Literature, Film, 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.

ENGL 101 Q INTRO TO POETRY, Saville. TUTH 12:30-1:45

The English Department Course Catalogue provides you with a check list of what in theory you will be offered in this course (see below). But it does not mention the pleasures that lie in store for us as we commit to fifteen weeks of poetry-reading. Among these I hope you will experience the pleasure of listening (because poetry is the art of structuring sound), the luxury of postponing hasty arrival at meaning (because the best poetry has so much to say and such special ways of saying it), and the great rewards of patience (because poetry teaches the complexity of somatic, emotional truth and the enormous difficulty of establishing it).

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.


An introduction to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. Explores such topics as: the historical role and place of fictional narratives, the idea of genre, relationships between context and meaning in fictional works. Student will develop a critical vocabulary for interpreting and analyzing narrative strategies. Credit is not given for both ENGL 103 and ENGL 109.


same as MACS 104

This discussion-oriented introductory film studies course aims to develop students’ capacity for critical film viewing and deepened understanding of the cinema experience. We first study analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. We then focus also on different genres and styles of films, including, e.g., film noir and musicals, as well as documentaries and alternative independent films. Small sections of 36 students meet in two 75-minute sessions per week, on T/Th or W/F, with a required weekly all-section screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening, which presents one film program (usually a feature film, sometimes with short films). Expect to write a couple of short essays (getting instructor help to improve your writing); to take a midterm and a final; and take some quizzes on the readings, films, and discussions; and not only to master material and skills spelled out her, but also to enjoy the opportunity to get to know your teacher and fellow students and regularly to engage in lively discussion of films together. Grants Gen Ed credit in Humanities and the Arts.


English 109 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.


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

While fantastic narratives are as old as human culture, fantasy as an explicit literary and commercial genre is less than a century old. In this class, we’ll track that genre’s history on a decade-by-decade basis, beginning with Lord Dunsany’s 1924 The King of Elfland’s Daughter and ending with N. K. Jemisin’s 2010 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Along the way we’ll look at J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 The Hobbit, Mervyn Peake’s 1946 Titus Groan, Poul Anderson’s 1954 The Broken Sword, Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1968 A Wizard of Earthsea, Patricia A. McKillip’s 1974 The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Robin McKinley’s 1984 The Hero and the Crown, Diana Wynne Jones’s 1998 Dark Lord of Derkholm, and China Miéville’s 2002 The Scar. We’ll certainly discover how a literary tradition comes into focus and learns to critique itself, but we’ll also learn what the literature of the impossible has to say about the cultural possibilities of the so-called “real world.” Assignments will include a small number of short essays and a pair of exams.


Literary and historical study of science fiction from Mary Shelley to Ursula K. LeGuin with particular emphasis on the achievement of science fiction as a literary form in the romance tradition.


TOPIC: The 21st Century American Novel

This course is designed for freshman honors students to prepare them for future English courses as well as to give them the chance to learn about college-level research in the humanities. Our reading list is focused on the fiction of the last decade or so, as we discover something about the range and variety of this century’s novel production. Many—maybe most—of the authors may not seem well known, although that does not mean that they are not enjoying distinguished careers. In fact, our list is drawn from a broad spectrum of prize finalists. In this respect, the class will be conducting an exercise in precanonization, i.e., helping future generations discern the most important writing of our era. To that end, we will be reading a series of novels that help to typify many of the contemporary novel’s most vibrant directions. Students, in turn, will supplement our list with three kinds of reading: (a) a further examples of one of the rubrics—historical, ethnic, global, regional, social novels, or novels of character or a category necessarily omitted; (b) contemporary criticism; (c) contemporaneous cultural analysis. We will attend to your writing through some short assignments and then give students practice in a longer research project.


TOPIC: Shakespeare and His Audiences

major requirements (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

"The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good - in spite of all the people who say he is very good." --Robert Graves

We all know the role Shakespeare continues to occupy within the Western canon. In this campus honors seminar, I would have us set aside Shakespeare’s formidable reputation as the “greatest writer in the history of English literature” and instead concentrate on Shakespeare the actor and playwright who made his considerable living writing for the London professional theater from roughly 1580 to 1611. The city of London, Shakespeare’s fellow actors, the physical spaces of the Globe and the Blackfriars playhouses, and any number of material and cultural factors—props, music, special effects, audience expectations—shaped the plays Shakespeare wrote and consequently inform the printed play editions that we now read. Our study of Shakespearean “original practices”—the key theatrical conventions and staging conditions that existed in Shakespeare’s time—will allow us to see Shakespeare’s plays as living documents intended for performance. Emphases will include an attention to the plays in their earliest moment of composition, rehearsal, performance, publication, and reception, as well as to the production histories of Shakespeare’s plays. This focus on production history will take us from Shakespeare’s time up to the present moment: that is, many of Shakespeare’s plays have been in continuous production for 400 years, including recent popular film adaptations, and not just in the English-speaking West. What does this history of performance, adaptation, and revision tell us? Do the plays continue to offer us insight into the social world we ourselves inhabit? Do we find any of Shakespeare’s plays to be “exhausted”?

Together, we will read Shakespeare’s more canonical plays (Much Ado About Nothing Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) alongside his lesser-known or infrequently performed works (Titus Andronicus, Cymbeline). Nor shall we neglect those plays critics have labeled, rightly or wrongly, as “problems:” Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew. Given our emphasis on the “live-ness” of Shakespeare, there will be group excursions to local productions of the plays we study, one field trip to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier, and one final group performance project allowing students the chance to enact their own ideal stagings of short scenes from the plays covered in the course. Secondary readings will draw from relevant studies of early modern theater history and Shakespearean original practices; works of literary criticism that had an impact on theater practitioners; and classics of Shakespeare criticism.


TOPIC: Editing and Publishing

This course is designed for students who anticipate working with or in the trade or academic publishing industry. Topics covered include developmental editing and line editing; proofreading; language usage; intellectual property and permissions; developing a marketing plan; submitting queries; electronic publishing; tables, graphs, images, and page layout. Abundant writing and editing practice will be required.

Required texts will include the Chicago Manual of Style


meets with AIS 199

TOPIC: Digital Natives: Indigenity, Video Games and New Media

Although indigenous peoples are often associated with notions of a premodern, natural world devoid of innovation, they have always used technology from print media to computer code to resist settler colonialism. With the rise of social media, reddit, YouTube, and digital games across a number of platforms, interfaces through which to encounter, engage, and resist representations of indigenous peoples have proliferated. How have video games dealt with issues of indigeneity, race, and colonialism? How have American Indians and other indigenous peoples used media to reimagine narrative, history, and play? Drawing upon a number of disciplines, this class will ask students to think through how digital and new media have dealt with indigeneity. Texts will include: Red Dead Redemption, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Bioshock Infinite along with graphic novels, movies, and novels by American Indian and indigenous writers and artists.


TOPIC: Drugs, Sex, and Rock ’n’ Roll: Countercultures in the Movies, 1930s – 1960s

This course will study cinematic representations of alternative ideologies and behaviors, emphasizing practices that were suppressed by established authorities in the United States and Europe from the 1930s through the 1960s. While the organization of the course is chronological, it is not genetic; that is, there is no assertion of causal relationships among these periods. Postcards from the edge, if you will. In reading these postcards, we will also explore why and how these stories of “outsiders” became integrated into the mainstream of commercial cinema. Evaluated work will include short response papers and 3–4 medium-length essays.


