Fall 2014

ENGL 13186-01
University Literature Seminar
Chris Vanden Bossche
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 Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time, 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
Kate Marshall
TR 11:00-12:15

The Novel and the Posthuman

The figure of the “posthuman” in literary and philosophical discourse has undergone several transformations in recent decades. Students in this seminar will undertake a survey of theoretical texts that discuss the posthuman as a term that identifies contemporary consciousness and subjectivity, the cyborg body, and the world of objects and technologies with which we interact or are acted upon. Set against these theoretical texts will be a range of contemporary novels that ask similar questions through experiments with narrative and point of view. How can we understand the construction of the human through the strange narrators, sentient landscapes, or alien minds? Answers will be sought in novels ranging from contemporary literary fiction and realism (by Cormac McCarthy, Marilynne Robinson, and Teju Cole, for example), to science fiction and fantasy. Because this is a course devoted to the study of the novel, expect a heavy reading load and regular writing assignments.

ENGL 13186-03
University Literature Seminar
Greg Kucich
TR 11:00-12:15

On the Road:  Literature of the Quest

 The title of Jack Kerouac’s experimental Beat Era novel On the Road represents a modern variation on one of the most powerful trajectories in the great traditions of literary history.  Narratives of pilgrimage and quest permeate these traditions, expressing fundamental, abiding human aspirations toward transcendental ideals.  Yet this compelling quest motif also addresses the particular cultural and political priorities of specific societies and historical contexts.  This seminar will explore the many different cultural inflections of quest narratives and the ways in which they reveal profound tensions between the persisting human search for the ideal and the ever changing historical forces at work in specific social communities.  Our own journey of exploration will begin with Biblical and Classical sources, Homer in particular, followed by medieval quest romance.  We will then proceed to forms of ironic and radically modernized quest narratives in selected works from the eighteenth century to the present by Swift, Voltaire, Byron, MW Shelley, Tennyson, Kerouac, and the Monty Python troupe.   

ENGL 13186-04
University Literature Seminar
Laura Knoppers
TR 12:30-1:45

Frankenstein and Friends: The Monstrous in Literature and Film

This course will explore the cultural construction of monsters and the monstrous through the enduring figure and myth of Mary Shelley’s Creature, popularly known as Frankenstein.  We will begin by reading Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818; 1831) alongside sources for her lonely and rebellious monster in Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound,  and John Milton, Paradise Lost (selections). We will then turn to Frankenstein’s Victorian analogues in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), as well as a later rewriting in Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs (1997). We will also examine the Frankenstein monster on film, including clips from or screenings of James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) and campy Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Mel Brooks’s satiric comedy Young Frankenstein (1974), the rewriting of Shelley (and Milton) in Ridley Scott’s dystopian thriller Blade Runner (1982; final cut, 1994), and Stuart Beattie’s gargoyle- and demon-filled action film, I, Frankenstein (2014).   

As we discuss and analyze Mary Shelley’s monstrous myth, including its sources and its fictional and cinematic legacy, we will focus on such questions as: What is a monster? What is the relationship between the human and the monstrous?  How do individuals and societies define themselves through / against the monstrous? What do monsters tell us about ourselves and our deepest values?  What functions do monsters serve in literature, film, and society? What makes the Frankenstein monster so fascinating, adaptable, and durable? 

This course is discussion-based and writing-intensive.  Students will write short reading responses and four analytic papers. There will be an opportunity for students to write about film, as well as about literary texts. 

ENGL 13186-05
University Literature Seminar
Valerie Sayers
TR 2:00-3:15

The Art of the American Short Story

Our course will celebrate the history and impact of the American short story throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.  We’ll pay particular attention to major literary movements from modernism to post-postmodernism, and especially to the connections between a story’s form and its content. We'll keep an eye on writers’ innovations and experiments as we explore the subjects of power, immigration, poverty, class, labor, and race, and the themes of individualism, group identity, and alienation. We'll continually ask: Why does the writer use this form for this subject?  How does the form affect the story's impact on readers? Is it really possible to separate form from content?   We’ll read, discuss, and write about forty-five stories over the course of the semester.  Perhaps most important, we’ll take pleasure in a surprising and satisfying literary form.

ENGL 13186-06
University Literature Seminar
Susan Harris
TR 3:30-4:45

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 13186-07
University Literature Seminar
Edward Malloy
U 7:00-9:30p

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.

ENGL 20000
Introduction to Creative Writing
Section 01 – Dev Varma – MW 3:30-4:45
Section 02 – Suzie Garcia – TR 11:00-12:15

This course will introduce you to the craft of writing poetry and fiction. Thus, you will study the language, forms, techniques, and conventions of poetry and fiction with the purpose of putting that knowledge into practice. The hope is that by the end of the semester you will have also discovered ways of reading creative works that are stimulating and enriching for you. A large part of the semester will be devoted to the writing and sharing of exercises and original creative works in a workshop setting.

ENGL 20003
Fiction Writing
Section 01 – Johannes Goransson – MW 11:00-12:15
Section 02 – Steve Tomasula – TR 2:00-3:15
Section 03 – TBA – TR 3:30-4:45

Students will begin with narrative exercises in style and form and ultimately write complete drafts and revisions of literary short stories. Readings in modern and contemporary literature will provide critical perspective and vocabulary, as well as narrative possibilities.

ENGL 20004
Poetry Writing
Orlando Menes
TR 9:30-10:45

This course invites you to build on the basics, develop your technical abilities, and broaden your approaches to the form, genres, media, language, and performance of contemporary poetry. Students should expect to read and view works from a variety of periods and cultures, and will generate their own poems in response to course readings and prompts as well as their own impromptu in-class writing. Students will also sharpen their critical vocabulary as they analyze assigned readings, critique peer work, and receive critiques of their poems from both peers and instructor. Specific readings, activities and assignments will differ from section to section.

ENGL 20104
Introduction to Poetry
Laura Betz
TR 3:30-4:45

This course will provide an introduction to poetry as a literary art form and develop students' skills of critical analysis and interpretation. The course will address the major poetic genres and a range of literary concepts and devices. We will read a variety of material both past and contemporary, with a special emphasis on poetry from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and particularly the Romantic period.

ENGL 20106
Point-of-View in the Novel
Noreen Deane-Moran
Section 01 – MW 11:00-12:15
Section 02 – MW 2:00-3:15

This course will focus on the introduction to the novel as a form, a means to view the world of the author/artist and the reader. Literature is an art whereby one consciousness seeks to communicate with another consciousness. One of the artist's techniques for controlling this flow is the concept of point of view. We will explore various approaches and uses of this "framing" in some nineteenth-and twentieth-century novels. The goal is to use an understanding of point of view to more fully comprehend, enjoy, and sensitively read this popular genre.Texts: Henry James, Turn of the Screw; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary; Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome; James Joyce, Dubliners; William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime; Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha; and Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America. Requirements: regular class participation; two short papers, a mid-term; and a final.

ENGL 20154
The Gothic Novel
Noreen Deane-Moran
TR 2:00-3:15

"From ghoulies and ghosties/ And long-leggedy beasties/ And things that go bump in the night / Good Lord, deliver us!" Why do we enjoy being scared out of our wits? Since its inception in the late eighteenth century, generations have loved the Gothic Novel with its grotesque murders and bizarre terror. The course will study a number of the most celebrated Gothic tales from horrors in castles and monasteries (Lewis's The Monk) to mysterious love stories (Brontë's Wuthering Heights) to the eerie stories of the paranormal (Shelley's Frankenstein) to contemporary horror stories. The purpose will be to study the ways in which the Gothic Novel entertains us and what it is about us that loves to be entertained by the Gothic.

ENGL 20174 / ESS 33624 – Crosslist
Shakespeare and Tolkien: Literature in the Classroom
John Staud
MW 11:00-12:15

Central to this course is the study of Shakespeare and Tolkien, both of whom, while separated by over 300 years, nevertheless, stay in the mind? We will examine in-depth Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, and Lord of the Rings, aiming to hone your ability to read closely and carefully and to write strong literary analyses. We will also examine these works in the context of contemporary education (where, for example, students complain about reading in part because they lack the skills and patience to read long or difficult texts), aiming to address questions about the purpose of literature and issues of literacy in our schools today.

ENGL 20176 / IRLL 30101 – Crosslist
A Divine Vernacular: Old Irish
Amy Mulligan
TR 3:30-4:45

A Divine Vernacular: Old Irish Language and Literary Culture Early Irish sources record that at the Tower of Babel, when faced with the disordered confusion of languages Fénius Farsaid and Goídel Glas deployed a team of scholars to take “what was best of every language and what was wisest and finest”; from these choice linguistic elements they made the Irish language, Goídelc, ‘Gaelic’ or (Mod. Irish) ‘Gaeilge.’ These origin myths tell us that Irish was created to restore and preserve God’s language and heavenly speech, and that eventually it was brought from the Holy Land to Ireland, where Irish linguistic and literary culture flourished. Old Irish was at a very early period used extensively as a language of learning and literature: Irish is Europe’s oldest vernacular, or native, literary culture, and Old Irish texts are some of the most diverse and intriguing of the Middle Ages, as we will explore in this course. When the Irish began to create literature in their native language, what ideas, stories and aspects of their culture were they most interested in exploring? Operating in a culture with a vibrant oral, story-telling bardic culture, how did the Irish use their native language to preserve and develop these spoken traditions in writing?

