- Business and Technical Writing Courses
- Creative Writing Courses
- Literature and Writing Studies Courses
- Rhetoric Courses
Literature and Writing Studies Courses
101 INTRO TO POETRY
English 101 provides students with a foundation in methods of reading and writing essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. The course addresses the basics of prosody, poetic devices (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). Poems will be selected from a range of literary periods and movements (from the sixteenth to the twentieth century) to reflect both continuity and variation in the history of British and American poetry. Students are required to write twelve to fifteen pages in two or more essays and to take a midterm and a final examination.
102 INTRO TO THE DRAMA
This course examines roughly a dozen plays chosen from major periods of dramatic history from the ancient Greeks to contemporary theatre. Plays are selected to exemplify the nature of comedy, tragedy, and tragicomedy as dramatic modes and to show how the changing conditions of the physical theater affect the nature of theatrical representation. Where possible, lecture and discussion is supplemented by videotaped or filmed excerpts from the plays. Course work usually includes several papers (12-15 pages total) to develop competence in dramatic analysis and either several hour exams or a mid-term exam and a final exam.
TEXTS: A basic anthology containing a selection of plays by such playwrights as Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, Ibsen, Shaw, Miller, Becket, Brecht—supplemented by individual volumes of the instructor’s choice.
103 S INTRO TO FICTION, Foote. TUTH 2-3:15
This class is designed to introduce you to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. It will provide you with a basis for understanding the historical role and place of fictional narratives; give you an understanding of the idea of genre; establish ways to think about how publication venue, reading practices, and popularity contribute to the meaning of fictional works; and help you develop a rich, portable vocabulary to interpret and analyze narrative strategies. We will consider the role of social forces on the construction of textual meaning, looking at such issues as differing definitions of authorship, the rise of copyright, scandals over reading and literacy, and the circuits of production, distribution, and marketing of books. Course requirements include a midterm, a cumulative final exam, and four writing assignments. Readings will include novels drawn from a range of historical periods and genres.
104 INTRO TO FILM
same as CINE 104
The goal of this course is to develop students’ abilities to view films critically and to deepen their understanding of the cinema experience. The course first teaches analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. The course also focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, musicals, comedies, and “film noir,” in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or evoke spectator responses. English 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English 273(the second half of the English film sequence) and other advanced film courses.
The course presents one ca. 2 hour film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Mondays. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use a substantial introductory textbook and additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters) available on library reserve or in a photocopied reader. Sections are kept small to facilitate the course focus on honing skills in analysis and writing and to enable each student to contribute extensively to the discussions. Regular attendance and participation are crucial in this course.
The minimum formal assignments are 12-15 pages of expository writing (often 3 short papers, but some instructors prefer 1 short and 1 long one, and some may assign more writing); a midterm; and a three-hour scheduled final exam; some instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) plus a section of essay questions.
This course earns 3 credit hours and counts as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)
106 Q LITERATURE AND EXPERIENCE, Ramais. TUTH 12:30-1:45
TOPIC: Tales of Seduction(s): The Literature of Attraction, Flirtation, Temptation and Deceit
From Ovid’s The Art of Love (“Pure Women are only those who have not been asked”) to today’s Cosmopolitan or Maxim magazines (“The 12 things he’s dying to hear during a date”), the “art” of seduction often seems to have been portrayed as a secret to be cracked and supposedly mastered by only a few. In this class, we will be reading about the lives of some of the most famous literary seducers (Don Juan, Lancelot, Ziska, Darcy, and the devil himself) as well as those of historical figures (Casanova, Sade, Masoch) in novels, novellas, essays, poems, biographies and films.
Our focus will be on investigating how flirtation, seduction and courtship affect spoken and non-spoken exchanges and how they shape our vision of others and of ourselves. As we explore material ranging from Antiquity up to the 20th century, we will discover the ways in which, through time, the very idea of “seduction” and the various theories about its “mechanics” have changed, and how these changes were echoed in the literature of the time. Some of the concepts we will discuss are courtship, desire, manipulation, courtly love, coquetry, femme fatales, Faustian pacts, film noir, the biology of love, the Gothic, eroticism, and many more. While some of our readings will be of average length (Pride and Prejudice, Zofloya, The Ellective Affinities), most will be much shorter (Daisy Miller, Don Juan, Ziska, Double Indemnity). The class has been designed to give ample time to read the longer works. Requirements for this course will include 2 short papers and one final exam.
109 INTRO TO FICTION (ADVANCED COMPOSITION)
English 109 (formerly English 103+) is designed to introduce students to the critical analysis of prose fiction. By reading a wide range of short and long fiction across several historical periods, we will examine how such narrative strategies as plot, character, point of view and language construct meaning. Individual instructors will bring a variety of texts and interpretive methods to their courses, but special emphasis will be placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.
Course requirements include papers and paper revisions totaling 25-30 pages. Papers are assigned according to the judgment of individual instructors, but will include assignments of various lengths and several opportunities for review and revision.
TEXTS: Readings vary from section to section but always include an anthology of short fiction and three or four novels.
114 A BIBLE AS LITERATURE, Layton. MWF 11
same as RLST 101, CWL 111
Themes and literary genres in the Bible, emphasizing content important in Western culture. Contact Department of Religious Studies for more information.
115 INTRO TO ENGLISH LITERATURE
This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of prose, poetry, and drama written in Great Britain from the medieval through contemporary eras. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon a major anthology of British literature, along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course cannot offer a complete chronological survey. It offers instead a series of literary texts, often thematically related, which appeal to modern readers and at the same time provide interesting insights into the cultural attitudes and values of the periods which produced them.
116 INTRO TO AMERICAN LITERATURE
This course will cover a small sampling of literature written by American authors; the sampling may include essays, narratives, drama, and poems from various periods in American literary history. Assigned works will include literature written by men and women and will represent a variety of ethnic perspectives.
117 SHAKESPEARE ON FILM, A. Basu. Lect: MW 12; Screening: W 7:30-9:50; Disc: F 11, 12, 1, 2
This lecture/discussion course explores the range of meanings and experiments with artistic form that Shakespeare’s plays can generate. We will read five plays and then analyze at least two film/video interpretations of each. The plays will be examined as open ended scripts originally written for live performance; the films will then be analyzed in terms of how Shakespeare can be transformed to meet different cultural and contextual demands of the screen. We will therefore learn how the bard’s work, compiled about five centuries ago, still speaks to us about gender, race and class relations, or about fascism, power, and colonialism. The course is thus an ‘intensive’ one, directed towards acquiring critical skills for play reading and film analysis. It does not aim to give you an exhaustive historical account of Shakespeare on screen.
Weekly discussion sections will hone these practices as you share your responses to the plays and their adaptations.
Course expectations: lively in class participation, weekly quizzes, two mid-length papers, midterm, and final.
TEXTS: five plays in paperback editions (perhaps Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Tempest, Richard III; course packet of film criticism).
119 P LITERATURE OF FANTASY. TUTH 11-12:15
same as CWL 119
Surveys masterworks in the romance tradition from Shakespeare’s time to the present; as distinct from science fiction, the materials feature magic and the supernatural rather than technology; and include stage romance, fairy tale, horror tale, and fantasy-novel. Individual works are set in their historical and literary contexts.
199 D UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Hansen. MWF 11 Discovery Section
TOPIC: Gothic Nation
Set next to the more obviously painstaking, character-driven fiction of a contemporary writer like Jane Austen, the early Gothic novel, a form replete with armies of blood-soaked corpses, usurping Catholic aristocrats, and hyper-sensitive, confined women seems difficult to take seriously. Very often, the Gothic has emerged for us as a kind of literary detritus, as the undesirable and abject residue of a culture’s fears and hostilities, as the rather anemic reflection of society’s most lurid and perverse fantasies. To many the entire genre seems like a protracted literary nightmare that we’d all be a bit better off forgetting, a dream the meaning of which is so painfully and unambiguously obvious that it’s not really worth serious contemplation. In short, the Gothic appears to us as the other of the kind of serious English novel that served as the precursor to modernism. Of course, the Gothic’s paranoiac structure and its antipathetic relationship to the fictions of Enlightenment, to the fictions framed by the classic “marriage and money plot,” bears remarkable similarity to the kind of suspicious antagonisms that drove those thinkers, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud, whose work provided such vital inspiration to most of the modernist writers. We might say that where the classic nineteenth century novel supplies us with a lively and subtle portrait of British liberal society’s conscious struggles and aspirations, the Gothic, as literary detritus, as dark double of the bourgeois novel, embodies the era’s political, social, and psychic unconscious. The class will explore the Gothic side of British National Identity by reading Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, Anne Radcliffe’s The Italian, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, James Joyce’s The Dead, Samuel Beckett’s Murphy, and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.
Course requirements will include active participation in class discussion, a daily reading journal, two in-class presentations, two 6-8 page papers and two exams.
199 CH1 UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Frayne. MW 3-4:15 Campus Honors Section
TOPIC: Literature and Opera
Opera is a unique combination of music, drama and stage spectacle. In the long history of this genre, we have a precious treasure of beautiful music. But opera depends on story lines, and many of the greatest operas are based on famous plays and novels.
This course studies the process by which significant works of literature are turned into great operas. We will begin with two classic comedies by Beaumarchais, which were turned into Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville,” and Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro.” Later we will go on to such classics as Bizet’s “Carmen” and Puccini’s “La Boheme.” Many Shakespeare plays have been turned into operas, and we will study Verdi’s famous opera based on “Othello.”
The basic concepts about opera as an art form will be reviewed as the course progresses. We will watch in class video productions of the operas under study. Usually, the students attend a live performance given by the Opera Program of the UIUC School of Music. This coming fall that opera will be Verdi’s great success “Rigoletto.” No technical knowledge of music required. Written work will include quizzes, two longer papers, an opera review and final exam.
