Literature Requirement

Spring 2019


ENGL 13186-01
Theories of Literature
David Thomas
TR 9:30-10:45

In studying literature, and the humanities in general, the term theory demarcates a way of looking at things.  For example, a gender theorist focuses upon the importance of gender or sexual identities, a Marxist theorist emphasizes how economic conditions affect social and political realities, and a narrative theorist examines the operations of such matters as perspective and plotting in storytelling.  This course does not promote any one theoretical perspective but instead surveys numerous styles of literary theory and criticism in order to develop students' intellectual fluency in seeing across different ways of thinking. While a great deal of sheer fun and surprise awaits in learning about different theory approaches, such knowledge is also empowering: it raises our consciousness concerning our commitments and interests as readers and citizens.  Our primary literary texts include E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman," Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, selections of poetry, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, numerous examples from film and modern mass media. These texts will help us to makes quite various critical approaches more concrete. Such a course serves all students contemplating work in the humanities, but it should also stimulate students interested in law, political topics, and cultural tensions in their varied historical unfoldings.  Graded coursework involves a midterm and a final exam, and a paper documenting a point of theory controversy that interests you individually, taking up a literary or cultural context of your choosing. Regular journal writings and active participation are also graded factors.

 

ENGL 13186-02
Spy Fiction
Ian Newman
TR 11:00-12:15

In this course we will examine a range of novels which might loosely be understood as “spy fiction,” yet each of them has a very different understanding of what it means to spy. We will ask what these novels can tell us about the relationship between literature and history, and what they reveal about ways of looking and narrative point of view. We will be reading novels by (among others): G.K. Chesterton, Ian Fleming, Patricia Highsmith, John Le Carré, and George Orwell. This course will be discussion based and will require regular written assignments designed to hone critical reading skills.

 

ENGL 13186-03
American Literature: Nation and the World
Nan Da
TR 9:30-10:45

What can American literature before the 20th century teach us about the nation and the world? In this class we will explore America’s literary imaginary and its intellectual pleasures and difficulties. How did early American literature teach us to pay attention and think critically?  What are the stakes of “mis-reading” for the average citizen? 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: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville. Primary texts will be supplemented with appropriate secondary readings that help students become better writers and thinkers.

 

ENGL 13186-04
Introduction to Poetry
Laura Betz
TR 11:00-12:15

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, a variety of poetic forms, and a range of literary concepts and devices. We will also spend some time thinking about the oral performance of poetry through different activities, including listening to recordings of poems and potentially attending a poetry reading. 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. We will try to understand why the poetry on our syllabus has spoken to readers over time, and to see how it might speak to us and about us.

 

ENGL 13186-06
Mystery Fiction
Margaret Doody
TR 3:30-4:45

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

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

 

ENGL 13186-07
Writing for Social Justice
John Duffy
TR 2:00-3:15

We often read about these issues: homelessness, disability, immigration, AIDS. Perhaps we read about government proposals designed to address specific problems or about battles in Congress over funding competing proposals. We may read statements by leaders of national advocacy organizations about how to improve the lives of the homeless, the disabled, new immigrants, and people with AIDS. Yet often missing from such accounts are the voices of those persons who are living these experiences. Often we do not hear from the homeless mother with three children, the intellectually disabled man working at a factory, the immigrant family studying English, or the woman living with HIV. We do not hear their stories directly from them, and so we cannot learn what they may have to teach us.

This class is about listening to those voices. You will partner with a South Bend community agency to interview a person whose voice is rarely heard, and whose story is seldom told. You will record the interview and write that person's life history. Based on what you learn from the life history, you will explore a question related to social justice, which we shall define broadly as concern for the lives of the poor and the vulnerable. You will be expected to read extensively, research assiduously, and write regularly. Most important, you will be expected to listen, which will be the foundation of our learning.

 

ENGL 13186-09
Autobiography and Subjectivity
Barbara Green
TR 2:00-3:15

Life-writing is a capacious term that can be used to describe a variety of private and public statements about the self. Some of these are easily recognizable as artistic representations of subjectivity (for example, memoirs, diaries, letters, self-portraits) and some less so (for example, legal testimony, graphic novels, blogs, social media, even medical forms have been read as part of the complex project of articulating subjectivity). This course will attend to a wide variety of forms of life-writing in order to trace shifting notions of what counts as a self and track the complex project of defining and representing subjectivity. A broad range of critical approaches to subjectivity and definitions of the autobiographical project will assist us as we attempt to map changing notions of the self. Our materials will be drawn from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries: texts may include a selection of writings by Wordsworth and Mill, Art Spiegelman's graphic family memoir Maus, Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Virginia Woolf's “Sketch of the Past,” Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home, selections from Knausgård’s multi-volume My Struggle, autofictions such as Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts, self-portraits by Frieda Kahlo, social media, political and legal testimony, witnessing, and other examples of autobiography at work will also be considered.