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.


same as CWL 253, MDVL 201

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Medieval)

This course approaches the literature of the global Middle Ages (500-1500 CE) through the medium of performance, looking at a variety of plays and shows from across the Eurasian continent and from North Africa as well. We’ll consider the Noh drama of Japan’s Ashikaga shogunate (1338-1573), the zaju operas of China’s Yuan and early Ming dynasties (1250-1450), the khayal al-zill or shadow plays of thirteenth-century Cairo, and the religious dramas of late medieval Europe. (Medieval English plays will be prominent among the latter, but we’ll also read plays from France, Germany, and Italy.) Music and spectacle feature in all of these traditions, and so does a surprising mixture of sacred and profane themes: farting devils debate theology with blessed angels in the European plays, while Ibn Daniyal’s shadow puppets combine realistic representations of Cairo street life with esoteric reflections on the puppeteer’s art and divine creation. All texts will be read in Modern English translation; assignments will include a small number of short essays and a pair of exams.


same as CWL 255

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Renaissance)

Readings in English and continental literary masterpieces with attention to significant cultural influences.


same as CWL 257

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (long 18th C)

Almost as soon as the term “Enlightenment” was applied to the intellectual movement of the early modern period, writers began to question what exactly it was. We will look at “Enlightenment” from a global perspective. By reading across a variety of literary forms and by closely analyzing a range of works from both Western and non-Western traditions, we will explore how literature responded to the changing and expanding world of 1600 to 1800. By the end of this course, you will be able to read a wide variety of early modern texts with comprehension and enjoyment, you will have a greater capacity for understanding texts that depict unfamiliar times and places, and you will have a richer understanding of how the modern self came into being.


major requirements (old) – Group II

major requirements (new) – 1800-1900

Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Victorian period, with attention to broader cultural issues.

ENGL 209 AL1 BRITISH LIT TO 1800, Stevens. Lect: MW 2; Disc: F various times

This course covers British literature from 0 to 1798. Rather than aiming for coverage, we will read closely a limited set of representative works from different genres from the eighth to the late eighteenth century, including lyric poetry, drama, satire, polemical prose, and amatory fiction. Expect to encounter such writers as Unknown, Marie de France, and Geoffrey Chaucer; Shakespeare, John Donne, and Andrew Marvell; and William Wycherley, Jonathan Swift, and Eliza Haywood. Expect to visit, so to speak, the preaching cross near Solway firth, in what once was Northumbria; the city of York on the feast of Corpus Christi; the perilous court of King Henry VIII; the Globe theater of Shakespeare and his Chamberlain’s Men; and the dressing room of an eighteenth-century lady. We open with one of the earliest poems in the Old English corpus, the Dream of the Rood. And finally, since according to Coleridge’s own notes the poem came to him in a dream-vision in 1797, we close with Kubla Khan.

The method of instruction is lecture, with smaller groups meeting in discussion sections once a week under the guidance of a teaching assistant. The course texts include an anthology in multiple volumes (Longman Volumes 1A, B, and C); supplementary materials on the course website; and the Folger edition of Much Ado About Nothing. Your evaluation will be based upon two papers, a midterm, a final, and additional assignments and reading quizzes designed to encourage your participation in section. Diligent attendance at lecture and in section is necessary to pass this course.


major requirements (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) – 1800-1900

Historical and critical study of selected works of British literature after 1800 in chronological sequence.


major requirements (old) – Shakespeare requirement for secondary education majors only

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

Representative readings of Shakespeare’s drama and poetry in the context of his age, with emphasis on major plays; selections vary from section to section. Does not fulfill Shakespeare requirement for the English major.


major requirements (old) – Shakespeare requirement for secondary education majors only

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

This course will look closely at seven representative Shakespeare plays. Three comedies (The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado about Nothing, and Twelfth Night) will illustrate Shakespeare’s development from a conservative view of sexual politics to a more sympathetic identification with his female protagonists. Three tragedies (Macbeth, Othello, King Lear) will illustrate the growing complexities of Shakespeare’s moral vision. Our final romance, The Winter’s Tale, treats the theme of jealousy depicted in Much Ado and Othello in tragic-comic fashion, offering hope for forgiveness and reconciliation and the renewed innocence of a younger generation.

Course work will include periodic in-class writing on daily study questions, two 5-6 page critical essays, a mid-term exam, and a final exam. Discussion will be illustrated by short video clips of Shakespeare productions.

Signet Classic texts of Much Ado, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and The Winter’s Tale, and Norton Critical Editions of Macbeth, Othello, and The Taming of the Shrew have been ordered.


same as YDSH 220, CWL 221, RLST 220

major requirements (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

Course will introduce the great Jewish storytellers such as Nachman of Bratslav, Scholem-Aleichem, and I.B. Singer through readings of Yiddish tales, short stories, poetry, drama and excerpts from novels and autobiographies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, Yiddish films and folklore will be used to exemplify the variety of Jewish cultural expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, and America. Course will also present a sample of critical approaches to Yiddish literature. Taught in English translation.


same as CWL 267

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

topical streams: genre, style, and form; language, communication, technology

Why are we drawn to read short stories? Is it simply because they are short, and thus easily consumed in our busy, postmodern world? This course will both allow us to indulge our delight in the short story and to trace this delight back to the form’s first appearances in the modern print world. As a popular genre, short stories emerged along with the literary magazine and the popular newspaper at the turn of the nineteenth century. Students will read stories within this context: for instance, what happens to our understanding of Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” when we look at its original publication in Putnam’s Magazine? What were the “little magazines” of the early twentieth century, and how did they promote avant-garde, modernist fiction? As we move toward our own era, we will track the changes in the form of the short story in new digital environments. Authors will likely include James Hogg, Maria Edgeworth, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Oscar Wilde, Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Jean Toomer, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf. Class assignments will include two essays, two exams, and a group project.


same as CWL 267

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Historical and critical study of the short story (American and European) from the early nineteenth century to the present.

ENGL 247 P THE BRITISH NOVEL, I. Baron. TUTH 11-12:15

major requirements (old) – Group II or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

The novel made its debut in Britain over a hundred years after it first appeared on the continent. But the little nation of Great Britain on the outskirts of Europe produced some of the most noteworthy and influential writers of the last two hundred and fifty years. In this course, we'll trace the development of the novel as a genre that both celebrated and critiqued British nationalism. We’ll examine how the novel served as a vehicle to record and redefine the boundaries of a social order predicated on preserving noble bloodlines into a culture that produced the Industrial Revolution, The Beatles and the Welfare State.

We’ll start out with a look at the estate house as the defining icon of British patriarchy and class hierarchy in the Regency period. We’ll discuss how the rise of the middle class was fomented through the spirit of British nationalism that evolved during the Napoleonic Wars and how British naval dominance catapulted this island-nation into creating a vast colonialist empire that expanded across the entire globe. Then we’ll explore the rise of industrialization in the midlands, focusing on how the paradigm of factory labor and ownership reconfigured British social and economic policies for decades to come. Next we’ll examine how fiction functioned as a crucible for mandating radical reform movements in the UK such as feminism, socialism and environmentalism when we approach the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And finally, as we move into the modern and postmodern periods, we’ll see how the two global wars served as the catalysts to dismantle the conservative values inherent in British society and whether the future of the UK resides in a broader social and racial demographic or in a distopic future ruled by the WASP elite.

Requirements for the class include three short papers and a final exam. Regular class attendance and participation are expected. Texts and films may include: Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Howards End, Sherlock Holmes, Atonement, The King’s Speech, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Skyfall.


same as CWL 269

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Inventing the Modern: The European Novel from 1850-1950 - If you’ve ever wondered how modern culture and modern social relationships came to be, then this is the class for you. Our survey of will begin by exploring how the nineteenth century writers, Gustav Flaubert and Fyodor Dostoyevsky re-imagined the novel by introducing a kind of style and layers of psychological darkness and complexity that were wholly new to the form. We’ll go on to observe how writers like Joseph Conrad, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and Virginia Woolf went on to explore the social, political, sexual, and ideological concerns that would reshape Europe during the twentieth century. Requirements will include active class-participation, weekly journal entries, two short papers, and two exams.

Texts will include: Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, Conrad’s Under Western Eyes, Proust’s Swann’s Way, and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

ENGL 250 Q THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Bauer. TUTH 12:30-1:45

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – 1800 - 1900

Focusing on social and cultural history, this class will read 8 novels as representative of major debates in 19th-century US culture: from classical and liberal democracy, to economic panics throughout the century, to gender debates, and to race and class relations before and after the Civil War. We will focus on close readings of these novels to chart the changes in styles, cultural values, and historical concerns. Requirements include 1-2 reports in class, two midterms, a paper, and a final exam.

