University Seminars in Literature
ENGL 13186, Section 1 University Seminar: The Death and Return of God in Radical Poetry Romana Huk TR 9:30–10:45
This course will introduce students to several of the key upheavals in twentieth-century thought that rocked spiritually inclined poets, leaving them without easy paths back to devotional art. We will be particularly focused on those British, Irish, and American poets whose cutting-edge, radical ideas about themselves and culture would shake apart the very syntax of their medium — language — and cause them to write in forms that seemed very strange and even disturbing to unaccustomed eyes. At the crux of our discussions will be the fate of the idea of God in the works of “postmodern” poets whose secular political projects and views of language — “the word” — would conflict at the deepest levels with their desire for belief in divinity. We will focus closely on the work of writers like Brian Coffey (Ireland), David Jones, John Riley, and Wendy Mulford (U.K.), Fanny Howe, and Hank Lazar (U.S.), who have recently emerged, with the help of twenty-first-century hindsight, as part of an important group of poet-thinkers engaged in this crucial project of “reconstructing God.” The course will begin with gentle introductions to the problems of reading late-twentieth-century philosophy as well as to the problems of reading poetry as a literary genre. During the semester students will be required to write either three short papers or substitute the final one with a creative response (to be accompanied by a written “argument” and approved before start of work).
ENGL 13186, Section 2 University Seminar: Contemporary Poetry in Contemporary Media Joyelle McSweeney TR 9:30–10:45
Reports of poetry’s death have been greatly exaggerated; on the contrary, the ability of poetry to mutate and change form, to adapt to new technologies and media, has been the source of its endurance across millennia. In this course, we’ll track contemporary poetry from print to pixel to performance, among languages and communities, media and forms. We’ll explore how poetry can construct and deconstruct persona, respond to politics and remake history, serve as a site of collaboration and performance, translation and collage, private and public act. We’ll examine the forms of book and chapbook, web and print journal, live and recorded performance. In-class activities will include impromptu creative writing, collaboration, performance, installations, presentations, discussion, and peer feedback opportunities. Homework will include regular brief responses to reading as well as four lengthier creative/critical prose pieces, including a blog.
Assigned texts will include the books Recyclopedia by Harryette Mullen; Dance Dance Revolution by Cathy Park Hong; Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine; you are a little bit happier than i am by Tao Lin; Alphabet by Inger Christensen; and excerpts from Blatny’s Drug of Art, Hannah Wiener’s Open House, and Alice Notley’s Descent of Alette. Journals will include Tinfish, Circumference, and Conduit, as well as on-line journals, and we will also read the chapbook The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga by Kevin A. Gonzalez.
ENGL 13186, Section 3 University Seminar: What is Democracy? A Literary Exploration Sandra Gustafson TR 11:00–12:15
“Democracy” is constantly referred to today by people on every side of our most urgent political debates. Yet the meaning of “democracy” is far from clear. Already in ancient Greece, “democracy” had multiple meanings. The term might refer to “the rule of the citizens” — who were propertied white men — or, as Aristotle insisted, it might describe “the rule of the poor.” Over the last two centuries “democracy” has evolved a variety of political, economic, and social meanings. Because of its rich range of meanings, democracy is usefully illuminated by works of literature. In this course we will read international works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose that examine the concept of democracy from the age of revolutions (American, French, Haitian, and Spanish American) through the contemporary period. The readings will include works by such authors as Thomas Jefferson, William Wordsworth, William Blake, Símon Bolívar, William Wells Brown, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Adams, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Allen Ginsberg, and Joan Didion. The assignments will include several short papers and one longer essay, for a total of at least twenty- four pages of writing. Students will be required to revise and resubmit at least one essay. There will also be a final examination.
ENGL 13186, Section 4 University Seminar: Everybody’s Shakespeare Jacqueline Brogan TR 12:30–1:45
In this course we will read several of Shakespeare’s plays (including tragedies, comedies, and romances), as well as a number of contemporary “re-visions” of those works by authors of varying cultural, ethnic, or gender backgrounds. The purpose of this course will consequently be fourfold: first, to gain an in-depth understanding of one of our most important writers, particularly in relation to his own time period; second, to discover what qualities, vision, dilemmas, and/or artistry keep this author very much alive; third, to examine the various ways in which contemporary authors are modifying, if not codifying, Shakespeare’s work in their own important new works; and last, to develop the critical skills and vocabulary for discussing and writing about these issues and texts.
At the end of the course, you should have a firm grasp of several important literary works, from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, a sophisticated idea of how literature both reifies and resists seminal literature which has come before it, and finally a sense of how the issues raised in this literary “confluence” are important in the actual world and in our lives.
Texts: William Shakespeare, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and King Lear; Amira Baraka (Le Roi Jones), Dutchman and the Slave; Richard Wright, Native Son; Toni Morrison, Tar Baby; Alice Walker, The Color Purple; and Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres. In addition, please get for yourself either Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day or John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire (both of which rely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest).
Requirements: In addition to class attendance and participation, you may be asked to attend a few out-of-class engagements, such as visiting a museum, attending a play, or watching a film.
Written assignments will comprise three short papers of approximately 4–5 pages, and one medium-length paper (built around an earlier one) of approximately 8–10 pages, and one final research paper. We may also have short in-class exercises or quizzes designed to encourage analytical writing.
ENGL 13186, Section 5 University Seminar Cyraina Johnson-Roullier TR 2:00–3:15
WRITING HARLEM’S AMERICAS
What was the Harlem Renaissance? While traditional notions of this time in literary history have conceived of it as a brief but luminous flowering of the arts in African-American culture, not so much attention has been given to the many different voices that contributed to the movement, and which shaped its representations of race in the early twentieth century. In this course, we will examine the meaning and significance of the Harlem Renaissance as conventionally understood, then move on to an exploration of Harlem’s Americas, or the many cultural locations from which race and racial representation were being considered both inside and outside the movement’s accepted parameters. Thus, rather than studying the Harlem Renaissance solely as an African-American phenomenon, we’ll also explore the interrelationships between a number of its core works, along with several others from the same period not generally studied in this context. In seeking to understand the writing of Harlem’s Americas, we’ll investigate how all of the texts we examine are engaged in a larger dialogue on the meaning of race in the early twentieth century, both in the United States and beyond. In so doing, we’ll try to gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of the Harlem Renaissance, while considering what this may have to tell us about race and racial representation not only in the early twentieth century, but on into the twenty-first.
Course Texts: Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery; W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Jessie Fauset, Plum Bun; Nella Larsen, Quicksand & Passing; Sherwood Anderson, Dark Laughter; Jean Toomer, Cane; Carl van Vechten, Nigger Heaven; Claude McKay, Home to Harlem; Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South; Mary Church Terrell, A Colored Woman in a White World (excerpts).
Course Requirements: Two five-page essays, in-class writing, 20-minute group presentation
ENGL 13186, Section 6 University Seminar: Ways of Reading: An Introduction to the Study of Literature Chris Vanden Bossche TR 3:30–4:45
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 detail in one section of the course: 1) questions about authors and literary creativity; 2) literary conventions, from figures of speech to genre; 3) the relation of literary texts to the worlds they represent; 4) 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 Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, James Joyce’s Dubliners, Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold”... and the boys, and Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess.” Details about the organization of the course, specific readings, and assignments will be available online at www.nd.edu/~cvandenb/13186.html.
ENGL 13186, Section 7 University Seminar: Contemporary Women Fiction Writers Valerie Sayers TR 5:00–6:15
We will read, discuss, and write about some thirty-five short stories and three novels published recently in the U.S. by women writers, including work by the three women visiting Notre Dame’s first Women’s Writing Festival in April. The fiction we read will range from realistic fiction to innovative and experimental work, including graphic fiction. Why study women writers in particular? That will be one of the most important questions we ask — and answer, with the help of critical essays. (Men are most welcome to the class.) Students will write some 25–30 pages over the course of the semester, and will contribute actively to each day’s discussions. The reading list will include Alice McDermott, Katherine Vaz, and Lily Hoang (all visitors to the April festival); Annie Proulx, Edwidge Danticat, Sandra Cisneros, Joyce Carol Oates, Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer, Louise Erdrich, Marjane Satrapi, Nicola Barker, Aimee Bender, Gish Jen, Carolyn Ferrell, Lydia Davis, and Jamaica Kincaid.
