English Course Descriptions: Spring 2010

Literature and Writing Studies Courses


English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world.

Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.


Covering the history of dramatic form, the major genres, the dramatic traditions of various cultures, and key terms used in the analysis of dramatic works, this course serves as a general introduction to the drama. Reading plays from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary theatre, students will be taught skills in close reading and literary interpretation. But, because drama is written to be performed, students will also be asked to consider how textual meanings might be represented through visual and aural means. Course work usually includes several papers (12-15 pages total), a group performance/ presentation, and either several hour exams or a mid-term exam and a final exam.


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 then focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, westerns, musicals, and melodramas, in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or fulfill certain wishes of the spectator.

English 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English /CINE 273 (an intermediate course in film analysis) and other advanced film classes. The course presents one film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art as an introductory textbook and give additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters) available in a photocopied reader or on library reserve. Sections are designed so that each student contributes extensively in the discussions; attendance and participation are crucial in this course.

The minimum formal assignments are about 12 pages of expository writing (usually in 3 short essays, although some instructors may assign more writing), a midterm, and a three hour final exam; most instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) and a section of essay questions. This course earns 3 credit hours and qualifies as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)


TOPIC: American Autobiography: Life-Writing and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Class

Autobiography could easily be called the essential American genre, a form of writing closely allied to our national self-consciousness; it has become a central, even dominant, form of writing in a society devoted, at least in principle, to the notion of radical equality: democracy presupposes a social context in which the individual is not only valued, but preeminent and also representative. That is, the individual (in literature, as in politics) stands in for the group, suggesting that his or her experience is general. Ralph Waldo Emerson prophesied that autobiography would become the central form of American literary expression, enabling each author—thus, self-authorized—to acquire power in the world through writing.

In this course, we will endeavor to keep Emerson’s prediction in mind as we consider the politics of autobiographical writing from Benjamin Franklin to Gloria Anzaldúa. The readings, class discussions, papers, and exams will give us opportunities to think about the role of history and fiction in autobiographical writing and the shaping of lives for public consumption; the possibilities for social protest, liberation, and social critique; the process of self-discovery and self-realization; and the problems and politics of inclusion. We will interrogate the generic boundaries of autobiography and consider literary forms such as nature writing, poetry, travelogue, cooperative life-writing, slave narrative, fictional autobiography, and autohistoria, that work both with and against the grain of “classic” examples and challenge our definitions of life-writing.

Written work will include three papers (3-4 pages), occasional short reflection papers and in-class responses to readings, and regular quizzes.


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.


Surveying a broad range of literature in the three major genres-poetry, drama, and fiction-this course introduces students to important works of world literature as well as methods of and approaches to literary analysis. By reading works such as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, poems by John Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and W. B. Yeats, and fiction by Jane Austen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, James Joyce, and Ralph Ellison. Students will not only trace the historical development of the three genres, but develop a deeper appreciation of some of the best writing of the past 2500 years.


Selective introduction to the theory and practice of comedy; examines a number of influential theories of comedy and a variety of comic forms including poetry, novels, essays, plays, and short stories.


This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of British prose, poetry, and drama. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Ed., along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course does not offer a complete chronological survey of all or even most major writers. 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.


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. Texts for reading and discussion will include literature representing a variety of gender and ethnic perspectives.


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.

120 S SCIENCE FICTION, Littlefield. TUTH 2-3:15

This course will introduce you to science fiction, the literary form that expresses some of our culture's deepest concerns and fears, as well as its greatest hopes; that provides creative answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and humans’ place in it; that also warns us about the possible results of our society’s current errors, and forecasts the infinite possibilities open to us. Texts for this course will be drawn from a variety of early and contemporary authors, including Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Kate Wilhelm, Ray Bradbury, and Margaret Atwood. Our approach will be discussion- and project-based, but will also likely include response papers and a midterm exam.

199 CHP UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Kay. MW 3:30-4:45 - Campus Honors Section

TOPIC: Gender and Power on Stage

Drama necessarily involves conflict, and the conflict between men and women over power is one of its recurring subjects. This course will examine theatrical representations of the tension between male privilege and women’s drive for independence from the Greeks to the twentieth century, tracing changing treatments of gender and power from the patriarchal and misogynist assumptions of classical Athens to the interrogation of those attitudes in early modern England and then to the depiction of egalitarian feminism on stage in more recent times. The reading list will include such works as Sophocles’ Antigone, Euripides’ Medea, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Jonson’s The Silent Woman, Dekker’s The Roaring Girl, Behn’s The Rover, Congreve’s The Way of the World, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, and Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls. Discussion will focus on such questions as what essential qualities or capabilities these plays attribute to men and women, how they evoke ideal norms of feminine and masculine behavior, how male characters’ attempts at dominance or sexual conquest are challenged by female assertiveness and wit, whether the plays offer a critical view of their society or are essentially escapist, and if so, whether their fantasies of pleasure or power are aimed primarily at a male or female audience. Course work will include short weekly writings or reports, several short critical essays, a longer research paper, and a take-home final.


TOPIC: Literature and Opera

This course will offer an introduction to the delights of opera as a dramatic and musical form. Our approach will be through the literary sources of the opera, from novel or play or story, then into the written libretto, and finally into the wedding of words and music in the final fusion of music and drama. Given this approach, we will study operas based on major works of literature such as Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (both based on Beaumarchais’s plays), and an adaptation of a Shakespeare play (Verdi’s late masterpiece Otello). Other opera will include Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s La Boheme. We will study at least five operas, and more if time allows. The class will attend a performance of an opera which is being offered by the University of Illinois Opera Program during the Spring semester, 2008.

Aside from reading and discussing the original works of literature, we will use recordings of the opera as well as video/film versions of performances of these works. When multiple video versions of these works are available, we can compare the different ways these works are realized on the stage. On the assumption that many students will be new to opera, we will begin with an overview of basic concepts about arias, ensembles, types of voices, kinds of recitative, the basic genres: opera seria, comic opera, grand opera, and the major periods of this now 400 years old art form. The classes will be mainly discussion. There will be reports by seminar members as well as short written papers leading up to a longer end-of-semester project. There will be quizzes and longer exams, and a take-home final.

TEXTS: Plotkin, Fred, Opera 101, A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, Hyperion paper; Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Penguin paper; Shakespeare, Macbeth, Dover paper; Merrime, Carmen, Penguin Edition; Goethe, Faust, paperback; Murger, The Bohemian Life; selections, in handouts

199 Q UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Freeburg. TUTH 12:30-1:45 - Discovery Section

TOPIC: Chapelle’s Show, The Boondocks, and the Contemporary Black Novel

How has black social identity changed from the racial identity politics in the 1960s to the ‘post-racial’ candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama? This course tracks black social identity and politics through artistic representations from the 1960s to the present. The course begins with the prose of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison but also concentrates on more recent novels by Paul Beatty, Percival Everett, and Danzy Senna. In addition to the former prose writers this course will also examine episodes of Chapelle’s Show and Aaron McGruger’s The Boondocks cartoons in order to rethink the social and political challenges of black group identity amidst an increasingly diverse black population in the U.S.

199 RM UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Mehta. Lect: MW 12; Screening: W 6-9 pm

meets with CWL 151

TOPIC: Love and Death in Indian Cinema

This course will explore the themes of ‘love’ and ‘death’ in Indian mainstream (mainly Bollywood) Cinema. How does the world’s most prolific film industry handle these themes? What is the relation between the literary and cinematic representations of love and death? Is Bollywood cinema a form of social history? Has this cinema ever resisted dominant nationalist and patriarchal ideologies? How has Bollywood interacted with the postcolonial nation-state of India? In what ways have the forces of globalization changed this industry? These are some of the issues we will explore. Films will include Anarkali, Mughal-e-Azam, Sholay; Madhumati, Anand, Devdas etc. All films will be screened with subtitles. No knowledge of Hindi or any other Indian language is required. This course is open to non-majors.

Films: to be screened every Wednesday, 6-9 p.m. All films will have English subtitles. Secondary texts: Critical writings by a variety of scholars, approximately 1-2 essays per film, to be posted on Compass (www.compass.uiuc.edu) or on Electronic Text (e-reserve).


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, novels, 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 and other assignments.

TEXTS: Vary according to section.

202 C MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE, Garner. MWF 10 - Group I

same as MDVL 201 & CWL 253

This course introduces students to a broad range of medieval literary texts (all in modern English translation), including such genres as myth, epic, romance, and lyric. All texts will be explored in their social, historical, and cultural contexts. Course requirements include class participation, frequent short reading responses, two exams, and two essays.

204 M RENAISSANCE LIT AND CULTURE, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45 - Group I

same as CWL 255

This course offers an introduction to some of the main themes and concerns of the Renaissance, a period known for its religious militancy, its love of classical learning, and its proto-imperialist endeavor. We will explore both what is expectedly strange and oddly familiar in these works, focusing in particular on the way Renaissance texts construct increasingly anxious and complex narratives of gentlemanly gallantry and heroism, set both within a domestic and an imperial scene. We will look at early modern culture's belief in the plasticity of identity, the way it can be molded and shaped to fit an ideal performance of the self. We will also look at the way the literature of the period attempts to direct that self-fashioning, by formulating textual portraits of the new individual and even the new society. Throughout, we will pay close attention to those who are marginalized and excluded by Renaissance ideas and ideals, as well as those who take center stage.

TEXT:The Norton Anthology of English Literature 1b: Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; Course packet from Notes and Quotes


same as CWL 257

Readings in English and continental literature of the eighteenth century, with attention to significant cultural influences.


Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Romantic period, with attention to broader cultural issues. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.


“The old order changeth, yielding place to new.” So wrote the young Tennyson in a poem that captures the Victorian era’s acute consciousness of itself as an age of transition. The literature of Queen Victoria’s long reign (1837-1901) mediated the tense social, political and sexual relations of a booming industrial economy, an expanding state, and a growing empire. With these historical contexts in mind we will study the works of impassioned sages (Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, J.S. Mill), visionary poets (Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, and Christina Rossetti) and beauty-loving decadents (Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde). Our fictional readings include works by George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, and H. Rider Haggard.

TEXTS: The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Vol. 2b “The Victorian Age;” George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical (Broadview); and H. Ridger Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines (Penguin)

209 ENGLISH LIT TO 1798, Barrett. Lect: MW 1; Disc: F 12 & 1

This course surveys British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the late eighteenth century—a little over a thousand years of literary history. In it, we will meet many different beings: fallen angels and faithful anchorites, patriotic Scotsmen and passionate sonneteers, supernatural knights and sentimental knaves. We will also investigate such concepts as nation (why are Danes and Swedes the heroes of the first English epic?), gender (how can a woman use the private language of friendship to critique the public act of regicide?), and religion (can scatological comedy coexist with Christianity, or is the result simply blasphemy?). Questions of form and genre will concern us constantly, along with considerations of historical and cultural context. Among the authors we will read are Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, Mary Wroth, Aphra Behn, and Samuel Johnson. Course requirements include weekly reading responses, two medium-length essays, and two exams.