In this course participants will divide their time between 1) learning the fundamentals of the Old Irish language (no previous experience necessary!) and 2) studying key texts which give us insight into medieval Irish thinking about the role and importance of language and literary culture. We will examine early heroic sagas, saints’ lives, myths about legendary poets and the act of literary creation, stories of pre-Christian women warriors and otherworldly prophets, monstrous human heroes and poems as diverse as those celebrating the natural world, praising God, recording fears about Viking raids and even pondering the difficulty of getting thoughts down on paper. All literary texts will be available in English translation, though as our Old Irish skills develop over the course of the semester, we will also increasingly engage with the texts in their original Old Irish forms.

No previous knowledge of Irish (modern or otherwise), or other medieval languages, is necessary for this course.

Course requirements will include completion of language exercises, translation of a text of the participant’s choosing (creative adaptations as well as linguistically precise translations are possible), a paper on any aspect of medieval Irish literary, linguistic or textual culture, and 1-2 exams. 

Graduate students will be expected to undertake additional reading, writing and translation.

ENGL 20179 / IRLL 20116 – Crosslist
Modern Literature in Irish 1890-2008
Briona NicDhiarmada
MW 9:30-10:45

This course offers an introduction to modern and contemporary Irish language literature. We will begin by tracing the influence of the Revival and cultural nationalism on the development of a modern literature in the Irish language. We will read key texts in the light of the national narrative, taking note of cultural change and contested identities in considering the specificities of a literature that can trace an unbroken line to what is often described as the oldest vernacular literature in Europe. Among the texts discussed will be work by Pearse, Ó Conaire, the Blasket autobiographies, Ó Cadhain, Ó Ríordáin, Ní Dhomhnaill, Mac Lochlainn among others. All texts will be read in translation. Relevant documentaries will also be used and shown in class to further illustrate and elucidate the work of particular authors.

ENGL 20180
The Anglo-Irish Big House Novel
Denise Ayo
MW 3:30-4:45

The term “big house” refers to the country mansions that English settlers built in Ireland as a part of England’s colonization of Ireland. “Anglo-Irish” refers to these settlers and their descendants. In this course, students will read nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century works that examine the Anglo-Irish big house and discuss the tense relationship between the native Irish and the Anglo-Irish. Students will read works that lament the fall of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy such as Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent as well as the incredibly sardonic Good Behaviour by Molly Keane. We will also investigate Seamus Deane’s suggestion that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a big house novel and examine how Elizabeth Bowen uses the supernatural to describe her experiences as an Anglo-Irish woman in the mid-twentieth century. Students will analyze the tenuous position of the Anglo-Irish class that resulted from them being neither the colonizing English nor the colonized Irish and thus disowned by both. This course will give students a foundation in modern and contemporary Irish literature, history, and culture.

ENGL 20191 / LIT 20906 – Crosslist
Friendship and Literature: Classical and Early Christian Perspectives
Robert McFadden
MWF 9:25-10:15

In the ancient world, both pagans and Christians considered friendship an important type of human relationship.  By means of literature, they sought to explore how one achieves perfect friendships in the midst of the suffering and trials of human existence.  This course will examine texts from Classical Greece to Late Antiquity.  In our analysis, we will consider the following questions: 1.)  What are the forms of friendship for the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Christians?  2.) How does the literary genre (ex. Poetry, philosophical dialogue, and epistle) shape the author’s presentation of friendship? 3.) What are the theological, philosophical, political, and social factors that contribute to each other’s understanding of friendship?  4.) Why does one seek to form friendships, and never seek to be alone in one’s life?  All readings are in translation.

ENGL 20436/IRLL 20115-Crosslist
Irish Literature and Culture I
Amy Mulligan
TR 12:30-1:45

Ireland can lay claim to one of the most extensive, unique, and oldest literatures in Europe. By engaging with a wide range of literary texts from the medieval and early modern periods (ca. 800-1800), participants will consider how changing social, cultural, literary and intellectual contexts, in terms of both authors and audiences, have dramatically transformed Ireland’s literature over the centuries. By looking at authors ranging from heroic bards and literary monks to lamenting wives and satirizing schoolmasters, we will examine the dynamics of production and the voices that speak to us from Ireland’s past. Additionally, by thinking about the identities of those who have more recently translated and edited the versions of the texts we will read, by questioning the different topics that scholars have chosen to explore, and by articulating our own responses to often arresting works from the Irish literary tradition, we will begin to understand the complexities and rich possibilities inherent in experiencing these literary masterpieces in a time and place very different from medieval or early modern Ireland. Participants will read both primary literary texts, which may include but are not limited to The Táin, stories from Early Irish Myths and Sagas, poems from An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed, Merriman’s Midnight Court, as well as a number of critical essays. Participants will be required to write several short response papers, to compose discussion questions to help direct class conversations, and to write 2 papers (4-5 pp. and 6-7 pp.)

ENGL 20534/IRLL 20120-Crosslist
The Irish Short Story
Brian O'Conchubhair
TR 11:00-12:15

This course introduces students to the themes, motifs, approaches and various forms common to the Irish short story as well as the critical debates associated with the genre. We begin with a survey of the literary history and cultural politics of Ireland in the nineteenth century and the emergence of the Irish short story and compare it to the American and French story, before considering the relationship between folklore and literature and the origins of the modern short story form. Having discussed various theories of the short story, we proceed to examine the interactive relationship between orality and print culture, tradition and modernity, native and foreign, natural/authentic and artificial/other. Among the authors we read in detail are: George Moore, P.H. Pearse, James Joyce, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Frank O'Connor, Sean O'Faolain, Liam Ó Flaithearta/Liam O'Flaherty, Seamus Ó Grianna, Seosamh Mac Grianna, Angela Bourke, Samuel Beckett, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Pádraic Breathnach, Seán Mac Mathúna, Micheál Ó Conghaile, Alan Titley, Dara Ó Conaola and Eilís Ní Dhuibhne. Stories are read primarily as literary texts that shed light on evolving cultural, political and social conditions and provide incisive insights into the Irish literary and cultural tradition. This course is an ideal introduction to literary criticism and cultural studies. No prior knowledge of Irish or Ireland is required. All texts will be available in English.

ENGL 20713
Tragedy: Ancient and Modern
Dallin Lewis
MW 5:05-6:20

This course will examine one of the oldest literary forms in Western culture, tragedy, comparing some of its earliest iterations in Greek and then Shakespearean drama with modern ideas of the “tragic” in contemporary drama, prose fiction, and philosophy.  We will use tragedy as a test case for understanding how literary genres form, develop, and adapt over time to shifting political and social conditions.  But tragedy also has always been more than a literary form.  As its frequent appearance in newspaper headlines attest, “tragedy” implies a particular view of life.  Our foray into tragic literature will probe how philosophers have grappled with the vexing questions this view of life raises: What does tragedy say about human freedom?  Can tragedy exist in a progressive, technocratic society?  And why, exactly, do we even find tragedies enjoyable?

Our discussions and assignments will apply the techniques of literary analysis to help us understand these texts in light of historical context, intellectual ideas, literary form, and aesthetics.  The overarching goal of this course is to help us all, as a class: to learn how to read and engage with unfamiliar literary works; to think critically about their ideas, methods, and style; and- -most importantly- -to better appreciate literature and the pleasures it offers.

Course Texts:

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex and Antigone; Shakespeare, Othello and Macbeth; Kirosawa, Throne of Blood (film); Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy (selections); Melville, Billy Budd and “Bartleby the Scriviner,”Ibsen, A Doll’s House; Miller, Death of a Salesman; Beckett, Waiting for Godot; Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao House.

ENGL 20720 / ILS 20303 – Crosslist
Lationa/o Poetry Now
Francisco Aragon
MW 9:30-10:45

This course offers an opportunity to read, discuss, and write about a generous sampling of contemporary American poetry by Latino/as, utilizing as its principal textbook an award-winning anthology: The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry. We will supplement the anthology with two full-length books, whose authors will be visiting our class during the semester, as well as a supplementary reader, some online video interviews with a number of the poets. We will focus mainly on a younger generation of writers, examining some of the themes and traits that characterize this poetry, but we'll also encounter poems that challenge and undermine what one might expect when one hears the term, "Latino poetry."

ENGL 20723 / ILS 20302 – Crosslist
Latinos, Leadership & Literature
Jose Limón
TR 12:30-1:45

Recently a media news outlet raised the questions: “Who are the Latino leaders of today? Do Latinos need leaders?”  Such questions are raised, of course, in the context of a continuing social marginalization of Latino communities in the United States.  This class turns primarily to literary sources of varying genres to explore the issue of Latino leadership asking these same questions but others as well.  What might be the characteristics of a successful Latino leadership?  What constitutes failure? Are writers “cultural leaders?”  Are Latinas the leadership of the future?  What kind of an education best produces leadership for Latinos?  Is there a special role for Notre Dame in such an endeavor?  Among others we will read Franz Fanon, Ernesto Galarza, Américo Paredes, John Phillip Santos, Richard Rodriguez, Mario T. García and Esmeralda Santiago as well as having guest speakers on this question.