ENGL 13186, Section 8 University Seminar Edward Malloy U 7:00–9:00
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’s cultural and historical context. 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. Attendance is expected at each class.
The courses in this section, all numbered 20XXX, do not fulfill requirements for the English major. This is the place to look for Creative Writing courses that fulfill the University or College Fine Arts requirements and for Literature courses that fulfill the University or College Literature requirements.
20XXX Creative Writing Courses
ENGL 20001 Introduction to Fiction Writing Desmond Kon MWF 10:40–11:30
This course is a workshop on the writing of fiction. Exercises and stories will be discussed in class, and students are expected to read each other’s work carefully and offer thoughtful critiques. This class is designed to help the student become a better equipped reader and writer. ENGL 20001 is a basic writing course in fiction.
ENGL 20002 Introduction to Poetry Writing Ryan G. White MWF 11:45–12:35
This course is an introduction to writing poetry, beginning with short exercises which will lengthen with the semester. Coursework will include outside reading in poetry, coverage of critical terms, and in-class discussion of student work. Regular attendance and participation are essential; you will also be required to attend several readings on campus. Exams will be in the form of writing assignments, culminating in a final portfolio of poems.
ENGL 20013 Fiction Writing Matt Benedict MWF 10:40–11:30
Have you ever finished reading a novel or a short story and thought: “I wish I could do that”? Or: “I think I can do that”? Or: “I want to do that”? Well, this course is for you. In this workshop-style course, we’ll explore the craft as well as the artistic aspects of writing fiction. We’ll read a wide sample of contemporary short fiction as “writers,” meaning we’ll dissect the various techniques writers employ in the writing of their stories. We’ll also work on several in- class and out-of-class writing assignments (1–4 pages each) designed to practice those techniques. Students will then write three original short stories, which will be read and discussed by other members of the class. At the end of the semester, students will complete a portfolio of revised work. And, in order to assist us in our explorations, we will be attending campus literary events, to hear “up close and personal” from actively publishing writers. Writing is a journey. Ours begins now.
ENGL 20018, Section 1 Fiction Writing Valerie Sayers TR 3:30–4:45
In the first half of the semester, we’ll read contemporary fiction in both traditional and experimental modes, and you’ll try out a variety of narrative voices in short exercises. In the second half, student stories will become the assigned texts and we’ll function as a workshop,
responding to each other’s fiction in written responses and in class. You’ll turn in two complete stories, each 10–25 pages and, as a final assignment, one complete rewrite. Throughout the semester, we’ll question the connections between content and form, pop culture and literary history, commerce, and art.
ENGL 20072 Narrative Non-Fiction for the Popular Audience Christopher Manley MWF 11:45–12:35
Most of what’s being read by Americans in the fields of politics, sports, and the rest of popular culture isn’t written for scholars and doesn’t “prove” its case in a formal sense. Most essays and books rely on the humanizing effects of personal narratives — in either the first or third person — for their persuasive power. How does a story about a single case serve to convince a broad audience to feel a certain way or take a course of action? We can learn these skills by studying the rhetorical qualities of popular non-fiction. This course will develop skills in producing and critiquing such pieces, both structurally and, more importantly, at the level of the building block of communication, the individual sentence. We’ll use the seminar and workshop formats to discuss each other’s work along with published work. Students will produce a few guided short pieces and two longer essays on topics of their choosing.
20XXX Literature Courses
ENGL 20106 The Novel: Point of View as Structure Noreen Deane-Moran TR 12:30–1:45
This course will focus on an 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, The Turn of the Screw; Emily Brontë, 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 Ha; Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America. Requirements: regular class participation, two short papers, a midterm, and a final.
ENGL 20108 Text and Image in the History of Literature J. Anne Montgomery TR 2:00–3:15
This course examines topics in the tradition of illustrated texts from the ancient Egyptian scrolls to contemporary textual media. Topics include the history of writing systems, text as image,
illuminated manuscripts, illustrated books, photographic literature, the embedded graphic of non- fiction prose, and the graphic novel. In addition to our texts, students will work in the Medieval Institute facsimile collection and with original works from the Rare Book Collections of the Hesburgh Library. For the older works, required texts are widely available and familiar classics are on reserve in the library and accessible online. Students will purchase contemporary works, a history of the genre, and course packet of criticism and examples. Coursework includes three illustrated research papers and a class presentation based on a 15- to 20-page research paper.
ENGL 20118 Reinventing the Fairytale Jacquilyn Weeks MW 1:30–2:45
For this course, we will be focusing on four primary fairytales: “Cinderella,” the frame narrative for The Arabian Nights, “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” We will examine the same stories over and over because the differences between versions are just as important as the central plot. In pursuit of interesting revisions, we will look at films, novels, music, story recordings, picturebooks, short stories, and poems — always asking ourselves how each medium affects our perception of the story being narrated. In the process, we will also begin to see patterns between different texts and different kinds of texts. Fairytales have always had the capacity to teach audiences about the world they inhabit, and we will be looking for the messages hidden between the lines. We will also learn to identify the ways in which narratives have shifted over the centuries, from traditional oral performances to contemporary written media and film. The course will draw on larger themes of gender relations, power hierarchies, national identities, the importance of oral cultures and the written word, and aspects of narrativity. Because of that, we will be exploring materials generally covered by other disciplines, such as history, anthropology, philosophy, gender studies, peace studies, political theory, sociology, and developmental psychology. You will be expected to contribute to the class out of your own field of specialization while learning the skills necessary to negotiate literary theory.
Note: The idea that fairytales are for children or are somehow “innocent” is a fairly recent development. Fairytales were designed to deal with the extreme experiences of human emotion, and several of the stories that we will be looking at deal frankly and explicitly with sex, murder, child abuse, rape, and other “adult” topics. Midterm Paper (6–8 page minimum, two secondary sources) 25%; final paper (8–10 page, minimum three secondary sources) 25%; final exam 20%; brief take-home quizzes (10) 20%; participation 10%.
ENGL 20134 The Devil in Literature Julianne Bruneau MWF 10:40–11:30
We will read biblical, medieval, Renaissance, and modern literature about the devil to determine why a figure so little mentioned in the Bible became so popular in literature. We will explore how the devil is a useful or a problematic antagonist and what a culture gains or loses by fictionalizing him, making fun of him, or imagining beating him. Course requirements include daily attendance and oral participation and one writing assignment per week: ten response papers of two pages each, two examinations, an oral presentation, and one final essay of 8–10 pages.
ENGL 20136 Apocalyptic Literature Matthew Brown MWF 1:55–2:45
What is apocalypse? What explains the remarkable persistence, and even popularity, of an ancient genre which is dedicated to imagining our own destruction? What explains the undeniable enjoyment of contemplating catastrophe? This course will explore the literary manifestations of apocalypse in the medieval and modern periods. We will compare early examples of apocalypticism as visionary literature and as social protest from the Middle Ages, with modern and postmodern examples of secular and religious apocalypse. We will be concerned with identifying and comparing the various forms literary apocalypticism can take, and with exploring the different ways it has been used to give meaning to history. We will try to develop our own answers to some of the following questions:
How has the genre remained relevant and recognizable despite radical changes in religious belief and social practice? Has apocalypse surreptitiously driven thought about history in ways that are not immediately obvious? Are modern uses of apocalyptic genres merely secularizations of an outdated religious way of thinking, or do they perform new functions for us moderns? How do we respond to claims that modernity itself is an apocalyptic event? Can reading literary apocalypses tell us anything about the apocalyptic rhetoric that still prevails in contemporary politics? We will read texts ranging from medieval apocalyptic visionary literature and drama to modern poets, playwrights, and novelists such as T. S. Eliot, Walter Miller, Don DeLillo, and Tony Kushner. We will watch several films about the end of the world, including Dr. Strangelove and 12 Monkeys.
ENGL 20213 The World of the Middle Ages Thomas Noble MW 1:55–2:45 Cross-Listed from MI 20001
The Middle Ages have been praised and reviled, romanticized and fantasized. The spectacular popularity of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Narnia have brought a revival of interest in and curiosity about the Middle Ages. But what were they like, these ten centuries between Rome and the Renaissance? In this course, we will explore major themes and issues in medieval civilization in an attempt to offer some basic answers to that question. We will have in view three kinds of people: rulers, lovers, and believers. But we will also study carefully those who wrote about those kinds of people. We will constantly ask how can we know about the Middle Ages, and what kinds of things can we know? We will consider major literary texts as both works of art and historical documents. We will explore various kinds of religious literature. We will try to understand the limits, boundaries, and achievements of philosophy and theology. Some lectures will incorporate medieval art so as to add a visual dimension to our explorations. This course will constitute an extended introduction to the dynamic and fascinating world of the Middle Ages. Students who enroll in this course must also enroll in a corequisite discussion section, MI 22001, scheduled at various times on Fridays (contact the Medieval Institute for details). This course can fulfill either the University Literature or the University History requirement.