 

ENGL 20084 (Crosslist)
Literature: Nature: Now
John Sitter
TR 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Unallocated
Sec 02 - Freshmen

"Nature" is something we have thought of as unchanging. This course explores environmental fiction and non-fiction of the last five years to understand how our natural world is changing—in fact and in imagination--and how some of our best writers perceive the meaning of those changes. The works to be studied deal with current environmental trends and in some cases imagine our "Now" through speculative projections into late 21st- and 22nd-century futures. All are "Anthropocene" texts in reflecting awareness of human impacts on planetary systems as well as on local environments. Earlier novelists have often focused on personal and domestic experience; now, many serious writers see the boundaries between local experience and global change as permeable. This shift in perspective is resulting in vivid literary experimentation. Rather than seeing their task as "defamiliarizing" overly familiar parts of experience, many contemporary "cli-fi" writers work to make still unfamiliar realities imaginable. Subjects include climate instability, extinctions, involuntary migrations of both humans and animals, and global inequalities—all challenging topics. But the twin premises of this course are that cognitive courage is healthier than denial and that engaged literature is our moment’s vital alternative to fatalism. (Requirements will include several short papers, with opportunities for revision; one group report; midterm and final examinations.)

 

ENGL 20106
Point-of-View in the Novel
Noreen Deane-Moran
TR 2:00-3:15
Section 01 - Freshmen
Section 02 - Unallocated

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; 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 20106
Point-of-View in the Novel
Noreen Deane-Moran
TR 5:05-6:20
Section 03 - Freshmen
Section 04 - Unallocated

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; 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 20192
Narrative in Fiction and Film
Barry McCrea
MW 12:30-1:45
Sec. 01 - Unallocated
Sec. 02 - Freshmen

What are stories? Where do they come from and how to they work? This course provides an introduction to narrative theory, by reading key texts of narrative theory in conjunction with novels, short stories, and films that lend themselves to structural analysis. We will learn how to analyze the hidden structures of all kinds of narratives, from nineteenth-century novels to Hollywood blockbusters. We will examine the ways in which our understanding of our own lives and their meaning is unconsciously shaped by narrative forms and assumptions.

 

ENGL 20260 (Crosslist)
Medicine and the Poetic Ear

Arnaud Zimmern
MW 9:30-10:45
Section 01: Freshmen
Section 02: Unallocated

What is the connection between how physicians heal and how poets soothe? The answer, in part, has to do with listening. This course is predicated on the idea that better listening makes for better care, and that the study of poetry (as a spoken, performative practice) is a privileged space for training the dexterity of the ear, the compassion of the heart, and the faculty of memory. Training the poetic ear, we will memorize, recite, and hearken to poetry with one goal in mind: how can I become a better listener? While the course may not answer pressing questions like “What rhymes with ‘larynx’?” students will get a taste of the growing field of the medical humanities by surveying poetry on disability, illness, disgust, patient-physician dynamics, mourning, grief. The course is designed not only for pre-health students but for any student with experiences of or interest in illness and healthcare. Authors include Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Emily Dickinson, G. M. Hopkins, and Elizabeth Bishop, as well as a spread of contemporary poets. Reading load: light. Writing load: medium.

 

ENGL 20513 (Crosslist)
Introduction to Irish Writers
Chris Fox
MWF 10:30-11:45
Sec. 01 - Unallocated
Sec. 02 -  Freshmen

As the visit to campus of the most recent Irish winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature suggests, this small island has produced a disproportionate number of great writers. Designed as a general literature course, the class will introduce the student to a broad range of Irish writers in English from the eighteenth century to the present. Writers will include Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Brian Friel, and John McGahern. We will also look at recent film versions of several of these writers' works, including Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest. Themes to be explored include representations of national character and the relationships between religion and national identity, gender and nationalism, Ireland and England, and "Irishness" and "Englishness." Students can expect a midterm, a paper (5-6 pages typed) and a final.