Books for the course include Rebecca Rush’s Kelroy, Herman Melville’s stories, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s The Silent Partner, Henry James’s fiction, Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood, and two or three popular fictions.

ENGL 255 AL1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Murison. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times

topical streams: American Literature and Culture; genre, style, and form; racial, ethnic, and indigenous studies; gender and sexuality

The title of this course is enticingly misleading. While we can look back on the history of the geographic expanse we now denominate the United States and create a literary narrative, this narrative begins with an assumption that to be on the continent and write makes one an “American writer” and that what these writers produced we would call “literature.” European colonists, however, did not begin to call themselves “Americans” until the late eighteenth century, and a category of “American literature” turns out to be more of a willful assertion than a completed effect through the mid-nineteenth century. And just as the geography of the continental United States began to reflect what we recognize it as today, the country breaks out in Civil War. These paradoxes and others endemic to American culture will guide our discussions of colonial, revolutionary, and antebellum literatures during the semester. Beginning with early exploration narratives by Europeans, this course will track the effects of travel, displacement, contact, and conversion on expressions of identity and community, and how, in turn, these constructions reimagined boundaries, both geographic and personal. Our concerns will therefore center on how writers struggled with the paradoxical issues that defined early America: freedom and slavery; individualism and federation; comity and conflict; region and nation; wilderness and settlement. To do so, we will canvass a variety of genres and forms, including poetry, sermons, travel narratives, fiction, and speeches, and we will explore the persistence of prominent tropes, forms, and ideas—and, as crucially, the decline and disappearance of others—between different eras and regions in light of this literary archive.

As with any survey, this course attempts to cover a mind bogglingly wide expanse of history: from early imperial writings in the fifteenth century to the poetry of the Civil War. The readings are therefore meant to be representative rather than comprehensive, reflecting the wide range of genres and styles in American literature before 1865. Many of the authors on the syllabus will be easily recognizable (such as Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Emily Dickinson) and others may prove less familiar. In both cases, our goal will be to make these texts “vitally charged,” as Henry David Thoreau would say. The course requirements will be a mixture of short writing assignments, reading quizzes, and exams. To pass the course successfully, attendance at both lecture and discussion sections is necessary.


major requirements (old) – Group III

major requirements (new) – n/a

This class will survey the emergence of a print market in which the practice of writing was increasingly professionalized, but in which the profession of authorship was available to a wider and broader section of the population than ever before. Focusing on the business of print, and the role of literature in the lived experience of everyday life throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we will cover the major literary and intellectual currents of the period, including the rise of industrialization and imperialism, the shifting relationship between the country and the city, and the role of racial, ethnic, and sexual difference in reshaping how Americans understood the nation, the region, and the always elusive ideal of “community.”

This class will use The Norton Anthology of American Literature.


same as AFRO 260, CWL 260

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

Historical and critical study of Afro-American literature in its social and cultural context since 1915.

ENGL 266 AL1 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Jenkins/Tendera. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times

same as GER 251, CWL 254

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.

ENGL 273 Q AMERICAN CINEMA SI NCE 1950, S. Camargo. Lect: TUTH 12:30-1:45; Screening: W 3:30-6 pm

same as MACS 273

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Explores American cinema from 1950 to the present, focusing on key issues in film studies (such as authorship, genre, narratology, film style, gender analysis, and the spectacle of violence), contextualized within moments of major transition in the American film industry. Units this term will include “Hitchcock in American Culture,” “The New Hollywood,” and “Four Films about Race.” Viewing and discussion of one film each week. Evaluated work will include three medium-length essays.

ENGL 274 P LITERATAURE AND SOCIETY, Prendergast. TUTH 11-12:15

TOPIC: Disability in Literature

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

In this course we will take a disability studies approach to popular and canonical works of literature. Portrayals of disability are rampant in literature. We will examine how writers have made use disability to drive narrative, symbolize moral failures, and rationalize experimental style. As we look at more contemporary texts, we will examine the disability rights community’s reaction to, and appropriation of, the portrayal of disabled characters.

Texts include Jane Eyre, Oedipus Rex, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; Call me Ahab.

ENGL 280 S1 WOMEN WRITERS, I. Baron. TUTH 2-3:15

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: The Archetypical Fallen Woman in British and American Fiction

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, America was seen as a new Eden—a land of endless social and economic possibilities, open to any free white male British citizen who made the arduous transatlantic crossing safely, and who settled successfully in the New World. Yet for unmarried women, the New World also became synonymous with the darker side of Eden—a place where the story of the fall was re-enacted countless times through the unbridled desire of men looking to corrupt innocent young girls into a life of sin and prostitution.

In 1791, Susanna Rowson published Charlotte Temple, a transatlantic novel that deals with the sexual and social demise of a young English girl. Extremely popular on both sides of the Atlantic, the novel tells the story of the iconic fallen woman and her woeful tale of sexual intrigue and betrayal. For over two hundred years, American and British audiences, riveted by this moralistic narrative, encouraged writers to engage in a highly nuanced literary dialogue on the subject of the archetypal fallen woman, producing some of the best known literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In this course, we’ll trace the genesis of the seduction novel as a vehicle for the conservative social theory behind British and American gender politics. We’ll begin with an examination of the theme of the ruined woman as a bi-cultural warning to any young girl who strays from the straight and narrow heteronormative sexual imperative set in place by hundreds of years of rigid Anglo-Norman patrilineal ideologies. Moving through the canon of literature focusing on this gendered tale, we’ll examine the fictional evolution of the fallen woman through its multiple iterations in

ENGLand and America. We’ll explore how Anglo societies collectively viewed the sexually compromised female from the late Georgian period to the postmodernist period as an outcast who must be punished through banishment or death to avoid polluting the rarified air of untarnished women. As we unfurl the interlocking social discourse of these narratives, we’ll deconstruct how the body and the mind of the fallen woman is presented through the cultural dictates of each national identity, each literary period and the gender and sexual orientation of the authors. Ultimately we’ll see whether class differences, racial differences or the enfranchisement of women liberated females from this stigma or whether women today are still marginalized by sexually unsanctioned behaviors.

Requirements include: an oral report, three short papers and a final exam. Texts and films include: Charlotte Temple, Sense and Sensibility, Pleasantville, The Scarlet Letter, The Ginger Tree, The Awakening, Howards End, The Great Gatsby, Passing, Jemima J and Juno.

ENGL 280 S2 WOMEN WRITERS, Nazar. TUTH 2-3:15

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: Before Jane Austen: British Women Writers of the Long Eighteenth Century

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Long 18th C)

topical streams: genre, style, and form; gender and sexuality; British and Irish literature and culture

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf described Jane Austen as the first woman writer in the history of English letters to have broken free of the constraints imposed upon women by a predominantly male literary tradition—as a writer whose sex was a virtue, rather than an impediment, in the realization of her genius. Woolf’s hagiographic reading downplays, however, the extent to which Austen’s fiction was itself indebted to earlier traditions of women’s writing. This course directs attention to the eighteenth-century women novelists whose fiction prefigured, and, in some instances, directly influenced the form and themes of Austen’s fiction, including its treatment of the marriage plot and its use of techniques for representing interiority like free indirect discourse. The works we will read are concerned with questions that are staples of Austen’s fiction, including the following: To what extent should a young woman allow her elders and the conventions of her community to guide her judgment? To what extent should her judgment be guided by her feelings? What place do literature and the arts have in a good education? Is friendship compatible with virtue? Is it compatible with romantic love? Readings include Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752), Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778), Elizabeth Inchbald’s Nature and Art (1796), Mary Wollstonecraft’s Maria (1798), and Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801). The course will be book-ended by two of Austen’s novels, Northanger Abbey (1818) and Pride and Prejudice (1813).