199 RFW UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Davenport. MW 11-12:15
TOPIC: Reading for Writers
Think of Reading for Writers as the course a group of short story writers and poets might take when they want to talk and write about the mechanics of short stories and poems, the decisions that face writers as they build or shape the things they write, the formal elements that time and again surface as the basic tools at hand. This course seeks also to help writers understand the necessity for a shared reading list that encourages conversations among writers about what we do and how it gets done well. Such a reading list should help writers as they move through one of our Creative Writing sequences, poetry or fiction. Expect to do a series of very short response papers and one medium-length analysis. This class satisfies a literature requirement in the Creative Writing major.
199 S UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, S. Camargo. Lect: TUTH 2-3:15; Screening: TU 3:30-6 Discovery Section
TOPIC: Shining Stars in the Cinema Firmament: The Meanings of the Hollywood Star System
The focus of this course will be on analyzing the connections among movie stars, corporate Hollywood, and filmgoers. While we tend to think of stars only in terms of the roles that they play onscreen, the figure of the star is quite multifaceted. Stars have been simultaneously real people, valuable properties, cultural ideals, standard bearers for gender and racial constituencies, and objects of obsessive adoration, depending on the perspective of the various institutions that value and exploit them.
We will study stars through a range of films from the studio system to the present as well as through publicity materials, personal biographies, and newspaper and magazine articles about them, compiling star-dossiers on them as a way of analyzing their appeal and their cultural impact.
Evaluated work will include the creation of such a dossier on a star of the student’s choosing and short papers analyzing that star’s life and work.
200 INTRO TO LITERARY STUDY
This course might be called “How to Be an English Major.” It offers tips on how to make the transition from the high-school study of literature to college-level study. The class will read a relatively small number of poems, short stories, and plays, exploring a number of critical approaches to each. Emphasis will be placed on close reading of short passages, the historical contexts of literature, the way genre affects our reading practices, and the criteria for persuasive interpretations. Students will practice their critical skills in a number of short papers.
TEXTS: Vary according to section.
202 P MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE, Trilling. TUTH 11-12:15 Group I
same as MDVL 201, CWL 253
Knights in shining armor fighting monsters. Saints performing miracles. Kings leading armies into battle. Monks offering prayers through their daily offices. Peasants tilling the fields. These are some of the most popular and enduring images of the European Middle Ages, and in this course we will explore the literature, art, and history that gave rise to our ideas of the romance and chivalry of the medieval period. Our goal will be to read a broad range of medieval literature (all in modern English translation) from England and the Continent. We will explore a variety of genres, including epics, sagas, romances, fabliaux, riddles, lyrics, and saints’ lives, and we will work to situate each work in its social and historical contexts.
N.B. This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for a Literature and the Arts, and Western/Comparative Cultures course.
Requirements: daily attendance and participation, short reading responses, two papers, a midterm, and a final.
204 Q RENAISSANCE LIT AND CULTURE. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group I
same as CWL 255
Readings in English and continental literary masterpieces with attention to significant cultural influences.
206 P ENLIGHTENMENT LIT AND CULTURE, Wilcox. TUTH 11-12:15 Group I
same as CWL 257
“The Enlightenment” connotes for many an era preoccupied with reason, morals, and decorum at the expense of emotions, experience, and pleasure. In this course, you will learn otherwise. We will look at the 18th century from a global perspective, to understand how an elite European intellectual movement gets understood, represented, disseminated, and questioned within a wide swathe of contemporary literature. By reading across a variety of canonical and noncanonical works and by closely analyzing the rhetorical forms of 18th-century thought, we will explore how various literary forms evolved in response to the period’s arguments and uncertainty. By the end of this course, you will be able to read a wide variety of 18th-century texts with comprehension and enjoyment and you will understand how those texts depict cultural innovations that continue to shape the way we interpret the world. Course requirements include two papers, a midterm, a final, participation on the course blog, and a class presentation.
207 M ROMANTIC LIT AND CULTURE. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group II
Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Romantic period, with attention to broader cultural issues.
208 D VICTORIAN LIT AND CULTURE. MWF 11 Group II
Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Victorian period, with attention to broader cultural issues.
209 BRITISH LITERATAURE TO 1798, Mohamed. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F 9 & 10
The rubric of this course makes two assumptions. The first is that literature written in England constitutes a coherent tradition. The second is that this coherence is especially apparent in all periods of English history preceding the year 1798. In undertaking this course we must operate within these assumptions. But we do not have to be happy about it. Indeed, we will spend a good deal of the term exposing them to scrutiny: how do the works we study imagine the nation? In what ways do they reflect their own historical moment? How do later authors generate the notion of an English literary tradition by referring to their predecessors? How do they manipulate those predecessors to their own ends? In exploring these questions, we will also pay close attention to the ways in which different genres-poetry, drama, and that young upstart the novel-constitute different cultural engagements.
Assignments will consist of three brief essays, mid-term and final examinations, and a term paper requiring research.
TEXT: The Longman Anthology of British Literature, ed. David Damrosch and J.H. Dettmar, vol. 1A-C.
210 BRITISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Saville. Lect: MW 12; Disc: F 11 & 12
Our purpose in this course will be to construct a reader’s map negotiating three principle periods of British literature: Romantic (1785-1830); Victorian (1830-1901); and Twentieth Century, and within these, various literary movements, such as Romanticism, Realism, Aestheticism, Modernism, and Post-Colonialism. We will consider ways in which specific literary forms and genres (for instance, the serialized novel, the dramatic monologue, the treatise, the critical essay) function to reflect as well as produce or alter cultural perceptions within a specific period. We will devise some initial paths through this vast expanse of literature on the understanding that we can return to make more thorough inroads into each period in more advanced literature courses and at a later date.
TEXTS: Norton Anthology of English Literature, (recommended in three separate volumes for lighter back-pack convenience); Jane Austen, Persuasion; Charles Dickens, Hard Times
211 D INTRO MODERN AFRICAN LITERATURE, M. Basu. MWF 11 Group V
same as AFST 210, CWL 210
This course will attempt to express the diversity of a continent through a reading of texts from Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, South Africa, and Sudan. At the same time however, the course will also endeavor to highlight the connections and links between representative writings from different regions of the continent. In demonstrating that all the regions we somewhat loosely group together as ‘modern Africa’ are also congruous in so far as they were all irredeemably transformed by the experience of colonialism, the course will show how the term modern calls for precisely such an inter-textual understanding. At the end of this course however, students should not only be familiar with symptomatic texts of African literature, but also should be able to read, write, and, think about these texts in an insightful manner, concentrating on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic.
213 X MODERNIST LIT AND CULTURE. MWF 12 Group V
Study of literature, philosophy, visual and performing arts, social criticism, and popular sciences of the Anglo-American Modern period (1880-1920), with attention to broad cultural issues.
218 INTRO TO SHAKESPEARE
English 218 is intended for non-English majors who wish to become more familiar with representative Shakespearean drama. The selection of plays varies from section to section, but each instructor covers eight to ten plays reflecting Shakespeare’s changing interests, themes and developing dramatic skills within the subgenres of comedy, history, tragedy and romance. Required writing includes several short papers, a mid-semester exam (or one or two hour exams) and a final. Any critical edition of Shakespeare’s plays may be assigned.
223 M JEWISH STORYTELLING, Harris. TUTH 2-3:20
same as YDSH 220, CWL 221, RLST 220
Course will introduce the great Jewish storytellers such as Nachman of Bratslav, Scholem-Aleichem, and I.B. Singer through readings of Yiddish tales, short stories, poetry, drama and excerpts from novels and autobiographies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, Yiddish films and folklore will be used to exemplify the variety of Jewish cultural expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, and America. Course will also present a sample of critical approaches to Yiddish literature. Taught in English translation.
243 E MODERN DRAMA I. MWF 1 Group V
same as CWL 265
Ibsen to O'Neill. Same as CWL 265. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
245 Q THE SHORT STORY, Griswold. TUTH 12:30-1:45
same as CWL 267
This course is an introduction to short fiction from varied cultural backgrounds. It will give you a sense of how the literary short story genre looked from the early 19th century to now, develop your skills in close reading and critical analysis, and help you articulate your ideas in writing and speech. You’ll also learn literary terms and concepts you can apply more generally. Most importantly, you’ll likely enjoy reading the stories and talking about what they mean to you.
247 X THE BRITISH NOVEL. MWF 12 Group II or V
Critical study of representative British novels from different literary periods.
247 P THE BRITISH NOVEL, Courtemanche. TUTH 11-12:15 Group II or V
Is a truly free action possible, in a world structured by money, established power, and the inconvenient desires of others? If we could act with complete freedom, would we like the results, or end up isolated and self-centered? Since the Magna Carta, Britain has considered itself to be more free than most other countries of the world, and yet—perhaps because Britain is only a medium-sized island—its society is also a network of dense social obligations. The British novel of the last three centuries forcefully addresses the resulting tensions between individual desire and community responsibility, using wit and satire to create a limited space of social freedom, and the marriage plot to fetishize a single moment of free choice in a materially determined world. This class will also examine what happens when British society interacts with the rest of the world through imperialism and trade, unsettling hierarchies and complicating personal moral choice. We will be reading such texts as Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, E. M. Forster’s Howards End, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia. There will be two papers, a midterm and final, and weekly written assignments; be prepared to read up to 200 pages a week.
250 C THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914. MWF 10 Group III or V
Critical study of selected American novels from the late eighteenth century to 1914.
250 S THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914. TUTH 2-3:15 Group III or V
Critical study of selected American novels from the late eighteenth century to 1914.
251 F THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914. MWF 2 Group III or V
Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.
251 M THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V
Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.
