English Course Descriptions

English 201 - Introduction to Narrative


Early Women Writers
Full course for one semester. In this course we will study a generous selection of the significant corpus of writing produced by women from the early Middle Ages to the end of the seventeenth century. By examining women’s texts in a range of genres—from saints’ lives, lyrics, romances, novels, and dramas to medical texts, mystical visions, and autobiographies—we will consider the ways in which pre-modern women construct gender identities and how they formulate their relationship with misogynist discourses. Our discussion of primary texts will be supplemented with some reading in recent theories of gender. Writers may include Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, Hildegard of Bingen, Marie de France, Julian of Norwich, Christine de Pisan, Margery Kempe, Anna Trapnel, Margaret Cavendish, Mary Carleton, and Aphra Behn. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Autobiography
Full course for one semester. This course will introduce problems of narrative through the study of autobiography and memoir. The emphasis will be on various strategies writers have employed to describe the self, including the relation of gender to autobiography, the rhetoric of self-representation, the function and depiction of memory, problems of truth and fiction in autobiography, the nature of confession, the relation of performativity to identity, and the intersection of narrative and ideology. We will examine the ways autobiographers have given symbolic meaning and form to their experience in a variety of discourses. Autobiographical texts for study will include such works as Nabokov’s Speak Memory , Gertrude Stein’s Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas , Sarraute’s Childhood , De Quincey’s Confessions of an Opium-Eater , Kingston’s Woman Warrior , Wright’s Black Boy , Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss , Leiris’s Manhood , and Kafka’s Letter to his Father . There will also be readings in autobiography theory. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 205 - Introduction to Fiction

Portraits of Ladies
Full course for one semester. This course is designed as an introduction to the basic concepts of narrative theory as exemplified in eighteenth and nineteenth century British novels by Ann Radcliffe, Walter Scott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Henry James. We will also focus specifically on the construction of gender, and will analyze how and why ideas of femininity and masculinity change in relation to authorial sensibilities that are by turn gothic, historic, and sentimental. Prerequisites: Humanities 110 or at least sophomore standing. Conference.

American Gothic
Full course for one semester. What was haunting America in the nineteenth century? Gothic literature stages the deepest fears and anxieties in a culture. It exposes not only with the occult and mysterious, but also crosses the line between this world and the next, the known and the unknown, the speakable and the unspeakable. This course will explore the specters haunting America through the short stories and novels of Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, and Charles Chestnutt. This course serves as an introduction to literary technique and narrative. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The American Short Story
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the genre of the short story, especially its traditional and innovative narrative techniques, its various ways of constructing authorial point of view, its mode of plot compression and the relation of literary structure to temporality, and its range of styles from realism and naturalism to allegory, and to impressionism. Additionally, we will see how diverse American experience is represented through the form. Readings will be drawn from Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, James, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Malamud, Cheever, Carver, John Wideman, and Toni Cade Bambara, as well as a collection of Best Short Stories of 2004 . Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psyche and Society in American Fiction
Full course for one semester. In reading novels such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance , Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man , Henry James’s The American , and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth in this course, we will reflect upon connections and conflicts between individual psychological demands and social values. Placing these texts within American cultural traditions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this course will address questions of religious conviction and spirituality, self-reliance, manners, new conceptions of the American community, and modern urbanization. We will consider the unique features of different genres and descriptive techniques, including romance, melodrama, realism, and the modern psychological novel. Other writers may include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Dreiser, and Nathanael West. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The Post-War and Contemporary Novel
Full course for one semester. This course will introduce students to major North American novelists and their work from the immediate post-World War II years to the very recent past (from the late 1940s to the 1990s). As we discuss the assigned readings we will consider questions surrounding representations of race and gender, mass culture and consumerism, the Cold War and the nuclear age, civil rights, feminism, technocracy, the counter-culture, American regionalisms, suburbia, linguistic experimentation, genre, postmodernism, globalization, and the conditions of urban experience. Novelists may include Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Leslie Marmon Silko, Philip Roth, Ishmael Reed, Cormac McCarthy, and Jonathan Franzen. We will also read selected critical and theoretical texts that define the issues that structure the course and watch selected films—such as The Manchurian Candidate (1962)—that provide cultural contexts. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

The Basics of the Novel
Full course for one semester. This course serves as an introduction to the history of both the idea and the form of the English novel, beginning in the early eighteenth century and continuing through to roughly the present day. We will look at brief critical writings by major narrative scholars in conjunction with examples of the novel’s various sub-genres, including the gothic, the marriage plot, the historical novel, the Bildungsroman , the detective story, the modernist novel, and the postmodern novel. Major works to be studied may include novels by Daniel Defoe, Matthew Lewis, Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Virginia Woolf, and J. M. Coetzee. There will be numerous short writing assignments. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Major Forms of the Nineteenth-Century Novel (1780-1880)
Full course for one semester. This course examines the two dominant forms of the late eighteenth and nineteenth-century novel, the courtship novel and the bildungsroman or novel of formation. In examining these two forms we will discuss the popularity, rise and fall of particular genres, narrative structure and narrators, the nature of literary character, and the concept of realism. We will read short critical texts by major scholars of narrative to illuminate these discussions. Novelists read will include most of the following: Goethe, Austen, Walter Scott, Balzac, Dickens, and Eliot. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.

