Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Graduate Studies in English

Spring 2013 Course Descriptions

400- and 500-Level Literature Courses

402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, Prior. MW 3:30-4:45 (CRN 32124)
same as BTW 402
Area Requirement: None

This course introduces different approaches to studying and analyzing English language and language practices. We will consider traditional and modern systems for describing English grammar, how registers form and operate, relationships between talk and text, the interaction of visual and linguistic dimensions of texts, approaches to grammar instruction, some sociological dimensions of language use, and language practices in everyday environments. Course requirements include reading, in-class and out-of-class writing and exercises, participation in class activities, two short analysis papers, and a final project.

Area Requirement: None

Language variation and change from the earliest forms of English to the present day, with emphasis on the rise of Standard English and the social, geographic, and cultural aspects of linguistic change in English.

404 U3/G4 ENGL GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS, Davidson. MWF 2 (CRN 43879)
same as EIL 422
Area Requirement: None

Adaptation of modern English grammar to meet the needs of the ESL/EFL teacher, with special emphasis on the development of knowledge and skills that can be used in the analysis of the syntax, lexis and pragmatics of English.

same as MDVL 410, CWL 417
TOPIC: Troilus and Criseyde: Love and Loss in Medieval Troy
Area Requirement: British, Beginning to 1485 and MFA Literature

Dramatically set in the midst of the Trojan War, the story of the tragic love affair between the Trojan prince Troilus, youngest son of Priam and Hecuba, and the beautiful young Trojan widow Criseyde, daughter of the turncoat priest Calchas, was told and retold for more than five hundred years. A minor character in the ancient sources, Troilus was transformed into a romance hero by the twelfth-century French writer Benoît de Sainte-Maure. His exploits as warrior and lover were recounted in the thirteenth-century Latin history of the Trojan War by Guido de Columnis, and in the following century he became the hero of his own poem, written in Italian by Giovanni Boccaccio. Boccaccio’s work was the major source for Chaucer’s version of the story, which was considered Chaucer’s masterpiece during his lifetime and for centuries afterward. The Scots poet Robert Henryson even wrote a sequel to complete Criseyde’s part of the story. William Shakespeare recast Chaucer’s narrative still more radically as a play, which John Dryden subsequently reshaped into a proper neoclassical tragedy with Cressida as tragic heroine. We will read all of these versions--those by Benoît, Guido, and Boccaccio in modern English translations, the others in the original English—but will focus especially on the brilliant treatments of the story by Chaucer and Shakespeare. Prominent topics of discussion will include the characterization of Criseyde and the issue of female desire, the relationship between public and private history, and the changing conceptions of tragedy.

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE. MWF 1 (CRN 54465)
Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 and MFA Literature

English 418 is a survey of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Reading assignments will reflect the generic diversity and historical breadth of Shakespeare’s work.

418 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE, Kay. TUTH 12:30-1:45 (CRN 54469)
Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 and MFA Literature

We will look at eight plays, starting with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Henry the Fourth, Part One, and Twelfth Night. After the mid-term exam we’ll consider Othello (the tragic counterpart to Much Ado), Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare’s great Roman history), and King Lear, a tragic treatment of the theme of folly found in Twelfth Night. We will conclude with The Winter’s Tale, a late romance in which jealous passion like that in Othello results in reconciliation and forgiveness. We’ll talk together about the nature of Shakespeare’s poetic language, characterization, and plotting; about the way his dramatic artistry is influenced by the conditions of the Elizabethan stage; about his conceptions of gender and social roles; and about many of his recurring themes. Class sessions will include video excerpts chosen to illustrate the plays’ dramatic interest and power.

Course work will include the mid-term and final exams, two papers of 6-7 pages apiece, and quizzes or in-class writing on the daily readings. Texts will be the newly revised Signet Shakespeare editions of the plays.

418 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE. MWF 11 (CRN 54884)
Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 and MFA Literature

English 418 is a survey of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Reading assignments will reflect the generic diversity and historical breadth of Shakespeare’s work.

421 1U/1G LATER RENAISS POETRY & PROSE, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45 (CRN 32147)
ea Requirement: British, 1485-1660 and MFA Literature

Most literary historians like to claim their period as a turning point, but scholars of the seventeenth-century have an edge: in 1649, the English took the unprecedented step of trying their King for treason and then beheading him. In this course we will explore the artistic and intellectual questioning that characterizes seventeenth-century poetry and prose. Focusing on some of the major poets and prose writers of the time, we will lay out some of the traditional ideas about literature, religion, politics, and gender as they occur early in the century, and then watch as they mutate in the context of Revolutionary debate.

423 1U/1G Milton, Perry. TUTH 11-12:15 (CRN 45971)
Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 and MFA Literature

This course examines the life and work of the hugely influential and inarguably great poet John Milton (1608-1674).

That is more complicated than it sounds, though, since in addition to the grand poems for which he is chiefly remembered, Milton wrote a wide variety of kinds of poetry and prose and was an active and engaged participant in an enormously turbulent stretch of British history. In addition to being a poet, he was at different times known to his contemporaries as a brilliant polemicist with an international audience, a government spokesman, a controversial religious thinker, a licentious divorcer, a heretic, and an old, blind outcast. And Milton himself saw life and poetry as inextricably interconnected, as is suggested by this remarkable assertion: “he who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem, that is, a composition and pattern of the best and honourablest things; not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men or famous cities unless he have in himself the experience and practice of all that which is praiseworthy” (An Apology for Smectymnuus, 1642). It is the premise of this class, therefore, that understanding Milton’s writing requires attention to history and biography—to the controversies and contexts to which it responds and in which it took shape.