255 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Chai. Lect: MW 1; Disc: F 1 & 2
A survey of American literature from its origins to the Civil War. Relatively light emphasis on the colonial era and early republic, more on what comes after. Some attention to history as a framework for the literature. The main focus of the course will be on national development, and on the way that development has been shaped by literary texts: in other words, how we became what we are.
Requirements: 2 papers, midterm, final, attendance at discussion sections.
TEXT: Norton Anthology of American Literature, vols. A & B
256 E SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT II, Freeburg. MWF 1 Group III
This course arguably studies the most prolific period of U.S. literature. From the origins of the U.S realist novel to the poetics and poetry of modernism to various postmodern forms of expression, this course surveys major aesthetic shifts and the social history that shapes them. We will focus upon novelists like Henry James and Ralph Ellison, poets like William Carlos Williams and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as essays by figures such as Gertrude Stein and James Baldwin. Through these authors, their eras and movements, this course will repeatedly return to idea of ‘the human’ in a world said to be beyond humanism. There will be two major papers, a mid-term, a final, and weekly response papers.
259 X AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE I, Freeburg. MWF 12 Group III or V
same as AFRO 259, CWL 259
This course surveys African American literature from the neoclassical poetry of Phyllis Wheatley to the sociological essays of W.E.B. DuBois. From the American Revolution to the Abolitionist movement to the Civil War and beyond, African American writers have used their voices to protest against and imaginatively envision their conditions. In this course, we look at individual writers in their historical and political contexts, but also, we focus on the spiritual and affective power of African American prose. More importantly, the literary and sociopolitical appeal of African American literature from these early periods has been continuously drawn upon by social movements of the last fifty years. Thus, through close readings of writers like Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Frances Harper in context, students in this course will come away with a solid background in early African American literature and culture as well as its myriad of influences on current discussions of social inequality in the U.S.
267 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT. Lect: MW 10; Disc: various
same as GER 250, CWL 250
Special attention is paid to the Grimms’ tales in terms of traditional narrative genres, elements of life in early modern Europe, and versions from Italy and France as well as Germany. Course is conducted in English. Contact the German Department for more information.
268 THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT. Lect: MW 10; Disc: various
same as GER 260, CWL 271
Jewish contributions to German Literature from 1200 to the present day. Includes trips to the University Library's Rare Book Room. Contact the German Department for more information.
273 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950 Group III or V
same as CINE 273
English 273 Explores key issues in American cinema from 1950 to the present, structured around central problems of film studies (such as authorship, genre, narratology, film style, gender analysis, and the spectacle of violence), contextualizing them within moments of major transition in the American film industry. Viewing and discussion of a major film each week.
280 D WOMEN WRITERS, I. Baron. MWF 11 Group II or V
same as GWS 280
TOPIC: Marriage and Maternity in the British Feminist Novel
In 1796 Jane Austen finished her initial draft of Pride and Prejudice entitled First Impressions. Two hundred years later, author Helen Fielding published Bridget Jones’s Diary, a postfeminist version of Austens’s classic novel about a young woman who refuses to be forced into marrying the wrong man despite the prospect of future penury. But for much of British history, women of all classes were expected to maintain the social hierarchy through marriage and to fulfill their personal destiny through pregnancy and motherhood no matter how they felt about their bodies, their husbands or their married lives. In this course, we’ll explore the evolution of women’s marital choices, sexual practices and economic rights in the UK over a two hundred year period from Austen to Fielding, viewing the changes that came along the way.
We’ll begin during the Regency period by examining the nuances of 18th century marriages, zeroing in on how women regarded courtship and how the advent of the novel and the rise of the mercantile class began to restructure the rules about marriage and property in England. Then we’ll see why in spite of their many accomplishments and a powerful female figurehead to lead the nation, Victorian women were barred from owning property, barred from voting, and forced into submissive marriages that could leave them either vulnerable and depressed or curiously satisfied with their constrained lives. Moving into the late 19th century, we’ll take a look at how working class women dealt with the changes that technology had on their vocations, marital choices and sexual practices including premarital relations. Next we’ll zoom into the pre and post WWI and WWII periods to see how women fared in the UK after war had permanently altered the gender lines and their figures with the normalization of reconfiguring undergarments and modern make-up lines. We’ll end the semester on a lighter note with Bridget Jones’s Diary, focusing on the liberated late 20th century woman as she struggles to find just the right guy, battles bad hair days, unwanted cellulite, poor career choices and non-committal boyfriends. Course requirements include 2 moderate length papers (6-8 pages) and a final (8-10 page) paper.
TEXTS: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles; E.M. Forster, Howard’s End; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Barbara Pym, Excellent Women, Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary and for historical background, Marilyn Yalom, A History of the Wife. Films will supplement course readings.
280 S WOMEN WRITERS, Deck. TUTH 2-3:15 Group III or V
same as GWS 280
TOPIC: Black Women’s Autobiography in Africa, and the Americas
Autobiography provides a means of understanding the life experiences and subsequent world perspectives of black women. Historically, black women from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States have had limited access to this genre of personal self expression because of enslavement, colonial subjugation, and socially sanctioned racial segregation. Once introduced to the craft of personal narratives and autobiography black women use it as a means towards personal self-determination and as a means of representing the black communities from which they emerged. In this class we will read examples of autobiographies and personal narratives by Black women from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. This will include slave narratives, diaries, journal entries, and narrative autobiographies. Required written work includes, short reading responses, in-class exercises, and two medium length essays.
281 X WOMEN IN THE LITERATRY IMAGINATION, I. Baron. MWF 12 Group V
same as GWS 281
TOPIC: The Archetypal Fallen Woman in American and British Fiction
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, America was seen as a new Eden—a land of endless social and economic possibilities, open to any free white male British citizen who made the arduous transatlantic crossing safely, and who settled successfully in the New World. Yet for unmarried women, the New World also became synonymous with the darker side of Eden—a place where the story of the fall was re-enacted countless times through the unbridled desire of men looking to corrupt innocent young girls into a life of sin and prostitution.
In 1791, Susanna Rowson published Charlotte Temple, a transatlantic novel that deals with this sensitive social issue. Extremely popular on both sides of the Atlantic, the novel tells the story of the iconic fallen woman and her woeful tale of sexual intrigue and betrayal. For over two hundred years, American and British audiences, riveted by this moralistic narrative, encouraged writers to engage in a highly nuanced literary dialogue on the subject of the archetypal fallen woman, producing some of the best known literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.
In this course, we’ll trace the genesis of the seduction novel as a vehicle for the conservative social theory behind British and American gender politics. We’ll begin with an examination of the theme of the ruined woman as a bi-cultural warning to any young girl who strays from the straight and narrow heteronormative sexual imperative set in place by hundreds of years of rigid Anglo-Norman patrilineal ideologies. Moving through the canon of literature focusing on this gendered tale, we’ll examine the fictional evolution of the fallen woman through its multiple iterations in England and America. We’ll explore how Anglo societies collectively viewed the sexually compromised female from the late Georgian period to the postmodernist period as an outcast who must be punished through banishment or death to avoid polluting the rarified air of untarnished women. As we unfurl the interlocking social discourse of these narratives, we’ll deconstruct how the body and the mind of the fallen woman is presented through the cultural dictates of each national identity, each literary period and the gender and sexual orientation of the authors. Ultimately we’ll see whether class differences, racial differences or the enfranchisement of women liberated females from this stigma or whether women today are still marginalized by sexually unsanctioned behaviors.
Requirements include: an oral report, three short papers and a final exam. Texts and films include: Charlotte Temple, Lucy Temple, Sense and Sensibility, The Scarlet Letter, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Awakening, Howards End, Passing and Juno.
284 Q MODERN JEWISH LITERATURE, Kaplan. TUTH 1-2:20
same as RLST 284, CWL 284
Modern Jewish literature is varied, complex, and fascinating. The goals of this course are to introduce students to a broad array of Jewish writing and history, to help students hone their analytical skills, and to guide students toward the understanding of cultural difference that is crucial for all of today’s professions. Reading diverse literatures teaches participants about the rich variety of history, politics, art, and culture that graces our planet. Some of the works we will read in this course may be familiar and others may introduce students to new and exciting worlds they did not know were there. This is a discussion based course, so participants will have ample opportunity to express their ideas and talk to their peers. While the curriculum gives students a solid grounding in Jewish literature the course encourages participants to relate what they learn to conversations with their friends and parents about some of the central concerns of our time from war to racism to resistance to forgiveness.
285 E POSTCOLONIAL LIT IN ENGLISH, M. Basu. MWF 1 Group II or V
As one critic has recently put it, “Although there is considerable debate about the exact parameters of the field and even the definition of the term ‘postcolonial,’ in a very general sense, it refers to the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized in the modern period.” These interactions were violent, sometimes grotesquely funny, always shifting, and above all, transformative for both sides – colonizer and colonized. This is why we begin our course with a text that despite having been authored by perhaps the most representative literary figure of the Western world expresses a distinctly uneasy relationship with the colonial encounter. This text will function as our entry point into a host of other writings composed in the wake of mid-twentieth century liberation struggles across the globe. At this time, many writers from what used to be called ‘the third-world’ began to give expression to their cultural experiences in the language of the former colonial power. Given that it is called Postcolonial Literature in English, it is the language of the former colonial power that will be significant for our readings in this course. We will strive to understand what forms such a language takes as it attempts to carry the weight of diverse realities, as it negotiates the taut relations between class, gender, racial and religious identities, and as it shapes and reshapes itself in the midst of changing social institutions, lifestyles, and habits.
286 G ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE, Yang. MW 3-4:20 Group III or V
same as AAS 286
Introduction to Asian American literary studies and culture through the reading of major works of literature selected from but not limited to the following American ethnic subgroups: Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, and Vietnamese.