TEXTS: Volumes 1A, 1B, and 1C of the Third Edition of The Longman Anthology of British Literature (Pearson Longman); The Lais of Marie de France (Penguin Classics); Gulliver’s Travels (Signet Classics); and various handouts provided by the instructor.

210 ENGLISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Hart. Lect: MW 10; Disc. F 10 & 11

There’s something impossible about a syllabus covering two centuries of British literary history. This is partly because of the huge number of authors and texts a survey necessarily omits, partly because the very category “British” is problematic. Should we include writing by Irish authors, who have often resisted the colonial influence of their neighbors? And what about the subjects of the British Empire, which was at its height in the early Twentieth Century but rapidly dismantled after 1945? Finally, how can we account for the sheer pace and quality of social change since 1798? For when Wordsworth and Coleridge wrote their Lyrical Ballads, life expectancy in Britain was around 30 years; in 2008, it is estimated at 79. In 1800, only a fifth of Britons lived in towns and cities; nowadays, almost 90% of the population is urban. And in 1798, parliamentary freedoms were the province of a few thousand white, protestant men; today, the enfranchised citizenry of postcolonial Great Britain contains people of all creeds, races, and ethnicities.

Within the limits of the survey format, this class will try to do justice to these historical themes: the expanding literary canon, with particular emphasis on writing by women; the problem of national identity in an age of Empire and decolonization; and the often-bewildering experience of modernity and modernization. Texts will include the three-volume edition of the Norton Anthology of British Literature since the Romantic Period (vols. D, E, F) as well as Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1831); Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room (1922); and W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (1998). Assessment will be based on attendance and participation at lectures and discussion section, two papers, a midterm, and a final exam.


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.


English 218 is intended for non-English majors who wish to become more familiar with Shakespeare’s plays and culture. The selection of plays varies from section to section, but each instructor covers about seven or eight plays reflecting Shakespeare’s changing interests, themes and developing dramatic skills. The course illuminates Shakespeare’s engagement with the genres of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance, and the engagement of his plays with the culture of Renaissance England. 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.

242 F POETRY SINCE 1940. MWF 2 - Group V

English 242 is a survey of English-language poetry written since World War II. With varying emphasis, the course will study a variety of poets as well as the major poetic movements of that period, including the Beats, the New York School, the Black Mountain poets, the Confessional school, the Deep Image poets, the British “Movement” and post-“Movement” poets, the Black Arts movement, Feminist poets, Post-colonial poetry, Language poets, and the current multifarious poetry scene).

244 M MODERN DRAMA II. TUTH 9:30-10:45 - Group V

same as CWL 266

Pirandello to the present. Same as CWL 266. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.


same as CWL 267

Historical and critical study of the short story (American and European) from the early nineteenth century to the present. Same as CWL 267. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.

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 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, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, 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.

247 S THE BRITISH NOVEL, Garrett. TUTH 2-3:15 - Group II or V

This course will focus on major works of British fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with Austen's comedy of manners, we will consider how the accommodation it works out between individuality and social constraints is repeatedly renegotiated in the Victorian narratives of Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, and Hardy, the modernist experiments of Joyce and Woolf, and the postmodernism of Rhys. We will be concerned with the ways social history is reflected in these novels, but also with ways the novel itself as a developing cultural institution played a social role as it gained popularity and influence in the 19th century and then turned toward more private aesthetic aims in the 20th. Most of all, we will be concerned with discovering through careful, analytical reading how each novel deploys the resources of narrative form and style to achieve its distinctive effects.

TEXTS: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

250 D THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Murison. MWF 11 - Group III or V

What is “novel” about the “American novel,” and when does it become “American”? This course aims to introduce students to the various forms the American novel has taken during its first century of existence. Beginning in the early national period, when American authors first began crafting their novels as self-consciously “American,” we will consider some of the important and canonical novels of the pre-World War I era along with several forgotten and noncanonical ones in order to understand how the genre of the novel relates to the nation and how theories of nationalism often determine which novels come to stand for the American literary tradition. Texts may include Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Henry James’s Washington Square, and Charles Chesnutt’s Marrow of Tradition. Course requirements: periodic response papers, two essays of varying lengths, a midterm, a final, and active class participation.

251 X THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914, Mohr. MWF 12 - Group III or V

In this course, we will study physical and psychological dislocation in stories of migration and immigration, war and expatriation. We will discuss issues related to American identity, and examine the individual and social values that are exposed when dreams and reality collide. Our historical perspective will allow us to consider the influence of place on individual and cultural identity in an increasingly mobile and global society. Along the fissures and fractures of modern and postmodern life, we may find surprising, transcendent moments that make a difficult journey worthwhile.

The reading list includes some of the most influential works of the twentieth century. We will read these works in dialogue with each other, and consider how they relate to the ideological shifts of this turbulent period. I will provide a historical, literary, and cultural context; you will contribute to a collaborative learning environment that includes both personal and critical responses to these works.

Requirements include response papers, two critical essays, and two exams, as well as regular attendance and active participation.

TEXTS: Willa Cather’s My Antonia (1918), Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926), William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929), Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima (1972), and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake (2003).


Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.

255 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Michelson. Lect: MW 4; Disc: TH 4 & 5

English 255 is a survey history of American literature from its beginnings in Colonial literature to about 1870. Following the tradition of such courses, we will move through a thick anthology fairly rapidly, in order to get a sense of how this history has been assembled, and to gain familiarity with writers who seem to be significant in both traditional and redefined ideas of the American legacy.

In the lectures and the discussion meetings, we will try out various critical perspectives, and explore the question of what constitutes the literary identity of this culture. Lectures will begin where the readings and the anthology’s introductions leave off. In other words, students should come to all meetings prepared: to think, to speculate, and to question—and not to swallow anything whole. Two interconnected papers will be required, as well as a midterm and a final examination.

TEXTS: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th ed., Vols. A & B; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Norton Critical).


This course is designed to chart the history of American literature from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. Through close analysis of a variety of texts, we will explore different periods, forms, genres, and literary and cultural movements. Because literary history and national identity are not fixed entities but are themselves imaginative constructions, ways of reading, a good part of the class will be devoted to thinking about how we write (and rewrite) different histories of American literature: aesthetic, social, political, etc. How do these different histories relate to each other? Your active engagement with the Norton Anthology (a supposed “master list” of texts) and with our syllabus (just one version of the many possible selective lists) will become part of the ongoing project of defining and understanding a national literature. Requirements of the course include active participation, a series of short reading responses, a group project, one shorter and one longer essay, a midterm and a final exam.

TEXT: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Package 2 (Vols C, D and E), 7th Edition.

259 S AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE I, Freeburg. TUTH 2-315 - 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.

260 AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE, II, Maxwell. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F 9, 10, 11, 12 - Group III or V

same as AFRO 260, CWL 260

This course surveys and samples the history of African American writing from 1915 to the present, tumultuous years in which black expression came to define both the vernacular kernel of U.S. national literature and an international vocabulary of resistance to “the color line.” Beginning with the foundations of the Harlem Renaissance in the fictionalized autobiographies of James Weldon Johnson and W. E. B. Du Bois, the course will tackle three of the defining questions of African American writing in the modern period. Is black literature in fact obliged—ethically or formally—to shadow and advance the political life of black Americans? Is there in fact an especially intimate—even imitative—relationship between black literature and black musical forms such as gospel, the blues, and jazz? And is black literature in fact wedded to the concept of race, fated to rise and fall—and pass—with its fortunes? Authors to be read and discussed range from antilynching crusaders to academic poets, from anonymous framers of folktales to celebrity winners of the Nobel Prize, from lyricist Alice Dunbar Nelson (born 1875) to satirist Colson Whitehead (born 1969).

265 INTRO TO AMERICAN INDIAN LIT, Warrior. MW 11-12:15 - Group III or V

same as AIS 265

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the work of contemporary and historical American Indian writers. By looking at novels, re-tellings of traditional stories, poetry, short stories, and nonfiction writing, we will examine the ways Native authors have represented American Indian experiences through the written word. Guest authors will provide students with opportunities to interact with some figures from the literature we study. The course has no prerequisites.

267 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times

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.

268 THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT. Lect: MW 3; Disc: F 10, 12, 1

same as GER 260, CWL 260

Jewish contributions to German Literature from 1200 to the present day. Includes trips to the University Library’s Rare Book Room.

272 E MINORITY IMAGES IN AMERICAN FILM, Deck. Lect: MW 1-2:50; Screening: TU 7:30-10 pm - Group III or V

same as AFRO 272

English 272 explores how a range of films made in the U. S. over the last 80 years (both “Hollywood” movies and independently-produced works) have represented diverse ethnicities and cultures in relation to each other and to dominant American media conventions and social ideals. The course takes a comparative, case study approach to examine how the films shown variously employ racial (and gender) stereotyping narratively and cinematically, what historical and economic circumstances may have yielded those particular films, and what reception the films have found among different audiences, at various times [e.g Birth of a Nation (1915); Salt of the Earth (1953); and The Joy Luck Club (1993)]. In addition to regular class meetings, each student is required to attend a film showing on Tues. evenings, 7:30-10 p.m. This course will require extensive essay writing as it is a course designed to help students develop critical discussions of the various films. Students will write drafts, and final versions of essays.

273 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, T. Newcomb. Lect: TUTH 11-12:15; Screening: W 3-5:20 - 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.


TOPIC: Late-Twentieth Century American Immigration Literature

This course will focus on works by American women writers whose stories have roots in Mexico, China, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Published in the late twentieth-century, these border-crossing, experimental works of fiction represent the challenges of cultural transitions. Through a comparative approach, we will explore the connections between traditional stories and new forms of fiction in narratives that span generations. We will see that these stories give voice to the generation that will redefine “American” identity, looking forward into the twenty-first century. Our task includes building a critical framework for comparing these diverse contributions to American literature. Requirements will include contributions to in-class and online discussions, two critical essays, a midterm, and a final exam.

TEXTS: Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents; Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera; Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek, Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak!; Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior; Esmeralda Santiago, When I was Puerto Rican; Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club.


TOPIC: Crime and Detective Fiction

From the classic drawing rooms of Agatha Christie mysteries to the mean streets of The Shield, from “locked room” mysteries to tales of international intrigue, stories that involve crime, mystery and detection take place in social space: they force us to ask questions about knowledge, identity, power, opportunity, conflict, privilege, alliance, order and disorder. These stories can serve to teach us new ways of reading, new ways of knowing, since the detective figure typically observes details, sifts through the available clues, and ultimately produces a reading of the situation that correctly identifies the central interpretive problem and solves it. On the other hand, detective fiction often depends for its success on our not knowing, not seeing, and may actually require us to suspend our critical and ideological faculties. This course will provide a historical survey of some important developments in modern crime fiction (starting with Poe) but it will also be an investigation into the relationship between the contained (and often very clearly delimited) spaces of the detective story and the larger social world whose problems it may reflect or help to define.