same as RLST 283, CWL 283

major requirements (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

Literary study of the major post-biblical sacred texts of Judaism; includes readings in translation from Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmudim, midrashim, piyyutim, and mystical treatises. Emphasizes nature, history, function, and development of literary patterns and forms and the relationships between form and content in these texts.


same as AAS 286

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

This course offers an understanding of the historical emergence of Asian American literature in the twentieth century. It examines the ways in which U. S. relations with Asia over the last century in the contexts of colonialism, semi-colonialism, immigration, and war have shaped representations of Asia and Asians in the United States. This course considers the liminal position of Asians in a national imaginary defined by binary black-white relations as the minority which is not one. How has this paradoxical position as model minority and yellow peril impacted representations of gender, race, and sexuality in Asian American literature? How does Asian American literature offer new perspectives and understandings of race and Americanness in the twentieth century? While the course offers a historical context for reading literature, the focus will be on literary representation—what genres and forms have defined the emergence of Asian American writing; what narrative strategies do Asian American writers adopt in translating their stories to audiences of “insiders” and “outsiders;” what is the relationship between art and politics in minority writing? Some of the recurring themes that appear in Asian American writing are the contradictions of patriotism, intergenerational conflict or transgenerational haunting, the paradoxes of visibility and invisibility; the impossibility of assimilation; the recovery of lost histories; and the intersection of racial and sexual stereotypes.


TOPIC: American Women Modernists

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

topical streams: gender and sexuality; American literature and culture

This writing-intensive course will be focused on three major movements in US women’s writing: high modernism, middle-class modernism, and working-class writing. We will also attend to the new modernisms, including immigrant, ethnic, Harlem Renaissance, vernacular and pulp fictions.

Our reading will include Stein’s Three Lives, Edna Ferber’s Roast Beef, Medium, Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements, Nell Larsen’s Passing, Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life, and Meridel Le Sueur’s The Girl.

Students will write response papers on each of the six novels, then move to revising three of those papers into longer essays. A short research assignment and a final exam are also required. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


TOPIC: Science Fiction

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Science fiction is often treated as though it exists on the margins of serious literature and literary study, and there has always been a good deal of debate since the nineteenth century about its value and significance. This course will explore the history and critical fortunes of science fiction from the work of H.G. Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson in the late 1800s to contemporary films and novels. We will look at the ways in which science fiction has both reflected social, political, and economic concerns in the twentieth century and offered its readers ways to think about possible futures that await the human race. Writers we will read include H.G. Wells, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Phillip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, Minister Faust, and, Nicola Griffith. Our aim will be to gain a broad understanding of science fiction as a genre between roughly 1890 and 2013, with particular attention to issues posed by the two world wars, the prospect of nuclear annihilation, social stratification, and ecological disaster. Students will write four short response papers, two longer papers, and take a midterm and final. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


TOPIC: Writing Film Criticism

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

topical streams: American literature and culture; language, communication, technology; film and literature

The Writing Film Criticism topic section of English 300 offers students who are seriously interested in film and related forms of media to learn about the history of published popular discourse on cinema as well as an opportunity to practice being movie critics. (A previous college course in film such as ‘Intro to Film’ or ‘American Cinema since 1950’ is helpful but not required. Students without prior formal study of film will be encouraged to acquire specific film analytic skills through recommended readings). The course departs from the premise that one learns best to write engaging, persuasive film (or television) reviews through broad, attentive reading of lucid, insightful analyses of diverse styles and approaches; equally broad and always attentive viewing; and regular writing, with multiple revisions understood an integral part of the process. Accordingly, we shall read many reviews by leading film critics whose work has appeared in wide-circulation periodicals over the past 70 years and discuss associated films (a few watched in class, others which students must watch outside class time.) In addition, students will research how film criticism operates as a popular, institutional, economic and political discourse (for example, through film festivals, including the Ebertfest which will occur during the semester).

Each student will write four original reviews of varying length and projected readership and on diverse types of films (one an optional television review), receiving editorial feedback from peers and professor through several drafts. Small writing teams that shift with each review and the use of Moodle as a means of sharing work will foster the peer review and (re)writing process. In addition, each student will give several in-class presentations on assigned research topics (such as a specific film critic from the past or in the present); pay scrupulous attention to deadlines for all assignments, including revisions and final copy; and participate reliably and helpfully in writing groups, both in class and through the class webboard. The course, which grants Advanced Composition credit, requires two books and some additional book extracts and articles demonstrating and analyzing techniques and issues in film critical writing. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


TOPIC: New Racial Subjectivities in Contemporary American Fiction

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

This course has two goals, to think critically about writing and to explore the emergence and representation of new racial subjectivities in contemporary American fiction. To accomplish the first, we will focus on developing close readings of texts, locating and incorporating secondary sources, and revising and editing critical essays. To achieve the second, we will analyze the representation of race in contemporary American fiction. In particular, we will consider how racial meanings have been transformed in the post-civil rights era. Further, we will analyze how these new racial subjectivities are connected to forms of racial empowerment and dispossession that define the post-civil rights and post-9/11 period. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Introduction to influential critical methods and to the multiple frameworks for interpretation as illustrated by the intensive analysis of selected texts. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take

ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Theory: the final frontier. At least that’s how many U of I English majors seem to feel! In this course, we will survey major developments in the history of thinking hard from the eighteenth century to today. Along the way, we will ask a series of interrelated questions about the rise of Western reason that theory both performs and critiques. For example: Was the rise of Enlightenment thinking emancipatory or repressive? How did such patterns of thinking emerge alongside material developments like early capitalism and empire? Are aesthetics essentially a-political or does art participate (for good or ill) in the world of politics and power? Can historicism serve as a corrective to the gross inequities of our world, or is it a Trojan horse left behind amongst the other wreckage of the Enlightenment? And what does any of this have to do with reading sonnets, plays, and novels?

Major players in this story are likely to include Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno Lukacs, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Butler, Sedgwick, Said, and the great and inscrutable Gayatri Spivak. As in any theory course, a number of major -ISMs (and their relatives) will appear regularly on the docket—including materialism, historicism, structuralism (and its posts-), queer theory, and postcolonialism. But to cope with the vertigo an ISM always produces, we will generally read short, iconic selections, thinking for the most part in broad strokes, with a few full texts interspersed for depth and texture. And we will find a way to work through this material that: a) makes sense, b) challenges you, and c) does not put any of us to sleep (or drive us mad). This is, in short, an introduction to the history of such ideas, and any lively, alert, game young reader will be able to keep up. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


This course focuses on some of the many differing ways literary texts can be read, and what factors make some texts (and not others) seem “literary” in the first place. Before we’re done you’ll be exposed to the most significant contemporary methods of literary theory, which will aid you in every literature class you take from now on.

Our approach will be twofold. We’ll look at critical and theoretical texts by major contributors to the field including Marx, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Butler, and a good many others. And we’ll test their ideas about how to read and talk about texts against a few selected classics that we’ll return to throughout the term (such as Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw” and Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn”), and also against some works whose “literariness” might be a matter of debate, such as Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. There will be several short essays and other writing tasks, and a final exam. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


meets with GWS 325

TOPIC: Lesbian/Queer Media Cultures

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

Discusses how various LGBT/Q communities were consolidated or drawn together by print and invented in the very acts of writing, distributing, purchasing, and reading print artifacts. Students examine early homophile publications, the rise of presses dedicated to LGBT/Q literature, independent bookstores and distribution networks, as well as the contemporary world of zines, blogs, chatrooms, fanfiction, and online journals, to see the intersection of sexuality, community, identity, and the print sphere. Students will learn how to historicize the rise of various LGBT/Q subcultures through a long history of print and how to navigate and understand the gregarious contemporary world of online publishing and social networking.


same as YDSH 320, CWL 320

Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context.


same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Bollywood Cinema

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

In this section of ENGL/MACS 373 we will undertake a critical and historical study of the international media phenomenon known as ‘Bollywood.’ We will see exciting, colorful films and also understand how these texts can be connected to the history, political transformations, and national and regional aspirations in South Asia. We shall critically take a look into matters of form (how exactly are popular Hindi films different from or similar to Hollywood or Japanese films?) and how these narratives respond to shifting realities of post-colonial nation-building, tradition, mythology, modernity, globalization, the country/city divide, and the information revolution. We will analyse how popular Hindi cinema has, over the decades, developed highly elastic and flexible formal devices that can combine epic imaginations drawn from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata with manifold matters of the modern world like space aliens, technology, terrorism, pop culture, American superhero genres, world cinema/world music conventions, and a host of other things. On a broader level, we will attempt to grasp the workings of a major filmic tradition that is culturally different for many of us, but is also, in terms of sheer number of products and population reach, the largest entertainment industry in the world.

