The Department of English fosters the study of British, American, and Anglophone literature—old and new—in ways that are both intensive and open. We offer a wide array of courses in poetry, drama, fiction, creative nonfiction, film, digital media, and theory. All of our courses emphasize the development of student skills in writing, textual analysis, and argument. You will find considerable diversity in critical approaches and methods among the department’s faculty, with an emphasis on the social and historical contexts in which literary tendencies, themes, and preoccupations appear, and the ends they serve (which are often multiple and various). English is among the most popular undergraduate concentrations at Brown; and graduates of our highly ranked Ph.D. program are widely recognized for their scholarship and teaching.
For additional information, please visit the department's website: english.brown.edu
ENGL 0100A. How To Read A Poem.
It is difficult to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there. Poet William Carlos Williams captures this course’s focus on the special ways that poetic language represents and gives shape to human experience. Organized around concepts and practical skills, the readings cross historical and geographical boundaries.
ENGL 0100B. Literature, Trauma, and War.
This course surveys many genres and periods in order to consider and think about two traditional kinds of literary responses to war--glorifying it, and representing its horrors. We'll examine texts by Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Byron, Whitman, Hardy, Crane, Freud, Levi, Pynchon, and Sebald, among others; we may also screen one or two films. Limited to undergraduates. Students should register for ENGL 0100B S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100C. Altered States.
A course about ecstasy, rapture, transport, travel, mysticism, metamorphosis, and magic in pre- and early modern verse, drama, and prose, including: Ovid (Metamorphoses), Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream; Othello), Marlowe (Dr. Faustus), Mandeville's Travels; the writings of the medieval female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe; the ecstatic verse of Crashaw, and the erotic, at times pornographic, verse of Donne, Herrick, Carew, Rochester, and Behn.
ENGL 0100D. Matters of Romance.
Narratives (1100-1500) of men, women, and elves seeking identity on the road, in bed, and at court. Readings (in modern English) include Arthurian romances, Havelok, lais by Marie de France, and Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale." Primarily for freshmen and sophomores. Students should register for ENGL 0100D S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100E. Catastrophic Communities.
What becomes of communities and individuals in a catastrophe? This course considers the different literary, social and ethical formations that arise or are destroyed in disaster, and examines what it means to be both an individual and part of a collective in times of unprecedented upheaval. Readings by Blanchot, Camus, Sebald, Duras, Freud, Arendt, Jaspers, Orwell, and Eggers.
ENGL 0100F. Devils, Demons, Do-Gooders.
Who hasn’t struggled with the problem of good and evil? We will investigate how various writers grapple with these fundamental questions of judgment. What constitutes good and evil in the first place, and who gets to make such judgments? Works may include John Milton, Mary Shelley, Jhumpa Lahiri, Frederick Douglass, Toni Morrison, and Herman Melville. Students should register for ENGL 0100F S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100G. The Literature of Identity.
This course will explore various conceptions of personal identity, with an emphasis on Romanticism. We'll read Anglo-American philosophical and literary texts (mostly poetry) from the Renaissance through the 19th century, taking some excursions into contemporary theory (queer, feminist, post-structuralist). Writers may include Shakespeare, Montaigne, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Keats, Emerson, Browning, and Wilde.
ENGL 0100H. Fictions and Frauds: Literature and the Historical Imagination.
How does fiction reinvent history? What makes autobiography "true"? Readings focus on the slave narrative, Hawthorne, historical novels, and Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road." Limited to undergraduates.
ENGL 0100I. American Fiction and the Sea.
This class examines one of the most distinctive of literary genres: the sea tale. These narratives are interested not only in how we know what we know, but in the ways we imagine what we don’t know. Novels and films to be discussed will include Moby-Dick; Lord Jim; Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Apocalypse Now; The Witness.
ENGL 0100J. Cultures and Countercultures: The American Novel after World War II.
A study of the postwar American novel in the context of the intellectual history of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. We will read the postwar novel in relation to the affluent society, the vital center, the lonely crowd, the power elite, the one-dimensional man, the post-industrial society. Authors to be considered include Baldwin, Bellow, Ellison, Highsmith, McCarthy, O'Connor, Petry, Pynchon, and Roth. Two lectures and one discussion meeting weekly. Students should register for ENGL 0100J S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100K. The Dead and the Living.
Explores ethical, historical, and personal dilemmas in modernism through the relation between the dead and the living. What claims do the dead have on the living? How do the living shape the lives of the dead? Readings in literature, psychoanalysis, and philosophy, including Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, W. G. Sebald, and Julian Barnes. Students should register for ENGL 0100K S01 and may be assigned to a conference section by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100L. What Was Postmodern Literature?.
How compatible is the idea of the postmodern with the idea of a historical period? This course looks at recent British and American literature through the optic of postmodern theory, discussing how the theoretical problematization of both history and politics has an impact upon the very possibility of fiction. Readings include Doctorow, Pynchon, Amis, Jameson, Lyotard, Baudrillard. Students may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100M. Writing War.
Examines the challenges that war poses to representation, and particularly to language and literary expression in the modern era. We will focus primarily on the First and Second World Wars, exploring the specific pressures war puts on novels and poetry, as well as on history, psychology, and ethics. Works by Sassoon, Owen, Hemingway, Woolf, Rebecca West, Graham Greene, Pat Barker, Tim O'Brien, Georges Perec. Students should register for ENGL 0100M S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100N. City Novels.
This course examines 20th and 21st century novels to consider how these narratives envision the city, its possibilities and limits. How does the city shape how we think, wander, grow up, see and know each other? How does the city divide people? How does the novel imagine ways to bridge those divisions? Readings by Woolf, Chandler, Wright, Cisneros, Smith, Calvino, Adiga, Whitehead.
ENGL 0100P. Love Stories.
What do we talk about when we talk about love? We will see how writers have addressed this question from Shakespeare's day to the present. Writers may include Shakespeare, Austen, Eliot, Flaubert, Graham Greene, Marilynne Robinson, and/or others. Students should register for ENGL 0100P S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100Q. How Poems See.
What makes poems and pictures such powerful forms of life? Why do pictures have so much to tell us? How do we see things in words? How do graphic images, optical images, verbal images, and mental images together constitute ways of understanding the world? Looking at poems and images from Giotto and Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Dickinson and Turner through such modern poets and painters as Stevens, Ashberry, Warhol and Heijinian, we will study sensory and symbolic images, the uses and dangers of likeness, and the baffling confluence of concrete and abstract, literal and figurative, body and mind, matter and spirit.
ENGL 0100R. American Histories, American Novels.
How do novels make readers experience such traumatic historical events as war, slavery, genocide, the internment, and civil conflict? What kind of political or ethical perspective on such events do literary narratives encourage? How do novels construct cultural memory? This course explores important post-1945 novels that make us readers and feel in particularly resonant ways about American histories of race.
ENGL 0100S. Being Romantic.
"Romantic literature" and "Romantic art" are familiar concepts in the history of culture. But what does "Romantic" actually mean? Were Coleridge and Keats especially dedicated to writing about erotic love? Why would "Romantic" literature emerge during the period of the French Revolution and Industrial Revolution? What does early 19th-century "Romanticism" have to do with the meaning and status of the "Romantic" in our culture today? Readings in British and American writing from Blake and Mary Shelley to Ani DiFranco and Rage Against the Machine.
ENGL 0100T. The Simple Art of Murder.
A survey of the history of criminal enterprise in American literature. Authors to be considered include Poe, Melville, Hawthorne, Twain, Chandler, Wright, Petry, Highsmith, Millar, Harris, and Mosley.
ENGL 0100U. Serial Fictions.
A study of serial and serialized fictional narratives from the nineteenth century the present-- dime novels, serial genre fictions, literary novels comprised of chapters initially published as short stories, radio and film serials, television programs old (The Naked City, Hawaii-Five 0), newer (The Wire, Sex in the City), and new (Americans), podcasts, and video games (Legend of Zelda).
ENGL 0100V. Inventing Asian American Literature.
What insights can literature provide into the complicated workings of race in America? What role can the invention of a literary tradition play in illuminating and rectifying past and present injustices? We explore these questions by examining how the idea of an Asian American literary tradition came into being and by reading influential works that have become part of its canon. Students should register for ENGL 0100V S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0100W. Literature Reformatted.
We’ll put literary works produced for digital environments (novels on Twitter, cominatory poetry, collaborative fiction on chat forums) in conversation with works of literature produced in traditional forms. Do these new forms offer empowering extensions of the literary, or do they threaten the very forms of literature from which we can profit the most?
ENGL 0100X. Literature and Social Justice.
What role does literature play (if any) in understanding/revealing injustice, oppression, or inequity, or even helping create a more just world? What role might literature play in helping produce the very definitions of sociality and justice through which we see the world? Readings may be drawn from the writings of Mark Twain, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Leslie Marmon Silko.
ENGL 0100Y. Do the Right Thing.
An examination of literary works as developing our modern framework of moral values, along the way taking up questions of temptation, corruption, punishment, redemption, and responsibility. We will start with Christian allegorical texts (Dr. Faustus and Pilgrim's Progress), complicate the picture with 19th century psychological fiction, and conclude with some masterpieces of art cinema.
ENGL 0101A. Independence and Modern Literature.
Words like "freedom" and "independence" are central to modern global history. This course introduces students to modernist and postcolonial poetry and fiction, exploring individual and collective self-determination. We address questions of aesthetic autonomy and form, and collective aspirations along disparate lines of nation, race, gender, and sexuality. Readings from Achebe, Bulawayo, Conrad, Eliot, Hurston, Joyce, Kincaid, Lamming, Walcott, and Woolf. Students should register for ENGL 0101A S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0101B. Earth Poetics: Literature and Climate Change.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time and calls for new strategies of collective action, but also for new ways of conceptualizing and attending to the changing Earth. This course will address how literary texts can help us develop our understanding of environmental change by attending to the material entanglements between nature and culture.
ENGL 0101C. America Dreaming.
What ever happened to the American Dream? How is American literature a series of dreaming--fantasy, utopia, dystopia, antislavery, reform, the West, and escape. Fiction, film, the essay, the nonfiction novel. What makes for an "American" myth? How is it exported to the world?
ENGL 0101D. Modern Poetry.
The early twentieth century was an extraordinary time for poetry: the lyricism of W. B. Yeats and Paul Laurence Dunbar, the experimentation of T. S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein, the myths of H. D. and Ezra Pound, the naturalism of Robert Frost and Marianne Moore, the imaginings of Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams, the music of Langston Hughes and ee cummings. the feminism of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Edith Sitwell. This course will read these works against the background of the modernist revolution in the arts, the horrors of the First World War, and the enormous changes wrought by the emergence of the mass media.
ENGL 0150A. Elizabeth I: The Queen and the Poets.
Queen Elizabeth I, a poet herself, adorned her aging body as the symbolic object of desire for a circle of ambitious male poets. Considers the poetic means by which Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare overcome the obvious obstacles to desire presented by her uncertain health and imperious temperament and court their Virgin Queen.
ENGL 0150B. Objects of Beauty in Renaissance Culture.
What made a poem or a play as beautiful in 16th-century England as a hat or the right pair of shoes? Literary history and aesthetics from Wyatt, Surrey, and More, through Sidney, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Donne.
ENGL 0150C. The Medieval King Arthur.
Where did stories of King Arthur come from and how did they develop in the Middle Ages? We will read the earliest narratives of King Arthur and his companions, in histories and romances from Celtic, Anglo- Norman, and Middle English sources, to examine Arthur's varying personas of warrior, king, lover, thief. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150D. Shakespeare's Present Tense.
Shakespeare in Love suggests how Shakespeare was clued in to elite and popular cultures. Current adaptations like O and 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU demonstrate how Shakespeare provides anachronistic clues to issues of the present. This course will trace such clues by examining the cultural origins and ongoing adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Twelfth Night, Henry V, and the sonnets. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150E. Love and Friendship.
What do we talk about when we talk about love? This course poses this question in various ways. How, for instance, can we tell the difference between love's various forms—between love that is friendly and love that is romantic? How do the different forms of love differently shape people? How does love work when it involves sex, or marriage, or children, or divinity? And what must love involve to be called “good”? Why? Materials will range from Plato and St. Augustine to Leo Bersani and Allen Bloom and will also include popular filmic representations of love. Limited to 19.
ENGL 0150F. Hawthorne and James.
An introduction to a pair of writers whose work continues to shape our understanding of American literature and American identity. Focusing on much of their most important work, our aim will be to understand how their conceptions of the relationship between writing and history both complicate and complement each other. Limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150G. Lincoln, Whitman, and The Civil War.
An introduction to the literature of the American Civil War: Whitman, Lincoln, Melville, Stowe, and other autobiographical and military narratives.
ENGL 0150H. Literature of The American South.
The South is as much a state of mind as a place on the map, and some of the major figures in American literature have contributed to the making of what we think of when we think of "the South." Explores the sometimes contradictory but always important meanings of the American South. Authors include Poe, Douglass, and Faulkner.
ENGL 0150I. The Simple Art of Murder.
This course surveys the history of criminal enterprise in twentieth-century American culture. Drawing from a broad range of sources ("literary" novels and pulp fiction, B-movies and auteurist features), we will assess the role of crime as object of aesthetic attention and attend to the questions that can arise about the idea of the criminal when one takes it up outside of its usual home in courts. Authors: Poe, Hammett, Fitzgerald, Chandler, Wright, Petry, Hughes, Butler. Directors: Hitchcock, Wilder, Huston, Truffaut, Pakula, Lupino. Limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150J. Inventing America.
One of the distinguishing features of American literature may be its seemingly constant struggle with the idea of America itself. For what, these authors wonder, does/should America stand? We will examine the rhetorical battles waged in some major works over the meaning and/or meanings of America’s national identity. Authors may include Franklin, Hawthorne, and Fitzgerald. Limited to 19 first-year students. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 0150K. The Transatlantic American Novel.
This course reads American literature across national boundaries, focusing on the novel genre and the question of "American" identity as a problem in itself. The course takes up this problem in a wide array of novels spanning the period between the late eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Writers include Crevecoeur, Susanna Rowson, Poe, Melville, Twain, and Nella Larsen. Limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150L. The Sensational and the Real in Victorian Fiction.
This course will explore two modes through which Victorian novels engaged the turbulent experience of their time: realism and sensation. We will examine how these different genres tackled issues of gender, sexuality, class, and personal and community identity. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150M. "Model Minority" Writers: Cold War Fictions of Race and Ethnicity.
Explores the construction of race and ethnicity in U.S. writings of the 50s, paying particular attention to how literary texts negotiate the ideological demands of Cold War anti-communism. Writers studied may include Saul Bellow, Carlos Bulosan, Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, John Okada, and Jade Snow Wong.
ENGL 0150N. Black Atlantic Narratives of Africa.
We will study fiction, drama, and autobiography by black writers who have used the motif of a literal or symbolic journey to Africa to explore in powerful ways issues of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Africa as land and concept, individual and collective memory. Writers will include Maryse Condé, Charles Johnson, George Lamming, Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Derek Walcott.
ENGL 0150O. Englishness and Britishness in Contemporary Fiction.
How have writers of fiction responded to recent developments in British political culture? How has the category of Englishness changed during that period? This course offers an overview of some of the most important British writers of the last twenty years and an introduction to theories of culture and ideology. Readings include Ishiguro, Kelman, Caryl Phillips, Zadie Smith.
ENGL 0150P. Is There a Theory of the Short Story?.
This course considers the question in the title by looking at works of short fiction by Melville, Conrad, Bierce, Joyce, Lawrence, Kafka, Wicomb, Paley, O'Connor, Beckett, White, and literary theories by figures such as Lukacs, Bakhtin and Deleuze. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 0150Q. Realism and Modernism.
The novel as a genre has been closely identified with the act of representation. What it means to represent "reality," however, has varied widely. This seminar will explore how the representation of reality changes as modern fiction questions the assumptions about knowing, language, and society that defined the great tradition of realism. English and American novels will be the primary focus of our attention, but influential French, German, and Russian works will be studied as well. Limited to 19 first-year students. Banner registration after classes begin requires instructor approval.
ENGL 0150R. The Problem of Women's Writing.
Combines a survey of British and American women writers with an interrogation of the concept of women's writing. Authors will include Austen and Bronte, Walker and Viramontes; theoretical topics will include the figure of the author, subjectivity and ideology, the concept of a separate women's canon or tradition, and the complex differences within "feminine" writing and "feminist" reading.
ENGL 0150S. The Roaring Twenties.
This course examines U.S. culture of the 1920s, with particular attention to phenomena that came to be mythologized as the “roaring twenties”—flappers, movie culture, literary and cultural innovation, primitivism and exoticism. We will read fiction and some poetry in the context of movies, publicity, and advertising. Class discussion will focus on analyzing texts with an attention to language and form, as well as connecting these texts to their cultural contexts. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150T. Arms and the Man.
"Mother Green and her killing machine!" So enthuses a grunt in Full Metal Jacket about the Marine Corps. This seminar explores the romance of man and machine: the individual man's body as a machine and group relations with each man as a cog in a larger body/machine. We'll also consider other sites—including the gym—infiltrated, at least figuratively, by militarism. Texts: Crane, The Red Badge; Herr, Dispatches; Swofford, Jarhead; Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory; Samuel Fussell, Muscle. Films: Full Metal Jacket; The Hurt Locker; GI Jane; Three Kings; Pumping Iron. Enrollment limited to 19. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 0150U. The Terrible Century.
Although the term "terrorism" was coined in the 18th century, and although its contemporary resonance has reached an unprecedented pitch, the truly terrible century was arguably the 20th. This course introduces 20th century literature in English through a historical and philosophical examination of terror and terrorism. We will focus on several historical contexts, including: British colonialism in Ireland and Africa, South African apartheid, and the post 9/11 world. Readings include Conrad, Bowen, Gordimer, Coetzee, Foulds, Walters, Hamid. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150V. James and Wharton.
Friends, rivals, fellow ex-pats, and close correspondents for 15 years, Henry James and Edith Wharton had much in common. Their names are often coupled together in much the manner as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, since their fiction has often thought to deal with the same set of concerns: the societal and emotional ups and downs of well-to-do people in London, Paris, and New York. This class will read James and Wharton side by side in order not only to see in what ways they shed light on each other, but in what ways they differ. Limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150W. Literature and the Visual Arts.
How do words and images represent? Are the processes by which literature and the visual arts render the world similar or different? Is reading a novel or a poem more like or unlike viewing a painting, a sculpture, or a film? This seminar will analyze important theoretical statements about these questions as well as selected literary and visual examples. Limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150X. The Claims of Fiction.
This course explores the interplay of tropes of strangeness, contamination, and crisis in a range of novels and shorter fiction, in English or in translation. We will ask why social misfits and outsiders somehow become such fascinating figures in fictional narratives. How do these fictions entice and equip readers to reflect on collective assumptions, values, and practices? Writers will include Baldwin, Brontë, Coetzee, Conrad, Faulkner, Ishiguro, Morrison, Naipaul, Rushdie, Salih, Shelley. Limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150Y. Brontës and Brontëism.
The novels of Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë alongside works (fiction and film) influenced by or continuing their powerful (and competing) authorial visions: Wide Sargasso Sea (Rhys), Rebecca (Hitchcock), The Piano (Campion), and Suspiria (Argento). Among other questions, we will discuss the role of Romanticism, feminism, the bodily imaginary, colonialism, and genre. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0150Z. Hamlet/Post-Hamlet.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is perhaps the most widely read, performed, adapted, parodied and imitated literary text of the western tradition. In this seminar we will begin by reading/re-reading the play before turning to a number of appropriations of Shakespeare, both in the west and non-west, in order to address social and aesthetic issues including questions of meaning and interpretation, intertextuality and cultural translation. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0151A. Hitchcock!.
An exploration of the work of one of the most famous directors of the twentieth century. We will watch many of Alfred Hitchcock’s best-loved films, including The Birds, North by Northwest, Vertigo, Psycho, Rear Window, and Rope. In addition, we will read some of the most important criticism of these films. No knowledge of film theory required. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0151B. How to Do Things with Books.
What can one do with a book? Read a novel, sure, but also cook a fabulous meal, join a movement, or reimagine ways of being. Each class will focus on old or rare materials in the John Hay Library and throughout Providence. We’ll explore the nature of the book through discussion and hands-on activities such as letterpress printing and zine-making. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0151C. Midsummers.
A traditional occasion for festivity and misrule, midsummer has been important to writers since medieval times. Spanning Shakespeare to Aster, Midsummer to Midsommar, the course includes Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Korine’s Spring Breakers. How are midsummers represented? What’s the difference between country and city, nighttime and daytime? Do things ever go back to normal, or can a party last forever? Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0151D. Men's Films.
A seminar on recent road films, gross-out comedies, “bromances,” war films, sports films, superhero movies, sex films, and coming-of-age stories particularly concerned with men and masculinity in unusual, often extreme circumstances. Films may include: The Hangover and The Hangover 2, Magic Mike, Moonlight, Bridesmaids, American Sniper, Deadpool, Neighbors, Everybody Wants Some, Foxcatcher, The D-Train, The Change-Up, and Shame. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 0151E. Genres of American Comedy.
A survey of a number of American comic traditions, with a special emphasis on the ways in which these traditions elaborate, challenge, and/or promulgate middle-class social norms in the US. Enrollment limited to 19 first-year students.
ENGL 0151F. Waves and Edges: Poetry and the Sea.
In her poem “The Map” Elizabeth Bishop writes: “Land lies in water; it is shadowed green. / Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges / showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges…” This class will examine how such edges between sea and land can be thought and represented in poetic texts, while also considering environmental effects of climate change.
ENGL 0200A. Risk/Rupture/Remains: Contemporary Queer Media and Poetics.
How can we imagine life in a world preoccupied with queer and trans loss? This course introduces contemporary experiments in queer and trans survival across poetry, film, theory, and video games. We will read, watch, and play with particular attention to Black and Indigenous art in the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Artists may include Dionne Brand, David Wojnarowicz, CAConrad, and Porpentine. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200B. Studying at the End of the World.
This course will consider the enduring power of study, as it has been conceptualized in Renaissance European thought as studia humanitatis, and more recently in calls for the end of the university as we know it. Through a range of texts, essays, and visual media, we will consider what studying otherwise might mean here at the end of the world. Authors include: William Shakespeare, George Jackson, Octavia Butler, Ia Paperson, Kamau Brathwaite, etc. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200C. Stories of Speculation: Fabulism and Narrative Realism.
What do moments of upended reality and temporality in literary fiction offer us about the human condition and built environment? From contemporary fairy tale retellings to canonical modernist literature, we will examine novels' engagement with temporality, speculative/magical realism, and fabulism. Texts include Djuna Barnes, Toni Morrison, Nella Larsen, and Han Yujoo. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200D. Literature and the Social Contract.
This course considers imaginative works (short stories, novellas, films) through the prism of moral and political philosophy. We will focus on how representations of right and obligation inform notions of self, other, and the il/legitimacy of authority. Readings include: Hobbes, Rousseau, Kafka, Adichie, Mann, Melville, Orwell, Octavia Butler, Rawls, Le Guin, Yuri Herrera, Murayama, and Agamben. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200E. Giving way: Poetry, Performance, Film.
This course will engage with artistic forms that creatively respond to the present by both heeding its demands while also expressing alternatives to its norms. They map out, figure, and perform various (im)possibilities of existence. Our archive, informed by artists such as Adrian Piper and Lyn Hejinian, will consist of apparitional experience, ecstatic dance, magical sentences, etc. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200F. Wild and Unruly: Black Women’s Belonging, Place, and Self in Storytelling.
How are belonging, place (or geography), and self expressed by women of African descent across the Black Atlantic? How do literature and other cultural productions help black women creatively navigate senses of self and place? Through the lens of the wild and unruly, this class asks how black women find new ways of expressing the human existence. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200J. Stuck in the Suburbs: A Poetics of Everyday Life.
Suburbia is where nothing happens: a landscape that cultivates boredom and indulges angst. But it is also a site of repressed horrors, where our deepest anxieties come home to roost. This course examines architecture, tone, temporality, race, and gender in the literature and films of the suburbs. Texts include Eugenides, Perrotta, Lahiri; Blue Velvet, The Stepford Wives, American Beauty. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200K. Trans–: Transformation, Translation, Transgression in Literature.
From transgression to transformation to trans rights, why does the prefix “trans” appear inescapable whenever one is discussing radical change? Centering on this mercurial prefix, this course examines the possibilities and limits of change from ancient anxieties about transcendence to contemporary discussions of transnationalism and transgender identities. Authors include: Wordsworth, Woolf, Ginsberg, Plath, Morrison, Imogen Binnie, hooks, Dylan, Against Me!. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200L. Between Home and Haven: Contemporary Narratives of Revolt and Refuge.
What forces dictate our perception of “home?” Is it where we come from? Somewhere we must find? Or is home what persecutes us - a place from which we must escape or rebel? This course will contemplate sanctuary, family, authoritarianism, and resistance across fiction, graphic memoir, and film. Writers may include Marjane Satrapi, Julia Alvarez, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200M. One True Pairing (“OTP”): The Courtship Plot from Jane Austen to Jane the Virgin.
