of heroes and villains and “saints” and “sinners.”
Texts will include Beowulf, Judith, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, selections from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, and the “Geste of Robyn Hode.” Course requirements include 4 short response papers, 2 essays (5 and 8 pages each), a final exam, and active participation in class discussion.
ENGL 20311 Evolving Science Fictions Nathan R. Elliott MW 1:30-2:45
Science is something that our culture has almost complete faith in; we use its technological products almost every day, without thought, from the vehicles we drive to the medical treatment that we accept. But it is also something that we often feel uneasy about as well: science is often the harbinger of catastrophe (global warming) and often causes us to question our identity (cloning, embryonic research, etc.).
This course is designed to let us examine, among other things, the development of science's impressive cultural authority as well as the attendant cultural anxiety. We will begin in the early nineteenth century, and follow the development of science fiction into the early twenty-first century. However, we will not be limited to the science-fiction genre; we will examine a number of works and genres that incorporate scientific discourse. Tetntative reading list will include: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; selections from the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson; Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds; Isaac Asimov, Foundation; short stories by Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury; Phillip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness; Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; and Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go. We will also read brief selections from scientists and thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking.
Assignments will include two papers, a mid-term exam, and a final exam. Short, occasional reading quizzes will also be given.
ENGL 20506 Celtic Heroic Literature Hugh Fogarty TR 5:00-6:15 Crosslited from IRST 20109
An exciting survey Celtic literature and culture, this course introduces students to the thrilling sagas, breathtaking legends, and prose tales of Ireland and Wales. Readings include battles, heroic deeds, feats of strength and daring, and dilemmas faced by the warrior heroes of the Celts. Celtic Heroic Literature, which requires no previous
knowledge of Irish or Welsh, studies the ideology, belief systems, and concerns of the ancient Celtic peoples as reveled in their saga literature. By examining the hero's function in society, students investigate the ideological concerns of a society undergoing profound social transformation and religious conversion to Christianity and the hero’s role as a conduit for emotional and social distress. Among the heroes to be studied in depth are: Cu Chulainn, Lug, St. Patrick and the king-heroes. Wisdom literature, archaeological, and historical evidence will also be considered in this course. No prior knowledge of Irish required. All texts provided in English.
ENGL 20509 20th Century Irish Literature Sean O’Brien TR 11:00-12:15 Crosslisted from IRST 30214
The cultural and political factors that have shaped Ireland's extraordinary literary achievement, paying particular attention to Irish Decolonization and the Northern Troubles. Readings from George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, and Seamus Deane.
ENGL 20521 Reading the Irish Revival P.J. Mathews TR 12:30-1:45 Crosslisted from IRST 30220
This course will examine the Irish Revival (1891-1939) as a dynamic moment in modern Irish literature in which key literary figures like W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, John Millington Synge, and James Joyce worked to make Ireland a center of cultural innovation once again. This significance of this period to Ireland's decolonisation and to related debates over the appropriate forms and language for an Irish national literature will provide a central focus. Texts to be considered will include: the drama of J.M. Synge and Lady Gregory, the poetry of W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce's Dubliners.
ENGL 20712 Caribbean Women Writers Abigail Palko TR 3:30-4:45
The Caribbean has fascinated Europe since Columbus's fifteenth century voyages. This course will focus on the development of women's voices in selected Caribbean novels, exploring how authors attempted to define and describe women's unique concerns, exploring themes such as colonization, madness, childhood, memory, and
subjugation (also touching on family relationships, love, and sexuality). The novels, chosen to represent the diversity of authors at work in this region, come from six different islands (plus the US and France) with varied cultures, languages, and traditions.
Authors to be read include: Michelle Cliff, Maryse Condé, Edwidge Danticat, Cristina Garcia, Merle Hodge, Kate McCafferty, Gisèle Pineau, and Jean Rhys. Course requirements include five short response papers (2 pages each), a research paper (6-9 pages), an oral presentation, participation, and midterm/final exams.
ENGL 20719 Outcasts & Misfits in American Literature Belkys Torres MWF 10:40-11:30
By which criteria does mainstream U.S. culture and society rely upon to alienate certain people and then label them “misfits” or turn them into social outcasts? What are the values and belief systems that guide our own individual perception of people who, for varying reasons – whether chosen or imposed -- live on the fringes of society? Does a person’s nationality, race, gender, sexuality, or class status affects how we engage (or not) with their narrative perspectives or views on what it means to live “the good life” or pursue the American Dream in the United States? This course will focus on these concerns while exploring what, if anything, we might learn from social outcasts such as Vladimir Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, marginalized and oppressed women such as Celie in The Color Purple, and misunderstood misfits such as those in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” We will read novels and short stories from contemporary American literature and, when appropriate, watch film adaptations of some works to further our thinking about how narrative and visual representations of marginalized peoples either confirm or deny our own preconceived notions of those we label as the “black sheep” of contemporary U.S. culture and society. Our reading will include work by James Baldwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, Esmeralda Santiago, Alice Walker, Helena Maria Viramontes, and Gish Yen. Required work will include short (4-5) papers, active class participation, a collaborative group project, a midterm, and a final.
ENGL 20725 Native American Perspectives in American Literature Jeremiah Waggoner MWF 12:50-1:40
What if you had to tell your own version of the story of America? How would you do it? Who would be the principal characters in your story? Where would you begin: Philadelphia in 1776, with the indigenous groups of the American Southwest, religious dissention in seventeenth-century England, the Caribbean in 1492, or the western
coasts of Africa? In many ways, these are questions of perspective in storytelling, a term that will resonate with our study of how Native Americans and their points of view are represented in American literature. This course treats native perspective as a recurring object of American literary fascination from the earliest of colonial literatures to novels of the twentieth century. We will dedicate our focus to the representation of Native Americans – in both native and non-native works – as a process based on geographic, linguistic, gendered, and social perspectives. Moreover, we will study how native writers shape this process of representation, what literary forms and strategies they employ in doing so, and how their intervention augments or shifts the stakes of this literary representation.