In addition to reading a selection of novels and short stories by writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, Truman Capote, Ruth Rendell, Sara Paretsky, Walter Mosley, and others, we will also be looking at examples of film and television crime fiction and reading supplementary critical works. Requirements for the course include active participation, a number of short reading responses, participation in online discussion, two longer essays, a midterm and a final. You will also need to be available for several evening film screenings.

275 U1 AMERICAN INDIANS AND FILM, Howe. TUTH 3:30-4:45 - Group III or V

same as AIS 275, CINE 275

American Indians and Film: Introduction to representations in film. Emphasis on constructions of American Indians within the Western genre, and more recent re-constructions by Native filmmakers. Students will be required to attend film screenings, and understand the craft of image making, and filmmaking.

280 CHP WOMAN WRITERS, Bauer. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group III or V - Campus Honors Section

TOPIC: U.S. Women Writers, 1915-2006

This survey of American women’s writing will consider the following themes: women and identity, sexuality, and work. Our primary focus will be twentieth- and twenty-first century women’s writing, starting in the 1910s and moving, decade by decade, into the present. This class will take a historical and cultural approach to US women’s writing, as well as illuminating various literary methodologies. The reading list will include canonical and noncanonical readings from various genres-poetry, memoir, novel, drama-in order to demonstrate both formal and thematic concerns in representative women’s texts.

For the final research project, students will focus on one decade and collaborate on producing a portfolio of writing about the range of women's writing for that decade.

Tentative reading list: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Crux (1911); Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” (1926); Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit (1944); Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (1948) and Life Among the Savages (1953); Confessional poetry-Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich; Marya Hornbacher’s Wasted (1998) and Alison Bechtold’s FUN Home (2006).

280 M WOMEN WRITERS, Koshy. TUTH 930-10:45 - Group III or V

same as GWS 280

meets with AAS 299

TOPIC: Asian American Women Writers

This course examines the ways in which the perspectives of race and gender and their interrelationships structure the writing of Asian American women. This course will emphasize the historical context within which the meanings of Asian American gendered subjectivity emerge by considering the connection between gender and work, sexuality, intellectual and artistic activity, and family and community life. Through looking at a range of critical writings, we will also examine the development of Asian American feminist thought and its relation to cultural nationalist and transnational communities.

280 P WOMEN WRITERS, Gray. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group I or V

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: Early Modern Women Writers

This course introduces students to early modern women’s poetry, drama, and prose from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth century, with a focus both on close textual analysis and cultural context. After a brief introduction to the position of women in this period, we will move quickly to detailed readings of primary texts by women (and some men). We will trace the dominant themes and forms of women’s writing, focusing in particular on how female authors present the intersecting gendered and political hierarchies of their day. Readings will include poetry by Elizabeth I and Aemilia Lanyer, drama by Elizabeth Cary and “Ariadne,” and early prose works by Aphra Behn and Lucy Hutchinson.

280 S WOMEN WRITERS, Castro. TUTH 2-3:15 - Group V

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: Carribbean Women Writers

Hailing from a region whose inhabitants can trace ancestry to Africa, Asia, Europe, and, naturally, the Americas, Caribbean women writers have a special perspective on how the local and the global intersect. This course examines how writers from this diverse region (re)write versions of home and homeland by bringing issues of gender, race, and sexuality to bear on the histories of imperialism, migration, and displacement that have shaped their place in the world. Sampling primarily novels and short stories by twentieth-century and contemporary Caribbean women writers, we will read some works in translation, but focus mainly on texts in English. We will ponder what commonalities exist among Caribbean nations that have been subject to different European colonial powers, asking various questions of our readings: What visions of cultural and racial “mixture” emerge from these works? How are histories of slavery and colonialism intertwined with sexual politics and gender expectations? How do the various diasporas that structure Caribbean community factor into the “home” these authors attempt to write for themselves? How do international relations become an intimate affair in their writings? Throughout, we will consider how these writers figure the stakes of writing itself. Requirements include thorough preparation for and active participation in class discussion, two papers, six short responses, a group presentation, a midterm, and a final exam.

TEXTS: Readings are likely to include Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Maryse Condé Hérémakhonon; Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother; Michelle Cliff, Abeng; Zee Edgell, Beka Lamb; Julia Alvarez, In the Name of Salomé, and selected works by Ana Lydia Vega, Rosario Ferré, and Edwidge Danticat.


same as GWS 281

TOPIC: The Archetype of the Fallen Woman in British and American Fiction

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, America was seen as a new Eden—a land of endless social vistas and unlimited 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 greed of artful madams and the unbridled desire of male entrepreneurs, looking to corrupt innocent young girls into a life of sin and prostitution. In 1791, Susanna Rowson published Charlotte Temple, the first transatlantic novel that deals with this festering 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 the next hundred and fifty 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 novel as a vehicle for the social theory of British and American gender politics through the tale of the archetypal fallen woman. 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 imperatives set in place by rigid 19th and 20th century British and American patriarchal mores. As we move through the canon of literature focusing on this gendered narrative, we’ll examine the evolution of the fallen woman through its multiple iterations in England and the US and see how Anglo societies collectively viewed the sexually compromised female from the late Georgian period through the early modernist period as a marginalized other 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 transatlantic novels, we’ll explore how the body and the mind of the archetypal 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, two 6-8 page papers and a final exam.

TEXTS: Charlotte Temple, Sense and Sensibility, The Scarlet Letter, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Awakening, Howards End and Passing.


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.


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 B WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Garner. MWF 9 - Group I or V

TOPIC: Oral Tradition and Literary Culture in Medieval English Poetry

In this course we will examine the influence of oral tradition on the vernacular verse of medieval England. To varying degrees and in various ways, many texts produced during this period exhibit reliance on an oral tradition that paralleled and intersected with literate culture. In today's world of dependence on print and electronic media, it is worthwhile to ask ourselves what implications a work's roots in oral tradition have for our interpretation. How can we become a better audience for poetry produced during this period of emerging literacy? How can awareness of oral poetics help us better understand the composition, transmission, and reception of these works? In addressing these and other key questions, we will examine a wide range of Old and Middle English genres, including heroic and religious poetry, riddles, charms, romances, and lyric verse. Where possible, we will read in the original language. However, all Old English texts as well as more challenging Middle English texts will be read in translation, and no prior knowledge of Old or Middle English is expected. Key secondary sources will be available through electronic reserve. The class will be writing intensive, with twenty to thirty pages of formal writing, some of which will be revised. Additional requirements include two examinations, weekly discussion board postings, and active participation in class discussions and activities.


Shakespeare Requirement

TOPIC: Shakespeare and Social Identities, On and Off Script

Shakespeare’s society scripted social roles through bonds of “service”–familial, romantic, sexual, financial, military, religious, racial—that were idealized as mutually beneficial. Shakespeare’s plays test those ideals, showing that bonds of service both enable and constrict the construction of individual identities and stable societies. They also portray individual acts of bond-breaking that deliberately challenge society’s scripts. The plays are thus ideal for a course in contextual interpretation, that is, the reading of plays and period documents as alternate scriptings of social reality. We will work closely with six plays, trying out specific models for drawing literature into conversation with its historical context, including cultural materialism, feminist and queer studies, postcolonial criticism, and the history of reading. This experimentation will ground your own projects as you identify period documents that best illuminate the play of your choice. Because this course is innovative, writing-intensive, and collaborative, you must be committed to becoming more resourceful and reflective as an interpreter, researcher, discussant and literary critic. Particular expertise in Shakespeare is not required. Coursework will emphasize writing, with focused short papers and a longer, revised final paper; group activities including peer exchange; and a cumulative final.

TEXTS: Selected paperback editions of six plays; McDonald, Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (second edition); Kate Aughterson, ed., The English Renaissance; critical articles on e-reserve.

300 E WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Wilcox. MWF 1 - Group I or V

TOPIC: Women and Poetry in the Eighteenth Century

If a literate woman in the eighteenth century had something to say, chances are she said it in verse. Servants and aristocrats, country laborers and fashionable urbanites, Philadelphia rebels and London intellectuals: women writers from all walks of life used poetry for a wide range of purposes: self-display, communication, devotion, play, political participation, and meditation. In this course you will read and write about a broad sampling of this eclectic and largely unknown body of literature. You will also have the opportunity to do original research on an eighteenth-century woman poet of your choosing. By the end of the semester you will have a new understanding about what poetry can do and why it matters, you will be able to read a much wider range of poetry with enjoyment and comprehension, and you will have improved your writing and research skills in the company of an extraordinary group of women writers. Course requirements for this writing-intensive course will include four papers and regular participation on the course blog.

300 M WRITING ABOUT LITERATAURE, Hansen. TUTH 9:30-10:45 - Group V

TOPIC: Heroism and National Identity

Over the last few years we’ve been subjected to a great deal of heroic rhetoric, much of which has had a particularly partisan and political flavor. Of course, in the wake of global terrorism, we’ve witnessed nations that invoke bellicose rhetoric, but we’ve also seen a nearly unprecedented wave of superhero and super-spy texts that attempts to respond to, challenge, and, in many cases, foster this rhetoric. Why have heroes become so political? Well, that’s precisely what we’ll aim to figure out in this course. The class will trace out the logic of Western cultural nationalism by assessing its need to establish heroic ideals as ideological apparatuses. Certain heroes, it seems, pop into the cultural imaginary at moments of crisis, and this course will explore what function these fictional heroes serve for a nation’s real populace. We will also pay close attention to texts that question traditional models of heroism, texts that tend to think that heroism, like more vulgar forms of nationalism, never really hold up to careful scrutiny.

Readings will include theoretical texts by Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, and Frantz Fanon and literary texts such as: Virgil’s The Aeneid, Poetry by Alfred Tennyson and Wilfred Owen, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Major Sherlock Holmes Stories, W.B. Yeats’s Cuchulain Play Cycle, H.Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger, Siegel and Schuster’s original Superman stories, Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four Masterworks Vol. One, Lee and Romita’s The Death of Gwen Stacy, and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. We will also view and respond to several films.

Requirements will include weekly short essays, three 6-8 page essays, and active class participation.

300 P1 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Chai. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group IV

TOPIC: Henry James

More than a century ago, Henry James tried to address a problem that’s become, increasingly, the hallmark of our contemporary scene. We might call it the problem of intersubjectivity. Briefly put, intersubjectivity is what happens when we get into interpersonal relationships. Specifically, James wondered whether we can ever really hope to know other people, and the form that sort of knowledge would have to take. For him, the possibility of a knowledge of other people was linked to a second, equally important issue: how to give our lives value. In this course, then, we’ll look at some of the different ways a knowledge of other people can help to shape our quest for sources of value. For Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady, knowledge of others becomes a means to self-knowledge and hence to a richer awareness. The Awkward Age is a more pessimistic work: it asks whether we can in fact ever really get to know other people intimately, and how our lack of knowledge of others can hinder the effectiveness of our most generous acts. “The Beast in the Jungle” is an ironic reversal of Portrait: here, James considers how our resistance to self-knowledge can hinder our capacity to know others. Finally, The Ambassadors suggests how our effort to know others can itself take on an ethical or moral quality.