Genres of the Early Novel (1719–1847)
Full course for one semester. This course will look at the range of genres explored by novelists in the period of the British novel in its rise from marginal status to dominance in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. We will focus on the range of formal and expressive possibilities the novel develops in this period, shaped by the various forms it takes (realist, gothic, historical, sentimental, and so on), and pursue the question of how genre conventions and individual works interact. Major authors will include Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Matthew Lewis, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, and Charlotte Brontë. Relevant short critical readings on genre, realism, and the novel will be drawn from Auerbach, Bakhtin, Frye, Shklovsky, Todorov, Watt, and others. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 211 - Introduction to Poetry and Poetics

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental elements of a poem, such as rhythm, diction, imagery, metaphor, tone, form, speaker, and audience. We will read texts from a wide historical range and consider the historical development of selected forms and techniques. The course will also examine what some poets and critics have regarded as the nature and function of poetry and what bearing such theories have on the practice of poetry and vice versa. The course will emphasize close reading of the texts, and there will be frequent writing assignments. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

English 213 - Introduction to Poetry

American Poetry
Full course for one semester. In this class we will consider the historical development of selected forms and techniques in the American poetic tradition. Poets will include Anne Bradstreet, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Sylvia Plath, Li-Young Lee, Essex Hemphill, and Luci Tapahonso. In addition we will read selections from Aztec Sorrow Songs, Corridos, and the Blues. This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental elements of a poem, such as rhythm, diction, imagery, metaphor, tone, form, speaker, and audience. The course will emphasize close reading of the texts, and there will be frequent writing assignments. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.

Introduction to Twentieth-Century Poetry by Women
Full course for one semester. Reading a wide range of innovative twentieth-century women poets, we will explore how questions of poetic form intersect, illumine, and problematize questions of gender, race, class, and national identity. Beginning with the expatriate community in Paris during the teens and reading up through to work by women poets writing presently, we will ask how poetry specifically offers a forum for re-thinking being in the world and challenging power structures. Our readings of poetry will be complemented by philosophy and theory by women. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 242 - Introduction to Drama

Modern European I
Full course for one semester. An examination of the beginnings of modern European drama from the mid-nineteenth century forward. Plays will be read from a number of countries to give the full range of drama and show how modernism was expressed differently in different places. Likely authors will include Georg Büchner, August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Alfred Jarry, and Oscar Wilde. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Modern European IV
Full course for one semester. This course continues from Modern European III, which covers works up to 1940. Here we will look at playwrights whose first major work appeared between 1942 and 1952. Major themes will be existentialism and the absurd. Likely authors will include Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Max Frisch, Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, and Samuel Beckett. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Modern European V
Full course for one semester. This course takes up where European IV ended, the aftermath of World War II. We will look primarily at the work of writers whose first major plays appeared between 1954 and 1957. This semester’s concentration will be on England and the movement known as “the angry young men.” Writers will include Brendan Behan, Friedrich Durrenmatt, John Osborne, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Pinter. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Modern European VI
Full course for one semester. This course continues from Modern European V, which covered playwrights whose first major work appeared between 1954 and 1957. Here, we will look at the work of playwrights whose first major appeared in the late 1950s; and as always, we will look at the work in its social and political contexts. Probable authors will include Ann Jellicoe, Shelagh Delaney, John Arden, and Fernando Arrabal. Conference.

Shakespeare’s Tragedies
Full course for one semester. A study of o five Shakespearean tragedies, among them Hamlet , Othello , Macbeth , King Lear , and Antony and Cleopatra . The focus will be on language, dramatic structure, character, and the conventions of the genre, as well as the role of women, the supernatural, the politics of rule, the self-conscious employment of theatricality, and such cultural issues as attitudes towards race. We will also read some theories of tragedy. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

English 301 - Junior Seminar in English Literary History


The Fallen World: The Anglo-American Literary Tradition

Full course for one semester. This course, a study of the methods and a sample of the materials of English literary history, will focus on the fictional treatment of the postlapsarian condition following the example of John Milton’s Paradise Lost . There will be substantial reading in literary theory. We will consider questions about genre, tradition and innovation, canon formation, authority, and influence. This course is primarily for English majors, for whom the junior seminar is usually required no later than the end of the junior year. Prerequisites: junior standing and two English courses at the 200 level or above. Not offered 2006-07.