ENGL 20732
The Frankstein Myth
Meagan Simpson
MW 3:30-4:45

Mary Shelley’s Frankstein; or the Modern Prometheus contributed to our pop-cultural memory one of the most harrowing and ubiquitous monsters of all time, leading to hundreds of adaptations, parodies, and homages from places as glamorous as Hollywood and as conventional as a Halloween costume. Why has this particular monster-myth endured?  What makes the monster Frankenstein unique?  And what can we learn about literature, its conventions, and its analysis in focusing on this figure?  Our course explores these questions by tracing the Frankenstein myth across Greek tragedy, poetry, the novel, and film.  The course begins by defining what features and functions the monster serves in literature and culture. We turn next to analyze representations of the Prometheus and Frankenstein myths in literature.  The course ends by considering the significance of filmic adaptations of Frankenstein for our own time.  Readings include Hesoid’s Theogony, Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and various filmic adaptations such as Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.  Students will complete three 2-page response papers, two 5-7 page papers, and a final exam.

ENGL 20733
The Young Adult Novel
Angel Matos
MW 9:30-10:45

Since the emergence of the young adult novel in the 1950s, there has been intense debate over how to approach and classify this category of fiction. While many readers label this genre as children’s literature due to its moralizing themes and relatively “unsophisticated” style, others deem this classification to be unsuitable due to the genre’s treatment of mature subjects such as gender, violence, and death. This tension is further amplified by some readers’ reluctance to approach these texts as serious literature due to their heavy reliance on the market and their “juvenile” target audience. Through an exploration of young adult novels from the 1950s to the present, and through an examination of what constitutes “literariness,” we will attempt to establish the extent to which these novels can be approached as full-fledged Literature. Can a genre of fiction driven primarily by marketing concerns and didacticism be capable of literary innovation? How can discussions of the young adult novel contribute to our understanding of the divide between low and high culture in other genres of fiction? After a brief exploration of these issues of literariness, we will use current techniques of literary analysis—including but not limited to close-reading, reader-response criticism, and the application of post-structuralist theories—to understand how young adult novels reinforce, challenge, or refute common cultural perceptions and ideologies. Particular attention will be given to the questions of gender, sexuality, and the body that are regularly raised by young adult novels. In order to facilitate an exploration of these questions, we will analyze texts by prominent young adult authors such as J.D. Salinger, Suzanne Collins, Stephen Chbosky, and Lois Lowry, among others.

ENGL 20734
Apocalypse Now
Robinson Murphy
TR 3:30-4:45

Can literature and film help us understand issues of immediate significance, like climate change and species extinction? Can it help us to think about how to serve the needs of the present without compromising future generations? In this course we will explore how apocalyptic narrative compels heightened critical engagement with climate change, grounding our discussions in 21st-century texts such as novels by Margaret Atwood, Romesh Gunesekera, Cormac McCarthy, Barbara Kingsolver, and Manil Suri, and films such as Children of Men, The Road, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

ENGL 20735
American Women Write the (Post) Colonial
Z’étoile Imma
TR 12:30-1:45

In this course, we will explore the diverse expressions of the (post)colonial experience from a myriad of voices that constitute African women’s writing. Traversing various landscapes through African women’s writing will allow to us entry into their significant, yet often overlooked, perspectives on history, power, identity, and agency. We will focus primarily on the novel and short fiction as the genres of focus, along with one book of poems and one film. Undoubtedly, questions regarding the (post)colonial, gender/the body, race, nation, class, modernity, space, exile, violence, resistance, war, and language will arise. Informed by various theories, we will attempt to define and grapple with these terms. Specifically we will deconstruct the postcolonial as a gendered experience, study various postulations on “third world” and African feminisms, learn to recognize significant themes that appear inter-textually, offer our own analysis of the profound work we have collectively examined, and enjoy the company/challenge of our own diverse standpoints. Writers whose work we will study may include: Ama Ata Aidoo, Buchi Emecheta, Mariama Ba, Yvonne Vera, Bessie Head, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Leila Aboulela, Sindiwe Magona, and others.

ENGL 20736
Poetry as a way of knowing
Emma Vanhoozer
TR 5:05-6:20

In this course we will study the development of 20th-century American poetry through its many phases including avant-garde, Objectivist, confessional, Beat, and Projectivist poetries.  While exploring the range of poetic schools and styles, we will also focus our readings on a question that plagues several of these poets: what ways of knowing are made possible by poetry? what does poetry know that other forms of writing do not? And how do different ways of writing poetry correspond to different ways of knowing? To answer these questions, we will read essays by poets who explicitly discuss these questions.  In addition, we will develop close reading skills with which to analyze particular poetic styles.  By the end of the course, students will combine close analysis of the “poetics” exemplified by a particular poem with a broader understanding of the corresponding form of knowledge.  For instance, we will examine how the line breaks in T.S. Eliot’s late poems are determined primarily by fixed meter, which in turn suggests his tendency to privilege the mind and spirit over the bodily senses.  Other poets particularly interested in these questions include Ezra Pound, H.D., Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Carl Rakosi, Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov.  In addition to analyzing the formal and thematic characteristics in each poet’s work, we will read selections from philosophers who have proposed different theories for how poetry gives us knowledge, or for what values are implicit in various forms of knowing.  Some of these thinkers include Martin Buber (for whom dialogue is a primary form of knowledge), Martha Nussbaum (who explores love as a form of knowledge), and Wendell Berry (who seeks embodied knowledge).

ENGL 20737
Shakespeare, Religion & Politics
Ethan Guagliardo
MW 5:05-6:20

In the modern world, we tend to think of religion and politics as separate spheres. Recent movements, however—from the Arab spring to the increasing influence of religious figures on American politics—might caution us otherwise. The “Great Separation” of religion and politics is often traced to various processes of secularization in the Renaissance, of which Shakespearean drama is said to be a catalyst. Shakespeare, we are told, discovered “the human” free from dogma and superstition. But the Renaissance was also a period of enormous religious fervor, speculation, and contention. In this class, we will explore how Renaissance dramatists, alongside theologians and philosophers, conceived of the relation between drama and the religious / political imagination, and how their work might speak to our contemporary moment. In particular, we will consider how creative art might function alongside or parallel to religion, as a seed-bed of the political imaginary, and how that might force us to reconsider the relation between church and state today. Readings will be drawn primarily from Shakespeare—including Hamlet, Richard II, and The Winter’s Tale—but we will also examine plays by Marlowe, as well as the writings of figures like Augustine, Plato, Calvin, Machiavelli, and Hobbes.

Reading List

Hebrew Bible: Exodus 20:2-17, Exodus 31-34 (Golden Calf and Ten Commandments); 1 Samuel 8 (Kingship as Idolatry); 2 Kings 5 (Naaman the Syrian)

New Testament: John 1:1-5; 3:14-5 (the brazen serpent) 1 Corinthians 10

Plato, Republic, 491a-521a.

Augustine, The City of God, 6.1-8.

Calvin, Institutes, 1.11-2; 2.1-2

Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Shakespeare, Richard II

Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy 1.Preface-1.2, 1.7, 1.9-1.16, 3.1, 3.3, 3.30, 3.49

Montaigne, “On Custom”

Marlowe, The Jew of Malta

Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hobbes, Leviathan, chp. 1-5; 12-4; 16-8; 37, 45

Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale


ENGL 30101
Introduction to Literary Studies
Sec. 1: Cyraina Johnson-Roullier – MW 12:30-1:45
Sec. 2: John Sitter – TR 11:00-12:15
Sec. 3: Chris Vanden Bossche – TR 12:30-1:45
Sec. 4: Romana Huk – TR 3:30-4:45

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, 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.

ENGL 30110
British Literary Traditions I
Tim Machan
MW 9:30-10:45

This course will survey a selection of literature written prior to the end of the seventeenth century. We will concentrate on a variety of authors who have come to be considered significant for a variety of reasons, whether for their artistic achievements, their commentary on society, or their contribution to notions of literary history. Although attention will be given to historical perspective, the course will emphasize close reading and classroom discussion. Readings include Beowulf, selections from the Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, selected lyrics, Book 1 of the Faerie Queene, The Tempest, and selections from Paradise Lost. Regular attendance and participation; two papers; two exams.

ENGL 30115
American Literary Traditions I
Laura Walls
MW 3:30-4:45

This course introduces American literature from its beginnings to the Civil War, a span of over 250 years from Pocahontas and the Pilgrims all the way to Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman and Dickinson. Our readings will trace the emergence of what we now know as “America” from the small and struggling British colonies of Virginia and New England, founded early in the 1600s on lands cultivated for millennia by Native Americans. We will consider the early “contact zones” in which settler societies from Europe met and mingled with indigenous Native American cultures, languages, and literatures; the institution of slavery as the foundation of American economies, and the growing contributions of free and enslaved African-Americans to the development of a distinctive “American” voice and literary tradition; and the literature of the American Revolution that established the United States as an independent nation. Finally, we will conclude with several works from the American Renaissance that characterize an emerging modern American literary tradition. Requirements include brief weekly response papers, class participation, midterm and final examinations, and two short papers designed to develop research and writing skills.