Readings will include Willa Cather, Death Comes to the Archbishop; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn; Jack London, Call of the Wild; and James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans. Required work will include active class participation, occasional quizzes, a short essay, a midterm, and a final.
ENGL 20950 Multi-Cultural China in Contemporary Fiction Sylvia Lin MW 1:30-2:15 Crosslisted from LLEA 33155
This course showcases the multifaceted aspects of China not only in the ethnic sense but also in the political sense. We will read literary works by writers of different ethnic backgrounds (e.g., Han, Tibetan, and the Atayal tribe from Taiwan) and geographical origins (the PRC, Taiwan, and Hong Kong). The objective of this course is to help students to gain a deeper understanding of the notion of "Greater China" and the concept of "Chineseness." Through analyzing works by different ethnic writers, we will learn to appreciate the diversity of Chinese culture that is often overshadowed by a misconception about Chinese homogeneity. Likewise, fictional creation by writers from the three regions will give us a broader knowledge of Chinese culture that is constantly threatened by a political need for unity.
This course is taught in English and no prior knowledge of the Chinese languages is required.
ENGL 30101 Introduction to Literary Studies Section 01, Chris Vanden Bossche, MW 11:45-1:00 Section 02, Chris Vanden Bossche, MW 1:30-2:45 Section 03, Sara Maurer, TR 9:30-10:45 Section 04, Toni Irving, TR 11:00-12:15 Section 05, Cyraina Johnson-Roullier, TR 12:30-1:45 Section 06, Cyraina Johnson-Roullier, TR 2:00-3:15
This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include attention to poetry and at least one other genre (fiction, drama, and non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically.
Note: English 30101 is a prerequisite for all English major-level electives, but not for 301XX Literary History courses such as "American Literary Traditions" and "British Literary Traditions."
ENGL 30110, Section 01 British Literary Traditions I Jennifer Nichols MW 1:30-2:45
This course will provide grounding in the British literary tradition. Students will read a variety of texts from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The main purposes of this course will be for students to learn some of the conventions of early British literature and to learn how to read that literature in relation to its historical and cultural contexts. Students will take a midterm, a final, and write other short assignments.
ENGL 30110, Section 02 British Literary Traditions I Katherine Zieman TR 11:00-12:15
This course provides an introduction to British literature from its earliest recorded forms through the seventeenth century – from Beowulf to John Milton's Paradise Lost – geared towards familiarizing you with its key literary conventions and some of its linguistic challenges. As we survey the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, William Shakespeare, among others, we will focus on literary forms and genres of the medieval and Early Modern periods, including lyric, epic, romance, and drama; we will also attend to the historical contexts in which these writers worked and to their own meditations on what "literature" could be or could do in their respective cultures. Course requirements: regular quizzes, two short essays, a midterm, and a final exam.
ENGL 30111 British Literary Traditions II Greg Kucich TR 12:30-1:45
This course examines the development of British literary culture from the late seventeenth century through the twentieth century up to the present. Instead of simply offering a survey of major authors, our project conducts a broader investigation of cultural production by situating literary activity within its material and historical contexts. We combine close reading of specific texts, including detailed metrical analysis of poetry, with ongoing discussion of major political, social, philosophical, and scientific developments, such as the civil wars of the seventeenth century, the rise of Enlightenment philosophy and science, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the expansion of empire, and the woman’s movement. A wide-ranging series of different kinds of readings will include fiction, drama, poetry, and prose works by male and female authors. Our course also focuses self-consciously on its own critical methods, thus engaging English majors with important questions about the theory and practice of literary studies today. Those questions will also be taken up in our attention to the process of writing critical papers. Students will write a 5-page essay, a longer research paper, a midterm, and a final examination.
ENGL 30115 American Literary Traditions I Thomas Werge MWF 10:40-11:30
A consideration of American literature to the Civil War in light of cultural, philosophical, and religious currents and the history of ideas. We will pay special attention to the relation between American "exceptionalism" and national self-criticism and to the dynamic between faith and writing, commitment, and narrative. Readings: Norton Anthology of American Literature (Fifth Shorter Edition) and several selected works by individual writers.
ENGL 30850, Section 01 Fiction Writing for English Majors William O'Rourke TR 11:00-12:15
This will be a workshop course devoted to the writing of shorter fiction. A good bit of flexibility will be retained (depending upon the level of experience of students who elect the course), but what students may expect is this: brief assignments, at the start, will be made to encourage-- and to display--the development of a variety of narrative and fictional techniques. Beyond those exercises, two stories (and two revisions) will be required. Student stories will be duplicated. There will be collateral readings from significant contemporary
writers. Regular attendance and participation will be taken for granted. More than casual interest in writing and fiction is expected. Individual conferences will be arranged to discuss student stories.
ENGL 30850, Section 02 Fiction Writing for English Majors Frances Sherwood MW 11:45-1:00
In this course, using a comfortable workshop forum, we will write and discuss our own short stories with emphasis on character, theme, setting, and plot. We will also red and critique published stories which exemplify each of these elements. This course fulfills either the Fine Arts requirement or a major-level Elective requirement.
ENGL 30852 Poetry Writing for Majors Orlando R. Menes TR 12:30-1:45
In this course, students will read and model their poems upon writers who, by virtue of their talent and craft, have left their mark in the English and American poetic traditions. As English majors, students' knowledge of these traditions will provide an important and productive background for class readings and for feedback on peers' poems. We will also examine performative aspects of poetry by attending a variety of readings either on or off campus. Students will circulate their own poems among all the participants, who will then discuss and critique them in a workshop setting. Throughout the semester, attention will be given to those proven strategies for composing and revising one's poetry. Assignments will be fashioned so as to provide practice both in traditional forms and in free verse.