300 D WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Deck. MWF 11 Group IV
TOPIC: Achebe and Morrison
This course will study the fiction and essays of two of the most prominent African (Chinua Achebe) and African American (Toni Morrison) novelists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Both of these prize-winning authors have similar concerns as black writers with a) critiquing to the representations of Africans and African Americans in 19th and 20th century white-authored novels, b) reclaiming and retrieving the African and African American versions of their respective histories and, c) exploring the consequences of western modernization on African and African American cultural identity. We will not simply compare and contrast, but we will use various critical approaches to their fiction such as historicist, feminist, and post-colonial to understand how Achebe and Morrison represented themselves and the worlds they know in similar but clearly different and continuously evolving ways. Students can expect to read, in addition to specific novels by these writers, some of their essays, and articles on and reviews of their fiction. Assignments will include short response papers, in-class writing exercises, and one longer essay of about 7-8 double-spaced, typed pages. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
TEXTS: by Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Anthills of the Savannah; by Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon. A course packet of selected essays by or about Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison will be required.
300 X WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Prendergast. MWF 12 Group V
TOPIC: Disability in Literature
Disability has featured prominently in major literary works from Oedipus Rex, to Richard III, to Moby Dick, and Jane Eyre. In this course we will examine historical constructions of disability through literary narratives, as well as how disability itself is used as plot and stylistic device, a mechanism without which much of what we consider “literary” would not work. At the center of the course will be novels including William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Russell Banks’ The Sweet Hereafter, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn. We will also read poetry and critical works in disability studies. Formal and informal writing about course texts will be required in abundance. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
300 E WRITING ABOUT LITERATAURE, Parker. MWF 1 Group III or V
TOPIC: American Literature Since 1945
In studying over sixty 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 (and our writing) for the variety they offer, the dialogues they set up with each other and with readers, and the portraits they offer of American literature and history since World War II. We will also study the craft and conventions of critical writing about literature. As tentatively planned, we will read a series of ten books loosely grouped in five pairs. The exact reading list is not yet final, but it will include fiction, drama, and possibly poetry in such pairs as Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? with Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America with Margaret Edson’s Wit. Other works might range from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar to Percival Everett’s Erasure. Where appropriate, we will watch clips from movies based on the books we read. Students will write exercises and papers that compare the books in each pair or, if they choose, compare the books to films based on the books. 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 in the dialog. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
300 M WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Murison. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V
TOPIC: American Gothic from the Revolution to the Civil War
Gothic literature typically groans under the weight of dark castles, Catholic innuendos, aristocratic machinations, and imperiled maidens. But what of the conventions of the gothic in America, a nation traditionally lacking in castles, monks, and aristocracies? How did authors in the new nation reform this genre to match the issues and settings peculiar to America? Since early American novelist Charles Brockden Brown famously claimed that the gothic in America should concentrate on the “incidents of Indian hostility, and the perils of the western wilderness,” American artists have reinvented this genre to suit the political, social, and cultural differences of the United States. In this course, we will pursue the gothic from the revolutionary through the Civil War periods. Along the way, we will consider such topics as the roots of the southern gothic; the way in which slavery, industrialization, and Indian Wars shaped the gothic imagination in America; and how authors—both popular and “high” culture—weave gothic conventions into their works. Authors may include Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, and Louisa May Alcott. As this is a writing intensive course, we will also pursue the academic genres that constitute literary scholarship. We will explore the pleasures of close reading and archival research, the complex and enabling terms of literary theory, and the construction of analytically strong and stylistically compelling arguments. Class assignments will include response papers, three major essays of varying length, an annotated bibliography, a final research project, and active class participation. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
300 S WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Wilcox. TUTH 2-3:15 Group I or V
TOPIC: Women and Revolution
How do the rights and responsibilities of citizenship apply to persons who do not bear arms, own property, or vote? Are changes in the status of women best achieved by slowly reshaping convention or by imagining radical new possibilities? Under what circumstances does gender trump other forms of self-definition, like race and class? The American and French Revolutions motivated British and American women in the late eighteenth century to write, in a variety of literary genres, about the relationships among gender, authority, and civic responsibility. The resulting controversies continue to echo in twenty-first-century feminist theory and practice. In this course, we will examine both the full ideological spectrum of women’s writing about their sex in the late eighteenth century, and we will consider how women writers adapted the available tools of literary expression to explore new ideas about gender and political authority. Course requirements will include four writing assignments of varying length, extensive research in primary and secondary sources, many opportunities for revision and peer review, and participation on the course blog. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 C CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Parker. MWF 10
“How to Interpret Literature: An Introduction to Contemporary Critical Theory.” This course is required for English literature majors. (Most English majors should take English 301 in the second semester of their sophomore year or the first semester of their junior year, but only if they have already taken several literature courses. Seniors in this class usually regret not taking it sooner.) Literature students write, think, and speak literary criticism, and this course sets out to make that process more interesting and—eventually—more fun. In the last half century, critics have repeatedly reinvented literary and cultural criticism in ways that can deeply influence how we interpret what we read and how we understand our daily lives. We will study such critical movements as new criticism, structuralism and narratology, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, new historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and reader response. This course prepares students for future literature classes, and more to the point, it helps us understand and question the entire project of critical thinking and reading. Requirements: attendance (which is crucial), probably two papers and several tests. Class time will focus on discussion and more discussion and more discussion, not on lecture. If you like to stay silent in class, don’t take this section. Readings: a modest selection of literary texts and individual works of criticism and theory as well as Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2008). It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 F CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, A. Basu. MW 2-3:15
This course will introduce you to the basic terrains of literary criticism. Like all academic disciplines, literary criticism comes with systems of thought and their technical vocabularies. This is because like all modes of organized thinking, it relies on precision and nuance. Top level literary criticism involves a world of variables and concerns, like society, production, history, psychology, gender and class identities, ideologies, sexualities, cultures, and ideas. In exploring this terrain, we will understand how languages and intellectual environments shape us; it will also tell us how we historically came into being as individuals and communities.
Apart from a textbook that will introduce us to the basics of literary theory, we will also read and work with a few essays, poems, and short stories. You will be required to turn in 3 papers, answer quizzes, and write a final examination. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 P CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Nazar. TUTH 11-12:15
How do we judge different interpretations of a poem? What is the difference between reading a novel and reading a newspaper? Does literature have any relevance outside the academy? These and related questions underwrite what we call “theory” in literature departments and in this course we will consider some of the most powerful responses they have received in the last half century. The course will introduce you to critical schools including the New Criticism, feminism, Marxism, deconstruction, and the New Historicism, and aims to encourage reflection on the use and abuse of theory. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 Q CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Valente. TUTH 12:30-1:45
Introduction to influential critical methods and to the multiple frameworks for interpretation as illustrated by the intensive analysis of selected texts. For majors only. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
325 S TOPICS IN LGBT LIT & FILM, Rodriguez. TUTH 2-3:15 Group III or V
TOPIC: The Queer 80’s
A number of historical accounts often view queer studies as a phenomenon originating in the early1990s due in large part to Teresa de Lauretis’s coinage of the term “queer theory” as the title for a conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990 and for the subsequent 1991 special issue of the journal Differences. This course, however, regards the 1980s as setting the stage for what would become one of the most innovative and activist oriented fields of critical inquiry. Through an examination of literature, film, print media, music, video, and other expressive forms from Europe and the Americas, the course explores how the conservatism of the Reagan/Thatcher era and the emergence of the AIDS epidemic gave way to acts of resistance which would in turn provide queer studies its necessary political grounding. By no means a complete list, we will nonetheless examine the writings of Audre Lorde, Alan Hollinghurst, Bret Easton Ellis, Barbara Smith, Jeanette Winterson, Cindy Patton, Cherríe Moraga, Gloria Anzaldúa, Teresa de Lauretis, Gayle Rubin, Los Bros. Hernández, Amber Hollibaugh, John D’Emilio, Essex Hemphill, Leo Bersani, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and the contributors to the periodical Out/Look; the music of Jimmy Somerville and Bronski Beat, Madonna, George Michael and Wham!, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pete Burns and Dead or Alive, Morrissey and The Smiths, Michael Jackson, Boy George and Culture Club, and Annie Lennox and Eurythmics; and the films of Bill Sherwood (Parting Glances), Pedro Almodóvar (Law of Desire), Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames), Isaac Julien (Looking for Langston), and Jennie Livingston (Paris is Burning).
359 N LIT RESPONSES TO THE HOLOCAUST, Kaplan. TUTH 9:30-10:50 Group V
same as YDSH 320, RLST 320, CWL 320
How can we understand the incredible beauty of much Holocaust art and literature? And is there something indecent or unethical about this beauty? The relationship between aesthetics and history or between art and politics has generally been vexed; yet many readers and viewers of Holocaust literature, art, and memorials confess that where the historical documentary might not affect them deeply, the aesthetic power of art encourages them to remember the Holocaust rather than shunt it aside. The place of unwanted beauty in the representation of mass violence is applicable to other histories where violence, memory, trauma, and aesthetics cross.
This course addresses these and other questions through examining several literary responses to the Holocaust including Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, and J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello. I hope that students will actively engage in class discussion and in in-class writing assignments.
373 G SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, T. Newcomb. MW 3:30-5:20 Group V
same as CINE 373
TOPIC: Haunted Cinema
ENGL 373 is an advanced undergraduate course in the history, theory, and analysis of cinema. In this section we will examine narrative films about haunting—ghosts, vampires, demons, and other creatures—to investigate the many ways in which cinema is itself a “haunted” cultural form with complex, often troubling psychic, emotional, religious, and political meanings. Our examination will range from some of the earliest cinematic haunting narratives to some very recent Hollywood films.