What’s love got to do with it? This course examines how the courtship plot, from meet-cute to marriage, shapes our understanding, not only of romance and seduction, but also of gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, empire, and literary genre. Texts include fiction by Jane Austen, Nella Larsen, Jenny Han, and Henry James, alongside Clueless, Moonlight, and Jane the Virgin. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200N. Godforsaken Spaces: Literatures of the Demonic.
Has fear of the Devil outlived the fear of God? While the demonic rationalizes unfathomable violence and renders forms of otherness intolerable, it may also allow us to imagine social alternatives. This course will explore demonic figures in contemporary literature/film: the scapegoats, witches, and misfits that occupy the margins of society. Authors include: McCarthy, O’Connor, Morrison, Gyasi, Erdrich. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200P. Literatures of Anxiety.
From Xanax to safe spaces to #MAGA, our age is notoriously characterized as an unduly anxious one. But anxious by what measures? Tracking expressions of anxiety through a range of literary works, we’ll explore how the so-called “anxious” subject may yet signal a crucial, generative political position. Works by: Atwood, Dostoevsky, Abdellah Taïa, Dionne Brand, Hieu Nguyen, Lacan and LaWhore Vagistan. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200Q. “Strangeness” at The Margins: Black and Queer Narratives.
Anchored in black and queer studies, this course will think within “weird” and unusual narratives. How do sexual, gender, and racial identities work together in ways that produce “strange” literature? What might we gain through careful attention to the techniques used in reading/writing marginal selves through oddness? Figures will include Janelle Monae, Toni Morrison, Prince, Sigmund Freud, and Ralph Ellison. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200R. Suspicious Minds: American Literature and the Paranoid Imagination.
Why is so much of the American canon founded on suspicion? This course investigates a tradition of American cultural production that finds in paranoia novel ways of imagining history as well as life today. Texts encompass a broad range of genres from the nineteenth century to the present moment, including gothic fiction, satire, speculative fiction, political thrillers, and science fiction. Authors and filmmakers include Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, Alfred Hitchcock, Philip K. Dick, Thomas Pynchon, Hannah Arendt, Ishmael Reed, Joan Didion, Colson Whitehead, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jordan Peele, Kathleen Belew, and Boots Riley, among others. We will use these thinkers to investigate the forms of solidarity conspiracy offers, the enduring problem of skepticism in American thought, the narrativization of history, the importance of secrecy in the construction of identity, and our fear of and desire for plots.
ENGL 0200S. Killing Shakespeare: Three Plays and their Afterlives.
Do adaptations of Shakespeare “kill” his texts? In this course, we will explore three plays—Othello, The Tempest, and Hamlet—with some of their most prominent adaptations. We will focus on how these adaptations consider important political questions of their times in relation to Shakespeare. Authors/directors include: Lawrence Olivier, Aime Cesaire, Jawad Al-Asadi, Vishal Bharadwaj, and Julie Taymor. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200T. The Revolution Will Not be Televised: Poetry and the Politics of Representation.
What are the political effects of representing a person, thing, or event? Is representation itself a useful political goal? With an emphasis on racial politics, this class examines how poetry plays with representability and irrepresentability to call attention to and perhaps change how we see each other and the world. Readings include works by Gertrude Stein, Claudia Rankine, Mercedes Eng, and Layli Long Soldier. Materials may also include popular music by artists like Bob Dylan and Solange. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200U. After the Human?: Literature at the End of the World.
What does it mean to be human? From zombies to aliens, cyborgs to talking bears, contemporary fiction is rewriting our most fundamental categories of identity. This course explores what’s at stake in how we define ourselves, and the challenge ‘nonhumans’ pose to our beliefs about right and wrong, good and evil. Authors include: Ishiguro, Jemisin, Tawada, Vandermeer, Whitehead, and Miéville. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200V. Graphic Novels and the Politics of Memoir.
Are comics literature? Can images help us bear witness? How do text and illustration work with or against one another? Paying special attention to the memoir form, this course explores the contemporary graphic novel (together with film and other visual narratives) as a transformative medium for political and aesthetic expression. Works by Spiegelman, Bechdel, Satrapi, Sacco, Richard Linklater, and others. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200W. Comedy and Cruelty.
Modernity is often conceived as tragedy—this course imagines otherwise. We will explore the usefulness of the comic frame in the wake of (economic, political, environmental) disaster through 20th-/21st century novels/films by Joseph Conrad, Frank Capra, Ralph Ellison, Samuel Selvon, Paul Beatty, Jordan Peele, Anna Burns, Bong Joon-Ho. This class investigates the possibility of joy in an age of disappointment. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200X. Necromancy for Beginners.
Have you ever wanted to speak to the dead? Or bring something dead back to life? This course examines the fantasies, historical practices, and political forces shaping reanimation and otherworldly communication in literature from medieval grimoires to contemporary American film. Authors/directors include: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton, Cavendish, Shelley, Lovecraft, Rymer (AHS), Bayona (Penny Dreadful), Sackheim (Lovecraft Country), and Fell/Butler (ParaNorman). Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200Y. Show Me the Money: Advertising and Capitalism in American Literature.
This course examines the intersections of capitalism and advertising in 19th and 20th century American Literature. Central to this investigation will be questions of identity and representation. Each class begins with a discussion around a print, digital, or video advertisement, and engages a variety of works and authors including Harriet Jacobs, Henry James, Herman Melville, Mad Men, amongst others. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0200Z. Black (W)holes, Black Feminism(s), and Black Feeling.
The seminar takes-up black women’s “self-defined sexualities.” What is a black feminist arrangement of erotic feeling, pleasure, and sexuality? What are its coordinates? Conditions? How might they change? We ground our exploration in close study of black feminist poetics—the specific formal and creative choices that poets, fiction writers, visual artists, and others use to critically examine life in art. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 0201C. The Politics of Monstrosity from Beowulf to Slender Man.
Through lenses like queerness, blackness, and femininity, this course will explore how monstrosity comes to be defined and informed by political motives, public anxieties, and notions of normativity. Texts/films include Beowulf, The Faerie Queene (Edmund Spenser), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), Dracula (Bram Stoker), Fledgling (Octavia Butler), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (dir. Jim Sharman), and Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro).
ENGL 0201D. Writing Life: The Self in Narration.
This course engages with modes of life-writing and explores their relations with ethics and politics. We will closely follow different ways through which figures of the self get written in genres of fiction, autobiographical memoirs, testimonial narratives, and other forms of writing. Works by Primo Levi, Saidiya Hartman, J.M. Coetzee, Jean Jacques Rousseau and others.
ENGL 0201E. Guilty Pleasures: Science Fiction & Horror Survey.
Our guilty pleasures—those texts that titillate, enthrall, and excite. By way of artists like Octavia Butler, Jordan Peele, and Shirley Jackson , we will think with classic works of science fiction and horror and explore how these texts theorize matters of race, gender, and class. Texts include Kindred, Get Out, The Bone Mother, and Alien.
ENGL 0300B. The Romance of Travel.
Considers the role of the strange, new, and fantastic in travel accounts of the Medieval period and Renaissance. If travel writers offered their stories as "windows to the world," we will treat them as representations that expose, reinforce, and subvert the author's cultural, political, and social attitudes. Works by Marco Polo, Chaucer, Columbus, Ralegh, Shakespeare, Defoe, and Swift. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0300C. English Drama 1350-1700.
This course presents great plays not written by Shakespeare, from the mystery plays of the late Middle Ages through Restoration drama. We will address these questions: What kinds of plays spoke to what kinds of audiences? How do changes in theatrical style relate to social change? How do genre, convention, staging, and acting style shape a dramatic text? Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0300E. Three Great Poets: Shakespeare, Donne, Milton.
We will study these premier Renaissance poets from all angles possible, to understand the historical situations and political issues that shaped their writing, the authors and ideas that influenced them, the traditional forms they appropriated for new purposes. Most of all, we will study them to appreciate the power of poetry as a source of knowledge and inspiration. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0300F. Beowulf to Aphra Behn: The Earliest British Literatures.
Major texts and a few surprises from literatures composed in Old English, Old Irish, Anglo-Norman, Middle English, and Early Modern English. We will read texts in their historical and cultural contexts. Texts include anonymously authored narratives like Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, selected Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, and texts by Sir Thomas Malory, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Aphra Behn. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0300G. Angels and Demons, Heavens and Hells: The Otherworld from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era.
Wonder about what happens after death is among the most fascinating and gripping subjects of human inquiry. We will explore concepts of heaven, hell, purgatory, Satan, angels, ghosts, the soul, virtue and vice, the poetry of salvation, and the power of melancholy. Texts will include Old and Middle English Otherworld narratives, and writings by Dante, Milton, Browne, Marlowe, and others. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0300H. New Selves, New Worlds.
How did pre-modern and early modern writers imagine the self? How were these notions of the self transformed when individuals traveled to unfamiliar places? How do these new selves imagine certain fundamental questions, such as the power one has to control one's emotions, social environment, and ultimate fate. Authors may include Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. Enrollment limited to 50.
ENGL 0300I. The Arrival of English: Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern.
In these literary periods, something arrives in England, whether it is the Anglo Saxon invaders, Christianity, French medieval romance, or the continental example of renaissance. Readings include Beowulf, Wanderer, Dream of the Rood, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Spenser's Shepheards Calendar and Faerie Queene, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0300L. The Global Middle Ages.
This course offers students an introduction to the medieval period as a time of active cultural exchange, racial imaginaries, and decentralized globality. We will explore what it means to think about history on a global scale, how to broaden our understanding of the Middle Ages without replicating Eurocentric perspectives, and how literary texts work to mediate history.
ENGL 0300M. Medieval Gender.
In this course, we will examine the multiplicity of ways that gender and sexuality are portrayed in the literature of medieval Britain and interlinked cultural regions. How do medieval texts depict gender categories, relations of desire and violence, intersectional subject positions, and anxieties about sex that remain alive today? What are some currents of fluidity, peculiarity, and rebellion in early ideas about gender and sexuality? Texts may include the Roman de Silence, the Lais of Marie de France, and the Book of Margery Kempe. No previous experience with medieval literature required.
ENGL 0300N. How To Be Alone: Solitude and Subjectivity.
In this class, we’ll discuss why the state of being alone has been a central topic in cultural studies, what it means to address and represent different modes of solitude, and how these representations support or contradict the politics of their surrounding environments. This class will introduce its students to a broad range of texts read alongside classical and contemporary philosophy, and discusses the personal and political ramifications of autonomy, solitude, exclusion and seclusion. In addition to novels and films, materials will include on-demand television, Instagram posts, Reddit posts, TikToks and tweets.
ENGL 0310A. Shakespeare.
We will read a representative selection of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories, and romances, considering their historical contexts and their cultural afterlife in terms of belief, doubt, language, feeling, politics, and form. Students should register for ENGL 0310A S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0310D. Violence, Sacrifice, and Medieval Narrative.
This course will introduce students to medieval prose and poetry that centralize the problematic nature of violent conflict and its attendant horrors. We will study literature from medieval England, Wales, Ireland, and Iceland, including Beowulf, two Old Icelandic sagas and Eddic poetry, Irish and Welsh texts, and part of Malory's Morte Darthur. Topics will include sacrifice, religion, chivalry, horror, and contemporary critical approaches. Open to undergraduates only.
ENGL 0310E. Shakespeare: The Screenplays.
It's been said that if Shakespeare were alive today he'd be working in Hollywood. We will read five or six plays (including at least one representative of each of Shakespeare's genres: comedy, history, tragedy, romance) and then study film adaptations of them. The course is especially concerned with various approaches to the Shakespeare film: not just the straightforward adaptation, but also the Shakespeare spin-off ("10 Things"; "My Own Private Idaho"), the Shakespeare film as a star-turn (Helen Mirren as "Prospera" in Taymor's "Tempest"), and the Shakespeare film as an auteur-turn (Orson Welles's "Chimes at Midnight"; Polanski's "Macbeth").
ENGL 0310F. Prose Sagas of the Medieval North.
In this course, we will read long prose fiction from medieval Iceland, Ireland, and Wales, considering how it is similar to and different from the modern novel. We will consider plot, characterization, and style in each linguistic tradition. Texts may include The Cattle Raid of Cooley, The Mabinogi, Njal’s Saga, Egil’s Saga, Grettir’s Saga, and Gisli’s Saga.
ENGL 0310G. Gender and Genre in Medieval Celtic Literatures.
This course traces images of masculinity and femininity in Welsh, Cornish, Breton, and Irish narratives within and around early medieval Britain. You will be introduced to the genres of saga, romance, and the short poetic lai as you consider how the nature and gender of the hero changes in specific cultural and linguistic moments.
ENGL 0310H. New and Imagined Worlds in the English Renaissance.
In the centuries following the “discovery” of the Novus Mundus or “New World,” European playwrights, poets and thinkers created a startling diversity of their own “new” or imagined worlds, which sometimes took license from fantastic contemporary reports of overseas discoveries. How do imagined lands comment upon our own? What freedoms and possibilities arise from the ability to imagine alternative worlds?
ENGL 0500A. Literature and the Fantastic.
Considers the changing ways Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, and late-nineteenth-century authors incorporate non-realistic and fantastic themes and elements in literature. Special attention to the relationship between realism and fantasy in different genres. Readings include stories (gothic, ghost, and adventure), fairy tales, short novels, plays, and poems. Shakespeare, Swift, Brothers Grimm, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Tennyson, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Stoker, Lewis Carroll, Dickens, Henry James. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500B. Introduction to British and American Romanticism.
An exploration of "Romanticism" in literature written and read on both sides of the Atlantic between 1775 and 1865. Poetry, fiction, and essays by writers such as Blake, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Keats, Thoreau, Emerson, Fuller, Hawthorne. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500C. Inventing America.
Even before there was a United States, American authors argued over just what distinguished "America" from other communities. For what, they wondered, did or should America stand? Examines the rhetorical battles waged in some key pre-Civil War American literary texts over the meaning and/or meanings of America. Authors studied may include Bradstreet, Franklin, Douglass, and Melville. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500E. Foundations of the Novel.
Introduces students to the first stages of novel writing in England and to historical and theoretical issues relating to the novel's "rise" to the dominant genre of the modern era. Eighteenth-century works of fiction are long; however, texts selected for this course are less long. They include Defoe's Moll Flanders, Richardson's Pamela and Fielding's Joseph Andrews. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500G. Literature and Revolutions, 1640-1840.
Key developments in British and American literature understood in relation to the historical and cultural forces that produced the English Revolution, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution. Readings in major writers such as Milton, Paine, Blake, Wollstonecraft, Emerson, Barrett Browning, and Dickens, and in some of their non-canonical contemporaries. Focus on the emergence of a transatlantic literary culture. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500H. Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways: American Fiction and the Romance of the Sea.
Examines one of the most distinctive of literary genres: the sea novel. Ostensibly stories of mystery and adventure, these texts are also meticulous accounts of working life at sea. Reads a number of well-known and lesser known American tales of the sea, including Poe's The Adventures of A. Gordon Pym, Melville's Moby-Dick, London's The Sea-Wolf, and Crane's "The Open Boat." Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500I. The Literature and Politics of Friendship.
Considers changing concepts of friendship as a key to major developments in British and American literature from the Renaissance through the 19th century. Special attention given to the ways the literary history of friendship intersects with leading political questions of the day. Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Defoe, Wordsworth, Keats, Percy and Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Melville, and Henry James. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0500K. The Transatlantic Novel: Robinson Crusoe to Connecticut Yankee.
How does the "American" novel change if we read it across national borders? This course reads novels written in/about America with this question in mind, focusing on such topics as slavery, exploration, seduction, and cosmopolitan ideals. Readings range from Aphra Behn to Mark Twain. Enrollment limited to 30. Students should register for ENGL0500K S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0500L. Literature, Trauma, and War.
This course surveys many genres and periods in order to consider and think about two traditional kinds of literary responses to war--glorifying it, and representing its horrors. We'll examine texts by Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Byron, Whitman, Hardy, Crane, Freud, Levi, Pynchon, and Sebald, among others; we may also screen one or two films. Enrollment limited to 30. Open to undergraduates only.
ENGL 0500P. The Examined Self: Lives of the Soul.
This course examines a crucial tradition in American letters and culture: the literature of self-examination and the spiritual quest. Each work focuses in some way on questions of identity and identification: We will be reading a wide range of authors and genres-- spiritual autobiography, short fiction, the novel, conversion narratives, confessions, and lyric and epic poetry. Limited to 30 students.
ENGL 0500R. Slavery and American Literature.
An examination of the ways in which US writers have sought to represent, confront, and disrupt slavery and its afterlife. Authors to be considered include Douglass, Jacobs, Brown, Wilson, DuBois, Hopkins, Cane, Wright, Ellison, Morrison, and Butler.
ENGL 0510A. Literature and Print Culture.
The cultural impact of widely circulating printed material -- books of poetry, essays, and fiction but also newspapers, stock certificates, and advertisements -- makes the period 1660-1740 the first technologically enabled information age. The production and consumption of published texts changed the world for the restored monarch and his licentious court, for the rising bourgeoisie, and for the newly literate classes. We will follow several controversies, experiments, and innovations of the print revolution in works as apparently diverse as Milton's epic poetry, Manley's erotic secret histories, and the ads in The Spectator. Other canonical and non-canonical writers include Rochester, Behn, Dryden, Swift, Manley, Haywood, and Defoe.
ENGL 0510B. The Gothic.
The course will investigate the origins and development of Gothic literature from its invention during the eighteenth century to its postmodern forms. We will consider conventional figures (monsters, distressed heroines, moldering castles), common themes (fear, horror, the supernatural, the irrational, the transgressive), and the cultural work they do. Readings include Walpole, Lewis, Radcliffe, Shelley, James, and King.
ENGL 0510C. The Victorian Novel.
Considers the Victorian novel with an emphasis on its many forms, including the social-problem novel, bildungsroman, sensation novel, detective novel, and multiplot novel. Topics covered include the nature of realism, serial publication, empire, the "new woman," industrialization, the "condition of England," science and technology, and the role of the artist. Novels by Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope. Students should register for ENGL 0510C S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 0510D. Mark Twain's America.
A course for all kinds of readers of Twain and his contemporaries. Close readings of fiction and essays that focus on race, slavery, capitalism, and the development of "modern" literature. Works include Puddinhead Wilson, Huck Finn, and Connecticut Yankee.
ENGL 0510F. Literature of the American Renaissance.
A survey of the major figures of mid-19th-century American literature, with a particular emphasis on how the writers of the period engaged the political and legal issues informing the sectional conflict on the eve of the Civil War. Authors to be considered include Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Stowe, Douglass, Brown, Jacobs, and Whitman.
ENGL 0510G. New Worlds, New Subjects: American Fiction at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century.
In 1900, the historian Henry Adams declared, Americans lived in a world so radically transformed that “the new American … must be a sort of God compared with any former creation of nature.” This new world had many progenitors: Darwin’s theory of evolution; Nietzsche’s theory of the will; Freud’s theory of the unconscious; the rise of the mass media; the industrial production line; the triumph of consumerism; mass immigration; Jim Crow; the New Woman. This class reads works of fiction from the turn-of-the-century in the context of these transformations. Writers include Freud, Nietzsche, Stephen Crane, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.
ENGL 0510H. Victorian Self and Society.
This multi-genre course is an introduction to literature and culture of the Victorian period, looking at the changing ideas of society and the individual's place within that larger community in an age of empire, industrialization, urbanization, class conflict, and religious crisis. Topics include conceptions of the role of art and culture in society, the railway mania of the 1840s, the "great stink" of London, women's suffrage and the condition of women, and the Great Exhibition of 1851. Readings will include Carlyle, Charlotte Brontë, Ruskin, Robert Browning, Dickens, Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, and Lewis Carroll.
ENGL 0510K. Fictions and Frauds.
Truth and fiction? Fake news, fake history, fictionalized autobiography: where and why do we draw the boundaries of the "real"?
ENGL 0510M. Madness and Enlightenment: Literature 1660-1800.
The term "enlightenment" has been used to emphasize the power of reason in the development of intellectual freedom, democracy, capitalism, class mobility, and other aspects of 18th-century experience. However, the period's major writers were fascinated by unreason, by aberrant states of mind from love melancholy to outright madness. Readings include Swift's Tale of a Tub, Pope's Dunciad, Johnson's Rasselas, Sterne's Tristram Shandy, Boswell's Hypochondriack, and Godwin's Caleb Williams.
ENGL 0510N. Victorian Modernity: Literature 1880-1900.
"Modernity" in the fin-de-siècle period meant progress, the "march of the intellect," technological innovation, urban growth, female emancipation, but it also meant fears of degeneration, moral decline, the rise of the crowd, and the degradation of the individual. This course considers how these contradictions come to a climax in the literature, art, and culture of the 1880s and 1890s. Authors include G. B. Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, Charles Algernon Swinburne, H. G. Wells, Olive Schreiner, George Egerton.
ENGL 0510P. Fiction from Dickens to James.
An introduction to nineteenth-century fiction in English by eight major authors--four British and four American. Emphasis will be placed on the careful reading and interpretation of the novels and short stories in historical context. Issues to be addressed include the rise of the mass media, transatlantic literary relations, literature and ethics, and aestheticism. Works by Dickens, Poe, Eliot, Melville, Stevenson, Twain, Wilde, and James. Students should register for ENGL 0510P S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0510Q. Unstable Subjects: Race and Meaning in Contemporary (African) American Literature.
What are the stakes involved in defining (African) American literature through a racialized authorial framework? Should we adhere to this prescribed and contentious categorization when considering writers who only incidentally identify as “black,” and whose works challenge any critical or aesthetic alignment based upon racial affiliation? More broadly, this course seeks to question the lingering persistence of race as an ontological marker within the literary arts. Writers include but are not limited to Fran Ross, Darryl Pinckney, Andrea Lee, David Henry Hwang, Maurice Manning, and Colson Whitehead.
ENGL 0510R. American Renaissance.
This course examines major and lesser known writers of nineteenth-century America, emphasizing the works of Emerson, Melville, and Catharine Sedgwick. The focus is on Romantic literature and culture, with particular emphasis on the following subjects: Nature and transcendence; capitalism and its discontents; utopianism and reform; slavery and antislavery; the problem of history and national culture; and transatlantic relations. Readings include Transcendentalist essays, slave narratives, romance novels, autobiography, fiction, and lyric and epic poetry. Improved student writing is a main goal of the course.
ENGL 0510S. Good, Evil, and Inbetween.
Are humans born naturally good, evil, neither, or all of the above? Does evil lurk deep within the heart of all that is good, or can the forces of good eradicate those of evil? Is evil an inextricable part of what it means to be human in the first place? We'll examine these and related questions by reading some especially provocative literature, including Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, and works by Hawthorne, Poe, and Fitzgerald. We'll also view several relevant movies, including Young Frankenstein.
ENGL 0510W. Coupling: The Literature of Courtship.
This course examines the courtship plot in the Anglo-American literary tradition, concentrating on novels of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but extending forward to twentieth-century and contemporary novels, and explores how these fictions have constructed and challenged normative narratives of gender and sexuality.
ENGL 0510Y. Nineteenth-Century British Fiction.
This course focuses on the fiction of nineteenth-century Britain, with particular attention to its exploration of gender and sexuality, class, national and imperial cultures, the familiar and the strange. Readings will include novels and short stories by Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Thomas Hardy.
ENGL 0510Z. Worldly Victorians: Victorian Literature at Home and Abroad.
This course explores how Victorian literature engaged questions animated by Britain’s experience of conflict and triumphalism at home, and imperial power and anxiety on the global stage. Authors we read will include Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Charlotte Brontë; Elizabeth Gaskell; Rider Haggard; Olive Schreiner; and Bram Stoker.
ENGL 0511A. Dickens: The Novel and Society.
This course rehabilitates Charles Dickens from his reputation as a mainstream writer paid by the word, most famous as the author of sentimental, implausible works for children, such as A Christmas Carol. We will be looking at Dickens’s social novels as a formally innovative response to the urban and industrial capitalism of his time. Issues will include: realism, the relation of his fiction to his journalism, serial form, and representations of work, the city, and bureaucracy.
ENGL 0511B. The Nineteenth-Century British Novel.
A study of major novelists of the period, through the question: How did the novel develop as a form of social understanding? We will be looking at novels as bearers of social values, especially around questions of property, class, marriage, work, bureaucracy and the state, and selfhood. Authors studied may include: Austen, Brontë, Dickens, Trollope, Eliot, and Hardy.
ENGL 0511C. Fantastic Places, Unhuman Humans.
What can the grotesque, monstrous, and even alien creatures found lurking in an extraordinary range of literature across many centuries reveal about the different ways humans have imagined what it means to be human in the first place? Is the human a unified, single category of being at all? Authors may include Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, and Poe. This course is offered fully online. Students do not need to be on Brown's campus to participate in this course. Students should expect to spend 45 hours per week (or 6-8 hours per day) on coursework.
ENGL 0511E. Melville, Conrad, and the Sea.
Stories begin with the sea: Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad and the Seven Seas, Odysseus trying to sail home. The sea is the place of ‘tall tales,’ of adventure, and of terror, but also of industrial labor and modern commerce. This class reads the sea narratives of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad within this larger narrative and historical context.
ENGL 0511G. Introduction to Native and Indigenous Literatures.