Requirements: Students will write poems on a regular basis, keep a reading journal, attend poetry readings, and submit a mid-semester portfolio and a final portfolio. Regular attendance is crucial to the ongoing success of the course and is thus mandatory.
ENGL 40107 Religion & Literature Thomas Werge MWF 12:50-1:40
A consideration of the forms, ideas, and preoccupations of the religious imagination in literature and of the historical relationships between religious faith and traditions and particular literary works. The conflicts and tensions between modern gnosticism, in literature and ideology, and the sacramental imagination will constitute a recurring point of focus. We will also lend special attention to the vision and imagery of the journey and wayfarer, and the conflicts and affinities between private and communal expressions of faith.
Readings will be selected from the following: Criticism by Tolstoy, T.S. Eliot, John Gardner, Flannery O'Connor, J. Hillis Miller, Elie Wiesel, Martha Nussbaum, Wayne Booth, George
Steiner, and others on the relations among ethics, religion, and literature; selections from the Bible, Dante, and saints' lives; Emily Dickinson, Final Harvest; Philip Roth, Job; Nikos Kazantzakis, Saint Francis; Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor; Peter DeVries, The Blood of the Lamb; Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory and The End of the Affair; Elie Wiesel, Night; Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment; Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sermon on the Lord's Supper; selected Flannery O'Connor short stories or The Violent Bear It Away; selected John Updike short stories and criticism; Simone Weil, Waiting for God; Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories; Georges Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest; Ingmar Bergman (director), The Seventh Seal; and Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.
ENGL 40160 Political Poetry Joyelle McSweeney MW 3:00-4:15
Conventional wisdom holds that poetry is divorced from the real world‚ too marginalized and aestheticized to have political force. In this course, we will consider whether this is the case. We'll investigate what political poetry is, and what it has been; how poetry achieves political efficacy; how poets synthesize aesthetic and political concerns; and how poetry might reorganize our notions of the marginal versus the central. We'll seek contexts for these questions by reading widely and deeply in political poetry and poetics from a span of cultures and time periods, by trying our hands at the political modes of writing we study, and by formulating new modes for poetry in response to problems we see in the contemporary world.
Potential authors and movements under consideration will include Plato, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Dada and Surrealism, Ossip Mandelstam, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Langston Hughes, Aime Césaire, Beats and Black Arts, Fluxus, Harryette Mullen, Alice Notley, and Bei Dao.
Course assignments will include brief creative and critical responses to readings; creative, collaborative, and/or impromptu projects and performances completed both in and out of class; and a final project of your own design reflecting your engagement with the course concepts.
ENGL 40180 Performance Art: History, Theory, and Practice Jessica Chalmers F 9:00 am-Noon Crosslisted from FTT 31010
Performance art is anti-art. Performance art is art that contradicts tradition, that aims to shock. This class will equip the student with an overview of its offenses. Class content
may include: Dada's early 20th-century assaults on the audience; Absurdist experimental performance works by Yoko Ono, Lygia Clark, John Cage, and Nam June Paik from the 1960s; performance art addressing racism by Adrian Piper and William Pope L. from the 1980s; and current performance works by Internet artists and others.
Discussions will focus on the aesthetics and politics of marginality. In other words: Why shock? Why experiment? Is there any market for such work today? We will also look at critical and theoretical texts about performance, modernism, and the avant-garde and consider their relation to the works themselves. These may include: manifestos by performers and artists, debates about the autonomy of art, poststructuralist writings on art and aesthetics, and theories of performativity.
Finally, students will be expected to create one or more performance art pieces themselves. Students should expect to be asked to participate in other students' pieces as well as in their own.
ENGL 40194 Writing Center Theory and Practice Connie Mick W 6:00-8:00 pmown.ENGL 40206 Shakespeare and Film Peter Holland MW 3:00-4:15 pm Crosslisted from FTT 40600
This course explores the phenomenon of Shakespeare and film, concentrating on the ranges of meaning provoked by the conjunction. We shall be looking at examples of films of Shakespeare plays both early and recent, both in English and in other languages, and both ones that stick close to conventionalized and historicized conceptualizations of Shakespeare and adaptations at varying degrees of distance towards the erasure of Shakespeare from the text. The transposition of different forms of Shakespearean textualities (printed, theatrical, filmic) and the confrontation with the specificities of film produce a cultural phenomenon whose cultural meanings – meaning as Shakespeare and meaning as film – will be the subject of our investigations. There will be regular (though not necessarily weekly) screenings of the films to be studied. Co-requisite: FTT 41600.
ENGL 40212 Introduction to Old English Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe TR 9:30-10:45 Crosslisted with MI 40110
Canst !u !is gewrit understandan? Want to? “Beginning Old English” will give you the tools to read a wide variety of writings from Anglo-Saxon England and get a chance to encounter a language that both is and is not our own. Approximately half the course is dedicated to getting students up and running with the language, and the rest will provide practical experience in reading and discussing Old English works on monsters, saints, and heroes. In-class discussion will cover questions of cultural difference, translation, subjectivity, otherness, and material culture. Students in the course will get hands on experience with facsimile texts in the library and will work as well with on-line and CD- Rom resources. Requirements: daily class work, a brief manuscript assignment, midterm, short paper, final exam. No prior experience with Old or Middle English is necessary for this course.