ENGL 30850
Fiction Writing for English Majors
Steve Tomasula
TR 5:05-6:20

Fiction Writing for English Majors is a hands-on experience in exploring ideas by creating narratives, using fiction to express meaning, critique society, create understanding, or represent individual thought through the medium of words. That is, the approach to writing will be through treating language as an art form in that we will explore how language and narrative form create aesthetic experience, and are part of the message, just as sound does in music, or paint can in visual art. Though we will draw on the rich tradition that is Literature, it is hoped that by using the medium of words we will describe being alive at our contemporary moment in ways that speak to contemporary audiences. The class is conducted through a discussion format, centered on fiction written by students as well as by authors working in a wide variety of written forms. In this “studio” class, students will be encouraged to treat language as their medium when writing, and to read fiction as authors do, that is, as practitioners of an art. No one style or type of fiction is advocated over another. In fact, students are encouraged to find their own subject matter, their own individual perspective, and methods of translating ideas and experience into language that goes beyond formula entertainment. In general, the work will consist of daily readings, critique of the readings, several brief fictions and two major stories to be turned in for class discussion. Regular class attendance, attendance at reading(s) by visiting author(s) and individual conferences are also required.

ENGL 30852
Poetry Writing for English Majors
Joyelle McSweeney
TR 3:30-4:45

In this class, expertise in poetry is not required but love for language and commitment to the collaborative process is.  You should expect an intense and wide-ranging class combining weekly in- and out-of-class writing, reading and viewing assignments, collaborative projects, performances, and workshops. We'll go looking for inspiration in all sorts of places, from published poetry and live performances to movies, visual art, rap and social media. We'll look at the ways in which the multimedia, multiplatform experience of our current cultural moment can be a generative source for contemporary poetry, while also examining how contemporary writing participates in the conventions and habits of traditional poetry. Multilingual writers and translators are especially welcome; artists and FTT-types are very welcome; pre-meds and athletes are very welcome; everybody's very welcome! Even NON-MAJORS should contact instructor if interested, as spots often do open up.

ENGL 40150
South African Fictions
Z’étoile Imma
TR 9:30-10:45

As the global community continues to reflect on the legacy of the late President Nelson Mandela, this year many will also gather to consider, celebrate and/or challenge the cultural, political, and economic impact of what is now twenty years of democracy in the new South Africa. In this course we will participate in that large and important conversation about the recent history and future visions of South Africa, through an exploration of the fiction produced in the apartheid years as well as contemporary texts published within the last two decades. As expected, we will be especially attentive to representations of race and nation, but we will also complicate our analysis with a thorough interrogation of how questions of gender, class, sexuality (post)coloniality, language, space, resistance, and violence are mobilized, (re)defined, and imagined in narratives by the highly acclaimed and emerging writers from South Africa. We will also grapple with how and why fiction has served as an especially important genre in both the anti-apartheid and a growing post-apartheid literary canon. Along with the fiction written by a broad set of authors, course materials will center the diverse theorizing offered by South African scholars, artists, and activists who have much to contribute to and share about their communities and our world.

ENGL 40157 / LLRO 40107 – Crosslist
Between Religion & Literature: Meaning, Vulnerability and the Human Existence
Vittorio Montemaggi
TR 12:30-1:45

This course explores the contribution that the coming together of theological and literary reflection can make to our understanding of the nature of meaning. Focusing on the work of Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Primo Levi, Dostoevsky and Shakespeare, students will address questions such as 'What is it we are doing when speaking, reading, using language?', 'How do the intellect and the imagination work in relation to literary texts?', 'How might all this relate to our ways of thinking about God, human nature, and the relationship between them?' Such questions will be addressed, in particular, through reflection on how the texts studied invite us to think about the nature of love, forgiveness, vulnerability and creativity.

ENGL 40209
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
MW 3:30-4:45

An introductory study of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this course will cover a range of genres (romance, fabliau, saint’s life, mock-epic, legend, dream vision and allegory) and a range of strategies for story narration. We will read Chaucer’s texts in the original language, and examine the historical, literary, and cultural contexts of his poetry, exploring themes like upward mobility, art and iconography, creating social identity, popular piety, anticlerical satire, women's issues, sexual orientation, bullying, leadership, courtly love, magic, and social unrest. Given the growing number of internet resources for visual arts, historical artifacts, documentaries and films relating to the Middle Ages, we will be able to take advantage of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Chaucer.  

ENGL 40211
History of the English Language
Tim Machan
MW 12:30-1:45

This course examines the history and diversity of the English language. After an introduction to the methods of historical and comparative linguistics, the development of English will be chronologically surveyed. Much of the course will concentrate on specific historical topics, such as the introduction of writing, the influence of writing and printing on the standardization of English, the spread of English outside England itself, the diversity of English, contact between English and other languages, and the status of English as a world language today. Throughout the semester we will work with both empirical data and also the discovery of competing narratives for writing linguistic history. Regular attendance and participation; 3 tests; research paper.

ENGL 40212
Introduction to Old English
Christopher Abram
MW 9:30-10:45

Old English literature is certainly old—we can read texts that were written over a thousand years ago. And it’s recognisably English—the language feels both familiar and strange, an ancient ancestor in whose features we can still see our own likeness. But most importantly, Old English is literature—profound, moving, funny, disturbing and exciting by turns, and illuminating the human condition all the more brightly for coming out of the darkness of the far past.

In this course, we will learn the Old English language to an extent that will allow us to read some of the literature in the original. But language learning is not the main goal here; rather, our aim is to come to understand, to appreciate, and to enjoy the richness and weirdness of the literature as fully as possible. We’ll study a wide variety of texts in prose and verse: everything from Beowulf to a riddle with the solution “one-eyed seller of garlic”.

Authors as diverse as Gerald Manley Hopkins, Ezra Pound, J.R.R. Tolkien and Seamus Heaney would all agree: Old English is amazing.

There are no prerequisites for this course. All are welcome.

ENGL 40266
Robin Hood and the Medieval Outlaw
Susannah Fein
TR 11:00-12:15

This course explores medieval outlaw legends with a focus on the mythic Robin Hood. We will begin with English medieval romances of exile and return (for example, King Horn, Havelok the Dane, and Sir Orfeo). Then we will turn to early English ballads and dramas that feature Robin Hood, reading the full early extant tradition. For comparison, we will also read  other outlaw legends in medieval literature, such as those of Eustache the Monk, Fouke fitz Waryn, and Gamelyn. The course will engage students in interdisciplinary study, incorporating literature, history, legend, folklore, law, politics, and social economics. The subject examines the state of one who dwells by choice or necessity at the margin, or on the outside, of society. Students will be asked to consider basic questions of social ethics, class disparity, political power, rebellion, individual freedom, conscience, and (anti)heroism. For their essays, students will be invited to draw upon versions of Robin Hood or other outlaws in modern culture, if they wish to do so. Some American films about Robin Hood will be featured as further “texts” for study, including the classic 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood.

ENGL 40270
Georgian Literature and Architecture
Ian Newman
MW 3:30-4:45

From the classicism of the early part of the eighteenth century, through the development of the Gothic, to a preoccupation with ruins, British literature and architecture mirror one another in frequently surprising ways. Far from being coincidental, these aesthetic developments feed into and inform one another. It will be our task to understand how and why. We’ll look at literary manifestos alongside architectural treatises, we’ll walk through buildings and through poems, and we’ll examine novels and floor plans in order to understand how authors and architects variously negotiated the aesthetic and social paradigms of their day. We’ll consider public buildings, domestic space, and bureaucratic structures in their literary and material manifestations to investigate how each navigated evolving concepts of public and private space, gender and genre, physical and psychological interiors.

Authors may include Joseph Addison, Jane Austen, Edmund Burke, Maria Edgeworth, William Gilpin, and Horace Walpole; architects may include Robert Adams, Jeremy Bentham, Capability Brown, Coleen Campbell, Henry Holland, and John Soane.

ENGL 40304
Jane Austen and Her World
Margaret Doody
MW 11:00-12:15

Jane Austen’s life spans the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.  Her novels are often treated as idyllic romantic stories set in a gentle past, elegant tales of refined courtship. Yet she lived in turbulent times, and her earliest works exhibit a taste for absurdity and violence linking her to Rabelais and Dickens. Her novels present us with the pressures of change and adaptation.

“Jane Austen’s world” encompasses the world Jane Austen knew, a geographical, political, historical and social reality that was England. We shall consider the implications of the counties her heroines live in. How does Elizabeth’s Hertfordshire differ from Darcy’s Derbyshire?  How might England’s first census of 1801 illuminate the world she knew?  First names and surnames often define or reflect a political outlook, a class or an ethnic background, and may relate characters to historical figures—including criminals and “celebrities”.  Why is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s name contradictory?  Marriage is of great importance; we shall examine not only the Anglican Service of Holy Matrimony but also laws and customs affecting dowries, inheritance, and women’s access to income.

We will read all the fiction that Jane Austen wrote, not only the six novels, and the novella Lady Susan but also the youthful stories and the unfinished  novels, including her last work, “Sanditon.” A selection of Austen’s letters will also be on our reading list.  Is there only one “Jane Austen”? Would Fanny Price really approve of Elizabeth Bennet? What kinds of conflict does Austen explore? Looking at works that Jane Austen read, including favorite novels, will help us to get closer to her and her era.

Interpretations of Austen in our own time abound in TV dramatizations and films. These demand our investigation, as we inquire into the significance of the recent Austen “boom” and what it may tell us of our own tastes and times.