We will spend approximately half the semester delving into the three late, major works of poetry that are the basis of Milton’s towering canonical status: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. We will also read selections from his earlier poetry and from the polemical writings that were his main focus during the civil war and interregnum period in Britain. Only reliable, inexpensive editions of the primary texts will be required for purchase, though some modern biographical and/or critical writings may also be assigned in order to help bring out crucial interpretive questions. Classes will be conducted as a loose combination of lecture and discussion, as the material demands, and students can expect to be assessed on 2 short(ish) paper assignments, a midterm and a final exam, and some kind of regular in-class writing prompts designed to encourage thoughtful and consistent engagement with the primary texts in between class sessions.

Milton, in all of his writings, grapples with a set of questions—about liberty, equality, patriotism, duty, marriage, gender, learning, faith, writing, aesthetics, citizenship, ethics etc.—that are powerfully interrelated for him and that are still of urgent concern in numerous ways today. Students who read his writing with care can expect to be challenged, enlightened, angered, and delighted by turns. Who could ask for anything more?

429 1U/1G 18TH CENTURY FICTION, Wilcox. TUTH 12:30-1:45 (CRN 43201)
Area Requirement: British, 1660-1800 and MFA Literature

In this course we will examine the murky origins, the unsettling possibilities, and the glorious rise of the novel. As we read some of the early fictions that defined this emerging genre and shaped its early development, you will gain insight into the power of novels to teach, to question, and to accommodate changing definitions of nation, class, and family. You will also get to read some engrossing stories that will challenge your assumptions about what life was like three hundred years ago. Readings will include Haywood, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Winkfield, Burney, and Walpole. Assignments will include regular participation on the course blog, a class presentation, and a multi-stage research project.

442 1U/1G BRITISH LIT SINCE 1930, I. Baron. TUTH 12:30-1:45 (CRN 32177)
Area Requirement: British, 1900 to Present and MFA Literature

At the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, director Danny Boyle created a pageant of British history entitled Isles of Wonder that evoked two conflicting views of the island-nation’s past, present and future. Beginning with the pastoral idylls of Shakespeare’s England, Boyle conjures up an easy life of shepherds and shepherdesses at one with nature on this sceptered isle set in the silver waters of the North Atlantic. But the rarified air of this Edenic landscape is soon contaminated by the engines of capitalism, churning up soot and human misery in the dark, Satanic mills of England’s green and pleasant land. Boyle’s spectacle of a British utopia decimated by technology became an overarching literary theme in the hands of twentieth century writers as the hazards of mechanization led to two World Wars and a complete restructuring of the sociopolitical system that had dominated the island nation since the Norman Conquest.

In this course, we’ll explore the effect that the second wave of the Industrial Revolution had on Britain and the lasting impact of technology on reconfiguring British political paradigms in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We’ll examine the image of the crumbling British estate house as industrialization drove millions of individuals to the cities looking for work to escape poverty prior to WWI, and how the cities themselves transposed into icons of urban decay. In the midcentury modernist period, as the Welfare State emerged and the country rebuilt itself up from the ashes of the Blitz, we’ll concentrate on the rise of the Labour party and how it shaped the mindset of working class writers. And finally, as we approach and pass the new millennium, we’ll explore how the media, the internet, terrorism and biotechnology have the power to permanently enhance or destroy Britain—creating another pastoral utopia or a dark dystopian universe where no one survives.

Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions and to give an oral report during the course of the semester. There will be three papers and a final project. Novels and films may include: Brave New World, Atonement, Brideshead Revisited, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, A Clockwork Orange, Once Upon a Time in England, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Golden Compass, Shaun of the Dead, Never Let Me Go and The Children of Men.

450 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1865-1914, T. Newcomb. TUTH 11-12:15 (CRN 39267)
Area Requirement: American, Civil War to present and MFA Literature

In fifty years between the end of a devastating civil war and the beginning of a global war, the United States changed from a sprawling, contentious jumble of special interests into the world’s foremost industrial and imperial power. The literature produced by Americans during this half-century vividly reflects that period of transformation. This course will focus on texts in a variety of genres that respond to the defining agents of transformation: the emergence of the American metropolis, the growth of national imperial ambitions, ongoing tensions in racial, gender, and class relationships, and the increasing dominance of machine technologies over everyday life. Students should expect formal essays and informal writing assignments, a class presentation, and a final exam.

452 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1945-PRESENT, Parker. MWF 10 (CRN 32199)
Area Requirement: American, Civil War to present and MFA Literature

In studying nearly seventy years of prolific writing, we cannot pretend to find a representative sample in one semester, but we will read a set of works that will provoke our interest for their variety of forms, styles, and topics, the dialogues they set up with each other and with readers, and the portraits they offer of American literature and culture since World War II. The highly tentative reading list includes Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ursula K. LeGuinn’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Margaret Edson’s Wit, Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine, Ray Young Bear’s Black Eagle Child, and Percival Everett’s Erasure. Where appropriate, we will watch clips from films based on the readings. We will also explore the world of contemporary literary journals, in print and online. Students who prefer to stay quiet in class should not take this course, because we will focus on discussion, and all students will be expected to join the dialog.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Spires. MWF 1 (CRN 32205)
OPIC: Richard Wright: Texts and Contexts
meets with AFRO 498
Area Requirement: American, Civil War to present and MFA Literature

