Fall 2011 Courses

010. Shakespeare's Afterlives
Aaron Kitch M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Gertrude and Claudius in the suburbs, King Lear as an aging Iowa farmer, Richard III as Adolf Hitler...Shakespeare has been rediscovered and reappropriated in various ways over the centuries. What is the enduring value of Shakespeare for global culture? What are the specific political, aesthetic, and cultural stakes in appropriating his works? In addition to reading representative plays by Shakespeare in several different genres, we consider works by David Wroblewski, Tom Stoppard, and Jane Smiley, and films such as Richard Loncraine’s Richard III and Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books.
011. Sleeping with the Enemy: Representing Violence against Women
Samaa Abdurraqib M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Violence against women is ubiquitous (sexual violence, physical violence, verbal abuse) and we see it in a variety of representational forms: film, music videos, and advertising, for example. Focuses on how different genres represent violence against women, primarily in novels, poetry, memoirs, and film. Considers these texts in a broader cultural context, one in which objectification of women and violence against women occurs on a regular basis. Looks at the ways that these representations may be working to counter the cultural phenomenon of gendered violence and examines the risks of presenting fictional depictions of violence. Includes reading and watching explicit representations of violence and dealing with very difficult subject matter.
012. African American Writers and the Short Story
Guy Foster M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Examines the contributions that African American writers have made to the short story genre from the late nineteenth century to the present. Students will explore the narrative strategies authors have used in this idiosyncratic form to portray black women and men as subjects of modernity and and not merely its objects. Readings include early works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, as well as more recent works by ZZ Packer, Edward P. Jones, and Andrea Lee.
013. 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.
014. Modern American Poets
Celeste Goodridge T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Close analysis of the work of three seminal American poets: Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens.
015. Orphans of Asia
Belinda Kong M 11:30 - 12:55, W 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. Fan Fictions and Cult Classics
Megan Cook T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Looks closely at a series of texts that have inspired especially ardent responses among readers over the centuries. Our readings may include Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Austen’s Emma, and Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as later texts that appropriate, reimagine, and extend these canonical narratives. As we will read, we will consider how the contemporary notion of a “fan,” an ardent admirers who seems in many ways the opposite of the judgmental critic, can enrich our understanding of literary influence and appreciation. Students will compose and revise a number of critical essays over the course of the term, but should also come prepared to think and write creatively about the texts we study.
017. Animal Life
Hilary Thompson M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Explores the ways in which the figure of the animal serves as both a point of analogy and opposition to the concept of the human, and thus has been crucial for our definitions of human life. Focusing on contemporary world literature, investigates the fantastic images and ethical quandaries that are unleashed when the dividing boundaries between human and animal life lapse. Authors studied may include J. M. Coetzee, Brigid Brophy, Philip K. Dick, Italo Calvino, Haruki Murakami, and Anita Desai.
018. My Old School: Life, Literature, and College
Brock Clarke T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Will read fiction that in some ways suggests what we do, or do not, learn in school ("school" in this case mostly, but not entirely, meaning "college"). In the process, we'll not only talk about what it is we hope to get out of school, and what it hopes to get out of us, but also talk about what we hope to get out of literature, and what literature gives to, and takes from, us. Authors to be read in this class will include Plato, Muriel Spark, Richard Russo, Sam Lipsyte, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ralph Ellison, and others.
060. English Composition
David Collings T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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.
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 and in form, and to read deeply from an assigned list of poets.
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.
205. Introduction to Medieval Literature: Monsters, Animals and Women
Megan Cook T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
What did it mean to be human in medieval England? What did it mean to be non-human in medieval England? In this course, we will explore these questions by reading a wide variety of texts from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries. As we do so, we will concentrate on the literary lives of three figures -the animal, the monster, and the woman - with the potential to challenge or subvert the boundaries between the natural and the unnatural, the rational and the irrational, and the known and unknowable. Texts may include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Mandeville’s Travels, the Book of Margery Kempe, the Parliament of Fowles, selections from the Canterbury Tales, texts by Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich, as well as anonymous saints’ lives and some early drama. Some texts will be read in translation. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
212. Shakespeare's History Plays
William Watterson T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 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.
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
229. Milton
Ann Kibbie T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
A critical study of Milton’s major works in poetry and prose, with special emphasis on Paradise Lost. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
236. Romantic Sexualities
David Collings T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Investigates constructions of sexuality in English romantic writing. Examines tales of seduction by supernatural or demonic figures; the sexualized world of the Gothic; the Byronic hero; the yearning for an eroticized muse or goddess; and same-sex desire in travel writing, orientalist fantasy, diary, and realist fiction. Discusses the place of such writing in the history of sexuality, repression, the unconscious, and the sublime. Authors may include Austen, Byron, Coleridge, Keats, Lister, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Wollstonecraft, alongside secondary, theoretical, and historical works.
250. Early American Literature
Peter Coviello M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
A study of the writing produced in colonial, revolutionary, and post-revolutionary America. Prominent concerns are the Puritan covenant, nationalism, democracy and consensus, revolutionary rupture, and the evolving social meanings of gender and of race. Readings may include Bradstreet, Edwards, Franklin, Wheatley, Brockden Brown, Irving, and Cooper. Note: This course fulfills the Literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
271. Introduction to Asian American Literature
Belinda Kong M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
An introduction not only to the writings of Asian America, but also to the historical development of Asian American literature as a field of discussion, study, and debate. Begins by focusing on a seminal moment in the formation of this field: the critical controversy sparked by the publication of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (1976). Then turns to earlier classics as well as more recent fiction and questions of how to reconceive Asian American literature in light of these works. In addition to Kingston, authors may include Amy Tan, David Henry Hwang, Frank Chin, John Okada, Jade Snow Wong, Carlos Bulosan, Chang-rae Lee, and Jhumpa Lahiri, Susan Choi, Lan Cao, and Iê thi diem thúy. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
330. Cultural Production During the Cold War
Celeste Goodridge W 1:00 - 3:55
Considers the culture, values and ideologies of post-war America. Through close analysis of literary texts and a consideration of the culture broadly we will consider how these texts both reflect and sometimes subvert the dominant ideologies of cold war America. Authors will include Truman Capote, Salinger, Plath, Patricia Highsmith, Baldwin, Tennessee Williams and Mary McCarthy. Allso considers representations of the period in Life magazine.
334. The Secret Life of Things
Ann Kibbie T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
We tend to focus on the people who populate literary texts, but literature is also filled with significant things: money; tools; weapons; clothing; furniture; toys; portraits; jewels; body parts that, once detached from their “owners,” have become mere objects, such as hair and amputated limbs; and those beings that are sentient but non-human, and therefore resist easy classification, animals. Explores the role of things, and the aesthetic, legal, and philosophical questions they raise, in a variety of literary texts, including Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, and Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.