TEXTS: Austen: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, “Catharine” and Other Writings; Letters, ed. Deirdre le Faye. James Edward Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen; Frances Burney: Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (novel); .Maria Edgeworth   (selected children’s stories); Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal (play); Charlotte Smith, Emmeline, or the Orphan of the Castle; Walpole, The Castle of Otranto; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (non-fiction treatise, selections).

ENGL 40323
Revenge Tragedy: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries
Laura Knoppers
TR 3:30-4:45

Ghosts. Skulls and corpses. Deceit, disguise, intrigue, and madness.  Blood, poison, and melodrama.  Extravagant violence and murder. Such were the conventions of revenge tragedy that Elizabethan and Jacobean theater-goers flocked enthusiastically to see in late-sixteenth-and early-seventeenth-century London. This course will explore the fun, fascinating, and sometimes horrifying revenge tragedies produced by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  We will begin with examples of classical revenge tragedy in Seneca’s Thyestes (from which Shakespeare borrows the cookery scene in Titus Andronicus) and Medea (for an example of a strong female revenge figure). We will then move to Thomas Kyd’s resoundingly successful The Spanish Tragedy (1587), before turning to Shakespeare’s brilliant reworking of revenge tragedy in the gory but gripping Titus Andronicus (1594), the problem comedy The Merchant of Venice (1598), the psychological masterpiece Hamlet (1600-1), and the poignantly destructive Othello (1604).  We will then look at Thomas Middleton’s campy and exaggerated The Revengers Tragedy (1606-7), and John Webster’s sinister and elusive Duchess of Malfi (1612-13), before concluding with Milton’s Satan as a fierce and anguished revenge figure in Paradise Lost (1667).  Film clips (not for the faint-hearted) and pertinent current scholarship will supplement the primary readings. 

As we discuss and analyze the excitement and flourishing of revenge tragedy in Shakespeare’s time and beyond, we will address such questions as: What characterizes revenge tragedy and the revenge hero?  Why does justice fail in the public arena?  Is it possible to seek revenge for a wrong without becoming worse than the original perpetrator?  To what extent do revenge tragedies depend on blood, gore, and sensationalism and to what extent do they explore psychological complexity and questions of morality?  How does gender shape (or re-shape) the genre?  How do issues of revenge, including free choice versus apparent determinism, point to broader ethical questions?  Why does revenge retain its perennial fascination?

ENGL 40327
The Victorian Universe
Sara Maurer
MW 5:05-6:20

The Victorian world was one made unsettlingly strange by industrialism, capitalism, technology, changing gender roles, and an increasing class mobility. Victorian authors dealt with this strange modernity by writing stories about the ways that society remained interconnected. The average Victorian novel was three volumes long and contained multiple plots in which characters were intertwined through romance, politics, money, secret identities, blackmail, disease and sometimes the sheer accident of sharing the same train. In order to become thoroughly acquainted with the Victorian novel's ambition to offer its reader a vision of society's totality, this class will focus intently on just three novels - Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son, George Eliot's Middlemarch, and Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now. We will closely study the formal techniques that each writer used to try to reproduce a sense of vast interconnectedness in Victorian society. We will also read excerpts from other Victorians who tried to explain the complexity of society - Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Stuart Mill and John Ruskin among them. Students can expect to be graded on class participation, a series of short response papers, a presentation, and three longer formal writing assignments.

ENGL 40432
Heaney and Yeats: Public and Private Poets
John Kelly
TR 2:00-3:15

Seamus Heaney and William Butler Yeats are two of the greatest Irish poets, a fact recognized by the critical attention they have attracted and by the many awards and accolades they won in their lifetimes, including the Nobel Prize.  The sad and unexpected death of Seamus Heaney now enables us to begin to see his literary canon as a whole and to start to make assessments of his role in the literary history of Ireland.  This is what the present course will attempt, using as a yardstick and comparison the career and poetry of W. B. Yeats. 

Although from significantly different backgrounds, both lived in turbulent times, both were keenly aware of the Irish traditions which gave their work its identity, and both were acutely sensitive to the historical, political, and cultural forces which helped shape their poetry.  They both brooded intensely on the nature of poetry and on the need for a rigorous attention to technique and craft to avoid falling into rhetoric in their public poetry and sentimentality in their more private and autobiographical work.  Their gifts in both cases extended to playwriting and to perceptive and influential critical writings, which raise questions about the nature of poetry, illuminate their own practices, and contextualize their respective canons

The essence of the course will be close reading of major poems and texts by both poets, and, growing out of this, developing a comparison of their approaches to poetry and to the themes that engaged and occupied their imaginations.  We shall resist any temptation to force the two into a false symbiotic relationship, and their differences will be as important in our attempts to ‘place’ them as their similarities.

We shall begin with a biographical and historical overview of their careers, illuminated by their own life-writings and poems of particularly personal significance.  We then move on to examine the literary and cultural contexts in which they began to write (paying attention in particular to what Heaney had to say of Yeats, and how Yeats appears in his work);  to appraise their early poems in providing a foundation for their respective careers;  to discuss how and why they learned to be public poets;  to compare how they addressed the question of violence;  to assess their achievements as ‘private’ and love poets; and to explore the nature and scope of their criticism (especially their writings on the art and practice of poetry).  We shall conclude by attempting to assess their contribution to, and place in, the modern Irish literary tradition.  

The main texts for the class will be Yeats’s Collected Poems and Heaney’s Selected Poems.  These will be supplemented by a course book which will make available further poems by Heaney and extracts from both writers’ prose works, as well as providing the texts of poems or other significant work by those who influenced them.

ENGL 40450
British Romantic Drama and the Politics of the Public Theater
Greg Kucich
TR 3:30-4:45

“Dramatic genius . . . is kindling over the whole land.” (Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine review; 1823)

This class approaches British Romanticism through the spectacular fecundity of its staged drama, which is not usually considered in conventional assessments of the period.  Alongside serious, often disturbing new tragedies, hilarious new comedies, and stunning revivals of Shakespeare, Romantic theater offered frenetic audiences a staggering range of experimental or fringe genres such as melodrama, Gothic drama, nautical drama, pantomime, and quadruped entertainments featuring live horses in cavalry charges and the heroics of “Carlo the Wonder Dog” and “Jocko the Brazilian Monkey.”  We will explore the ingenious ways, both in print and on stage, playwrights utilized these and other stage practices to engage with the burning political issues of the time:  the French Revolution, slavery, imperial might and global strife, women’s rights, among others.  Readings address major canonical figures-- Coleridge, Shelley, and Byron—as well as less well-known figures who ruled the stage, such as Joanna Baillie, Elizabeth Inchbald, “Monk” Lewis, and Hannah Cowley.

ENGL 40490
British Modernisms
Elizabeth Evans
TR 5:05-6:20

We’ll take an expansive view of British modernism, considering literature from the last decades of the nineteenth century through the Second World War that exhibit a variety of formal and political commitments. Above all, we’ll be interested in how literature engages with material culture and social change. Key cultural contexts will include: rapidly changing roles for women; gender, class, and race relations; urbanism, metropolitan life, and cosmopolitanism; imperialism and anti-colonialism; new technologies and spaces, from the omnibus to the airplane. We’ll examine the relationship of aesthetics, ethics, and material culture in diverse texts, from “high modernist” art to popular fiction. 

ENGL 40619
Elsewhere: Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Nan Da
MW 11:00-12:15

Profoundly uncertain about its contours, borders and internal cohesiveness, nineteenth-century America offered up the paradoxes of literary nationalism. Why, in consolidating “national” literature, did so many writers stage their American dramas elsewhere? In this course we will explore the crucial role of “displacement” in nineteenth-century America’s literary imaginary, addressing canonical texts through two key questions: why does the story take place elsewhere, and why, in this elsewhere, does so much “mis-reading” occur? To answer these questions, we will move from text (close-reading) to context (broader geopolitical history) and in so doing uncover the relationship between the private crises of reading and the public crises of nationhood that has been so crucial to American literature since its inception. The writers and works we will study include: Olaudah Equiano (The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano), Washington Irving (The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon), Edgar Allan Poe (Tales), Herman Melville (Moby Dick and Benito Cereno), Henry James (The Aspern Papers and In the Cage). Primary texts will be supplemented with appropriate secondary reading of literary historical and theoretical nature to aid our movement from text to context and address even broader questions related to reading cultures and nation-building.

ENGL 40700
Classical Hollywood and the New Wave
Jeśus Costantino
MW 12:30-1:45

Originally associated with a handful of young, radical French filmmakers in the 1950s and ‘60s, French New Wave cinema transformed Hollywood genre clichés into the raw material for sharp social critique and aesthetic experimentation. The term “New Wave” has since been applied at different times to other national cinemas and has come to signify a period of “awakening” during which an explosively stylish and challenging new brand of filmmaking emerges. It has been used to describe periods of filmmaking in Iran, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Italy, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and more. In this course we will look at Classical Hollywood movies alongside their New Wave successors, and we will attempt to understand why New Wave films continue to speak in the language of old Hollywood.

ENGL 40752
Novels by Aliens
Kate Marshall
TR 2:00-3:15

Who are the aliens of contemporary fiction? Are they from Mars, another country, or the house next door? Are they rocks, animals, fungi? Can they narrate novels? 