Students will be required to participate in a group project, write short response papers and two longer mid-term and final-term papers. There will also be a final examination.


same as GWS 378

What does it mean to be female in contemporary culture, and how is that meaning related to definitions of femininity in other cultures, and at other times? Children are taught the difference between male and female roles, and one of the main ways this instruction takes place is through the pleasurable media of books, tales, and, more recently, films. Yet relatively few children reared on “Sleeping Beauty” know that once upon a time it was a tale about rape (Jane Yolen, in sharp contrast, turns it into a story about the Holocaust); similarly, one set of “Cinderella” stories (the “Donkey skin” variant) concerns father-daughter incest. The stories currently found in nurseries are often sanitized versions of older, more complex and varied narratives that take many different forms. Reading other cultural versions of a familiar tale throws into high relief the values of one’s own culture. For example, the “Cinderella” of Charles Perrault, designed for the French court, is very different from the much earlier Chinese version: the elegant and fragile glass slipper contrasts sharply with a celebration of small feet in a culture in which it is customary for women to bind their feet. Disney versions of fairy tales, peopled with slim, colorful, singing cartoon characters, differ markedly from the sexually explicit Inuit tales, since the warmth offered by sexuality was necessary for survival. Our overall aim, then, is to understand how sexual identity is constructed differently in different cultures, and to explore the ways that fairy tales work to express psychological reactions to maturation while conditioning both characters and readers to adopt specific social roles in adulthood. We will look at different versions of such fairy tales as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Bluebeard,” “Snow White,” and “Hansel and Gretel.” We will also sample Inuit tales, contemporary film versions of fairy tales, and feminist rewritings of these stories by Anne Sexton, Jeanette Winterson, and Angela Carter.

Assignments consist of an oral report, two essays (which may involve a rewriting of a fairy tale accompanied by a comparative analysis), and a final exam.

Courses numbered 396, 397, and 398 are honors seminars. English majors with an overall GPA of 3.33 or greater are eligible to enroll in the honors program. See Angela Smith in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.

ENGL 396 G HONORS SEMINAR I, Nelson. W 3-4:50

TOPIC: Holocaust Poetry

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

The Holocaust is one of the most challenging and unforgettable subjects in modern poetry. The questions Holocaust poems pose—Are any human values reliable and transcendent? Are there limits to the destructive behavior a culture can adopt? How can we give witness to unspeakable acts? What does art mean in a world where we no longer know what it means to be human? Can poems triumph over absolute horror?—amount more to subjects for discussion rather than questions we can answer.

In a sense, Holocaust poetry begins with the anti-Semitic poetry that saturated Germany during the Nazi era. That is certainly poetry we need to study. But more properly, Holocaust poetry begins in the Nazi concentration camps and forced labor brigades as Jews and others felt the need to reach out to poetry to express what could not be expressed in any other way. Some poetry survived because it was hidden or memorized and shared by survivors. One group of poems was found in a writer’s pocket notebook after his body was exhumed from a mass grave. Some Holocaust era survivors kept writing poems for the rest of their lives.

But in the 1960s and 1970s poets across the world from the next generation, including many from the United States, began to feel the need to write Holocaust poems as well. Of course they were then writing about a reality they hadn’t experienced directly, which is also our situation as readers. In some ways that changes what the poems can do.

Between wartime and post-war Holocaust poems the total corpus of several thousand texts is a truly international one. In the seminar we will read key poems from a range of countries. Among the poets we will read are Lily Brett, Paul Celan, Sylvia Plath, Miklos Radnoti, Charles Reznikoff, Nelly Sachs, and Abraham Sutzkever, although we will work with English translations, we will also take advantage of any foreign language ability among the students in the seminar. Key languages are German, Hungarian, Polish, and Yiddish.

We will use several paperbound collections, including Holocaust Poetry, edited by Hilda Schiff , Holocaust by Charles Reznikoff, and Blood to Remember, edited by Charles Fishman. Some of these books are available used. We will also read several essays of historical background, as well as the best literary criticism on Holocaust poetry. I do not assume that any of you are experts on the Holocaust, merely that you are interested in learning more about how poets responded it.

Feel free to email me with any questions about the course:

ENGL 397 P HONORS SEMINAR, II, Nazar. TU 11-12:50

TOPIC: The Woman Reader in British Fiction: Lennox to Austen

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Long 18th C)

topical streams: genre, style, and form; gender and sexuality; British and Irish literature and culture

Recent debates about the value of “chick lit” bespeak an anxiety about what young women read that is by no means new. It has a long history, dating back to at least the eighteenth century, when women entered the literary marketplace in growing numbers as consumers and producers of literature. This course considers the pivotal figure of the female reader as it unfolds in eighteenth-century literature and culture—in fiction, poetry, conduct manuals, and educational and philosophical treatises. It asks why so much cultural attention became focused on women’s reading in the period known as the Enlightenment, what kinds of fears it harnessed, and how various women writers responded to it. Our core readings will include several novels which take as their heroines highly impressionable young women readers: works like Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752), the heroine of which imagines that she lives in a French chivalric romance; Mary Wollstonecraft’s Maria (1798) and Mary Hays’s Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796), which revolve around heroines who read in French sentimental fiction an endorsement of extra-marital relations; Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray (1804), the eponymous heroine of which is so committed to the radical philosophy of the revolutionary period that she refuses to marry the man she love; and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818), which takes as its heroine a young woman who cannot tell where a Gothic novel ends and real life begins. We will conclude the course with a viewing of the ITV miniseries, Lost in Austen (2008), which traces the fortunes of a Jane Austen fan who gets a chance to become a character in her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice.

ENGL 398 D HONORS SEMINAR, III, L. Newcomb. W 11-12:50

TOPIC: Shakespearean Audiences, 1600 to 1623

major requirements (old) – Shakespeare

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

topical streams: gender and sexuality; British and Irish literature and culture; language, communication, technology

By 1600, London’s new commercial theaters were not just attracting crowds to their plays, but specifically writing plays that reflected on what it meant to attract crowds. This course meets the Shakespeare requirement, and most of the plays we’ll read are by Shakespeare, but our focus will be on the audiences these plays engaged, redressing the long critical neglect of the audience function in later Shakespeare. For historical and material perspective on those audiences’ experiences, we’ll situate our seven plays in three distinct literate practices of the period: attending live performances (based on playwright’s scripts); reading printed plays; and recognizing plays as adapted from non-dramatic sources. We’ll also read period records of playgoers, their neighbors, and their critics, seeking details about early playgoing as a distinctly commercial and urban practice that blurred supposedly rigid gender, sexuality, and national identities. A recurring theme will be how period drama allows players and playgoers to reflect on their mutual responsibilities and differences, both in theatrical space and in the social spaces of household, metropolis, nation, and global exchange. We too will participate in various literate practices surrounding drama, including attending and improvising performances, examining early printed books, and testing various theories of early modern community.

TEXTS: McDonald, Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition); individual play editions to be announced; articles on e-reserve.


same as BTW 402

This course introduces descriptive approaches to analyzing English language and language practices. We will consider traditional and modern systems for describing English grammar, relationships between talk and text, the nature of registers and dialects, interaction of visual and linguistic dimensions of texts, approaches to grammar instruction, and language practices in everyday environments. Course requirements include reading; inquiry-oriented projects that will be either written up or presented orally; informal writing in-class or at home; two analysis papers; two tests; and a final reflection essay.

