Spring 2015

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ENGL 1060. English Composition.
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.
ENGL 1070. The History of the English Language: Writing-Intensive Workshop.
Intended for confident writers who want to ensure that they leave college speaking and writing not just proficiently, but also magnificently and irresistibly. Covers the science and history of the English language, beginning with its earliest tribal roots and following through to the innovations of today: the new words we say (like Google) and the new ways we say them (using the vocal fry register, for example). Learn the challenging art of rhetoric from the best: authors include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, and Zora Neale Hurston. Writing intensive.
ENGL 1104. From Page to Screen: Film Adaptation and Narrative.
Explores the topic of “adaptation,” specifically, the ways in which cinematic texts transform literary narratives into visual forms. Begins with the premise that every adaptation is an interpretation, a rewriting/rethinking of an original text that offers an analysis of that text. Central to class discussions is close attention to the differences and similarities in the ways in which written and visual texts approach narratives, the means through which each medium constructs and positions its audience, and the types of critical discourses that emerge around literature and film. May include works by Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lean, Anita Loos, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ridley Scott.
ENGL 1106. Introduction to Drama.
Traces the development of dramatic form, character, and style from classical Greece through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to contemporary America and Africa. Explores the evolution of plot design, with special attention to the politics of playing, the shifting strategies of representing human agency, and contemporary relationships between the theater and a variety of forms of mass media. Authors may include Sophocles, Aristophanes, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Dryden, Ibsen, Wilde, Beckett, Mamet, and Churchill.
ENGL 2010. The Rise of the Novel.
Seminar. While prose fiction pre-dates the eighteenth century, it is during this century that both writers and readers begin to construct the idea of “the novel” as we know it. This course uses a variety of eighteenth-century novels to explore the evolution of what we call the novel, and will also explore various critical and theoretical approaches to the genre. Readings will include Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Roxana, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest, Mary Wollstonecraft’s The Wrongs of Woman, and Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, as well as a wide range of critical and theoretical essays. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2202. Renaissance Sexualities.
How do Renaissance authors represent sexual desires and dilemmas? What strategies do authors use to represent, for instance, drives that have not been codified and labeled according to modern epistemologies? Topics include the inarticulacy of homoeroticism and other forms of attachment as they shape Shakespearean comedy, minor epic, and tragicomic romance, with special attention to the poetics of same-sex desire, and the erotics of theatrical performance by boy actors on the London stage. Authors include Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, John Ford, Thomas Crashaw, and Margaret Cavendish, with secondary readings by Eve Sedgwick, Jonathan Goldberg, and Laurie Shannon, among others. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2352. Natural Supernaturalism.
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, and evocations of intimacy with nature. Explores the difficulties of representing the transcendental in secular poetry and the consequences of natural supernaturalism for our own understanding of nature. Authors include Burke, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Kant, and Shelley.
ENGL 2428. Introduction to Film Theory.
A survey of some of the major currents in film theory from the early days of motion pictures to the present, including formalism, genre theory, auteur theory, psychoanalytic theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. Includes mandatory evening film screenings; a choice of two screening times will be available for each film. Note: Fulfills the film theory requirement for Cinema Studies minors.
ENGL 2452. Modern Drama and Performance.
Examines dramatic trends of the modern period, beginning with a triumvirate of modern dramatists—Henrik Ibsen, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett—and draws lines from their work in drama of ideas, epic theatre, and absurdism to developments in the dramatic arts through the modern period into the twenty-first century. Includes plays by Lorraine Hansberry, Caryl Churchill, and Martin McDonagh. Readings staged.
ENGL 2456. The Modern Poem.
Examines the modern poem’s turns in and out of traditional verse forms and free verse. Considers movements such as Imagism, Modernism, Beat poetry, prose poem, slam, and poets associated with them. Includes prose poetics such as those by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Joseph Brodsky, Eavan Boland, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Pinsky, Mark Strand, and the study of the mechanics of the poetry, including prosody.
ENGL 2540. Literature of the American South.
In The Mind of the South, Cash begins with the premise that “the south is another land, sharply differentiated from the rest of the American nation,” and he quotes Allen Tate’s description of the south as “Uncle Sam’s other province.” How does this view of the south as a world elsewhere color our readings of the literature? Does it create bias toward the people and the region? Faulkner repeatedly implied that being from the south was both a curse and a blessing. We will question and unpack this binary. Gothic elements in this work as well as representations of transgression, eccentricity and otherness will be examined. Authors will include: Capote, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor. Note: Fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2583. Literature of the Civil War Era.
Examines literature published in the United States between 1861 and 1865, with particular emphasis on the wartime writings of Louisa May Alcott, William Wells Brown, Frederick Douglass, William Gilmore Simms, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. Students also consider writings of less well-known writers of the period found in popular magazines such as Harper’s Monthly, The Atlantic Monthly, The Southern Illustrated News, and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2604. African American Literature and Visual Culture.
Explores creative collaborations and cross currents in African American literary and visual arts over the past century. Considers the problems of minstrelsy, masking, and caricature—as well as instruments of militant image-making in both literary and visual forms. Topics of special interest include uplift and documentary photography; modernist resistance languages of the Harlem Renaissance; shadows, silhouettes, and invisibility; comic strips and graphic narratives; and contemporary images—prints, texts, and illustrations—that introduce alternative socio-political allegories. Taught in conjunction with a special exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
ENGL 2704. The Rise of Global Literature.