Theories of the Novel
Full course for one semester. A study of the methods and a sampling of the materials of literary history focusing on major theories of the novel over the last century. Critical readings will be drawn from Lukacs, Bakhtin, Shklovsky, Frye, Watt, Jameson, and Moretti. These will be read alongside novels by Fielding, Austen, Balzac, and Dickens, as well as some shorter works, as a means of examining the effectiveness of particular critical claims about what the modern novel is and does. We will also discuss modes of narration and literary structure, stylistic change and formal innovation in the novel, and the nature of the relationship between ideology and the aesthetic. This course is primarily for English majors, for whom the junior seminar is usually required no later than the end of the junior year. Prerequisites: junior standing and two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Lyric, Epic, Künstlerroman
Full course for one semester. A study of the methods and a sample of the materials of English literary history. After some definitional questions, the course will begin with an examination of change and continuity in the English sonnet. We will then focus especially upon Wordsworth’s Prelude , considered both as a transformation of the epic tradition and as the main poetic exemplar of what would become the novel of artistic self-discovery and development. Texts to be read include: Spenser, The Fairie Queene (Book I); Milton, Paradise Lost ; Thomson, The Seasons ; Wordsworth, The Prelude ; Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ; Woolf, To the Lighthouse . Throughout the semester, we will address problems of canon construction, literary intertextuality, generic transformation, and critical history. Students will develop their own critical history of approaches to a work by a major author. This course is primarily for English majors, for whom the junior seminar is usually required no later than the end of the junior year. Prerequisites: junior standing, two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

English 302 - Junior Seminar in English Literary History

Epic and Novel
Full course for one semester. This course offers a study of the methods and a sample of the materials of English literary history focusing on epic and novel, with texts that may include Ovid’s Metamorphoses , Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale,” Milton’s Paradise Lost, Sterne’s Tristram Shandy , and a novel by Toni Morrison. In addition, there will be substantial reading in literary theory. We will consider questions about genre, literary authority, tradition and innovation, canon formation, intertextuality, and the role of gender in epic and novel. This course is primarily for English majors, for whom the junior seminar is usually required no later than the end of the junior year. Prerequisites: junior standing and two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference.

Paradise After Milton—The Anglo-American Tradition
Full course for one semester. A study of the methods and a sample of the materials of English literary history using the Anglo-American epic tradition from Milton onwards. Texts include Milton’s Paradise Lost , Wordsworth’s The Prelude , Shelley’s Frankenstein , H. D.’s Trilogy , and Morrison’s Paradise . In addition, there will be substantial reading in literary theory and an extensive critical bibliography project. We will consider questions of genre, influence, authority, tradition and innovation, canon formation, and modernity. This course is primarily for English majors, for whom the junior seminar is usually required no later than the end of the junior year. Prerequisites: junior standing and two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Studies in Nonfiction Prose


English 303 - American Studies Seminar: The Death of Satan

Full course for one semester. Early Americans viewed their history as an epic struggle against Satan; yet today, Americans’ sense of evil is weaker and more uncertain. How and why did Americans lose their sense of evil? This course offers an introduction to the methods of American Studies: we will look at literature in the context of American history and material culture. We will cover major American authors from the colonial period through postmodernism, including works by Rowlandson, Mather, Brockden Brown, Hawthorne, Melville, Douglass, Wharton, James, Lowell, and Morrison. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above, at least one course in either American history or American religion, or consent of instructor. Conference.

English 311 - Studies In Non-Fiction Prose

Autobiography
Full course for one semester. This course will focus on a number of autobiographical texts from the late eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, tracing changing notions of self-representation and evolving conventions of the genre. The course begins with autobiographies where the self appears to have a clear, destined trajectory to worldly success and accomplishment, and the “story” is one of overcoming obstacles to a self-fulfilling design. But the narration of autobiographical writing inevitably interrupts such confidence, and we will track the discursive ways even seemingly self-confident writers complicate their stories. By the mid-to-late 20th century, life-writers experiment with diverse forms, challenging orthodox theories of memory, undermining conventional notions of truth and fiction, and emphasizing the ways in which identity is inseparable from performativity. Texts will be chosen from among: Gibbon’s Autobiography , Rousseau’s Confessions , Mill’s Autobiography , De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater , Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son , Nabokov’s Speak, Memory , Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas , Sartre’s The Words , Kingston’s Woman Warrior , Nathalie Sarraute’s Childhood , Georges Perec’s W and Fraser’s In Search of a Past , Michel Leiris’ Manhood , and Paul Auster’s The Invention of Solitude . There will also be readings in autobiographical theory. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

The English Enlightenment and the Modern Intellectual
Full course for one semester. In this course we will read a variety of major eighteenth-century authors whose work opens the modern debate on what it means to be a literary intellectual. Major authors will include Joseph Addison, David Hume, Adam Smith, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, and Mary Wollstonecraft, with some contemporary contributions from writers including Susan Sontag. We will also read critical work attempting to define what enlightenment means, from Immanuel Kant, Horkheimer and Adorno, Michel Foucault and Jurgen Habermas. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.