This course uses Richard Wright’s (1908-1960) life and work as a guide for discussing literary technique, genre, media technologies, and forms of cultural criticism. We will pay particular attention to Wright’s (and our) reading of power (raced, classed, gendered, etc.) in the U.S. and the world. Beginning with “Blueprint for Negro Writing” and Uncle Tom’s Children we will discuss the role of the artist in society, Wright’s use of a Marxist analysis, and his arguments about folk culture. By mid-semester, we will have encountered multiple forms (prose fiction and nonfiction, poetry, film, and photography), leading to a larger conversation about cultural transformations in the U.S. between the Great Depression and the conclusion of World War II. We will conclude the semester with The Outsider and a discussion of Wright’s notion of a human right to “think and feel honestly” in the context of anti-colonialism. Aside from Richard Wright, we will read a sampling from contemporaries including Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Ann Petry, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison. We will also work through theoretical frameworks from critical race and gender studies, postcolonial studies, and documentary studies.

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. TUTH 2-3:50 (CRN 32210)
TOPIC: David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and the Age of Perpetual Crisis
Area Requirement: Film

Over the last decade, we’ve grown quite accustomed to hearing politicians talk about economic crises, military crises, and even religio-historical crises. We live in an age where the crisis, the state of exception, never really seems to end. By focusing on the films that David Fincher and Christopher Nolan directed between 1995 and 2012—the era of New Media and instant news coverage—this course will examine how the psychology of mass-fear has re-mapped the ideological terrain of contemporary society. Framed to some extent by the horrors provoked by 9/11, Nolan and Fincher produced a series of films that both predicted disaster and responded to the failure of Western economic and military power. Along the way, films such as ‘fight Club” and “The Dark Knight” interrogate some of our deepest psychological concerns about modern masculinity, sadism, masochism, and consumer culture. By examining what’s at stake in the Nolan/Fincher films from this period, we will attempt to engage with the often concealed and genuinely troubling concerns about our society and ourselves that these films have come to embody.

The course will meet twice a week in a lab format. Course requirements include two 8 page research papers, 1 in-class presentation, a daily reading journal, and two exams.

455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, Markley. TUTH 9:30-10:45 (CRN 44786)
TOPIC: Jane Austen
Area Requirement: British, 1660-1800 and MFA Literature

This course will focus on the major works of one of the most important novelists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Jane Austen, as well as works by two of her contemporaries, Frances Burney and Elizabeth Inchbald. We will read Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion—as well as a variety of texts on the socioeconomic, political, and cultural contexts of the period. We will pay particular attention to the changing roles of women authors between 1770 and 1830, and examine at length Austen’s depictions of the problems confronting their heroines in a patriarchal society. Burney’s Evelina and Inchbald’s A Simple Story will offer somewhat different perspectives on these problems. Students will write three short papers (4-5 pages), a midterm, and a final exam.

455 SU MAJOR AUTHORS, Sobol. TUTH 2-3:20 (CRN 32212)
Meets with RUS 323, CWL 323
TOPIC: Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Area Requirement: None

Immerse yourself into the world of Tolstoy’s immortal masterpiece and follow the characters’ tortuous paths throughout some of the most tumultuous times of Russian history. This is probably your only chance to ever read War and Peace in its entirety!

For undergraduate students, no knowledge of Russian is necessary.

460 1U/1G LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, Petty. MW 3:30-4:45 (CRN 40853)
TOPIC: “In these words” Oral History as Literary Form
Area Requirement: American, Civil War to Present and MFA Literature

In this seminar, we will explore oral history as a contemporary literary genre. Reading a range of texts, including interviews with former slaves (collected by the WPA Project in the 1930s), Damballah, a collection of short stories by John Wideman, and Studs Terkel’s Working, we will study a variety of approaches to the preservation of memory. Keeping in mind the multifaceted history of oral history, these assigned texts will be contextualized as artifacts, works of arts, social studies; each will be closely examined in terms of rhetoric, aesthetic and politics. Key to student comprehension will be the careful consideration of the dynamics between interviewee/subject and interviewer/author. Invariably this examination will confront issues of editorial authority, ethics, and informed consent. Equally crucial to our dialogue will be an ongoing focus on the complexity of memory itself.

460 ONU/ONG LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, D. Wright. Online, 2nd 8 week section (CRN 59138)
TOPIC: America at the Nadir: Race and Representation from Twain to Hurston
Area Requirement: American, Civil War to Present and MFA Literature

This course will use a multi-disciplinary approach to explore the perceived role, or “place,” of blacks and other marginalized groups (including women and the poor) in US society as it was represented in popular forms of expression, such as literature, film, theater and music at the turn of the twentieth century. We will begin with cultural production from the Reconstruction and progress through the Harlem Renaissance and explore such themes as identity and representation; “black face” minstrelsy; “manifest destiny” and modernity; etc.

461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Somerville. TUTH 9:30-10:45 (CRN 39306)
TOPIC: American Narratives of Passing
Area Requirement: British, 1660-1800 and MFA Literature

Recent critical and theoretical work on identity has drawn attention to the phenomenon of passing, that is, the movement from one identity to another, across lines of race, gender, or sexual orientation. We will study a range of texts—including fiction, autobiography, and film—that have portrayed or enacted various kinds of passing in the United States. Along the way, we will become acquainted with contemporary theories of identity. Our guiding questions will include: To what extent does the act of passing reinforce or unhinge seemingly natural categories of race, gender, or sexual orientation? What are the connections or disjunctions between closeting and crossing the color line? How might literary texts themselves pass? How do different historical and political contexts shape passing narratives and their reception? To what extent does passing across one axis of difference unsettle other categories of identity? The course format will be primarily discussion, with frequent opportunities for you to shape these and other questions.

