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 17th 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 premodern 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 2008-09.

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 2008-09.

Graphic Novel
Full course for one semester. In this course we will consider the historical development of the genre and techniques of the graphic novel in America. Authors will include Lynd Ward, Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Keiji Nakazawa, Art Spiegelman, Frank Miller, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Marjane Satrapi, Lynda Barry, Gene Luen Yang, and others. Our reading of the graphic novel will be contextualized within postmodernism and the changes in the notion of childhood, heroism, and evil in 20th- and 21st-century American culture. This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental elements of narrative and will include analysis of genre, panels, framing devices, layout, speech, plot, and characterization. The course will emphasize close reading of the texts, and there will be frequent writing assignments. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

Form, Style, and Meaning in Cinema
Full course for one semester. This course considers the cinema as a particular media form and explores issues and methods in cinema studies. The class focuses on questions of film form and style (narrative, editing, sound, framing, mise-en-scène) and introduces students to concepts in film history and theory (industry, auteurism, spectatorship, the star system, ideology, genre). We will pay particular attention to principles of film narration and film form that are instrumental across the study of literature: plot vs. story, dramatic development, temporal strategies, character development, point of view, symbolism, reality vs. illusion, visual metaphor, and so forth. Students will develop a basic critical vocabulary for examining the cinema as an art form, an industry, and a system of culturally meaningful representation. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.

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 18th- and 19th-century British novels by Ann Radcliffe, Walter Scott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, 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. Not offered 2008-09.

American Gothic
Full course for one semester. What was haunting America in the 19th century? Gothic literature stages the deepest fears and anxieties in a culture. It exposes not only 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, HermanMelville, 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 2008-09.

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 2008-09.

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 19th and early 20th 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 2008-09.

The Postwar 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 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 counterculture, 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. Not offered 2008-09.

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 18th century and continuing through to the present day. We will look at short critical writings by major narrative scholars in conjunction with examples of the novel’s various subgenres, including the gothic, the marriage plot, the Bildungsroman, the historical novel, the detective novel, the modernist novel, and the postmodern novel. The course will cover major novels by Daniel Defoe, Matthew Lewis, Jane Austen, 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.

The 19th-Century Novel: The Bildungsroman and the Courtship Novel
Full course for one semester. This course examines the two dominant forms of the 19th-century novel, the Bildungsroman, or novel of formation, and the courtship novel. In examining these two forms we will discuss the nature and history of literary genres; narrators and narrative structure; the function of novelistic character; and the concept of realism. We will read a number of critical texts by major scholars of narrative to illuminate these discussions, along with major works by the following novelists: WalterScott, Jane Austen, Honoré de Balzac, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Genres of the Early Novel
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 18th and early 19th centuries. 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, and Walter Scott. 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 2008-09.

Empire and the Novel
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the relationship between Imperialism and the novel, primarily between BritishImperialism and the modern 20th-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, V.S. Naipaul, 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, anticolonial 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. We will also screen films such as The Battle of Algiers, Blade Runner, and Caché. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

British Women Novelists since 1900
Full course for one semester. In this course, using Virginia Woolf's classic feminist literary polemic A Room of One's Own as our point of departure, we will read works by women novelists from the United Kingdom over the span of roughly the last hundred years. We will pay particular attention to the novel's subgenres (such as the realist novel, the romance, the gothic, the Bildungsroman, the modernist novel, the postmodern novel, and the postcolonial novel) and how these forms are shaped and affected by gender. Novelists to be studied might include Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Iris Murdoch, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, A.S. Byatt, and Andrea Levy. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

American Success and Failure
Full course for one semester. An abiding concern of American literature is an obsession with individual success, particularly the conundrum of attaining material success at the expense of other values. Taking classic essays by Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Waldo Emerson as our points of departure, we will examine how 19th- and 20th-century American writers such as Horatio Alger, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Frank Norris, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Nella Larsen have explored that obsession through the form of the novel. We will pay particular attention to the development of literary styles such as regionalism, realism, and naturalism as responses to changes inAmerican culture that likewise shape different novelistic subgenres, such as romance, the realist novel, melodrama, the modernist novel, and the psychological novel. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

For Love or Money: The Victorian Marriage Plot
Full course for one semester. This course offers an introduction to major formal and thematic conventions of Victorian fiction by investigating one of the 19th century’s most celebrated plot lines, the courtship narrative. Reading selected novels and short fiction by Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Thomas Hardy (among others), we will follow the courtship narrative as itcombines—or collides—with other dominant 19th-century plot lines, such as the Bildungsroman, the plot of social mobility, and the story of female self-education. We will examine how plot and perspective link up with, and become inflected by, class and gender. We will also consider what the marriage plot and its late-19th-century unraveling have to tell us about evolving notions of discipline, desire, and development in Victorian fiction and culture. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

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. Not offered 2008–09.