Studies in British Culture


English 337 - Studies in British Culture: Eighteenth-Century Geographies

Full course for one semester. In this course we will read a variety of texts that focus on the meanings and importance of space, travel, and conquest to eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writers from Britain and its colonies. The readings will explore the social and literary contexts of the beginnings of domestic tourism, the phenomenon of the Grand Tour, the enlightenment fascination with “primitive” societies, the popularity of exploration narratives and accounts of exotic cultures, slavery in British colonies, and the development of new literary and aesthetic categories for cataloguing these experiences. Most of the works we will read are nonfiction prose, along with a selection of important poetic texts and some recent critical readings. Authors will include Mary Wortley Montagu, Edmund Burke, Laurence Sterne, James Cook, Samuel Johnson, Olaudah Equiano, Matthew Lewis, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.


Studies in Fiction


English 333 - Studies in Fiction

Postmodern Culture
Full course for one semester. This course will introduce the field of postmodern studies—in connection with cultural studies and post-structuralism—and a number of issues associated with postmodernity and postmodernism in their cultural, aesthetic, and political dimensions. While the focus is on postmodernist fiction and theory, we will also examine films and television programs. Prominent among the topics this course covers from the perspective of postmodernism are globalization, mass culture, simulation, virtual reality, the cyberpunk aesthetic, conspiracy, hybridity, pastiche, “the death of the author/subject,” intertextuality, and nostalgia. We will read fiction by Don DeLillo, J. G. Ballard, Ishmael Reed, Ursula K. Le Guin, Salman Rushdie, William Gibson, Kathy Acker, Thomas Pynchon, and Donald Barthelme along with selected theoretical writings of Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway, Homi K. Bhabha, Fredric Jameson, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Slavoj Zizek. We will screen several films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The Modern Novel
Full course for one semester. The focus of this course is a study of seminal modernist fictional texts. We will read novels by James, Conrad, Proust, Kafka, Faulkner, Woolf, and Beckett. We will examine such modernist strategies as the use of nonlinear time, stream of consciousness, self-fragmentation, and disjunctive narrators. Included will be discussion of the relation of aesthetic programs to the employment or obliteration of history, and we will read a number of theoretical interventions into the discourse of literary modernism. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The British Novel 1770–1830
Full course for one semester. This course will cover the diverse forms the British novel takes in the final decades of the eighteenth century and first decades of the nineteenth century—sentimental, gothic, realist, historical, “experimental”—and attempt to work out an effective way of understanding both individual novels and this multiplicity of forms as a response to particular historical conditions and possibilities. There will be a substantial number of critical and theoretical readings on genre, aesthetics, ideology, and the problem of literary evaluation. Authors read will include most of the following: Sterne, Burney, Lewis, Radcliffe, Austen, Edgeworth, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, Scott, Hogg, and Shelley. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The Politics and Ideologies of Modernism
Full course for one semester. This course will address issues associated with political modernism, concentrating on the modern novel. We will begin by considering the ideological conflicts of the twentieth century as responses to imperialism, World War I, socialism, fascism, and the Spanish Civil War, which will allow us to read the political content of fiction closely. We will also relate individual novels to topics such as aesthetic ideology, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, psychological analyses of totalitarianism, censorship, and the extent of the modern writer’s engagement with politics. Authors will include Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Rebecca West, and Wyndham Lewis. Additional readings on ideology will be drawn from the work of theorists such as Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Georges Bataille, and Gilles Deleuze. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Edwardian Fictions: British Modernism until World War I
Full course for one semester. This course will examine selected fictions of Edwardian England (1901–10), the decade that marked the transition to modernism in British fiction. We will read novels of the period such as Henry James’s The Wings of the Dove , H. G. Wells’s Tono-Bungay , and E. M. Forster’s Howards End by relating them to the contexts of modern British psychology, feminism, Fabian socialism, industrialism, aesthetic decadence, and the pervasive cultures of advertising and journalism. Additionally, our consideration of these novels will be framed by the closely related historical contexts of late Victorian society and World War I. In tracing both late Victorian anticipations of Edwardian cultural trends and the subsequent legacy of the Edwardians, we will read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray , Bram Stoker’s Dracula , and then, in the final phase of the course, Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier and D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers (along with shorter works by Lawrence). Other writers may include William Morris, Thomas Hardy, and Lytton Strachey. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The Social World of the Victorian Novel
Full course for one semester. The Industrial Revolution, the entrenchment of the bourgeoisie, and the two Reform Bills made possible tremendous transformations in the social worlds of Victorian Great Britain. This course will examine how these changes were both documented and reimagined in the novels of several writers of the High Victorian period, including Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope. We pay particular attention to the ways these novelists figure communities around the workplace, the home, the beau monde, the church, the law, and the state. There will be substantial historical, critical, and theoretical readings in addition to the novels. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Desire, Sexuality, and the Twentieth-Century British Novel
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the British novel’s preoccupation with the expression of human desire during the last century, when the discourses surrounding sex and sexuality greatly altered. We will study both sexuality and desire as they are formulated within the modern and contemporary British novel, in works by such authors as E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Lawrence Durrell, Iris Murdoch, J. R. Ackerley, Angela Carter, and Sarah Waters. There will be substantial theoretical, historical, and critical readings. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or permission of the instructor. Not offered 2006-07.