TEXTS: James, The Portrait of a Lady, The Awkward Age, The Beast in the Jungle & Other Stories, The Ambassadors

300 P2 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Innes. TUTH 11-1215 - Group V

TOPIC: Antinarrative

According to the Russian Formalist Victor Shklovsky, Laurence Sterne’s “Tristram Shandy is the most typical novel in world literature.” Shklovsky takes Sterne’s radically experimental novel—a fictional autobiography whose digressive embedded stories utterly efface Tristram Shandy’s life history—as the essential type of narrative fiction. If Shklovsky thus takes an antinarrative fiction as the archetypal example of narrative fiction, he does so because Tristram Shandy’s experimental play with the form of the novel “lays bare” the genre’s formal conventions. Sterne’s antinarrative, in Shklovsky’s view, undertakes its experiment precisely by revealing the grammatical and structural laws of narrative fiction, turning them against themselves, and frustrating narrative.

If in Tristram Shandy antinarrative interrupts narrative, the novel as a genre instances a particular dialectic between narrative and antinarrative impulses. In our course, we will read Tristram Shandy and other experimental British, Irish, and American novels in which the antinarrative impulse frustrates narrative precisely by turning the grammar of narrative against itself. Reading fiction that deviates from “normal” conventions of narrative fiction, we will seek a formal history of antinarrative—a counter-history of the novel.

Course requirements will include three papers, a class presentation, frequent quizzes, and vigorous participation.

Our reading list will include some of the following: Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy; Charles Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer, Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, Djuna Barnes, Nightwood; Wyndham Lewis, Snooty Baronet, Flann O’Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds; Samuel Beckett, Molloy; Brigid Brophy, In Transit; W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn; Mieke Bal, Narratology; selections from theorists Shklovsky, Bakhtin, Frye, Lukács, Todorov, Genette, Judith Roof, Lee Edelman.

300 Q WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Saville. TUTH 12:30-1:45 - Group II or V

TOPIC: Strange Victorian Love Poems

The mid-nineteenth century in Britain was a time of intense debate over the idea of representative government and over questions of how to balance the welfare of the individual with that of the body politic. During this period, marriage in literature was frequently presented as paradigmatic of a broader social contract involving commitment to duty, freely undertaken and serving the good and happiness of all. Yet like so many laws at this time, British marriage laws were both outdated and unjust. To many, the supposed sanctity and inviolability of the marriage contract meant that it became a prison, with “love” and “marriage” a contradiction in terms. In this context, strange loves, often portrayed in distant geo-political spaces and times (revolutionary France, Risorgimento Italy, ancient Greece, or medieval England), become poetic tropes for exploring a wide range of individual freedoms otherwise stifled by the pressures of conformity. By virtue of the imaginative and challenging ethical questions they pose, strange Victorian love poems make inviting material for exercises in writing about literature. Examining such motifs as the grotesque obsessives in Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover” or Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Maud, necrophilia in Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “The Leper,” or sado-masochism in his “Anactoria” and “Les Noyades,” we will undertake a variety of such writing exercises: for instance, writing the poetic gloss, shaping a précis of a critical argument, integrating secondary material into literary discussions, as well as researching and documenting a critical paper. We will aim to produce approximately 30 pages of graded writing in the course of the semester.


This course will introduce you to some of the most significant contemporary interpretive methods in the study of literary texts. However, it will do so always keeping in mind the primacy of the literary text itself. At the center of the class then, we will have at least two representative literary texts which generated excitement, criticism, and debate in their own times as well as later. With these texts and their times as the ‘stuff’ of our business, we will study such critical movements as new criticism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminist and gender studies, Marxism, new historicism, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and reader response theory.

As it prepares students for future literature classes, this course helps us understand and question the relations between reading literary texts and thinking critically, and more profoundly perhaps, between reading, criticism, and the practices involved in putting ourselves irrevocably amidst others. 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. The most common complaint about this class comes from seniors who regret not taking it sooner.

301 P & Q1 CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, A. Basu. P: TUTH 11-12:15; Q1: 12:30-1:45

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.

301 Q2 CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Parker. TUTH 12:30-1:45

“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. The most common complaint about this class comes from seniors who 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. Readings: a modest selection of literary texts and individual works of criticism and theory as well as R. D. Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2008).


English 301: Critical Approaches to Literature offers a survey of the major critical and theoretical movements that have influenced the study of literature in the last sixty years. In short, you will learn about the New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Queer Studies, Marxism, New Historicism, Cultural Studies, Post-Colonial and Race Studies, and Reader Response. In addition to an introductory reading on these various schools and approaches, we will also read excerpts from some of the most influential theorists associated with a particular school or approach. Two things will distinguish this course from the standard theory survey. First, we will discuss, briefly, methodology—that is, how responsible critics go about writing about literature regardless of their theoretical approach. Second, toward the end of the semester, we will read writers who challenge the dominant position theory has assumed in contemporary English departments. In other words, after familiarizing ourselves with its most basic components, we will then enter the debate about whether, broadly speaking, theory has been good or bad for the discipline of English, and whether its founders and practitioners belong with the sheep in heaven or the goats in hell.

Note: The most common complaint about English 301 comes from seniors who regret not taking it sooner. Do not be one of them. 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.

Assignments: Roughly bi-weekly (six in total) written responses to the primary texts; a midterm; an annotated bibliography; a final term paper (8-10 pages), and a final exam.

373 T SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, S. Camargo. TUTH 3-4:50 - Group V

same as CINE 373

TOPIC: Film Style, Politics, and You: Why Films Look the Way They Do

Most moviegoers and many film students look at films in terms of their narratives: who the characters are, what classes of people they represent, what kind of world they live in, and what happens to them there. Essentially films are seen as novels with pictures. As a result, the style of those films is neglected. Style is often dismissed as an empty and vain aspect of art—people say, “all style and no substance,” for example—so the central goal of this course is to suggest that style has a substantial effect on our experience of films, on the kinds of stories films tell, and on the way that those stories are told.

In this course, we will look at film style as an aesthetic experience, as an institutional practice, and as a political gesture. We will view a range of styles from the mimetic ideal of classical studio realism to more mannerist styles such as those used for classical horror films, films noirs, and melodramas. Realism in its most political mode will be examined through social-problem films, in contrast to the new realism of cinema vérité and Dogme 95. Surrealism and the postmodern, post-Tarantino style will be viewed, as will the New Hollywood blockbuster.

Consistent attendance and active participation in class discussion will be strongly encouraged. Other evaluated work will include short oral presentations, short response papers, and four somewhat longer essays.

396 C HONORS SEMINAR I, Mahaffey. M 10-11:50 - Group II or V

TOPIC: A Portrait of the (Male) Artist as Woman and Mother: Imitative versus Bodily Reproduction

One of the issues to arise out of the notion of art as mimesis, or imitation, is a gendered one: if art is a means of reproducing what might be called the “spirit” (as opposed to the body), what model of reproduction is most likely to produce a living and unique product comparable to a mortal child, and is that model available to male writers? To what extent have male artists needed to adopt the female position—recreating the loss of virginity and the labor of giving “birth” to work of art—in order to be inspired or entered by the muse? Do men have to become women in order to be artists? And if an artist is a man who has imaginatively learned to be a woman in order to give birth to a work of art, how can a woman be an artist?

We will address these questions primarily by contrasting the model of the imitator with that of the sexual mother, beginning with the characterizations of artistic imitation found in Plato and Aristotle. We will then move on to Christianity, read through Wilde’s understanding of Jesus as the perfect artist (and, less explicitly, as a “woman” suffering immolation for love). Yeats offers a way of questioning dominant constructions of motherhood as a virginal (sterile), by explicitly rejecting artists who copy in favor of mother-artists (who couple with otherness and then perform the labor of producing something new). We will examine how this tension between imitation and birthing plays out in Joyce and Beckett; look at the proximity of birth and death in Faulkner and Stevens, and consider whether an emphasis on imitation increases competition and even, at the furthest extreme, war by comparing male versus female productivity in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Can we understand an artist’s choice to produce non-representational instead of representational art in terms of this desire to avoid imitation and produce something autonomous and alive?

We will conclude with a meditation on the “bloody chambers” of the womb and heart and their meaning for both men and women by reading Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber.” Our readings throughout will be supplemented by appropriate critical and theoretical essays on both imitation and motherhood.

TEXTS: Plato, Republic;Aristotle, Poetics; Wilde, “The Rose and the Nightingale,” “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” A Woman of No Importance?; Yeats, “Song of the Old Mother,” “The Ballad of Moll Magee,” “Adam’s Curse,” “The Magi,” “The Dolls,” “Easter 1916,” “The Double Vision of Michael Robartes,” “The Adoration of the Magi,” “Among School Children”; Joyce, “A Little Cloud,” “Counterparts,” A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, “Scylla and Charybdis” (Ulysses), the letter chapter of Finnegans Wake (I.v); William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning,” “The Idea of Order at Key West”; Beckett, Molloy; Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Angela Carter, “The Bloody Chamber”; Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

396 P HONORS SEMINAR I, Castro. TU 11-12:50 - Group V

TOPIC: The Other America: American Literature in a Hemispheric Frame

What happens to our study of American literature if we read “America” as not simply a synonym for the United States? This course explores texts from the mid-19th century to the present that invite us to consider how conceptions of United States history and nation intersect and interact with more broadly American imaginings. Our focus on trans-American texts will be twofold: on U.S. texts that seek out other American places and spaces, and on writings from those other American locales (the Caribbean, Latin America, and Canada) that insert themselves in U.S. literary and national history. Our readings will be organized in thematic clusters that place contemporary writers in dialogue with earlier writings on the issues in question. Likely thematic clusters will include (1) The Peculiar Institution, (2) The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the U.S. Mexico Borderlands, and (3) The Children of 1898. Throughout, we will evaluate what perspectives on race, nation, slavery, imperialism, and historiography such “New World” or hemispheric vantages afford, keeping an eye on the articulations of “hybridity” that emerge from their pages. Requirements: In addition to thorough preparation of the reading and vigorous participation in seminar discussion, ten short commentaries, 2 group presentations, 2 shorter papers, and one longer research-based paper.

Readings will be taken from among the following authors: Herman Melville, José Martí, María Ruiz de Burton, Pauline Hopkins, Alejo Carpentier, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Paule Marshall, Gayl Jones, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, Michelle Cliff, Marysé Condé, Caryl Philips, Rosario Ferré, Julia Alvarez, Dionne Brand, Edwidge Danticat, and Junot Díaz.

