Fall 2010 Courses

010. The Real Life of Literature
Guy Mark Foster T  8:30 - 9:55
TH 8:30 - 9:55
Examines literary fiction set against the backdrop of actual historical events, such as wars, social protest events, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Holocaust, and political assassinations. Students not only analyze the literary strategies writers employ to fictionalize history and to historicize fiction, but also explore the methodological and philosophical implications of such creative gestures. In the end, this two-fold process transforms both categories in ways that permanently unsettle the status of fiction as merely imaginative and the historical as merely fact. Potential authors: Virginia Woolf, Octavia Butler, Yasmina Khadra, David Mura, Nicole Krause, Andrew Holleran, among others.
011. Hawthorne
William Watterson T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Readings include selected short stories, "Fanshawe," "The Scarlet Letter," "The Blithedale Romance," "The House of the Seven Gables," "The Marble Faun," "Septimus Felton," and James Mellow’s "Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times."
012. Addictions, Obsessions, Manias
Terri Nickel M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Traces the emergence of various pathological behaviors in selected nineteenth-century narratives. Explores how cultural and social structures take shape through regulation of and indulgence in bad habits. Topics include alcoholism, fetishism, kleptomania, gambling, smoking, using narcotics, shopping, and collecting. Texts may include "Madame Bovary," "John Barleycorn," "McTeague," "The Kreutzer Sonata," "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "Artificial Paradises," "Against Nature," "Death in Venice," and selected Sherlock Holmes stories.
013. Shakespeare's Afterlives
Aaron Kitch M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Gertrude and Claudius in the suburbs, Richard III as Adolf Hitler, King Lear as aging patriarch of an Iowa family farm...Shakespeare has been translated and reimagined in various ways over the centuries. Topics include political, aesthetic, and cultural meanings in the process of adapting Shakespeare as well as the media shift a play experiences as it moves from page to stage to image (and sometimes back again). In addition to reading representative plays by Shakespeare, authors include David Wroblewski, Tom Stoppard, and Jane Smiley. Films include Richard Loncraine’s “Richard III” and Peter Greenaway’s “Prospero’s Books.”
014. Becoming Modern
Ann Kibbie T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
An examination of early modernity from 1500-1800. Topics include modern doubt and skepticism, the quest for certainty, the rise of science, the emergence of individuality and its impact on ethics, politics, and religion, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the beginnings of Romanticism. Authors may include Montaigne, Shakespeare, Descartes, Bacon, Milton, Hobbes, Locke, Defoe, Rousseau, and Mary Shelley.
015. Orphans of Asia
Belinda Kong T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
Orphans populate the worlds of Asian diaspora literature, roaming the landscapes of pre-communist Shanghai as much as post-9/11 New York City, the wartime internment camps of Japanese Canadians and postwar military camp towns of Korea as much as present-day Hong Kong and a futuristic Los Angeles. Explores the orphan figure in contemporary Asian American, Canadian, and British fiction written in English, in relation to contexts of war, colonialism, neoimperialism, multiculturalism, and globalization. Authors may include Chieh Chieng, Kazuo Ishiguro, Cynthia Kadohata, Nora Okja Keller, Suki Kim, Joy Kogawa, Wendy Law-Yone, Indra Sinha, and Wu Zhuoliu.
016. Fictions of Freedom
Tess Chakkalakal T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Introduces students to the literature of slavery. Looks at eighteenth- and nineteenth-century slave narratives, antislavery/proslavery fiction and nonfiction, and visual representations of slavery in the form of photographs, paintings, and minstrel performances. Authors include Equiano, Wheatley, Jefferson, Melville, Douglass, and Stowe. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century narratives include former slave testimonials, novels by Morrison, Faulkner, Williams, Styron, and Jones.
017.
Celeste Goodridge T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
060. English Composition
Hilary Thompson M  1:00 - 2:25
W  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.