Description and Narration
Full course for one semester. This course will focus on the relations between description and narration in examples drawn from American, French, and English fiction. In what ways does description serve various narrative drives? In what ways does description assert its separate purposes and what might those be? Primary texts include Callistratus’s Descriptions , Chretien de Troyes’s Yvain , Melville’s Typee , Flaubert’s A Sentimental Education , Hardy’s Tess of the D’Ubervilles , Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise , Woolf’s The Waves , Stein’s Three Lives , and Joyce’s Dubliners . Theoretical readings will be drawn from the work of M. M. Bahktin, Michel Riffaterre, Roland Barthes, Elaine Scarry, W. T. J. Mitchell, and Paul Ricoeur. Weekly writing assignments and active participation are required. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. 

The Raj and After: Fictions of English India
Full course for one semester. For almost 100 years, nearly the entirety of the Indian subcontinent was under the direct political control of the British Empire; through one of the most astonishing imperialist exercises in world history, hundreds of millions of people were thus ruled by a comparative handful of foreign administrators. This course seeks to examine this period through the rich and varied fictional responses to it by British and Indian writers alike both during and after the Raj . We will consider such topics as the mutual assimilations of both the ruling and the ruled cultures, the gathering strength of the independence movement, the gradual decline of imperialist vigor, the problems of linguistic impasse, and the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race within discourses concerning foreign rule and Indian nationalism. Major writers to be studied will include Rudyard Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore, E. M. Forster, Raja Rao, Paul Scott, Salman Rushdie, and Monica Ali. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Empire and the Novel
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the relationship between Imperialism and the novel, primarily between British Imperialism and the modern twentieth-century novel. The course will also introduce students to postcolonial theory and criticism. Reading major novels of authors such as Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe, Rudyard Kipling, Doris Lessing, E. M. Forster, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, H. G. Wells, Arundhati Roy, and J. M. Coetzee, we will reflect at length upon nationalism, the causes and consequences of the expansion and contraction of the British empire, anti-colonial liberation movements, the cultural contexts of literary modernism, and the ongoing debate over globalization. We will read influential writings by theorists and critics such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, and Fredric Jameson. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

English 334 - Studies in Fiction

George Eliot and Charles Dickens
Full course for one semester. This course will be devoted to a comparative examination of two major novelists from the Victorian period. We will consider distinct visions of society: Eliot’s representation of the provincial community and Dickens’s representation of London and urban experience. At the center of this course will be our close readings of Eliot’s Middlemarch and Dickens’s Bleak House . Other novels may include Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner , and Dickens’s Hard Times and Our Mutual Friend . Throughout the semester we will review and evaluate influential contributions to the criticism on Eliot and Dickens. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

James Joyce and Virginia Woolf
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the works of the two most influential figures associated with the modernist British and Irish novel. Both writers’ contributions to the contemporary critical understandings of modernism, consciousness, narrative form, gender, sexuality, and history will be stressed. Major works to be studied may include Dubliners , A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man , Ulysses , The Voyage Out , Mrs. Dalloway , To the Lighthouse , A Room of One’s Own , The Waves , and Between the Acts . Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.


Studies in American Literature


English 341 - Studies in American Literature

Frontier Literature
Full course for one semester. In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner declared that “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development.” He also declared that the frontier was closed. In this course we will investigate the ways nineteenth-century American writers used the frontier to formulate notions of America, Americans, and American manhood. How did the myth of the frontier evolve as it traced the movements of explorers, sailors, gold miners, and cowboys? What role did women and the dispossessed play in this romance? We will cover both classical representations of the frontier by Lewis and Clark, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Louise Clappe, Caroline Kirkland, and Owen Wister, as well as views from the dispossessed by Black Hawk, John Rollin Ridge, and Deadwood Dick. We will address the frontier’s legacy in American popular and literary culture in the 20th century. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or higher, or sophomore standing and any course in American history, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Native Literacies
Full course for one semester. How did Native Americans understand the early American contact period and in what forms did they record their views? How do pre-contact Native traditions influence early post-contact texts? This course compares the alternative literacies of the Culhua Mexica (Aztec) of Mesoamerica and the Algonquians of Colonial New England. We will examine a variety of communicative and textual traditions ranging from letters, histories, autobiographies, poems, wills, and conversion narratives to pictographic works and material culture. This course fulfills the “before 1700” requirement for English majors. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or higher, or any one of the following: Anthropology 348, Anthropology 372, History 359, History 386, or Spanish 353, or consent of instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Shepard and Wilson
Full course for one semester. This course will be an in-depth study of the major works of two of the most significant American playwrights of the late twentieth century, Sam Shepard and August Wilson. Each will be studied in the context of the times in which he was writing. Shepard’s works include Buried Child , True West , and The Curse of the Starving Class . Wilson’s works will include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom , Fences , and The Piano Lesson . Prerequisites: Humanities 110 and two 200-level English courses. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The Beat Generation
Full course for one semester. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a group of writers arose who were responsible for a major critique of American culture in the post World War II-cold war years. This critique was not only cultural (against the sense of conformity), but political (against the ferocious anti-communist rhetoric of McCarthy and stretching to anti-Vietnam activity). Thus, this is a course in literature as well as cultural history. We will examine the work of the three major writers (Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs) in the first half of the semester; we will then cover as many other writers as we can, which may include Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Bob Kaufman, Gregory Corso, Ted Joans, Diane diPrima, and Joanne Kyger. Many of these writers were involved in the study of Zen Buddhism, and so this will be part of our focus as well. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