397 E HONORS SEMINAR II, Murison. W 1-2:50 - Group III or V

TOPIC: Slavery and Identity in the Nineteenth Century

Our common understanding of slavery is that it ended with Abraham Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation,” but the dimensions of America’s “peculiar institution” shaped in the early national and antebellum eras lingered well into the later nineteenth century. In this course we will read a variety of texts that forefront how a unique category of “the slave” emerged as a particular economic, legal, and psychological identity and how that identity persisted even after slavery officially ended. To do so, we will bridge the common division of nineteenth-century American literature into pre- and post-Civil War, finding continuities as well as ruptures in the construction and critique of American slavery and the aftermath of Reconstruction throughout the century. As importantly, we will consider how these identities solidified through writing, investigating a broad array of genres from essays, slave narratives, novels and poetry to legal documents, medical reports, and census data. Authors may include Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Lloyd Garrison, Herman Melville, Charles Chesnutt, Mark Twain, and Pauline Hopkins. Course requirements: periodic response papers, one short essay, one research paper, and active class participation.

398 T HONORS SEMINAR III, Innes. TH 3-4:50 - Group IV

TOPIC: Virginia Woolf, Aesthetics, and Modernist Fiction

“In or about December, 1910,” remarks Virginia Woolf in “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” “human character changed.” Though this date is often taken to mark a sort of birth date of modernism (as if human beings had suffered then some grand historical event) Woolf insists it is chosen arbitrarily—that the date merely punctuates a process by which modernity had transformed human character and social relations. “But a change there was nevertheless; and since one must be arbitrary, let us date it about the year 1910.”

If arbitrary, this date is not chosen at random: the date, we learn in Woolf’s biography of Roger Fry, is that of Fry’s London exhibition “Manet and the Post-Impressionists.” Woolf, then, selects the introduction of a singularly modernist aesthetic practice to stand as a signal event in a story of changing human character and social relations. The date, then, marks moment at which practices of aesthetics had finally caught up with processes of modernity. Likewise, in “Modern Fiction,” Woolf articulates the project of her fiction as an attempt to “capture” the experience of life in modernity through formal experiments in narrative (and antinarrative). In this course, we will read Woolf as an experimental novelist and as a theorist of the aesthetics of modernist fiction. Indeed, our working hypothesis will be that Woolf’s experimental fiction seeks to capture human being as it seeks a place for fiction and art in modernity.

Course requirements will include two papers, a presentation, and vigorous participation.

Our readings will include fiction, essays, anatomies, and a biography by Woolf along with selected secondary and theoretical texts. Tentatively, we will read the following books by Virginia Woolf: Jacob’s Room, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Mrs. Dalloway’s Party, The Waves, Between the Acts, A Room of One’s Own, Three Guineas, Roger Fry: A Biography.


same as BTW 402

This course provides an introduction to the variety and structure of the English language. In this class we will study the structures of the English language—words, sentences, and meanings—in various social and historical contexts, discuss the basic concepts and terminology of English grammar and usage, and explore the applications of grammar in real-world use, including writing, education, and literature. Requirements include a midterm exam, a final exam, and a research paper, as well as a series of graded exercises and short writing assignments. Our textbook (Kolln and Funk’s Understanding English Grammar) will be supplemented with readings available through electronic reserve.

403 1U/1G HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, D. Baron. MW 9:30-10:45 - 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.


same as EIL 422

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

416 1U/1G DRAMA OF SHAKESPEARE’S CONTEMP, Stevens. TUTH 9:30-10:45 - Group I or V

When the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good: so says Vindice in The Revenger’s Tragedy. This course covers seven Renaissance plays not, as it happens, written by William Shakespeare. This particular version of 416 takes a close look at the more lurid and violent tragedies written between 1585 and1638/9. Notable highlights from these plays include the severing of a tongue, the presentation of a heart on a dagger’s point, a dance of madmen, and the “much searing” of a heroine’s breasts.

Our focus on early modern tragedy will allow us to consider a range of important questions about genre, authorship, gender (woman fare particularly badly in these plays), the performance of violence, and the transformation of theatrical conventions from the early days of popular theater to the last years before the theaters go dark under Cromwell. Plays include The Spanish Tragedy; Edward II; The Revenger’s Tragedy; The Duchess of Malfi; The Changeling; and Tis Pity She’s a Whore. We’ll finish by reading William Heminge’s shocking, compulsively allusive, and perhaps unwittingly hilarious The Fatal Contract, a play dismissed as “the most obvious and detailed example of plagiarism of Hamlet in the seventeenth century” but more usefully understood as illustrating the imitative mode of early modern dramatic authorship.

The class will be conducted as a discussion. Evaluation will be based on participation, including a willingness to read lines out loud and block scenes in class; one group performance project; one midterm; and one short paper expanded into a suitable final project. It is recommended that you take this class already having some familiarity with Shakespeare or drama or Renaissance lit and culture.

TEXTS: (available at Folletts): Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology (eds Bevington, Engle, Maus, Rasmussen); and a course packet TBA or critical readings available on reserve.

419 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE II, L. Newcomb. MWF 2

Shakespeare Requirement

This course looks at “later Shakespeare,” that is, plays written in the second half of his theater career (1600-1612), as they have produced meaning in the early seventeenth century and beyond. Why did these plays seem urgent in the context of early modern Britain, and why do they remain urgent in many national contexts today? We’ll look at debates sparked by seven plays, including Hamlet and the political bite of theater, Othello and the dangers of gender and racial rifts, The Winter’s Tale and class fantasy, King Lear and crises of sovereignty in the family and nation, and The Tempest and its re-invention in global debate. Other plays will be selected to coordinate with live Shakespeare productions on campus. Throughout, we’ll explore some features that allow the plays to be reinvented: open staging that adapts to changing performance spaces and media; flexible language that allows polysemy; and intense dialogue that captures the ambivalence of familial and social ties.

Since Shakespeare’s plays have been so enriched by their continuous, creative reinvention by performers and critics, this course deliberately samples several kinds of interpretive practice: close textual analysis; print, theater, and film history; in-class performance experiments; and historicist, feminist, queer, and anti-racist criticism. Expect frequent in-class group activities including performance of a scene; analyses of live productions; two focused short papers; a longer paper involving research (7-9 pp.); and a final.

TEXTS: Greenblatt et al., eds., Norton Shakespeare Volume II: Later Plays (second edition) (or Norton Shakespeare: Complete Works); McDonald, Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (second edition); critical articles on e-reserve.

419 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE II, Stevens. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Shakespeare Requirement

This course studies seven plays from the latter half of Shakespeare’s career (1603 or so onward), including some of his most notable tragedies: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, and Anthony and Cleopatra. We’ll also study one “problem” play that seems to defy its classification in the First Folio as a comedy (Measure for Measure) and one late romance (The Winter’s Tale). Together we’ll situate Shakespeare within a broader political, cultural, and above all theatrical context, reminding ourselves that these plays were intended as scripts for performance and were also conceived and produced under specific material conditions, which we will come to understand with the help of Tiffany Stern’s illuminating book Making Shakespeare. As we move through the course we’ll also consider the afterlives of these plays, noting how Shakespeare gets revised, amended, re-affirmed, and sometimes rejected by different generations and cultures. There will be opportunity to consider important film treatments of Shakespeare, including Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971) and Bob Komar’s Measure for Measure (2006).

The class will be conducted as a discussion. Evaluation will be based on participation, including a willingness to read lines out loud and block scenes in class; one group performance project; one midterm; one final; and three short papers.

This course assumes no prior college-level study in Shakespeare, but English 200 (or 101 and 102) is prerequisite.

TEXTS: (available at Folletts or through an online book retailer): Tiffany Stern, Making Shakespeare (Routledge); the Bedford “Texts and Contexts” editions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, The Winter’s Tale, and Measure for Measure; the New Folger Library editions of Anthony and Cleopatra and King Lear.

419 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE II, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Shakespeare Requirement

The second and richer half of Shakespeare’s career is examined through very careful readings of nine plays, each selected for the new things it says about his changing interests and developing dramatic skills. The first nine weeks deal with five of the mature tragedies; discussion centers on the plays themselves, but it will also attempt to relate the plays to one another and to the time in which they were written. This section is followed by several weeks on at least two of the dark comedies (where romance turns sour) and several more on the last two romances (where romance turns philosophical). A sixth-week exam covers the first three plays, a 10-12 page paper on one of the dark comedies is due the tenth week, and the final exam includes only the last six plays.

TEXT: The Riverside Shakespeare, Evans, ed.

419 5U/5G SHAKESPEARE II, Kay. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Shakespeare Requirement

This class will trace the stages of Shakespeare’s development from mid-career onward, including: 1) the tragic-comic experience of his “problem comedies” like Measure for Measure and All’s Well that Ends Well, where characters must come to terms with the guilt for acts which they intended but never actually committed; 2) his major tragedies (Macbeth, Othello, King Lear), where evil exacts a terrible cost for folly and temptation and self-knowledge is bought only by suffering and loss; and 3) his late romances like The Winter’s Tale or The Tempest, which contrast innocence and experience and connect the cycle of generations to the regeneration of nature and society. We’ll also look at Shakespeare’s Dark Lady Sonnets and at Roman plays like Antony and Cleopatra, where love and manliness are tested in the struggle for empire. There will be regular brief in-class writings on our reading, several medium-length papers involving critical readings, an hour-exam, and a final.

TEXT: The Norton Shakespeare, second edition.

423 1U/1G MILTON, Mohamed. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group IV

T. S. Eliot has famously said of Milton that ‘of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions, conscious and unconscious, inherited or acquired, making an unlawful entry.’ While we may not share Eliot’s scorn for Milton in this regard, we can certainly see the truth of his statement on the inescapable presence of political and theological controversy in Milton’s poetry. This course will examine in detail all of Milton’s major poems and introduce the numerous and fascinating political and theological controversies in which he engages in his prose—his arguments for the relaxation of divorce laws, his attacks on English bishops, his criticism of state censorship, his defense of the execution of Charles I, his apologies for Cromwell’s rule, and his model of an English republic. As this term follows upon the heels of Milton’s 400th birthday in December 2008, it seems an especially opportune time to explore the artistic virtuosity and revolutionary dynamism of this most titanic English poet.

427 1U/1G LATER 18th CENTURY LITERATURE, Wilcox. MWF 11 - Group I

Later eighteenth-century British literature presents a very twenty-first century problem: How do you discern excellence and identify representative works when new media are blurring the boundaries between pop culture and high art? To answer this question, we will NOT work our way through a preselected array of greatest hits from the 1740s to 1790s. For the first third of the course, a short course packet of primary readings and recent critical assessments will help you build your skills in reading and comprehending eighteenth-century writing and introduce you to some of its guiding issues and themes. Then, with the instructor's guidance, you and your classmates will determine which aspects of this literary period most warrant your attention, from its preoccupation with pirates to its arguments about slavery, from its explorations of the dark recesses of the human soul to its bawdy sense of humor, from its depictions of the peasant’s hearth to its travels in the outer reaches of the British colonies. The remaining two-thirds of the syllabus will emerge from your research in the Rare Book Library, full-text online eighteenth-century databases, and the textbooks that have canonized certain authors and texts while neglecting others. Your goal will be to create a class anthology of selected readings that conveys the breadth of this period while addressing key themes in greater depth.