This course will familiarize students with the study of Native and Indigenous literatures in North America. Focusing on a range of genres, geographic locations, and historical moments, students can expect to acquire both a working knowledge of the history of Native literatures in English and a critical methodological approach to the study of American literature.
ENGL 0511H. Late Romantics.
An introduction to the varied work of canonical and non-canonical writers often described as British second-generation or late Romantics: Keats, the Shelleys, Byron, Clare, de Quincey, Hemans, Austen. We will explore what lateness constitutes for these authors as a political, aesthetic, and ethical category, and consider how it informs the kind of distinctly "Romantic" work that characterizes their writings. Particular emphasis on close readings of poetry and theoretical texts, as well as excursions into late nineteenth-century authors.
ENGL 0511J. Renegades, Reprobates, and Castaways.
In this ONLINE course, we’ll look at a range of literary works--including short stories, novels, graphic novels, films, and electronic literature—populated by characters cast as pirates, degenerates, depraved, and miscreants. We’ll examine how the seemingly disreputable characters, settings, and/or forms offer alternative visions of a just society by challenging powerful institutions, conventional moral principles, and/or dominant conceptions of the “normal” and “natural.”
ENGL 0511L. Stories of the Future Past.
What does the future hold? What might tales of the past tell us about what’s to come? Readings will transport us into the past, future, or both to explore, challenge, or re-enforce many cultural norms. Possible readings: Butler, Kindred, Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God, Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, St. Mandel, Station Eleven, Shelley, Frankenstein. This course is offered fully online. Students do not need to be on Brown's campus to participate in this course. Learn what it is like to take an online course at Brown and view technical requirements at: http://brown.edu/go/whatisonlinelike.
ENGL 0511P. Severed Selves: Victorian Horror and Science Fiction.
Horror and science fiction from the Victorian period. Works studied may include: Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein"; Bram Stoker, "Dracula"; Robert Louis Stevenson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"; H.G. Wells, "The Time Machine"; Oscar Wilde, "The Picture of Dorian Gray"; Henry James, "The Turn of the Screw,"
ENGL 0511Q. Romanticism Soon.
What was Romanticism? What is it now? And what will it be? This class takes as its focus a cluster of texts by Romantic-era authors and thinkers, and puts them in dialogue with a series of contemporary poets in order to measure the past, present, and future of Romanticism as both a period designation and a conceptual force that lives on beyond historical determinations. The course will thus be about the multiple lives and afterlives of Romanticism, studying a brief period of powerful revolutionary disruptions. Our task will be to explore this critical trans-historical and trans-temporal dialogue and ask: What are the social, political, ethical, and aesthetic questions occasioned by these juxtapositions? How do we assess what romanticism means? How and why does it persist—and perhaps disappear—in the art of our own time? Attention may also be paid to films (Jarman, Burnett, Campion).
ENGL 0511R. Disgruntled and Indignant: Satire.
Satiric writing finds inspiration in the failures of a culture to live up to its own ideals. Other kinds of writing may glory in nature, in love, in religion, or in other uplifting topics. Satire, in contrast, whether hilariously funny or deeply disturbing, is the means of attacking what is wrong with the world. Long before The Onion, the Daily Show, or SNL, writers like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Laurence Sterne explored the possibilities of the ironic imagination.
ENGL 0700A. Introduction to African American Literature, 1742-1920.
Surveys African American writing from the beginnings to the Harlem Renaissance, reading both poetry and prose (primarily slave narratives, speeches, essays, and fiction). Attention to how African American authors have shaped a literature out of available cultural and aesthetic resources. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700B. Introduction to African American Literature, 1920-Present.
All genres of literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present, tracing the development of an African American literary tradition. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700C. Twentieth-Century American Fiction.
Through detailed readings of a variety of novels from almost every decade, this class explores the various ways fiction responded to what has been called the American century. Our main emphasis will be on the relationship between aesthetic and national representation. Writers to include Wharton, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Ellison, Kingston, and DeLillo. Enrollment limited to 30. Students will be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0700D. Inventing Asian American Literature.
Through a focus on works by Asian Americans, this course examines how the concept of literature has evolved across the twentieth century. We address how different genres and literary modes shape the way readers view experiences depicted in literary works, paying attention to how works "theorize" their own interpretation. We also take up the issue of how canons get formed. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700E. Postcolonial Literature.
Examines fiction, drama, poetry, travel writing, and cultural criticism by contemporary writers from former colonies of the British Empire. We study works by Anglophone writers from African, Caribbean, and South Asian backgrounds. Issues that will concern us include: cultural-nationalism, diaspora, and globalization; histories, identities, and generational shifts; literary form and the idea of “postcolonial literature.” Authors will include Coetzee, Ghosh, Hartman, Naipaul, Ondaatje, Kincaid, Soyinka, Walcott, and Wicomb. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700F. Introduction to Modernism: Past, Future, Exile, Home.
An introduction to European Modernism with an emphasis on British Literature. We will address ideas of personal and national history through literary and aesthetic innovations of the first half of the 20th century, as well as the relationship--literary, cultural, historical and psychological--between constructions of home and abroad. Texts include James, Conrad, Forster, Joyce, Proust, Woolf, Faulkner, Waugh, and Freud, as well as films by Sergei Eisenstein and Fritz Lang. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700G. American Fiction and Mass Culture.
How have American fiction writers responded to the growing national influence of mass culture industries such as recorded music, film, and television? This course will consider this question by assessing both how writers have imagined the impact of mass culture on American life and how the style of literary writing has evolved in relation to popular media. Authors include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanael West, Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, and Don Delillo. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700J. Contemporary British Fiction.
This course is an introduction to the study of 20th century literature in English. We consider central terms of and approaches to literary criticism by reading some of the most important British writers of the last fifty years. We will also take into account theories of culture, ideology and nationhood, and attempt to bring into focus a Britain defined as much by its ways of looking as by historical and geopolitical situation. Readings include Kingsley Amis, Greene, McEwan, Zadie Smith, Spark, Kelman, Banville, Naipaul and Sebald. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700K. 20th-Century Literatures in English.
This course offers a broad introduction to a range of literatures written in English, tracing shifts in the formal conventions of fiction and poetry. We examine ongoing debates about what literature is and what social role it plays. We consider how these debates respond to historical changes such as industrialization, the collapse of global empires, and movements for social equality. Writers include Dreiser, Woolf, Eliot, Hughes, Toomer, Cather, Morrison, Hwang, Rushdie. Enrollment limited to 30. Students should register for ENGL 0700K S01 and will be assigned to conference sections by the instructors during the first week of class.
ENGL 0700L. Make It New: American Literature 1900-1945.
Introductory survey of a major—perhaps the major—period of American literature. Genres include poems, plays, short stories, and novels, as well as film. Writers include Willa Cather, Raymond Chandler, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O'Neill, Gertrude Stein, and Wallace Stevens; filmmakers include Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700O. The Great Debate: Wright, Hurston, and the Meaning of Twentieth-Century Black American Literature.
This course will consider the works of Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, perhaps the two most consequential Black writers of the 20th century. We will explore their supposed disagreements and surprising alignments through four critical lenses: their fraught history with the white publishing industry, their representations of the American south, their understanding of art's relationship to politics, and their positioning within the American literary canon today.
ENGL 0700P. Reading Practices: An Introduction to Literary Theory.
What is it to read? This course is an introduction to theories of reading that have shaped literary interpretation and definitions of literature from the early twentieth century to the present, with particular attention to the relation between “literary theory” as a discipline and the broader reading practices it engenders and from which it emerges. We will read the New Criticism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and new historicism, critical race theory and feminist critiques, and recent work in aesthetics. Topics include literariness and textuality, the reader and subjectivity, narrative, rhetoric, and the problem of representation, and "new formalism." Enrollment limited to thirty.
ENGL 0700Q. Poetic Cosmologies.
This course will examine how various traditions within modern and contemporary poetry have addressed the question of materiality. Readings will range from poetic explorations of the archaeologies of place by William Carlos Williams and Charles Olson, to the investigations of non-human materialities of crystals, clouds and bacteria by writers such as Clark Coolidge, Christian Bök and Lisa Robertson. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700R. Modernist Cities.
In the early twentieth century, modernist writers headed for New York, Paris, London and other cities, and based their literary experiments on forms of metropolitan life. We will discuss chance encounters, cosmopolitan and underground nightlife, solitary wandering, and bohemian communities. Writers may include Barnes, Dos Passos, Eliot, Hemingway, Hughes, Larsen, Joyce, McKay, Rhys, Woolf. Enrollment limited to 30.
ENGL 0700U. Modernism and Race.
An exploration of the ways in which assumptions about racial difference are perpetuated or challenged by modernist experiments in form. Readings include W. E. B. DuBois, Joseph Conrad, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Nella Larsen, William Faulkner, and Richard Wright.
ENGL 0710B. African American Literature and the Legacy of Slavery.
Traces the relationship between the African American literary tradition and slavery from the antebellum slave narrative to the flowering of historical novels about slavery at the end of the twentieth century. Positions these texts within specific literary, historical, and political frameworks. Authors may include Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Charles Chesnutt, Octavia Butler, and Toni Morrison.
ENGL 0710E. Postcolonial Tales of Transition.
This course focuses on postcolonial British, Caribbean, and Southern-African works that exemplify, complicate, or refashion the category of the bildungsroman, the "novel of education." Issues to be considered include the ways the texts rework archetypal tropes of initiation, rebellion, development, and the interplay of contradictory passions. We will also think about ways in which issues of race, gender, and sexuality emerge in the texts, and the connections or disjunctions between literature and "the real world." Writers will likely include Dangarembga, CLR James, Ghosh, Ishiguro, Joyce, Kincaid, Lamming, Naipaul, Rhys, Wicomb.
ENGL 0710F. Being There: Bearing Witness in Modern Times.
What is the significance of one who says, "I was there"? This course explores the ethical, literary and historical dimensions of witnessing in an era when traumatic events are increasingly relayed secondhand or recorded in sound and image. Texts include Forster, Woolf, Camus, Freud, Celan, Coetzee; films by Hitchcock and Kurosawa; and readings in law and psychology.
ENGL 0710I. Global South Asia.
This course provides an introduction to contemporary fiction by South Asia and its diaspora. We will read novels written in North America, the Caribbean, Australia, Africa, the United Kingdom, and of course South Asia, paying particular attention to issues of identity, ethnicity, and transnational circulation. Authors include Adiga, Hanif, Lahiri, Meeran, Mistry, Naipaul, Roy, Rushdie, Selvadurai, and Sinha.
ENGL 0710J. Introduction to Asian American Literature.
This course is intended to familiarize students with key issues that have shaped the study of Asian American writings and to provide a sense of the historical conditions out of which those works have emerged. As a literature course, it will focus on textual analysis--on how particular texts give representational shape to the social, historical and psychological experiences they depict. Readings consist primarily of works that have a canonical status within Asian American literary studies but also include newer works that suggest new directions in the field. It also strives to provide some coverage of the major ethnic groups.
ENGL 0710L. Ishiguro, Amongst Others.
Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the most distinctive and enigmatic voices in contemporary fiction. He has few obvious precursors, and there is little consensus among literary critics about the meanings of his works. This course will try to establish principles for reading Ishiguro's works by seeking alliances for his writing in works of philosophy, literature and cinema. Such interlocutors will include Ozu, Kiarostami, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Hadžihalilovič, Dostoevsky, Pasolini.
ENGL 0710M. Impressionism, Consciousness, and Modernism.
This course explores the role of the "literary impressionists" (Crane, James, Conrad, and Ford) in the transformation of the novel from realism to modernism (especially the "post-impressionists" Stein, Joyce, and Woolf). "Impressionism" is defined by its focus on consciousness, the inner life, and the ambiguities of perception. What happens to the novel when writers worry about whether the way they tell their stories is an accurate reflection of how we know the world? Attention will also be paid to how the literary experiments of impressionist and post-impressionist writers relate to simultaneously occurring innovations in the visual arts.
ENGL 0710N. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Lost Generation.
An introduction to two of the most popular and influential American novelists of the twentieth century, Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. We will read many of their most important novels and stories, including The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, In Our Time, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms. In addition we will examine the work of the contemporary American writers who most influenced them: Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, and T. S. Eliot.
ENGL 0710Q. American Literature in the Era of Segregation.
This course examines how American literature intersects with the legal, ethical, and racial discourses that defined the system of racial segregation. In doing so, the course will assess the ways that literary style and genre became inseparable from the culture of segregation. Authors include Mark Twain, Nella Larsen, William Faulkner, and Richard Wright.
ENGL 0710R. Poetry and Science.
This course will explore the relationship between the observational procedures and modes of composition employed by twentieth and twenty-first century poets who have worked in more conceptual or avant-garde traditions and the practices of description and experimentation that have emerged out of history of science. Readings will range from Gertrude Stein’s poetic taxonomies to recent work in critical science studies.
ENGL 0710S. The Eighties: Earnestness to Irony.
From "White Noise" to "Working Girl," Duran Duran to Public Enemy, this course explores the culture, rhetoric, and politics of the 1980s through literature, film, music, and television. What kind of counterculture, if any, emerges from a decade of conservatism, greed and the AIDS epidemic? What, in short, made the 80s unique—and what is the decade's afterimage? Students should register for ENGL 0710S S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 0710T. Reading New York.
How have people imagined New York City from the early 20th century to the present? We will discuss immigration, mobility, nightlife and the neighborhood, downtown, underground and gentrified spaces, 9/11. May include work by John Dos Passos, Nella Larsen, E.B. White, Frank O’Hara, Patti Smith, Nan Goldin, Ernesto Quinones, Jonathan Safran Foer.
ENGL 0710V. Death and Dying in Black Literature.
How is death represented in black literature as a topic and as a figure of genre? Which theoretical ideas help us think about the intertwining of blackness and death? How do notions of gender and sexuality inform this thinking? This course will explore works from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to consider the scope of black literary imaginings of death.
ENGL 0710W. Readings in Black and Queer.
This course will survey works that engage the intersection of black and queer, especially from 1970 onward. We will use the central idioms of queer of color critique to think about performativity, homophobia, the erotic, and gender normativity; and will use this thinking to read literary representations in various novels, poems, nonfiction essays, plays, and films.
ENGL 0710X. Black Poetics.
This course is interested in poetic thinking: how a poem inclines toward a certain kind of knowing; how a poem’s imagining invites philosophical considerations (as in, what is being, and how to be); how a poem’s language and its formal qualities sustain such thinking. We are interested, also, in how poetic thinking reckons (with) blackness.
ENGL 0710Y. Literature of US Inequality, 1945-2020.
Study of the way inequality has been represented in US literature from 1945 to the present. Authors to be considered include Morrison, Updike, Wright, Highsmith, Lee, Adichie, Leavitt.
ENGL 0711A. Americans in Paris.
For many American artists, particularly in the years following the first world war, Paris promised artistic freedom; for others, particularly in the years following the second world war, it promised something closer to actual freedom. This class explores the relationship between these two conceptions of liberty, ranging widely over fiction, poetry, autobiography, essays, dance, music, painting, and photography.
ENGL 0711B. Trans Cultural Production and Trans Studies.
What animates the fields of transgender studies and trans cultural criticism in a moment of assimilation, heightened visibility, and violence? By reflecting on contemporary examples of trans cultural production, including literature, film, and new media, this course explores a wide range of art-making and activism working against state violence. Readings and works by Kai Cheng Thom, Tourmaline, and Leslie Feinberg.
ENGL 0711C. Bad Blood: Conflict and the Family in Literature and Cinema.
The family home, often thought of as a refuge from the outside world, can also be a site of tension, competition, violence and horror. Why does dysfunction in the domestic sphere shock and fascinate us, and why is the gothic so intimately tied to the domestic? Readings and viewings from: Shakespeare, Shelley, Brontë, Wilde, Nabokov, Salinger, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Park Chan-wook.
ENGL 0711D. Literature and Social Mobility.
This class examines cultural narratives about people who rise, fall, or remain stuck within systems of social stratification. We'll consider how such stories are celebrated, critiqued, or otherwise used to make a point about the nature of wealth, debt, discrimination, assimilation, merit, or luck. Readings will consist of novels and memoirs, along with material from disciplines like sociology and economics.
ENGL 0800R. Reading Practices: An Introduction to Literary Theory.
What is it to read? This course is an introduction to theories of reading that have shaped literary interpretation and definitions of literature from the early twentieth century to the present, with particular attention to the relation between “literary theory” as a discipline and the broader reading practices it engenders and from which it emerges. We will read the New Criticism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and new historicism, critical race theory and feminist critiques, and recent work in aesthetics. Topics include literariness and textuality, the reader and subjectivity, narrative, rhetoric, and the problem of representation, and "new formalism." Enrollment limited to thirty.
ENGL 0800S. Blackness in Critical Thought.
This seminar focuses on works of critical theory that hinge on both epistemic and ontological questions of blackness in the (Western) world. Questions to be explored include: What is blackness (not)? Where is it (not)? How is it (not)? Is there blackness before or beyond slavery and colonialism? Are there differences between blackness and black sociality and culture? What are they? Readings include texts by scholars such as Colin Dayan, Saidiya Hartman, and Frank Wilderson III.
ENGL 0900. Critical Reading and Writing I: The Academic Essay.
An introduction to university-level writing. Students produce and revise multiple drafts of essays, practice essential skills of paragraph organization, and develop techniques of critical analysis and research. Readings from a wide range of texts in literature, the media, and academic disciplines. Assignments move from personal response papers to formal academic essays. Enrollment limited to 17. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
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ENGL 0930. Introduction to Creative Nonfiction.
Designed to familiarize students with the techniques and narrative structures of creative nonfiction. Reading and writing focus on personal essays, memoir, science writing, travel writing, and other related subgenres with an emphasis on reading authors with a diversity of racial and ethnic identities. May serve as preparation for any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Writing sample may be required. Enrollment limited. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030A. The Thoughtful Generalist.
This *ONLINE* section of “ENGL1030: Critical Reading and Writing II: Research” will prepare you for academic and real-world discourse. In Canvas, you will discuss essays demonstrating deep research distilled into engaging intellectual journey. You will research and revise four explanatory, analytical, persuasive essays, using varied sources to explore subjects or issues of your choice. Mandatory peer reviews and conferences ONLINE. Enrollment limited to 17. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030C. Writing Science.
This course explores how science, as an academic way of thinking and a method, affects our critical thinking and expression of culture. Readings examine the various dialects of scientific discourse. Students write three major research essays on self-selected scientific topics from both within and outside their fields of study. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030D. Myth + Modern Essay.
A writing and research focused course, in which students read a small selection of ancient texts (including The Epic of Gilgamesh and Ovid’s Metamorphoses) and use the myths retold to illuminate the contemporary world and to inform the essays they write. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030E. Testaments of War.
Discovery is at the heart of research. In this course, we will discover how and why literary texts reflect and illuminate the intellectual and social worlds around them. We will use a variety of primary and theoretical sources and research tools, identify powerful research problems, and craft questions and sophisticated thesis statements. The course will also enable you to refine a critically sensitive, informed, and persuasive writing style that will be key to the success of your scholarly work. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030F. The Artist in the Archives.
While artists can benefit greatly from archival work, they are not typically given the tools to make use of these institutions. This writing intensive course takes a two pronged approach to the problem: embedding students in archives both at Brown and RISD to produce creative, lyrical, and multi-media essays; and exploring how artists have used these institutions for information and inspiration. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030G. Backstory.
Everything has a backstory—every object, event or idea. In this workshop-based course we will explore the archives at Brown, RISD and the Rhode Island Historical Society and write about what we find. Expect field trips, time travel, encounters with interesting objects, readings from David Foster Wallace, John McPhee and Katherine Schultz, and in-class prompts to get you going. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1030H. Black Popular Culture and Social Movements.
As a site of critical inquiry, Black popular culture provides valuable insight into the ways oppressed people (and allies) identify and mobilize against unjust power structures in society. We will begin with immersion experiences with primary and secondary resources that reveal how “voices on the margins” assert agency, identity, and community. Enrollment limited to 17. No pre-requisites. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050A. Narrative.
This course offers a broad exploration of the many kinds of essays you can write in creative nonfiction. We will be looking at how authors structure their pieces and the range of narrative techniques they often use. You can expect workshops, in-class prompts and readings by Jamaica Kincaid, John McPhee, David Foster Wallace, Annie Dillard, David Sedaris and others. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050B. True Stories.
This class will allow confident writers to explore and develop their creative nonfiction writing. We'll focus on two structures--nonfiction narratives and essays--with occasional forays into other forms. Students will work simultaneously on several small assignments and two larger, self-directed pieces. Readings will include cultural reportage, lyric memoir, science and nature writing, standard and hybrid essays. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050C. Creative Nonfiction: Practice and Criticism.
What is Creative Nonfiction? It has a long history and recently writers have flocked to it; scholars have questioned it: Academic enough? Harm the truth? Narrative with too much “I” and too little “Eye”? Literary? Significant? By reading historical and contemporary examples along with critics, we will explore persistent questions about form, method, ethics, and significance. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050D. Lifewriting.
We explore writing's various forms—memoir, diary, essay, graphic narrative, film, and autobiography—while crafting personal narrative. Students read sample texts, view films, and keep an electronic diary. Projects include a memoir, personal critical essay, and final autobiography, as well as shorter assignments.This is a writing workshop, so students read & critique each others work. Individual conferences with the instructor also provide feedback. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050E. Sportswriting.
This course introduces students to the practice of sportswriting, including writing sports news, features, and columns. Readings will include works by Rick Reilly, Bill Simmons, Frank Deford, Karen Russell, Allison Glock, Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, W.C. Heinz, and others. Students will develop skills in analyzing, researching, writing, revising, and workshopping in the genre. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050F. Line Work: Experiments in Short-Form Writing.
This class is based on the premise that to improve your writing, you need to write often. By responding to almost daily drills, you will develop a regular writing habit and explore a range of styles. We will take your most successful pieces through a series of workshops, helping you refine your work and ultimately build a writing portfolio. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050G. Journalism Practicum.
This course provides collegiality and skills development to students working in journalism, including editors at major campus publications--the Brown Daily Herald, the Independent, the Black Star Journal--and interns at external publications. Students submit reflections on their work, goals, and challenges. We workshop best practices, discuss the changing journalism landscape, and build skills for future work. Registration requires instructor approval. S/NC
ENGL 1050H. Writing Journalism.
In this course, students learn to report and write for journalism. You will workshop story ideas; learn how to be a skillful interviewer; conduct research for stories; and learn to write accurately and clearly for general audiences. You will publish three features, along with original multimedia content, on the class's news website. Writing sample required for admission in first week of class. Registration after classes begin requires instructor approval.
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ENGL 1050J. Multimedia Storytelling.
Through a series of short assignments, we will explore how the stories we tell are affected by the use of audio, visual, and performative tools. The course cumulates in a final project where each student will pursue a long-form story of their choice of subject and medium.
Enrollment limited to 12. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050L. Writing in Place: Travel, Ecology, Locality.
To explore the relationships among people, places and language, this course will incorporate science and nature writing, environmental / ecological writing, travel writing, psychogeography and architectural writing. Assignments and practices will include diaries, observational writing, reporting, criticism and more lyrical forms. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050M. Music Writing.
Music writing asks that we take readers across a space not entirely tangible. To listen—with care—and then articulate, with words written, what was heard and what was experienced. Music writing is a big genre, encompassing journalism (especially criticism), memoir (by listeners and by direct participants), long-form essay, and lyric forms. This course will touch upon these categories. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050N. Writing for Today's Electronic Media.
This course introduces students to the practice of reporting for television news, radio, and their online equivalents--online news and podcasts. Exploring the world of communications for contemporary media, the course features hands-on work in writing news, features, and opinion pieces for television, radio, online news, and podcasts. Students will develop skills in analyzing, writing, revising, and workshopping in these media. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050O. Writing the Asian American Experience.
With a focus on narrative nonfiction by and about Asian Americans, this writing workshop is for anyone who wants to learn more about Asian American communities while practicing research skills and writing processes. Pre-requisites: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course.
ENGL 1050P. Reframing Race in Art Writing.
This seminar will consider how contemporary writers and critics respond to art that directly addresses race and challenges institutional power. We will discuss past and recent controversies involving race and representation in exhibitions and examine the relationships between artists, museums and other art institutions, and public audiences. We will consider how writing about arts and culture can advance public discourse about race, equity, and justice. Enrollment limited to 17. No pre-requisites. Writing sample required. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1050Q. Writing the Family.
“You must not tell anyone” writes Hong Kingston’s auto-fictional narrator—and then a book of family secrets follows. This class examines how authors (authorized or not) use their families as subject matter, storying family and family life. Over the term, we’ll work on developing a practical and theoretical ethics of family-writing while contextualizing and practicing writing nonfiction about the family. Enrollment limited to 17. No prerequisites. Writing sample required. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1050R. Writing about Health and Healthcare.
In this course, students create engaging, accurate works of journalism about health, care, and medicine in American life. They practice the elements of good reported narrative: depth of research and insight; evocative scene and description; compelling voice; and clear, engaging sentences. Pursuing independent projects, with opportunities to work in multiple media and encouragement to pitch their stories to outlets, students improve their reporting, writing, and production techniques—while learning about and adhering to journalism ethics. Writing sample required for admission in first week of class. Registration after classes begin requires instructor approval. S/NC
ENGL 1050S. Writing the City.