The Borderlands as Imaginary Narrative Space
Full course for one semester. This course will introduce the discourse of "the border" (the U.S.-Mexico border) using film, literature, and some secondary literature (theory/criticism). Film texts may include El Norte , El Mariachi , Touch of Evil , Lone Star , Men with Guns , La Bamba , Giant , Lourdes Portillo's documentary work, The Searchers , The Ox-Bow Incident , Spanglish , Born in East L.A. , Traffic , and Maria Full of Grace . Literature may include Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera , Americo Paredes' George Washington Gomez and/or The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez , Richard Rodriguez' Hunger of Memory , Luis Valdez' Zoot Suit , and works by Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, and Cherrie Moraga. Prerequisites: two 200-level English courses or consent of instructor. Conference.

English 356 - Studies in African-American Literature

The Black Radical Tradition
Full course for one semester. Throughout the history of Black people as a colonized people in the West, there has been an ongoing debate about the proper relationship or stance the colonized should have toward the colonizer. In the nineteenth century, Martin Delany's radicalism was opposed by Frederick Douglass's more accommodationist stance. Later, the conflict was manifested by the contrast between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, and then between Marcus Garvey and Du Bois. Later still, there were Malcolm X and Dr. King, and then Amiri Baraka and Ralph Ellison. With the possible exception of the DuBois-Washington conflict, the less radical position is the one that has received the most attention, both public and scholarly. This course will examine the work of three representative figures of the Black radical tradition in the twentieth century: W.E.B. DuBois (USA), C.L.R. James (Trinidad), and Richard Wright (USA). In particular, we will examine their relationship to Marxism as a means to the solution of the problem of the colonized. This course will be both interdisciplinary—we will read works of literature, history, and socio-cultural criticism—and cross cultural. Texts will include Black Reconstruction , The Souls of Black Folk (DuBois), The Black Jacobins , Beyond a Boundary (James), Native Son , and 1 2 Million Black Voices (Wright). Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

James Baldwin
Full course for one semester. Baldwin has written that “Truth is a two-edged sword—and if one is not willing to be pierced by that sword, even to the extreme of dying on it, then all of one’s intellectual activity is a masturbatory delusion and a wicked and dangerous fraud.” In the 1950s and 1960s, Baldwin was one of the primary truth tellers about race and American society. He not only wrote about it, but publicly acted on his beliefs. We will be reading all of Baldwin’s major fiction and essays, including Go Tell it on the Mountain , Notes of a Native Son , Giovanni’s Room , Nobody Knows My Name , Another Country , The Fire Next Time , Going to Meet the Man , and Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone . Students should read on their own Richard Wright’s Native Son. Prerequisites: junior standing and two English courses at the 200 level. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

See also English 213 and English 303


Studies in Medieval Literature


English 352 - Studies in Medieval Literature

Love, Lyric, and Melancholy
Full course for one semester. In this course, we will study a selection of Chaucer's lyrics and early narrative poems (The Parlement of Foules, The Book of the Duchess, The Legend of Good Women, and Troilus and Criseyde) with particular attention to the textual constructions of, and relations among, love, poetry, and melancholy. Other readings will include love lyrics from other relevant medieval writers and traditions, and medieval and contemporary texts that represent and theorize love and melancholy (e.g., Boethius, troubadour poetry, Freud, Kristeva). Middle English texts will be read in the original, other medieval texts in translation. Writing assignments will include a response journal and a research paper. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.