By the end of the semester you will be able to read a wide variety of late eighteenth-century texts with comprehension, insight, and enjoyment; you will have a stake in the ongoing debate about how these texts fit into narratives of British literary development; and you will have first-hand knowledge of how scholarly research creates a teachable order out of the chaos of literary history. Course requirements will include participation on the course blog, three papers, and a final.


The early decades of the nineteenth century were marked by what Lee Erickson has called a “poetry boom.” Publishers paid surprising sums for books of poetry, and poets became some of the most famous (or notorious) celebrities of the age. This course will pay some attention to the history of fiction (readings will include novels by Laurence Sterne and Jane Austen). But we will focus on poetry, striving both to appreciate the poetry of the British Romantic period (1789-1832), and to understand the circumstances that gave poets a new kind of cultural authority. Authors will include Laurence Sterne, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Wordsworth, S. T. Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron, Jane Austen, Felicia Hemans, and J. S. Mill. Weekly reading responses, two papers, and two exams.

434 1U/1G VICTORIAN POETRY & PROSE, Saville. TUTH 9:30-10:45 - 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, Garrett. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group II or V

The nineteenth century was a period of accelerating social change, driven by such modernizing forces as industrialization, urbanization, and the expansion of the political franchise, means of communication, and literacy. All these factors helped in making the novel the dominant cultural form of the age, the site for staging ideological conflicts and imagining their resolution, for projecting broad panoramas of social relations, probing the subjectivity of individual experience, and struggling to relate those disparate perspectives. The novels we will read display many of the new possibilities writers developed as they tried to meet these challenges: from Austen’s restricted comedy of manners to the large social landscapes of Dickens and Eliot; from the versions of pastoral by Trollope and Hardy to the versions of romance by Shelley, the Brontës, and Conrad. In each case, our approach will be through features of narrative form and craft, seeing how each novelist’s strategies of narration, characterization, and plotting work to produce different visions of and responses to a changing world.

TEXTS: Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Shelley, Frankenstein; C. Brontë, Jane Eyre; E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Dickens, Bleak House; Trollope, The Warden; Eliot, Middlemarch; Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles; Conrad, Lord Jim

441 1U/1G BRITISH LIT 1900-1930, Valente. TUTH 2-3:15 - Group II

The Modern period saw the development of new attitudes towards human sexuality and powerful new means of complicating and understanding its related phenomenon. We will be exploring these changes and their social, political and cultural conditions of possibility, as represented in the landmark novels of the period: Dracula, Dubliners, Mrs. Dalloway, Sons and Lovers, Brideshead Revisited, The Well of Loneliness, Ulysses.

449 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1820-1865, Chai. TUTH 12:30-1:45 - Group III

Some attention to the early Republic, but the main emphasis of this course will be on the American Renaissance. Rather than just survey the standard stuff, however, we’ll explore some less familiar but equally important territory. So we’ll begin with one of Poe’s last and best tales, which is all about the ways we avoid self-knowledge: “The Black Cat.” Next we’ll turn to Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance, a controversial, explosive treatment of the relationship between the sexes and the psychology of the voyeur. In the decade before the Civil War, slavery is unquestionably the most important issue. But we haven’t yet fully appreciated the radically subversive take on it that emerges from Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” Rather than just portray its evil, Melville gets into what gives it its fascination, which is the real source of its persistent presence in the mid-century scene. Likewise for Frederick Douglass in My Bondage and My Freedom, a later, more mature version of the Narrative of the Life of an American Slave. Slavery deserves to be seen from a female perspective as well. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs shows that the most dangerous predicament for a female slave comes from emotional involvement with her master. Finally we’ll read an immensely popular bestseller of the period: Maria Cummins’s The Lamplighter. Its study of parent-child relationships, personal origins, and secular religion points to some of the deepest concerns of the decade before the Civil War. In all these texts what we find is a growing awareness of intersubjectivity, the dynamics of that tricky but necessary process by which we get to know each other, which is perhaps the crucial discovery made by the literature of the period.

TEXTS: Poe, selected tales; Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Melville, Bartleby and Benito Cereno; Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom; Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Cummins, The Lamplighter

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Markley. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group IV

TOPIC: Jane Austen and Frances Burney

This course will focus on the major novels of two of the most important novelists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Frances Burney and Jane Austen. We will read many of their major novels—Burney’s Evelina and Cecilia and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion—as well as a variety of texts on the socioeconomic, political, and cultural contexts of the period. We will pay particular attention to the changing roles of women authors between 1770 and 1830, and examine at length Burney’s and Austen’s depictions of the problems confronting their heroines in a patriarchal society. Students will write two short papers, a midterm, and a final exam.

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Deck. TUTH 2-3:15 - Group IV

TOPIC: Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker

It is generally agreed among scholars and students of African American literature that Alice Walker’s research on the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston in the early 1970’s resulted in two things. First, it led to a renaissance in teaching and studying Zora Neale Hurston’s essays and fiction. Second, Alice Walker’s acknowledgement of Hurston as her own literary muse, so to speak, set the foundation for a distinctly African American women’s literary pattern based on southern rural folk culture. Both Hurston and Walker write what the critic Henry Louis Gates calls “speakerly texts” that capture the world view and rhythms of southern folk speech. Furthermore, both of these writers examine the intersections of race, gender and social class in black life in the American south. In this class we will first study Zora Neale Hurston’s literary innovations in her short stories and novels written in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Then we will study the ways in which Alice Walker adapts and revises those same innovations in the short stories and novels she wrote during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Required work in this class will include weekly response papers (some of which will be written in class), two essays, a mid-term and a final.

TEXTS: (subject to revisions): Hurston’s Jonah’s Gourd Vine, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Moses Man of the Mountain, and selected essays and short stories. Walker’s Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Color Purple and selected essays and short stories.

455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, Valente. TUTH 12:30-1:45 - Group IV

TOPIC: Yeats

This course proposes to read the life, art, and political thought and career of William Butler Yeats in the context of Ireland’s progressive resistance to British colonization, achievement of independence, and establishment of a deliberately parochial anti-modern society. While the focus of the course will remain stubbornly on Yeats’ verse, which we will examine from his early Celtic Twilight period to the volume Last Poems, we will also be reading extensively in his aesthetic and political essays, taking on several of his most famous plays, and looking at his career as theatre founder, practical magician, crackpot mystic and disaffected member of the Irish senate. Requirements include two long papers, one 10-12 pages and a final paper of 15+ pages, two exams, one in essay form, and unfailing attendance.

455 5U/5G MAJOR AUTHORS, Innes. MWF 1 - Group IV

TOPIC: Virginia Woolf

“In or about December, 1910,” remarks Virginia Woolf in “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” “human character changed.” Though this date is often taken to mark a sort of birth date of modernism (as if human beings had suffered then some grand historical event) Woolf insists it is chosen arbitrarily—that the date merely punctuates a process by which modernity had transformed human character and social relations by modernity. “But a change there was nevertheless; and since one must be arbitrary, let us date it about the year 1910.”

If arbitrary, this date is not chosen at random: the date, we learn in Woolf’s biography of Roger Fry, is that of Fry’s London exhibition “Manet and the Post-Impressionists.” Woolf, then, selects the introduction of a singularly modernist aesthetic practice to stand as a signal event in a story of changing human character and social relations. The date, then, marks moment at which practices of aesthetics had finally caught up with processes of modernity. Likewise, in “Modern Fiction,” Woolf articulates the project of her fiction as an attempt to “capture” the experience of life in modernity through formal experiments in narrative (and antinarrative). In this course, we will read Woolf as an experimental novelist and as a theorist of the aesthetics of modernist fiction. Indeed, our working hypothesis will be that Woolf’s experimental fiction seeks to capture human being as it seeks a place for fiction and art in modernity.

Course requirements will include two papers, midterm and final exams, frequent quizzes, and vigorous participation.

Our readings will include fiction, essays, anatomies, and a biography by Woolf along with selected secondary and theoretical texts. Tentatively, we will read the following books by Virginia Woolf: Jacob’s Room, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Mrs. Dalloway’s Party, The Waves, Between the Acts, A Room of One’s Own, Three Guineas, Roger Fry: A Biography.


same as AIS 459

TOPIC: American Indians, Popular Culture, and Genre Fictions

Representations of American Indians have played a significant role in the formation of popular culture and popular genres. From the imagination of Stephen King that grounds horror within “Indian burial grounds” to X-Men comic books, references to American Indian history and characters continue to function as a cultural touchstone within U.S. popular texts. This course examines the intersections between literary and cultural representations of American Indians and the ways in which American Indian authors have reimagined some of the core genres of popular fiction—ranging from historical romance, science fiction/fantasy, horror, and mystery—to not only transform those representations, but challenge the expectations that American Indian literature is a sub-genre within American literature. Course requirements emphasize discussion participation, formal and informal writing projects, and a presentation. Some of the required texts may include Gardens in the Dunes by Leslie Marmon Silko, Flight by Sherman Alexie, Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones, and The Bone Game from Louis Owens’ mystery series as well as the comic book, Chickasaw Adventures, commissioned by the Chickasaw Nation, and finally, the fantasy series The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice,. In addition, we will look at film, television and digital texts, video games, and novels by authors such as Stephen King, Zane Grey, Larry McMurtry, Ursula LeGuin, Nalo Hopkinson, and Octavia Butler.

461 U1/G1 TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Bauerkemper. TUTH 10-11:15 - Group V

meets with AIS 485

TOPIC: Indigenous Transnationalisms

In taking up the topic of indigeneity, one necessarily enters into a transnational terrain of peoples, histories, and ideas.

Immersed in—yet also moving beyond—postcolonial theory, the “transnational turn,” and scholarly discussions of indigenous nationhood, this literature-based course centrally considers the sophisticated ways in which indigenous intellectuals imagine transnational spaces and theorize the complex cultural, political, economic, social, and discursive practices and processes unfolding in such spaces. Asking students to think comparatively across indigenous writings of North America and the Pacific, the course explores how indigenous traditions and knowledges regarding nationalisms, transnationalisms, and postnationalisms inform and arise out of contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Through their engagements with indigenous writing, students will become conversant with theoretical discourses located at the intersections of transnational and indigenous studies, and they will develop a critical awareness of the pasts, presents, and futures of transnational patterns of colonization and resistance.