20th-Century Poetry by Women
Full course for one semester. Reading a wide range of innovative 20th-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 currently, we will ask how poetry specifically offers a forum for rethinking 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 2008–09.

English 242 - Introduction to Drama

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 2008-09.

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 BrendanBehan, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, John Osborne, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Pinter. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

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 plays appeared in the late 1950s; and as always, we will look at the work in its social and political contexts. Probable authors will include AnnJellicoe, Shelagh Delaney, John Arden, and Fernando Arrabal. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Modern European VII
Previous incarnations of this course have looked primarily at the realist tradition in European drama from the 1830s to the 1960s. This semester we will pause in the chronology and go back to look at thenonrealist tradition from the 1890s to the 1960s. Likely authors will include Maeterlinck, Briusov, Kandinsky, Marinetti, Tzara, Witkiewicz, Capek, Ghelderode, Anouilh, and Arrabal. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Shakespeare’s Tragedies
Full course for one semester. A study of 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 toward race. We will also read some theories of tragedy. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Shakespeare, Text and Performance
Full course for one semester. This course will consider the relationship between literary analysis and theatrical or cinematic performance in several Shakespearean plays. We will pay particular attention to images of plays and playing in the scripts, to the different political and ethical implications of different performances, and to changes in conventions of representation. In addition to the normal responsibilities of any course, students will be expected to view films and to work up one or two staged readings of a scene. Plays to be examined include King Lear, Othello, The Tempest, Henry V, and Much Ado about Nothing. Lecture and conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Shakespeare's Comedies
Full course for one semester. A study of several "romantic" comedies (Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Twelfth Night), some "problem comedies" (The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure), and a "romance" (The Winter's Tale). The course will focus on such issues in the Shakespeare canon as cross-dressing and the problematic representation of woman's power, madness and irrationality as comic tropes, the court vs. what has been termed "the green world," and the complex interplay between Elizabethan comic conventions and the psychology of dramatic character. In addition we'll read one or two comedies by Shakespeare's contemporary, BenJonson (Volpone, The Alchemist) to see how Jonson treats comedy in an altogether different manner. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Gender and Genre in Shakespeare's Plays
Full course for one semester. In this semester-long survey of Shakespeare's plays, we will focus upon the intersection of gender and genre, both on the Renaissance stage and in more recent adaptations and productions. How does the genre of a given play (tragedy, comedy, romance) affect the audience's expectations of gender roles? Does genre constrain the dramatic representations of femininity, of masculinity, of breaking or bending traditional gender boundaries? Conversely, we will also think about the ways in which Shakespeare potentially uses gender to challenge the audience's notions of what comedies and tragedies can do, and how gender and genre can collide to resist received notions concerning class, authority, identity, familial relations, and ethnic and racial difference. Plays under consideration may include The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, A Winter's Tale, and The Tempest. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

British and Irish Drama from 1956 to the Present
Full course for one semester. From the early days of London’s Royal Court Theatre, a theatre recently described as “the most important theatre in Europe,” to the work of playwrights from Ireland and England’s industrial heartland, companies trained in European physical theatre, and black British and British Asian writers, the past 50 years have been an especially rich period of experimentation and innovation in British and Irish drama. We will read a number of plays from the last five decades and consider their innovations with respect to performance as well as their relationship to social, cultural, and historical phenomena. Though our class discussions will touch upon many issues, the reading list has been designed to highlight five interrelated topics: gender, race, the British Empire, devised and process-based theatre, and affect on the stage. Likely dramatic texts include those of JohnOsborne, Ann Jellicoe, Samuel Beckett, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, Marina Carr, Forced Entertainment, Complicite , Sarah Kane, Debbie Tucker Green, and Roy Williams. We will also read relevant critical and theoretical texts. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or sophomore standing. Conference.

Shakespeare: The Love Plays
Full course for one semester. This course will focus on a range of Shakespeare’s plays (both comedies and tragedies) in which the representation of love is a central concern. This will involve a study of such topics as the language of romance, the construction of gender roles and their deployment in games of love and power, the function of cross-dressing, conflicts of love and war (or love as war), the nature of and dramatic conflict regarding jealousy, the relation of age to love, and the treatment of love as a function of genre. Plays will include Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra. Prerequisite: 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 2008-09.