ENGL 20214 Knights, Lovers, Ladies, and Hags: Arthurian Literature and Identity Misty Schieberle TR 11:00–12:15
What character traits define King Arthur and his knights? How does one choose between the competing obligations that make up his identity as a lover, fighter, Briton, and Christian? This course examines the way that medieval identity is constructed in Arthurian literature. We will consider national identity, gender identity, class identity, and religious vs. secular identity. Questions driving the course will include what types of identity are possible for characters to adopt, how different types of identity and relationships to others are represented in Arthurian narratives, how social obligations compete with personal desires, and how the author may express social critique through representations of characters’ struggles to define themselves. A major goal of the class is to consider how and to what end identity is constituted in Arthurian literature.
Requirements: regular attendance and active participation in class discussion, a mid-term exam, a final exam, weekly journal entries, and five 3-page papers over the course of the semester. We will be using translated texts from the medieval period and T. H. White’s modern novel The Sword in the Stone.
ENGL 20405 Decadent Modernity David Thomas TR 12:30–1:45
Does the term decadence simply indicate a nineteenth-century fashion craze of debauched poets? Not at all. This course explores visions of decadence spanning the last two centuries and more, considering respects in which “modernity” itself can seem decadent. The course emphasizes literary texts, along with forays into drama, visual arts, cinema, and criticism. Early on, we lay conceptual groundwork with texts by Freud and Nietzsche. Other writers include Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Walter Pater, Virginia Woolf, and Patrick Süskind. We also read several lesser-known authors and study films by Ken Russell, Peter Greenaway, and Sally Potter.
PLEASE NOTE: much of our discussion matter is not for the faint-hearted. Bring a tolerance for the grotesque and a readiness to think carefully about authors who challenge deeply held Western attitudes concerning morality and values. The major assignments are: a 4–5 page paper; a mid- term exam; and a final exam. Smaller assignments: bi-weekly written responses; a 1–2 page class report; a brief exam concerning MLA documentation style; and regular reading quizzes.
ENGL 20506 Celtic Heroic Literature Hugh Fogarty MWF 11:45–12:35 Crosslisted from IRLL 20109
An exciting introduction to Celtic literature and culture, this course introduces the thrilling sagas, breathtaking legends, and prose tales of Ireland and Wales. Readings include battles, heroic deeds, feats of strength, and daring and dilemma faced by the warrior heroes of the Celts. Celtic Heroic Literature, which requires no previous knowledge of Irish or Welsh, studies the ideology, belief system, and concerns of the ancient Celtic peoples as revealed in their saga literature. By examining the hero’s function in society, students investigate the ideological concerns of a society undergoing profound social transformation and religious conversion to Christianity and the hero’s role as a conduit for emotional and social distress. Among the heroes to be studied in depth are: Cu Chulainn, Lug, St. Patrick, and the king-heroes. Wisdom literature, archaeological and historical evidence will also be considered in this course. No prior knowledge of Irish required. All texts provided in English.
ENGL 20513 Introduction to Irish Writers Christopher Fox TBA
This course is an introduction to selected Irish writers from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, including Swift, Edgeworth, Stoker, Joyce, and Yeats. Along with Irish writing in English, we will also look at several Irish-language works in translation. We will read the writers with special attention to Irish history, to Anglo-Irish relations, to the question of Irish identity and identities, to the emergence of nationalism, and to the rise of the modern Irish state and the crisis in the north. Since the excitement of the course is in the readings themselves, each student is expected to read the assigned texts and to come to class prepared. Each student is also expected to come to the weekly Friday group not only prepared, but prepared to say something intelligent, indeed, to do anything short of public mayhem to contribute to the discussion and to make the group a body unto itself. Each student will also take two tests along with a final, and write a short paper. Students who enroll in this course must also enroll in the corequisite discussion section, ENGL 22514, which is scheduled for Fridays at 11:45–12:35.
ENGL 20517 “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”: Exile in the Irish Literary Imagination Juliann Ulin MW 3:00–4:15
This course is designed to meet the University’s literature requirement and will explore the centrality of emigration and immigration in the literary production of Irish fiction and drama by writers in Ireland and abroad. The course will range from the nationalist movements of the early twentieth century and their demand for a stop to emigration from Ireland to the early twenty-first century, which has seen a tremendous influx of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers into Ireland. Special attention will be paid to the homeless Irish woman and the immigrant Irish woman, domestic violence, the concept of emigration as liberatory or as exile, the problems of the returnee, and fantasies of gender and ethnic essentialism and of a threatened “authentic” home and nation. The course will be reading-intensive, and will emphasize close reading skills, cultural analysis and historical contexts for each text. Students will write weekly short papers (3 pages) that perform literary analysis and incorporate historical readings and/or literary theory from library reserves. Course texts will include W. B. Yeats’s and Lady Gregory’s Cathleen ni Houlihan, Joyce’s Dubliners, Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come, Maeve Brennan’s The Rose Garden, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Edna O’Brien, Down by the River, Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats, and Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked into Doors.
ENGL 20520 Modern British and Irish Literature Siân White TR 9:30–10:45
The twentieth century arrived to a world altered by industry and the metropolis, by scientific theory and psychoanalysis, by mechanical transportation and communication devices. Such a climate challenged traditional values, social mores, class distinctions, gender roles, and conceptions of nation, propriety and home. The literature from the first half of the century suggests that the increasingly alienating world forces interpersonal connection to take place under new circumstances, often outside of the traditional settings regulated by marital, social and religious convention. Through close reading, students in this course will examine how the literature presents colonialism, The Great War, the deterioration of aristocratic class values and privilege in both Britain and Ireland, the destruction of the metropolis and the home during the London air raids of World War II, and the shift in personal values vis-à-vis alcohol consumption and marital infidelity. The course will look at these modernist works in light not only of the alienating circumstances they represent, but also of the effect that alienation has on the interpersonal connections between individuals. The course covers approximately as many female as male writers, and approximately as many female as male protagonists. Such a course construction aims consciously at countering a conventional characterization of modernism as a literary movement of privileged white males. In addition to the primary literary texts, students will read essays on feminism, masculinity, and gender/sexuality in an effort to trace the connections between formal literary trends and gender construction. Along that vein, the course will address the following additional topics and questions: What is subjectivity, and how do these authors experiment with its representation? Is there a difference between female and male subjectivity in these works? Whose voice do we hear – who gets to speak? What is not said and why? What are the definitions of gender: what is femininity, masculinity, and how are they portrayed in these works?
ENGL 20523 The Hidden Ulster Diarmuid Ó Duibhlin TR 2:00–3:15 Crosslisted from IRLL 30110
This course introduces students to the literature, language, culture, and history of Ulster in Ireland and confronts the stereotypes of binary opposition that commonly mark the region. Through close textual readings of literary texts from the seventeenth century onwards, we discuss and interrogate the literary, religious, cultural and linguistic forces that shaped identity in Ulster from the colonial period onwards and explore the shared heritage of both communities Irish/English, Catholic/Protestant, Native/Planter. This course will suit anyone interested in the study of identity formation and competing cultural ideologies. No prior knowledge of Irish is required for this course. All texts will be in translation.
ENGL 20524 Great Irish Writers Peter McQuillan TR 12:30–1:45 Crosslisted from IRLL 30308
The early modern period (sixteenth to late-eighteenth centuries) is a time of English conquest in Ireland. It is therefore a period of cumulative crisis for the Irish and is important in the formation of their identity. We will read closely a selection of texts, both prose and poetry, representative of various facets of this crisis and of Irish responses to them. All texts, originally written in Irish, will be read in English translation. The material provides interesting contrasts and comparisons for those who have already studied some Anglo-Irish literature (we will in fact read some English writing on Ireland in this period) and it will also be of interest to students of Irish history. We will supplement the material with readings from the work of historians on early modern European nationalism in order to place it in its wider context. In addition, we will examine some recent work on the interface between language, literature and anthropology in order to deepen our cultural understanding of the texts we are studying.
