Location: Bowdoin / English / Courses / Fall 2008


Fall 2008

010. Modern American Poetry
Celeste Goodridge T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Analysis of the work of authors who may include Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Marianne Moore.

011. The Greatest American Play?
William Watterson W 2:30 - 3:55, F 2:30 - 3:55
American drama does not come into its own until after World War I but then enjoys a real flowering, particularly on Broadway. Focuses on O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night," Miller's "Death of a Salesman," Wilder's "Our Town," and Williams's "The Glass Menagerie." Also considers work by Odets, Inge, Albee, Wilson, Mamet, Shepherd, Vogel, Bock, and others. Students will have an opportunity to make theater as well. Course writing requirements include four five-page papers and a final ten-page paper.

012. Jane Austen
Ann Kibbie M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
A study of Jane Austen’s major works, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion, and their film adaptations.

013. Transfigurations of Song
David Collings T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
A course in close reading. Explores poetry, primarily in the Romantic tradition, which dallies with the dangers of lyrical transport, whether in the form of fatal quest, fusion with the divine, aesthetic seduction, beautiful horror, or physical transfiguration. Authors may include Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Christina Rossetti, Whitman, Yeats, and Hart Crane.

014. Migration Narratives: Writers of the Caribbean
Jarrett Brown M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
International as well as intra-national, geographical as well as psychological, migratory movement is a powerful theme that offers explanations for modernity, memory, identity, and transnationalism. Examines selected writers engaged primarily with Caribbean migratory experience. Authors may include Samuel Selvon, The Lonely Londoners; Claude McKay; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Caryll Phillips, A Distant Shore; V. S. Naipaul; Dionne Brand, In Another Place, Not Here; and Edwidge Danticat, Farming of Bones.

015. Stoic Heroes and Disenchanted Knights
Mary Edsall T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
An inquiry into the construction of heroic and chivalric masculinities in literature from Virgil to Chaucer, with a strong focus on the historical and social contexts that help make these pre-modern texts intelligible. Attention given to sex/gender systems; to the ideological power of myth, legend, and romance; and to the afterlife of ideals of heroism and chivalry. Texts may include: Virgil’s Aeneid, Beowulf, The Song of Roland, Chrétien de Troyes’ The Knight of the Lion, Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, and selections from the nineteenth-century “chivalric revival.”

016. Love and Trouble: Black Women Writers
Guy Foster T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Introduces students to the twin themes of love and sex as they appear in novels written by African-American women from the nineteenth-century to the contemporary era. These texts explore such issues as sexism, group loyalty, racial authenticity, intra- and interracial desire, homosexuality, the intertextual unfolding of a literary tradition of black female writing, as well as how these writings relate to canonical African American male-authored texts and European American literary traditions. Students are expected to read texts closely, critically, as well as appreciatively.

017. The Intermarriage Plot in American Fiction
None None T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Engages a series of novels and short stories that respond, either negatively or positively, to the prohibitions against intermarriage in the United States. Examines the ways in which fiction participates in the political discourse of marriage during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Although focused primarily on Early American and African-American narratives, students will also have the opportunity to see how the structure of the intermarriage plot operates in more recent works of fiction and films. Works by Lydia Maria Child, William Wells Brown, Charles Chesnutt, and William Dean Howells, among others, will be considered.

018. Photographic Narratives
None None T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Traces the impact of emergent photographic technology and explores various intersections between photography and literature in the Victorian era. Examines the representation of photographs and photographers in novels and short fiction, analyzes early photographs as texts, and assesses photography's impact on literary realism. Texts may include The House of the Seven Gables, A Laodicean, The Romance of a Shop, Idylls of the King, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Red Badge of Courage, short stories by Conan Doyle, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, and photographs by Lewis Carroll, Matthew Brady, Julia Margaret Cameron, Jacob Riis, Clementina Hawarden, Roger Fenton, Arthur Munby, and Oscar Rejlander.

060. English Composition
Elizabeth Muther T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Practice in developing the skills needed to write and revise college-level expository essays. Explores the close relationship between critical reading and writing. Assignment sequences and different modes of analysis and response enable students to write fully developed expository essays. Does not count toward the major or minor in English.

103. Signs and Symbols in Narrative Fiction
Mary Edsall M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
This course will introduce students to a range of literary and other works in English, with particular attention to the questions of symbols and of interpretation. What are adequate criteria for interpretation in the symbolic mode? What balance is to be struck, or tension maintained, between the intentions of the text or author and the response of the reader? When might interpretation turn into overinterpretation? What knowledge, if any, makes for a better reading of a text?To work towards answers to these questions, our reading and discussion of each text will be accompanied by relevant historical, literary, and/or cultural context.Authors may include: Isak Dinesen, George Eliot, George Orwell, Art Speigelman, David Sedaris, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Chinua Achebe.

109. Introduction to Narrative through Short Fiction
Celeste Goodridge T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Emphasizing the ways in which short stories have different requirements of economy than longer narratives, this course examines some of the formal features and strategies of narrative (such as plot and character development, voice, point of view, the role of the reader and closure) in short fiction. Authors may include Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Elizabeth Jolly, Jane McCafferty and others.

125. Creative Writing: Poetry I
Anthony Walton M 6:30 - 9:25
Intensive study of the writing of poetry through the workshop method. Students are expected to write in free verse, in form, and to read deeply from an assigned list of poets. Formerly English 61.

126. Creative Nonfiction Writing
Jane Brox T 6:30 - 9:25
Explores a range of creative nonfiction from the personal essay to new journalism with an emphasis on the elements of structure, voice, and style. Students will read and discuss published nonfiction and write their own narratives. Students are expected to fully participate in weekly workshop discussions.