462 1U/1G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Foote. TUTH 2-3:15 (CRN 32235)
TOPIC: Narrative and Waste in U.S. Culture
Area Requirement: American, Civil War to present and MFA Literature

“Waste” is a charged word: individuals are castigated for wasting time, talent, money, or opportunity; bodies can waste away; people can get wasted; ruined landscapes become lonely wastes. Waste is also, of course, a way of separating out material that is useful and valuable from trash and garbage. Waste counter-intuitively suggests excess and abandon as well as scarcity and neglect. This class looks at twentieth-century U.S. narratives about waste in its material, moral, and symbolic incarnations, exploring how the idea of waste itself has generated new kinds of relations between individuals and the culture that surrounds them. In particular, we will look at new kinds of narratives that have emerged around the idea of waste, including creative non-fiction, memoirs, and blogs about lifestyle practices and environmental concerns; and we will pay special attention to what it means that the form of imaginative narratives themselves—television, certain kinds of novels, and blogs, among others—have long been considered “wastes of time.” The class will include units on food and food writing; science fiction; narratives about hoarding; contemporary nonfiction about environmental anxiety; and narratives about ewaste and digital reading and writing. This class has two aims: to look first at how modern U.S. narrative has defined its cultural work through various meditations on the generative power of waste and wastefulness; and to look at the rise of the explanatory power of ecological criticism for theories of narrative. Course requirements include 4 essays, one final exam, and a collaborative project.

475 1U/1G LIT AND OTHER DISCIPLINES, Byrd. TUTH 11-12:15 (CRN 43335)
TOPIC: Literature, Video Games, and Zombies
Area Requirement: None

Despite the fact that video games have been coded, shared, and played for at least 40 years, video games continue to be dismissed as mindless entertainment at best and violent time-wasters at worst. In fact, Roger Ebert went so far as to assert that video games can never be art. And yet, in 2011, the Supreme Court determined that, “like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world).” This class will consider the relationship between literature and video games by looking at the shared and divergent narrative strategies that each medium uses to construct worlds and tell stories. Over the course of the semester, we will read novels that inspired video games, look at how video game play transforms novels, in addition to considering some of the larger questions emerging from video game studies. What are games and where do they fit within cultural, literary, racial, social, and gender studies? How do technologies and mediums affect access to and experience of story? What are the cultural and social ideas communicated through games and how do the means of their production function within global economies? Students will be expected to play video games, participate in class discussions, and produce a final project. Texts may include: Assassin’s Creed, Vladimir Bartol’s Alamut, Christine Love’s Analogue: A Hate Story, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Bioshock, Braid, Left4Dead, Parasite Eve, Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, Katherine Amt Hanna’s Breakdown, and Stephen Graham Jones’s The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti in addition to critical work focusing on the development of games and game studies.

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Russell. MW 2-3:15 (CRN 44165)
rea Requirement: Critical Theory for Writing Studies students only. Fulfills no
requirement for Literature students.

The constellation of skills that comprise composition—invention, selection, combination, construction, framing, curation, reasoning, argument, presentation, delivery, and so on—have been taught in Western worlds since classical time. This course will review the long and rich history of composition theory in order to understand what composition has been (e.g., an craft, an art, a civic action, a moral exercise), who composition has served (e.g., citizens, lawyers, preachers, social climbers, students, activists), and what composition has helped people accomplish (e.g., persuasion of others, expression of self, disruption of social order). We will consider how these historical theories of composition inflect the approaches to teaching composition that have emerged in the last fifty years, including pedagogies grounded in process theory, expressivism, social constructivism, feminism, multimodality, and multiculturalism. In light of these historical and contemporary contexts, we will articulate our own goals as writers and teachers of writing, asking what practices will allow us to achieve our goals in the contexts of the communities in which we live and teach.

504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, Kaganovsky. MW 3-4:50 (CRN 43352)
same as MACS 504, CWL 504
Area Requirement: Film

This semester the course begins with a review of basic and formative film theory, understood within the historical context in which it was and is written and received. Building on this groundwork, the course then moves on to consider rhetorical aspects of film theory and asks what theories film scholars can use to address the relationships among film, politics, and society.

506 G WRITING STUDIES II, Russell. W 3:30-5:20 (CRN 37165)
same as CI 564
meets with ENGL 582, CI 565
TOPIC: Genre Emergence and Change
Area Requirement: Writing Studies

Over the past half century, scholars in a variety of disciplines have worked to redefine genre—to shift its theoretical pulse from form and content to action and ecology. That is, we have moved from understanding genres as a means of defining and classifying texts toward understanding them as orchestrations of social and ideological events. Both old and new definitions of genre maintain that genres are mostly, and most importantly, patterns already in place, occurrences already recognized as recurrences. How then does the pattern (in form, content, situation, exigence, audience, action) take and then shift shape? How do genres emerge, change, proliferate, perhaps fade, even die? How do emergent genres relate to established ones? How to genre writers suggest genres-to-be or genres-becoming? How do audiences come to recognizes generic exigences and genres as exigences? This seminar will explore questions of genre emergence and change, offering participants the opportunity to explore rhetorical genre theory as well as questions of power and cultural production activated in genre work.