ENGL 20603 Narratives of the New World: Literatures of Early American Contact and Conquest Javier Rodriguez MW 4:30–5:45
National borders mark our Americas today, but for the first European explorers the landscapes of their “new world” were uncharted and unbounded. The newly encountered land invited utopian dreams even as it became the arena for genocidal violence. To reconsider these moments of violence and possibility, we will approach early American literature intra-hemispherically, reading not just from the British colonial record, but also Spanish documents in English translation. We will read comparatively in order to ask key questions about American identity both then and now. For example, what do we learn when we juxtapose Cortés’s invasion of the Mexican empire to King Philip’s War in the New England colonies? To what degree do these legacies of imperialism still shape our modern world? What comparisons arise between the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz; between the captivity adventures of Cabeza de Vaca and Mary Rowlandson? How might these contact points continue to shape our views of “others”? How have Native Nations across the Americas written or spoken the loss of worlds? The authors and subjects noted above will serve as key markers, but we will also read primary works by William Bradford, Bernal Díaz, John Smith, William Apess, and others as we reconsider the literatures and histories of the Americas in a cross-national paradigm. Students will be expected to write three short papers, take a final exam, and participate actively in class.
ENGL 20607 Religious Imagination in American Literature Thomas Werge MWF 12:50–1:40
A critical study of the religious and philosophical dimensions of selected American literary texts with a focus on literary forms, the history of ideas, and cultural and interpretive currents both traditional and modern. Students will be expected to write a series of brief, incisive critical papers.
ENGL 20701 African American Literature Antonette Irving TR 3:30–4:45
This course is interested in the shaping of national identity and the historical, cultural and moral assumptions about America that facilitate such a shaping. How does one become American? We will read twentieth-century African-American literature with a focus on how subjectivity is created. How does an author’s literary imagination construct a character and hail a reader? We will explore the relationships among literature, history, and cultural mythology; the American obsession with race; sexual ideology and competing representations of domesticity. In light of the way blackness is often construed as the ultimate sign of race in America, how do these texts approach the American political landscape to offer a critique of power, identity and social subjectivity in a manner that interrogates whiteness and its ascribed universality?
Course texts will include Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics; Miller, Narrative; Hazel Carby, “Policing the Black Woman’s Body in an Urban Context”; Evelyn Higginbotham, “African-American Women’s History and the Metalanguage of Race”; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: Racialized Social Democracy and the ‘White’ Problem in American Studies”; Ann Petry, The Street (1946); James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues; Charlayne Hunter, “A Hundred-Fifteenth-Between-Lenox-and-Fifth”; and Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” There will be two 5–6 page critical essays including one essay revision, two 1–2 page response papers, and one 7–8 page essay that will be due at the end of the semester.
ENGL 20714 Contemporary American Literature Matt Benedict MW 1:30–2:45
What does it mean to write fiction in the “Naughts” (2000–2010)? In the age of MySpace, RSS feeds, American Idol, and YouTube, is the term “fiction” even valid anymore? Or, for that matter, books? In this class, we will read several novels published since January 2001. In addition to covering the “usual” topics (plot, character relationships, themes, etc.), we’ll also think about what it means to write “fictions,” to write “novels,” in a world, in an “America,” that is increasingly being parsed into smaller and smaller pieces. A partial list of texts include (subject to change): Mark Danielewski, Only Revolutions: A Novel; Jennifer Egan, Look at Me; Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End; Dinaw Menegstu, The Beautiful Things This Heaven Bears; and Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document: A Novel. We’ll also view excerpts of television shows, movies, and other media, as well as attend some campus literary events. Required work: two short essays, midterm, final, occasional quizzes.
ENGL 20901 Performance Theory Jessica Chalmers TR 11:00–12:15 Crosslisted from FTT 31015
This class will take a philosophical approach to drama and performance. We will look at theoretical texts by theorists such as Antonin Artaud (“The Theater and Its Double”), Peggy Phelan (The Ontology of Performance), Philip Auslander (Liveness), and Jacques Derrida (“The Theater of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation”). The class will serve as an introduction to the discipline of Performance Studies.
ENGL 20951 Chinese Literary Dreams and Dream of the Red Chamber Liangyan Ge TR 11:00–12:15 Crosslisted from LLEA 33111
Dreams have long been objects of fascination for people in all cultures, including the Chinese. Focusing on the eighteenth-century Chinese master work Dream of the Red Chamber, this course examines the literary functions of dreams in the Chinese context. Dreams will be discussed as a catalyst in the process of fiction-making, serving as a master trope for the “complementary oppositions” between truth and falsehood, between history and literature, between reality and fictionality, and between the sublunary and the supernatural. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with a novel that is generally considered the pinnacle of Chinese fictional literature and with some of the cultural convictions that underscore Chinese literary dreams. The primary text of the course is the five-volume English translation of Dream of the Red Chamber. Supplementary readings include scholarship on the novel and modern theories on dream and the unconscious. Prior knowledge in Chinese language and culture not required.
Required Courses for English Majors
In the following section, you’ll find courses, all numbered 30XXX, that are specifically required for the English major. The first course listed is ENGL 30101, “Introduction to Literary Studies.” If you are a newly declared major this semester, you should sign up for a section. If you took a “Methods” course under the old curriculum (prior to Fall 2006), you are not required to take an “Intro” section.
ENGL 30101 Introduction to Literary Studies Section 1, Jesse Lander, MW 11:45–1:00 Section 2, Stephen Fredman, MW 1:30–2:45 Section 3, Orlando Menes, TR 2:00–3:15
This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include attention to poetry and at least one other genre (fiction, drama, and non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically.
ENGL 30101 is a prerequisite for all English major Electives, but not for 301XX Literary History courses such as “American Literary Traditions” and “British Literary Traditions.”
Literary History Courses
English majors are required to take three Literary History (LH) courses, one LH-A, one LH-B, and one LH-C (see p. 2 above). (If you declared the major before February 2006, the “Traditions” requirement is now described as the “Literary History” requirement; your “Traditions” courses count under the “Literary History” requirements.)
ENGL 30110 British Literary Traditions I, Section 2 Susannah Monta TR 11:00–12:15 This course fulfills the Literary History A requirement.
Intensive survey of British writers and literary forms from the beginnings through the Renaissance.
ENGL 30115 American Literary Traditions I John Staud MWF 12:50–1:40 This course fulfills the Literary History B requirement.
The purpose of this course is pleasure, broadly construed. This course surveys American literature from its emergence to the Civil War. We will read, discuss, and appreciate (I hope!) texts representing a variety of genres, including sermon, history, autobiography, essay, short story, poetry, and novel, with an eye toward understanding better the works themselves and exploring several recurring themes of particular concern for authors of the time (religion, democracy, American identity and national destiny, slavery and the problem of race, to name a few). We will give particular attention to writers of the nineteenth century, when the questions of what constitutes an American literature preoccupied many authors seeking to fashion a specifically American tradition. Required Texts: Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volumes A and B; Moby-Dick; Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Assignments: Students are expected to attend class prepared to discuss the assigned reading. Please note that class participation will be assessed as an important part of your overall performance. We will focus on writing as both a process of learning and as a product of clearly conveyed thought. Course requirements include four 3- to 4-page essays and a final exam.
ENGL 30116 American Literary Traditions II William Krier TR 11:00–12:15
This course fulfills the Literary History C requirement.
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Ambiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
— Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning”
What are we to make of these “ambiguous undulations”? This course is a survey of American literature with an emphasis upon writers from the twentieth century, writers struggling to discover or invent a life that might be called meaningful. How does a life in America become meaningful, particularly in a century characterized by almost constant war as well as escalating racial, ethnic, and gender conflicts? There will be two exams, and a paper. In the readings we will give careful attention to the works of Henry James, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and Ralph Ellison along with the following novels: Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five.
English 30120 Satire: Jonathan Swift to Jon Stewart John Sitter TR 12:30–1:45 This course fulfills the Literary History C requirement and can also count as an English major Elective.
A study of literary satire from the early eighteenth century to the present with some attention to visual satire and current popular culture. Authors to be studied will certainly include Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Voltaire, William Blake, Lord Byron, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, Nathanael West, and Langston Hughes, and probably one or more of the following: Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Don DeLillo, and C. T. Boyle. Some of the questions we will consider are: Does great satire, which is often highly historical, complicate ideas of art as timeless or universal? How does satire differ from comedy and irony, while frequently incorporating both? Is satire fundamentally a form of moral engagement or anarchistic play? What links aggression and laughter in verbal art? What do traditional satires tell us about recent phenomena such as The Daily Show and Colbert Report — and vice versa?