Studies in Shakespeare


English 363 - Studies in Shakespeare


Shakespeare and the Politics of the Theatre

Full course for one semester. This course examines Shakespeare’s place within larger cultural controversies—both early modern and twentieth century—about the way that theatre can shape or subvert public and private identity. Though we will sample this larger discussion, the course will focus on how Shakespeare incorporates, implies, and perpetuates the controversy within his own work. Plays to be discussed include Richard II , Henry IV , Henry V , Twelfth Night , Measure for Measure , Hamlet , King Lear , Othello , Cymbeline , and The Winter's Tale . Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Shakespearean Skepticism
Full course for one semester. A study of the way in which Shakespearean theater engages what Stanley Cavell calls the “catastrophe of the modern advent of skepticism.” Among the questions to be addressed are epistemological problems as they relate to tragedy, crises of belief and authority, and the gendering of skepticism. Plays to be read include King Lear , Othello , Hamlet , Much Ado about Nothing , All’s Well that Ends Wel l, and The Winter’s Tale . Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Shakespeare and the Discipline of Culture
Full course for one semester. In early modern England a vigorous debate occurred about the effects of theater on character, a debate that finds its echo in modern discussions of the political and ethical effects of Shakespeare and his place in the canon. After a brief discussion of some central documents in both early modern and contemporary debates, we will examine several of Shakespeare’s plays with particular attention to the way in which they implicitly shape a political subject and a moral self. Among the plays addressed will be Richard III , Henry IV Part I , Henry V , A Midsummer Night’s Dream , Macbeth , Hamlet , The Tempest , and Cymbeline . Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.


Studies in Poetry


English 366 - Studies in Poetry

Pound and H.D.: Varieties of Modernist Experience
Full course for one semester. This course approaches modernism through an in-depth study of two of the most important modernist poets, Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and Hilda Doolittle (1886-1971). We will look at the full trajectories of their careers, the connections and disparities between them, as well as the ways they address issues common to modernism more generally. Issues we will consider are: the development of their poetry out of nineteenth-century and other traditional modes; the place of translation; their conceptions and practice of imagism; the disruptive effects of both world wars; their understanding of gender; their interest in non-poetic media, especially visual art, music, and in the case of H.D., fiction and film; the development of avant-garde linguistic techniques and forms, especially in their work on long poems (i.e., Pound’s Cantos and H.D.’s Helen in Egyp t and Trilogy ); and their critical reception. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, preferably including English 211, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered in 2006-07.

The Lyric, 1789 to the Present
Full course for one semester. A study in the theory, practice and history of the lyric from Romanticism to the present time. The lyric, as one of, if not the most characteristic poetic form, has historically been a fertile ground for both poets and critics to define and contest the constitutive elements of poetry. We will examine one of the most crucial periods in the construction of lyric, romanticism, and the critical and poetic legacy of romanticism for modernism and post-modernism through a reading of major lyric poets from all three periods. Readings and discussion will include a wide range of critical approaches to lyric, focusing on such questions as the constitution of the speaker; the relationship between the speaker and the fictional or real world he inhabits; organic form; the figure of “voice”; the role of intertextuality; the understanding of symbol and allegory within the lyric; the attack on lyric by aesthetic-ideology critics; and aesthetic form as experiment. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above, preferably including English 211, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

English 378 - Free Verse

Full course for one semester. This course will consider the history, practice, and theory of free verse in America from Whitman to the present. We will examine the debates about what constitutes free verse, the role it plays in defining avant-garde movements and forms, its relation to metrical poetry, and some of the most fruitful critical approaches for understanding it, including the poets’ own writings on the poetics of verse form. Among the poets we may read are Whitman, Pound, Eliot, H.D., Williams, Winters, Olson, Creeley, Duncan, Levertov, Ginsberg, Zukovsky, Bishop, Rich, and Lee, as well as selections from neo-formalist and language poets. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, preferably including English 211, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

English 384 - Poetry and History

Contemporary American Poetry
Full course for one semester. This course is devoted to the works of American poets writing since 1945, beginning with the work of writers such as James Wright, Adrienne Rich, W.S. Merwin, and others. We will be concerned with mapping the broad features of various poetic traditions and practices in the United States in the last half of the twentieth century and with an emphasis on the heterogeneous nature of current poetic practice. Prerequisite: English 211 and one upper-division English course in poetry, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

American Modernism
Full course for one semester. Virginia Woolf wrote that on “or about December, 1910, human character changed,” voicing a widely shared excitement over an anticipated revolution in the arts. The American poets who stayed in the U.S. shared this excitement, but also faced unique cultural circumstances. We will do close readings of poetry by Williams, Moore, and Stevens; look at how they were responding to and helping shape American attitudes about the arts; and evaluate the poets’ ideas about poetry’s place and function. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or English 211 and an American history course, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.


Literary Theory


English 393 - Literary Theory

Thinking through Literature
Full course for one semester. This course will attempt a fairly systematic analysis of some central problems in literary theory. Four main topics will be addressed: signs and communication; tropes; narration; spectacle and theatricality. Among others, these philosophers, critics, and theorists will be discussed: Aristotle, Bal, Burke, Davidson, Debord, deMan, Derrida, Grice, Norris, Quintilian, and Weber. Conference. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or higher, or Literature 400, or consent of the instructor. Not offered 2006-07.