TEXTS: Kersti Börjars and Kate Burridge, Introducing English Grammar (Routledge, 2nd Edition, 2010), Deborah Tannen, Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse (Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2007); and readings on e-reserve or online.

ENGL 404 U3/G4


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.

ENGL 411 1U/1G CHAUCER, C. Wright. TUTH 9:30-10:45

same as MDVL 411

major requirements (old) – Group IV

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Medieval)

This course will focus on Chaucer’s literary career before The Canterbury Tales, when he wrote his delightful dream visions as well as his masterpiece, the great romance Troilus and Crisyede. Chaucer’s earliest poems all recount vivid dreams that instruct the dreamer and the reader about life, death, and the deep blue sea, but mostly about love: The Book of the Duchess, a meditation on the psychology of grief and consolation in the form of a dialogue between the dreamer and a disconsolate knight who can bear to speak of his loss only in metaphors; The House of Fame, a guided tour of earthly fame and literary history, conducted by a talkative eagle; The Parliament of Fowls, a comic allegory of spiritual and carnal love staged as a Valentine’s Day gathering of birds, presided over by the goddess Nature; and The Legend of Good Women, an object lesson about women for the benefit of Chaucer himself, ostensibly to make amends for his portrayal of the unfaithful lover Crisyede in Troilus and Crisyede. One of the glories of medieval literature, Troilus and Criseyde tells the tragic story of two lovers—a prince and a widow—trapped by the shifting fortunes of the Trojan War and by their own fateful choices. Troilus gets right to the core of how we make moral judgments: not just how we make them for and about ourselves, but how we make them for and about others.

Ye knowe ek that in forme of speche is chaunge / Withinne a thousand yeer (“You know also that in form of speech is change / Within a thousand years”). To read this line in Chaucer’s Middle English, you only need to get used to some old spellings and learn that Ye is Modern English “You” (as in “God Rest Ye Merry Gentelmen”) and that ek means “also.” We’ll be using editions that give the Modern English for every word you might not immediately recognize in the margin, right next to each line. Just imagine what you’d lose if you read Shakespeare in Modern English translation, and what you gain from reading it in the original. Same goes for Chaucer, except that Chaucer’s lines are often easier to read than Shakespeare’s.

TEXTS: Geoffrey Chaucer: Dream Visions and Other Poems, A Norton Critical Edition, ed. Karthryn L. Lynch; Geoffrey Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde, A Norton Critical Edition, ed. Stephen A. Barney

ENGL 418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45

major requirements (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

topical streams: gender and sexuality; American literature and culture; genre, style, and form; British and Irish literature and culture

This course aims to introduce you to Shakespeare’s plays, from Richard III to Much Ado About Nothing. We will explore Shakespeare’s growing versatility in range of dramatic genres—comedy, tragedy, and the “problem plays”—and investigate the development of his poetic skill, focusing on language alongside plot and character. We will think about his plays both as historical artifacts produced within a specific context and as living texts that continue to be performed today. We will therefore intertwine multiple methods in our analysis of these texts, engaging in close reading of his dramatic verse (which is, after all, often poetry), analyzing historical background and contemporary critical articles (to situate Shakespeare both within his historical time period and within present day critical debates), and performing key scenes. Throughout, we will focus on the way Shakespeare’s plays foreground the theme of acting and performance in order to explore issues of identity and disguise, gender hierarchy and social order, sexual identity, political power and nation-formation.

ENGL 428 1U/1G BRITISH DRAMA 1660-1800, Markley. TUTH 11-12:15

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Long 18th C)

This course will cover some of the major works in British drama written between 1660 and 1720. We will pay particular attention to the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts of theatrical performance, and we will discuss the major issues that find on their way onto the London stage: sexual morality, the role of women in a patrilineal society, and the problems of empire, trade, and colonialism. Because the Restoration period (1660-1700) featured the popular and critical success of women dramatists, notably Aphra Behn and Susan Centlivre, and we will devote a good deal of attention to the ways in which these playwrights appropriated the conventions of the seemingly antifeminist genres of wit comedy. In addition to these women dramatists, we will read and discuss plays by George Etherege, John Dryden, William Wycherley, Thomas Otway, Thomas Shadwell, William Congreve, and Susan Centlivre. There will be two papers of critical analysis, a midterm, and a final examination.

A word of caution (or perhaps inducement): the comedy of the period is often explicitly sexual, and seduction, adultery, and libertine critiques of religion are commonplace. The tragedies we will read include scenes of torture, incest, and general bloodletting.

ENGL 441 1U/1G BRITISH LIT 1900-1930, Mahaffey. TUTH 2-3:15

major requirements (old) – Group II

major requirements (new) – n/a

The overall frame for this course is English and Irish literature, 1900-1930. 1900 marked more than the beginning of a new century: it also offers a convenient date for the fracturing (and multiplication) of subjectivity. We will look at the various ways that the human individual was both fractured and expanded by examining works of William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Elizabeth Bowen. The course will also investigate the possibility that what happened to the dominant conception of the subject was necessarily reflected in a changing style.

Requirements include an “oral” report, consisting of a one-page essay to be photocopied, distributed to the class, and read aloud, two short essays, and a final exam.

ENGL 455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Mahaffey. TUTH 3:30-4:45

TOPIC: Joyce and Textual Excess

major requirements (old) – Group IV

major requirements (new) – n/a

Joyce has the reputation of being difficult to read. In this course, we will explore the possibility that the problem lies not in the difficulty of the text, but in the assumptions about reading that readers bring to the activity. What if Joyce’s project is one of textual excess? What if the movement of the text is centrifugal, its apparent focus on the here (Dublin) and now (June 16, 1904) pointing outward towards the complexity of an international and richly historical context for human life? Instead of trying to shape or contain experience, could Joyce be attempting to access its wayward energies, both conscious and unconscious?

Many critics would agree that popular culture offers a window through which readers are invited to observe the lives of other people. Literature differs in that the window has been backed with silver, making it a mirror in which readers can see themselves. Wilde played on this notion, as did Woolf. What role might be played by textual excess in thickening the medium, so that the reader can insights into him or herself while seeming to enjoy the voyeuristic pleasures of watching others unobserved?

We will read Dubliners, Stephen Hero, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the Odyssey, Hamlet, and Ulysses. Requirements include an “oral” report, consisting of a one-page essay to be photocopied and distributed to the class as well as read aloud, one or two explications of a story or episode, and a final exam that will include the option of creatively rewriting a section of Joyce’s fiction, and analyzing that revision.

ENGL 455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, T. Newcomb. TUTH 2-3:50

TOPIC: Citizens Coen: The Cinema of the Coen Brothers

major requirements (old) – Group IV

major requirements (new) – n/a

Over nearly thirty years Joel and Ethan Coen have occupied a distinctive place in American cinematic culture, as postmodern auteurs who gleefully violate the stylistic “rules of the game” while also paying reverent homage to previous moments in American films. Their films consistently foreground their own roles as creators, which has made them key predecessors for later “star” directors such as Tarantino and Spike Jonze; yet in their personal lives they don’t court flamboyant celebrity but remain quietly devoted to their art. They have won many awards including the Oscar, yet they are still regarded with skepticism by some academic critics who find their films all about style and genre pastiche rather than substance. This class will explore these contradictions and many others as we survey the Coens’ work of the past three decades, along with some of the “originals” that have inspired them to rethink cinematic genres, especially the screwball comedy, the Hitchcockian thriller, the gangster picture, and the hard-boiled film noir. The syllabus will certainly include, among others, Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn’t There, along with Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and the original “Ealing comedy” The Ladykillers.

The class involves a two-hour weekly screening and a two-hour discussion session, both of which are mandatory. You can expect essays, quizzes, brief oral presentations, and a final exam.