Students may be asked to screen two or three films together or individually throughout the semester. Possibilities include Dr. Strangelove, The Great Dictator, Bamboozled, No Man’s Land. Some 2-page response papers and other short essays (about 4 to 5 pages each), one of which may be an original satire. Midterm and final examinations.
Electives for English Majors
Courses in the following section count toward the five Electives that are required for the English major. These include 308XX Creative Writing courses and 40XXX Literature electives. ENGL 40853, “Advanced Fiction Writing,” and ENGL 40870, “Advanced Poetry Writing,” are open to non-majors, as explained in their descriptions. Professor Sitter’s ENGL 30120 course, described immediately above, can also be counted as an English major elective.
To register for any English major elective, you must have already completed either a “Methods” course (taken prior to Fall 2006) or ENGL 30101, “Introduction to Literary Studies.”
ENGL 30850, Section 1 Fiction Writing for English Majors Matt Benedict MWF 9:35–10:25
Between my finger and my thumb, The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it.
— Seamus Heaney, “Digging”
This class will be a workshop on student prose writing, designed for and limited to English majors. In the first segment of the course, we will be looking at several contemporary short stories. “Looking at” in terms of how a fiction writer “looks at” short fiction. We will examine how the stories are (and are not!) constructed, what narrative techniques are (and are not!) employed by their authors, what the authors are (and are not!) “saying” in their works. The second segment of the course will be a workshop in which student-generated stories will be discussed. There will be short (1–4 pages) writing assignments at the beginning of the semester; afterwards, students will be expected to produce two (possibly three) full-length short stories. Active class participation will be expected, as will oral and written critiques of student work. At semester’s end, students will submit a portfolio of their revised work. We will also be attending campus literary events as announced. This course fulfills either the Fine Arts requirement or the English major Elective requirement.
ENGL 30850, Section 2 Fiction Writing for English Majors Frances Sherwood TR 2:00–3:15
An intensive fiction workshop exclusively for English majors. In this course, using a comfortable workshop forum, we will write and discuss our own short stories with emphasis on character, theme, setting, and plot. We will also read and critique published stories which exemplify each of these elements.
ENGL 30852 Poetry Writing for Majors Cornelius Eady TR 3:30–4:45
An intensive poetry workshop exclusively for English majors. This class is a reading and writing workshop. You will be required to write and revise your work with your classmates. Good poets take in the world, and through the poets we will read, and the prompts and exercises you will be given, you will be encouraged to go out and examine it. Students will be required to write and revise poems, leading to a portfolio of revised work as a final project, keep a writers’ journal, write response papers to the books we read (there will be at least four, plus hand-outs), attend at
least one reading, and commit to memory a poem to be recited by the end of the semester. This course fulfills either the Fine Arts requirement or the English major Elective requirement.
ENGL 40009 Media Culture Brett Paice MW 1:30–2:45 Crosslisted from FTT 40437
This course will trace the career of auteur filmmaker David Lynch from his early short films, through his motions pictures, his momentous television work, and finally, his recent shift into the medium of digital video. We will discuss Lynch’s productions in relation to mainstream cinema and television, and how in his late work, Lynch positions himself against the notion of filmmaking as a commercial endeavor. This course will foster the critical skills necessary for you to evaluate and advance your own arguments about David Lynch’s artistic practices, addressing his work at the level of aesthetics, politics, ideology, and economics. We will posit Lynch’s work in film and television as an intersection of various genres and traditions, from film noir, to melodrama, to surrealist film, to horror cinema. Our examination of Lynch’s work will include engaging Hollywood as a cultural space/icon that is both glamorous and equally treacherous, network television’s culture of conformity, the social impact of fetish in Lynch’s work, and Lynch’s production of horror. Screenings will include: Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, and INLAND EMPIRE.
ENGL 40116 Greek and Roman Epic Poetry Catherine Schlegel TR 9:30–10:45 Crosslisted from CLAS 40355
This advanced course in literature provides detailed study of the major epic poems of the classical literary tradition — the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, the Aeneid of Virgil, and the Metamorphoses of Ovid. Discussion centers on the cultural contexts in which the works were written or produced, and the literary conventions on which they rely for their ever-appealing aesthetic and emotional power.
ENGL 40118 Philosophy and Literature Seminar David O’Connor MW 11:45–1:00
After starting off from ancient Greek debates about poetry, tragedy, and philosophy, this course will focus on issues raised by philosophy’s relationships to literature in Romanticism and its aftermath. The ancient debates are renewed and transformed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, often with Shakespeare as a central topic of conversation. Common readings for the seminar will include Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Plato, Phaedrus; Aristotle, Poetics; William
Shakespeare, Hamlet; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy; and shorter selections from Percy Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Martin Heidegger, Wallace Stevens, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Stanley Cavell, and William Bronk. The course will be a true seminar. Student papers, distributed to the seminar participants in advance, will often be the focus of discussion. Some class meetings will also be used for tutorials with one of the faculty members, two students at a time. There will be at least 20 pages of writing, and probably an oral final exam. This intensive four-credit seminar is the gateway course for the Minor in Philosophy and Literature. Some priority will be given to students intending to participate in the minor, but other interested students are encouraged to apply. To apply for the seminar, or for further information about the course or the minor, please email Professor Affeldt (Affeldt.email@example.com) or Professor O’Connor (firstname.lastname@example.org). Registration is by permission only. Students who have been selected for the seminar will be contacted no later than November 18, before sophomore registration begins.
ENGL 40127 Love and the Novel Margaret Doody MW 3:00–4:15
Love has been a constant subject of the novel from antiquity. Its representation in fiction has been constantly criticized as a dangerous or vulgar distraction. Eros, like a character in his own right, seems a disturber of the social order, never entirely comfortable.
Beginning with Plato’s Symposium, a basic text on erotic love and other loves, we move to two different novels about youthful lovers, love and marriage, Chariton’s Kallirrhoe ( also known as Chaireas and Callirhoe; c. 50 B.C.E.) and Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe ( c. 200 AD).. We will then inquire into the representations of Eros in the Early Modern and modern periods. The struggles that may arise around gender roles and the social and psychological functions of love may be seen in three great novels of the eighteenth century: Prévost’s Manon Lescaut, Richardson’s Clarissa and Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther. Erotic passion may be attributed to the witchcraft or harlotry of a woman, as in Manon Lescaut, and erotic charm clings dangerously to rakish figures like Richardson’s Lovelace and Brontë’s Mr. Rochester.
Characters in novels (like ourselves) search for love, but their desires may be chaotic and the object forbidden. Love is often figured as war and strife. Many relationships are not-- or not yet -- sanctified by religion, custom, or the solidity of the state. Eros is constantly reprobated or feared; sexuality is apparently approved of in marriage, but within marriage it may be problematic, introducing into the union the bitter effects of prior loss and subjugation, as in Tender is the Night. What happens when sexual activity itself inspires loathing in the person who wishes to enter into a sexual relationship? McEwan’s On Chesil Beach tells us something about this, and the way in which cultural forces and habits form and shadow lovers.
Is desire for narrative intertwined with erotic desire –and are both disconcerting? We may think we like Love, but–do we? Love, sometimes represented as a rose (with thorns), often seems a kind of weed to be rooted out. Yet, as the novels richly demonstrate, Eros refuses to be counted out of issues of psychology or politics, and slides into the heart of philosophical enquiries. Prose fiction consistently represents love in both its charming and its disturbing aspects–including its comic side. And all stories about erotic love include other loves too, the relationships to family, friends and self
TEXTS: Plato, Symposium; Longus, Daphnis and Chloe; Chariton; Chaireas and Kallirrhoe; Prévost, Manon Lescaut; Samuel Richardson, Clarissa (first part); Goethe, The Sorrows of
Young Werther (Die Leiden des jungen Werthers); Brontë, Jane Eyre; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night; Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach. ASSIGNMENTS: Two essays during the course of the semester and a longer paper in lieu of examination after the end of classes. There will be a mid-term test and one short quiz.