ENGL 40305 Global Romanticisms Greg Kucich TR 3:30-4:45
Some of the most enduring stereotypes of British Romanticism involve the cultivation of solitary genius, the return to a pristine Nature, and the celebration of local, rural community. Compelling as these cultural ideals may seem, they have been complicated and enriched by recent scholarship that situates the literary productions of Romanticism within the larger geopolitical frameworks of their historical epoch – such as Britain’s colonial enterprise, the Napoleonic wars, transatlantic and worldwide commercial systems, the slave trade, travel and exploration, the collision of regional environments and the worldwide migration of catastrophic diseases, and global feminisms. To become alert to the interaction of these global forces with the period’s literary activity is to develop a new, complex appreciation of multiple forms of “Romanticisms” operating and clashing together in relation to rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world developments. Building on the new scholarly fascination with such larger maps of “Romanticisms,” this class will explore the intersections of the local, the national, and the global in well-known canonical works by such romantic era writers as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as a considerable number of texts by lesser-known writers, many of them women, such as Anna Barbauld, Joanna Baillie, Sydney Owenson, Elizabeth Hamilton, Hannah Cowley, and Mary Prince. Readings and discussion will range generically across fiction, drama, poetry, journalism, travel writing, abolitionist writing, and political prose. Particular concentration will center on the differences and similarities between the conventionally separated first (“Lakers”) and
second (“Cockneys”) generations of Romantic era writers. We will also focus substantially on women writers and their formulations of different types of global feminisms. Readings and discussion will also attend to recent theories of “Romanticism” and “Cosmopolitanism,” and our overall investment will be keenly sensitive to relationships between global culture during the Romantic era and the global crises of our own time. Students will write two essays (a 5-page paper and a longer 15- page research paper) and a final examination.
ENGL 40310 Visits to Bedlam Christopher Fox TR 9:30-10:45
Until visitation was restricted in 1770, London's Bethlem Hospital (popularly known as "Bedlam") attracted as many as 96,000 spectators per year who paid for the privilege of watching mental patients. Like the tigers in The Tower, these patients were not simply chained, but shown, put on exhibition. The cruelty of this practice and the fact that it was stopped both point to the eighteenth-century fascination with madness, with the irrational, with what Freud would call the "unheimlich," the "uncanny." Samuel Johnson's astronomer who comes to believe that he personally controls the weather, Laurence Sterne's mad Maria, piping for her lost lover, John Locke's man who believes himself made out of glass and who acts "reasonably" to avoid hard objects, or Jonathan Swift's modest proposer who concocts a cookbook to save the Irish nation all bear witness to this other side of the eighteenth century, the subject of this course.
We will begin with selections from Cervantes' Don Quixote and some short readings in Locke and others who attempted to analyze madness. We will then move on to explorations of Samuel Johnson, Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne, and Jonathan Swift. Our major focus will be on Swift, with special attention to his poetry, Gulliver's Travels, and A Tale of A Tub. Swift, who was a Governor of Bethlem Hospital, left most of his money to fund the first mental hospital in Ireland, St. Patrick's, which is still there. As he later said,
He gave what little wealth he had, To build a house for fools and mad: And showed by one satiric touch, No nation wanted it so much.
For the sake of comparison, we will conclude with several nineteenth century selections. Students can expect a midterm, a final and a paper.
ENGL 40312 The Other Nineteenth-Century Novel Nathan R. Elliott MW 4:30-5:45
Often English Literature departments offer courses in the “Nineteenth-Century Novel.” Such courses often trace the emergence of British realism and focus on novels by Jane Austen, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot.
However, such courses tend to ignore a large number of novels that affected the development of the novel in Britain but have, for various reasons, been excluded from the canon in English literary studies. This course seeks to reexamine the development of these somewhat neglected genres and authors, both as an end to itself and as a way to understand the development of the novel. To these ends, we will read gothic novels from the beginning of the nineteenth-century, sensation novels from mid-century, and the resurrection of the gothic and the genesis of science fiction from the end of the century. One guiding assumption of this course will be that realism did not develop apart from these more scandalous genres but in dialectical conversation with them. Along the way, we will discuss the development of the canon. We will also pay as much attention as possible to the original publication circumstances of these novels. entative reading list includes: Matthew Lewis, The Monk; Ann Radcliffe, The Italian; Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret; Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone; Bram Stoker, Dracula; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; and H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau. We will also read a selection of “Sherlock Holmes” short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Short, in-class responses will be required upon the completion of each novel. Three papers will also be required. The first will be a short critical history of one of the novels (approximately 5 pages). The subsequent papers will be argumentative essays, which will require you to insert your own thesis into critical conversation with previous critics.
ENGL 40317 Victorian National Romance Sara Maurer TR 12:30-1:45
While tales of love and marriage have always been central to literature, the Victorian novel is distinguished by the extent to which it uses the courtship plot to explore contemporary social problems. Questions about class and cultural difference, political rights, colonialism, and women's participation in the public sphere all are answered within plots that detail the minutiae of falling in love, getting married, and staying married. By examining texts from the different nations within the British Isles – Scotland (Walter Scott's Bride of Lammermoor), Ireland (George Moore's Drama in Muslin), and England (Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh – we will explore how Victorians joined romance to some of the most troubling issues in a modernizing world. Our primary texts will be buttressed by readings in history and in theories of the novel. Students will be graded on two papers of six to eight pages, several one-page response papers, and a final exam.
ENGL 40413 Twentieth Century British and Irish Poetry Romana Huk TR 12:30-1:45
This course is designed to give students a firm grasp of the major developments that occurred in poetry overseas during the last century. That grasp will depend on our linkage of rather spectacular changes in poetic form to changes in culture; students will exit the course with an understanding of how the century’s unprecedented violence in warfare and grand upheavals in philosophy, science, social-psychology and political thought impacted upon the artforms of these nations. The “United Kingdom” contains, more precisely and often uncomfortably, four entities – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – and requires study as a political “unity” with much internal turmoil. We’ll focus on writing between the great stock market crash of 1929 and the present moment, ending with Simon Armitage’s “Millennium Poem” broadcast on BBC television in the year 2000. Much of our conversation will involve the differences between poetic responses to changing contexts in the “experimental” or small-press world of writing versus the “mainstream” world of poets like Armitage. As we go, we’ll discuss comparative issues, too, like the differences between studying African American and Black British poetry, as well as differences between studying women’s poetry in the States and women’s poetry overseas. Evaluation will be based on two papers, two presentations, and class participation. No prior experience of reading poetry is expected.