508 G BEOWULF, C. Wright. MW 3:30-4:45 (CRN 43342)
same as MDVL 508
Area Requirement: British, Beginning to 1485 and MFA Literature

Hwæt! In this course we will read the entire poem Beowulf in the original Old English. Beowulf is one of the finest long poems in the English language from any period (just ask Seamus Heaney), and how often do you get to immerse yourself in a great literary work for an entire semester? As we translate the poem we will discuss literary, historical, and cultural problems in conjunction with a selection of the best literary criticism from J. R. R. Tolkien’s landmark essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” to the most recent approaches, such as critical monster theory.

Course requirement: one research paper of about 15-20 pages (no exams). Prerequisite: Reading knowledge of Old English (English 407 or equivalent).

Undergraduates who have taken Old English (English 407) are welcome! Just send me an e-mail <> so I can send you the necessary instructor’s permission to enroll in a 500-level class; then take my note to the Graduate Studies Office in the English Building (Room 210) to enroll (you won’t be able to do it online).

Texts: Klaeber’s Beowulf, 4th ed., ed. R. D. Fulk, R. Bjork, and J. Niles; A Beowulf Handbook, ed. Bjork
and Niles

514 F TOPICS IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE, C. Wright. F 2:30-4:30 (CRN 39309)
TOPIC: The Vercelli Book
Same as MDVL 514, CRN 39310

Area Requirement: British, Beginning to 1485 and MFA Literature

We will read the Old English poetry (Andreas, Elene, The Dream of the Rood, Soul and Body I, and Homiletic Fragment I) and prose (homilies I-XXIII) in the Vercelli Book miscellany, focusing on the adaptation of Christian-Latin sources and models in individual texts as well as the compilation and arrangement of the manuscript as a whole. Are there significant structural, thematic, devotional, or liturgical patterns in the various groupings of homilies and poems? Is it possible to situate the collection in the context of tenth-century Anglo-Saxon cultural and political history, including the Benedictine Reform? Was it intended for monks, or canons, or laypersons?

We'll read as much of the poetry as we can in Old English, but some in translation; we'll read a few of the homilies in Old English and the rest in translation.

G. P. Krapp, The Vercelli Book, The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records vol. 2 (Columbia UP)
D. G. Scragg, The Vercelli Homilies, Early English Text Society, o.s. 300 (Oxford UP)

524 R SEMINAR IN 17TH C LITERATURE, L. Newcomb. TH 1-2:50 (CRN 32264)
TOPIC: Popular and Print Cultures in Early Modern Britain, 1600 to 1665
Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 and MFA Literature

This seminar explores new forms emerging from London stages, studies, and presses for Britain’s growing audiences: drama performance and playbooks, ballads as both sung and published; prose fictions of empire, original and recycled; tomes on health, gender, and devotion remediated as chapbooks; learned defenses of the press and scurrilous news pamphlets. As that list suggests, early documents often fall into pairs of performed and published texts, or scholarly and popularizing texts, linked by bibliography but produced and consumed for different, but overlapping, audience segments. These varied social uses were sometimes, but not always, re-defined during the upheaval of civil war at mid-century. Students will engage these pairings both individually, to share their case studies conference-style, and collaboratively, to build a new model of the period’s compound and intersecting literacies. We’ll test whether less-studied forms of cultural production can be recovered and understood using a print-culture focus and tools that range from early printed materials to burgeoning digital applications; up to one-third of our class meetings will be in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Secondary readings will emphasize such questions as the multiplicity of readers’ practices, the alleged conservatism of popular tastes, and the instability of emergent media—problems transferrable well beyond seventeenth-century Britain.

TEXTS: will include The Book History Reader, ed. Finkelstein and McCleery, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2006); course packets.

527 T SEMINAR IN 18TH C LITERATURE, Markley. TH 3:30-5:20 (CRN 32265)
TOPIC: Climate and Culture: 1600-1830
Area Requirement: British, 1660-1800 and MFA Literature

1850 marks the end of the so-called “Little Ice Age” in Europe, a period when colder temperatures over northwestern Europe led to volatile weather patterns, increased storminess, shorter growing seasons, cycles of poor harvests, hunger, food riots, and even starvation. For more than two hundred years, major English writers from Shakespeare to Wordsworth and Austen charted, in subtle and fascinating ways, the intersections of climate and literary culture. In approaching writing about the environment before and during the development of Romantic understandings of the natural world, this seminar extends the boundaries of “ecocriticism” and interdisciplinary studies. While no specialized knowledge about ecology is required, we will discuss some of the ways in which early-modern and Enlightenment attitudes toward climate and environment shape our own perceptions of the natural world in the twenty-first century.

During the course of the semester, we will read a wide range of texts, including travel accounts, landscape and georgic poetry, natural histories, and natural history writing. The seminar will offer you the opportunity to study specific climatic episodes, such as the El Nino of 1740-44, which produced the last mass starvation in Europe, and the “Year without a Summer,” 1816, the consequence of a volcanic dust cloud, which brought food riots to France and Britain, a refugee crisis to New England, and led to Mary Shelley’s writing Frankenstein. You are encouraged to develop independent research projects that focus on the interplay between literary texts and climatological history, and your seminar paper should reflect your interests in the period, approaches that you find useful and exciting, and the needs of your graduate career.