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 Lukács, 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 2008-09.

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. Not offered 2008-09.

The Composition of a Novel
Full course for one semester. This course will explore the critical methods and a sampling of texts in English literary history by analyzing the composition of Charlotte Brontë'sShirley (1849) in a variety of ways. These will include: 1) close readings of the dialog between this still noncanonical novel with its canonical precursors in drama and epic (e.g., Shakespeare's Coriolanus and Milton's Paradise Lost); 2) questions about the role of Brontë's biography, the influence of her contemporary reviewers, and her recourse to newspaper accounts of the Luddite rebellions and the Napoleonic Wars; 3) Brontë's relations to the intellectual history of her day, especially on matters of national identity, labor economy, and sexual equality (Wollstonecraft, Marx, Engels). We will consider questions of genre, tradition and innovation, canon formation, critical history and gender. 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.

America after the Fall
Full course for one semester. This course, a study of the methods and a sample of the materials of American literary history, will focus on epic and lyric poetry. Texts will include Milton's Paradise Lost and the poetry of Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Phillis Wheatley, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. In addition, there will be substantial reading in literary theory and an extensive critical bibliography project. We will consider questions about genre, literary authority, tradition and innovation, canon formation, and intertextuality. 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.

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
This course will engage in an in-depth study of Ellison's 1952 novel by reading not only the text, but also Ellison's essays and interviews and a substantial amount of the critical history. Additionally, we will read texts alluded to in the novel by Emerson, Twain, Douglass,Washington, Du Bois, Whitman, Garvey, and T.S. Eliot. Students must assemble an annotated bibliography of 25 major essays on and a critical history of one major text covered by the parameters of the course. 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.

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. Not offered 2008-09.

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 2008–09.

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. Not offered 2008-09.

English 311 - Studies in Nonfiction Prose

Autobiography
Full course for one semester. This course will focus on a number of autobiographical texts from the late 18th century to the end of the 20th 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. Not offered 2008–09.

The English Enlightenment and the Modern Intellectual
Full course for one semester. In this course we will read a variety of major 18th-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 Jürgen Habermas. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008–09.


Studies in British Culture


English 337 - Studies in British Culture

British Literature, Colonialism, and Slavery, 1680–1830
Full course for one semester. In this class we will read a series of texts that focus on the nature of national and imperial identity in an age of exploration, conquest, and colonization. Most of the works are British, along with some French, American, and Caribbean texts, and range from canonical texts by writers such as Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, and Jane Austen to journals, letters, autobiographies, and poetry by less well-known authors from the social periphery or margins of empire. Through these readings we will explore two kinds of questions: First, in close readings of the varied forms of these texts (satire, fiction, the memoir and journal, and poetry) we will trace the impact of various literary genres on political arguments and vice versa. Second, we will investigate what national identity is, what it means to be an imperial power, and what the nature of the non-European "other" is in a literary culture fascinated by the possibilities of colonial domination and confronted with the fact of slavery. Associated topics such as the development of a culture of ethnographic and cultural tourism in this period will also be examined. There will also be substantial secondary reading in recent criticism and theory on the questions raised by the readings. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008–09.

The Bloomsbury Group
This course examines the works and cultural impact of the Bloomsbury set, one of the most important of all English cultural movements and one that had an enormous impact on British cultural and social thought in the first half of the 20th century. The course will stress the group's debt to the philosophies of G.E. Moore that emphasized the pleasures of human friendship and aesthetic appreciation, as well as its rejection of the restrictions of Victorian society. Primary attention will be given to the writings of Virginia Woolf, the preeminent figure of the group, but we will also look at the fiction of E.M. Forster and Leonard Woolf; the criticism of Clive Bell and John Maynard Keynes; the art of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, and Duncan Grant; and the biographical writings of Lytton Strachey. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008–09.


Studies in Fiction


English 333 - Studies in Fiction

Postmodern Culture
Full course for one semester. This course will introduce the field of postmodernstudies—in connection with cultural studies and poststructuralism—and a number of issues associated with postmodernity and postmodernism in their cultural, aesthetic, and political dimensions. While the focus is on fiction and theory, we will also examine films and television programs. Prominent among the topics this course covers are globalization, mass culture, terrorism, virtual reality, hypertext, conspiracy, hybridity, pastiche, “the death of the author/subject,” intertextuality, and nostalgia. We will read fiction by authors such as Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Jean Rhys, William Gibson, Kathy Acker, and J.G. Ballard along with selected theoretical writings of Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, Homi Bhabha, Fredric Jameson, Donna Haraway, Michel Foucault, Jean-François Lyotard, and Slavoj Zizek. We will also screen several films, including films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, and RidleyScott. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008–09.