ENGL 40414 The Irish Shot Story Brian O’Conchubhair TR 9:30-10:45 Crosslisted from IRST 30125
This course studies the Irish short story as a literary genre that reflects the changing political and cultural forces at play in Ireland. We begin the course by surveying various critical theories that can be applied to the genre before reading and discussing a wide selection of short stories. The course considers Irish writing in the broader sense: literature written in either Irish or English. Among the authors included are: Patrick Pearse, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Séamus Mac Grianna, James Joyce, Liam O’Flahery, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O’Connor, Sean O'Faolain, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Angeal Bourke, Seán Mac Mathúna, Micheál Ó Conghaile, Eithne Strong, Pádraic Breathnach, Alan Titley, Mary Lavin, William Trevor, Gerry Adams, and Bernard MacLaverty.
ENGL 40507 The Hidden Ireland Breandon O’Buachalla TR 2:00-3:15 Crosslisted from IRST 30107
The Hidden Ireland denotes both a book and a concept. The book was written by Daniel Corkery in 1924 and was an immediate success as it encapsulated a version of Irish history that had not hitherto been available to the general public; it is still considered to be a classic of its kind. The concept promoted the notion that history should emanate from "below" and should not be confined to the elites and governing classes. Both book and concept have had a profound impact on our understanding of Irish identity, Irish history, and Irish literature. This course will examine the book in depth and utilize it to open a window on the Hidden Ireland of the eighteenth century. The cultural, historical, and literary issues raised by the book will be studied in the context of the poetry of the period. Poetry will be read in translation.
ENGL 40508 Celtic Otherworld Early Irish Hugh Fogarty TR 2:00-3:15 Crosslited from IRST 30120
In early Irish tradition, the Everyday World (of men, women, kings, warriors and cattle) and the Otherworld stand in unstable and uneasy relation to one another. The Otherworld has several aspects: it can be positive and beneficial, indeed it is viewed as the legitimating source of rule in this world, but also baleful and destructive. In this course, we will study a range of Otherworld encounters, seeking to understand the vast range of contacts between the human world and the other world (or worlds) of early Irish tradition.
ENGL 40517 Modern Irish Poetry Bríona Nic Dhiarmada TR 5:00-6:15 Crosslisted from IRST 40308
An introduction to modern Irish literature and the Irish poetic tradition, this course is a magnificent opportunity to study modern Irish poetry with the foremost Irish-language critic. Visiting Notre Dame for this academic year, Professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, as the Fulbright Professor-in-Residence, will teach a course on modern and contemporary Irish poetry in the Department of Irish Language and Literature. This course focuses on key canonical texts by Irish-language poets and students will conduct close textual readings, examine the social and political context, consider various theoretical applications and deconstruct the mechanics of individual poems. Among the texts to be
studies are: Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Biddy Jenkinson, Michael Hartnett, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Michael Davitt, Gabriel Rosenstock, Liam Ó Muirlithe, Pearse Hutchinson, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máirtín Ó Direáin and Áine Ní Ghlinn. Particular attention will be paid to the poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and the politics of translation.
All texts will be available in English. No prior knowledge of Irish required.
ENGL 40602 Tragedy: Shakespeare and Melville John Staud MWF 10:40-11:30
Although we will spend considerable time looking at the dark side of human nature, the purpose of this course remains pleasure, broadly construed. We will read some of the great tragic works in the English language, indeed, in all of literature. Our syllabus will cover four plays by Shakespeare and Melville's finest achievement, Moby-Dick. As the course title suggests, we will study these works in the context of their historical moments and in the context of tragedy as a genre. Reading Moby-Dick after Shakespeare will also enable us to witness in detail the nature of literary influence and to compare the tragic visions of Shakespeare and Melville as they explore such themes as good and evil, freedom and fate, and the individual and society. As we study these texts, we will consider the various reasons for their important place in the literary canon. Ultimately, let us make the most of our time together with works of art that are timeless in their beauty and ever timely in their relevance, works that continue to teach and to delight.
Required texts: William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth; Herman Melville, Moby-Dick.
Course work: regular class participation, four 4-6-page papers, an oral presentation, and a final exam.
ENGL 40729 American Film William Krier TR 2:00-3:15
This course looks at what makes a film American. The course will be structured by pairing films from the “classic” period with films from the more recent past in order to highlight essential critical features, particularly genre characteristics, the work of directors, and the performance of “stars.”
The primary written requirement will be a research paper in which you create your own pairing of films. There will also be a midterm and a final exam.
There will be no scheduled showings of the films. Instead, I will ask you to join Netflix or some comparable service. Thus, you can work with the films according to your own schedules. I expect that we will work with at least twenty films.
Possible films: It Happened One Night, French Kiss, The Lady Eve, Double Indemnity, Body Heat, Zero Effect, Shane, Unforgiven, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Godfather, Bound, Silence of the Lambs, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Don Juan de Marco, Moulin Rouge, and others.
ENGL 40732 The Stranger in American Literature Julieann Ulin MW 1:30-2:45
What does it signify for a nation to imagine itself as a home? This course will focus on the shifting categories of "stranger" and "alien" set in opposition to the idea of America as imagined home. Through an examination of literary depictions of the "stranger," we will be able to discuss the larger national anxieties that make these representations so threatening. In the literature we will read over the course of the semester, a number of different strategies for designating people or groups of people as "strangers" (by race, class, sexual orientation, etc.) will be discussed, as will the power of this rhetoric to exclude. The course will actively encourage students to look for this strategy in contemporary American culture, and as such will include recent dramatic and cinematic works such as Moises Kaufman's The Laramie Project and Paul Haggis' 2005 film Crash. Students have the option to write two 10-12-page papers or three 6-7-page papers, as combinations of midterms and finals.