We’ll consider these far-reaching questions, among others:
•How can cinema, that quintessentially 20th-century art form, reveal to us what forces and fears haunt the modern world? In what ways is cinema a haunted form, and the viewer of films both haunter and haunted?
•How can cinematic narratives of haunting provide us with powerful metaphors of hidden interconnection, even some degree of religious experience, in the fragmented, skeptical environment of modernity?
•How do these narratives allow us to explore anxieties and fantasies involving identity, gender, and sexuality that are largely taboo in our everyday lives?
•How do the narrative conventions and visualizing powers specific to cinema inspire, limit, and change the ways we imagine and experience the paranormal?
Courses numbered 396, 397, and 398 are honors seminars. English majors with an overall GPA of 3.33 or greater are eligible to enroll in the honors program. See Maureen Airsman in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.
396 E HONORS SEMINAR I, Rothberg. W 1-2:50 Group V
TOPIC: Literatures of Trauma
In recent years, trauma has emerged as a key category of contemporary literary and cultural studies. In the first section of the course, we will explore the emergence of trauma theory, an approach meant to shed light on the event and aftermath of extreme violence. Working from both classic texts by Freud and more recent writings by Cathy Caruth, Shoshana Felman, and others, we will address the contributions a theory of trauma can make to understanding modern histories and literatures of violence. Because such a theory seeks to describe a form of violence that persists beyond an initial event, memory also becomes a central category in approaches to trauma and will constitute a second focus of our course. Trauma both troubles ordinary memory and seems to call for new forms of remembrance, testimony, and witness as part of strategies of working through and confronting violence. Once we have established trauma and memory as key categories, we will read and discuss a variety of literary works—including poems, novels, and memoirs—and view a couple of films that confront and respond to different forms of trauma: from individual experiences of sexual violence through the collective historical catastrophes of slavery, colonialism, and the Holocaust. Our literary readings may include such works as Russell Banks, The Sweet Hereafter; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Octavia Butler, Kindred; J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace; Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After; Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Nadine Gordimer, The House Gun; Kathryn Harrison, The Kiss; Toni Morrison, Beloved; and Art Spiegelman, Maus. Films may include Atom Egoyan’s Exotica and Michael Haneke’s Caché (Hidden). Requirements will include regular attendance, willingness to discuss difficult issues, an in-class presentation, and several shorter and longer papers.
397 C HONORS SEMINAR II, Barrett. M 10-11:50 Group I or V
TOPIC: Festivity in Early English Drama
This is a class about time—specifically the time scheme of the liturgical year, the sacred calendar that gave shape to the lives of men and women in medieval and early modern England. The Church’s cyclical sequence of feast days generated opportunities for devout reflection, but it also authorized more antic forms of celebration: football games, church ales, morris dances, and so on. Early English drama was an equal participant in this culture of festivity, translating “play” into “plays.” Each drama we’ll consider this semester is connected to a Church holiday, either literally (in terms of its performance date) or metaphorically (in terms of its thematic investments). The first half of the class will focus on medieval plays. We’ll explore the tension between Christmas and Lent in the raucous morality play Mankind, untangle the intertwined discourses of gender and authority in Candlemas and Assumption plays on the life of the Virgin Mary, and watch urban communities take shape against the backdrop of sacred history in the midsummer cycle plays of York and Chester. The second half of the course will concentrate on Renaissance texts, paying particular attention to the changes in English festivity brought about by Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church. We’ll chart the reformation of drama in John Bale’s Protestant “counter-cycle” (God’s Promises, John Baptist’s Preaching, and The Temptation of the Lord) even as we acknowledge the survival of Catholic ritual in texts like William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and the masques of Inigo Jones and Ben Jonson.
Course assignments will include regular reading responses and a substantial term paper (to be written in stages). Whenever possible, medieval texts will be read in Modern English versions.
398 P HONORS SEMINAR III, Mahaffey. TH 11-12:50 Group IV
TOPIC: Homer and Joyce
Homer and Joyce might best be approached as two blind poets making music out of their respective languages, and as two writers who attempted to reflect and reshape the values behind what their contemporaries considered heroic. We will look at Homer’s Odyssey (in Stanley Lombardo’s “post-Joycean” translation) and Joyce’s Ulysses, but we will also contrast Homer’s view of Odysseus with that of Dante in Canto 26 of Inferno. Our main goal will be to understand how Ulysses reshaped the novel along the lines of ancient oral epic, while at the same time utilizing a technique for conveying conscious thought (“stream of consciousness”) that also bears traces of the movement of the unconscious mind. Requirements will include intensive reading, active participation, an oral report, and half of which will be due midway through the term.
402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, D. Baron. MW 11-12:15
same as BTW 402
In this course we will study the English language: how we use it; how it uses us. We will learn and practice techniques for describing English, both its words and sentences and larger elements of discourse in context. We will look at the social, historical, and political forces that shape language and its use. And we will suggest ways to use what we learn about language both in the classroom and in the professional world.
Attendance: This is a discussion course. Your presence is essential, as is your participation: without both of these elements, as Capt. Renault says to Rick in Casablanca, you will find the conversation a trifle one-sided. Worse than that, excessive absence and poor preparation will affect your final grade.
Assignments: there will be a midterm quiz, a final paper, and a final exam. In addition, each student will sign up for a turn to be part of a “class expert” team. The class expert team will give a brief (ten minute) introduction to the topic of the day (expert days are marked with an asterisk in the syllabus) and ask both factual and open-ended questions to start off the discussion.
The course syllabus, all handouts, and study guides will be posted on the class website: www.illinois.edu/goto/debaron/402/402.htm
TEXT: Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams. 2008. 2nd. ed. How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. New York: Pearson.
403 1U/1G HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, D. Baron. MW 12:30-1:45 Group V
An examination of the history of the English language from its beginnings to the present, this course will treat in detail, and with equal emphasis, the English of the middle ages, the Renaissance, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the English used in the Americas and elsewhere in the world today.
We will concentrate on relationships between language and literature; dialect and the process of language standardization; the social implications of linguistic variety; and the nature of World Englishes. We will also study new word formation and the attempts, over the past four centuries, to reform English spelling, grammar, and usage. No previous background in language study is necessary, although such experience will not be held against you.
There will be a mid-term exercise, a final exam, a presentation, and a short essay.
TEXT: Jan Svartvik and Geoffrey Leech, English: One tongue, many voices. Palgrave, 2006.
404 D3/D4 ENGL GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS, Davidson. MWF 2
same as EIL 422
ENGL 404/EIL 422 studies modern English grammar to meet the needs of the ESL/EFL teacher, with special emphasis on the development of principled knowledge and skills that can be used in the analysis of the syntax, lexis and pragmatics of English.
407 1U/1G INTRODUCTION TO OLD ENGLISH, Trilling. TUTH 2-3:15 Group I
same as MDVL 407
Old English is the language spoken and written in England between roughly 500 and 1100 AD, and it offers a window to the past through a wide range of beautiful and evocative texts. In this course, you will encounter the very oldest English literature in its original form—the tales of kings, battles, heroes, monsters and saints that have inspired writers from John Milton to J.R.R. Tolkien. Because Old English is almost like a foreign language to Modern English speakers, the course will begin with intensive work on the basics of Old English grammar and translation practice before we move on to more in-depth study of the literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England.
N.B. This course fulfills the Group I requirement and the linguistics requirement for Teaching of Education majors.
Requirements: daily attendance and participation, homework and quizzes, prepared translation, a midterm, and a final.
411 1U/1G CHAUCER, M. Camargo. TUTH 11-12:15
same as MDVL 411
We will read and discuss most of the Canterbury Tales, with the object of appreciating and enjoying Chaucer’s poetic originality and understanding the literary tradition within which he wrote and the world-picture that he brings to life. Topics that will be emphasized in class discussions include Chaucer’s innovative poetics, his complex engagement with issues of gender and social class, and his place in the major philosophical and political controversies of fourteenth-century England.
418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, Mohamed. MWF 1
This course will cover Shakespeare’s plays and poems. We will especially examine the generic complexities of the ‘problem comedies’ and of such major tragedies as Othello and King Lear. Also emphasized will be how the political and cultural climates of performance affect the plays, both in early modern England and beyond Shakespeare’s time and place. Macbeth and Henry VIII are cognizant of their Jacobean context in adopting several conventions of court entertainments. The ability of plays both to reflect and challenge the expectations of their cultural milieus is equally evinced in Paul Robeson’s black Othello of 1930 London, or director Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘half-caste’ Othello figure in the Bollywood film Omkara. What do we make of Lear’s three daughters become sons, and samurai, in the Japanese film Ran? Or Wole Soyinka’s transformation of Macbeth into a satire on African despots in King Baabu? These interpretations not only take Shakespeare in new directions, but also invite us to reconsider elements of the original that might initially go unnoticed.
Students should expect to spend significant time reading material, especially if they are unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s English: there will be a minimum of ten plays studied in the course.
418 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE, Kay. MWF 10
A study of Shakespeare’s developing art in comedy, the history play, and tragedy through the reading and discussion of selected Sonnets and some eight or nine plays, including Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night, 1 Henry the Fourth, Anthony & Cleopatra, Othello, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. Coursework will include in-class writings, an hour exam, a final exam, and several papers drawing on e-reserve sources.
418 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45
One of Shakespeare’s earliest and most formidable critics complained that the playwright “is so much more careful to please than to instruct, that he seems to write without any moral purpose.” Certainly the very titles of comedies such as As You Like It suggest moral ambiguity or indifference, and the tragedies offer few instances of Virtue Rewarded. But careful readings of ten early and later comedies, histories and tragedies reveal a profoundly moral vision of human experience. A mid-term exam covers the first four plays, a 10-12 page paper on one of the tragedies is due the tenth week, and the final exam includes only the last six plays. Students will also choose two short passages to present to the class.