543 T SEMINAR MOD BRITISH LIT, Mahaffey. TH 3-4:50 (CRN 43359)
TOPIC: The End of Omniscience: Stylistic Revolution(s) in the Modernist Novel
Area Requirement: British, 1900 to Present and MFA Literature

One of the famous innovations of the modernist novel was that it dispensed with the omniscient third-person narrator. But what replaced that narrator? The usual answer is the “stream-of-consciousness” technique, or else “multiple perspectives.” This course is designed to inventory the problem, trace the history of the suggested solution(s), and finally to formulate the various kinds of stylistic “replacements” for omniscience were devised by both male and female writers. In some sense, the Modernist novel might be understood as a kick-back to the eighteenth-century epistolary novel, except that the communication of a character’s thoughts is not usually recorded in letters, nor is it addressed to a recipient or designed to convey a specific message. However, one could argue that the narration is re-embodied; or, to put it a little differently, the source of the narrative is often an individual body rather than a “divine” mind or even the mind of an older person, broadened by experience. Narrative becomes less retrospective, more rooted in the unfolding experience of the present moment and constrained by the limitations of the senses and the individual memory.

We will begin with Flaubert, as one should in a course on the Modernist novel. Madame Bovary is arguably the novel that inaugurated the changes that would become “modernist,” while maintaining many of the features of the nineteenth-century realist novel. We will then move to Edouard Dujardin’s The Bays are Sere, which Joyce referred to as the first novel that used the stream-of-consciousness technique throughout. We will look at the invention of the term (first used by William James), and then examine the first volume of Pilgrimage by Dorothy Richardson, who was not only the first woman but the first English writer to use the technique. We will read one or two novels by May Sinclair, who used the term to describe Richardson’s accomplishment, and we will also explore the narrative styles of Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Bowen. Finally, we will return to Flaubert’s Temptation of St. Anthony in preparation for a reading of Joyce’s Ulysses, where we will examine how narration began to explode more fully into drama, dramatizing not only the conscious but the unconscious minds of his protagonists (especially in the “Circe” episode). We will conclude with an episode of Finnegans Wake, where narrative has been dislodged from the individual body, dissolved into the landscape, language, and darkness.

Requirements include a one-page essay to be presented orally, and a 15-20 page seminar paper. Shorter response paragraphs may also be required.

547 E SEMINAR EARLIER AMERICAN LIT, Murison. W 1-2:50 (CRN 39293)
TOPIC: Secularism and Early U.S. Fictions
Area Requirement: American, Beginning to Civil War and MFA Literature

This seminar explores the vibrant recent debate over secularism and secularization. Long a structuring principle of literary study, the assumption that modernity is marked by an ineluctable secularization has been called into question both by geopolitical events and scholars of the humanities and social sciences. While engaging with these debates directly, this seminar will also use them to study a paradox in the early United States: that during the decades of disestablishment of state-supported churches, religiosity rose rather than waned. The early Republic and antebellum eras gave us the “separation of church and state” and the Second Great Awakening; provoked the creation of new religious communities and the often violent responses to them; and experienced the evangelizing of abolitionism that spurred the urgency of such figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. Over the course of the semester, we will examine the relation between belief and secular culture theoretically and historically, with a particular focus on fiction. In great part, our consideration will be how fictional genres gave popular expression to both faith and unbelief, and how new theories of the secular revise commonly held assumptions about the role of fiction in the new nation. More broadly, then, theories about secularism will ultimately allow us to rethink the larger narratives about American literature, those inherited from the founding works in American Studies and those still operational today. To that end, we will read theoretical works on secularism by such scholars as Charles Tayler, Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, and José Casanova; studies of American religion, secularism, and literature by Tracy Fessenden, David Paul Nord, Joanna Brooks, and Susan Griffin, among others; and histories of American fiction and American religion. Our case studies may include works by novelists such as Charles Brockden Brown, Royall Tyler, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, George Lippard, Augusta Jane Evans, Herman Melville and Harriet Beecher Stowe as well as tracts from the American Tract Society, polemical works attacking such groups as Masons and Catholics, and the print culture of sentimental evangelical Protestantism.

578 G SEMINAR LIT AND OTHER DISCIPLINES, Michelson. M 3-4:50 (CRN 39658)
TOPIC: The Mind Sciences and Modern Cultural Response
Area Requirement: None and MFA Literature

We will focus on the impact—in modern literary texts and other varieties of imaginative production—of discoveries and disruptive new formulations related to the organization and dynamics of the mind, the nature of thinking, the fundamentals of consciousness and the self.

  • We will review a set of influential pronouncements on these subjects, from c.1800 forward through the dawn of modern psychology and neuroscience. We will discuss selections from Hegel, Coleridge, Fichte, Schlegel, Marx, Pater, William James, Wilde, Freud, and others—perceptions and propositions that continue to subtend, or haunt, literary practice and cultural criticism.
  • We will talk about moments, from the close of the 19th century onward, when revolutionary ideas about consciousness—persuasive, dubious, and sometimes flat-out pernicious—resonate in the practice of therapy, in racial and gender politics, and in the work of American and British imaginative writers.
  • We will look at hypotheses and ‘viral’ narratives and myths about the brain and the mind as they manifest in contemporary literature, popular culture, and critical response.
  • For students with special interest in learning the craft of the publishable essay, we can make that an objective of the major writing project. Early in the term, students will be asked to do a brief evaluation of a set of recent journal articles that reach into recent and contemporary mind-science to negotiate literary and cultural questions. Later, we will do two group sessions on key differences between good seminar papers and documents that find acceptance in respected journals. This is a transition worth talking about together, regardless of where your own work will eventually take you.

Readings will include William James, Henry James, Kate Chopin, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frank Norris, D. H. Lawrence, Paul Broks, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Richard Powers, Dan Lloyd, and films by Christopher Nolan and others.