Course Texts: Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Sherwood Anderson, "Hands" and "Queer" from Winesburg, Ohio; Philip Roth, Goodbye Columbus; Maeve Brennan, select stories from The Rose Garden; Richard Wright's Native Son; James Baldwin's "Stranger in the Village" from Notes from a Native Son; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; Ralph Ellison, "What America would be like without Blacks"; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Ernest Hemingway, "Indian Camp," "Big Two-Hearted River Part II," "Solder's Home" from In Our Time; Carson McCullers, Clock without Hands or Reflections in a Golden Eye; Moises Kaufman, The Laramie Project; David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars; Robert Scholes, "On Reading a Video Text"; Crash, Paul Haggis; various episodes from All in the Family; Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore; and Barry Glassner's The Culture of Fear.
ENGL 40743 Prose of the 1990s Matt Benedict MWF 9:35-10:25
The decade known as “The 1990s” is now an historical epoch. As an English major at the University of Notre Dame reading this course description, across the decade which spanned your entrances into kindergarten and high school, wide-ranging changes occurred in the culture-at-large both here and around the globe. You observed these changes first-hand. Some of them you lived directly. Fiction writers did too.
In this course, we’ll sample some novels written during “The 1990s.” Authors from the United States as well as other Continents will take us on a journey through what is sometimes referred to as “The Innocent Decade,” when the Internet was “The Information Superhighway,” iPods and cameras in cellphones were science fictions, and September 11, 2001 was just another day between September 10 and September 12. But, as we’ll discover, certain writers saw an end to “innocence” happening around them.
Texts (subject to change): Frederick Busch, Girls; Frank Chin, Donald Duk; Jim Crace, Quarantine; Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture; Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors; Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban; ,Nadine Gordimer, None to Accompany Me; Ha Jin, Waiting; Carole Maso, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat; and Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River. We’ll also view excerpts of television shows, movies, news reports, and sporting events, as well as listen to some music.
Required Work: Two exams/papers; final; occasional quizzes; group presentations.
ENGL 40751 Literatures of Immigration: The Latina/o Transnational Experience Javier Rodriguez MW 11:45-1:00
The literature of Latina/o immigration and migrancy brings together a range of contemporary concerns, from identity, to the transnational, to definitions of the literary. How does international movement inflect notions of American identity? How do writers create and describe communities in constant movement? How are struggles against poverty interwoven with discussions of gender and cultural discrimination? How might literature itself respond to these concerns? Finally, how do these experiences shape our conceptions of the literary itself?
In this course, we will read a range of recent materials dealing with immigration between Mexico and Latin America and the United States, as well as with intra-national migrancy. Key texts will include: Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil’s Highway; Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents; Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban; Tomas Rivera, ...and the Earth did not devour him; Luis Rodriguez, Music of the Mill; and Elva Treviño Hart, Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child. In addition, we will draw upon various critical readings such as María Herrera Sobek’s Northward Bound: The Mexican Immigrant Experience in Ballad and Song.
Students will write a variety of in-class projects, three full-length essays, and take a final exam.
ENGL 40754 American Poetry After 1945 Krystyna Mazur MW 3:00-4:15
The course will examine American poetry after World War II, focusing on poetic forms, contexts, and occasions. We will discuss poets individually, within post-war poetic "schools" such as the Beats and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, and within other communities poets use for self-definition such as African American, Latino/a, lesbian, and others. We will also address ways in which the poets define their work in relation to specific ethnic, gender, and other communities. Some of the issues the course may raise are: the (im)possibility of writing poetry after the Holocaust; the shifting American "poetics"; the definitions of a poetic "voice"; "private" vs. "public" voices; the crossing of gender, sexuality, and "race"; poetic manifestoes; and poetry and rhetoric.
The focus of the class will be close-reading and in-class discussion of individual poems. Apart from attending class and participating in class discussions, you will be asked to write short responses to poems of your choice, to do one or two in-class presentations (also focused on specific poem(s) of your choice), a short written assignment, and a final paper.
ENGL 40807 Introduction to African American Literature and Culture Ivy Wilson TR 2:00-3:15
An introduction to the major authors and themes of writings by African Americans situated in the wider panorama of black cultural production, including art, film, and music. Among the primary fields of discussion will be the literature of slavery and freedom, Reconstruction and turn-of-the-century, the Harlem Renaissance, urban realism and the Black Arts Movement, and the rise of black women writers. Genres studied will include poetry, non-fiction prose, drama, and the novel. Authors may include Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and August Wilson, among others.
Course grade will be determined by active participation in class, two papers, a midterm, and final examination.
ENGL 40903 Deconstruction and Exegesis Stephen Gersh TR 2:00-3:15 Crosslisted from MI 40362
The aim of this course will be to compare and contrast what one might loosely term ancient (medieval, early modern) and post-modern approaches to the reading of texts, following the twin approaches of theoretical exposition and practical application neither of which can be sustained without the intervention of the other. It will be necessary to rely on concrete examples of the ancient and contemporary methods. The examples in the first half of the semester will be Augustine's On Christian Teaching and Literal Interpretation of Genesis and Derrida's Of Grammatology, Writing and Difference and Dissemination. This double reading will put us in a position to take as our examples Augustine's Confessions and Derrida's Circonfession in the second half of the semester. Certain questions – which can sometimes but not always be answered in the conventional sense – will persist during our readings. These will include: What is philosophy? What is literature? What is the relation between philosophy and exegesis? What is the relation between literature and exegesis? What is the relation between philosophy and literature? Language requirement: Latin and/or French desirable but not necessary. Written requirement: one final essay (20 pp.) either a. on one of the texts or authors studied in the course, or b. applying the methodologies discussed to another philosophical or literary text of your choice.