 

ENGL 20590
Gods and Giants
Sarah Coogan
TR 9:30-10:45
Section 01: Freshmen
Section 02: Unallocated

While many people think of myth as untrue or outdated, these seemingly irrelevant stories are still powerful forces in modern society. This course will consider a handful of mythic (and historical) figures - King Arthur, Odysseus, and Joan of Arc - and examine how the stories surrounding them authorize or resist conceptions of national identity. Through class discussion and written argument, we will ask what myth is, how it relates to history, and how particular stories become entangled with images of the nation. We will explore multiple incarnations of our chosen myths, mostly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, giving students familiarity with a broad range of literary genres and styles, from epic poetry to tragedy to the Broadway musical. Ultimately, we will reflect on the role myth has played in shaping our own world-views and national identities.

 

ENGL 20600
Landscapes of American Literature
Jay Miller
MW 5:05-6:20
Section 01: Freshmen
Section 02: Unallocated

This course explores the conflicted landscapes depicted in American literature from the British colonial period to twentieth-century United States. These landscapes, while often referring to actual geographies, are imaginative constructions that offer readers the opportunity to reflect on the complicated issues of representation and power associated with land in North America. Some of the issues to be discussed and debated in course readings are the precarious lives of small farmers, the legacies of slavery, and the displacement of indigenous peoples. Another topic of consideration will be the extent to which these phenomena are portrayed in sacred and/or secular terms. Students taking this course will be taught to identify and distinguish between various landscape genres (pastoral, georgic, picturesque, sublime, etc.), and will also learn to recognize generic ambiguity as a special occasion for interpretation. Along with this aesthetic training, students will also examine the basic political conflicts embedded in American landscapes, such as the exploitation of labor, dispossession of land, and the degradation of the environment. Throughout the readings - likely to include works by Jefferson, Thoreau, Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison, and Wendell Berry - we will return to the following overarching question: In what ways do different writers attempt to represent the often difficult realities of life in America through literary constructs of landscapes, and why are these constructs significant?

 

ENGL 20740
Novels of New York
Noreen Deane-Moran
MW 3:30-4:45
Section 01 - Freshmen
Section 02 - Unallocated

Knowledge presents itself in many forms.  And it is the very shape of this form which perhaps gives us the greater part of the information.  It has long been said that form and content must mesh for there to be beauty and inspiration. The books here are housed in the area called Literature, and thus it is the written word which is the chosen outer form.  But, within that box are many varied elements which each give their own spirit to the work. They do that by squeezing the essence of their meaning into a certain shape or form which in itself creates much of the meaning of the artistic work.  

Potential books: Washington Square - Henry James (1880); Maggie: A Girl of the Streets - Stephen Crane (1893); The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton (1820); The Great Gatsby  - F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925); A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith (1943); A Walker in the City - Alfred Kazin (1951); A Fairytale of New York - J.P. Donleavy (1973); Billy Bathgate - E. L. Doctorow (1990).

 

ENGL 30101-01
Intro to Literary Studies
Nan Da

TR 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Freshmen
Sec 03 - Unallocated

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 30101-02
Intro to Literary Studies
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 02 - Freshmen
Sec 04 - Unallocated

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 30111
British Literary Traditions II
Greg Kucich
TR 12:30-1:45

This course examines the development of British literary culture from the late seventeenth century through the early twenty-first century.  Instead of simply offering a survey of major authors, our class engages in a broader investigation of cultural production by situating literary activity within its material historical contexts.  We combine close reading of specific texts and their aesthetic richness, including detailed structural analysis of poetry, with ongoing discussion of major political, social, philosophical, and scientific developments, such as the civil wars of the seventeenth century, the rise of Enlightenment philosophy and science, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the development of the British Slave Trade and Abolition Movement, and the emergence of Britain as a major colonial empire and global power.  Our course also focuses self-consciously on its own critical methods, thus engaging English majors with important questions about the theory and practice of literary studies today, especially regarding such issues as periodicity, canon formation, theoretical schools of criticism and our overall criterion for evaluating the significance of literary texts. Those matters will also be taken up in our attention to the process of writing critical papers.
 

ENGL 30116
American Literary Traditions II
Francisco Robles
MW 9:30-10:45

In this course, we will take a look at some of the most widely read and discussed authors of U.S. Literature, asking ourselves whether it is possible to understand these texts as a coherent, cogent body of literature. In so doing, we will understand the connections between “canon/tradition” and “innovation/experimentation,” “center” and “margin,” as well as the various contexts from which literature emerges, such as politics, culture, science, and history. We will focus on three major themes, and discuss a number of related issues and ideas: movement (thematically, formally, and historically) as a major force in U.S. Literature; questions of heritage, inheritance, and memory; and representation as an aesthetic and political feature of literature and life. Authors may include Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hisaye Yamamoto, Tomás Rivera, Amiri Baraka, Robert Hayden, Toni Morrison, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, and Tommy Orange.