This course will begin to answer this question by looking at the strange narrative creatures populating the contemporary novel – “persons” who are something close to but not quite human. These characters and narrators are sometimes slight genetic modifications of the traditional human, cognitive beings existing after traditional comforts such as history, or victims of technological trauma who think just a little bit differently than what we are accustomed to. By examining these novels and their techniques for rendering the interiority of such characters, we will also begin a survey and discussion of how key texts in narrative theory might be accountable to the perspectives forming each text’s experiment with fictional form. By doing so, we will also consider the alienation that always goes along with reading novels in the twenty-first century. Texts will include: Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and others.

ENGL 40771
American Modernisms
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
MW 2:00-3:15

Discussions of the late-nineteenth, early-twentieth-century literary and cultural movement of modernism often center on those qualities of the movement described in the work of early modernist literary critics, such as Harry Levin or Edmund Wilson.  Such examinations emphasize the modern movement’s experiments in form, structure, linguistic representation, characterization, etc., while paying much less attention to the role of the modernist movement in the larger context of a given culture.  In this course, we will explore the significance of the modern movement from the perspective of American culture, as well as the manner and meaning of American literary participation in the movement.  To that end, we will consider not only the work of authors generally accepted as modernists, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein; we will also consider the role of authors such as Sherwood Anderson and Waldo Frank, of the early Chicago Renaissance (1910-1925), and a number of authors from the Harlem Renaissance.  We will examine the work of these authors not only in the context of modernism, but also as it relates to many issues of the day, including progressivism, primitivism, race and ethnicity, immigration, cosmopolitanism vs. regionalism, and the importance of the vernacular, in addition to the question of “Americanness” and its importance to an understanding of American literature during this time.   Considering these different vantage points in American literary modernism, we will try to imagine the contours of “American modernisms,” and draw some conclusions about their significance within the larger modernist context.  In so doing, we’ll seek to arrive at a more comprehensive, more nuanced perspective on the meaning of the modern in American literature and culture.

Course Texts:  Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence; Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; Sherwood Anderson, Dark Laughter; Waldo Frank, Holiday; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Ernest Hemingway, Torrents of Spring; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Gertrude Stein, Three Lives; Jessie Fauset, Plum Bun; Jean Toomer, Cane; William Faulkner, Absalom! Absalom!

Course Requirements:  Two 5-page essays, two 5-page drafts, presentation

ENGL 40817
Black Skin, White Masks
Kinohi Nishikawa
TR 12:30-1:45

This course explores the literary and cultural implications of W. E. B. Du Bois’s famous contention, made in 1903, that African Americans’ life under segregation had given them special insight into the paradox of race and citizenship in American society. Our aim will be to situate Du Bois’s notion of “double-consciousness” in historical context on the way toward surveying texts that alternately reflect and revise this concept from the Jim Crow era to the present. Discussions will touch on key issues in racial (dis)identification, from passing and assimilation to sexual relations and authenticity. Texts may include novels by James Weldon Johnson, Richard Wright, and Paule Marshall; two or three films; and the study by Frantz Fanon after which the seminar is named.

ENGL 40850
Advanced Fiction Writing
Azareen Vander Vliet Oloomi
MW 3:30-4:45

This course is intended for students who have already taken a Fiction Writing course (or the equivalent) and who are seriously interested in writing fiction, and graduate students who are not in the Creative Writing program. The expectation is that the student is beyond the point of requiring assignments to generate stories. Over the semester, in a workshop setting, student stories will be taken through various stages: due attention will be paid to revision, rewriting, polishing, editing, with a goal that the stories be brought as close as possible to the point of submission as finished work. Practical as well as theoretical issues will be investigated; there will be assigned readings from a variety of fiction authors.

ENGL 40851
Advanced Poetry Writing
Orlando Menes
TR 12:30-1:45

This is the most advanced undergraduate course in poetry writing offered by the Department, and while it does not require existing skills in writing poetry, it assumes an existing interest in poetry developed through reading. The course will extend students' knowledge of lyric poetry both as readers and as writers, emphasizing its distinctive, performative qualities. A safe but critical workshop environment is offered for adventures in reading and writing; the course will enrich an understanding of poetic language for those seeking to enhance their enjoyment, as well as opening creative possibilities for those drawn primarily to writing poetry.


Research Seminars:

ENGL 43106
Seminar: Rethinking Lyric and Universalized Self-Expression
Romana Huk
TR 11:00-12:15

This seminar will examine the contradictory burdens placed upon the lyric genre by readers over the last hundred years, beginning with its (and the writing subject’s) fracture in the late nineteenth

century and the critical scramble that nonetheless ensured its enshrinement in both the newly institutionalized “study of English” and modernism’s new “art religion.”  Readings for the course will trouble such formulations from within the poetry itself, watching it absorb the various crises of thought, history and literary theory that would lead, by mid-century, to such deep suspicions about the lyric subject’s mandate to “express selfhood,” and the form’s supposed/opposed universal and cultural work, that it becomes something of a “genre non grata” – up until, that is, our new century, which has rather surprisingly resurrected it in what scholars have called “the new lyric humanism.” Why has the lyric such a volatile critical history – one that at times even erupts in quasi-military language – and what continues to be at stake? Though the course’s focus will remain largely upon British poetry, it will spend a good deal of time too on transatlantic episodes like the infamous “Movement” against “Modernism” (with a capital M) in postwar Britain, where the term was associated with both ideological extremism in pre-war, 1930s (“Red Decade”) Europe, and with American-driven poetic experiment’s displacements of lyric subject and syntax – which Movement poet-critic Donald Davie allied with “theaten[ing] the rule of law in the civilized community,” with “choosing a leader out of the ruck” (Purity of Diction in English Verse, 1952). Students should emerge from the course with a good sense of not only a crucial and current debate in literary studies, but also of what’s been happening on the British poetry scene, particularly since the last world war. They will be encouraged from the start to tease out what’s at stake for each of them individually in this emotional debate, and to begin to research critical and/or theoretical responses their chosen issue early on in the semester so that the writing of their required term paper (20-30 pages) happens slowly and comfortably, even enjoyably, with ample feedback from me and from others in the class. Taking turns leading class discussion will be our practice, and students will be required to deliver a final presentation of their work at the end of the course.

ENGL 43345
Seminar: 18th-Century Communication: Letters, Magazines, Codes, Interpretation
Margaret Doody
MW 2:00-3:15

At the outset of the 21st century great changes in the speed and variety of communications seem to have altered our lives. The 18th century underwent a similar experience.  Literacy became common, the urban world expanded, and trade and empire necessitated news from afar. From the “running footman” to the development of the naval telegraph we note a desire for instant messaging.   Multiple letters were exchanged; there were advice books as to how to write them.  Personal letters were the sign and expression of friendship. The postal service was restructured to meet the new demand. Newspapers and magazines angled for all sorts of readers, inventing modern advertising and discovering the “blog” and the political cartoon. There was a market for images and words—from sermons to fairy tales and obscene verses. Even the condemned wanted to communicate, and the last words of executed criminals had financial value. The market itself is a complex set of messages; money was acknowledged to exist only in communication.  This newly permissive world of exchange was hospitable to women as interpreters, writers and artists.  “Readers” read not only writing.  A portrait or caricature demanded decoding. Literature of the period deals itself extensively with communication as an object of scrutiny.   Epistolary fiction invites readers to intervene; when a character says or writes something, we are encouraged to wonder “what does s/he mean by that?”  There were protests—most fully found in Pope’s Dunciad-- that the deluge of popular material and circulation of opinions of the uninformed was debasing the intellectual  and moral wealth of the nation. 

Attention to the difference between what is said and what is “meant” raises the status of irony. Participants are kept on the alert; like the reader who allegedly tried to look up Lilliput on the globe, one could make a mistake. Colonial “exploration” allowed more communication but also repression and exploitation. Energetic interpretation moves beyond words and images to group behavior, to the body itself, to the earth itself. What might customs, or flesh or rocks be telling us? There is an opening up on all social levels—for example, King George III’s decision to allow the autopsy of the body of King George II to be made public in a magazine. Free and open communication, expressing what Adam Smith called “sympathy,” ideally fosters a better society to exit.  But can such an ideal be achieved?

Texts:  Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Tatler and The Spectator (selected papers); Jane Barker, Bosvil and Galesia; Samuel Richardson, Pamela; Alexander Pope, The Dunciad; The Ordinary’s Account ;  Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Diderot, Supplement to Bougainville’s Voyage; Austen, Northanger Abbey. As well as literary texts, our texts will include tombstones, criminal trials and last words, actual letters of the period, George II’s autopsy, coins, caricatures, portraits, fashion plates, and extracts of theatrical productions, including opera.

ENGL 43708
Seminar: The Graphic Novel
Kinohi Nishikawa
TR 2:00-3:15

Over the past two decades graphic novels have branched off from the American comics industry and gained critical recognition as thoughtful, highly coordinated works of visual and narrative art. Yet in crossing the typically separate domains of comics and literature, the graphic novel form has been notoriously difficult to categorize, much less evaluate as a hybrid textual artifact. This seminar will introduce students to the research and analysis of literature as sequential art, focusing in particular on six or seven widely acknowledged classics in the field. Extensive coursework in conventional textual analysis is required for enrollment, but the seminar presumes no prior knowledge of the study of visual culture in print form. Texts will include graphic novels by Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, and Alison Bechdel; independent comics made available through the library’s virtual database; and a fair amount of sequential art theory and criticism. Students should expect their work for the seminar to culminate in a 15-20pp. interdisciplinary research essay.