ENGL 460 ONU/ONG LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, D. Wright. Online, 2nd 8 week section

TOPIC: America at the Nadir: Race and Representation from Twain to Hurston

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

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

ENGL 461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Carico. TUTH 3:30-4:45

TOPIC: Genres of the American Frontier

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

topical streams: American literature & culture; racial, ethnic, & indigenous studies; genre, style, and form

What is the frontier? And where, and when? As we read and view and listen this semester, we’ll think broadly about the “frontier” as a space of time that’s in flux, poised between changing orders of law, economy, and culture—from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, from the Dred Scott case to Django Unchained!, and from paintings of the American West to field recordings of the American South. We’ll also figure out how new forms and categories—new “genres”—try to re-order that space and time. Westerns are surely concerned with frontiers, but so are folk songs and zombie apocalypse narratives. As we think critically about the frontier, we will also explore its history of violence and domination, especially with regard to the indigenous and the enslaved.


meets with CWL 411

TOPIC: Empires of the Novel

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

The subject of this course is the genre of the novel and its concordance with the political and cultural worlds of the bourgeoisie in the 19th and the early 20th century. The students will read French, German, and British novels as well as critical writings by a variety of scholars, to explore a wide range of connected issues, such as (a) the interactions of the novel with the reading public in different stages and ages of capitalist development, (b) the overlapping discourses of colonialism, capitalism, and modernity, (c) the novel’s exploration of sexuality in its normative or deviant forms, and (d) the construction of the public and private spheres in fiction and how that coincided with a new configuration of labor and leisure.

ENGL 481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Schaffner. MW 12:30-1:45

In exploring some of the major theories that inform the teaching of expository writing, we will pay particular attention to the role of innovation in written communication. Can innovation be taught? Should it be? Topics we will explore include: personal writing, the use of writing as punishment, formulaic writing, code switching, writing with images, and YouTube composition.


same as MACS 503

TOPIC: Film Historiography: National Cinema

Is national cinema the corpus of work by the citizens of a particular state or the totality of films, both “local” and “foreign,” exhibited within its borders? Does the rubric embrace films made by expatriates or works that are funded, European Union-style, through international co-productions? In charting the history of a national cinema, do we figure the “national” through space, fantasies of common substance, language, the director’s citizenship, or fugitive tropes of nationalist discourse? This graduate seminar examines “national cinema” as a persistent, tactical and often productive category of analysis in film history and criticism. Students will investigate this rubric in relation to others used in the field, including such categories as regional, hemispheric, continental, tricontinental, transnational, and global. The primary aim of the course is to help students identify a national cinema that interests them and to discover a point of intervention within in its discourse.

ENGL 504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, Kaganovsky. MW 3-4:50

same as MACS 504, CWL 504

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


same as MDVL 514

TOPIC: The Junius Manuscript

Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Junius 11 is one of the four major poetic codices of the Anglo-Saxon period, containing the Old English poems Genesis A, Genesis B, Exodus, Daniel, and Christ and Satan. It stands out not only for the coherence of its subject matter, but also because it is one of very few vernacular manuscripts to receive de luxe treatment, complete with illustrations. As such, the Junius Manuscript affords ample opportunity to explore a wide range of questions about Anglo-Saxon vernacular literature. In this seminar, we will read the poems of the Junius Manuscript in Old English and consider them within a variety of critical contexts central to current debates in medieval studies: textual production, the Benedictine Reform, gender and sexuality, the relation of Latin and vernacular literature, the interplay of text and image, modes of epistemology, the politics of biblical translation and adaptation, and the relationship between secular and ecclesiastical power, among others. Requirements will include weekly prepared translation and secondary reading, in-class presentations, a seminar paper, and a public symposium at the end of the semester.

ENGL 524 R SEMINAR IN 17th C LITERATURE, Gray. TU 1-2:50

TOPIC: Early Modern War Stories, 1600-1670

One influential narrative of European literature locates its origins in a war story. Homer’s Illiad registers the mesmerizing spectacle of bloody conflict, the insistent need to contain that conflict within generic and narrative frames of understanding, and the way that the trauma of war repeatedly resists representation—edging into the formlessness of grief-stricken silence or sublime incomprehension. However, Homer’s epic is of course just one story in a long and incredibly varied body of war literature, one small part of which we will explore in this class. Reading a variety of genres from 1600-1670, we will follow early modern political theorists, playwrights, and poets as they attempt to develop theories of just warfare; to imagine, define, and aestheticize armed violence; to contrast war to a shifting array of its antitheses (peace, civil society, georgic productivity, romance); to establish (and blur) friend/enemy distinctions; to think about war’s role in narratives of national, racial and gender identity; to represent the physical costs and supposed ideological gains of combat injury and death.

To tackle these questions, we will begin by testing the ideas of some modern scholars and theorists of war violence and trauma, such as Judith Butler and Elaine Scarry. We will also read parts of the classical epics by Homer and Virgil that provided such influential models for later written and performed versions of armed violence. We will then move to one famous Renaissance theorist of war, its practice and political applications, Machiavelli, reading selections not only from The Prince but also from his lesser known works: Discourses and The Art of War. We will consider the spectacle of military violence as it appeared on the London stage in early seventeenth-century London, focusing in particular on two of Shakespeare’s most compelling studies of armed masculinity, Macbeth and Coriolanus. The second half of the course will be devoted to studying the memoirs, political treatises, poems, and closet dramas written during the British Civil Wars (1639-1651)—a period that, according to one military historian, saw “the greatest concentration of armed violence to take place in the recorded history of the islands of Britain and Ireland” (Morrill xix). Reading works by Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, Anna Trapnel, Lucy Hutchinson, and Andrew Marvell, we will discuss the violent subjectivities, paradoxical self-divisions, bloody oppositions, and irresolvable ethical impasses that particularly attend representations of civil combat.


TOPIC: Body-Politic and Soul-Politic in Democratizing Britain (1840-1900)

In “Signs of the Times,” his 1829 polemic against utilitarian hedonism and instrumentality, Thomas Carlyle rages against the growing pragmatism of British society: “It is no longer the moral, religious, spiritual condition of the people that is our concern, but their physical, practical, economical condition, as regulated by public laws. Thus is the Body-politic more than ever worshipped and tended; but the Soul-politic less than ever” (“Signs of the Times,” 71). In the reform era that followed, the focus on extending the franchise, abolishing Corn Laws, expanding education, and improving sanitary conditions intensified until it seemed to Carlyle that morality, creativity and spirituality were withering through neglect. Carlyle was not alone in his concerns. Novelists like George Eliot (Middlemarch), essayists like Oscar Wilde (“The Soul of Man under Socialism”) and above all poets like the Brownings, Swinburne and Whitman used soul-talk to address the spiritual well-being of their own and neighboring European and transatlantic communities as they evolved modern democracies. As we read the work of these and other writers (for instance, Plato, Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, Frederic Harrison), we will interrogate the merit of Carlyle’s complaint, asking ourselves what “the soul” actually meant to them and why it might be considered the special bailiwick of poets. We will consider whether the conceptions of soul in skeptics and atheists like Eliot, Swinburne, and Whitman differ from those of believers. We will also debate the political value of the category today, especially in the light of work by radical political theorists like William E. Connolly and others.


TOPIC: A Commonwealth of Violence: Humanism and Fiction at the End of Modernity

Another war is always coming, Robert. They are never properly extinguished. What sparks wars? The will to power, the backbone of human nature. The threat of violence, the fear of violence, or actual violence is the instrument of this dreadful will. … Listen to this and remember it. The nation-state is merely human nature inflated to monstrous proportions.

--David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.

With the close of the cold war and the emergence of a new kind of liberalism, contemporary British Fiction has begun to rethink the dialectic of humanism and violence that the previous generation of so-called ‘postmodern’ writers had taken for granted during the rise of the welfare state. As the Soviet experiment with communism died and the United States achieved global military and economic supremacy, a new generation of experimental writers sought to redefine Britain’s role in the world by observing how hegemony is produced, challenged, and, ultimately, sustained. By studying the contemporary novelists David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), Arhundati Roy (The God of Small Things), J.M. Coetzee (Waiting for the Barbarians) , Hari Kunzru (My Revolutions), and Rohinton Mistry (A Fine Balance) in tandem with the theoretical writings of Carl Schmit, Walter Benjamin, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Giorgo Agamben, Corey Robin, Robert Esposito, Thomas Hobbes, and GWF Hegel the course will explore how often contemporary discussions of humanist values, global politics, and neo-liberal reform work to conceal while relying upon the threat of violence.