463 F APPROACHES TO ORAL TRADITION, R. Garner. TUTH 2-3:20 - Group V

same as CLCV 463, CWL 466

This course will involve the exploration of theoretical approaches and methodologies of analysis used in the study of oral traditions. Concepts such as the ethnography of speaking, receptionalism, and ethnopoetics will be discussed with the purpose of applying them to oral traditions and oral-derived texts across a wide range of cultural contexts. Course requirements include regular attendance, active participation, a mid-semester examination, an annotated bibliography covering work in a specific tradition or field of the student's choice, an in-class presentation (group or individual), and 15-20 pages of formal writing.

Prerequisite: ENGL 362/ CLCV 363 / CWL 363 or graduate student standing.

475 1U/1G LIT AND OTHER DISCIPLINES, Loughran. TUTH 11-12:15 - Group III or V

TOPIC: The Reader in the Museum: Early American Art and Literature

Krannert Art Museum on campus) and another more far afield (an optional trip to Chicago’s Art Institute and Terra Museum), sites we will explore both as a group and as individuals. Course requirements are likely to include several short response papers, a group presentation, and a creative final project that asks students to curate their own virtual online or real-space exhibitions. And if you are wondering how specialized your knowledge needs to be to take this course, fear not: you do not need to have a background in art history to do well. The course is intended less for seasoned art buffs than for those who would like an exploratory introduction to interdisciplinary methods of cultural analysis. Non-English-majors are as welcome as non-art-historians. If you have questions or concerns, however, feel free to email me in advance at loughran@illinois.edu .

481 SE/PW COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Prendergast. MW 9:30-10:45

This course should interest prospective teachers of writing, those interested in issues of literacy, and those who wish to gain practical tools for becoming better readers of other people’s writing and their own. While the emphasis will be on writing in academic settings, we will be examining writing as part of the everyday practice of living as well. Topics will include: writing pedagogy (revision, response, peer writing groups); the relationship between writing, race and class; writing as for of “placement;” writing in professional settings. Special attention will be given to examining the impact of high stakes standardized testing on writing in middle and high school settings. Class participation will include large and small group discussions. Writing, both formal and informal, revised and spontaneous, will be required in abundance.


same as LIS 482

In this course, we’ll look closely at the new genres of communication that the digital computer has enabled: email, instant messaging, texting, the blog, the web page, the space pages (MySpace and Facebook), the wiki (Wikipedia), the cell phone video and the whole YouTube phenomenon. By the time the semester is done, new genres we have yet to imagine may be on the scene.

These electronic genres may not be entirely “literary,” but they are conventional forms of writing nonetheless, and because they are soooo successful, they have brought everyday writing into focus more sharply than anything that’s preceded them. While we can only look back and guess at the development of earlier genres-the heroic and lyric poems, the novel, the diary, the memo, the drama-we are in the enviable position of being able to watch the new digital genres establish themselves as cultural practices. It’s a little like being present at the birth of stars.

We will examine the impact of the new digital genres on our reading and writing practices and look at ways in which the requirements of readers and writers impact the direction of technology. We’ll look as well at how these genres arise; what their relationships may be to earlier, more traditional genres; how they develop unique conventions and practices; how they self-regulate, moving from freewheeling anarchy toward definable forms and expected behaviors; how they deal with violations of conventional norms; and how new practitioners learn and perfect their art. We’ll consider how the new genres create an aesthetic, a rating system that allows us to determine what counts as a good email, an effective web design, an appropriate Facebook entry, or a blog worth reading.

There will be a number of short essays and exercises, and a presentation. All readings will be available online.

Copies of the syllabus, handouts, and supplementary readings will be posted on the class web page.

500 M INTRO TO CRITICISM & RESEARCH, Parker. TUTH 9:30-10:45

This course is a survey-introduction to the concepts and methods of recent critical theory. In short, it is a ticket to graduate study in literature and criticism, designed for newer English graduate students (and more experienced graduate students) who do not already have a broad background in critical theory. We will proceed through a series of cumulative, overlapping units on 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. In accord with student interests, we will also hold a series of extra (probably evening) class meetings to address research methods, graduate writing, and organizing and planning one's graduate studies and academic progress intellectually and administratively. We will read an overall history of more or less recent critical theory together with a wide variety of provocative and landmark contributions. This course can lead students to an engaged fluency in the dialogues and opportunities of contemporary criticism. Attendance and active participation in class discussion are crucial; students who expect to be seen but not heard should enroll in a different class. Writing assignments will probably include two or three papers and possibly some exercises. Readings may include Literary Theory: An Anthology, ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (or a similar collection) and/or an assortment of individual readings; Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics; and R. D. Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies.

504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, Flinn. TU 5-7:50 pm

same as CINE 504

Seminar on influential theories and accompanying debates about the textual/extra-textual mechanisms and cultural/political impact of cinema and related screen media.

506 E WRITING STUDIES II, Prendergast. W 1-2:50

same as CI 564

This course explores literacy and race: as mutually constituting concepts, as “problems” national discourse and scholarship alike seek to address, as markers of identity. In addition to examining how relationships between race and literacy have been historically constructed, we will be problematizing those relationships in terms of critical race theory, postcolonial theory, and the literature on “whiteness.” Of particular interest will be how race is constructed as a category in and through research on literacy; in the scope of our reading we will encounter the epistemological assumptions, methodological scramblings, and critical/political allegiances that have created the intertwining histories of literacy and race. Texts: Cornelius, When I Can Read My Title Clear: Literacy, Slavery, and Religion in the Antebellum South; Heath, Ways with Words; Smitherman, Talkin and Testifyin; Prendergast, Literacy and Racial Justice; V. Young, Your Average Nigga; M. Young, Minor Re/Visions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship.


same as MDVL 514

TOPIC: The Exeter Book of Old English Poetry

The course will involve close reading of texts from the Exeter Book miscellany of Old English poetry, with special consideration of their manuscript context and historical reception. What principles of selection and organization are implicit in the physical construction and layout of the manuscript and in its sequence of texts? For what kinds of audience might the miscellany and the individual poems it contains have been intended, or actually have reached? What were the likely social and cultural contexts and uses of a miscellany of this kind in the late Anglo-Saxon period? Does the Exeter Book reflect the intellectual concerns and ecclesiastical politics of the Benedictine Reform? A basic reading knowledge of Old English is prerequisite; most readings will be in the original language, supplemented by Modern English translations for those poems we will not have time to read in OE.

TEXTS: The Exeter Book, ed. G. P. Krapp and E. V. K. Dobbie (The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, vol. 3); S. A. J. Bradley, trans., Anglo-Saxon Poetry

524 R SEMINAR IN 17th C LITERATURE, Mohamed. TH 1-2:50

TOPIC: Liberalism, Historicism, and Formalism: The Age of Milton and the Politics of Criticism

The tumults of England’s seventeenth century reflect in many respects the desire to assert religious and political liberties in a way that anticipates modern formulations. We see calls for greater democracy, debates on censorship, lively and sustained dialogue on religious freedom, and interrogations of the subjugation of women. And yet there was no readily available language and praxis in the period addressing human rights and liberties in the way provided later by the liberal tradition. This course will explore the terms of the seventeenth century’s pre-emergent liberal concern, examining especially the influence of the individualist emphasis of Reformation theology and Renaissance humanism. Our readings will be both literary and non-literary, and will include the period’s canonical writers as well as such radical voices as leading Levellers and Diggers—who call for universal male suffrage and implement early communism, respectively—and the women writers of the period.

Describing the period as ‘pre-liberal’ raises the second major concern of the course: the ways in which the political concerns of our time necessarily inform our perception of the seventeenth century. While most explicit in gender and race studies, this is inevitably true of the critical act of historicizing, whether Whig, Marxist, or skeptical of both. Such political concern equally underwrites formalist criticism; the aestheticization of art has been described as arising with liberal ideals of political neutrality and, more skeptically, with bourgeois commodification of creative works.

An awareness of the ideological undercurrents of both historicism and formalism will allow us to reassess longstanding critical divisions over Milton in particular, and especially to engage current murmurs of a return to formalism within English, a return that comes as critics of the early modern period are in a decidedly historicist mood. To these ends we will study the emerging ‘New Formalism’ with attention to the disciplinary values it reveals. We will finally examine how these values relate broader political and philosophical currents, where liberalism finds itself increasingly under fire.

527 R SEMINAR IN 18th C LITERATURE, Markley. TU 1-2:50

TOPIC: Climate and Culture, 1600-1830

This seminar will examine a variety of literary responses to climatic conditions during the second half of the Little Ice Age (c. 1350-1850)—a time of general cooling over Western Europe with shorter springs than common in the twentieth century, longer winders, and often abrupt and violent shifts in weather patterns that affected agricultural productivity, food security, and, more generally, the very understanding of “Nature” itself. Early modern literature—and for the purposes of the seminar, we will concentrate on the period 1600-1830—will be defined broadly, and we will read texts from a wide range of genres, including nonfictional writings on agriculture and navigation. The literature of this period reveals complex, dialectical, and even incoherent visions of the natural world that complicate the ways in which writers perceive “Nature” and encourage their readers to internalize of its unpredictability (storms, killing frosts, and blasted harvests) as evidence of an unstable dialectic. In this respect, we will explore the ways in which the volatility of the weather is read both providentially as a sign of God’s displeasure with a sinful humanity and experientially as an amoral argument for the unpredictability, even hostility, of an indifferent universe and degraded environment. More generally, the seminar will explore the ways in which climatic conditions help to shape seemingly fundamental principles of both the natural world and embodied experience.

In addition to short selections from studies by historical ecologists, readings will include plays and sonnets by William Shakespeare; poems by (among others) Andrew Marvell, Ben Jonson, Aphra Behn, John Milton, Alexander Pope, Stephen Duck, Mary Collier, Mary Leapor, Oliver Goldsmith, Charlotte Smith, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Wordsworth; selections from travel narratives by Sir Walter Raelgh, Edward Terry, and Alexander Hamilton; and novels by Behn, Daniel Defoe, and Jane Austen. In all of these works, we will pay particular attention to the differential effects of climate variability on members of the laboring classes (servants, sailors, agricultural workers, farmers), women, and non-European peoples in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Two important notes: No specialized knowledge of climatology or science is required. Members of the seminar will be encouraged to pursue final papers on topics directly related to their own literary and theoretical interests in literature written during the Little Ice Age. Papers on authors who we do not have time to cover in the seminar are welcome.

Course Requirements: Participation in class discussions; oral presentations; several short response papers (3-5 pp.); and a final paper (20 pp.).