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 2008–09.

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. Intracing 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: twoEnglish courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008–09.

Desire, Sexuality, and the 20th-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 consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008–09.

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, Chrétien de Troyes’s, 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. Bakhtin, 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. Not offered 2008-09.

The Romance
Full course for one semester. In this course we will interrogate the problematic status of the fictional narratives generally classified as romances. Is the romance a historically specific genre, the medieval precursor to the modern novel? Or is it, as Northrop Frye maintains, "the structural core of all fiction"? In thinking through such questions, we will also consider the relationship of the romance to the categories/genres of epic, novel, and history in light of critical discussions by Jameson, Auerbach, Parker, and others. As we move from the Greek romance through the "classic" romances of the Middle Ages and finally on to modern continuations of the form, we will specifically address issues of narrative structure, chivalric vs. heroic identities, and the historical representations of class, gender, and the nation. Texts studied may include Daphnis and Chloe, the romances of Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory's  D'Arthur, Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Sidney's The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, Behn's Oroonoko, Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, and Morris's The Wood Beyond the World. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

The Raj and After: Fictions of English India
Full course for one semester. For almost a hundred 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. Novelists to be studied will include Rudyard Kipling, RabindranathTagore, E.M. Forster, Raja Rao, Paul Scott, and Salman Rushdie. We will also read shorter critical texts by Martha Nussbaum, Benedict Anderson, Edward Said, GayatriChakravorty Spivak, Sunil Khilnani, and Homi Bhabha. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor.

Encyclopedic Fictions: Tristram Shandy, Moby-Dick, Ulysses
Full course for one semester. Edward Mendelson has identified the encyclopedic narrative as a genre crucial to the formation of national cultures by rendering the full range of a nation’s knowledge and beliefs visible by means of the organizing skeleton of epic form. This course will engage with three seminal encyclopedic fictions of the Anglo-American novelistic tradition in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries: Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman; Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick or, The Whale; and James Joyce’s Ulysses. Because encyclopedic fiction makes full use of the resources of literary forms while simultaneously rendering them obsolete, we will use these three challenging novels as test cases against which we will read a variety of critical texts concerning narrative theory and the archive, including works by Jorge Luis Borges, Gyorg Lukács, M.M. Bakhtin, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida. In addition, we will read something about the historical national backgrounds against which these three novels are set. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above.

Black and Asian British Literature
Full course for one semester. Over the past several decades, the work of Britain’s immigrant and native-born ethnic writers has had a truly global impact. This course will offer an in-depth, interdisciplinary examination of black and Asian British literature. First, we will study the origins of Britain’s black and Asian population, particularly in the postwar period. Dominated first by immigrants from the Caribbean and then by immigrants from South Asia, the postwar mass migration of the formerly colonized forever changed the complexion and culture of Britain. Then we will examine the rise of “black British” identity as a response to racism, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s, when it was claimed by individuals of African, Caribbean, and Asian descent. Finally, we will consider the last two decades, when, after the so-called “Rushdie Affair” (the controversy over The Satanic Verses), the notion of Afro-Asian unity began to fall apart. Our readings will be drawn from novelists, poets, and filmmakers such as Sam Selvon, Buchi Emecheta, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Isaac Julien, Black Audio Film Collective, Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Jackie Kay, Monica Ali, and Gautam Malkani. We will also read critical works by Homi Bhabha, HazelCarby, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, C.L. Innes, Kobena Mercer, and others. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

The Literature of Venice
Full course for one semester. What happens when the symbolic use of space, in fiction, is grafted onto a specific place and the living history of a city? We will explore this question through a body of
literature set in the city of Venice. From William Shakespeare to Ann Radcliffe to Thomas Mann, writers have often used Venice to figure a particularly complex relationship to history and modernity, and/or to secrecy, sexuality, and knowledge. We will examine why this city of masks and public spectacles has proved so compelling a setting for Gothic novels, detective fictions, and historical romances. In addition to criticism and theory, our readings will include novels and short stories by (among others) James Fenimore Cooper, Wilkie Collins, and Henry James. Although our focus will be on prose fiction, we will also consider how the literature on Venice has been shaped and illuminated by Venetian histories and travelers’ accounts. Selected film adaptations of the course texts will supplement our analysis. 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 2008–09.