In this advanced course, students use their journalism skills to create compelling stories about the city of Providence. Choosing from multiple media, students work to shed light on urban issues such as housing, homelessness, education, development, and more. Each student chooses an area of interest and, for the rest of the semester, pursues reporting and writing on that issue. By the end of the semester, students can expect to have produced a portfolio of well-crafted works of journalism, with the goal of having one or more accepted for publication. Writing sample required for admission in first week of class. Registration after classes begin requires instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1050T. Writing with Literature.
This course will help you write about what you’re reading so that you say what you think more accurately, more convincingly, and with effective support from research. Why does some literature excite you, some bore you, some irritate or anger you, and what ideas does it connect to that you can ferret out in your discussions? Works and authors may include Frankenstein, Kindred, James Baldwin’s essays, Jackie Kay’s Trumpet, essays by Clint Smith, Killing Eve, and music lyrics. Class is offered in the Nonfiction Writing Program and includes workshopping. S/NC. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1050U. Writing Graphic Memoir.
This course investigates forms of sequential art/text that develop “real” lives—lives in the Holocaust, lives with cancer, depressed lives, lives in protest, lives in relationship—as a study for writing graphic memoir. How do text and image interact to produce life writing? How do choices about text affect image and vice versa? What can we make by illustrating stories of people’s lives? Course authors include John Lewis, Alison Bechdel, Karen Beaton, Murasaki Yamada, Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman, and others. Student will be producing graphic memoir and should be comfortable with drawing, though not necessarily artists.
ENGL 1050V. Writing Wonder, Joy and Awe.
How can we cultivate a sense of wonder amidst personal and societal challenges? Through close attention to the natural world, their own lived experiences, and the voices of others, students will write towards meaning and truth in personal essays that rely on research and reporting. With inspiration from Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders, Ross Gay’s Inciting Joy, Brian Doyle’s One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder, and other essayists, students will work alone and in a community of writers through the writing process to produce and publish an outward facing component such as a zine. Pre-requisites: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course.
ENGL 1050W. Memoir and Autofiction in the Asian American Diaspora.
What is truth in memoir? What is a lie in autofiction? This course will examine debates about writing about the self as a way for students to consider choices they make as writers. The reading will focus on writing by and about Asian American writers beginning with Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior and Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart through contemporary works such as Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Elaine Castillo’s How to Read Now, including graphic memoirs from Malaka Gharib, Mira Jacob, Thi Bui, and Adrian Tomine, and oral storytelling. Students will study how writers have shaped their life experiences into narrative and explore ways to write and express their own through a creative nonfiction project. Pre-requisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course.
ENGL 1140A. Intellectual Pleasures: Reading/Writing the Literary Text.
Riffing on the generative tensions between intellectual rigor and aesthetic pleasure, this seminar will examine (through the theoretical framework of cognitive poetics) a richly diverse range of literary texts, from Susan Howe to Beowulf. Our objective: to develop an awareness of language that will reshape how we read and how we write literary texts in various genres. Writing centered. Enrollment limited to 12. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. S/NC.
ENGL 1140B. The Public Intellectual.
This course offers advanced writers an opportunity to practice sophisticated, engaged critical writing in academic, personal, and civic modes. Emphasis will be on writing "public" essays (general audience essays that do intellectual work or academic essays that address public topics), ideally in fluid, "hybrid," audience-appropriate forms. Areas of investigation will include (but are not limited to) the review essay, the cultural analysis essay, literary documentary, and the extended persuasive/analytic essay. It will include some brief "touchstone" investigations into rhetorical theory, with the aim of helping to broaden our concepts of audience, analyze the constitutive and imaginative effects of language, increase the real-world effectiveness of our own language practices, and situate our writing within current political, cultural, aesthetic and intellectual debates. Students must have sophomore standing or higher in order to be admitted to the class. A writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930, 1030, or 1050. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1140D. Writing Diversity: A Workshop.
This course explores various forms of writing that address the broad spectrum of human experience, including issues of race, gender, varying physical and mental ability, social class, and inequities resulting from colonization, among others. Students will attempt to understand the issues and each other through class readings and articulating personal responses in writing. Writing sample required. Pre-requisite: ENGL 0900, ENGL 0930, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. S/NC.
ENGL 1140E. Writing for Activists.
How can writing support and further change? In this course students will practice grant applications, budget narratives, mission and strategy statements, press releases, position papers, op-eds, and other writing strategies with practical application in activist work. We’ll read examples and theoretical grounding, and guest speakers will introduce us to writings and needs specific to a range of fields. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1160A. Advanced Feature Writing.
For the advanced writer. Nothing provides people with more pleasure than a “good read.” This journalism seminar helps students develop the skills to spin feature stories that newspaper and magazine readers will stay with from beginning to end, both for print and on-line publications. Students will spend substantial time off-campus conducting in-depth interviews and sharpening their investigative reporting skills. The art of narrative storytelling will be emphasized. Prerequisite: ENGL1050G or 1050H, or published clips submitted before the first week of classes. Class list reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1160B. Editors/Producers.
On-site workshop for editors/producers of campus or local journalism that aspires to professional standards. Students must be chosen by peers to edit a campus publication such as the BDH, or to produce a radio show at WBSR or WBRU; or they must have an internship at a local newspaper, radio or TV station. Required: Minimum 20 hours a week editing/producing; participation in skill-building workshops for staff. All issues/shows evaluated. Enrollment limited to 17. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1160C. Radio Nonfiction.
For advanced writers only. Introduction to radio writing and producing. Students find and research stories, interview, draft, edit and fine-tune for radio presentation. Genres include news, profile, feature and personal narratives, editorial and review. Weekly labs focus on recording equipment, digital editing and mixing, and music use. Final project: half-hour radio feature ready for broadcast. Preference given to students who have taken ENGL0160, advanced nonfiction writing courses, English concentrators, or students who have worked at WBSR or WBRU. A writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1160D. The Common Critic.
For the advanced writer. Aimed at the cultivated consumer of books, magazines and newspapers-- what has traditionally been called the common reader. Students will attend films, plays, art shows, concerts or dance performances and write weekly reviews based on these experiences. Readings include Orwell, Woolf, Shaw, Kael, Tynan, Clive James, Zbigniew Herbert, and current reviews. Writing sample submitted at first class; also a previous sample, if possible, submitted at the same time. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1160E. Advanced Journalism: Investigative and Online Reporting.
The goal of this class is to rigorously test and improve the reporting and nonfiction writing abilities of students seriously considering a career in journalism. By reading award-winning articles; reporting and writing five nonfiction pieces on campus or in Providence; and rigorously critiquing each other's writing, students will gain a sense of the promise and perils of journalism. Prerequisite: ENGL 0160. Enrollment limited to 17.
ENGL 1160F. Reporting Crime and Justice.
Crime and justice stories are people stories. The drama of everyday life is played out every day in courtrooms. This advanced journalism course will get students into the courtrooms, case files and archives of Rhode Island's judicial system and into committee hearings at the State House where they will report on stories that incorporate drama, tension, and narrative storytelling. Prerequisite: ENGL1050G, ENGL1050H or ENGL1160A (Advanced Feature Writing). Enrollment limited to 17. Instructor permission required. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1160G. Literary Journalism: Writing about Politics and Culture.
Students are introduced to procedures and techniques of cultural journalism through reading and discussing work of notable practitioners and writing their own reviews, profiles, and reportage. Enrollment limited to 12. Prerequisites: ENGL0900, ENGL0930, or any intermediate or advanced nonfiction course. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1160H. Social Justice Journalism.
Students will investigate perceived injustices and write carefully crafted nonfiction pieces that present complex stories in a fair, balanced, and accurate way. Students will complete several short pieces and a full-length article suitable for publication. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Prerequisites: ENGL0930 or any 1000 level nonfiction writing course. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1160J. Advanced Journalistic Nonfiction.
For experienced writers. We will study and emulate the works of journalists who write across genres. We will focus on observational skills, narrative arc, the capturing of critical detail, scene setting, character, anecdote, thematic development, precision with words, and voice. Because all such writing is dependent upon quality reporting, we will explore the relationship between fidelity to fact and creativity. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Prerequisites: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1160K. Literary Reportage.
In this course students will develop the skills necessary to writing reported work in a literary style: interviewing, scene writing, research, lyricism, and the like. Through a series of activities students will prepare for and then embark on self-directed research project, resulting in the production of a long-form work of literary nonfiction.
ENGL 1160L. In Order to Write About the Twenty-First-Century City, We First Have to Imagine It.
The city is changing. In the Internet age, the physical city is written over with data, like everything else. The new city, moreover, is not Western, which transforms our notions of urbanity. Students will work towards their own piece of writing about the twenty-first-century city: its new landscapes and characters, its new feelings and intensities. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Not open to first-year or sophomore students. Instructor permission required. Pre-requisites ENGL0900, 0930 or any 1050. S/NC.
ENGL 1160M. Social Justice Journalism in the Digital Age.
This writing class will teach you how to report and craft socially-conscious journalism that is neither dull nor righteous. You will learn about news hooks and angles, compelling central characters, and clever story structures, and how to attract audiences in a distracted visual digital age. Along with long-form narrative we will work multimedia forms: audio, photography, Twitter journalism, and comics. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Prerequisite: ENGL 1050G or ENGL 1050H. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1160N. Investigative Reporting: The Opioid Crisis in Rhode Island.
This advanced reporting class will bring journalism students together with computer science concentrators who together will spend the semester investigating and writing about the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island, a public health crisis that has taken thousands of lives. We will produce a series of eye-opening stories -- to be published in a newspaper of general circulation -- based on data sifting, documents and in-depth interviews. Prerequisite ENGL 1160F. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1160P. Writing Climate, Writing Community.
Students will use writing and other creative and contemplative practices to build, develop and expand creative, generative, and effective ways of thinking, feeling and communicating about climate change, in personal, political, and professional life. Writings include independent/solo writing and research, collaborative work with other students, pitches for publication, and invitations to public engagement. Student-led, seminar-style discussions, workshop discussion of assignments, peer feedback sessions and a robust revision practice will build a portfolio of climate communication and the grounding for a network of creative and community relationships.
ENGL 1180A. Crime Writing.
This course offers students the opportunity to study crime reportage. We will read and analyze excerpts from classics in the genre, magazine articles, and newspaper accounts. Students will develop semester-long individual writing projects covering a particular crime, and can work either with Providence and Brown University police on a local incident, or research a case through secondary source material.
ENGL 1180B. Digital Nonfiction.
In this class, we will join the host of other artists, activists, and writers that have used Twitter bots, iPhone apps, virtual reality experiences, and more to tell compelling stories. No previous digital writing experience is necessary, however, as an advanced creative nonfiction class, Digital Nonfiction requires students to have completed ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Enrollment is limited to 17. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1180C. Advanced Creative Nonfiction: Writing with Food.
This course examines writing about food and how writing affects food and food culture. We shall explore the relationship of food to the pen through reading classic texts, writing in and out of class, guest lectures, and touring culinary archives. The goal is to polish personal voice in menus, recipes, memoir, history, reportage, and the lyric essay. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180D. Concealing and Revealing: Writing the Unsaid.
We'll read and write works that voice what often goes unvoiced, challenge taboos or build silence into their structures. Creative and critical writing assignments, class discussions reading responses and in-class writing will allow us to enter and question these texts, their motives, and their methods. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, 0180, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180E. Lifewriting.
Features theoretical and practical study of lifewriting's various forms--memoir, diary, essay, and autobiography-- and the crafting of personal narrative. Students read books, view films, and keep an electronic diary and paper notebook. Requirements include a personal critical essay and autobiography.
Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180F. Literary Journalism.
Focusing on the craft of literary techniques in a range of journalistic modes, we will read John McPhee, Diane Ackerman, Ian Frazier, Susan Orlean and Tracy Kidder, among others. Workshops and conferences on student work, which can include personal essays, immersion journalism, researched argumentative essays and magazine-style feature articles. Complete and polish several shorter pieces and one longer feature-length article.
ENGL 1180G. Lyricism and Lucidity.
For the advanced writer. This course will explore two subsets of the personal essay that blur or cross boundary lines--the lyric essay and the photographic essay-- in both traditional and experimental formats. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Not open to first year students. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180H. Satire and Humor Writing.
For the advanced writer. This course will introduce students to the practice of writing satire and humorous essays. Readings will include works by Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor, Bill Bryson, David Foster Wallace, David Sedaris, and others, and students will develop skills in analyzing, writing, and workshopping in the genre. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180I. Writing Medical Narrative.
This class will examine the recent turn toward the use of narrative in medicine and the recent trend of published medical narrative. We'll look at literary and cultural narratives of sickness and health and how they shape perceptions and treatments, while keeping the science and politics of health care—and its public discourse—in view. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL0900, ENGL0930, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1180J. Tales of the Real World.
For the advanced writer, this section offers a chance to practice the pleasures and challenges of nonfiction story-telling in the forms of literary journalism, personal essay, and audio narrative. Inspirations include Gay Talese, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, and This American Life. Intensive practice in researching, interviewing, revising, and audio editing. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, 0180, 1050, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180K. The Art of Literary Nonfiction.
For the advanced writer. Based on Roland Barthes' notion of the fragment, this workshop features an incremental, literary approach to writing nonfiction, in both traditional and experimental formats. In response to daily assignments, students will produce numerous short pieces and three extended "essays," to be gathered into a chapbook at the end of the course. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Not open to first year students. Class list reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during first week of classes. Preference given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180L. Travel Writing: In the Domain of the Other.
For the advanced writer. Huck Finn's intention "to light out for the Territory" reflects a pervasive desire to be somewhere else. Restless curiosity about the Other affects travel, writing about travel, and reading about travel. Will concentrate on contemporary travel writers (Heat-Moon, Didion, Chatwin, numerous others) and experiment with various types of narrative structures.
Writing sample required. Prerequisite: EL 13, 16, 18, 114, 116, 118, or 119 (ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190). Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1180M. Special Delivery: Letters and Diaries.
For the advanced writer. While letters and diaries are constrained by "dailiness"--the writer's informal situation in time--they often form the basis of more formal communications, including the novel. We will keep diaries as self-conscious intellectual enterprises and write letters to address their roles in various literary modes. The final project will be an epistolary essay incorporating structures and motifs from both sub-genres. Writing sample required. Instructor permission required. Prerequisite: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor permission. S/NC.
ENGL 1180N. The Longer Literary Essay.
We will focus on reflective essays and researched investigations for the non-scholarly reader, like those in The New Yorker, Science Times, and Harper's. Students learn to develop lengthier pieces, translate technical information, and sustain reader interest. Class consists of discussion of readings, workshops, and occasional visits by professional writers.
Writing sample required. Prerequisite: EL 13, 16, 18, 114, 116, 118, or 119 (ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190). Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1180P. Further Adventures in Creative Nonfiction.
For the advanced writer. A workshop course for students who have taken ENGL 0930 or the equivalent and are looking for further explorations of voice and form. Work can include personal essays, literary journalism and travel writing. Readings from Ian Frazier, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, John McPhee and others. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180Q. Narrating History.
For the advanced writer: the protocols of historical narrative and essay for a general audience. Using the archives of Brown, the Rhode Island Historical Society, and the student's family (if feasible), each writer will research primary and secondary sources, use interviews and oral histories, to help shape three engaging, instructive true stories of the past. Intensive library work, revisions, and peer editing.
Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during first week of classes. Preference given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180R. Travel Writing: Personal and Cultural Narratives.
For the advanced writer. Helps students build skills in the growing genre of travel writing, including techniques for reading, composing, and revising travel pieces. Students will read the best contemporary travel writing in order to develop their own writing in areas like narrative, setting, characters, and voice. The course will feature interactive discussions, instructor conferences, and workshops. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180S. Memoir, the Modern Novel.
Memoir is an ancient form (Augustine, Rousseau) and an American literary standby (Thoreau, Henry Adams) which has exploded in popularity in the past twenty years. We will study its political implications and experiment with this controversial form whose dimensions have barely been explored. We will write new kinds of memoir, stretching our stories towards biography, fiction and historical narrative. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, or 0180. Writing sample required. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. S/NC
ENGL 1180T. A Slice of Life: Writing the Full Length Memoir.
This course, intended for advanced nonfiction writers, will focus on reading and writing successful book-length memoirs. By studying masters of the form, students will develop a sense of what makes a compelling memoir work and how to approach their own. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180U. Testimony.
How does the creative nonfiction writer bear witness to profound political, social, and environmental change? In this course students engage with the world as writers. They will conduct extensive interviews within the Brown community and beyond and will turn those first hand testimonials into a suite of creative nonfiction pieces in various genres including the lyric, personal, “found,” and multi-media essay. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1180V. Contemporary Asian American Writers.
In this advanced writing workshop, we will explore the work of Asian American writers who are engaging with questions of race and ethnicity; self-invention and identity; visibility and representation. We'll consider how authors use writing to give voice to marginalized experiences, preserve cultural memory, and redress injustice. Guest writers will read from and discuss their own work. Prerequisite: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Writing sample required. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writings samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference given to English concentrators. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1180W. Writing About History.
This course introduces students to the practice of writing about history, including crafting news, features, and memoir pieces. Readings include works by Jill Lepore, Ta-Nehisi Coates, David McCullough, Iris Chang, Henry Louis Gates Jr., John Hersey, W.E.B. Du Bois, and others. Students will strengthen skills in primary and secondary research, interviewing, writing, and revision, utilizing Brown’s libraries and other archives. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180X. Anne Carson, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine.
This advanced writing workshop will consider hybridity and formal experimentation through the work of three prominent contemporary practitioners. We’ll examine how the range of formal strategies these authors employ resist the limitations of genre and category, invent new ways of reading and writing nonfiction, and create space for a broader, more inclusive, more expansive possibilities for representing lived experience. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Not open to first-year students. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1180Y. City Journalism.
In this advanced course, students report and write compelling stories about the city of Providence and urban issues such as housing, homelessness, education, development, and more. Each student focuses on an area of interest and, for the rest of the semester, pursues reporting and writing on that issue. By the end of the semester, students produce several well-crafted features, with the goal of having one or more accepted for publication. Writing sample required for admission in first week of class. Registration after classes begin requires instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1180Z. Healthcare Journalism.
In this advanced course, students report and write features about health, care, and medicine in American life. They develop skills in reported narrative: depth of research and insight; evocative scene and description; compelling voice; and clear, engaging sentences. Students analyze exemplary articles and produce features for publication that advance understanding of current public-health, medicine, and other health-related issues. Writing sample required for admission in first week of class. Registration after classes begin requires instructor approval. S/NC
ENGL 1190A. "The Arrangement of Words": Liberating Fiction(s).
We read fiction because we enjoy stories. As critical or astute readers, we are often drawn into something more than the story itself: into the way it is told, into the inflections and constructions of language. Concentrating on American fiction writers 1918-1945 (Hemingway, Faulkner, Welty, O'Connor, others), we will examine their fiction and non-fictional prose to see what they do and how and why. Writing will range from critical exposition to annotated fictional experiments. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. S/NC.
ENGL 1190B. Real Language: Poetics, Romantics, Writing.
For the advanced writer. Concentrates on the first generation Romantics (Wordsworth and Coleridge) and their poetic/aesthetic experiments to correlate "the real language of men" with poetic perception. Along with primary sources (prose and poetry), we read scholarly, critical, and theoretical texts to construct ways of reading English Romantic poetry and then work on different kinds of writing that derive from those readings. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, or 0180, or instructor permission. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor permission. S/NC.
ENGL 1190C. Advanced Creative Nonfiction: Biography.
Biography, one of the oldest forms of creative nonfiction, tells the life story of a person, idea, place, or thing. We consider old and new forms of biography, experiment with those forms, and practice them as a method of inquiry as well as presentation of self. We also explore biography’s connection to journalism, autobiography, memoir, and history. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1190D. Writing About Sports in America.
For the advanced writer. Writing about any sport involves one in complex cultural issues that transcend the sport itself. We'll examine work by such authors as Bissinger, Halberstam and Maraniss for voice, craft, and research methods. Students will be required to produce their own pieces of sports writing that explore, through critical research and analysis, the place of sports within the larger culture. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Prerequisite: EL 13, 16, 18, 114, 116, 118, or 119 (ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190). S/NC.
ENGL 1190F. My So-Called Life: The Art of the Literary Memoir.
The literary memoir offers students inspiration and warning as to the possibilities and limits of using their own experience as text. We study personal essays, narratives, and prose poems by a variety of writers. Advanced writers only. Writing sample required on first day of class. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1190G. Science as Writing, Scientists as Writers.
For the advanced writer. Investigates the ways science, scientists, and science-related issues have been represented in fiction and nonfiction written for general audiences. Writing assignments include an informal online journal, literary/cultural analyses, fiction or personal essay, and scientific journalism. Readings from literary, journalistic, and scientific writers. A background in science is useful but not required. Science and humanities students welcome. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, or 0180. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor permission. S/NC.
ENGL 1190H. Writing Science, Writing the Sacred.
Explores the relationships between two dominant intellectual paradigms-science and religion-and asks students to respond by writing their own "sacred" and science-related texts. Genres to read and write will be poetry and critical/literary nonfiction.
Writing sample required. Prerequisite: EL 13, 16, 18, 114, 116, 118, or 119 (ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190). Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1190I. Writing the Southeast Asian War.
It was the Vietnam War, the American War, the Southeast Asian diaspora. By reading varied genres responding to the experience of the war in Southeast Asia and its aftermath, we will study how any experience is multitudinous and how genres manipulate experience in different ways. Analysis and practice of memoir, fiction, poetry, and oral history.
Writing sample required. Prerequisite: EL 13, 16, 18, 114, 116, 118, or 119 (ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190). Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1190J. African American Language, Literacy, and Culture.
In this course, we will explore the social, educational, and political implications of AAL in the 21st century. Our task is threefold: we will 1) examine AAL semantics, syntax, phonology, and morphology, 2) identify underlying historical and socio-economic forces responsible for shaping AAL, and 3) explore the impact of AAL within Black speech communities and U.S. and global popular culture. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1190K. Literary Biography.
For the advanced writer. How does one narrate the twists and turns of a life while simultaneously doing justice to whatever literature the subject managed to produce as he or she plodded through each day? We will examine examples of literary biographies for, among other things, voice, form, and research methods. Students will be required to produce their own pieces of literary biography. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, or 0180. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor permission. Enrollment limited. S/NC.
ENGL 1190L. Creative Nonfiction: Practice and Criticism.
For advanced writers. What is Creative Nonfiction? Writers have flocked to it; scholars have questioned it. Does it harm the truth? Is it narrative with too much "I" and too little "Eye"? What makes it significant? To help us explore persistent questions about form, point of view, method, and ethics, readings will include historical examples, recent practitioners, editors, and critics. Intensive reading responses, research, drafting, and revision. Two critical essays; one piece of creative nonfiction. Prerequisite: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1190M. The Teaching and Practice of Writing: Writing Fellows Program.
This course prepares students for their work as Writing Fellows. Course readings, activities, and assignments introduce students to: post-process writing theory and pedagogy; data-based investigations of the revision habits of experienced and inexperienced writers; and effective methods for responding to student writing and conferencing with student writers. Enrollment is restricted to undergraduates who have been accepted into the Writing Fellows Program in the preceding July. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1190N. Brown: Writing the Archive.
The archives at and around Brown are primary sources for discovering stories--institutional, historical, personal--of our life across time through local history, personal memory, biography, and cultural critique, combining scholarship, media, and the arts. What opportunities for new writing lie behind doors to be opened across the street? Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1190P. The Art of Memoir in Theory and Practice.
The course introduces students to the historical and theoretical nuances of memoir. You will critically engage with a variety of readings and develop an appreciation of your creative role as a memoirist. In the process of crafting a portfolio of work you will explore the complexities of remembering and experiment with the style of narrative voice and structure. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1190Q. The Essay.
This course offers a feel for the essay and its versatile range, from the informative to the personal to the philosophical. We will study tone and style, meaning, beginnings and endings, and use of historical and personal information. Our focus will be on the craft of writing rather than on literary criticism. Readings include essays by two dozen accomplished writers. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0110, 0130, 0160, 0180, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC
ENGL 1190S. Poetics of Narrative.
Narratives are everywhere, simply there, like life itself, Roland Barthes says; we structure our experiences with narratives that we either infer or create. We will read different literary genres to see how narratives work and what makes them poetic and read theoretical texts to understand narrative function and performance. We will write experimentally to experience how stories are constructed. Pre-requisites: ENGL 0900, 0930, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. S/NC.
ENGL 1190T. Writing the Mythic Life: The Use of Traditional Narrative.
This course explores the theory and practice of traditional narrative structures such as fairy-tale, myth, and legend in creating stories about ourselves. We will read fiction and nonfiction by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, A.S. Byatt, and others, engaging critically with the texts as well as creating new ones modeled on them. Writing assignments will include several short papers and a longer end-of-term project. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0900, 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes.Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1190U. Nature Writing.
This course seeks to develop your skills as a sensitive reader and writer of the natural world. You will build a portfolio of revised work through a process of workshops, tutorials, and conferences, and engage in discussion of a range of written and visual narratives with reference to their personal, political, and ecological contexts. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.