TEXT: The Riverside Shakespeare, G.B. Evans, ed.
421 1U/1G LATER RENAISS POETRY & PROSE, Gray. MWF 10 Group I
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.
428 1U/1G BRITISH DRAMA 1660-1800, Markley. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group I or V
This course will cover some of the major works in British drama written between 1660 and 1777. We will pay particular attention to the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts of theatrical performance, and we will discuss the major issues that find their way onto the London stage: sexual morality, the role of women in a patrilineal society, and the problems of empire, trade, and colonialism. Because of Restoration period (1660-1700) featured the popular and critical success of a number of women dramatists—Aphra Behn, Susan Centlivre, Mary Pix, and Catherine Trotter—we will devote a good deal of attention to the ways in which these playwrights appropriated the conventions of the seemingly antifeminist genres of wit comedy. In addition to these women dramatists, we will read and discuss plays by George Etherege, John Dryden, William Wycherley, Thomas Otway, Thomas Shadwell, William Congreve, John Gay, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
434 1U/1G VICTORIAN POETRY & PROSE, Saville. MWF 2 Group II
To the uninitiated, the rubric “Victorian Poetry and Non-Fiction Prose” might suggest hours of dry reading and pedantic argument. While this course is certainly not for those seeking easy credit, it aims to show participants many fascinating points of contact between the political, philosophical, moral, and aesthetic questions with which Victorian poets and prose-writers wrestled, and those we engage with today. Among other things, we may consider the lively discussions about individual freedom and civic responsibility that absorbed moral philosophers at mid-century. We may compare the effectiveness of poems that protest factory conditions and child labor in Victorian England with prose writing on the same subjects. We shall study various poets’ engagements with religious politics, some exhibiting a devout religious consciousness (John Keble), others criticizing ecclesiastical hypocrisy (Robert Browning), and still others rejecting the very possibility of a god (A. C. Swinburne). We shall explore the ways women poets such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Augusta Webster break away from the constraints of parlor poetry to establish their own effective public voice. And in contrast, we shall trace the various strategies adopted by male poets and essayists (Alfred Tennyson, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde) to develop and resist new styles of “manliness” and “womanliness” in Victorian England.
435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Courtemanche. TUTH 2-3:15 Group II or V
In the 19th century, British writers took the newly-popular form of the novel and vastly expanded its ambitions, adding cliffhangers, complex moral dilemmas, subtle wit, metaphysical reflections on history, and biting social critique. Many of the novels we’ll be reading are based on a combination of the romance plot (in which a happy marriage solves other problems) and the Bildungsroman plot (in which a young person achieves his or her desires by struggling against a cruel world), but they also deftly undermine and chop up these generic expectations, leading to sudden new perspectives and surprising twists. Readings will include Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, and several critical essays. These novels are tremendously fun to read, but also very long, so be prepared for a great deal of reading. The course will require one close-reading paper, one research paper, a midterm and final, weekly written assignments, and active class participation.
451 1U/1G AMERICAN LITERATURE 1914-1945, T. Newcomb. MWF 1 Group III
Life in the U. S. may have changed more drastically between 1914 and 1945 than in any thirty years of the nation’s history. In these three decades Americans lived through a war of unprecedented carnage, a manic decade of pleasure-seeking and financial speculation, a worldwide economic depression, and finally, an even more destructive global war. American writers of these decades found ways to address crucial questions about the failings and possibilities of a world of dizzying technological change, and political upheaval so drastic that they often felt compelled to doubt the future of American democracy. Compelled to write about the new challenges of an urbanizing and modernizing world, a variety of writers exploded lingering Victorian prohibitions on subject matter. Dissatisfied with inherited forms and styles of writing, they experimented tirelessly with new ones that they hoped would better captured the 20th-century world’s wrenching instability.
We’ll examine this eventful period through the theme of “the city” as the arena where modernity takes place. By 1900 the United States (like most countries in the industrialized world) had crossed a fundamental threshold from primarily rural to primarily urban. But not all urban spaces are the same; we’ll trace how competing models of urban space shape the literature and politics of the early 20th century, and investigate how the emergence of the city as the dominant modern space made American society what it is, for better and worse. Among the questions we’ll consider: What makes the “modern world” modern? How did concepts like nation, race, gender, class, mass culture shape 20th-century identity? How did life-changing technologies, and the unpredictable sociopolitical changes they brought, produce new styles of behavior, compulsion, and creation? Where, if anywhere, is God in such a world? How might the arts reveal, and conceivably change, that world? Before we’re done we’ll come to see that the intense responses of these writers to their challenging world helped to define modern culture, and offer us a lens for imagining where we might be heading a century later.
455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Wood. TUTH 11-12:15 Group IV
TOPIC: Jane Austen
Jane Austen stands for many things she should not: prim mistress of the drawing room of English literature, romance novelist, and cash cow for the period film industry. In this course, we will attempt to rescue Austen from Austen Inc. by examining the fictional innovations, unsparing wit, and genius for characterization that created the enormous readership for her novels in the first place. We will study Austen’s larger novelistic craft—as a pioneer of female subjectivity in prose, a fashioner of sentimental crises, and commentator on a society she both despises and lovingly details—while not neglecting the micro-issues of Austen’s irresistibly caustic style. The gender politics surrounding this style—Austen’s barely successful constraint of her verbal brilliance within the respectable parameters of the marriage plot—will be a major focus, as will the history of Regency Britain on which she casts an oblique but probing light.
455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Murison. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group IV
TOPIC: Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe may well be one of the most often assigned yet least widely read of the major authors of the nineteenth-century United States. While countless students encounter her wildly popular and bestselling first novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, few if any have an opportunity to read much more of her writing. Indeed, Uncle Tom’s Cabin has become synonymous with “Harriet Beecher Stowe” in a way that erases her more than forty years of professional writing. This course seeks to introduce students to a wider scope of Stowe’s writing, including her other abolitionist writings (particularly her second anti-slavery novel, Dred), her historical fiction about eighteenth-century New England, her humorous essays on interior decorating meant to distract and console a country at war, and her letters and memoirs about travel in Europe and her second home in Florida. Our focus will be interdisciplinary and transatlantic, just as Stowe’s own writing was: we will take this opportunity to scrutinize the politics of her domestic science manual, American Woman’s Home (co-authored with her sister Catherine E. Beecher), the transatlantic controversy surrounding her exposé of Lord Byron, and the critique of religion she poses in Women in Sacred History. This course will also contend with Stowe’s lopsided legacy, which has made one novel ubiquitous and her other works difficult to locate in print, including over nine other novels, histories and geographies for school children, and collections of poetry. Our readings will include Uncle Tom’s Cabin (naturally), Dred, The Minister’s Wooing, House and Home Papers, and Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands. We will supplement these readings with critical and biographical pieces. Course requirements may include two essays, a group project, a final exam, and active class participation.
455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, Somerville. MWF 11 Group IV
TOPIC: James Baldwin
Harlem, Paris, Istanbul. Novelist, essayist, playwright, poet. Preacher, civil rights activist, expatriate writer. Defying any single classification, genre, or location, James Baldwin (1924-1987) and his writing continue to complicate the ways we think about twentieth-century American literature, African American literature, and lesbian/gay literature. This course will offer an opportunity to study Baldwin’s writing in depth, including works such as Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, The Fire Next Time, and Go Tell It On the Mountain. At the same time, we will consider the literary, cultural, and political contexts of his writing, including the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the early lesbian and gay liberation movement, and the Black Power movement. Along the way, we will read selected critical and theoretical scholarship that sheds light on the politics of race, sexuality, and representation in Baldwin’s work.
455 4U/4G MAJOR AUTHORS, Capino. MW 3:30-4:45 Group IV
TOPIC: Martin Scorsese
From his obsessive recreation of period detail to his unabashed predilection for showy movie star acting, and from his interest in reviving of old genres to his tireless advocacy of film preservation, it is clear that it is the movie fan in Scorsese that fuels his passion as a director. This course focuses on Scorsese’s fascinating intertextual dialogue with American and world cinema. Students will examine Scorsese films alongside their sources in world cinema, including his black-and-white boxing film, Raging Bull (1980), and the explosively colorful ballet film, The Red Shoes (1948). Apart from studying various aspects of Scorsese’s filmmaking, this course will also grapple with the problematics of authorship theories and the notion of a “New Hollywood.” The course requires two film screenings and about thirty pages of reading per week, a screening journal, quizzes, and two papers.
461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Loughran. TUTH 11-12:15 Group III or V
TOPIC: Cultural Subjects: Theory, History, and Literary Form
How do we remember and forget parts of our collective past, and what role does literature play in witnessing such events for readers living in subsequent decades and centuries? This course will explore the intersection of historical memory and literary form through the lens of psychoanalytic theory, with special emphasis on the historical and collective experiences of colonization and slavery in the nineteenth century and their ongoing effects across time. We will be especially interested in thinking about how certain literary forms—like the Freudian “case study,” autobiography, and certain special kinds of narrative emplotment—help to memorialize the experience of “cultural subjects” that might otherwise be forgotten or historically illegible. Primary literary texts will include texts like Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, Herman Melville’s Typee and Benito Cereno, John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, in addition to theory by thinkers like Freud, Anne Cheng, and Wendy Brown.