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 2008–09.


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 19th-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 2008–09.

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 precontact Native traditions influence early postcontact 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 anyone of the following: Anthropology 348, Anthropology 372, History 359, History 386, or Spanish 353, or consent of instructor. Conference. Notoffered 2008–09.

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 20th 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 2008–09.

The Borderlands as Imaginary Narrative Space
Full course for one semester. This course will introduce the discourse of “the border” through a range of literary, historical, and cinematic texts situated on or near the U.S./Mexico border. Our goal is to understand not only the vibrant, violent history of the region—and how that history is rendered aesthetically—but to understand how the border is “felt” as a political truth, a geographical fiction, and a psychic tension. This class is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from literary studies, cultural studies, film studies, and Chicano/Latino studies for its operating rubrics. Texts will include Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, and Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera, in addition to works by Ana Castillo, Tomás Rivera, and Sandra Cisneros. Films may include LoneStar, No Country for Old Men, The Searchers, and documentaries by Lourdes Portillo and Bill Brown. Prerequisites: two 200-level English courses. Conference.

Jewish American Literature
Full course for one semester. What is "Jewish" and what is "American" about Jewish American literature? This course will introduce students primarily to Jewish American fiction, with some attention to drama, autobiography, and poetry from the 19th to the 21st century. We will discuss themes such as identity (cultural, ethnic, and religious), exile, gender, history and the Shoah (Holocaust), and issues such as humor, choice of language, and the relationship of Jewish American literature to other minority discourses and to other Jewish literatures. Texts may include work by Anzia Yezierska, Abraham Cahan, Jo Sinclair, Philip Roth, Joanne Greenberg, Chaim Potok, Cynthia Ozick, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Rebecca Goldstein, Melvin Bukiet, AllegraGoodman; David Mamet; Emma Lazarus, Alicia Ostriker, and Robert Pinsky; we will also view and discuss one or more films. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Film Noir
Full course for one semester. As the U.S. moved in the 1940s from a wartime experience to a new, postwar context, works of popular culture expressed both the hopes and fears that came with that transition. For example, a series of postwar films such as the well-known It's a Wonderful Life used magic figures who descended to earth to help lost and bedraggled protagonists find their way again in the confusions of the moment. But the way in which George Bailey's American dream so quickly can become a nightmare suggests an underside to 1940s optimism. In this respect, film noir, a trend of films that started during the war but really exploded in the postwar moment, expresses a bleaker, more bitter and downbeat vision of the historical moment. Here, heroes turn into confused loners caught in the labyrinths and dead ends of the city. Noir expresses tensions around urban life, around sexual roles and identity, around work and success, and so on. This course will examine noir both thematically and stylistically to pinpoint its expressive commentary on social trends and tensions. The course will also attend to the ongoing fascination with—and frequent revival of—noir style and subject matter to study how the social concerns of film noir continue to express complications in the success story of America as a nation. The course will include both films and novels adapted to film or with a distinctly noir aesthetic, including Therese Raquin, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Blank Wall, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Previous coursework in film studies recommended. Conference.

Albee and Kennedy
Full course for one semester. This course will be an in-depth study of the works of two major avant-garde American playwrights who first gained recognition in the 1960s, Edward Albee and Adrienne Kennedy. Albee's works include The Zoo Story, The American Dream, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance, Tiny Alice, and Three Tall Women. Kennedy's work includes Funnyhouse of a Negro, The Owl Answers, A Rat's Mass, and A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

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 19th 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. Du Bois 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 20th century: W.E.B. Du Bois (U.S.A), C.L.R. James (Trinidad), and Richard Wright (U.S.A.). 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 sociocultural 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 12 Million Black Voices (Wright). Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

The Black Radical Tradition II
Full course for one semester. This course continues an examination of the radical solution to the problem of the colonized. This semester we will concentrate on the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. Once again, we will do an in-depth study of three writers rather than a more broad-based survey. The three writers are Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X, and LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, although for the latter we will study him in the larger context of the Black Arts Movement. This will necessitate some attention to other writers such as Larry Neal, Sonia Sanchez, and Harold Cruse. Prerequisite: two English courses 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 2008-09.

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. Not offered 2008-09.