ENGL 1190W. The Fiction of Nonfiction.
Nonfiction texts are fictions in that they deploy the devices of fiction (pacing, voice, etc.), but even more so in that they are constructs (they’re in-formed and made up). In this seminar we will revel in the architectonic of good nonfiction writing. Upending the myth of “objectivity,” we will read as if writing mattered, and write as if reading did.
Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1190X. Nonfiction Now.
Nonfiction Now introduces students to contemporary nonfiction writing through in-person exposure to professional writers, who will visit the course to deliver a craft lecture, read from their latest work and discuss the labor that goes into maintaining a professional writing life. Students will be expected to read the work of the visitor and produce creative work in response. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 30 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.
ENGL 1190Y. Editing as Revision.
This fully gamified course, organized by historically-based writing guilds and their competitors in bookselling, introduces students to content, copy, and proofs editing as revision praxis. Students will edit publishable texts inside an imaginative game-world, learning editing strategies that help expert authors revise scholarly nonfiction—strategies students will find useful in working with their own writing as well. Class will be capped at 17. Prerequisite: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. Open to juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1190Z. The Art of Craft.
What can traditional crafts teach us about our writing? How does building a house or stitching a quilt help us appreciate the ways we can build creative texts? We will consider such questions to help us reflect on our writing as a craft, to invest the key tenets of craft in our writing process, style, and form, and to forge an innovative portfolio of work of which we can feel justly proud. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1191A. The Poet & The Press Release: Rhetoric of Social Change.
We will consider the role of rhetoric, writing, and public narrative in social and political movements through a lens that draws from critical race theory and intersectionality, literary theory, and anti-racist pedagogy. We will read contemporary thought on topics including the politics of literary craft, rhetorics of public writing, epistemic positioning, representation of race and gender, and rhetorical construction of social issues. We will analyze a range of public writing: organizational mission statements, reports, and fundraising appeals; media representations of social and political movements; political statements and policy positions, to ask: What impact does rhetorical framing have on how we address social issues? What are the limitations and possibilities for organizations that construct social justice discourse? How can we intentionally and ethically use rhetoric and writing skills to advance social change?
ENGL 1191B. Special Topics in Nonfiction Writing: Fugitive Letters: The Prison Notebooks.
U.S. carceral spaces are often sites of prolific writing and intellectual production. Yet letters composed by incarcerated individuals have been largely excluded from critical public conversations about institutional racism and prison reform. In this course, we will consider the prison letter as an important genre for racial, social, and economic justice. We will examine rhetorical choices made by prison writers to agitate, posit grievances, assert arguments, and advocate for institutional change. With this insight, we will exchange letters with prison reform activists currently or formerly residing in carceral facilities in the United States.
ENGL 1191C. Everyone’s a Critic: Writing about Art & Culture.
With the rise of social media and online self-publishing platforms, everyone can be a critic, but not everyone’s perspectives shape the larger cultural conversation. In the mainstream, we’ve seen a groundswell of creative production by artists, writers, and makers of color, but the profile of professional cultural critics remains predominantly white and male. And it’s not the identity of the critic in itself that is at issue, but that established critics tend to be unfamiliar with the artistic, intellectual, and conceptual ideas that animate the work of many contemporary non-white artists. In this course, we will read and analyze cultural criticism that centers marginalized perspectives, and illuminates aesthetics and creative practices that engage with race, indigeneity, gender and queerness. We will identify and practice interpretive strategies that resist and re-contextualize dominant ideas of cultural value.
ENGL 1200. Independent Study in Nonfiction Writing.
Tutorial instruction oriented toward some work in progress by the student. Requires submission of a written proposal to a faculty supervisor. Section numbers vary by instructor. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 1310A. Firing the Canon: Early Modern Women's Writing.
Rediscovery and reconsideration of works by early modern women have changed the literary canon; these once-neglected works are becoming mainstream, and they are changing the way we read 'traditional' texts. The reading in this course includes poetry, letters, drama, essays, fiction, and life-writing by authors including Lanyer, Wroth, Cavendish, Behn, Manley, Haywood, Scott, and Montagu.
ENGL 1310B. American Degenerates.
Colonial British-Americans were called, among other names, monstrous, wild, impotent, and grotesque. They could not, it was said, produce writing worth reading. We will explore the ways in which American writers embraced and/or challenged these charges of cultural and bodily degeneracy. In the process, we will examine the development of modern notions of literature and identity. Students should register for ENGL 1310B S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of classes.
ENGL 1310C. Arguments of Form in Renaissance Poetry.
In the literatures of the European Renaissance, stylistic innovation is a marker of cultural change. The production of sonnets, of neoclassical epigrams, and of poems aspiring to be Ovidian or Vergilian opens up a theoretical space for arguments about faith, thought, words, the self, and society. Readings from Wyatt, Surrey, Gascoigne, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Milton, and others.
ENGL 1310D. Between Gods and Beasts: The Renaissance Ovid.
Ovid's Metamorphoses, an epic compendium of classical myths, narrates with wit and pathos the transformations of body and mind wrought by sexual passion. Central to Renaissance conceptions of the human, it inspired drama, poetry, and narrative. Readings: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Spenser, Milton.
ENGL 1310E. Border Crossings in Renaissance Drama.
Investigates how distant peoples and places, from Ireland to the West Indies, from East to West, are constructed for the English stage. We will read Marlowe's Tamburlaine, Fletcher's Island Princess, Heywood's Fair Maid of the West, the anonymous Stukeley play, Shakespeare's Othello, and Daborne's A Christian Turned Turk to observe what dangers and freedoms these plays ascribe to specific geographies.
ENGL 1310F. Early Modern Utopias.
Why does the early modern period witness a flourishing of utopias from More to Milton? We will explore this question, in reading a range of utopias by writers such as Montaigne, More, Ralegh, Bacon, Hall, and Cavendish, engaging them not just as visions of ideal societies, but as efforts at reform of England and Englishness.
ENGL 1310H. The Origins of American Literature.
Where does American literature begin? Can it be said to have a single point of origin? Can writings by people who did not consider themselves American be the source of our national literary tradition? Does such a tradition even exist and, if so, what are its main characteristics? How does one understand the various diverse traditions that constitute American literature, including African-American, Native American, and many others, into a single object of study--or does one even need to? Authors may include de Vaca, Anne Bradstreet, Benjamin Franklin, and Phillis Wheatley.
ENGL 1310J. Imagining the Individual in Renaissance England.
How did the men and women of 16th- and 17th- century England apprehend themselves as individual human subjects? In relation to the law and the state? As creatures of God? As humanists interrogating the texts of the past? Readings include works by More, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Wyatt, Erasmus, Luther, Tyndale, Askew, Hooker, Hebert, Donne, Browne, de Montaigne, Ascham, Jonson, and Herrick.
ENGL 1310N. Renaissance Drama.
An introduction to the great classics and some less-known gems of a stellar period in English drama. Plays by Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, Middleton, and Ford, in the context of urban culture, English nationhood, gender and sexuality, playhouses and playing companies, and forms of theatricality.
ENGL 1310O. Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Literature.
A survey of writing and cultural history in England between 1660 and 1750, emphasizing innovation and experimentation in drama, satire, poetry, and fiction. Readings include work by Behn, Rochester, Swift, and Defoe.
ENGL 1310S. Women and the Book in the Middle Ages.
We will read texts authored by medieval women such as Marie de France, Marjorie Kempe, Julian of Norwich, and Christine de Pizan, and we will explore other textual roles of women, including book ownership and patronage, translation and scribal transmission. The result? A complex picture of mediated and mediating female participants in manuscript culture. Some readings in Middle English.
ENGL 1310T. Chaucer.
Texts in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer including the romance Troilus and Criseyde; dream vision poems Book of the Duchess, House of Fame, and Parliament of Fowls; Chaucer's translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy; his shorter poems; and two Canterbury Tales. Prior knowledge of Middle English not required. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1310U. Monsters, Giants, and Fantastic Landscapes in Early American Literature.
Monsters, giants, "exotic natives," and unknown continents fill the pages of early American writing. Examines how the well-known and obscure writers of early America used the strange and the fabulous to suggest new ways of being normal.
ENGL 1310V. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales.
Middle English narratives by Geoffrey Chaucer's band of fictional pilgrims, read in their 14th-century historical and literary contexts. Prior knowledge of Middle English not required. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1310W. English Poetry and the Renaissance.
The names of Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Milton, and other poets inscribe a golden age of poetry in the cultural mythography of English-language literature. Who are these poets and what stories are told about them? In their time? During the long eighteenth century? By Wordsworth and Browning? By Eliot, the high modernists, and postmoderns?
ENGL 1310Y. Besides Paradise Lost: Milton's Other Poems.
A study of Milton's lyric and dramatic poetry, including the sonnets, Latin poems, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, the Nativity Ode, Lycidas, Comus, the verse epistles and Samson Agonistes.
ENGL 1310Z. Three Great Poets: Shakespeare, Donne, Milton.
We will study these premier Renaissance poets from all angles possible, to understand the historical situations and political issues that shaped their writing, the authors and ideas that influenced them, the traditional forms they appropriated for new purposes. Most of all, we will study them to appreciate the power of poetry as a source of knowledge and inspiration. It is recommended that students should have already taken a course in reading poetry, such as ENGL0910A How to Read a Poem or ENGL0400A Introduction to Shakespeare. Students who have taken ENGL0210E may not register for this course.
ENGL 1311A. Milton's Paradise Lost: Poetry and Belief.
Milton, Blake wrote, was of the devil's party without knowing it, and this course offers close reading of the language of Paradise Lost as poetry of belief: how does the poetry of Milton's major poem embody belief and doubt for him, in history, and for his readers?
ENGL 1311B. Medieval Zoographies and the Origins of the Human.
This course engages with medieval texts and contemporary theory to attempt to understand the shifting boundaries between humans and animals, as we examine the premodern roots of the discussion over what it has historically meant to be human, and what might come next. Topics will include beast fables and epics, nature and artifice, emotions, the soul, simulacra, sacrifice, and hunting.
ENGL 1311C. Milton.
A close examination of the poetry and prose of John Milton, from the early lyrics to the polemical prose writings of the 1640s and 50s, to the masterpieces Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1311E. History of the English Language.
Provides an introduction to the study of the English language from a historical, linguistic, and philological perspective, and an overview of the study of the "Englishes" that populate our globe. While providing students with the ability to identify and explain language change through historical periods, also examines language as a social and political phenomenon.
ENGL 1311G. Shakespeare, Love and Friendship.
Shakespeare portrays friends who are compared to a "double cherry"; a lover who wants to cut her beloved out in little stars; and subjects who sweat with desire to see their kings. How does Shakespeare imagine the possibilities and pitfalls of affection, whether personal or political? What happens to that affection when Shakespeare is adapted into film?
ENGL 1311H. Sagas Without Borders: Multilingual Literatures of Early England.
This course traces evolutions of the hero in Old English, Norse, Welsh, and Irish narratives within and around early medieval England. Introduction to genres of saga, romance, and the short poetic lai, as students consider how the nature of the hero changes in specific cultural and linguistic moments. Texts in modern English translation. Essays will focus on close textual readings. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1311L. From Mead-Hall to Mordor: The Celtic and Germanic Roots of Tolkien’s Fiction.
This course traces the sources used by J.R.R. Tolkien in writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, including tales drawn from Old English, Norse, Welsh, and Irish literatures. You will be introduced to different medieval genres as you consider how the nature and gender of the hero change in specific cultural and linguistic moments.
ENGL 1311M. Renaissance Poetry and Its Kinds.
English poetry from 1500-1650 traces a revolutionary arc of poetic invention remarkable for diverse individual voices and literary kinds. Forms such as lyric, heroic, pastoral, satiric, epistle, and epigram embraced concerns that were at once affective, political, and religious. How does this variety constitute literature? Wyatt, Surrey, Raleigh, Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Donne, Jonson, Herrick, Herbert, Crashaw, Milton.
ENGL 1311N. England and the Renaissance.
New approaches to Latin and Greek letters—the studia humanitatis—that flourished in 14th century Italy rapidly emerged in England in the early 16th century. What does it mean to claim that England had a renaissance? Texts include More's Utopia and Richard III, Erasmus’s Praise of Folly, Ascham’s Scholemaster, poetry from Wyatt and Surrey through Jonson, Donne, Herrick, and Milton.
ENGL 1360A. The Stage as Globe in Renaissance Drama.
Investigates how distant peoples and places, from Ireland to the West Indies, from East to West, are constructed for the English stage. We will read Marlowe's Tamburlaine, Fletcher's Island Princess, Heywood's Fair Maid of the West, the anonymous Stukeley play, Shakespeare's Othello, and Daborne's A Christian Turned Turk to observe what dangers and freedoms these plays ascribe to specific geographies. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1360B. Inventing Britain.
Focuses on the internal colonization of the British Isles as represented by chronicle histories, drama, masques, and epic and lyric poetry: How do the English define themselves as a center striving to incorporate the British periphery? Authors may include Spenser, Shakespeare, King James I, Bacon, Jonson, Milton, and Marvel.
ENGL 1360C. Language and Form in Shakespearean Studies.
Shakespeare's poems and plays are a working dictionary of early modern English and an inventory of the possibilities of formal invention in early modern culture. How can we reach a historically informed awareness of form and formality in Shakespeare? What is the history of formalism in Shakespearean studies? What new modes of inquiry issue from questions of form?
ENGL 1360D. Medieval Manuscript Studies: Paleography, Codicology, and Interpretation.
How to read a medieval manuscript. Students will learn to transcribe and date 5th- through 16th-century scripts in Old and Middle English and some Latin texts, and will learn about interpretive methods. Prior course work in Middle English recommended, and acquaintance with Latin and/or Old English and/or Old French and/or medieval Spanish helpful.
ENGL 1360F. Quest, Vision, Diaspora: Medieval Journey Narratives.
Medieval texts explored ideas of self, love, rite-of-passage, spirituality, and group identity through narratives of travel, both imagined and real. We will read romance quests that foray to fairylands and wastelands, visionary journeys to hell, pilgrimages of self discovery, an epic exodus that founds King Arthur's nation, and a 14th-century round-the-world travelogue. Chaucer, Malory, Kempe, Mandeville, Layamon, Anonymous. Middle English readings. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1360H. Introduction to the Old English Language.
This course offers a thorough introduction to the earliest period of English language and literature. We begin with an extensive coverage of grammar and syntax before reading short texts and a few Old English poems, including The Battle of Brunanburh and Judith. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1360J. Middle English Literature.
In the age of Chaucer, literature in Middle English ranged from lyrics to romance narratives to mystery plays and medieval genres like dream visions and debate poems. This course will introduce students to reading texts like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Owl and the Nightingale in their original Middle English. No prerequisites. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1360K. Shakespeare and Company.
Shakespeare belonged to a community of actors and playwrights who competed for audiences in a fledgling entertainment industry. How do his plays compare to those of Marlowe or Jonson, Middleton or Webster? Reading Shakespeare in tandem with his contemporaries, we will consider the genres, sources, styles and conventions they shared, the issues that concerned them, and their differing artistic perspectives. Prerequisite: ENGL 0310A or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1360M. Spenser, Milton, and the Politics of the English Epic.
We will read the literary and political writings of England's two major authors of epic -- Spenser and Milton -- assessing their investment in contemporary debates about nation and conquest, rule and liberty, and sexuality and selfhood. Along with the major poems, we will read these authors' shorter literary and political writings.
ENGL 1360N. Shakespeare and European Culture.
How do Shakespeare's works embody and transform the cultures of Europe? What is his relationship to ancient Greece and Rome? To the moral and political philosophies of the sixteenth century? To contemporary literary fashion?
ENGL 1360O. The Ties that Bind: Renaissance Revenge Plays.
From revenge plays to domestic tragedies, family is a value to kill and die for in Renaissance drama. This course considers the cultural pressures such violence responds to, the contaminations it guards against, and explores the political life of these violent domestic affairs. Works by Kyd, Shakespeare, Heywood, Webster, and Middleton. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1360P. Shakespearean Tragedy.
We will read in depth early, middle and late tragedies by Shakespeare, attending to the genre as understood in the Renaissance and as Shakespeare developed it, along with critical readings that explore tragic form. Oral presentations, short papers, and a final research paper. Prerequisite: ENGL 0310A or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1360R. Modernism and the Early Modern: 17th-Century.
Did human nature become modern in the seventeenth century or did modern people just think so? This course will study style, science, politics and cultural transactions in this period of revolution and restoration, examining such texts as Donne's satires and epistles and Eliot's high modernist essays on the division of human nature in this period. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1360S. Between Gods and Beasts: The Renaissance Ovid.
Ovid's Metamorphoses, an epic compendium of classical myths, narrates with wit and pathos the transformations of body and mind wrought by sexual passion. Central to Renaissance conceptions of the human, it inspired drama, poetry, and narrative. Readings: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Spenser, Milton. Students who have taken ENGL 1310D may not register for this course. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1360T. Eco-Shakespeare.
Do Shakespeare's plays register and respond to the ecological crises of his day, including deforestation, land enclosure, climate change, and animal exploitation? Or, are they complicit in the ideologies that instated these practices? What kind of relation do Shakespeare's plays envision as underpinning the natural and the cultural realms and how does this differ from modern conceptions? We will seek answers to such questions by considering the plays' use of pastoral tropes and green worlds, but also by analyzing the inter-animating dynamics they stage between subject and environment. Enrollment limited to 23. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1360U. Europe in the Vernacular.
Why did a few early medieval European authors write not in Latin or Arabic but in vernacular languages like Castilian, Early Middle English, Old Icelandic, or Old French? We will read primary texts by Layamon, Alfonso X, Dante, troubadours and anonymous others, and assess previous claims about the "rise of the individual" and various proto-nationalisms as we rewrite the story of how, why, and for whom multilingual vernacular writings came to be. Readings in modern English supplemented by medieval languages. Enrollment limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Sophomores require instructor permission to register.
ENGL 1360Z. Shakespeare and Embodiment.
Consideration of a number of Shakespearean texts including the erotic narrative poem “Venus and Adonis,” the early revenge drama Titus Andronicus, the history Henry IV, pt. 1, the tragedy of Othello, among others, and their various representations of the body: as subject to violence, gender and desire, sovereignty and history. Attention to Shakespeare’s rewriting of Ovid, novelle, and chronicle history. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first year students.
ENGL 1361A. Fantasies of Milton.
Paradise Lost has served as the basis for numerous fantasy novels. Even Comus has become a (supposedly inappropriate) children's story. How can a seventeenth-century poet's treatment of temptation, disobedience, reason and self-regard come to seem relevant in the present? What do contemporary writers feel compelled to preserve and to change? How might we reimagine Milton? Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1361D. Women's Voices in Medieval Literature.
This course explores literary works from the early medieval period, both literature by women and literature that represents women’s voices and desires. Traditions examined will include the Old and Middle English, Norse, Welsh, and Irish. The course provides insight into the construction of premodern sexualities as well as into the cultural and social histories of multiple national traditions.
ENGL 1361F. Spenser and Shakespeare.
A comparative study of theme, form, and genre based upon paired works: Shakespeare’s Sonnets/ Amoretti; Faerie Queene I/King Lear; Faerie Queene III/Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Winter's Tale, Tempest, Venus and Adonis; Shepheardes Calender/As You Like It. Weekly short interpretative exercises (250-500 words) submitted as CANVAS discussions; draft (1250 words) and final essay (3000 words). Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1361G. Tolkien and the Renaissance.
This course explores the work of J.R.R. Tolkien alongside Renaissance forbears such as Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton and others. Topics to include love and friendship, good and evil, violence and nonviolence, and how literature offers distinctive forms of life. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1361J. Seminar in Old Norse-Icelandic Language and Literature.
This course offers a thorough introduction to a language both closely related to Old English and in which survives one of the richest medieval literatures. We will start with an extensive coverage of grammar and syntax before reading short excerpts from sagas including Egil’s Saga and Grettir’s Saga. Enrollment limited to 20; knowledge of Old English, Latin, or German advised.
ENGL 1361K. Seminar in the Old English Language II.
This course continues the work of Introduction to the Old English Language, which is a prerequisite. We will translate short poems including The Wanderer and The Wife’s Lament and possibly make inroads on Beowulf, while exploring history, cultural context, and changes in Old English studies. Projects include a midterm examination, research presentation, and final paper, as well as daily translations. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1361L. Milton.
A recent book provocatively asked: “Is Milton better than Shakespeare?” Whatever one makes of that question, Milton wrote extraordinary poems in the principal modes of Renaissance verse. This course studies in detail many of those works, including the culturally monumental Paradise Lost. We’ll also take into account the shape of Milton’s authorial career and his always interesting ways with genre. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1361N. Evil Plays: Shakespeare.
Coleridge posited of the villainous Iago a “motiveless malignancy.” That is, the evil he performs exceeds any reason provided. We’ll consider the question of evil in Shakespeare’s tragedies Titus Andronicus (which pushes the logic of revenge past its breaking point); Macbeth; Othello; King Lear. Because Renaissance drama is more than Shakespeare, we’ll also consider spectacularizations of evil in his contemporaries Ford, Webster, and Middleton. Not open to first-year students. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1361Q. Medieval Race.
In this course, we will explore the historically specific contours of race in England and interrelated cultural regions during the High and Late Middle Ages, as well as learn and practice how to read Middle English. No previous knowledge of medieval literature or Middle English necessary. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1380. Undergraduate Independent Study in Medieval and Early Modern Literatures.
Tutorial instruction oriented toward a literary research topic. Section numbers vary by instructor. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1510A. Jane Austen and Her Predecessors: The Other History of the Novel.
This course focuses on the novels of Jane Austen — from Sense and Sensibility to Persuasion. The course first establishes some familiarity with the earlier women writers of narrative fiction, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the development of the novel and of Austen's place in that rich tradition. Additional readings include work by Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Charlotte Lennox, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Mary Wollstonecraft.
ENGL 1510B. Liberalism and American Culture.
A course in the relationship between the rise of liberalism and American literary history. Writings from Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, Fuller, Rowson, Twain, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
ENGL 1510D. The Literature of the American South.
The South is as much a state of mind as a place on the map, and some of the major figures in American literature have contributed to the making of what we think of when we think of "the South." Explores sometimes contradictory but always important meanings of the American South. Authors include Poe, Douglass, and Twain.
ENGL 1510E. American Renaissance.
An intensive reading in American literature between 1820 and 1860, with special attention to Romanticism, race and slavery, and the historical novel.
ENGL 1510H. Why the Novel Happened.
Readings in "early " novels of 18th-century England and in more recent explanations of the novel's rise to dominance as a popular modern genre. How have changing ideas of truth, virtue, gender, money, politics, history, or the human subject interacted with the practices of narrative fiction? Writers to be considered include Behn, Haywood, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Lewis, Watt, Lukacs, McKeon, and Bakhtin.
ENGL 1510I. The Novel from Defoe to Austen.
How and why did the novel become the dominant literary mode? This course considers the "rise" of the novel during the "long" eighteenth century. Beginning with Behn and Defoe, readings include works by Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Smollett, Lewis, and Godwin.
ENGL 1510J. Eighteenth-Century Women Writers.
Rediscovery and reconsideration of works by women during the eighteenth century are changing the literary canon: works by women are becoming mainstream, and they are changing the way we read 'traditional' texts. This course includes poetry, drama, fiction, letters, diaries, and essays by writers including Manley, Haywood, Centlivre, Scott, Fielding, Montagu, Sheridan, Burney, Radcliffe, and Wollstonecraft.
ENGL 1510L. Fiction and Mass Media in Nineteenth-Century England and America.
Explores critiques of the mass media from Carlyle and Arnold to Benjamin and McLuhan by way of a reading of important works of popular Anglo-American fiction of the 19th century. Criticism includes essays by Carlyle, Arnold, Benjamin, and McLuhan; literature includes fiction by Poe, Dickens, Melville, Stevenson, and James.
ENGL 1510M. From Melville to Modernism: The American Novel 1851-1909.
A survey of American fiction in the latter half of the nineteenth century. We will examine the ways narrative form helped shape modern America's increasingly fractured sense of identity, focusing specifically on questions of imitation and authenticity, race and nationalism. Writers will include Twain, Stein, Wharton, Crane, Chopin, and Chesnutt.
ENGL 1510O. Inventing Race in America.
What is "race"? Where does it come from? This course argues that categories of racial difference-far from being fixed or natural-have emerged from within writing. We trace the emergence of "race" in America from the late 16th century to the present day by reading 17th-century British colonial writing, 18th-century racial scientists, Jefferson, Crevecoeur, Melville, Faulkner, Mukherjee, and Silko.
ENGL 1510R. Location and Dislocation in the Late Nineteenth-Century American Novel.
Focuses on the two dominant literary modes of the late 19th century: realism and naturalism. We try to generate working definitions of these two methods in order to understand the ways narrative form shaped Americans' increasingly fractured sense of identity. Writers include Twain, James, Crane, Cahan, Jewett, Chopin, and Chesnutt.
ENGL 1510S. Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetes, and Decadents.