Graduate Courses Fall 2014:

ENGL 90013
Graduate Fiction Workshop
Valerie Sayers
TR 5:05-6:20

The major work of the semester will be the analysis, appreciation, and critique of our own fiction and nonfiction manuscripts in light of contemporary literary concerns.   Because we work in two major genres (as well as hybrid and in-between forms), we’ll certainly examine the aesthetic and even ethical implications of labeling work ‘fiction’ or 'nonfiction' and of being published in online, printed, and yet-to-be-imagined venues. (Has anybody installed a Gibsonesque chip in the forehead yet?)  We’ll be particularly interested in the innovations that cross-pollination might encourage. All semester long, we’ll commiserate over the state of contemporary mainstream publishing, but we’ll also celebrate and encourage against-the-odds, online, and alternative success. 

ENGL 90038
Graduate Poetry Workshop
Johannes Goransson
MW 2:00-3:15

This course is for candidates of the MFA program in poetry.  The course places its main emphasis on student writing and will be run as a week-to-week workshop of student work.  The objective of the course is to provide students with meaningful feedback on their work, as well as to build students’ facility in the critical, constructive discussion of peer and published work.  All other course activities, including readings, will vary from section to section.

ENGL 90055 / LIT 73024 – Crosslist
Searching Scripture: Literature in a Biblical Light
Robin Kirkpatrick
W 6:30-9:15

The Scriptures seek us out, demanding the utmost concentration of intelligence, imagination and emotion. Literature is a way of summoning language to deal with the most profound and exciting questions that we are likely to encounter. This course examines the manifold and often contrasting ways in which literary texts have responded to the demands and stimuli of Scripture.

Biblical texts to be considered include, particularly, Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, The Book of Wisdom, The Song of Songs, the Magnificat as found in the Gospel of St Luke, and the Book of Revelation. Literary texts for discussion will be drawn from the English and [in translation] the Italian traditions. These will include Dante’s Commedia, as well as works by Chaucer, Tasso, Shakespeare, Milton, Manzoni, Hopkins and T. S Eliot.

ENGL 90092
Practicum: Teaching Creative Writing
Joyelle McSweeney

For students in the MFA program: a series of seminar meetings on the teaching of creative writing. Discussion will include theoretical approaches and practical teaching situations from introductory to graduate level. The class will also take up the process of the job search, both inside and outside the academy, from applying to interviewing to accepting an offer. Students will have their submission letters, vitas, and job application letters reviewed, and will be given the chance to share in the work, writing, and teaching experiences of visiting authors. Class times will be arranged after enrollment, in order to avoid scheduling conflicts.

ENGL 90093
MFA Literature Seminar
Azareen Vander Vliet Oloomi
M 6:30-9:15


In an interview titled Crossing the Borders, Julia Kristeva states: “To be able to think, you cannot stay confined to one place, because then you do not think, you only repeat what is being said around you. To think...thought is a question. To be able to ask, you must have a distance, be both on the inside and on the outside of things.” In this course we will read voyage literature and travel chronicles alongside mystical and poetic texts in order to examine the introspective and exploratory aspects of of thinking and narrative. We will read a wide variety of authors (ranging from medieval to contemporary) in order to examine how writers across time and space have grappled with the unknown and with self-knowledge, and, ultimately, with what it means to be human. Texts include, but are not limited to: St. Augustine’s Confessions, Petrarch’s Ascent of Mont Ventoux, The Travels of Ibn Battuta, Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man and The Truce, John Hawkes’ Death, Sleep & the Traveler, Anna Kavan’s Ice, Lynne Tillman’s Motion Sickness, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Running Away and, its sequel, The Truth About Marie. This course is reading and writing intensive. Students will have the choice to complete a novella, a series of short stories, a collection of poems, or to submit a cohesive body of lyric essays that engage with course themes in rigorous and innovative ways as their final project.

ENGL 90102
Medieval Codicology, Literary Culture, Social Contexts: Reading MS Harley 2253
Susannah Fein
T 3:30-6:15

The Harley manuscript (London, British Library MS Harley 2253) is a book crucial to our understanding of Middle English literature as it was produced and circulated, read and used, in a nonmetropolitan region of England. Its rare contents bring into view a vibrant social and literary scene that existed in the West Midlands not far from the Welsh border. Without this book’s survival, we would not suspect that literary activity existed in such a concentrated way before the age of Chaucer, which came some forty years later. No other book preserves so rich a snapshot of what was clearly a vital world of poets, minstrel entertainers, preachers, and patrons. Because the scribe collected poems that were otherwise ephemeral, we can here recapture a world of trilingual social interaction, of performances in hall, of a taste for comedy mixed with edifying moralisms, of social pretensions mixed with low bawdy, of linguistic register matched to content. The Harley manuscript contains tantalizing love lyrics, poetry of fierce politics, verse of devout religion. It also has saints’ tales and outrageously funny fabliaux, satires and comedies of complaint, debates and interludes, proverbs and guides on etiquette, as well as outlaw tales, Bible stories, a dream handbook, and guides for travelers to the Holy Land. Bursting with texts in three languages, the book’s overall range is astounding. The scribal maker of this manuscript was a curious and acquisitive person, a connoisseur of popular literature and learning. Because the Harley manuscript has only just been made available in its entirety – its Latin and Anglo-Norman texts edited and translated for the first time, its more obscure English texts also made accessible—this course will offer students many opportunities for pursuing new research and generating innovative ideas. Methodological possibilities include classic literary analysis, studies of gender and class status, explorations of social history, investigations of genre (poetry, romance, fabliaux, comedy), and crosslingual practice. As we read the divergent texts of Harley 2253 straight through, we will continuously examine the scribe and his practices, while also considering authors and audiences. To understand medieval contexts, we will simultaneously delve into areas pertinent to Harley studies: (1) the Middle English lyric (all kinds: religious, secular, political); (2) matter-of-Britain romance, with local notions of nation, politics, and history; (3) saints’ lives, pilgrimage texts, and views of the Jewish or Muslim Other; (4) fabliaux, both in French and English, and debates on the “nature” of women; (5) courtesy texts, proverbs, and practical lore; (6) comparable contemporary miscellanies of note (for example, Digby 86, Auchinleck, Laud misc. 108, the later Vernon); (7) the literary landscape of pre-1350 trilingual England, particularly in the West Midlands; and (8) issues of palaeography and codicology, along with the current critical boom in scribal studies. 

ENGL 90103
Writing the Conversion of Northern Europe
Chris Abram
M 12:30-3:15

The conversion of the Germanic and Celtic lands to Christianity was perhaps the greatest revolution in European history. It precipitated or hastened the spread of literacy, the development of the nation state, and the extinction or effacement of many indigenous cultural traditions. In this class, we will consider what it might have been like to be involved in this epochal shift. Whereas many historical studies of conversion concentrate on the causes and processes by which change took place, we will center our investigation on its effects and affects. How did individuals experience conversion and how did they or others relive or evoke these experiences in written narratives?

We will read widely across the medieval literatures of Germany, the British Isles, the Frankish lands and Scandinavia. All primary texts will be read in translation. We will test various modern theoretical models as potential keys to unlocking the lived—and narrated—experience of conversion.

This class is open to all interested graduate students.

ENGL 90105 / IRLL 30101 –Crosslist
A Divine Vernacular: Old Irish Language and Literary Culture
Amy Mulligan
TR 3:30-4:45

Early Irish sources record that at the Tower of Babel, when faced with the disordered confusion of languages Fénius Farsaid and Goídel Glas deployed a team of scholars to take “what was best of every language and what was widest and finest”; from these choice linguistic elements they made the Irish language, Goídelc, ‘Gaelic’ or (Mod. Irish) ‘Gaeilge.’ These origin myths tell us that Irish was created to restore and preserve God’s language and heavenly speech, and that eventually it was brought from the Holy Land to Ireland, where Irish linguistic and literary culture flourished. Old Irish was at a very early period used extensively as a language of learning and literature: Irish is Europe’s oldest vernacular, or native, literary culture, and Old Irish texts are some of the most diverse and intriguing of the Middle Ages, as we will explore in this course. When the Irish began to create literature in their native language, what ideas, stories and aspects of their culture were they most interested in exploring? Operating in a culture with a vibrant oral, story-telling bardic culture, how did the Irish use their native language to preserve and develop these spoken traditions in writing?

In this course participants will divide their time between 1) learning the fundamentals of the Old Irish language (no previous experience necessary!) and 2) studying key texts which give us insight into medieval Irish thinking about the role and importance of language and literary culture. We will examine early heroic sagas, saints’ lives, myths about legendary poets and the act of literary creation, stories of pre-Christian women warriors and otherworldly prophets, monstrous human heroes and poems as diverse as those celebrating the natural world, praising God, recording fears about Viking raids and even pondering the difficulty of getting thoughts down on paper. All literary texts will be available in English translation, though as our Old Irish skills develop over the course of the semester, we will also increasingly engage with the texts in their original Old Irish forms.