Chaucer
Full course for one semester. The late-14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer is surely one of the greatest masters of irony in English literature. In this course we will study a generous selection of his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales. The first section of the course will focus on developing students' facility with Chaucer's language and with medieval culture through a study of The General Prologue. As we proceed through the tales, we will pay careful attention to Chaucer's representation of gender and class through his use of irony and satire, his manipulation of genre, his relationship to his source materials and to medieval Christian authorities, and his subtle exploration of a poetics of instability. Throughout the course we will also consider and reconsider the implications of Chaucer's ambiguous social status within the Ricardian court, as well the validity of thinking of the poet as a "skeptical fideist." Students will learn to read Middle English fluently by the end of the semester, though no previous experience with early forms of English is required. 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 20th 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 2008-09.

Shakespearean Skepticism
Full course for one semester. A study of the way in which Shakespearean theatre 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 Well, and The Winter’s Tale. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Shakespeare and the Disciplines of Culture
Full course for one semester. In early modern England a vigorous debate occurred about the effects of theatre 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. This course 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 IIHenry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and The Tempest. 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 (1888–1971). 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 19th-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 nonpoetic 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 Egypt 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 2008-09.

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 postmodernism 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. Not offered 2008-09.

Image, Body, Text
Full course for one semester. This course examines poetry, painting, and criticism from the Victorian and Modern periods, investigating how the notion of the image was conceptualized and, in particular, how it is connected to the representation of the body. We will investigate such issues as the relationship between vision and textuality, the nature of spectatorship and beholding, the politics of the aestheticized image, and the image as the locus for the performance of gender and sexuality. Readings may include works of Tennyson, the Brownings, D.G. Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Pater, Ruskin, Pound, H.D., Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Frank O'Hara, and Mark Doty as well as theory and criticism drawn from literature and art history. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Not offered 2008-09.

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 neoformalist and language poets. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or above, preferably including English 211, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

English 384 - Poetry and History

Contemporary American Poetry
Full course for one semester. This course is devoted to the works of American poets writing after 1945, beginning with poets ranging from Richard Wilbur to Charles Olson and ending with those writing now. While the class will focus on specific texts, we will also consider questions about the relationships between poetry, poetics, and American culture, trying to map the broad features of various poetic traditions and practices in the United States in the last half of the 20th century, with an emphasis on the heterogeneous nature of poetic practices. Prerequisite: English 211 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

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.


Literary Theory


English 400 - Introduction to Literary Theory

See Literature 400 for description.
Literature 400 Description

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, Austen, Bal, Burke, Davidson, de Man, Derrida, Grice, Habermas. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level or higher, or Literature 400, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Theory and the Ethics of Reading
Full course for one semester. Since Aristotle, literary criticism has always had an ethical dimension, even if not always foregrounded. This course will examine several approaches to understanding the relationship between literature and ethical analysis. Among the theorists to be considered will be Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, Paul de Man, and Jacques Derrida. We will test theory against some works of literature, among them Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Prerequisite: two English courses at the 200 level, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.


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 survey of the principal theories of cinema from the silent era to the present. Some of the key theoretical approaches this course introduces include realist theory, genre criticism, auteur theory, structuralism, psychoanalytic film theory, feminist theory, and postcolonial film theory. Prerequisites: junior standing and English courses at the 200 level or above, including an introductory film course. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

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 storytelling 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 2008-09.

English 330 - Exploration and Travel Narratives, Self and Other

A study of voyaging, exile, and homecoming in a range of narratives, from epic, drama, fiction, and travel writing. These are "liminal" texts, with figures who cross borders, and who may transgress against the familiar and fantasize a freedom otherwise denied to them. There are twin interests here: on the new land to be explored and its people, and on the consciousness of the explorer. We will engage such questions as: why does the protagonist voyage? Why does he or she write or tell stories? What shape or plot does the narrator give to the journey? What is the nature of "the exotic" and what ethnocentric assumptions and valorizations are implicit in designating an "other" defined against the normalized "self?" do such texts emphasize universalism or relativism? What is the relation of the new place to "home"? The texts may include Homer's Odyssey, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Flaubert's Letters from Egypt, Lawrence's Sea and Sardinia, Greene's Journey without Maps, Canetti's Voices of Marrakech, Eco's Travels in Hyperreality, and Barthes' Empire of Signs. Prerequisites: two English courses at the 200 level or above. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

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 sociohistorical 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 2008-09.

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 18th through the 20th 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 18th 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.

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 2008-09.


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 the instructor and the division.




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