212. Shakespeare's History Plays
William Watterson M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the relationship of Richard III, 2 Henry VI, and the second tetralogy (Richard II, the two parts of Henry IV and Henry V) to the genre of English chronicle play that flourished in the 1580s and 1590s. Readings in primary sources (More, Hall, and Holinshed) are supplemented by readings of critics (Tillyard, Kelly, Siegel, Greenblatt, Goldberg, etc.) concerned with locating Shakespeare’s own orientation toward questions of history and historical meaning. Regular screenings of BBC productions. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

225. Race-ing the Renaissance
Aaron Kitch T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
What does race mean in the English Renaissance? What literary strategies do authors from Shakespeare to Thomas Browne use in order to represent ethnic, religious, and cultural otherness? How is race as a political or social category dependent on such acts of representation? Studies examples of prose, poetry, and drama in the period, along with travel narratives of colonial exploration, accounts of the nascent slave trade in Africa, scientific treatises on race, and paintings with racialized subjects. Authors include Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Edmund Spenser, Richard Hakluyt, Michael Drayton, Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, Thomas Browne, and Lady Mary Worth. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

232. Women and the Eighteenth-Century Novel
Ann Kibbie M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
An introduction to English prose fiction of the eighteenth century through the examination of a specific topic shared by a variety of canonical and non-canonical texts. Formerly English 250. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

238. Natural Supernaturalism
David Collings T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the Romantic attempt to blend aspects of the transcendental—such as the sublime, immortality, and divinity—with ordinary life, the forms of nature, and the resources of human consciousness. Discusses theories of the sublime, poetry of the English landscape, mountaintop experiences, tales of transfiguration, lyrics of loss, and encounters with otherworldly figures. Explores the difficulties of representing the transcendental in secular poetry and the consequences of natural supernaturalism for our own understanding of nature. Focuses on the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, along with writings by Milton, Burke, Kant, Percy Shelley, and Keats.

247. The Irish Story
Marilyn Reizbaum M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Considers Irish writing from the late nineteenth century through the present: its contribution to modern literary movements and conflictual relation to the idea of a national Irish literature. Likely topics include linguistic and national dispossession; the supernatural or surreal, pastoral, and urban traditions; the Celtic Twilight versus Modernism; and the interaction of feminism and nationalism. Formerly English 264.

268. Representing Slavery in the Americas
P. Foreman T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
In this writing intensive class we will examine slave narratives and anti-slavery novels from the United States and Cuba (where almost all of the nineteenth-century writings in Spanish originated). We will situate these works in their historical and literary contexts and explore the ways in which authors enter politically charged debates about slavery, gender and sexuality. We will be reading some of the most important, influential, and sometimes infamous books of the era. Authors include the orator, editor and statesmen, Frederick Douglass, the enslaved poet Juan Manzano, the feisty narrator Esteban Montejo, Martin Delany, known as the father of Black nationalism as well as the once enslaved authors and activists Harriet Jacobs and Louisa Picquet and Jamaica's famous woman warrior, Nanny. Spanish speakers will be encouraged to read primary texts and criticism in Spanish.

278. Of Comics and Culture
Elizabeth Muther F 1:30 - 4:25
An introduction to comics, graphic narratives, and “sequential art.” Explores elements of the history of the comics—especially in a US cultural context—while examining the formal dimensions of this hybrid art. Considers the cultural functions of this work in theoretical terms, as well as the sociology of its reception. Examines comics as personal narrative, social criticism, political commentary, fantasy, and science fiction, among other modes. Special focus on the functions of humor, irony, pathos, and outrage, as deployed in historical and contemporary comic forms.

317. The Arts of Power
Aaron Kitch T 6:30 - 9:25
Examines the intersection of aesthetics and politics in the English Renaissance, as the Tudor court utilized literary, dramatic, and visual arts in new ways to express its magnificence. Explores the development of spectacular masques by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones for the court of King James, as well as the enabling system of royal patronage that made them possible. Topics include royal mythology, fashion at court, portraiture, and the arts of perspective in the context of court-specific styles of literature. Authors may include Wyatt, Sidney, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Spenser, Lanyer, and Jonson, with secondary readings on the structure of the English monarchy, the history of theatrical design, and the function of spectacle. Students have the opportunity to develop their own research projects during the semester. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

323. The Joyce Revolution
Marilyn Reizbaum M 6:30 - 9:25
An examination of James Joyce’s signal contributions to modern writing and critical theories. Reading includes the major works (Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses), essays by Joyce, and writings by others who testify to the Joyce mystique: e.g., Oliver St. John Gogarty, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Jacques Derrida, Seamus Heaney, Maud Ellmann.

332. Black Activism and the Archive in the Nineteenth Century
P. Foreman T 6:30 - 9:25
Examines the writings and lives of nineteenth-century activist-authors. Subjects include Harriet Jacobs, the post-war advocate for freed people and author of the most famous woman's slave narrative as well as Frederick Douglass, whose speeches, newspaper articles and novella based on an actual slave mutiny we explore. We also read Ida B. Wells, the anti-lynching activist, Rebecca Latimer Felton, a powerful Georgian who was an advocate for education and prison reform for the white poor and was also the most rabid racist women's leader of her era. Finally, we'll examine the work of Reverend Harvey Johnson and Amelia Johnson who both were prolific authors, legal activists and radical believers in the social gospel. We will pair activists' novels, narratives, speeches, sermons, and newspaper writing with secondary sources including selections from biographies, critical essays and book chapters. This interdisciplinary class combines the methods and sources of historians and literary scholars. Requirements include intensive reading and writing, web forum posting and oral presentations. All students will be required to engage in original historical research for the final paper.