ENGL 90118
Introduction to Middle English Manuscript Studies
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
M 6:30-9:15

This course will examine the culture of the book in late medieval English, including the authors who made it a national literary language, the scribes who transmitted and transformed their works, and the wide range of readers they reached. Among the writers whose literary manuscripts we will explore are Julian of Norwich, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, the Gawain Poet, Thomas Hoccleve, Margery Kempe and James I of Scotland. The course will end with an opportunity to look at early Tudor secretary hands, and some early seventeenth-century materials, including John Donne's poetry.  Among the topics to be discussed: literacy, book illustration, marginalia, social conditions of authorship, colonial book production (in Ireland and Scotland), women scribes and readers, nuns’ libraries, patronage, household books, clandestine literature, and attempts at official censorship. Students will also learn the basics of editorial practice, and look at issues ranging from script to print to the digital revolution that is now democratizing medieval studies by making thousands of medieval manuscripts available on the web.

 Note: this course is open to those with no experience in Manuscript Studies, as well as more advanced students (assignments are adaptable to individual levels of experience).

ENGL 90257
Shakespeare: Editing and Performance
Peter Holland
W 3:30-6:15

You pick up a copy of Shakespeare - but what is the object you are holding? This course will explore the history, theory and practice of editing Shakespeare as an example of the complex issues in editing literary/dramatic texts. From the work of early modern printers, through the tradition of 18th century editions (Rowe to Malone), towards current, 21st-century editorial practice and the future of online/print editions, we will investigate how practice has shaped theory and vice versa. In particular, we will be concerned with the problematics of the representation of performance (early, recent, possible) in text/paratext/commentary. Work required will include editing segments of Shakespeare plays (generating text, collation, commentary), attending performance(s) as well as experimenting with possible new ways in which a Shakespeare edition might be conceived and, of course, writing a substantial research paper.

ENGL 90329
Swift and Pope
John Sitter and Chris Fox
T 6:30-9:15

A team-taught inquiry into the major works of two of the greatest writers of the eighteenth century and in the English language. Emphases will range from historical and philosophical contexts to close reading and some attention to theories of satire and irony.

Seminar members will become collaborators through shared short papers and reports and through discussion of drafts of the final article-length paper.

ENGL 90343
The British Social Novel in the Nineteenth Century
David Thomas
M 3:30-6:15

Nineteenth-Century Britain is squarely at the center of a centuries-long historical transition often called simply "modernity"--a transition, that is, from a traditional (feudal and agrarian) social order to a social order marked by the rise of democratic politics and industrial, urban society.  This course focuses on 19th-century novels that aimed to represent this transformation at the social level--novels that aimed to paint a large picture of British society.  Therefore, although readers often appreciate novels for their detailed focus on individual lives, we will keep alert to how novels represent the complex social conditions within which such lives must be lived. Our thematic focus will allow us explore some of the largest controversies in scholarship of recent years.  We will see how scholars have staked out several different, even antithetical ways of understanding how literary works reflect and inform social life in this period.  Foucauldianism and New Historicism, for example, derived importantly from Marxism and emphasized how literary works serve the ideological agenda of liberal modernity and capitalism.  In that view, the novel genre tends to celebrate individualism and to cultivate reformist rather than revolutionary thinking.  But another set of scholarly arguments, deriving from several different political theories, has challenged the Marxian criticisms by seeking to develop more nuanced and sometimes redemptive interpretations of liberal culture and political modernity. This course will put students in a position to engage our primary texts and current scholarly debates in a strong, informed fashion.  The central goal is the creation of an article-length term paper with strong prospects of eventual publication.

Primary Texts: 

Walter Scott, Waverley

Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

George Eliot, Middlemarch

George Gissing, New Grub Street

ENGL 90416
The Habits of Modern Life: Gender, Mobility and the Everyday
Barbara Green and Elizabeth Evans
TR 2:00-3:15

This team-taught graduate course, cross-listed with Gender Studies, is intended to introduce students to the contours of two conversations currently animating gender studies approaches to modernism/modernity: discussions of the everyday and of modern mobility.  Interdisciplinary approaches to everyday life in modernity draw our attention to the habits, routines, and patterns of ordinary life, to the non-events of modernity and the organizing practices that governed behavior and sensibilities.  Discussions of mobility, especially when combined with gender analysis, focus our attention on the new freedoms for women offered by modernity—the movement of women “out of the cage” as one classic history of the period puts it.  When brought together, these two approaches highlight the ways in which the interwar period in Britain has been read as both a period of enhanced freedoms for women and a period of great retrenchment.   Additionally, the combination of these two discussions allows us to begin parsing the relationship between the “event” and the “non-event” as well as the transformation of one into the other—the radical “shock” of the street becomes the “blasé” attitude of the city dweller, the emergence of the airplane as a mode of transport accompanies an “airmindedness” that governs modern sensibilities.   We will read texts by Benjamin, Simmel, de Certeau, Highmore, Lefebvre, Woolf, Rhys, West, and others, as well as explore women’s magazines and feminist papers of the interwar period.  Students will develop an article-length essay, a brief book review, and will guide a class discussion.

ENGL 90506
Modern Irish Drama on the World Stage
Susan Harris
TR 11:00-12:15

When W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and Edward Martyn decided to launch their first effort at an Irish theater in 1897, they were responding not only to a reawakening of Irish national feeling, but to the phenomenon of radical and often national "free theaters" springing up all over Europe during the preceding decades. In this course, we will consider the Irish dramatic revival in both its national and international contexts. While investigating the relationship between the major Irish revival dramatists and the Irish cultural and national politics that so often shaped their plays' reception in Ireland, we will look at how Irish playwrights responded and contributed to international developments in twentieth- and twenty-first-century theater. We will also consider, through our investigation of the possibilities and pitfalls of "global" criticism, whether or how transformative events in international politics should be considered part of the story of twentieth-century Irish drama. In addition to major dramatic works by W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, Douglas Hyde, Sean O'Casey, George Bernard Shaw, Denis Johnston, and Samuel Beckett, we will also read the work of playwrights that influenced or were influenced by modern Irish dramatists, possibly including but not necessarily limited to Maurice Maeterlinck, Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Henrik Ibsen, Federico Garcia Lorca, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O'Neill, Ernst Toller, Rabindranath Tagore, Zeami (as filtered by Ezra Pound), and Derek Walcott. (All non-Anglophone texts will be assigned in English translation.) The theoretical questions about gender, sexuality, and the body that are always raised by theatrical performance will be foregrounded in our discussions of all this material.

ENGL 90550
Visual Modernity
Jeśus Costantino
MW 9:30-10:45

In his 1962 book, The Gutenberg Galaxy, media theorist Marshall McLuhan claims that the advent of the printing press led ultimately to the “visual homogenizing of experience.” It is the printed word, he argues, that is ground zero for our image-saturated culture. In this course, we will examine the close relationship between modern visual technologies and literary modernity, and we will pay particular attention to the ways in which visual epistemology is embedded within notions of ideology and ideology critique. While McLuhan’s claim is suggestive, we will take a slightly less ostentatious approach and begin our investigation in the early nineteenth century when, according to Walter Benjamin, lithography fundamentally transformed our relationship to the visual arts and to visual experience. We will work our way through key visual technologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—including photography, film, and television—with a keen eye to their literary analogues. Likely points of interest along the way include the work of William Blake, Karl Marx, Frederick Douglass, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin, Gertrude Stein, the Frankfurt School, Ralph Ellison, Guy Debord, and W.G. Sebald.

ENGL 90611
Knowledge, Belief, and Science in Melville's America
Laura Walls
W 11:00-1:45

Hawthorne said of Melville that he could neither believe nor be comfortable in his unbelief—a phrase that puts Melville at the center of the bitter struggle waged by 19th-century American intellectuals as religious skepticism, commercial gain, and scientific knowledge tore apart the grounds for religious belief, even as politics tore apart the young nation. This course will view 19th-century American literature through a transatlantic, transdisciplinary lens, reading it as an inquiry into the conditions for scientific knowledge, religious belief, and democratic community. Although the works of Melville will anchor this course, we will consider a wide range of his friends and contemporaries as well, mostly American, though with a nod to Great Britain and Europe: Cooper, Emerson, Hawthorne, Stowe, Thoreau, and Douglass, with shorter readings from such as Humboldt, Darwin, Carlyle, Tennyson, and Henry Adams, plus selected readings in critical theory and science studies. The global shift in thought we will trace has been named “modernism,” but, as we are now understanding with frightening clarity, it continues to destabilize all certainties, including any firm conclusions about what “modernity” might be or whether it ever existed. As Emerson asks in “Experience,” what is this stairway, this series, on which we awake to find ourselves, with no traces of a beginning, no sign of an end?

ENGL 92004
Practicum: Prep for Profession

 A workshop on professional publication, conference activity, and job search procedures.

ENGL 92006
Practicum: Intro to the Profession for PhD students
Sara Maurer
W 9:30-10:45

Familiarizes PhD students with the forms through which professors of English communicate their research. Covers basic issues related to the study of literature in U.S. universities and colleges.

ENGL 92007
Practicum: Intro to the Profession for MA students
Sara Maurer
W 9:30-10:45

Familiarizes MA students with the forms through which professors of English communicate their research.  Covers basic issues related to the study of literature in U.S. universities and colleges.