105. Introduction to Poetry
Peter Coviello M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Aims to understand poetry’s varied workings, considering, most extensively, the basic materials—words, lines, metaphors, sentences—from which poems have traditionally been assembled. By studying closely the components of meter, diction, syntax and line, rhyme, and figure—in essence, how poems work—aims to see more clearly into the ends poems work for: meaning, rhapsody, transport, etc.
109. Introduction to Narrative through Short Fiction
Celeste Goodridge T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
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, character development, voice, point of view, the role of the reader and closure) in short fiction. Authors may include Deborah Eisenberg, Jane McCafferty, Tessa Hadley, Alice Munro, Colm Toibin, Claire Keegan, and others.
128. Introductory Fiction Workshop
Brock Clarke T  6:30 - 9:25
Begins with an examination of some technical aspects of fiction writing. In particular, considers those that we tend to take for granted as readers and need to understand better as writers, e.g. point of view, characterization, dialogue, foreshadowing, scene, and summary. Students read and discuss published stories, and work through a series of exercises to write their own stories. Workshop discussion is an integral part of the course.
204. Tolkien's Middle Ages
Mary Edsall M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
A study of the philological, historical, and literary backgrounds of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. While some attention is given to major and minor works by Tolkien, as well as to Peter Jackson’s films, the main focus of the course is on the nineteenth-century theories of philology and mythology that influenced Tolkien; on Anglo-Saxon and Middle English language, literature, and culture; as well as on Tolkien’s essays, especially those on Beowulf and on Fairie. Presumes that students have a real familiarity with the text (as opposed to the film version) of LOTR. Medieval texts may include Snorri Sturlusons’s Gylfaginning, The Kalevala, The Battle of Maldon, Beowulf, Lanval, Sir Orfeo, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
211. Shakespeare's Tragedies and Roman Plays
William Watterson T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus in light of recent critical thought. Special attention is given to psychoanalysis, new historicism, and genre theory. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
213. Telling Environmental Stories
Anthony Walton M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Intended for students with a demonstrated interest in environmental studies, as an introduction to several modes of storytelling, which communicate ideas, historical narratives, personal experiences, and scientific and social issues in this increasingly important area of study and concern. Explores various techniques, challenges, and pleasures of storytelling, and examines some of the demands and responsibilities involved in the conveyance of different types of information with clarity and accuracy in nonfiction narrative. Engages student writing through the workshop method, and includes study of several texts, including The Control of Nature, Cadillac Desert, Living Downstream, and Field Notes from a Catastrophe.
214. Playwriting
Roger Bechtel T  9:30 - 11:25
TH 9:30 - 11:25
A writing workshop for contemporary performance that includes introductory exercises in writing dialogue, scenes, and solo performance texts, then moves to the writing (and rewriting) of a short play. Students read plays and performance scripts, considering how writers use image, action, speech, and silence; how they structure plays and performance pieces; and how they approach character and plot.
216. Creative Writing: Poetry II
Anthony Walton M  6:30 - 9:25
This class is designed to build upon the method of studying and crafting poetry encountered in English 125. Students will be exposed to advanced methods of writing and interpretation, including the in-depth study of one particular poet's oeuvre and evolution. Students will be encouraged to develop a more comprehensive view of their own individual poetic practices. Each week students will be responsible for evaluating the assigned reading, and for writing poems. Preference given to students who have successfully completed English 125.
230. Theater and Theatricality in the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
Ann Kibbie T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
An overview of the development of the theater from the reopening of the playhouses in 1660 to the end of the eighteenth century, with special emphasis on the emergence of new dramatic modes such as Restoration comedy, heroic tragedy, “she-tragedy,” sentimental comedy, and opera. Other topics include the legacy of Puritan anxieties about theatricality; the introduction of actresses on the professional stage; adaptations of Shakespeare on the Restoration and eighteenth-century stage; other sites of public performance, such as the masquerade and the scaffold; and the representation of theatricality in the eighteenth-century novel. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
245. Modernism/Modernity
Marilyn Reizbaum M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Examines the cruxes of the “modern,” and the term’s shift into a conceptual category rather than a temporal designation. Although not confined to a particular national or generic rubric, takes British works as a focus. Organized by movements or critical formations of the modern, i.e., modernisms, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, cultural critique. Readings of critical literature in conjunction with primary texts. Authors/directors/works may include T. S. Eliot, Joyce’s Dubliners, Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, Sontag’s On Photography, W. G. Sebald’s The Natural History of Destruction, Ian McEwen’s Enduring Love, Stevie Smith, Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic, and Coetzee’s Disgrace.