ENGL 40209 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Dolores Frese TR 9:30–10:45
This course will be devoted to one text, the Canterbury Tales, from which we will frequently read aloud in Chaucer’s original Middle English. No prior experience with Middle English is needed. Indeed, one of the intellectual pleasures of the class may well be the surprising ease with which you will tune your ear to the rhythms of the English language at a slightly earlier stage of its developmental history, as employed by one of the great comic artists of the western world. Chaucer’s comic genius will shape our approach to the text which has been carefully constituted by its author as a virtual anthology of medieval fictional forms. Everything from bawdy stories to saints’ lives engaged Chaucer’s most mature imaginative energies in this, his last great work, and we will work our collective way toward an appreciation of the kaleidoscopic subtleties involved in his poetic shaping of this wide, deep, and humanely envisioned textual world. Through close reading of the Tales we will attempt to enter Chaucer’s richly detailed world of sinners and saints, sometimes as strangers, sometimes as surprised familiars. Both the shock of “otherness” and the shock of recognition will engage us as contemporary readers of this medieval masterpiece.
Ideally our pilgrimage of story will begin in the delight, and end in the wisdom, of what one critic has wittily referred to as “the Comedy of Eros.” In addition to a careful reading of the Tales and participation in class discussion of them, each student will prepare a term paper, a researched essay of 15–20 pages on a literary-critical topic, chosen in consultation with the teacher. There will also be ongoing opportunities during the semester to present — individually, in pairs, or small groups — your own creative projects originating in the pleasures of the Chaucerian text. Text: Larry Benson, ed., The Riverside Chaucer. Occasional brief supplementary readings on reserve.
ENGL 40211 History of the English Language Tom Hall TR 3:30–4:45
This is a course on the history of the English language from its elusive but largely reconstructable roots in Indo-European some five or six thousand years ago to more or less the present, with a heavy bias towards the earlier pre-modern periods. The goals of the course are to acquaint students with the development of English morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics, graphics, and vocabulary, and to explore the cultural and historical contexts of the language’s transformation from the Anglo-Saxon period onward. In working toward these goals, we’ll spend ample time rooting around in the dustbins of English etymology, lexicography, onomastics, and dialectology, and we will explore some current problems in usage and idiom. From this it should be clear that the course is by nature unavoidably heavily linguistic, which is to say we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about language, grammar, and the forces that act upon spoken and written English. While this is not a grammar course per se, it does assume a basic grasp of the structure and conventions of present-day English, and it is fair to predict that the course will bring
about a radical and irreversible change in the way you think about the English language. If all goes as planned, you can expect to achieve a basic understanding of the cultural and linguistic phenomena that have shaped the language we now speak and write; you will become versed in the fundamental methodology and terminology of historical and descriptive linguistics; you will learn to effect a reasonably credible pronunciation of Old, Middle, and Early Modern English (incuding Shakespeare’s probable pronunciation); you will discover the true meanings of your own given name and surname; and you will gain experience researching a couple of aspects of the language that interest you. In addition to regular reading and workbook assignments, the course’s requirements include two exams, three essays (an etymology exercise, an onomastics project, and an exploration of current American usage), and responsible attendance.
ENGL 40222 Medieval Drama Katherine Zieman TR 12:30–1:45
This course will examine the staging of plays in England, from the earliest records of the late- fourteenth century to the founding of the first public playhouses in the sixteenth. Students will gain familiarity with the extant repertoire of early English drama — cycle plays, saints’ plays, morality plays — and will read about how such plays were funded and staged, who performed them and for whom they were performed. Our survey will be contextualized by videos of modern adaptations, as well as readings about medieval forms of public performance, such as mummings, liturgical ceremony, and civic spectacle, as we learn about the place and function of drama in late-medieval culture. Requirements will include several short papers on dramatic texts and a final exam, and the course will culminate in a public performance of a medieval play for the Notre Dame community. To this end, each student will undertake a short research project on costumes, sets, staging, or some other aspect of medieval performance practice, to help inform our performance.
ENGL 40251 Everybody’s Shakespeare Jacqueline Vaught Brogan TR 2:00–3:15
In this course we will read several of Shakespeare’s plays (including tragedies, comedies, and romances), as well as a number of contemporary “re-visions” of those works by authors of varying cultural, ethnic, or gender backgrounds. The purpose of this course will consequently be fourfold: first, to gain an in-depth understanding of one of our most important writers, particularly in relation to his own time period; second, to discover what qualities, vision, dilemmas, and/or artistry keep this author very much alive; third, to examine the various ways in which contemporary authors are modifying, if not codifying, Shakespeare’s work in their own important new works; and last, to develop the critical skills and vocabulary for discussing and writing about these issues and texts. In terms of the latter goal, we will learn how to do the most effective research through the MLA Bibliography (and a few other research indexes which our university offers on-line). Texts: William Shakespeare, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and King Lear; Amira Baraka (Le Roi Jones), Dutchman and the Slave; Toni Morrison, Tar Baby; Alice Walker, The Color Purple; and Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres. In addition, please get for yourself either Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day or John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire (both of which rely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest) or Richard Wright’s Native Son.
Requirements: In addition to class attendance and participation, you may be asked to attend a few out-of-class engagements, such as visiting a museum, attending a play, or watching a film. Written assignments will include an initial close reading of an individual work (4 to 5 pages), followed by a comparative essay bringing one contemporary play and one of Shakespeare’s into play (6 to 8 pages), then another comparative paper involving research (also 6 to 8 pages), and a highly focused reading of one work of your choice, again including research (6 to 8 pages). The last assignment will ask you to apply what you have learned in this course to the text you have chosen to read independently and will therefore draw upon any of the other works we have read, as well as relevant criticism.
ENGL 40312 The Nineteenth-Century Novel Nathan Elliott TR 3:30–4:45
This course is intended to introduce you to the nineteenth-century novel. We will read six representative novels from six representative authors: one from the Romantic era and five from the Victorian period. We will discuss the development of the novel as a genre, and we will also examine the development of sub-genres of the novel, such as the industrial novel, the marriage plot novel, and the historical novel. We will also discuss the broader careers of the novelists that we read, and briefly cover the careers of novelists that we do not have time to read. We will also cover the nineteenth-century historical and cultural events that influenced these novelists and novels. Our tentative reading list includes Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Vanity Fair by William Thackeray, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, and Middlemarch by George Eliot. Three papers and an informal presentation are required. Students are advised that the reading pace will be brisk.
ENGL 40511 National Cinema: Film, Literature, and Irish Culture Luke Gibbons TR 11:00–12:15
This course will examine some of the dominant images of Ireland in film and literature from the Celtic Twilight to the Celtic Tiger, and will place recent transformations of Irish culture in a wider historical context. Comparisons between film, literature, and other cultural forms will feature throughout the
course, and key stereotypes relating to gender, class, and nation will be analyzed, particularly as they bear on images of romantic Ireland and modernization, landscape, the city, politics, religion, violence, family, and community. Particular attention will be paid to questions of emigration, the diaspora, and Irish-America, with a view to looking later in the course at issues relating to contemporary Ireland as a host country for immigration, refugees, and asylums seekers. In terms of film and literature, key figures such as Yeats, Synge, and Joyce, and contemporary writers such as Brian Friel, John McGahern, Seamus Heaney, William Trevor, Seamus Deane, Patrick McCabe, Alice McDermott, and Roddy Doyle will be discussed. The resurgence of Irish cinema and new forms of Irish writing in the past two decades will provide the main focus of the second part of the semester, tracing the emergence of new distinctive voices and images in an increasingly globalized and multi-cultural Ireland. Students are also required to register for ENGL 41005, “Lab: National Cinema: Film, Literature, and Irish Culture,” which is scheduled for Tuesdays evenings at 6:30–9:00. The course will require two assessments: one mid-term short review (1500–2000 words) and an end-of-term discussion paper (ca. 3500 words).
ENGL 40513 Culture and Politics in Northern Ireland Mary Burgess Smyth TR 3:30–4:45
This course explores the politics of culture, and the cultures of politics, in the North of Ireland during the twentieth century. Using a multiplicity of genres — drama, fiction, poetry, film, painting, and documentary material — we will unravel the history behind partition, the causes of the Troubles, and the nature of the conflict. Among the key moments or events upon which we will concentrate are the Somme, the sinking of the Titanic, Bloody Sunday, the hunger strikes, Drumcree, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and the Shankill Butchers. Certain key themes will stretch through our semester’s work. Among these are sectarianism, the relationship between violence and culture, the role of religion in the state, borders, hatred, identity, and issues of social and political justice. Some of the writers whose work we will read are Seamus Heaney, Frank McGuinness, Sam Thompson, John Montague, Seamus Deane, Eoin MacNamee, Robert MacLiam Wilson, Colin McCann, and Thomas Kinsella. This class is discussion-based and will involve student presentations and engaged participation. There will also be a mid-term essay and a final written examination.