462 1U/1G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Hansen. MWF 2 Group V
TOPIC: Conspiracy Theory Narratives
Our particular moment in history has been witness to a good deal of conspiracy theory. Nearly all of us have seen, read, and even speculated about the theories surrounding John F. Kennedy and the wave of political assassinations in the 1960s. More recently, of course, we’ve been privy to countless theories concerning terrorist conspiracies, government conspiracies, and corporate conspiracies. After all, we have grown quite accustomed to the assorted terms and expressions that accompany and inspire conspiracy theorists. But just where does spotting conspiracies devolve into full-scale paranoia? When are we correct about our suspicions and when have we gone too far? This course will explore these questions by tracing out a genealogy of literary texts that not only involve conspiracies but also the paranoid, hyper-alert experience that we might call conspiracy theorizing. By placing these texts in their respective historical contexts, we will also discuss how to become an informed, astute critical thinker without giving in to paranoia.
Novels will include Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes: The Major Stories, G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes, Franz Kafka’s The Trial, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Don DeLillo’s Libra and Alan Moore’s Watchmen. We will also watch Robert Weine’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, and Alan J. Pakula’s The Parallax View.
Course Requirements: Active Class Participation, Daily Reading Journal, Two Exams, One 15-page Annotated Bibliography, and One 10-page Research Paper.
462 U3/G4 TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Mehta. MW 12-1:20 Group V
meets with CWL 441
TOPIC: Deceit, Desire and the Novel
The subject of this course is the genre of the novel and its concordance with the political and cultural worlds of the bourgeoisie in the 19th and the early 20th century. How did the novel in different stages and ages of capitalist development interact with the reading public? How was sexuality in its normative or deviant forms explored in this genre? What was the relation between public and private spheres? How did the shadow of the lands/colonies//empires far away figure in the narratives? What new elements or rules, if any, were introduced into the scene by the bourgeoisie of colonized societies? These are some of the issues that will be explored in this course.
481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Viera. MWF 11
What makes good writing good? And how might we teach good writing? This course, for future teachers of English and for those interested in writing, will explore these questions. Among other topics, we will consider: how “good writing” gets defined in academic settings; how race, class, and language background intersect with our conceptions of “good writing”; and how we might both embody—and teach—the identity of a “good writer.” We will pay special attention to how our writing is shaped by the changing realities of twenty-first century literacy, such as standardized testing, new technology, language diversity, and demand for writing in the workplace. In order for us to more deeply understand the theories we will encounter, we will write extensively and workshop our writing regularly.
481 2U/2G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Viera. MWF 12
What makes good writing good? And how might we teach good writing? This course, for future teachers of English and for those interested in writing, will explore these questions. Among other topics, we will consider: how “good writing” gets defined in academic settings; how race, class, and language background intersect with our conceptions of “good writing”; and how we might both embody—and teach—the identity of a “good writer.” We will pay special attention to how our writing is shaped by the changing realities of twenty-first century literacy, such as standardized testing, new technology, language diversity, and demand for writing in the workplace. In order for us to more deeply understand the theories we will encounter, we will write extensively and workshop our writing regularly.
500 R INTRO TO CRITICISM & RESEARCH, Nazar. TH 1-250
This course will provide a historical survey of the foundational thinkers, texts, and schools that orient contemporary work in the humanities, from Kant and Hegel to Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Theory. The course will include significant discussion of figures such as: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Kristeva, Williams, Hall, Fanon, Said, Spivak, Bhabha, and Butler. Among the topics we will address are: aesthetics, history, the subject, value, power, language, ideology, materiality, gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism. The purpose of this course is to ensure that graduate students receive a rigorous introduction to critical theories and methodologies central to a variety of fields in the humanities and to provide the basis for interdisciplinary conversation and intellectual community among graduate students and faculty members from across the university. Modern Critical Theory will have an unusual format. The course will meet twice a week, once a week in a public session (Tuesday evenings) that will include graduate students from Robert Rushing’s Comparative Literature 501 course and once a week in a closed session (Thursday afternoons) limited to registered students. Drawing on the resources of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, we will invite to class “guest experts” from around campus (and occasionally from off campus); these guests will visit the public sessions of the seminar and lecture on particular topics throughout the semester.
503 HISTORIOGRAPHY OF CINEMA, Capino. M 1-2:50
same as CINE 503, CWL 503
TOPIC: Film Historiography: National Cinema
Is national cinema the corpus of work by the citizens of a particular state or the totality of films, both “local” and “foreign,” exhibited within its borders? Does the rubric embrace films made by expatriates or works that are funded, European Union-style, through international co-productions? In charting the history of a national cinema, do we figure the “national” through space, fantasies of common substance, language, the director’s citizenship, or fugitive tropes of nationalist discourse? This graduate seminar examines “national cinema” as a persistent, tactical and often productive category of analysis in film history and criticism. Students will investigate this rubric in relation to others used in the field, including such categories as regional, hemispheric, continental, tricontinental, transnational, and global. The primary aim of the course is to help students identify a national cinema that interests them and to discover a point of intervention within in its discourse.
505 E WRITING STUDIES I, Schaffner. M 1-2:50
same as CI 563
This seminar is an introduction to writing studies, a field originally defined by the teaching of academic writing. In recognition that writing structures a good deal of our institutional and interpersonal exchanges, writing studies has expanded to include a much wider array of topics. Over the course of the semester, students will become familiar with the main academic journals and presses in the field, as well as work from related disciplines. This seminar is aimed at helping students to produce meaningful scholarship. Written work in the course will demonstrate competence in: ethnographic research, archival research, computer mediated communication, knowledge of rhetoric, knowledge of discourse, and research into situated literacy practices.
514 G SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE, M. Camargo. W 3-4:50
same as MDVL 514
TOPIC: The Pearl Poet
Generally believed to have been written by a single poet from northwestern England, the four alliterative poems in British Library, MS Cotton, Nero A.x (ca. 1400) include two masterpieces that rank among the greatest works of medieval literature in any language. In this seminar we will focus on those two works, the dream vision Pearland the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, though we also will read and discuss the homiletic adaptations of biblical materials Patience and Cleanness. All four poems will be read in the original Middle English. The extra time devoted to Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight will allow us to appreciate their depth, complexity, and aesthetic brilliance through traditional close reading. At the same time we will explore some of the most promising directions taken by recent scholarship, such as the efforts to define the poet’s theology, political ideology, and social position and trace the relationships among them. Course requirements include participation in class discussion, one or two oral presentations, and an article-length seminar paper.
524 E SEMINAR IN 17TH C LITERATURE, Gray. W 1-2:50
TOPIC: Unmaking Britain: Literature and War in the Seventeenth Century
From 1638-1668, Britain was a realm self-consciously suffering under the far-reaching social and discursive effects of bitter civil war and its aftermath. Perhaps as many as one in three of all British men between the ages of sixteen to sixty took arms, while the dispersed and widespread nature of billeting, garrisoning, and field armies led to what one historian has referred to as “a war without a front line” (Morrill xix, 63). Military identities and ideas thus came to permeate both the everyday life of the majority of the population and the growing body of literature that accompanied the wars. This seminar will explore this militarized culture, focusing in particular on literary attempts to define the origins, nature, and effects of civil war. These attempts often drew on traditions of classical literature and Renaissance political philosophy that theorized civil violence as concurrently defining and destructive of political wholes: for Lucan, for example, ancient Rome’s civil conflict inspires songs “of a mighty people attacking its own guts with victorious sword-hand” (3). Seventeenth-century writers across the political spectrum sought to integrate this paradoxical sense of civil conflict into their accounts of the wars, imagining the coherence of the nation state at its most compelling as it vanished from view. We will analyze the pervasive and mesmerizing aporia war creates in early British political representation and, more broadly, literature’s variegated responses to civil violence, which range from celebration to suppression or sublimation. We will ask how the literature of the period assimilated self-wounding conflict into its aesthetic; what new kinds of combative or flexible religious, political, and gendered identities were produced by civil crisis; and what new ways of imagining national form (or formlessness) emerged from emphases on the paradoxical nature of “civil” war. The course will begin with selections from a handful of theoretical and historical texts on violence and excerpts from one or two classical epic. We will then read a range of literary works from the period by male and female writers such as John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson, Margaret Cavendish, William Davenant, Andrew Marvell, and William Waller.
533 R SEMINAR ROMANTIC LIT, Chai. TH 1-2:50
TOPIC: Romantic Negativity
This course will try to explore the dark side of British Romanticism. Specifically, we’ll look at the negative principle by which concepts get erased and things lose their value in Romantic thought or consciousness. Our ultimate objective will be to come to some sense of how and why we (or anyone) might undertake a quest for value, within a wider context than that of the Romantic period. We’ll begin with the recognition by some Romantic authors of the void exemplified by the material sphere. Here our focus will be on the early 19th century British hospital scene and the vitalist controversy to which it gave rise. We’ll examine the principal texts, by surgeons like John Abernethy and William Lawrence, and conclude with P.B. Shelley’s “Triumph of Life.” Next, we’ll turn to various forms of ruinous expense and/or waste in the period, that involve not just money but also lives. Here we’ll start with Byron’s Don Juan, which we’ll read against the background of his experiences in British high society. For our information about aristocratic practices, however, we’ll tap not just Byron himself but other well-placed contemporary eyewitnesses. Subsequently we’ll shift from individual to collective expense, which we can track through the journalism of William Cobbett and others on the war against Napoleon in Spain, which leads in turn to the somber reflections of Anna Barbauld in Eighteen Hundred and Eleven on the inevitable fate of empire. Cobbett is equally grim on the motives and means of domestic expense, in the English countryside. But that gives rise to nostalgia over the loss of landscape, in Cobbett and the poet John Clare. Finally, we’ll consider the quest for absolute value as it emerges within political economy: through the work of David Ricardo (esp. his On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation), his controversy with Thomas Malthus, and his final, unfinished paper on exchange value and absolute value.