581 G SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Koshy. M 3-5:50 (CRN 32282)
TOPIC: Race and Neoliberalism
Area Requirement: Critical Theory

The transition from a liberal state-led economy to a neoliberal market economy in the 1980s produced a sea change in racial forms and meanings that confounds the paradigms of race inherited from the civil rights era. The implications of these racial transformations have only recently begun to be theorized, highlighting a lacuna in critical race theory, which has largely focused on neoconservative threats to racial justice projects rather than neoliberal embrace of them. Similarly, most theoretical accounts of neoliberalism have left the reconstitution of race, gender, and sexuality in the present untheorized. Working with and between materialist accounts of the present and theories of race, gender and sexuality, this course begins the work of examining the unstable and shifting terrain of neoliberal racialization. Readings for this course will include David Harvey, Michel Foucault, Brian Massumi, Wendy Brown, Jodi Melamed, Roderick Ferguson, Jasbir Puar, Lauren Berlant, Gayatri Spivak, and Paul Gilroy. Possible literary texts and films we will consider are Precious, Cosmopolis, Fixer Chao, and American Psycho.

meets with AIS 501
Area Requirement: Critical Theory

This class proposes a dialogue of sorts among theoretical traditions to interrogate how postcolonialities, state and indigenous sovereignties, and subalternities function within the larger contexts of settler colonialism. How do theories of colonialism and postcolonialism prioritize certain geographical and historical contexts and in what ways do those theories succeed or fail in addressing indigeneity? How has sovereignty functioned as both coercive, normative control within the legal practices of the state, and how has it been redeployed by indigenous scholars to confront those same practices? What challenge does indigeneity pose to critical theory and how might indigenous scholars transform critical practices to address the ongoing colonizations that continue to define their lands, rights, and sovereignty? Finally, how might the intersection between literary, political, and cultural studies provide new avenues for interdisciplinary methods and inquiry when sited through indigenous issues and contexts?

Required Texts: Barker, Joanne. Native Acts. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011. Derrida, Jacques. The Beast & the Sovereign vol. 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Eng, David L. The Feeling of Kinship. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. Ford, Lisa. Settler Sovereignty. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010. Lyons, Scott. X-Marks. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Mbembe, Achille. On the Postcolony. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Williams Jr., Robert A. Like a Loaded Weapon. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Recommended Texts: Bruyneel, Kevin. The Third Space of Sovereignty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. Morgensen, Scott. The Spaces Between Us. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. O’Brien, Jean M. Firsting and Lasting. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Rifkin, Mark. When Did Indians Become Straight?: Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty. Oxford University Press, 2011. Turner, Dale. This is Not a Peace Pipe. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.

Course Requirements: The following are the minimum requirements for adequate completion of the class.

1. Attendance at every class meeting, and arrival on time. (If you need to miss a class, you are fully
responsible for the material, assignments, and information given out during that class meeting.)

2. Preparation for each meeting, including reading and studying the texts or other materials assigned, taking notes on them, and bringing all to class.

3. Participation in class discussions. This course depends on conversation and interaction, and I expect each student to take part in discussions. Your questions, comments, insights, and verbal engagements with the material are vital to building a community of scholars and therefore, we can only benefit if you speak up and share your ideas, from the most complex or subtle speculations to basic requests for
clarification, translation, or whatever else. During the course of the semester, we will each of us be engaging questions of indigenous politics, representation, epistemologies, and resistances and therefore your colleagues may well influence and shape your own thoughts and arguments as we progress. It is entirely suitable and expected that you cite each other as you write and speak about, or otherwise publicly
address, issues arising from settler colonial contexts.

4. Original and individual work on presentations, written assignments, etc., including proper citations. Everything you hand in should be typed and double-spaced, with 1 in. margins, and on paper (no emailed work, please). Remember to keep backups of everything you do for the semester on paper or external drives as technology is fickle and prone to glitches.

Grading Policy:

Weekly papers……………………………10%



Final Paper……………………………….45%

Response Papers: Due at the beginning of each class meeting, response papers are your own thoughts, reaction, and speculative engagements with the readings assigned for that meeting. You should expect to write at least 2 pages and no more than 3. Presentations: Each class meeting, 1-2 students will be responsible for providing background research on a book or author, detailed summations of key arguments or issues, and focused discussion questions to get us started on the readings assigned for that week. Final paper: Your final paper for the course should be a 20-25 paged essay of publishable quality. The topic is yours to choose, but you should expect to do outside research, provide a bibliography,
and otherwise follow the expectations of graduate level written work. You will need to prepare a two (2) paged proposal and preliminary bibliography of at least 10 sources that will be due on Oct. 24.

General Policies: Plagiarism….Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s work or ideas as your own, whether it be direct, undocumented quotation of words, phrases, or sentences, or paraphrasing ideas, thoughts, or contentions. It also includes writing a classmates’ paper, handing in your own work from a previous graded course without substantial changes and consultation with me, stealing (or buying) an essay online or elsewhere and submitting it as your own, or presenting non-written ideas and research as your own. You must always acknowledge sources for outside ideas and materials through bibliographic citation or, in the case of a personal conversation, a note acknowledging with whom the conversation
occurred. As part of developing a scholarly collegiality, you are encouraged to cite your classmates’ in-class ideas, presentations, and writing as long as you identify the source and provide a citation acknowledging where that information came from. Neglecting to provide proper citation for others’ words, ideas or work is a serious academic offense and will result in an automatic F on the assignment and may also result in an F for the course.