ENGL 40514 The West of Ireland—An Imagined Space Bríona NicDhiarmada TR 3:30–4:45 Crosslisted from IRLL 40109
This course will interrogate and examine representations of the West of Ireland in various twentieth-century texts, focusing in particular on the role of “the West of Ireland” in state formation and legitimization during the early decades of independent Ireland and its role in the construction of an Irish identity. We will look at how images of the West of Ireland were constructed in various utopian or romanticized formulations as well as examining more dystopian versions. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on the visual arts and film as well as on literary texts in both Irish and English. Irish-language texts will be read in translation.
ENGL 40518 Gender and Identity in Contemporary Irish-Language Bríona NicDhiarmada TR 12:30–1:45 Crosslisted from IRLL 40309
This course will interrogate issues of gender and identity in the work of contemporary Irish- language writers. We will examine the ways in which contemporary writers in Irish writing from a constellation of identities, sexual, cultural and linguistic question explore these issues as they articulate them in specific cultural forms. Drawing on recent theoretical work in gender studies and postcolonial studies the course will look at texts which question and problematize essentialist notions of cultural identity. It will explore in particular some of the tensions inherent in the articulation of a cross-cultural sexual identity and the specificity of linguistic and cultural inheritance in contemporary writing in Irish. We will read, among others, texts from writers such as Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Biddy Jenkinson, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Pearse Hutchinson, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Seán Mac Mathúna, and Micheál Ó Conghaile.
ENGL 40520 Reading Ulysses Cyraina Johnson-Roullier TR 11:00–12:15
How do we read James Joyce’s Ulysses? In this course, we will learn how to read literature by focusing on a postcolonial/culture studies approach to understanding Joyce’s most famous text. Along the way, we will also consider such issues as censorship, nationality, colonialism, literary canons, language and signification, the Irish Literary Renaissance, late nineteenth-century Irish politics, modernism, exile and much more. Digging deeply into Joyce’s text, we will discuss the meaning and significance of literature and literary study, while gaining a deeper understanding of the ways in which a particular approach to reading can enhance our appreciation of a text. And we will, certainly, accomplish all of this while having great fun. Course Text: One—Ulysses. Course requirements: Two 10-page essays, in-class writing, mini-presentation, group presentation.
ENGL 40606 Mark Twain Thomas Werge MWF 10:40–11:30
A study of Twain’s life and writings in light of the history of ideas and the literary, political, philosophical, and religious currents of nineteenth-century American culture. We will also consider such figures as Harte, Stowe, Douglass, and Lincoln, who illuminate Twain’s style and social and moral preoccupations. Special concerns: Twain’s place in the tensions between conventional literary forms and the emerging American vernacular; his vision and critique of American democracy, slavery, “exceptionalism,” and later geopolitical expansionism; his medievalism, including Joan of Arc, and larger interpretations of history; his treatment of women, individualism, and the family; and the later gnosticism of No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger. We will also address the current (and perennial) discussions of unity and pluralism in American culture, as in Garry Wills’s delineation of an underlying American identity in Under God, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s fear of “balkanization” in The Disuniting of America. Readings: selected shorter works, including Diary of Adam and Eve; Innocents Abroad; Life on the Mississippi; Tom Sawyer; Huckleberry Finn; A Connecticut Yankee; Pudd’nhead Wilson; No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger; and selections from the Autobiography. Students will be expected to write a series of brief, incisive papers and a longer critical paper.
ENGL 40713 Literature as Contemporary Art Steve Tomasula TR 12:30–1:45
If first-wave postmodern literature can be seen in terms of formal experimentation, and if second-wave postmodern writing can be seen as a conversation between authors and theorists, then third- wave postmodern literature can be seen as a kind of contemporary writing that has absorbed this earlier literary history even as it moves beyond it: fiction, poems, electronic and print hybrids, whose authors have adopted much of the idioms, rhetorical strategies, or styles of earlier conceptual work, either self-consciously or not, as they move further from assumptions about the singularity of an author’s voice and vision, and/or the oppositional stance of the avant-garde. From the collaborative flash poems of Heavy Industry, to the visual-text hybrids of Johanna Drucker, to the reworking of pulp “Nurse Betty” novels by Stacey Levine, the materials and forms of what counts as conceptual literature have never been more varied. Sometimes called experimental, conceptual, avant-garde, hybrid, postmodern, innovative, extreme, alternative, e-, anti-, or new literature, writing conceived as a contemporary/ conceptual art rather than as a craft or commercial product makes these materials and forms part of its meaning in the way that conceptual visual art makes its materials part of its message. If traditional novels are symphonies, or windows-on-the-world, these works are techno, rap or plastic-surgery-as- performance-art. In this course we’ll be reading a sampling of these works and assaying what they say about our moment in literature and the world outside the book. A brief sampling might include The People of Paper (by Salvador Plascencia); Frances Johnson (Stacey Levine); Electronic Literature Collection <http://collection.eliterature.org/1/> (Hayles et al., eds.); Love in a Dead Language (Lee Siegel); selections from Poems for the Millennium (Rothenberg and Joris, eds.).
ENGL 40727 The American Novel 1929–Present Juliann Ulin MW 11:45–1:00
This seminar will explore representative works of U.S. fiction ranging from modernist classics through post-WW II works and contemporary novels emphasizing issues of multiculturalism. The course will be reading-intensive, and will emphasize close reading skills, theoretical perspectives, cultural analysis and historical contexts for each novel. Students will write three papers that are expected to perform literary analysis and integrate historical readings and/or literary theory from library reserves. As always, drafts are welcome and encouraged. Possible course texts: Ernest Hemingway, Farewell to Arms; William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Don DiLillo, Libra; Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies; Philip Roth, American Pastoral; Ha Jin, A Free Life.
ENGL 40728 Homeland Security: Surveillance, Terror and Citizenship in America Antonette Irving TR 12:30–1:45
This course explores the relationship between popular myths about the American experience and the actual experience of marginalized subjects in American society. It serves to make concrete a theoretical discussion of citizenship in the context of American Individualism and explores the relationships among social stratification, institutional coercion, and national narratives. As a long view of the last century, Homeland Security considers old forms of terror and surveillance evident in African American literature that anticipates and mimics the fear and anxiety in the nation after September 11. We will consider themes such as space, place, border, home, community, protection, and nationalism. The literature and critical essays under consideration straddle regional, class, gender, and social boundaries to facilitate our understanding of how African Americans within the nation create narratives of cultural fragmentation, exile, and alienation. In the process we will explore the condition of African American migration — from early-twentieth- century movements to urban centers, to early-twenty-first century migrations as a result of Katrina — and consider the way mobility may inform new landscapes of hope and displacement. Some of the texts we will read are Passing, The Street, Invisible Man, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, The Color Purple, and Eva’s Man. These texts may be considered counter-narratives in the way that they stress exploitation, failure, disillusionment, and exile, but they intervene in formative debates about how to define a national identity and, to echo Langston Hughes, they too sing America. Course requirements: one oral presentation (15%); three 2-page response papers (10% each); one paper proposal; one 10–12 page essay (35%); class participation (20%).
ENGL 40737 The Rhyming Apparatus: African American Poetics from Phillis Wheatley to Mos Def Ivy Wilson TR 3:30–4:45
This course is comprised of two parts. The first component offers an understanding of African American literary history from the beginnings to the present through the specific genre of poetry. The second theoretical component analyzes the ways that the manipulation of poetics signals a larger social crisis of in the U.S. that too often reduces the body to a fragmented functionality as a discourse voice-over, splitting the corpus from its very own conceivable acts and actions. After the initial overview of African American poetry, the course will focus on five different poets and certain musical forms including, among others, work songs, blues, jazz, rhythm-and-blues, and hip-hop.