Looks at both Pre-Raphaelite literature and painting, and the reading includes Browning, the Rossettis, Morris, and Swinburne. The painters include both early hard-edge photographic Pre-Raphaelites and the erotic medievalism of Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and the followers. The course will focus on the tensions in Pre-Raphaelitism between realism and fantasy, fact and symbol, body and spirit.
ENGL 1510T. Swift and His Contemporaries.
Swift's works are central to this course's investigation of literature, politics, and society, Anglo-Irish relations, and the great outpouring of satire in English in the early 18th century. Irony, parody, and mock-heroics inventively transform genres while challenging "abuses" of learning, government, religion, colonialism, and even love. Other writers include Congreve, Manley, Addison, Steele, Montagu, Pope, and Gay.
ENGL 1510V. Civil Rights and American Literature.
An examination of the relations between legal theory and practice and literature, with a particular emphasis on the nature and significance of those relations in the historical development of American discourses of civil rights. Readings include Thoreau, Douglass, Wright, and Perry, and legal theorists such as Dworkin, Unger, Cardozo, and Fish.
ENGL 1510W. George Eliot.
The course will study George Eliot's major works, including Adam Bede, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda, as well as examples of her essays and criticism. We will consider her experiments with literary realism, which helped secure for the novel form a position as high art. Giving attention to George Eliot's emphasis on conflicting ethical systems, from sympathy, utilitarian economics, and theology, to theories of physiological necessity, we will also examine the question of choice--including personal, women¿s social, professional, and marriage choices--that lies at the heart of many of her novels.
ENGL 1510X. The Early American Novel.
A reading of diverse genres of the early American novel, between 1790 and 1860, including the seduction novel, frontier romance, historical fiction, and the antislavery novel. What was the novel's cultural role? Writers include Susanna Rowson, Brockden Brown, Hawthorne, Stowe, and William Wells Brown.
ENGL 1510Z. The Realist Age: American Literature at the Turn of the Century.
What do we mean when we call a novel realistic? When did the term first start being used, and why? This class attempts to answer these questions by studying the emergence of realism as the dominant American literary form at the turn of the century. Writers will include Mark Twain, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, and Charles Chesnutt.
ENGL 1511A. American Literature and the Civil War.
An examination of the way the Civil War is represented in American literature from Reconstruction to the present. Authors to be considered include Grant, Twain, Dixon, Chesnutt, DuBois, Faulkner, Morrison, Ellison.
ENGL 1511B. The Victorian Novel.
Challenges the notion of a Great Tradition or mainstream Victorian novel by looking at the proliferation of subgenres-e.g., sensation fiction, crime fiction, thug fiction, colonial adventures stories-for which the period is known. Includes novels by Mary Shelley, the Brontës, Dickens, Mrs. Henry Wood, Eliot, Hardy, Stevenson, Haggard, Stoker, and Wilde.
ENGL 1511C. Lincoln, Whitman, and The Civil War.
A literary and cultural history of the Civil War with special emphasis on Whitman's poetry and Lincoln's addresses and letters. It focuses on issues of race, democracy, and modernity.
ENGL 1511E. Monsters, Giants, and Fantastic Landscapes.
Monsters, giants, and exotic landscapes fill the pages of much writing in English before 1900. We will examine the ways in which a number of writers before 1900 use the strange and the fabulous to suggest new ways of understanding what it means to be normal. Authors may include Columbus, Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, and Poe.
ENGL 1511F. Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads.
An introduction to and close reading of the Lyrical Ballads, one of the most radical and innovative volumes in British Romantic literature. We will pay special attention to the aesthetic, historical, ethical, and political dimensions of the text, patiently working through the poems and prefaces, as well as reading antecedent texts, in order to understand why the book was an experiment for its authors, and what are its enduring effects on our contemporary moment.
ENGL 1511G. Dickens and Others.
An introduction to the novels of Charles Dickens (1812-1870) that considers these works in relation to other important intellectual, historical, and literary developments of mid-19th-century England. Special attention given to the political, social, and philosophical significance of "others" in Dickens's writing and in related works from the period. In addition to a set of Dickens's novels, readings include selections from Mill, Arnold, Marx, Tennyson, Eliot, and others.
ENGL 1511H. Literature of the American Renaissance.
A survey of the major figures of mid-19th-century American literature, with a particular emphasis on how the writers of the period engaged the political and legal issues informing the sectional conflict on the eve of the Civil War. Authors to be considered include Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Stowe, Douglass, Brown, Jacobs, and Whitman. Students who have taken ENGL 0600F may not register for this course.
ENGL 1511I. Culture and Anarchy.
This course will trace the development of the concept of culture from its origin in conflict generated by the universalizing mission of the Enlightenment into a variety of literary and philosophical writings in 19th-century British literature. Readings from Rousseau, Kant, Herder, Burke, Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, Carlyle, Thoreau, Emerson, Tennyson, Arnold, and George Eliot.
ENGL 1511J. The Rise of American Realism.
Realist fiction is traditionally associated with France (Honoré Balzac, Émile Zola) and England (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot). We will read a number of important American realist writers (including Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, Henry James, and Theodore Dreiser) in order to understand what might be distinctive about American realism and what it might owe to its European forerunner.
ENGL 1511K. Gothic Novels and Romantic Poems.
The difference between "high Romantic" poetry and Gothic popular fiction blurs when we look closely at these haunted and haunting texts. This seminar will examine some major Romantic poems by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Byron in tandem with Gothic novels by Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Jane Austen, and Mary Shelley.
ENGL 1511L. On Being Bored.
This course explores texts/films that represent and formally express states of non-productivity or non-desire. Beginning with the Enlightenment and romantic periods, we will reflect on narratives with neither progress nor plot, characters that resist characterization, and poems that deny assertion and revelation. Authors include: Kleist, Kant, Rousseau, Coleridge, de Quincey, Keats, Blanchot, Levinas, Beckett, Ashbery, Schuyler.
ENGL 1511M. Victorian Self and Society.
This multi-genre course studies literature and culture of the Victorian period, looking at the changing ideas of society and the individual's place within that larger community in an age of empire, industrialization, urbanization, class conflict, and religious crisis. Topics include conceptions of the role of art and culture in society, the railway mania of the 1840s, women’s suffrage and the condition of women, and the Great Exhibition of 1851. Readings (essays, poems, stories, plays, and novels) by Carlyle, Charlotte Brontë, Ruskin, Robert Browning, Dickens, Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, and Lewis Carroll.
ENGL 1511N. Liberalism, Empire, and the American Novel.
An historical consideration of how the novel in the United States addresses the relations between American liberalism and the projection of US sovereign authority into international contexts. Topics to be considered include: Manifest Destiny and the frontier; Reconstruction and the rise of imperial America; World War II and the Cold War; and the United States at the end of History.
ENGL 1511O. American Poetry I: Puritans through the Nineteenth Century.
Survey of the invention and development of American poetic traditions. Readings include Bradstreet, Taylor, Wheatley, Freneau, Bryant, Emerson, Poe, Whitman, Melville, Dickinson, and Frost.
ENGL 1511P. Realism, Modernism, Postmodernism: The American Novel and its Traditions.
This course charts the course of American novel from the Civil War to the present. We will attend to the development of a distinctly novelistic literary tradition in American writing over the period and to the interactions between this tradition of literary novel writing and the emergence commercial novelistic generic forms (ie. the detective novel, science fiction). We will also consider the novel’s relations to alternative literary modes (narrative history, the sketch, the short story, the occasional essay) and to alternative media (film, television, music). Melville, Twain, DuBois, James, Fitzgerald, Hammett, Hurston, Wright, Nabokov, Butler, Morrison, Dick, Didion.
ENGL 1511Q. Melville, Conrad, and the Sea.
This class reads a number of the major works of Melville and Conrad in order to ask a number of questions crucial to understanding modern narrative: the relationship between realism and the romance (the sea being both the setting for adventure and a place of work); how, why, and by whom stories are told and passed on (the sea being both the place where ‘tall tales’ are told and where they are set); the role of the eye-witness (how do you prove you saw what no else has seen). Texts include "Moby Dick," "Billy Budd," "Lord Jim," and "Heart of Darkness."
ENGL 1511R. Scandalous Victorians.
This course examines the literature and culture of Victorian Britain through the lens of scandal. Particular attention will be paid to questions of gender, sexuality, class and social mobility, and national and imperial identity, as well as to the dynamics of scandal and the processes of social change.
ENGL 1511S. The Victorian Novel and/as the History of Sexuality.
Might the modern hetero- and homosexual be Victorian constructions that have really "stuck"? We will explore how the Victorian novel contributed to the cultural labor of joining sexuality to a sense of the self, and then pitched in on the effort to meld romance, love, and sexuality into marital relationships. Domesticity, obsession, heterophobia, the Malthusian unconsciousness, and erotic versus romantic friendship will be some of the issues discussed. We will also branch out into issues of pleasure and desire more broadly in Victorian culture. Authors will include Brontë, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, Charlotte Yonge, and Wilde.
ENGL 1511T. Victorian Inequality.
From “Dickensian” workhouses to shady financiers, Victorian literature has provided touchstones for discussions of inequality today. This course will investigate how writers responded to the experience of inequality in Victorian Britain. Considering multiple axes of inequality, we will explore topics such as poverty and class conflict, social mobility, urbanization, gender, education, Empire, and labor.
ENGL 1511U. Melville, Poe, and American Modernity.
The class will be guided by the premise that the writings of Poe and Melville reflect mid-19th century modernity.To support this claim we will look into their experimentation with narrative structure and ask whether the absence of clearly delineated characters in their stories is related to the emergence of urban crowds, practices of dehumanization employed in New York and Philadelphia prisons and hospitals.
ENGL 1511V. Nature and the Self in Victorian Poetry.
The major works of Victorian poetry, spanning from the end of the Romantic period to the beginnings of Modernist poetry: roughly 1840 to 1890. We will be reading Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Alfred Tennyson in detail, as well as critical writing and political poetry from the period.
ENGL 1511Y. Emily Dickinson and the Theory of Lyric Form.
This class examines the extraordinary work of Emily Dickinson in an attempt to understand what lyric poetry is and how it works. We will read a generous sampling of Dickinson’s poetry as well as a number of the major theoretical accounts of the lyric. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1560A. Jane Austen and George Eliot.
A survey of the major novels of Austen and Eliot. Readings will also include contemporary reviews and responses, letters, and Eliot's critical prose, as well as literary theory and criticism addressing questions such as novelistic form, realism and narrativity, the problem of the subject, the politics of aesthetics, and the changing status of the woman writer in the 19th century. Enrollment limited to 20 seniors and juniors. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1560B. Melville.
A seminar looking closely at the relation between the life and literary work of Herman Melville, with an extended reading of his masterpiece, Moby-Dick. The course will look at the history of writing and publishing during Melville's era and consider some of his contemporaries like Hawthorne and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1560E. The Modern Self and Its Others.
How do eighteenth-century representations of personal and public identity mark the emergence of the modern 'subject' as defined by gender, race, nation, language, and the body? Readings will include selections by Swift, Pope, Montague, Stern, Johnson, and Berney.
ENGL 1560F. Nineteenth-Century American Imperialism.
Examines a number of different types of texts-novels, essays, journalism, oral narratives-in order to trace the connections between the internal colonialism of America in the nineteenth century and U.S. colonial ventures in the Caribbean, Asia, and Latin America. Writers to include Melville, Twain, Marti, Black Elk, Crane, Du Bois, and Roosevelt.
ENGL 1560G. Romantic Orientalism.
Representations of "the East" in British writing and visual art from 1775 to 1825. Historical and theoretical accounts of "orientalism" and analysis of the political and ideological sources and consequences of "orientalist" representation. Readings in Wordsworth, Coleridge, Owenson, DeQuincey, Byron, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley.
ENGL 1560H. The Victorian Novel.
What specific historical conditions can be seen to have led to the emergence of the novel as a leading literary form in the Victorian era? What cultural work was it called upon to perform? How does it address broader philosophical, economic, political and social questions of the Victorian era? Authors include Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, Stevenson, and Conrad.
ENGL 1560M. Orientalism and the Place of Literature.
Literary representations of "the East" from the Enlightenment through Modernism and their relation to changing conceptions of the meaning and value of "literature" itself. Thinking about "place" in representational, geopolitical, and institutional terms. Readings from the "Arabian Nights," Mary Wortley Montagu, Oliver Goldsmith, Coleridge, Byron, De Quincey, Kipling, Michael Ondaatje, and others; theoretical and historical perspectives from Said, Williams, Eagleton, and others.
ENGL 1560N. Eighteenth-Century Novel.
The 18th century marks the beginning of the novel as we know it. This course considers the "rise" of fiction during the "long" eighteenth century. Beginning with Behn, Haywood and Defoe, readings include works by Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Smollett, Lewis, and Godwin.
ENGL 1560O. Slavery and American Literature.
This course examines the ways in which slavery is represented in 19th-century American literature. We will consider efforts to delineate the social practices and effects of chattel slavery and deployments of slavery as a form of political rhetoric. Readings include works by Douglass, Jacobs, Stowe, Melville, Howells, Twain, and DuBois.
ENGL 1560Q. The Poetry of Politics: Baudelaire, Arnold, Whitman.
Explores the special challenge to the traditional form of lyric poetry posed by the post-industrial modern city of the mid-19th century. We will study the poetry and prose of Charles Baudelaire, Matthew Arnold, and Walt Whitman as responses to the urban conditions represented by mid-19th-century Paris, London, and New York. Motifs to be considered include modernity, commodification, and crowds. Priority will be given to junior and senior concentrators in English, Comparative Literature, Modern Culture and Media, and French Studies. First-year students and sophomores may request permission by email to take the course.
ENGL 1560R. From Frankenstein to Einstein: Literature and Science from 1800 to 1950.
Science and literature as interrelated ways of knowing and learning, focusing on questions of language, observation, interpretation, and value. Themes include utopias and dystopias, evolution and degeneration, man and machine, entropy and chaos, and the relationship between literary imagination and scientific creativity. Readings include poems, plays, novels, and essays (Shelley, Arnold, Doyle, Poe, Wells, Kafka, Stoppard) alongside a range of scientific writing (Darwin, Huxley, Freud, Gould, James Watson) and philosophy of science (Popper, Feyerabend, Kuhn). Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 1560S. Forms of American Realism, 1865-1945.
An inquiry into the nature of realism and an examination of its various historical manifestations-literary, legal, political, and aesthetic-between the Civil War and World War II. Authors to be considered include DeForest, Chesnutt, Twain, Howells, Norris, Gilman, Wharton, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Hurston, and Wright. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1560T. Literature, Religion, and "Culture Wars" in America.
This course examines important moments where religious and literary histories converge. It reads "classic" American literary works in context of ongoing conflicts between evangelical and secular forces in American life, and it thinks about literature as an arena where these very categories are contested and revised. Major readings will include works by John Winthrop, Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, African American women preachers, Emerson, Mark Twain, and Flannery O'Connor. Enrollment restricted.
ENGL 1560U. Radicals and Conservatives: the later 18th Century.
The relationship between literature and society is demonstrated by conservatives like "Dictionary" Johnson as well as by radicals like visionary Blake. Readings include works by Johnson, Boswell, Burke, Gibbon, Sterne, Burney, Wollstonecraft, Godwin, and Blake. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1560V. The Lives of a Text.
Books are composed not merely of concepts. They are material objects whose forms, functions, and value can vary widely. We will make use of rare editions at the John Hay Library to help us explore both the literary content of works and their production and dissemination in various formats and for various audiences. Authors may include Shakespeare, Poe, and Fitzgerald. Enrollment limited to 15. Not open to first year students.
ENGL 1560W. Getting Emotional: Passionate Theories.
This course examines connections between emotion, feeling, and affect in several key texts from 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century literatures. We will ask how and why affect becomes a central concept for writers and thinkers in the Enlightenment, and chart the ways in which affect productively opens up onto contemporary theorizations of identity, gender, sexuality, and race. Possible authors include: Wordsworth, Austen, Blake, Equiano, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Wilde, Pater, Kant, Melville, Hofmansthal, Hume. Films by Todd Haynes, McQueen, Campion, Frampton. Theoretical readings by Berlant, Ellison, Terada, Deleuze, Stewart. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1560X. Transatlantic America.
What was "transatlantic" culture in colonial and 19th-century America? How did American writers continue to engage and respond to English culture? Franklin, Emerson, Sedgwick, Paine, Addison and Steele, Carlyle, and others. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1560Y. The Ethics of Romanticism.
An exploration of the intersections of moral philosophy and Romantic literature and culture. Writers studied may include Smith, Hume, Bentham, Hazlitt, Hegel, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Godwin, Equiano, Austen. We will consider how writings of the Enlightenment and Romantic period differently reflect upon problems of knowledge, otherness, identity, community, and aesthetics, and how these reflections are related to the ethical imagination. We will also juxtapose our selections with several recent theoretical debates. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1560Z. Time and Narrative.
This course studies fiction that experiments with the representation of time alongside philosophical and critical texts on the theory of time. We will consider how engagements with the question of time shape the structures, language, characters, plots, themes, and goals of narrative, looking at topics such as time and language, story and narration, memory and history. We will also consider the impact of technological and social developments on the sense of time (the wristwatch, the telegraph, railway timetables). Authors include St. Augustine, Laurence Sterne, John Locke, David Hume, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Virginia Woolf. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1561C. Swift and His Contemporaries.
Jonathan Swift's works are central to this course's investigation of early 18th-century literature and culture. The reading focuses on the period as an "information age" energized by issues not unlike those of our own time: partisan politics, money, proliferation of new forms of textuality, globalization, changing views on gender and sexuality, love, religion, and war. The emphasis will be on irony, parody, and satire. Other writers include Congreve, Defoe, Manley, Pope, Gay, Montagu, Addison, and Steele. Students who have taken ENGL 1510T may not register for this course. Not open to first-year students or students who have taken ENGL1510T. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1561D. Writing and the Ruins of Empire.
An exploration of literary representations of "empire" and "imperialism" from the 18th century to the present. Readings in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volney's Ruins of Empire, and a wide range of 19th- and 20th-century texts. Some consideration of theories of imperialism and of visual representations of cultures of empire. Enrollment limited to 20. Prior coursework in 18th- and 19th-century literature advised.
ENGL 1561E. The Western.
An examination of the formula Western in American fiction, art, and cinema, with a view toward situating the genre within urban middle-class culture in the late 19th- and 20th-century United States. Authors to be considered include Twain, Harte, Crane, Austin, Cather, Doctorow, Reed, Leonard, and L'Amour. Films: Destry Rides Again, Stagecoach, Rio Bravo, The Seven Samurai, Fistful of Dollars, Dirty Harry, The Man from Laramie, Paint your Wagon, Act of Violence, among others. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561F. Sacred Readings: The Bible, Biblical Interpretation, and Victorian Literature.
Bible reading in terms of apocalyptic and other prophecies permeates Victorian literature, coloring ideas of politics, gender, character, and the arts in ways that seem a secret code. The course therefore reads works by Charlotte Brontë, the Brownings, Carlyle, Hopkins, Newman, the Rossettis, Ruskin, and Swinburne in light of once common ideas of typology, prophecy, and apocalypse. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561G. Swift, Pope, Johnson.
The course provides in-depth study of three major writers of the eighteenth century and will include cultural contexts. Readings include Gulliver's Travels, The Rape of the Lock, and Rasselas. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561H. The Brain and the Book: Thinking and Reading in the Victorian Novel.
Considers two nineteenth-century novels in light of theories of cognition, both nineteenth-century and contemporary. This course proposes to study how some of the foundational questions of literary study—the nature of language, the location of meaning, the experience of reading, the power of metaphor, and the sources of creative thought—can also be studied from the perspective of mental science. We will read two Victorian novels in serial installments simultaneously, alongside shorter readings. Limited to juniors and seniors only. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561I. The Nineteenth-Century Novel.
This seminar examines how British and French nineteenth-century novels thematize history, memory, representation and desire. Authors to be studied include Austen, Stendhal, Balzac, Dickens, Flaubert, Eliot, and, if time allows, James and/or Proust. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561J. The Poetics of Confession.
This course explores the theoretical structures and models of confession in various literary and cinematic sources, with a special emphasis on work from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Authors might include: St. Augustine, Rousseau, De Quincey, Foucault, Wordsworth, Bronte, Wilde.
ENGL 1561K. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama.
After almost two decades of closure, public theaters re-opened in 1660. This new beginning occasioned new plays, new kinds of performance and production, and new intersections between the stage and society. We will study works by Etherege, Wycherly, Congreve, Dryden, Behn, Gay, Lillo, Sheridan, and others. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1561L. Revolution, War, Poetry: Wordsworth in the 1790s.
William Wordsworth's poetic experiments during the 1790s are often said to have invented modern poetry as the poetry of consciousness; they are also efforts to find language adequate to a time of revolution, war, and modernity. This seminar examines texts by various writers of the revolutionary era, but focuses on Wordsworth's poetry from the early 1790s to the 1805 Prelude. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1561M. American Literature and the Corporation.
A study of the development of the American novel from the Civil War to the present in light of the emergence of the corporation as the principal unit of economic enterprise in the United States. We will survey corporate theory from Lippmann to Collins, and use it to frame the novel's development from realism through modernism into postmodernism. Corporate theorists to be considered: Lippmann, Dewey, Berle, Drucker, Mayo, Demming, Friedman, Coase. Novelists to be considered: Twain, Dreiser, Wharton, Stein, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Wright, Ellison, McCullers, Reed, Gaddis, Morrison. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561N. What is an Author?: Poe, Hawthorne, Dickinson.
What does it mean to be identified as an “author”? How did the practices of writing and reading change in 19th-century America? This course addresses such questions by reconsidering the literary careers of Hawthorn, Poe, and Emily Dickinson. Our work will investigate literary culture and book history, focusing on 19th-century. authors, readers, magazines, publishing, criticism, and popular media. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561P. Henry James and the Art of the Novel.
Henry James wrote about fiction as a form of experience: "The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implications of things." He advises the writer, "Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!" In this course we will read James's critical writings and his major works in the novel and short story.
ENGL 1561Q. Emily Dickinson.
An intensive reading of the work of Emily Dickinson in the context of her most important poetic predecessors and heirs. Other poets we will be reading will include John Donne, John Keats, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, and Susan Howe. Students will be expected to have some familiarity with reading lyric poetry. Limited to 20 junior and senior concentrators in English, Comparative Literature, Literary Arts, French Studies, Hispanic Studies, Italian Studies.
ENGL 1561S. Gender and Sexuality in Victorian Literature.
This seminar explores the constructions and the highly charged cultural significance of gender and sexuality in the literature of Victorian Britain. Readings include a selection of fiction, poetry, and prose writing by authors such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Emily Brontë; Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Mary Elizabeth Braddon; Dante Gabriel Rossetti; Christina Rossetti; Robert Louis Stevenson; and Thomas Hardy. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561T. The Sensational and the Real In Victorian Fiction.
This course will focus on the Victorian novel, which has been called the period’s greatest artistic achievement. In particular we will explore two modes through which novels engaged the turbulent experience of their time: realism and sensation. We will examine how these different novelistic modes tackled the issues of gender, sexuality, class, and personal and community identity. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561U. Oedipus in Myth, Tragedy, and Theory.
This course is an intensive study of Oedipus Rex, as well as an introduction to the debates and responses it has occasioned. It spans several disciplines, from the classics to philosophy to psychoanalysis to literary theory, following the trajectory of this single figure. Readings: Sophocles, Aristotle, Hegel, Rancière, Girard, Foucault, Freud, and Bernard Williams. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561W. On Being Bored.
This course will explore how and why certain texts and films represent states of non-productivity or non-desire. Beginning with writings from the Enlightenment and Romantic periods, we will move into contemporary theoretical and aesthetic reflections on the links between art and worklessness: narratives with neither progress nor plot, characters that resist characterization, as well as poems and films that resist emphatic assertion and revelation. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1561Y. In Excess: Rossetti, Hopkins, Wilde.
This seminar will be a focused close reading of three late Victorian writers whose works might be described as radically excessive insofar as they transgress and push beyond the limits of social, ethical, aesthetic, sexual, and political conventions. What does it mean to describe a text as excessive, and how can excess be considered as a constitutive part of its form? We will concentrate on poetry, plays, and theoretical texts, putting our authors into conversation with contemporary thinkers of excess. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1562B. Somebodies, Nobodies, and Other Others: 18th-Century Women's Writing.
Women wrote and published in unprecedented numbers for the first time during the eighteenth century. Recovery of their important work is ongoing. Revolution, globalization, and other changes in private and public life prompted writers like Elizabeth Haywood, Mary Montagu, Ann Finch, Charlotte Lennox, Frances Sheridan, Mary Wollstonecraft, Frances Burney to redefine gender roles and challenge cultural prohibitions against female authorship. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1580. Undergraduate Independent Study in the Enlightenment and the Rise of National Literatures.
Tutorial instruction oriented toward a literary research topic. Section numbers vary by instructor. Instructor's permission required.
ENGL 1710A. "Extravagant" Texts: Advanced Studies in Asian American Literatures.
Examines Asian American writings that are difficult, complex, and/or experimental-that are, in Kingston's phrase, "extravagant." Explores the issue of what is at stake-politically and aesthetically-in writing that explicitly challenges the generic conventions with which much Asian American literature is linked: autobiography, the Bildungsroman, ethnography, realism, and sentimentalism.