ENGL 40905 Critical Approaches/Critical Theory: Ernest Hemingway & Alice Walker Jacqueline Vaught Brogan TR 11:00-12:15
Over the course of the semester, we will learn at least five different critical approaches to interpreting literary texts, with the subsequently different (or overlapping?) ways of evaluating four works, two by Ernest Hemingway and two by Alice Walker. What do these works mean when approached with an emphasis on genre? if approached through the critical lens of “formalism” (or “close reading”)? or postructuralism? gender? ethnicity? ecology? Perhaps a work is best understood in relation to what is called “reader-response.” Perhaps another is best understood in terms of what is known as “New Historicism,” etc.
On the surface, no two twentieth century American writers could seem to be more different: one, a white male, usually regarded as both macho, sexist, even racist in his writings; the other, a black female often considered to be an unrelenting feminist, or, actually, "womanist" (a word she coined). And yet the different approaches (and underlying critical theories) we will use over the course of this semester yield some surprising conjunctions between the aesthetics and politics of these two authors (to use the terms in their widest sense). After considering very different but equally valid critical
perspectives, we will hope to determine which (if any) of these approaches prove best in allowing us to enter a given, individual work in the most meaningful way possible.
Requirements: Five short papers, using separate critical approaches from those mentioned above and one final project (that will be either a more extensive discussion of a chosen text that also justifies the ultimate critical approach chosen for that work OR an application of at least four critical approaches to another text NOT discussed in the actual class).
Texts: Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time and The Garden of Eden; Alice Walker, The Color Purple and The Temple of My Familiar.
ENGL 40947 Love, Death, and Exile in Arabic Literature Li Guo MWF 1:55-2:45 Crosslisted from MELC 30303
This course explores literary and artistic presentation of the themes "love, death, and exile" in Arabic literature and popular culture from pre-Islamic era to the present day. Through close readings of Arabic poetry, essays, short stories, and novels (in English translation), and analyzing a number of Arabic movies (with English subtitles), we discuss the following issues: themes and genres of classical Arabic love poetry; gender, eroticism, and sexuality in Arabic literary discourse; and alienation, fatalism, and the motif of al-hanin ila al-watan (nostalgia for one's homeland) in modern Arabic poetry and fiction.
ENGL 40954 Twentieth Century Chinese Literature Liangyan Ge MW 11:45-1:00 Crosslisted from LLEA 33103
In this course we will read English translations of works in twentieth century Chinese literature, especially short stories and plays written from the May 4th Movement in 1919 to the beginning of the Reform in the early eighties. We will discuss the literary expressions of China's weal and woe in modern times and of the Chinese people's frustrations and aspirations when their country was experiencing unprecedented social changes. No prior knowledge of the Chinese language or Chinese culture is required for taking the course.
Primary texts to include: Lun Xun (Lu Hsun), "The True Story of Ah Q," "Medicine," "My Old Home," "The New Year's Sacrifice," and "Soap"; Yu Dafu, (Yu Ta-fu), "Sinking”; Mao Dun (Mao Tun), "Spring Silkworms”; Shen Congwen (Shen T'ung-wen), "Pai-tzu";
Wu Zuxiang (Wu Tsu-hsiang), "Fan Village"; Zhao Shuli (Chao Shu-li), "Lucky"; Gao Xiaosheng, "Li Shunda Builds a House"; Xu Dishan (Hsu Ti-shan), "The Merchant's Wife” and "Yu-Kuan;” Ling Shuhua (Ling Shu-hua), "Embroidered Pillows"; Ling Shuhua, "The Night of Midautumn Festival”; Ding Ling (Ting Ling); “The Diary of Miss Sophia” and "When I was in Hsia Village”; Cao Yu (Tsao Yu), "Thunderstorm”; Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang), "The Golden Cangue”; Ba Jin (Pa Chin), "Sinking Low”; Zhang Tianyi (Chang T'ien-i) "The Bulwark," Qian Zhongshu (Ch'ien Chung-shu), "The Inspiration”; Qian Zhongshu, "Souvenir”; Cao Guanlong, "Three Professors”; Chen Rong, "At Middle Age”; Kong Jiesheng, "On the Other Side of the Stream”; Chen Guokai, "What Should I Do?”; Lin Jinlan, "The Transcript”; Zheng Yi, "Maple”; Dai Qing, "Anticipation"; Liu Xinwu, "The Class Teacher”; Sha Yexin, et al, "If I were for Real”; Bai Hua, "Five Letters”; Jiang Zilong, “Manager Qiao Assumes Office”; and Wang Meng, "Eye of the Night."
ENGL 40955 Heroism and Eroticism in Chinese Fiction Liangyan Ge MW 3:00-4:15 Crosslisted from LLEA 33101
In this course we will read works in Chinese fiction from the late imperial periods. We will discuss the aesthetic features of such works and their cultural underpinnings, especially the infusion of Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist meanings. Particularly, we will focus on heroism and eroticism as two major themes in Chinese fiction and their specific expressions in each work. We will consider the transition from heroism to eroticism as a shift of narrative paradigm, which coincided with a general trend of "domestication" in traditional Chinese fiction. Through the readings and discussions, the students are expected to become familiar with pre-modern Chinese narrative tradition and acquainted with some aspects of Chinese culture. All the readings are in English translation, and no prior knowledge of China or the Chinese language is required.