TEXTS: Shelley’s Poetry and Prose, ed. Reiman/Fraistat; Lord Byron: The Major Works, ed. McGann; Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation; The Poems of Anna Letitia Barbauld, ed. McCarthy/Kraft (excerpt); Cobbett, Rural Rides (excerpts); Clare, Poems of the Middle Period, ed. Robinson et al. (excerpts)
543 T SEMINAR MOD BRITISH LIT, Valente. TH 3-5:20
TOPIC: Neocolonialism and Contemporary Irish Fiction
In this course, we will read an array of recent Irish novels that owe their popularity and critical acclaim to their powerful sophisticated anatomy of the neocolonial condition, a state of economic dependency and cultural subdominance persisting after and in spite of the formal declaration of political independence. For the Booker Prizewinning and nominated authors in this course (Doyle, McCabe, Donoghue, Enright, Tiobin, O’Neill, and Barry), neocolonialism in Ireland evolves as a toxic partnership between two seemingly opposed discourses of identity, with their corresponding standards of individual and collective being. The impracticality of the nativist vision of a permanently, pastoral, pre-modern and piously Catholic Ireland not only allowed existing social pathologies of violence, alcoholism, domestic abuse etc. to continue unabated, it virtually solicited the more practical but imported and thus exploitative paradigm of materialist, middle class respectability and normativity to operate in its place and in its name. The ultimate effect, on which these novels deliberate, was an especially ruthless post-war sanitization of all manner of social deviance, both on a public basis, through the use of disciplinary institutions like the Magdelane laundries, industrial schools, etc., and on an individual basis, through the use of terror-based instruments of subject formation and bildung. What these novels delineate, and what our course explores, is how newly enfranchised Ireland’s ideals of cultural authenticity and autonomy, being purely mythical in every sense, bred social dysfunction that was both a familiar product of the earlier colonial regime and seemed to require a colonial-style system of abusive regulation. We will conclude by looking at recent government investigations in to the institutionalized brutality that made the new or neocolonial Irish boss the same as the old English boss.
547 T SEMINAR EARLIER AMERICAN LIT, Loughran. TH 3-5
TOPIC: American Enlightenment: The Material Culture of Nation-Building
This will be a methods course in both archival research and cultural history in which students will be asked to assemble and theorize an archive from which they might narrate at the end of the course some larger story about the American Enlightenment--from its novels, newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines to less obviously literary sites like houses, streets, museums, and maps. For the first two-thirds of the course, we will anchor these archival investigations in cultural theory (reading seminal material on nation formation, the public sphere, and class formation) and on close readings of primary texts (autobiographies, novels, and pamphlets by authors like Benjamin Franklin, John Fitch, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Brockden Brown). In the last third of the course, seminar participants will work together in groups to assemble and narrate for the seminar a distinctive archival bibliography that will help form the basis of each student's longer seminar paper. Our last few weeks will be entirely devoted to exchanging and discussing student writing. In this way, the course is meant to serve both as a practical site for learning basic approaches to archival research and as a place to theorize the methodological problems that arise when working with and in cultural history. Secondary readings will be drawn from many disciplines, including literary studies, history, archeology, American studies, geography, history of technology, sociology, and art history—including work by scholars such as Carolyn Steedman, Jay Fliegelman, Michael Warner, Jurgen Habermas, Benedict Anderson, T.H. Breen, David Harvey, Richard Bushman, Laura Rigal, John Kasson, Brooke Hindle, Tony Bennet, and William Kelso (among others).
553 G SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Nelson. W 3-5:50
TOPIC: Modern American Poetry, 1900-1955
The first half of the 20th century was a period of astonishing vitality and diversity in American poetry. Women poets, minority poets, and writers on the political left created whole literary subcultures that adapted both experimental modernism and traditional stanzaic verse to the needs of a rapidly changing culture. They also entered into dramatic debates with more conservative writers, so that a kind of poetic war took place between feminism and misogyny, between a new African-American vision and a resurgent racism, between poets committed to radical change and those determined to preserve traditional power relations. For almost fifty years most of this cultural life was forgotten or repressed; we remembered instead only the handful of poets who were honored in the modern poetry canon. Now scholars have recovered and begun to reinterpret the vast and remarkably inventive heritage of American modernism.
We will devote class sessions both to canonical poets like T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and Ezra Pound, and to noncanonical poets who are now available again for reading and reflection—Langston Hughes, Edwin Rolfe, Genevieve Taggard, Gertrude Stein, Sterling Brown, Muriel Rukeyser, H.D., Kenneth Fearing, and many others. Whenever possible, we will listen to powerful recordings of the poets reading their own work. We will also regularly read critical books and essays about the poets themselves, the world in which they worked, and the theory of canon revision. Seminar participants may write a term paper on one poet or may take up one of these broader topics and compare the work of a variety of writers.
563 E SEMINAR THEMES AND MOVEMENTS, Warrior. W 1-2:50
meets with AIS 503
TOPIC: Sovereignty, Autonomy, and Indigenous Literatures in the Americas
Since the 19th century, Indigenous peoples in the Americas have most often organized themselves politically around the concepts of sovereignty and autonomy, with regions and countries dominated by Anglophonic nation-states most often focused on the idea of sovereignty while those in Spanish-speaking areas of the Americas more likely to focus on autonomy (autonomia). Literary work by Indigenous writers has often confounded and challenged both of these broadly-construed political discourses, and the purpose of this seminar is to delve into some of the ways literary imagination and political realities have intersected productively in the Indigenous Americas.
The course will focus on reading literary texts and other examples of contemporary expressive culture. Authors will include Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Rigoberta Menchu, Gaspar Pedro Gonzalez, Victor Montejo, Simon Ortiz, Joy Harjo, John Joseph Mathews, Gerald Vizenor, and Gertrude Bonnin. Films by Chris Eyre, Zacharias Kunuk, Alanis Obamsawin, and Arlene Bowman will also be included.
581 R SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Wood. TU 1-2:50
TOPIC: New Directions in Ecocriticism
This seminar will consider the chequered history of ecocriticism from its origins as a marginal and unfashionable discourse in the 1980s to its rapid diversification and increasing centrality today. Ecocriticism has always been in crisis, and the competing agendas of environmental conservation and justice have now been joined by a raft of urgent new themes dominant in other disciplines, such as climate change, green urbanism, biodiversity, environmental history, and sustainability, to add to the complexity of the field at this critical juncture. The approach to the research paper will be eco-historical; that is, I invite students from all historical fields to participate in the seminar and develop projects related to environmental discourse and history from their periods, with a view to better historicizing the crises facing global ecosystems and climate in the 21st century.
582 R TOPICS RESEARCH AND WRITING, Mortensen. TU 1-2:50
same as CI 565
TOPIC: Historiography in Writing Studies
What does it mean to speak of “history” in the context of “writing studies”? A great deal: indeed, far too much to address in a semester. For practical purposes, then, we’ll limit our attention to the North America between 1850 and 1975, and even so we’ll have to be very selective in surveying the intertwined historical literatures on rhetoric, composition, and literacy. Seminar participants will complete a proposal for a conference paper and a researched seminar paper suitable for revision into a conference paper. Research projects may be situated outside the geographical and temporal boundaries defined by our readings.
584 G TOPICS DISCOURSE AND WRITING, Hawisher. W 3-5:50
same as CI 569
TOPIC: Literate Lives, Digital Times
Literate Lives, Digital Times seeks to provide opportunities to explore changing practices—local and global—for literacy in contemporary societies. In addition to looking at the digital contexts in which we immerse ourselves, we will also work to develop a research approach that makes use of digital tools to capture literate activity. In doing so, we will sometimes employ digital media tools for collecting and exhibiting life history interviews while, at others, attempt to represent literate behavior by video recording everyday writing processes. Historical research is also an option as we delve into the ways in which digital communication technologies have profoundly altered understandings of the field of writing studies. Regardless of our choices, however, the class is intended to take on a wide variety of issues related to the digital as it finds its place alongside alphabetic literacies. Our overarching goal is to engage in a scholarly study of how people forge literate lives in a variety of technological, print, and cultural settings.
We will meet weekly for a three-hour class. The first two hours will be devoted to a discussion of readings and presentations while the third hour will be held in a computer lab and focus on the preparation of digital portfolios, writing process videos, videotaped interviews, and other possible activities in which you’ll need to engage for your final research project.
A tentative class bibliography includes readings by Dennis Baron; Deborah Brandt; Bertram Bruce and Maureen Hogan; Dánielle DeVoss and Heidi McKee; Gail Hawisher, Paul Prior, Patrick Berry, Amber Buck, Steven E. Gump, Cory Holding, Hannah Lee, Christa Olson, and Janine Solberg; Wendy Hesford; Henry Jenkins; Gunther Kress; Maria Lovett and Joseph Squier; Lev Manovich; the New London Group; James E. Porter; Jeff Rice; Spencer Schaffner; Cynthia Selfe; Synne Skjulstad and Andrew Morrison; Madeleine Sorapure; Anne Wysocki; Kathleen Yancey, and more.
593 D PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Nardi. W 11-12:50
TOPIC: The Teaching of Rhetoric
In this course for new TAs teaching composition, we will examine theory, research, and pedagogy in writing studies as well as participants' own experiences in relation to the questions of how and why to teach writing in college. Requirements include reading, active participation in class activities, informal writing, and a final portfolio reflecting on teaching.
TEXTS: A packet of readings.
593 P PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Erickson. TU 11-12:50
TOPIC: The Teaching of Business and Technical Writing
This professional seminar is designed to ground graduate students in some of the salient genres, discourse conventions, and styles privileged by discourse communities engaged in business, as well as help those students construct a sophisticated conceptual understanding of writing well-suited to the instruction/learning of writing-as-a-verb for those discourse communities. More importantly, this seminar will help its students critically engage useful pedagogical theory and theory from the field of business/technical writing, so they might improve their effectiveness as classroom instructors. This seminar is required of all graduate students teaching business/technical writing for the first time.