ENGL 1710B. American Vertigo: How the World Sees the U.S..
Why does America exercise such an extraordinary attraction for foreign writers? And why, moreover, is the America that appears in those writings so often unrecognizable? This class examines the representation of American life from DeTocqueville to Henry-Levy, looking at work by Amis, Antonioni, Adorno, Nabokov, Kincaid, and others. Two lectures and one discussion meeting weekly. Students will be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 1710C. Race and Nation in American Literture.
From the heyday of literary realism through the rise of modernism, race definitively shaped the national literature of the U.S. This course will consider representations of racial identities in relation to key historical and aesthetic developments within these two periods. Authors include Mark Twain, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Stephen Crane, William Faulkner, and John Fante.
ENGL 1710D. Anglo-American Nonfiction: Sages, Satirists,and New Journalists.
After examining the relations between fiction and nonfiction, the class will consider the work of Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, and others within contexts created by essayists (Montaigne), satirists (Swift), and Nineteenth-century sages ( Carlyle, Thoreau, Nightingale, and Ruskin). The class will become acquainted with various nonfictional forms including prose satire, the meditative essay, sage-writing, autobiography, and travel literature.
ENGL 1710E. Reading Race in Black + Yellow:Comparative Studies in 20th-C African American + Asian American Fictn.
Focusing on pairs of African American and Asian American works that address parallel concerns, we explore the continuities and discontinuities between these literary traditions. Authors we examine may include: James Weldon Johnson and Winnifred Eaton, Richard Wright and Carlos Bulosan, Chang-rae Lee and Toni Morrison, Karen Tei Yamashita and Caryl Phillips.
ENGL 1710F. Tribe, Nation, and Race in African Fiction.
How do major African novelists represent the interplay of tribe, nation, and race in African societies? This course will introduce students to key themes and contexts of African literature in English. We will read the work of the writers for the historical sources and conceptual implications of these categories in modern Africa. Writers include Achebe, Emecheta, Farah, Ngugi, and Vera.
ENGL 1710G. Faulkner.
In examining Faulkner's major works from the early stream-of-consciousness novels through the history-driven and race-inflected texts of the 30s and 40s, this course will evaluate Faulkner's practice as a writer working both in and against Southern culture, and as Modernist writing within an international context. Issues include narrative experimentation, race, class, gender, and the evolution of Faulkner's work. Students should register for ENGL 1710G S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 1710H. Black Internationalism and African American Literature.
The notion that African Americans are an extension of a global racial community has been a fixture of black politics and culture for more than a century. In this course, we will consider how the concept of global racial alliance has shaped black political resistance, literary practice, and critical theory. Likely writers include DuBois, Hughes, McKay, and Wideman.
ENGL 1710I. Harlem Renaissance: The Politics of Culture.
The Harlem Renaissance was a remarkable flowering of culture in post-war New York as well as a social movement that advanced political agendas for the nation. This course takes up the relationship between literature and politics by exploring such matters as the urbanization of black America, the representation of the black poor, the influence of white patronage, and the rise of primitivism. Writers may include Hughes, Hurston, Larsen, Fisher, Locke, and McKay.
ENGL 1710J. Modern African Literature.
This course considers themes, antecedents, and contexts of modern African literature and related forms. Our readings will include fiction in English or in translation, traditional oral forms like panegyric and festival poetry, and some films. We will examine how these diverse materials explore the interplay of ethnicity, nationality, and race. We will also address the issue of "tradition" in contexts where nationalisms of various stripes are becoming stronger, even as the world becomes more interconnected through trade, immigration, and digital technology. Authors will include Achebe, Adichie, Dangarembga, Kourouma, Ngugi, Salih, Soyinka, Wicomb. Films by Kouyaté, Loreau, Sembène.
ENGL 1710K. Literature and the Problem of Poverty.
This course explores poverty as a political and aesthetic problem for American writers. Examines the ways that writers have imagined the poor as dangerous others, agents of urban decay, bearers of folk culture, and engines of class revolt. Authors include Stephen Crane, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright.
ENGL 1710L. Modernism and Everyday Life.
We will examine modernist literature in the context of contemporary art, psychology, and theories of everyday life to ask how this period understood ordinary objects and events. Could they be the proper subject matter of art? In the right circumstances, might they actually be art? Writers may include Woolf, Joyce, Williams, Eliot, Stein, James, Freud, deCerteau. One previous literature class required.
ENGL 1710M. Nationalizing Narratives: Race, Nationalism, and the American Novel.
While American novels can imagine the nation as a multiracial unity, they also provide potent critiques of white supremacy, giving literary form to the cultural expressions of communities of color. We examine novelistic visions of the nation by writers like Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Viet Nguyen along with critical anatomies of nationalism by theorists like Benedict Anderson and Etienne Balibar. Not open to first year students.
ENGL 1710N. Photography and the American Novel.
Traces the impact made by the emerging medium of photography on American fiction from its very beginnings until the present. Our focus will be on the varying strategies adopted by novelists in response to the representational challenges posed by photography. Writers include Hawthorne, Nabokov, Faulkner, Hurston, Citron, Eugenides, and Barthes. Students should register for ENGL 1710N S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 1710O. The Dead and the Living.
Readings in literature, theory, psychoanalysis, philosophy and law examine how the relation between the dead and the living shapes the concerns of modernist narrative and thought. Topics include "Living with the Dead," " Haunting and Knowing," "Writing Lives," "Dreaming and Waking," and "Picturing the Dead." Readings include Joyce, Conrad, Woolf, Forster, and Greene as well as Freud, Lacan, Benjamin, and Barthes.
ENGL 1710P. The Literature and Culture of Black Power Reconsidered.
This course reexamines the Black Power movement as a signal development in American literature and culture. We will read classics from the period with a view toward reassessing the nuances and complexities of their form and politics. At the same time, we will recover less familiar texts that complicate conventional understandings of what defines this movement. Authors include Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver, John Edgar Wideman, Ernest Gaines, and Amiri Baraka.
ENGL 1710Q. Bloomsbury and Modernism.
The contribution of the avant-garde “Bloomsbury Group” to the development of literary modernism. The focus will be on the central literary figures (Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and T. S. Eliot), but attention will also be paid to the visual arts (Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, and Post-Impressionism) and to social criticism (Lytton Strachey, Leonard Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes).
ENGL 1710S. Writing War.
Examines the challenges that war poses to representation, and particularly to language and literary expression in the modern era. We will focus primarily on the First and Second World Wars, exploring the specific pressures war puts on novels and poetry, as well as on history, psychology, and ethics. Works by Sassoon, Owen, Barbusse, Brittain, Woolf, Rebecca West, Graham Greene, Pat Barker, Marc Bloch.
ENGL 1710W. Literary Impressionism.
An examination of the role of "literary impressionism" in the transformation of the novel from realism to modernism. Writers studied include Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, Ford Madox Ford, and Virginia Woolf. Close analysis of their narrative methods for dramatizing consciousness, with attention to the political and ethical implications of impressionism’s focus on the inner life.
ENGL 1710Y. American Literature and the Cold War.
A study of American literature in the context of the broad intellectual culture--strategic, ideological, philosophical, aesthetic, and economic--engendered by the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1991. We will assess the role of the bomb, McCarthyism, game theory, the military industrial complex, and strategic doctrines of containment and deterrence in the rise of postmodernism in American literature. Authors to be considered include Bellow, Highsmith, Millar, Ellison, McCarthy, Mailer, Pynchon, Wideman, Coover, Delillo. Students should register for ENGL 1710Y S01 and may be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 1711A. American Poetry II: Modernism.
Study of modernist American poetry. Readings include Pound, Eliot, Stevens, Williams, H.D., Moore, Hughes, and others.
ENGL 1711B. Modernist Fiction.
Readings in British and American fiction and culture in the early 20th century, with particular attention to the relationships between modernist literary experiment and contemporary questions about empire, race, the changing status of women, and the grounds of literary authority. Writers may include Conrad, H.D., Joyce, Larsen, Lawrence, Rhys, Toomer, Woolf. Two lectures and one discussion meeting weekly. Students will be assigned to conference sections by the instructor during the first week of class.
ENGL 1711C. Modernist Henry James.
How consciousness knows the world was a topic of endless fascination to Henry James. By dramatizing the workings of consciousness, James transformed the novel and led the way to modernism. In addition to the aesthetic significance of his experiments with point of view, the course will also analyze the ethical consequences of his insistence on life’s ambiguities.
ENGL 1711D. Reading New York.
This course explores narratives of New York City in a variety of genres, from the early 20th century to the present. Topics include immigration, mobility, cosmopolitanism and the neighborhood, cruising, gentrification, post-9/11. Work by John Dos Passos, Nella Larsen, E.B. White, Jane Jacobs, Frank O’Hara, Samuel Delany, Patti Smith, Nan Goldin, Ernesto Quinones, Teju Cole. Prerequisite: one previous literature course.
ENGL 1711E. African American Literature After 1975.
This course examines major authors and currents in African American literary writing from 1975 through the present. The class positions these works in relation to historical developments such as the rise of black nationalism, the evolution of a distinctive black feminist tradition, and the growing social divisions within the African American community. Authors include Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Colson Whitehead, and John Wideman.
ENGL 1711H. Lyric Concepts: The Question of Identity in Modern and Contemporary Poetry.
The lyric within contemporary poetry has often been associated with a desire to express a subjective relation to interior experience while experimental traditions have often imagined the poem as a site of formal or conceptual play devoid of specific concerns of identity. This course draws on poets such as Rankine, Moten, Robertson, Hejinian and the critical tools of affect theory to trouble these distinctions.
ENGL 1711J. Art for an Undivided Earth / Transnational Approaches to Indigenous Art and Activism.
The tension between indigenous literary nationalism and methodologies of cosmopolitanism and transnationalism have animated contemporary Native literary studies. At stake is the very meaning of indigeneity itself—how does indigeneity function on a global scale? How do hemispheric approaches to indigeneity transform our understanding of histories of colonialism? How have artists made connections across space without flattening the specificity of their locations?
ENGL 1711K. The Politics of Perspective: Post-war British Fiction.
Offers an overview of British fiction from the last 50 years in order to consider how Englishness, as (i) a set of images and (ii) a mode of looking, has changed. The course covers 3 distinct periods (post-War period, Thatcherism, the New Labour epoch and beyond) and, is intended as an introduction to theories of culture, ideology and literary analysis and to some of the most important British writers of the last fifty years.
ENGL 1711L. Contemporary Black Women's Literature.
Examination of black women’s literature in the post- Civil Rights period. Foregrounding complexities of black womanhood, course investigates how black women have used writing to revise history, assert agency, manufacture beauty, and redress personal and group injury. Emphasis on the intersections of precarity and power, race and rebellion, pastness and black feminist futurity within the context of Africana women’s literary legacies. Specific attention paid to the aesthetics of form and the interrelations of race, class, sexuality, generation and nation. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1711N. Monsters in our Midst: The Plantation and the Woods in Trans-American Literature.
This course focuses on how literary and visual culture grappled with land as a topographic entity in relation to race, gender, and time. Students read literature about the Caribbean and parts of the U.S., produced from the 19th century to the present. Readings include Marlon James's The Book of Night Women and Jean Rhys's Wide Saragasso Sea.
ENGL 1711O. Radical Pasts, Radical Futures: Literature and the Left.
This course examines American literary representations of leftist social movements in the late twentieth century, including the antiwar movement, anticolonialism, and Black Power nationalism. The class explores autobiographical and journalistic accounts published during the U.S. counterculture as well as novels that present this radicalism after its decline. Authors include Norman Mailer, Angela Davis, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow, and John Wideman.
ENGL 1711Q. Poetic Modernisms: Now!.
This course is a survey of modernist poetry that explores how key works by figures such as Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Marianne Moore have continued to shape poetic forms and possibilities throughout the twentieth century and into the contemporary moment.
ENGL 1711S. James Baldwin.
This course is an introduction to the oeuvre of James Baldwin. Celebrity, Civil Rights spokesperson, social critic, and black queer writer of international renown, James Baldwin wrote prolifically over decades and across literary genres, including novels, essays, plays. He once characterized his trenchant critiques of the failures of US democracy as a practice of love. Foregrounding love as a mode of study, an ethic of care, and the practice of critique, our class will grapple lovingly with the life, literary and legacy of James Baldwin.
ENGL 1711T. 1984: The Myth and the Moment.
Since George Orwell’s 1949 publication of Nineteen Eight-Four, the year 1984 has loomed large in our imagination. We delve into this year as both an idea and a watershed moment. Historically, it was the year of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s maiden voyage; ongoing famine in Ethiopia; the continuing Cold War; the Macintosh computer; and the shooting of four African-American teenagers on the New York subway. Culturally, 1984 brought us Ghostbusters and The Terminator; Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine and Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Prince's Purple Rain; the creation of Tetris; and the rise of the infomercial. By focusing on a single year, we consider how culture and politics intertwine in an unfolding history, and how myths animate lived experience. Works by Erdrich, Kundera, John Edgar Wideman, Jayne Anne Phillips, Martin Amis, in addition to film, television, and music.
ENGL 1711V. Everyday Ornaments: Feminist Poetics and Time.
“What shall our new ornaments be? How should we adorn mortality now?,” asks the poet Lisa Robertson in her introduction to The Weather, a book that is itself dedicated to the everyday practices of atmospheric description. This class will examine how feminist poetic practices can transform the nonmonumental realm of day-to day life through documenting, description, performance, and ornamentation. In addition to Robertson, Gertrude Stein, Lyn Hejinian, Emily Dickinson, Anne Boyer, CA Conrad, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and others, we will look especially closely at the writings of Bernadette Mayer, who, in her book Midwinter Day, attempts to exhaustively document a single day, December 22, 1978.
ENGL 1760A. Joyce and Woolf.
Intensive study of two of the most innovative and influential modern British novelists, with an emphasis on the relation between their formal experiments and their political engagements. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1760B. Contemporary African American Literature and the End(s) of Identity.
African American writers and intellectuals have begun to question the wisdom of defining black identity in terms that overemphasize the shared racial and cultural heritage of black people. Course assesses a range of literary and scholarly writing that engages these concerns. Explores such topics as the growing class division among African Americans, the effects of integration, the decline of nationalism, and the visibility of sexual minorities. Likely authors include Johnson, Morrison, Wideman, Beatty, and Senna. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1760C. Body and Event in Contemporary Fiction.
Discusses the recent turn to the body and mortality in contemporary fiction, and considers the proposition that episodes of dismemberment in contemporary fiction stand in for the dismantlement of the literary text itself. Readings include Selby, Ellis, Cooper, Acker, Frame, Deleuze, Butler, Blanchot. Enrollment limited to seniors, juniors, and sophomores. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 1760D. Race and Detection: American Crime Narratives.
We examine American crime narratives, focusing on their representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Writers studied may include James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Sue Grafton, Chester Himes, Walter Mosley, and Mark Twain.
ENGL 1760E. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
We will read novels, essays, diaries, and letters by Woolf in order to ask how and why Virginia Woolf haunts our culture and to consider her status as a cultural icon. The seminar will explore her work in the contexts of history, modernism, and literary influences, and it will examine the dimensions of Woolf's afterlife--a posthumous dynamic that shapes issues in art, politics, and gender. Enrollment limited to 20 seniors and juniors.
ENGL 1760F. City, Culture, and Literature in the Early Twentieth Century.
How did changes in the city shape early 20th-century literature? How does the literature of this period--whether avant-garde or documentary, progressive or conservative--shape the way we imagine the city? Topics may include urban spectacle, mobility and segregation, the neighborhood and the crowd. Authors include Dos Passos, Eliot, Larsen, Orwell, Woolf, Wright. Prerequisite: two previous literature courses. Priority to English and Urban Studies concentrators.
ENGL 1760G. American and British Poetry Since 1945.
Study of poetry after 1945. Readings include Bishop, Plath, Ashbery, Merrill, O'Hara, Heaney, Larkin, Walcott, Rich, Dove. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1760I. "Terrible Beauty": Literature and the Terrorist Imaginary.
Why does terrorism fascinate literary writers in the modern period? Is terrorism the figure of something that is unrepresentable in fiction, or is it a type of direct political action that fiction writers aspire to? Can literature's humanistic role of allaying terror survive an age of spectacular politics? How susceptible is terrorism to "aestheticization"? Texts will include works by Conrad, Flannery O'Connor, Naipaul, Dennis Cooper, Frantz Fanon, and Ngugiwa Thiong'o. Enrollment limited to 20 seniors, juniors, and sophomores. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 1760J. Reading Gravity's Rainbow.
An in-depth study of perhaps the most important American novel of the twentieth century. Reading will include Pynchon's early novel The Crying of Lot 49, stories by Borges, Kafka, and Nabokov, and a range of historical, texts and films alluded to in Gravity’s Rainbow, from the sermons of Jonathan Edwards to the poetry of Rilke to The Wizard of Oz. Enrollment limited to 20 seniors.
ENGL 1760K. Reading New York.
We will explore narratives of New York City, both fictional and nonfictional, from the early 20th century to the present. Topics to be addressed include immigration, segregation and mobility, cosmopolitanism and the neighborhood, celebrity and postmodernism. Authors may include John Dos Passos, Ann Petry, E.B. White, Jane Jacobs, Rem Koolhaas. Registration limited to English and Urban Studies concentrators. Students from other concentrations should attend class on the first day and will be admitted if space is available. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students. Prerequisite: two previous literature classes.
ENGL 1760L. Bloomsbury and Modernism.
This course will explore the contribution of the so-called "Bloomsbury Group" to the development of modernism in Britain. The focus will be on the central literary figures (Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, T. S. Eliot), but attention will also be paid to the visual arts (especially Roger Fry and Post-Impressionism) and social criticism (Lytton Strachey, Leonard Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes). A major question will be how the controversies swirling around Bloomsbury exemplify important debates about modernism. Enrollment limited. Not open to first-year students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 1760M. The Miracle of Cinema.
This seminar explores the nature of cinema through detailed readings of key works of film theory and philosophy and viewings of films from across the globe. We will aim to establish a number of working definitions of film in an attempt to understand the impact made by the medium the history of aesthetics.
ENGL 1760N. Henry James.
James is a pivotal figure in the history of the novel. His explorations of the workings of consciousness and conventions in representation transformed realism and announced the preoccupation of modernism with interpretation, signs, and narrative experimentation. An intensive study of his most important novels from Daisy Miller to The Golden Bowl.
ENGL 1760O. American Orientalism.
Examines Orientalism as central motif and thematic concern for American writers from Emerson to DuBois to Kingston. Issues to be addressed include the distinctions between U.S., European, and Afro-Orientalisms; how intra-Asian differences (i.e., China-Japan, East/South Asia) shape conceptions of the Orient; how whiteness and blackness are constructed via a vis yellowness; the relationship between Orientalism and racism; how "nativist" Asian American literary texts, on the one hand, and diasporic texts, on the other, negotiate the legacy of Orientalism. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1760P. "Extravagant" Texts: Experiments in Asian American Writing.
We examine Asian American writings that are difficult, complex, and/or experimental: texts that are, in Maxine Hong Kingston's phrase, "extravagant." By looking at works that explicitly challenge the generic conventions with which much Asian American literature is usually linked--autobiography, the Bildungsroman, ethnography, realism, and sentimentalism--we try to arrive at a more expansive sense of what the ends of Asian American cultural politics might be. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first year students.
ENGL 1760Q. James Joyce and the Modern Novel.
One measure of James Joyce's achievement as a writer is his influence (as an inspiration, an antagonist, or a competitor) on novelists who came after him. Our primary concern will be with Joyce's formal innovations: How did his audacious narrative experiments transform the novel as a genre? Do his stylistic games break with the realistic tradition or expose its linguistic and epistemological workings? In addition to Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist, and Ulysses, we will read novels by Woolf, Faulkner, Beckett, and Nabokov. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1760R. The Roaring Twenties.
The 1920s crystallized much of what we consider modern in 20th-century U. S. culture. This course reads literature of the decade in the context of a broader culture, including film and advertising, to analyze the period's central features: the rise of mass culture and of public relations, changes in women's position, consumerism, car culture, nativism and race relations. Writers include Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Larsen, Toomer, Parker. First-year students and students who have taken ENGL 0650K may not register for this course. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1760S. Law and Literature: From Response to Responsibility.
Explores modernism as it is shaped by the normative and ethical concerns of a rapidly changing world through literary works, legal writing, and legal opinions. Examines the conceptual, psychological and rhetorical connections between literature and law, and considers how both disciplines shape the imagination but also aim to elicit response and responsibility. Authors include Walter Benjamin, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Chinua Achebe; legal texts include Blackstone, Holmes, Bentham, Cover and a number of legal opinions. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1760T. The Texts of Africa.
This seminar considers the various ways in which “Africa” has been depicted in fictional and non-fictional writing from the nineteenth-century on. We begin with classic travel writing by European missionaries (Park, Livingstone, Moffat), and their African and black diasporic counterparts (Crowther, Freeman, Sims, Soga). We then turn to twentieth-century literature and non-fiction (Abrahams, Conrad, Dinesen, Greene, Ndebele, Wright), closely following the rhetorical devices used to evoke the continent as geographical or subjective reality. We will pay particular attention to questions of history, linguistic representation, and the vagaries of intercultural encounter.
ENGL 1760U. American Modernism and its Aftermaths.
An interdisciplinary study of the rise of modernist aesthetic theory in the United States, its dissemination across various aesthetic (poetry, fiction, various plastic arts) and intellectual (economics, sociology, political theory) fields, and its persistence in United States intellectual life in the various permutations of postmodernism that have succeeded it. Authors to be considered include: poets such as Eliot, Williams, Bishop, Brooks, and Ashbery; novelists such as Faulkner, Hurston, O'Connor, and Didion; aesthetic theorists such as Greenberg, Rosenberg, Fried, Baraka and Kraus; and social theorists such as von Neuman, Rawls, Cavell, Kuhn, Samuelsohn, Drucker, and Friedman. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1760V. Lying, Cheating, and Stealing.
Explores literature's treatment of transgressions large and small, with particular attention to the way in which modernist narratives expose, obstruct, condone, or condemn acts of wrongdoing. What is the relationship between a misdeed and its retelling? Does writing right the story of a wrong? Readings from Rousseau, Graham Greene, Oscar Wilde, Lauren Slater, Nietzsche, Freud, as well as film, television, and select readings from law. Enrollment limited to 20 seniors and juniors.
ENGL 1760Y. Toni Morrison.
This course will consider Toni Morrison’s novels and essays through four prisms: her interest in the anxieties of Americanness; her attention to language, which includes a consideration of form and of literary theory; her study of love; and her figuring humanity through the experiences of people who are racially black and (often) gendered female. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1760Z. Law and Literature.
What is the relationship between law and literature? How do these supposedly separate disciplines contribute to our sense of justice and our understanding of injustice? We examine these questions through novels, legal writings, legal opinions, and film, in order to discover how law and literature create interrelated narratives that shed light on issues like identity, sexuality, injury, policing, speech, and silence. We read literary and legal narratives to see to how they inform each other, but also illuminate each other’s blind spots. Writers include Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, James Weldon Johnson, and Claudia Rankine. Enrollment limited to 18.
ENGL 1761A. Nationalizing Narratives: Advanced Studies in the Twentieth-Century U.S. Novel.
Focuses on the complex relationship between the genre of the novel and nationalist rhetorics in the modern U.S. Gives particular attention to how literary discourses of nationalism articulate with those of race, gender, and sexuality.
ENGL 1761B. Narratives of Blackness in Latinx and Latin America.
We analyze literary, visual, and performative narratives of blackness in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Americas in relation to whiteness, indigeneity, class, and gender. Primary texts include Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz, Loida Maritza Pérez’s Geographies of Home, and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno. Films include Xica (dir. Carlos Diegues) and Bad Hair (dir. Mariana Rondón). Enrollment limited to 20. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1761C. Race, Writing, Manhood:Rhetorics of the "Authentic" in 20th-Cent African + Asian American Literature.
Explores the interrelatedness of racial, sexual, and literary identity in works by U.S. black and Asian male writers. Particular interest given to how the issue of homosocial desire frames literary accounts of racial authenticity. Writers and theorists studied may include James Baldwin, Frank Chin, Ralph Ellison, Frantz Fanon, David Henry Hwang.
ENGL 1761D. Hollywood and American Modernism from FDR to JFK.
Study of the interactions among Hollywood and modernism from the beginning of the sound era through the early 1960s. Authors and directors to be considered include, Loos, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, West, Ferber, Hawks, Wilder, Hitchcock, Mann, and Ford. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1761E. Blackness and Being.
Through reading criticism, theory, literature, we will think about the representational, aesthetic, and, philosophical (ontological, epistemological, ethical) questions that shape blackness as a conceptual notion. Our study will think through feminist and queer studies, as well as through diaspora and American and ethnic studies, and will consider the historical trajectory of various critical turns in theorizing (literary) blackness. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. Instructor permission required. Class list will be finalized after the first day of classes. Please email the professor to add your name to the potential roster.
ENGL 1761F. Toni Morrison.