Theory and the Ethics of Reading
Full course for one semester. Much of the intellectual energy and emotional reception of contemporary literary theory derives from its ethical implications. Recent assertions about the politics of canon construction, the rhetorical configuration of self and world, and the instability of textual meaning have provoked intense debate among scholars of literature and have greatly distressed some observers outside the circle of professional literary study. After a brief review of such polemics and of the tradition of ethical criticism, this course will examine two different ethical approaches to reading: the “philosophical criticism” of literature, as exemplified by Stanley Cavell, and the deconstructive criticism of Paul de Man and Jacques Derrida. In order better to assess the force and consequence of these approaches, we will consider them in relation to pertinent literary works. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 400 - Introduction to Literary Theory

See Literature 400 for description.
Literature 400 Description


Other Classes


English 328 - Film Theory

 Full course for one semester. This course develops an advanced understanding of film as a complex cultural medium through a critical survey of the principal theories of cinema from the silent era to the 1970s and 1980s. We will study the aesthetic debates that have arisen throughout cinema’s history and explore key theoretical approaches including realist theory, genre criticism, auteur theory, structuralism, and feminist theory. Prerequisites: two 200-level English courses or consent of instructor. Conference.

English 329 - Film and Fiction

Full course for one semester. This course will regard various ways directors have adopted significant novels for the screen, and will study how fictional narrative has been made into filmic narrative, as well as the different techniques for story-telling each medium employs. We will examine the value of “fidelity” as a criterion for assessment, observing the difference between “transfer” and “adoption proper.” And we will look at ways point of view is established in each medium. Some attention will be given to cinematic codes and to the complex ways literary language is rendered in visual terms. Novels and the films adopted from them will be drawn from such authors as Austen, Dickens, Kipling, Hardy, James, Conrad, Steinbeck, Moravia, Nabokov, Cortazar, and Raymond Chandler. Prerequisite: two English or literature courses. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 331 - History of the English Language

Full course for one semester. In this course we will engage in a historical study of the English language including consideration of Old, Middle, and Early Modern English, as well as contemporary forms of British and American English and other varieties of the language currently spoken around the globe. The course will focus in particular on the nature and mechanisms of linguistic change over time as well as the political, social, and other historical conditions related to such changes. We will pay close attention to phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, semantics, and orthography as well as to English’s “external history”—the literature and culture of the different historical periods from the Middle Ages to the present. No previous knowledge of linguistics is required. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 357 - Biblical Narrative: Genesis and After

Full course for one semester. This course examines biblical narratives from Genesis to Job, Ruth, and Chronicles in light of interpretive approaches from midrash to contemporary narrative poetics. Although the course will provide a survey of the Hebrew bible (Tanakh), and some consideration of its socio-historical context, the focus of the course will be literary analysis of selected texts. Readings will include a number of recent studies of the characteristics and conventions of biblical narrative modes, as well as selections from a variety of early modern and recent English translations. This course fulfills the English department requirement for a course in literature prior to 1700. Prerequisite: two courses in English or other literature, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Religion 257. Not offered 2006-07.

English 386 - Literature and the Sister Arts: Theory and Practice

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the relationship between poetry and the sister arts, especially painting and music, from the later eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. While we examine particular paintings, poems, and music, our emphasis will be on the literary understanding of these other arts. The approach to this problem will be both historical and critical, including contemporary theory on representation, gender, and ekphrasis. Topics include the expanding reading, viewing, and listening audiences in the late eighteenth century; the development of literary and art criticism as genres; the ideas of the sublime, the beautiful, and the picturesque; and the nature of the image. Some of the figures we may read are Lessing, Burke, Wordsworth, Blake, Tennyson, Ruskin, Pater, Rossetti, Williams, H.D., Loy, Pound, O’Hara, and Doty. Prerequisite: two English classes at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

English 389 - The Scene of Imprisonment in Western Culture

Full course for one semester. From the ancient Greek religious teaching that the body is “the prison of the soul,” to Michel Foucault’s retort that “the soul is the prison of the body,” the makers of European intellectual history and literature have made imprisonment a metaphor for our existence in the world. Their views have differed radically, however, with regard to the nature and causes of human bondage, and on the question of where, or even whether, incarcerated humanity may look for deliverance. In this course we will survey representations of confinement in major classical, medieval and Renaissance texts from Plato’s Republic and Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy to Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale , Marlowe’s Edward II , Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Milton’s Samson Agonistes . Throughout the semester, we will particularly examine the relationship between prison as a setting for consolation against vanitas mundi (the vanity of worldly existence) and, on the other hand, as a scene of articulate complaint and occasion of political critique. Students’ final research projects may concern the continuities and discontinuities between discourses of incarceration before 1700 and more recent understandings of freedom and unfreedom. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. This course fulfills the requirement for a course in literature prior to 1700. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.


English 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one year.

English 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.




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