ENGL 40956 Greek Literature and Culture New Faculty Member in Classics TR 3:30-4:45 Crosslisted from CLAS 30021
This course surveys the leading works of ancient Greek literature and examines the cultural contexts in which they were written, received, and transmitted. Students read poetry and prose from many genres, and sample works from a thousand years of extraordinary literary creativity. Among the authors introduced are Homer, Sappho, Aeschylus, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Plato, Theocritus, Plutarch, Lucian, and Longus. Special attention is paid to the formal structures of Greek literary works, the cultural issues they raise, and the lasting value of Greek literature to the modern age. The
course prepares students for more advanced work in classical literature and culture. Texts to be read in English.
ENGL 43220 Senior Seminar: The Medieval Saint Tom Hall TR 2:00-3:15
If there had been such a thing as a literary best-seller list in the Middle Ages, a category of text that would have dominated the charts for several centuries was hagiography, or writings about saints. A primary goal of this course will be to survey the dominant forms of late-antique and medieval hagiographical literature, beginning with the martyr legends of the early Church and the lives and teachings of the desert fathers, and continuing on through later saints’ lives, miracle collections, pilgrim narratives, martyrologies, accounts of relics, sermons, visions, litanies, and hagiographic romances. Secondary readings by Peter Brown and others will guide our discussion of the rise of devotional practices oriented to saints, of iconographic and symbolic traditions associated with saints, and of the development of the concepts of the holy and the miraculous. A portion of the course will focus on the hagiography of the early medieval British Isles, with special attention to the literary dimensions of the cults of Saints Patrick, Bridget, Cuthbert, and Guthlac, four of the earliest “national” saints of England and Ireland. Requirements include a midterm and final exam, two modest analytical or interpretive essays, one substantial research paper on the history of a saint’s cult, and an oral report based on the research paper.
Textbooks will include Medieval Saints: A Reader, ed. Mary-Ann Stouck (1999); The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, trans. Benedicta Ward (2003); Two Lives of Saint Cuthbert, ed. and trans. Bertram Colgrave (1940); Felix’s Life of Saint Guthlac, ed. and trans. Bertram Colgrave (1956); Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Selections, trans. Christopher Stace (1998); and Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (1981).
ENGL 43315 Senior Seminar: Poetry & Knowledge John Sitter MW 11:45-1:00
This seminar will explore major beliefs and concerns about the relation of poetry to truth and about the place of poetry in liberal education. We will explore these problems in two ways: 1) by reading deeply in four or five poets who have been particularly concerned with poetry as a mode of knowledge and a way of learning, and 2) by considering several prose statements over the past 200 years on the function of poetry. Most of these statements – by poets themselves, philosophers, and literary intellectuals – ponder in one way or another Milton's observation that poetry educates more
fundamentally than philosophy because it is "more simple, sensuous, and passionate." We will be less concerned with rather ornamental or decorative views of poetry (as "refinement," cultural "polish," etc.) than with arguments making strong claims for its truth, ethical weight, and cognitive power. We will engage a small number of poets in the company of two abiding questions: What and how do we learn from poetry?
Poets: The poets to be read intently will be chosen from among the following: William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, Wallace Stevens, Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, and A.R. Ammons.
Prose Texts: Members of the seminar will read in some (and some parts) of the following meditations on poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defense of Poetry; John Stuart Mill, "What is Poetry?"; Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet" and "Poetry and Imagination"; Robert Frost, "Education by Poetry"; Hans-Georg Gadamer, "The Relevance of the Beautiful" and "On the Contribution of Poetry to the Search for Truth"; Martin Heidegger, "What Are Poets For?"; Michael Oakeshott, "The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind"; Audre Lorde, "Poetry is not a Luxury" (1977); Robert Pinsky, Poetry and the World (1988); Wendell Berry, "Poetry and Place" (1983); Mary Kinzie, The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose: Moral Essays on the Poet's Calling (1993); Seamus Heaney, "Crediting Poetry" (1995 Nobel lecture); Gary Snyder, A Place in Space; Ethics, Aesthetics, and Watersheds (1995); and some recent work in cognitive science (for non-specialists) on rhythm, metaphor, and the brain’s processing of figurative language.
Requirements: Participation in the seminar’s on-going conversation, one or two oral reports, and several short papers, leading up to a major research paper of about 20 pages.
ENGL 43402 Senior Seminar: Twentieth-Century British Poetry and Religion Romana Huk TR 9:30-10:45
This course will focus on the last seventy years in British literary history, zeroing in on one particular problem – the writing of religious poetry – in order to probe the philosophical collisions that resulted in what we now call the “postmodern” and “post- postmodern” eras of thought. Beginning with works by the major modernists who continued to write powerfully after World War Two – T.S. Eliot, David Jones, W.H. Auden, and Stevie Smith – the syllabus will chart a course through the rapidly changing poetic forms of two further generations of poets working devotedly, if differently, out of various religious systems of belief. The many dilemmas of postmodernity include redefining the very notion of “belief” itself after the secular revelations of modernity; we will explore the theoretical issues involved in order to better understand what’s at stake for each writer we encounter, among them Denise Levertov, Jon Silkin, Elizabeth Jennings, Geoffrey Hill, Wendy Mulford, John Riley, Pauline Stainer, and David Marriott.
We will ask, among other things, why ancient mystical frameworks seem newly hospitable in the face of postmodern suspicions about language and institutions, and how issues of race and gender inflect changing relationships between poetry and religion. Students will emerge conversant with the major debates in contemporary literary theory as well as with developments in contemporary poetry. Most importantly, this course is designed to help each student focus on one line of her/his own inquiry into all of this, in order to provide an experience of truly original research which navigates a personalized and therefore deeply satisfying route through these studies. The final twenty-page paper plus annotated bibliography will be a work students develop over the course of the term with the help of the group as a whole, a class presentation, student feedback on what I call “drafty drafts,” and discussions with me about progress along the way should cause the experience of writing to be unrushed, enjoyable and valuable.
ENGL 43730 Seminar: American Film William Krier TR 3:30-4:45