ENGL 40742 Migrating Melodramas: Latino/a Literature and Popular Culture Belkys Torres TR 12:30–1:45 Crosslisted from ILS 40305
This course examines how various forms of popular culture from Latin America and the Caribbean migrate to the U.S. and are reappropriated by Latina/o cultural producers. Focusing particularly on theories of melodrama as a feminine discursive space, we will analyze several works of Latina/o literature which underscore women’s active interpretation of music, film, and television. While this is a literature-based course, students will also examine how hybrid cultural products such as contemporary boleros, films, and telenovelas produce a transnational imaginary that connects Latinas/os in the U.S. with Latin America and the Caribbean. We will read novels such as Loving Pedro Infante by Denise Chavez, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos, and Tomorrow They Will Kiss by Eduardo Santiago.
ENGL 40755 California Culture at Mid-Century Stephen Fredman MW 3:00–4:15
This course explores how poetry took a leading role among the arts in California at mid-century, creating a California culture that through the Beats and the Hippies became a national and international phenomenon. We begin by looking at collage, the dominant form of the arts in California, and then consider how collage meets up with four main elements of the California aesthetic: Surrealism, mysticism, jazz, and anarchism. The primary poets we will read and hear are Robert Duncan, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, and D. J. Waldie. Alongside these poets, we will look at Jack Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums, artists like Jess, Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Joan Brown, and Jay DeFeo, and filmmakers like Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage. Students will gain the ability to do interdisciplinary work in the arts, to read complex contemporary poetry, and to relate art movements to the culture that surrounds them. Requirements include essays and a final exam.
ENGL 40850 Advanced Fiction Writing William O’Rourke MW 11:45–1:00
This writing 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.
ENGL 40871 Advanced Poetry Writing: Poetry Now Johannes Göransson TR 2:00–3:15
This is a class about poetry right now. Poetry is constantly mutating in response to a changing world. We will engage with these permutations by reading a wide variety of collections published by U.S. and foreign writers over the past few years, and delving into some of these poets’ predecessors and lineages. Students’ own writings will be a significant part of the class. By writing and discussing new work and exploring a variety of techniques and subject matters, we will participate in the realtime transformation of poetry. Books will include sexoPUROsexoVELOZ by Dolores Dorantes (Mexico), Remainland by Aase Berg (Sweden), Tonight’s the Night by Catherine Meng (U.S.), and others.
ENGL 40950 Men and Women in Modern Japanese Literature Deborah Shamoon MW 1:30–2:45 Crosslisted from LLEA 33315
In twentieth-century Japan, as old roles such as samurai and geisha waned, both men and women had to re-define the characteristics and meaning of masculinity and femininity. This course will look at constructions of gender in modern Japanese literature by both female and male authors. As we discuss both normative and deviant depictions of male and female roles, some topics we will address include men and women at work and at war, marriage and family life, homosociality and homosexuality. We will also cover some of the major authors, genres, and literary movements of modern Japanese literature. The primary goal of this class is to become familiar with major works of modern Japanese fiction, and to analyze those works in terms of feminist, queer, and gender theory. In addition to the primary texts, we will also read some short selections by prominent theorists in these fields. The secondary goal is to practice writing analytically about what you have read, and to learn how to incorporate critical theory into your writing. All readings will be in English. Texts will include Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, Confessions of a Mask by Mishima Yukio, Diary of a Vagabond by Hayashi Fumiko, and short stories by Higuchi Ichiyo, Kono Taeko, and Oe Kenzaburo. Knowledge of Japanese is not required.
Senior Research Seminars
These 43XXX Research Seniors are intended primarily for senior English majors, although English majors in the Honors Concentration can take one of these seminars as an elective during the second semester of their Junior year (please consult with Honors Concentration coordinators and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for registration information). There are no special pre- registration procedures for Research Seminars; you can sign up for them during your regular Web Registration time.
ENGL 43201 Senior Seminar: The Pearl Poet Dolores Frese TR 12:30-1:45
Although a majority of literate citizens are now familiar with the great medieval Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight — Marie Boroff’s Modern English translation has for years been included in the Norton Anthology of English Literature — far fewer know three other spectacular poetic narratives included with Gawain in a unique manuscript produced in the north of England in the late fourteenth century. These four fictions, read in good Modern English translations, will constitute the basic texts of this Senior Research Seminar. In addition to the courtly Arthurian romance that is Gawain, we will read Patience (the whimsical, pre-Pinnochio- and-Gepetto paraphrase of the story of Jonah and the Whale), Cleanness (a series of homiletic reflections of great power, beauty, grim wit, and compassionate insight centered on varying conceptions of “purity”), and Pearl (the elegiac dream-vision that begins with the mourning father who has lost a young daughter, then moves with amazing grace from the garden where he grieves into a richly envisioned earthly paradise where he is astonished to re-encounter his lost “Pearl,” who then leads him to the vision of a New Jerusalem whose post-apocalyptic landscape is populated exclusively by throngs of beautiful maidens). We will begin with careful, close reading and collective seminar discussions of this poetic quartet, for each individual work contains an amazing wealth of psychological, sociological, historic, and religious content, embedded in notably inventive poetic forms, genres, and imaginative structures that also
constitute worthy objects of study. We will also address issues of manuscript production in the late Middle Ages: for whom was this book created, and by whom? Who drew and colored the dozen illustrations contained in the book? Was there a poetic plan or purpose guiding the sequence of fictions, or are these created and arranged as isolated compositions, gathered into an interchangeable order? Does it matter? What meaning are we to adduce from the recurrence of certain poetic themes, ideas and images that surface, submerge and reappear throughout the four distinctly different works of art? By closely studying these four fictions, we will come to understand some enduring aspects of creative artistry in any age; simultaneously, we will cultivate “depth vision” into certain particulars of medieval “post-modern” imagination that may constitute striking connections to our own contemporary milieu. In addition to regular short seminar reports on topics connected to the current readings, members of the seminar will each produce a 15–20 page research paper, envisioned as a publishable essay. The essay will combine the critical skills of textual interpretation and comparative analysis, along with directed literary research centered on some problem of interest to the student, chosen in consultation with the teacher, arising from the reading of one or more of these texts.
ENGL 43210 Senior Seminar: Shakespeare’s Religions Jesse Lander TR 2:00–3:15
Though recent scholarship has once again taken up the question of Shakespeare’s religious identity, this course will focus not on the vexed issue of Shakespeare’s personal faith but on the various religious practices and discourses represented in the plays. Written during a time of turbulent religious change, Shakespeare’s plays evince an almost anthropological interest in the varieties of religious experience. Depictions of pagan rites, of the old religion, and of the new learning associated with the Reformation all find a place on Shakespeare’s stage. Arguably Shakespeare’s willingness to display a multiplicity of religious orientations both registers and contributes to a momentous shift in European culture: the splitting of the once unitary and singular notion of religion into a plurality of religions. Plays read will likely include Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, Lear, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and King Henry VIII. Students will be expected to produce a research paper of approximately 20 pages. A key part of this project will be original research using EEBO (an electronic database of early modern books) and other archival sources. In addition, everyone will be asked to give a short in-class presentation on their research topic.
ENGL 43325 Senior Seminar: The Literature of British India David Thomas TR 9:30–10:45
This course explores the literature of British India from the 1870s through the 1930s, a period that sees the British Empire coming into its peak and also entering into its decline. In many respects, the course functions as a survey, taking in canonical figures in the British tradition (such as Kipling, Forster, and Orwell) and some writers remembered generally for their skill as portraitists of British India. We will emphasize, however, those literary works that posterity has highlighted as having the greatest literary merit. I anticipate a special focus on Rudyard Kipling, including his stories, his Jungle Books, the novel Kim, and a recent biography of Kipling. Assignments will include a short early paper and a longer research paper, supported by exercises in topic selection, source location, bibliographic annotation, and workshopping.
ENGL 43706 Senior Seminar: Literatures of Immigration: The Latina/o Trans-National and Intra- National Experience Javier Rodriguez MW 1:30–2:45
The literature of Latina/o immigration and migrancy brings together a range of contemporary concerns, from identity, to the transnational, to definitions of the literary. How does international movement inflect notions of American identity? How do writers create and describe communities in constant movement? These are only two questions that can be posed to the literatures of Latina and Latino transnational and intra-national movement. In this course, we will read a range of recent materials dealing with immigration between Mexico and Latin America and the United States, and with intra-national migrancy. Key texts will include Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway, Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban, Tomas Rivera’s ...and the Earth did not devour him, and Elva Treviño Hart’s Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child. In addition, we will draw upon various critical readings focusing on transnationalism, displacement, and new theories about contemporary globalization. Students will write three short essays and a final exam and will be required to participate actively in class.