Students with disabilities….I would like to hear from anyone who has a disability that may require some modification of the seating and class requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Please see me after class or during my office hours.

Discussing Performance, Course Content, and Other Concerns….I will be happy to discuss your grade, performance, or any other matter with you at any time during the semester. If you have any questions or specific issues within assignments or texts you are working on or would like to have the class read additional materials, please stop by my office and we can discuss options.

582 G TOPICS RESEARCH AND WRITING, Russell. W 3:30-5:20 (CRN 32283)
same as CI 565
meets with ENGL 506, CI 564
TOPIC: Genre Emergence and Change
Area Requirement: Writing Studies

Over the past half century, scholars in a variety of disciplines have worked to redefine genre—to shift its theoretical pulse from form and content to action and ecology. That is, we have moved from understanding genres as a means of defining and classifying texts toward understanding them as orchestrations of social and ideological events. Both old and new definitions of genre maintain that genres are mostly, and most importantly, patterns already in place, occurrences already recognized as recurrences. How then does the pattern (in form, content, situation, exigence, audience, action) take and then shift shape? How do genres emerge, change, proliferate, perhaps fade, even die? How do emergent genres relate to established ones? How to genre writers suggest genres-to-be or genres-becoming? How do audiences come to recognizes generic exigences and genres as exigences? This seminar will explore questions of genre emergence and change, offering participants the opportunity to explore rhetorical genre theory as well as questions of power and cultural production activated in genre work.

584 R TOPICS DISCOURSE AND WRITING, D. Baron. TU 1-2:50 (CRN 32287)
same as CI 569
TOPIC: Language and Law
Area Requirement: Writing Studies

The law depends on our common understanding of language to frame and interpret everything from statutes and contracts to witness statements and judicial rulings. The law assigns meaning to language as well, sorting out ambiguity and resolving opposing readings of the same text. For example, in Washington, DC, v. Heller, 9 highly-educated Supreme Court justices came to two completely different interpretations of the Second Amendment (the one about the right to bear arms).

In addition to considering various aspects of legal meaning-making, we’ll look at instances where language becomes the subject of the law: First Amendment cases from the Alien and Sedition Acts to George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV” to the USA Patriot Act. We’ll look at attempts to designate English as an official language at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as official language policies in schools and workplaces, together with various efforts to protect the rights of minority-language and minority-dialect speakers. We’ll look the language and privacy rights of employers and employees in the workplace. And we’ll consider intellectual property issues involving language: trademark, copyright, plagiarism (including the legal controversy over the Google Books Project), and impact of digital technologies on intellectual property concerns. Finally, we’ll consider some topics in forensic linguistics: interrogation and testimony; voiceprints, author identification, and language profiling.

Readings—all of them available online—include legislation, court cases, and analyses of various language and law issues. Students will write a seminar paper and do a class presentation on an issue of their choice.

593 R TEACHING OF LITERATUARE, Gray. TU 1-2:50 (CRN 32290)
TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature
Area Requirement: None

This seminar is designed to prepare students to teach literature across a range of periods and literary forms. It simultaneously aims to encourage students to develop a critical self-consciousness about pedagogical practice that will be useful in both the classroom and on the job market. To these ends, we will read a handful of essays that address pedagogical theory, in its broad contours and local instantiations, as a way to begin thinking about both our general function and aims as literature teachers and how to deal with particular kinds of texts or reach specific course goals. Most of our time, however, will be spent producing and discussing our own work: we will labor together as a class to create viable courses and assignments, while also developing multiple strategies for effectively lecturing, leading class discussion, and giving feedback on student work. By the end of the seminar, each participant will have created and circulated statements of teaching philosophy and a spectrum of materials for teaching one lower-level and one upper-level literature course in periods and genres of their choosing. These materials will include lesson plans, sample syllabi, and course assignments. Grades will be based on participants’ final completion of these key documents, and on their consistent, engaged, and thoughtful participation in seminar discussions and workshops.

500-Level Creative Writing
Course Descriptions

504 T WRITING WORKSHOP IN FICTION, Howe. TU 3-5:30 (CRN 43388)
Area Requirement: None

Directed projects in fiction writing, either short stories or sections of a novel, with group discussion and critique. There will be a course packet for the class, featuring short stories and essays on the writing of fiction and related topics; there will be a discussion of these readings at the beginning of each class meeting.

506 T WRITING WORKSHOP IN POETRY, Madonick. TH 3-5:50 (CRN 43390)
Area Requirement: None

Directed individual projects, with group discussion in fiction.

560 NL LITERARY PUBLISHING & PROMOTION, Stanley. Arranged (CRN 43391)
Area Requirement: None

A working practicum designed to teach graduate students the basics of literary journal publishing and to introduce them to career and entrepreneurial opportunities in other types of literary arts organizations. Students will attend weekly editorial meetings, complete weekly reading assignments, and will work 2 hours per week in the ‘Ninth Letter’ office, reading manuscript submissions and completing various clerical tasks for the journal. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours. Prerequisite: MFA candidate standing.

563 AS SPECIAL TOPICS, Shakar. M 5-6:50 (CRN 54485)
TOPIC: Long-Form Narrative Writing
Area Requirement: None

An MFA-level workshop course in longer form writing. Students will work on a single piece of narrative writing over the course of the semester. This can be a novella, a novel, a memoir, a stage play, or feature screenplay, taking the project from an outline stage to at least a partial draft.