ENGL 547 R SEM EARLIER AMER LIT, Loughran. TH 1-3:50

TOPIC: The Psychic Life of Empire: American Colonialism and its Aftermath

American studies has always had a geopolitical imaginary, whether regional, national, hemispheric, or transnational. In that tradition, this course will offer an introduction to the geography of nineteenth-century American colonialism. But following some of the best work being done in American Studies, we will also try to establish a theoretical horizon beyond the merely local, material, historical, or geographic. Our work will thus join a commitment to material culture (the history of land and things) to an account of the what we might call the psychic processes of empire, including its attachments and disavowals at both large-scale levels and at the relatively micro-level of the individual subject, who is at once a thinking, feeling, desiring person (a subject in the psychoanalytic sense, with a marked interiority) and, of course, a subject of history, the processes and practices of which inform that interiority. Primary materials will likely be drawn from the many novels, autobiographies, natural histories, travel narratives, almanacs, geographies, newspapers, engravings, photographs, and magazines that span the period from 1800-1900. And secondary readings will be broadly interdisciplinary, drawn from literary studies, history, and critical theory. The end of the course will be devoted to the circulation and discussion of student writing, with special emphasis on the methods by which we come to our readings of both the period and its artifacts.


meets with MDVL 500

TOPIC: The Medieval Lyric: Form/Function/Context

The number and variety of the poems that could fit under the rubric ‘medieval lyric’ challenge efforts at definition or comprehensive taxonomy. This seminar will encourage students to explore that diversity through research projects that view the lyric from the perspective of their various disciplines.

Before we turn to those individual projects we will model some of the issues and approaches that define recent study of medieval lyrics by looking closely at a famous manuscript that contains some of the finest lyrics that survive in Middle English, along with a great deal more: British Library MS Harley 2253 (s. xiv1; Ludlow/Hereford area). With its mixture of texts in English, French, and Latin, on topics both sacred and secular, in a wide range of forms and subgenres, the Harley MS is an ideal laboratory for studying the diverse forms and functions of medieval lyrics in a specific social and historical context. Disciplines on which we are likely to draw include literary studies, history, musicology, palaeography, and codicology.

The latter part of the semester will be devoted to presentations by the individual seminar members on the research projects that will culminate in original seminar papers (20-25 pages). Some of these projects may concern the lyrics of the Harley MS, but I will encourage as many seminar members as possible to explore other lyric traditions. My hope is that collectively the research presentations will expose the seminar as a whole to a wider range of the medieval poetry that can be classified as lyric, as well as to the various methodologies that can be applied productively to the study of medieval lyrics.

The interdisciplinary aims of the seminar also will be enhanced by the participation of several guest speakers. These will include members of the Illinois faculty, as well as visiting scholars from other universities.

ENGL 578 S SEMINAR LITERATURE & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Mohamed, Somerville & Shao. TU 12-2:50

meets with CAS 578, EALC 550, GWS 590

TOPIC: Cultures of Law in Global Contexts

This team-taught course takes a broadly comparatist approach to the interdisciplinary field of law and the humanities. The course will be organized into three sections, each investigating legal issues of contemporary relevance through approaches based in history, literary studies, political theory, and critical theories of race, gender, sexuality, and indigeneity. Drawing on several national contexts—Egypt, China, Japan, ENGLand, and the U.S. —for case studies, we will consider questions such as revolution, constitution-building, the transnational circulation of legal norms, national borders, formal citizenship, and deportation. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to the slippages, continuities, and distinctions between legal subjects and embodied, historical subjects. Our discussions will include visiting speakers sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study in conjunction with the INTERSECT initiative on Cultures of Law in Global Contexts. Requirements include active participation in discussion, a class presentation, weekly response papers, and a final essay.


TOPIC: Issues and Practices in Performance Studies

This seminar will address the various issues and methodological questions elicited by various performance genres by turning to certain historical moments, schools of thought, and disciplinary models. We will discuss fundamental texts in the field of performance studies and analyze both live and documented social, cultural, theatrical, choreographic, ritual, and musical events. In doing so, we will pay close attention to the ways in which theory and practice work in tandem. Lastly, we will also consider how categorical divisions of artistic practices, within the field, inevitably and importantly blend.

ENGL 581 E SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Littlefield. M 1-2:50

TOPIC: Feminist Science Studies

Snapshots and case studies will inform our course:

  • Why are mammals called mammals? (Linnaeus classification and the politics of wet nursing, 1758)
  • What do racial politics have to do with the origins of modern gynecology? (Sims experiments, 1845-1849)
  • Why is it that the female dinosaurs run amuck in Jurassic Park? (1993)
  • How could Harvard’s president lecture about innate differences in male and female scientists in 2005?

This course is an introduction to feminist science studies and technology and gender studies. We will explore how scientists, sciences, and technologies envision, create and politicize gendered bodies. Our focus will be on feminist perspectives, but this lens also allows us to explore the ways in which men are constituted as subjects and objects of the scientific gaze. We will begin by asking several practical questions: who’s doing science? How are these sciences constituted? We will then work through a series of case studies, like those listed above, that address the ways in which gendered bodies have been used in science and created by scientific discourse. Finally, we will address the ways in which fiction provides a tool-kit for scientists and theorists interested in challenging traditional relationships between science and the body.

ENGL 584 R TOPICS DISCOURSE & WRITING, Prendergast. TU 1-2:50

same as CI 569

TOPIC: Rhetoric and Race in Writing Studies

The work of scholars of color has been substantial in shaping the field of rhetoric/composition/writing studies from its very beginnings. In this course we will read this work, following its arc from its considerable influence on linguistics, language policy, and literacy studies to its more recent contributions to the study of the practice and history of rhetoric.

Texts will include: Geneva Smitherman, Talkin’ and Testifyin’; Scott Lyons, X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent; LuMing Mao, Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie; Victor Villaneuva, Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color; Shirley Wilson Logan, Liberating Language: Sites of Rhetorical Education in Nineteenth Century Black America.


TOPIC: Professing and Publishing: From the First Day to Post-Tenure

The purpose of this new course is to offer students a broad background and further understanding of their progress through graduate school and preparation for their first academic jobs. While there will also be discussion of other ways of plotting a career, the preponderance of our attention will be placed on the many challenges and opportunities grad students encounter in becoming professors. Class will operate as a seminar where students can read and discuss materials that illuminate their career passage(s).

To that end, our scope will be wide, beginning with a very brief history of graduate education and an assessment of the current possibilities, both intellectual and institutional. We’ll consider some familiar topics, like the differences in how to shape a syllabus for various kinds of teaching jobs, just as the course will also examine issues students usually have to learn about in ad hoc ways, such as how to define a dissertation subject, submit a conference proposal, prepare an article, apply for a fellowship, write a job letter, make a campus visit, convert a dissertation into a book and/or alternative forms of publication, prepare a second research project, and a great deal more.

From time to time, we will have visits from other faculty. There will be a course e-Reader and various short writing assignments. Recommended for students in their second year and beyond.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

The twofold aim of this graduate seminar is to prepare students to teach lower- and upper-division literature courses and to critically reflect on the experiences of and strategies adopted by seasoned instructors in the literature classroom. We will begin by reading two books by noted English professors addressing the teaching of literature—Elaine Showalter’s Teaching Literature and Jane Tompkins’s A Life In School: What the Teacher Learned—to grapple with our own personal and professional stakes in literary pedagogy. We will then direct our attention to a cluster of articles more broadly pertaining to undergraduate teaching and the role of the humanities in higher education. Our final goal entails generating and discussing materials that will prove essential for offering one’s own literature courses (i.e., sample syllabi, lesson plans, lectures, PowerPoint presentations and course assignments).

Get in Touch

Cookie Settings