258. Literature of Jim Crow
Tess Chakkalakal T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
Introduces students to American literature written between 1865 and 1910. Exploring a period marked by the end of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the “New” South, and Jim Crow, students engage with these historical developments through a reading of a wide range of novels, short stories, poems, and plays that take up political tensions between the North and South as well as questions of regional, racial, and national identity. Works by George Washington Cable, Charles Chesnutt, Lydia Maria Child, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mark Twain, Sutton E. Griggs, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Frank Norris constitute the “major” literary voices of the period, but also examines a number of “minor” works that are similarly, but perhaps more narrowly, concerned with questions of race and nation. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
259. Detective Fiction
Brock Clarke T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
Part of the pleasure of reading detective fiction is, of course, figuring out Whodunnit? But an even bigger pleasure is figuring out Who Cares? What does detective fiction say about the things that matter most to us, that most trouble us: race, gender, sexuality, class, politics, power, violence, money, literature itself? By reading some of the following writers—Poe, Chandler, Himes, Spark, Ishiguro, P.D. James, Highsmith, Auster, Whitehead, Lethem—we will examine why detective fiction matters not only as entertainment, but also why it matters as art, and how it might enable readers and writers interrogate and re-imagine the worlds that most terrify and inspire them.
260. African American Fiction: (Re) Writing Black Masculinities
Guy Mark Foster T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
In 1845, Frederick Douglass told his white readers: “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” This simple statement effectively describes the enduring paradox of African American male identity: although black and white males share a genital sameness, until the nation elected its first African American president the former has inhabited a culturally subjugated gender identity in a society premised on both white supremacy and patriarchy. But Douglass’s statement also suggests that black maleness is a discursive construction, i.e. that it changes over time. If this is so, how does it change? What are the modes of its production and how have black men over time operated as agents in reshaping their own masculinities? Reading a range of literary and cultural texts, both past and present, students examine the myriad ramifications of, and creative responses to, this ongoing challenge. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
274. Asian Diaspora Literature of World War II
Belinda Kong T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on World War II as a global moment when modernity’s two sides, its dreams and nightmares, collided. Emphasis on contemporary Asian diaspora fiction that probes the exclusions and failures of nation and empire—foundational categories of modernity—from both Western and Asian perspectives. On the one hand, World War II marks prominently the plurality of modernities in our world: as certain nations and imperial powers entered into their twilight years, others were just emerging. At the same time, World War II reveals how such grand projects of modernity as national consolidation, ethnic unification, and imperial expansion have led to consequences that include internment camps, the atom bomb, sexual slavery, genocide, and the widespread displacement of peoples that inaugurates diasporas. Diaspora literature thus constitutes one significant focal point where modernity may be critically interrogated.
310. The Epistemology of Pleasure
Aaron Kitch M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Explores the literary, cultural, political, and religious meanings of pleasure in the European Renaissance, when the concept of pleasure was reexamined from a range of perspectives. Part of the history of pleasure in the period emerges from a revival of the classical debate between Stoicism and Epicureanism, which redefined the meaning of pleasure for a range of authors. Such debate also fostered investment in new spaces for the consumption of pleasure such as vacation spas, art galleries, and banqueting halls. Topics include the relationship between poetry and the “sister arts” of painting, music, and sculpture; pleasure as an end in itself; pleasure and body; and the politics of female pleasure. Authors include Ovid, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Behn, Freud, Foucault, and Žižek. 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.