537 R SEMINAR IN 18th C LITERATURE, Courtemanche. TU 1-2:50

TOPIC: Sexuality and Empire at the Fin de Siècle

This graduate seminar will examine the relation between British fiction of the 1890s and the new historicist criticism of the 1990s, with its Foucault-derived focus on deviant sexualities and social control. The rise of this school of criticism, along with developments in cultural studies, shifted the canon of Victorian literature in the direction of more shocking and popular texts, from apparently conservative boys’ adventure stories to tales of cross-dressing and sexual experimentation. In many ways these stories serve as stand-ins for our own culture wars, not just in their desire to challenge boundaries but in their persistent (and easily diagnosable) fascination with racial and sexual essentialism. While this seminar is organized around this amazingly productive recent avenue of inquiry, we will also be considering alternate directions in studies of 1890s texts, from historicist interest in conventional politics, science, and professionalism, to questions of popular versus high literary culture and its distribution, to philosophical queries about the dissolution of identity, and the relation between literature and wish-fulfillment.

British fiction of the 1890s is physically different from earlier Victorian texts because of the economic shift from the long three-volume novel to the shorter novella meant to appeal to a mass public. This new short form coincided with dramatic developments in Victorian society including the aesthetic movement, fear of foreign invasion, and the rebellion of the New Woman. The stories that resulted created the archetypes of the superheroes of 20th century popular culture, like Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and Allan Quatermain (the model for Indiana Jones). Meanwhile the female characters in these stories represent profound ambiguity about modernity, and are used sometimes as the mouthpiece of surprising new philosophies, sometimes to represent the danger of primitive sexual forces. In addition to works by Doyle, Haggard, and Stoker, we will be reading Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, George du Maurier’s Trilby, H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine, Grant Allen’s The Woman who Did, Richard Marsh’s The Beetle, and stories by Olive Schreiner and Ada Leverson. Critical readings will include selections from Nietzsche, Freud, and Edward Said, as well as Q.D. Leavis, Janice Radway, and Susan Sontag.

543 E SEMINAR MOD BRITISH LIT, Mahaffey. W 1-2:50

TOPIC: A Portrait of the (Male) Artist as Woman and Mother: Imitative versus Bodily Reproduction

One of the issues to arise out of the notion of art as mimesis, or imitation, is a gendered one: if art is a means of reproducing what might be called the “spirit” (as opposed to the body), what model of reproduction is most likely to produce a living and unique product comparable to a mortal child, and is that model available to male writers? To what extent have male artists needed to adopt the female position—recreating the loss of virginity and the labor of giving “birth” to work of art—in order to be inspired or entered by the muse? Do men have to become women in order to be artists? And if an artist is a man who has imaginatively learned to be a woman in order to give birth to a work of art, how can a woman be an artist? We will address these questions primarily by contrasting the model of the imitator with that of the sexual mother, beginning with the characterizations of artistic imitation found in Plato and Aristotle. We will then move on to Christianity, read through Wilde’s understanding of Jesus as the perfect artist (and, less explicitly, as a “woman” suffering immolation for love). Yeats offers a way of questioning dominant constructions of motherhood as a virginal (sterile), by explicitly rejecting artists who copy in favor of mother-artists (who couple with otherness and then perform the labor of producing something new). We will examine how this tension between imitation and birthing plays out in Joyce and Beckett; look at the proximity of birth and death in Faulkner and Stevens, and consider whether an emphasis on imitation increases competition and even, at the furthest extreme, war by comparing male versus female productivity in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Can we understand an artist’s choice to produce non-representational instead of representational art in terms of this desire to avoid imitation and produce something autonomous and alive?

We will conclude with a meditation on the “bloody chambers” of the womb and heart and their meaning for both men and women by reading Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber.” Our readings throughout will be supplemented by appropriate critical and theoretical essays on both imitation and motherhood.

TEXTS: Plato, Republic;Aristotle, Poetics; Wilde, “The Rose and the Nightingale,” “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” A Woman of No Importance?; Yeats, “Song of the Old Mother,” “The Ballad of Moll Magee,” “Adam’s Curse,” “The Magi,” “The Dolls,” “Easter 1916,” “The Double Vision of Michael Robartes,” “The Adoration of the Magi,” “Among School Children”; Joyce, “A Little Cloud,” “Counterparts,” A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, “Scylla and Charybdis” (Ulysses), the letter chapter of Finnegans Wake (I.v); William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning,” “The Idea of Order at Key West”; Beckett, Molloy; Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Angela Carter, “The Bloody Chamber”; Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction”


TOPIC: Scenes of Reading: The Theory and Pracatice of Reception in the American Renaissance

This is a course about reading and history, in which we will focus on two seemingly opposed aspects of literary texts: first, the historically fixed facts of textual production and reception (book making and book buying) and second, the somewhat less moored act of aesthetic consumption—in other words, the always potentially transhistorical experience of reading. In pursuing this focus, we will ask a very material set of questions about the production, circulation, and reception of actual texts, challenging ourselves to compose a cultural history of the book and its reader in the mid-nineteenth century. But we will also ask a series of more far-ranging theoretical and methodological questions as well. For instance: at this moment in the unfolding history of Americanist literary criticism, how might we use the skills we have amassed as historicists to think about the (potentially) less historically grounded practice of reading? Can the experience of reading really be historicized and by what scholarly methods? Did the books, newspapers, and magazines of the mid-nineteenth century look and feel, at the site of their original production, remotely like they will in 2009 at the furthest-most point of their (ongoing) reception? Primary texts are likely to include familiar faces like Poe, Emerson, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson, but we will read these well-known authors against a dense range of lesser-known artifacts drawn from print, manuscript, and visual archives spanning the fifty-year period between 1820 and 1870. These primary materials will in turn be placed in conversation both with reception theory and with more materialist scholarship, including major recent arguments in the history of the book. In the end, students can expect to practice the basics of both close reading and archival research, even as we interrogate the more traditionally historicist underpinnings of book history. Graduate students in all fields are welcome. Those with strong research backgrounds in these areas will have the opportunity to further practice them; those without can expect to gain proficiency at both using (and theorizing the use of) online and physical archives.

553 G SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Rodriguez. M 3-4:50

TOPIC: Chicano/a Narrative

This seminar examines Chicano and Chicana narrative in the context of various critical and theoretical developments within literary and cultural studies. Beginning with Ramón Saldívar’s groundbreaking book, Chicano Narrative: The Dialectics of Difference, we will map the influence of Marxism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and feminist and queer theory on scholars engaged with narratives reflecting the historical, political, and social conditions of Mexican American communities. A considerable number of foundational and recent texts (including Américo Paredes’ With His Pistol in His Hand, Oscar Zeta Acosta’s Revolt of the Cockroach People, Tomás Rivera’s …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, Cherríe Moraga’s Loving in the War Years: Lo que nunca pasó por sus labios, Sandra Cisneros’ Caramelo, Helena María Viramontes’ Their Dogs Came With Them, Felicia Luna Lemus’ Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties, and Manuel Muñoz’s Zigzagger) will allow us to investigate (and perhaps through our own work extend) the critical stakes in Chicana/o narrative of key thinkers such as Genaro Padilla, Norma Alarcón, Antonio Viego, Sonia Saldívar-Hull, Bill Johnson González, Manuel Martín-Rodríguez, Sheila Contreras, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, José David Saldívar, Louis Mendoza, and Domino Renee Pérez whose work we will also read.


TOPIC: Post-Racial Formations

The last decade has produced several calls to reconceptualize contemporary racialization as post-racial or post-identitarian. This course traces the shifting theorizations of race and identity in the United States from the civil rights era to the present in order contextualize recent debates about the end of race. Readings will include Michael Omi, Howard Winant, Kimberle Crenshaw, Stuart Hall, Cornel West, Richard Thompson Ford, Wendy Brown, Janet Halley, Jasbir Puar, and David Scott.

581 R SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Somerville. TH 1-2:50

TOPIC: Queer Theory

This course begins from the premise that queer theory is distinct from identity-based formations such as lesbian and gay studies. Instead of anchoring its methods to the question of sexual orientation, queer theory aims to destabilize the ground upon which any particular claim to identity can be made. While one familiar genealogy of queer studies locates its origins in the development of a theory of sexuality (as distinct from theories of gender), some of the most ambitious work in the field has critiqued any attempt to give priority to sexuality over other categories of analysis. The full potential of queer theory is thus to dislodge “the status of sexual orientation itself as the authentic and centrally governing category of queer practice, thus freeing up queer theory as a way of reconceiving not just the sexual, but the social in general” (Harper, et al., 1997). We will trace signal moments in the development of the field of queer theory over the past two decades, with an emphasis on its emergence within and impact on literary studies in the U.S., particularly recent developments such as “queer of color critique,” black queer studies, and transnational queer studies.


same as CI 569

TOPIC: Writing for the Web: The Informatics of New Media Authoring

This seminar is for students interested in studying and creating innovative digital scholarship. The theme of the course will be the informatics of writing and composing online digital texts. Students will read scholarship on new-media authorship while learning to code an array of web texts “by hand” in html, css, and using simple javascript. The seminar will meet for a two-hour discussion section followed by a one-hour coding tutorial. Unlike most graduate seminars, which culminate in a final paper, this course will be based around the creation of eight digital online projects. The projects will involve such things as an inquiry into digital literacy, an invent-your-own-typeface site, a moving-image project, the creation of a video game, a simulation, and more. Students need not have any experience creating web sites; experienced students will be able to move at an accelerated pace.

593 G PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Pollock. W 3-4:50

TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

This seminar is designed to help graduate students develop, implement, and theorize courses in literary study, focusing on the related practices of lesson-planning, discussion-leading, outcome-assessment, and pedagogical self-reflection. Framed occasionally by readings in educational theory, our seminar discussions will be organized around the following three projects: 1) we will analyze the comparative strengths of different pedagogical strategies in achieving a wide range of curricular goals in the literature classroom; 2) we will develop persuasive and powerful ways of describing precisely what it is we do as teachers of literary and cultural studies, as well as why and how we do it; and 3) we will articulate flexible criteria to guide our individual (and collaborative) design of effective syllabi and assignments for different kinds of courses and texts.

By the end of the seminar, each participant will have designed and implemented lesson plans teaching in at least two of the major genres covered in English 200 (and beyond), in addition to producing polished drafts of several documents—including sample syllabi, assignment sequences, statements of teaching philosophy, and the initial elements of teaching portfolios—materials that will be of significant practical use both in the teaching of literature and in preparing for the academic job market. Grades will be based on participants’ final completion of these key documents, and on their consistent, engaged, and thoughtful participation in seminar discussions and workshops.

NOTE: As part of the course requirements, graduate students enrolled in English 593 will be expected to attend regularly the section of English 200 (Section X, which meets MWF 12:00-12:50 in 259 English) in which the practicum elements of the seminar will be carried out. In other words, graduate students interested in this seminar should make sure that their schedules will allow them to participate in both the Wednesday afternoon meetings of 593 (3:00-4:50) and the regular meetings of English 200 X.

593 T PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Capino. TH 3:30-5:20

TOPIC: The Teaching of Film

This course on cinema studies pedagogy has three interlocking parts: a meticulous consideration of film aesthetics; a colloquium on the appraisal of popular and art cinemas; and a workshop in instructional design for introductory and intermediate film courses. No previous background in cinema studies is needed.

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