Examines the rise of transnational literatures, from Goethe’s coining of the phrase “world literature” (“Weltlitteratur”) to contemporary literature of globalization. Focuses on how literature has reacted to the way the world has changed and grown smaller during the last two centuries through readings of novels, novellas, plays, poems, and films, as well as theoretical texts. How does literature stage encounters across cultural and national boundaries? Is it possible for a literary text to represent the whole globe? Special emphasis on the rise of world literature, colonization and its aftermath, global rewritings of the literary tradition, and the emergent spaces of globalization. Authors include Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Wole Soyinka, Ng?g? wa Thiong'o, Aimé Césaire, Jean Rhys, and Kiran Desai.
ENGL 2841. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory.
Explores some of the most important and compelling schools of literary and cultural theory from the past two centuries as they have defined modern and postmodern intellectual life. Situates critical movements such as psychoanalysis, feminism, structuralism, deconstruction, race theory, and cultural studies in their historical and intellectual context while examining both textual and non-textual case studies. Students will develop research projects based on our readings but tailored to their own interests and knowledge. Authors include Marx, Freud, Adorno, Benjamin, Lacan, Foucault, Jameson, Eagleton, Butler, Sedgwick, and Žižek.
ENGL 2853. Advanced Fiction Workshop: The World in Prose.
An intensive writing workshop designed for students with experience, dedication, and a willingness to take risks with form, style, and content. Assigned readings will include published fiction and critical writing on craft, but the central focus of conversation will be on student work: on producing it, understanding its parts, and learning to revise in the most radical sense, to re-see.
ENGL 2859. Rebellion and Conformity.
In an era when "revolt" is "trendy," how do we know if our acts of protest are rebellious, or merely compliant? This course is a nonfiction creative-writing class focusing on issues of rebellion and conformity in American politics and society, as well as in personal psychology. Through discussions of topics ranging from Abolition to the Harlem Renaissance to Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, students will explore the fine (often ambiguous) line between group identification and societal revolt. They will also perfect the tenets of long-form nonfiction writing, as they report and compose magazine-style articles about real-world examples of rebelling and conforming.
ENGL 2900. Reconstruction and Reunion.
An interdisciplinary introduction from the perspectives of art history, literary history, and history to the political, economic, and social questions arising from American Reconstruction (1866-1877) and Reunion (1878-1900) following the Civil War between the North and South. Readings will delve into a wide array of primary and secondary sources, including photographs, novels, poetry, and government documents as we seek to understand the fierce political debates rooted in Reconstruction that continue to occupy conceptions of America today.
ENGL 2901. World Science Fiction.
Explores the local, global, and universal natures of the speculative genre of science fiction (SF) from the early twentieth century through the present. Highlights works from the Golden Age (late 1930s-’50s), the New Wave of the 1960s and ’70s, cyberpunk in the 1980s, and today’s various sub-genres and cross-over incarnations. Approaches the genre as a mode of thought-experimentation and world-building that problematizes actual and possible political, cultural, natural, human, and techno-scientific realities. Among the themes included are the human-machine interface, environmental apocalypse, the alien, and time travel. Readings include short stories from nearly every continent (a number of which will be accompanied by a film or other media) and literary criticism. Integral to the course is an exhibition of Latin American SF at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and a number of conversations with writers, artists, filmmakers, and scholars of SF from around the world. Counts for the major in English, but not for the Italian minor or romance languages major.
ENGL 3000. Shakespeare's Sonnets.
Close reading of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets and the appended narrative poem “A Lover’s Complaint,” which accompanies them in the editio princeps of 1609. Required texts include the New Arden edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1997) edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones, and Helen Vendler’s The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1998). Critical issues examined include the dating of the sonnets, the order in which they appear, their rhetorical and architectural strategies, and their historical and autobiographical content. Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
ENGL 3023. Literature and Natural Philosophy from Plato to Shakespeare.
Explores mind-bending texts written before the invention of the categories of “literature” and “science” as we now understand them—interdisciplinary texts that challenge us to reexamine many of our most basic assumptions about the difference between truth and fantasy. Focuses on literary descriptions of what we would call “imaginary” places, tribes, animals, and diseases. Teaches advanced methods of analysis, research, and academic argument. Authors include Plato, Chaucer, Dante, and Shakespeare. Note: fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.
ENGL 3024. Victorian Epics.
Examines one of the foremost literary forms of the Victorian period: the long novel. By focusing on a few central texts, investigates the ways in which narrative length shapes stories about wide-ranging issues related to nationalism, science, technology, and empire, as well as allegedly “local” issues regarding domesticity, familial relations, personal adornment, and romance. Authors may include Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope.
ENGL 3025. Faulkner and His Literary Descendants.
What is it about Faulkner’s novels that have inspired so many and such different novelists? How do Faulkner’s novels, and those of his descendants, stage the interplay between the local and the global? What does it mean to create your own literary world, as Faulkner did with Yoknapatawpha County? Situates the works of William Faulkner in relation to a range of authors who take their cues from Faulkner’s complex narrative structures, shifting perspectives, meditations on race, and attention to regional detail. Explores theories of literary influence from Harold Bloom to Édouard Glissant. Novels include Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying; Light in August; Absalom, Absalom!; and Go Down, Moses; as well as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez; Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz; and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.