This course is an advanced introduction to the oeuvre of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. Reading her novels and nonfiction, we investigate concerns that shaped our world in the last century and haunt the current one, foregrounding Morrison’s writing as a key site of trouble and of transformation.
ENGL 1761G. Translational Echoes of the Korean War.
This course explores how the emergence of cinematic, televisual and literary dimensions of hallyu, or the Korean wave, provides an opportunity to reckon with the complex formations of war, empire and capitalism that have linked the histories of Korea and the United States. Judging by the remarkable popularity of the film Parasite, the Netflix series Squid Game and Han Kang’s novel The Vegetarian, Americans seem to have developed an interest in the darker aspects of South Korean contemporary life and the violent events that have shaped them: a devasting civil war and decades under the repressive rule of military dictatorships, which were both shaped by the exigencies of US empire. We explore ways of analyzing such works that combine an understanding of the interlocking histories they illuminate with a critical awareness of the aesthetic and formal strategies that structure them.
ENGL 1761J. Bad, Mad, and Sad: Literatures of Misbehaving Femmes.
In this seminar, we closely analyze fiction and nonfiction writings, as well as films, that explore affective and psychological modes such as mischief, melancholia, and insanity as inflected by gender, race, and class. Readings may include works by authors such as Maryse Condé, Jamaica Kincaid, Nella Larsen, Andrea Long Chu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Jean Rhys, Shola von Reinhold, and Laurie Weeks.
ENGL 1761L. Reading the Black Masses in Literature and Critical Practice.
African American literary and critical practice in the twentieth century was definitively shaped by claims about the linkages between literature and mass politics. We will unpack the continuities and divides that constituted such assertions. Historical nodal points in our investigations will include racial uplift, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Power Movement, and the post-identity debates.
ENGL 1761M. Asian American Travel Narratives.
Examines mobility and movement as key motifs in Asian American fiction. The course will focus on Asian American literary texts that are structured around travel, both in relation to the United States and to Asia. Our approach will draw from Americanist and Asian Americanist cultural theories about narratives of mobility and from postcolonial theories about travel writing. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1761N. Natural and Supernatural: Issues in the Study of Science and Religion.
Religion has been studied in a number of fields (anthropology, classics, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology) as a complex of human/cultural phenomena to be examined and explained naturalistically or, as it is said, "scientifically." The course focuses on a set of key classic and contemporary texts in this tradition and on the issues they raise for current understandings of science, religion and the relations--historical, intellectual, cultural and political--between them. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
ENGL 1761O. "Everything that is must be destroyed": American Modernism.
This class will attempt to discover whether there is such a thing as American modernism, examining the connections between works and movements as different as Gertrude Stein's highly experimental Three Lives, the Harlem Renaissance (Larsen, Hurston), American Gothic (Anderson, Faulkner), social realism (Wharton, Wright), the cosmopolitan fiction of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and the proto-postmodern work of Barnes and West. Enrollment limited.
ENGL 1761P. Yeats, Pound, Eliot.
Readings in the poetry and selected prose of Yeats, Pound, and Eliot. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1761Q. W. G. Sebald and Some Interlocutors.
The works of W. G. Sebald have received a huge amount of critical attention since his death in 2001, particularly from critics interested in the question of the ethics of literature after Auschwitz. But what is Sebald’s literary heritage, and who are his interlocutors? What internal and external connections do his works establish? Besides Sebald’s works, readings will include Stendhal, Kafka, Walser, Borges, Bergson, Resnais, Lanzmann. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1761R. The Non-Fiction of "Race" in 20th-Century US Culture.
This course examines influential autobiographies and other non-fictional literary works about the meaning of race in America across the 20th century. Writers we examine may include W.E.B. DuBois, Sui Sin Far, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, Richard Rodriguez, Maxine Hong Kingston, Richard Rodriguez, and Malcom X. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
ENGL 1761S. The Fifties in Color: Race, Empire, and the U.S. Cold War Culture.
In this seminar, we examine a range of cultural texts of the 1950s that provide some productive points of entry into the study of U.S. culture in the early part of the Cold War. We give particular attention to issues of race and ethnicity as they were shaped both by domestic and foreign policy concerns. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1761T. Conrad and Naipaul: The Supremacy of the Visible?.
The reception of Conrad's works turns on a critical quandary: are his commitments primarily sensory, celebratory and imperialist, or conceptual, subdued and self-critical? This course will examine Conrad's works in detail, and the critical and literary responses to them: most notably, the work of his most direct successor, the British-Caribbean novelist V. S. Naipaul. Other readings include Said, Achebe, Jameson, Badiou, Rancière, Deleuze. Enrollment limited. Not open to first-year students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 1761V. The Korean War in Color.
We examine US and South Korean representations of the Korean War. We look at how this event was depicted in US films of the 1950s with a focus on how it occasioned a transformation of American understandings of race, both domestically and transnationally. We then look at how this event has been memorialized by contemporary American authors as well as in South Korean literature and film. Authors we read include: Susan Choi, Ha Jin, Chang-rae Lee, Toni Morrison, Jayne Anne Phillips and Hwang Sok-Yong. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1761W. Modern South Asia: Literature and Theory.
This seminar provides an overview of 20th and 21st century writing from and about South Asia. It will serve, in addition, as an introduction to postcolonial studies. Theoretical readings will focus on issues of diaspora; transnational cultural circulation; and subaltern historiography. Fiction will be primarily Anglophone (Anand, Du Bois, Forster, Naipaul, Rushdie, etc.), with some vernacular texts in translation (Chugtai, Limbale, Premchand, Tagore). Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1761Y. Issues in World Literature.
What is world literature? How does it relate to fields like comparative literature and postcolonial studies? We will read fiction and drama usually featured in this canon, including works by Achebe, Coetzee, Homer, Kafka, Rushdie, Shikibu, and Walcott. We will also attend to the critical paradigms that constitute the field, from Goethe's Weltliteratur to more recent theorizations by Casanova, Damrosch, Deleuze, Moretti, Spivak, etc. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1761Z. Modernism and Everyday Life.
We examine modernist literature in the context of contemporary art, psychology, and theories of everyday life to ask how this period understood ordinary objects and events. Could they be the proper subject matter of art? In the right circumstances, might they actually be art? Writers include Woolf, Joyce, Hughes, McKay, Stein, Beckett, Freud, deCerteau. One previous literature class strongly recommended. Not open to first-year students.
ENGL 1762A. Perverse Cinema.
A seminar on movies that pursue and spectacularize the perverse, as well as on how viewing movies is itself a perverse pleasure. We will study film genres that traffic in what's sensational, excessive, uncanny, and transgressive, such as the detective film, thriller, melodrama, sex film, horror, and sci-fi. Special emphasis on the movies of Hitchcock, Kubrick, Lynch, and Cronenberg. Enrollment limited to 20 concentrators in English, Comparative Literature, MCM, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Theatre and Performance Studies. Not open to first year students.
ENGL 1762B. The Ekphrastic Mode in Contemporary Literature.
Ekphrasis – the extended description of a visual work of art in a work of literature – is as old as Homer and as modern as McEwan; however, in contemporary literary criticism the concept has been eclipsed by terms such as "self-reflexivity" and "metafiction." This course proposes a rediscovery of ekphrasis as a key feature of contemporary works of literature and film. Includes texts by Sebald, Alan Bennett, Godard, Starnone, Panahi, McEwan. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first year students.
ENGL 1762C. Image, Music, Text.
This course examines a number of novels and short stories alongside their various cinematic, theatrical, or musical adaptations in order to ask what a medium is and what distinctive formal features might define literature, cinema, theater, and music. Writers will include Melville, Conrad, Maupassant, Mann, and Cortazar; filmmakers will include Hitchcock, Antonioni, Godard, Visconti, and Coppola; critics will include Barthes, Deleuze, and Ranciere. Limited to 20 junior and senior concentrators in English, Comparative Literature, MCM, Hispanic Studies, Italian Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Literary Arts.
ENGL 1762D. Kubrick.
On Kubrick’s feature films, documentaries, and photography, starting with his sci-fi masterpiece 2001, followed by his early noirs (Killer’s Kiss; The Killing); sex films (Lolita; A Clockwork Orange; Eyes Wide Shut); and war films (Paths of Glory; Dr. Strangelove; Full Metal Jacket). Topics include: adaptation; genre; masculinity in extremis; technophilia and technophobia; the aesthetics of violence; and sex on film. Limited to 20 junior and senior concentrators in English and MCM. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1762H. "The Wire".
Over sixty episodes, David Simon's acclaimed television series explores a range of social and political issues, but it does so with unusual literary ambition and success. In this course we'll ask how "The Wire" generates interest, engagement, and debate in part by appropriating and adapting generic strategies and aesthetic devices deployed by such "classic" authors as Shakespeare and Dickens. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1762M. Caribbean Literature.
Focusing mostly on prose narrative from the nineteenth-century to the present day, this seminar is an overview of various important texts from the Anglophone, Hispanophone, and Francophone or Kreyol Caribbean texts. As crucial themes in the literary culture of the Caribbean, class discussion will be framed around questions of colonialism, slavery, blackness, whiteness, indigeneity, class as well as literary and aesthetic innovations such as surrealism, realism, and other important formalist trends and interventions. Texts originally written in Spanish and French will be read in translation, but students have the option of reading them in the original if they prefer as long as they are able to engage the class through the translation as well. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1780. Undergraduate Independent Study in Modern and Contemporary Literatures.
Tutorial instruction oriented toward a literary research topic. Section numbers vary by instructor. Instructor's permission required.
ENGL 1900A. "Literature" and the Ideology of the Aesthetic.
Theoretical and historical analysis of the idea of "literature" as writing that has the status of art, in relation to the emergence and elaboration of discourses of the "aesthetic." Readings in 18th- and 19th-century German and British sources (Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Nietzsche; Coleridge, Shelley, Arnold, Wilde) and in 20th-century literary and aesthetic theory (Benjamin, Adorno, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Williams, Eagleton). Enrollment limited to 20. Priority given to English concentrators. All other students must obtain instructor's permission.
ENGL 1900D. Literature and Politics.
Literature as a changing historical formation that often represents and is always shaped by the practices of organizing, asserting, and controlling power in society. Sustained focus on writings by Raymond Williams, Leon Trotsky, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Terry Eagleton, and on literary texts read from the perspectives of these six theorists (possibly Shakespeare, Milton, Marvell, Swift, Dickens, Gaskell, the Brontës, Victor Serge, Anna Akhmatova). Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1900E. Aesthetics and Politics.
Considers the shifting relationship between art and politics beginning with the formation of aesthetics in the Enlightenment and continuing through such 20th-century historical moments as Naziism, modernism, impressionism, socialist realism, postmodernism, and such thinkers as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Adorno, Lyotard, Cixous, Deleuze.
ENGL 1900F. Interpretation.
This course will introduce students to the central issues in the theory of interpretation and their implications for critical practice. Topics will include the causes and consequences of interpretive conflict, the availability of tests for validity, the roles of the author and the reader, and the historical, social, and political dimensions of understanding. Readings will include major theoretical statements as well as critical essays and background materials related to three controversial novels.
ENGL 1900I. Critical Methodologies: Contemporary Literary Theory.
A survey of theories of literature from the early 20th century to the present, with particular attention to relations between "literary theory" and the broader phenomena of cultural studies and Critical Theory writ large. We will examine the New Critics; structuralism, post-structuralism and new historicism; cultural theory, including psychoanalysis, marxism, and aesthetic theory. Topics will include literariness and textuality, the reader and subjectivity, narrative and mimesis, and the reemergence of form in contemporary literary studies. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year or graduate students.
ENGL 1900J. Zoopoetics.
This course will explore the intersections between the depictions of plants and animals in twentieth and twenty-first century poetry and the theoretical conversations about non-human worlds unfolding in emerging fields, such as animal studies and the environmental humanities. Readings will range from poetic texts by Francis Ponge and Marianne Moore to theoretical texts by figures such as Donna Haraway.
ENGL 1900K. Reading Sex.
How do we interpret "sex," as a concept, as a thing, as a phenomenon? What kinds of ethical, political, historical, and aesthetic contexts are informed by--and, in turn, form--our sense of "sex" itself? This course will focus on intensive close readings of various queer theoretical texts, novels, and films that variously try to think through the multiple ways we try to represent and render sex legible, while at the same time calling into question our sense of what, ultimately, sex can be as something that both binds and unbinds the human. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1900L. The Problem of American Literature.
Considers questions such as: what are the distinctive qualities (if any) of American literature, and how do the various writers from diverse cultural settings fit into a single literary tradition called "American" (or do they fit in)? In order to examine the assumptions and implications of studying literature as a national phenomenon, focuses reading on various critical and theoretical texts.
ENGL 1900M. Twentieth-Century Reconceptions of Knowledge and Science.
Significant critiques of classic and prevailing (rationalist, realist, positivist) ideas of scientific truth, method, objectivity, and progress and the development of alternative (constructivist, pragmatist, historicist, sociological) accounts; the dynamics of knowledge; the relation between scientific and other cultural practices. Readings include works by Fleck, Popper, Kuhn, Foucault, Rorty, and Latour. Prerequisite: UC 49 (An Introduction to Science Studies) or college-level work in critical theory, science, or philosophy.
ENGL 1900O. Contemporary Feminist Literary Theory.
An advanced survey of 20th-century feminist literary theory with an emphasis on U.S., British, and French traditions. Topics include canon formation, "resisting readers," and the category of "women's writing," as well as the relation of feminist criticism to problematics such as critical race theory, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, and postcolonialism.
ENGL 1900P. History of Criticism from Plato to Postmodernism.
A survey of the major theorists of literature in the western tradition, from the Greeks to the contemporary period. Recurrent issues will include the definition of literary value, the distinctiveness of the aesthetic experience, and the moral and social uses of literature. Enrollment limited. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 1900Q. Women In/And the Novel.
An introduction to the novel through feminist theory, considering social and historical reasons why women read, wrote, and figured in novels, from the 18th century to the 20th. Novels by Defoe, Austen, George Eliot, Rhys, Woolf; readings in feminist theory and criticism. Priority will be given to concentrators in English and Gender Studies. Others will be admitted only with permission of the instructor.
ENGL 1900R. Queer Relations: Aesthetics and Sexuality.
A study of the relationship between aesthetic thought and sexuality in a variety of literary and cinematic works. We will supplement our readings with ventures into queer theory, emphasizing how art is related to identity, community, race, gender, and ethics. Authors include Wilde, Pater, James, Winterson, Cole, Guibert, Foucault, Bersani, Edelman. Films by Julien and Jarman.
ENGL 1900T. The Postcolonial and the Postmodern.
Explores the contexts and conceptual implications of theories of postmodernism and postcolonialism. Particular attention to intersections and disjunctions between both concepts as attempts to grapple with the challenges of modernity from the vantage point of the late-20th century. Course will end with two novels that address related issues with the tools of fictional narrative: Coetzee's Foe and Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Readings include: Butler, Hall, Jameson, Laclau, Lyotard, Spivak. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1900U. Word and Image.
How do words and images represent? This course will examine major statements about the relation between verbal and visual representation from Lessing's classic study Laocoön to contemporary theories of the semiotic and social construction of images. Theoretical readings will be accompanied by analyses of examples from literature and the visual arts, ranging from painting to film and graphic novels. Not open to first-year students. Banner registration after classes begin requires instructor approval.
ENGL 1900V. Camera Works: The Theory and Fiction of Photography.
This class focuses both on literature influenced by and theoretical considerations of photography. Texts and films to include Barthes' Camera Lucida, essays by Benjamin, Kracauer, and Krauss, Cortazar’s "Blow-Up," Antonioni's Blow-Up, Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, Sebald's The Emigrants, West's The Day of the Locust, Frampton's Nostalgia, Egoyan's Calendar, Rancière's The Future of the Image, and poetry by Rich, Ashbery, and Larkin. Not open to first-year students and sophomores. Open to English concentrators only.
ENGL 1900Y. Medieval Manuscript Studies: Paleography, Codicology, and Interpretation.
How do you read a medieval manuscript? This course teaches hands-on methodologies for deciphering the material text, including palaeography (history of scripts) and codicology (archeology of the book); contemporary models of interpreting scribal texts, including editorial theory and analysis of readers' reception; and medieval concepts of textuality and interpretation, including medieval theories of authorship and the arts of memory. Prior course work in Middle English or Latin or other medieval language recommended. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1900Z. Neuroaesthetics and Reading.
Analysis of the theories of art, reading, and aesthetic experience proposed by neuroscience and cognitive science in light of traditional aesthetics and contemporary literary theory. Enrollment limited to 20. Prerequisite: At least one course on neuroscience or cognitive science and one 1000-level literature course. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1901B. Politics and the Novel.
This course will explore how various realist and modernist novels represent political life, both in its practical dimensions and as forms of consciousness (ideologies, world views, attitudes). We will also explore theoretical and critical writings on the topic of literature and politics. Authors will include Elizabeth Gaskell, E.M. Forster, Lionel Trilling, Ralph Ellison, Doris Lessing, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1901E. Reading Literature in a Digital World.
We will explore the implications of using digital technologies to study literature. How does our understanding of literature and literary study change—if it does—in light of recently developed digital methods for studying such works? How do such methods compare with traditional ways of studying literature? How might literary studies be reconceived in relation to new media studies? Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1901F. Art of Criticism.
This course explores the art of literary criticism through analysis of individual critics as well as larger schools of criticism. Focusing on the twentieth century, we will read works by those affiliated with high theory as well as those who stood outside that influential development. The goal will be to understand literary criticism as a form of thinking, and an art, in its own right, one with philosophical, social, and literary dimensions. Authors include: Oscar Wilde, Kenneth Burke, Mary McCarthy, Lionel Trilling, Raymond Williams, Paul de Man, Eve Sedgwick, D. A. Miller, John Guillory. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1901H. The Late 60s: Film Countercultures.
On representative late-60s counterculture movies concerned with antiauthoritarianism; hippy Bohemianism; social and sexual experimentation; dropping out; and psychedelia. Bookended by rock music festival documentaries (Monterey Pop; Gimme Shelter; Woodstock), the seminar is mostly concerned with feature films (The Graduate; Bonnie and Clyde; 2001; Midnight Cowboy; Easy Rider; Medium Cool). It will also consider some underground art cinema of Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors in English and MCM. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1901J. Fanon and Spillers.
This course will consider the conceptual/theoretical contributions of Frantz Fanon and Hortense Spillers, as frames for reading some iconic texts in the black literary canon. Central to our study will be an exploration of blackness, subjection, and gendering—as well as thinking about how these idioms relate to the genre conventions of our course’s literary works. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1901L. Cronenberg/Lynch.
A genre-oriented study of two major contemporary expressionist filmmakers, David Cronenberg and David Lynch, by means of juxtaposing some of their key works. Films by Cronenberg: “The Fly,” “Videodrome,” “Crash,” “A Dangerous Method,” and “Maps to the Stars.” Films by Lynch: “Eraserhead,” “Blue Velvet,” “Wild at Heart,” “Mulholland Drive,” and “Inland Empire.” Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1901Q. You Better Work: Sexuality, Labor, Blackness.
This seminar takes a historical, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approach to sexuality, labor, and blackness in the United States. We will engage in black feminist, trans, and queer methodologies of selected literature, film, and artwork while we also consider the limits of labor as a conceptual apparatus. Thinkers include Samuel R. Delany, Saidiya Hartman, Gayl Jones, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Tourmaline. Open to juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 20.
ENGL 1910A. Dreamworlds: Utopia from Plato to the Present.
Can acts of writing change the world? This course looks at a number of famous utopias and dystopias from classical time to the modern period and analyzes how the genre's literary experiments transform reading into a political act. Works by Plato, More, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Swift, H.G. Wells, and Le Guin. Films will include Blade Runner and Pleasantville.
ENGL 1910B. Great Books and Good Movies.
Since the first silent pictures, the film industry has turned to "great books." This course uses films based on "great books" to examine differences between the genres. Frequent screenings; reading and screen journals; critical essays and screenplays. Films/texts include Sense and Sensibility, Great Expectations, Beloved, and The English Patient.
ENGL 1910E. Lyric Language: Renaissance Forms and Modern Poetry.
Tracing poetic forms from renaissance to modern-- stubborn models like the sonnet (Shakespeare/Berryman), the ode (Jonson/ Creely), and the sestina (Sidney/Bishop); soft forms like blank/free verse (Milton/Wordsworth/Eliot); generic containers like elegy, epigram, and satire (Herrick/Donne/Keats/Auden); low and nonsense verse (Skelton/Caroll/hip-hop); and the functions of repeatable forms like line and stanza (Spenser/Tennyson/Dr. Suess/Heijinian).
ENGL 1911. Narrating the Anthropocene (ENVS 1911).
Interested students must register for ENVS 1911.
ENGL 1950A. Form and Feeling in Renaissance Poetry.
Pending Approval. Renaissance poets laid claim to the ethical power of poetry to move people through imagination. How does formal imitation and innovation create fields of feeling in the poetry of Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, and Milton? Enrollment limited to 20 seniors.
ENGL 1950B. Literature and the Ideology of the Aesthetic.
Pending Approval. Theoretical and historical exploration of the idea of literature understood as writing that has the status of art--and of the relation of this idea to the emergence and elaboration of discourses of the aesthetic. First six weeks: decisive eighteenth- and nineteenth-century developments in the meaning of literature as it relates to the aesthetic. Second six weeks: recent positions (espeically poststructuralist and Marxist) that figure prominently in current debates. Enrollment limited to 20 seniors.
ENGL 1950F. Law and Literature.
This seminar explores the conceptual, psychological and rhetorical connections between literature and law, examining how both disciplines shape the imagination but also aim to elicit response and responsibility. We will consider how literary works, legal writings, and legal opinions inform each other, but also illuminate each other’s blind spots. Looking beyond trial scenes, the course invites students to think about how principles and notions in law structure, and are structured by, literature and language. Authors include Walter Benjamin, Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus, Rebecca West, and Chinua Achebe; legal texts by Holmes, Bentham, Cover and a number of judicial opinions. Limited to 20 senior English concentrators.
ENGL 1950G. Reading Narrative Theory.
Narrative is a powerful category of analysis spanning genres, historical periods, media forms, and the distinction between the "fictional" and the "real." This course examines major narrative theorists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will focus on literary examples, such as theories of the folktale and novel, and scholarship that interrogates the work of narrative in historiography, in cinema and television, and in extra-literary contexts (in the struggle of political campaigners to “control the narrative” or debates on narrative in gaming, medical research, law, and theory itself). Limited to 20 senior English concentrators. Others admitted by instructor permission only.
ENGL 1950H. The Recent Novel and its Cultural Rivals.
A careful consideration of several major late twentieth- and early twenty-first century Anglophone novels in terms of their relationship to rival aesthetic forms and media--film, television, radio, video games, and the like. Writers to be considered included: Morrison, Lee, Rushdie, Smith, Didion, Díaz, Pynchon, and Egan. Enrollment limited to 20 senior English concentrators. Others admitted by instructor permission only.
ENGL 1990. Senior Honors Thesis in Nonfiction Writing.
Independent writing project under the direction of a faculty member. Permission should be obtained from the Honors Director for Nonfiction Writing. Enrollment limited to English concentrators whose application to the Honors in Nonfiction Writing program have been accepted.
ENGL 1991. Senior Honors Seminar in English.
Weekly seminar led by the Advisor of Honors in English. Introduces students to sustained literary-critical research and writing skills necessary to successful completion of the senior thesis. Particular attention to efficient ways of developing literary-critical projects, as well as evaluating, incorporating, and documenting secondary sources. Enrollment limited to English concentrators whose applications to the Honors in English program have been accepted. Permission should be obtained from the Honors Advisor in English. S/NC
ENGL 1992. Senior Honors Thesis in English.
Independent research and writing under the direction of a faculty member. Permission should be obtained from the Honors Advisor in English. Open to senior English concentrators pursuing Honors in English. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 1993. Senior Honors Seminar in Nonfiction Writing.
This course is designed for students accepted into the Nonfiction Honors Program. It will be run in workshop format, and will focus on research skills and generative and developmental writing strategies for students embarking on their thesis projects. Weekly assignments will be directed toward helping students work through various stages in their writing processes. Students will be expected to respond thoughtfully and constructively in peer reviewing one another's work. Open to seniors who have been admitted to the Honors Program in Nonfiction Writing. Instructor permission required. S/NC
ENGL 1994. Senior Honors Thesis in Nonfiction Writing.
Independent research and writing under the direction of the student’s Nonfiction Writing honors supervisor. Permission should be obtained from the Honors Advisor for Nonfiction Writing. Open to senior English concentrators pursuing Honors in Nonfiction Writing. Instructor permission required.
ENGL 2210. Proseminar.
This seminar, required for first-year graduate students in English, considers the state and stakes of literary studies today. The course aims to familiarize students with contemporary critical debates and stances in the wider discipline, and to engage with current methodologies, theories, and analytical tensions. We also address issues of professionalization as they relate to the first years of graduate work. Enrollment limited to 10. S/NC.
ENGL 2360A. Renaissance Drama.
This course explores Early Modern drama: its styles of representation, material conditions, and political engagements, in Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Webster, Ford, Beaumont and Fletcher, and others. Drawing on current scholarship, it posits the stage as the site of contests over national identity, royal power, gender ideology, social mobility, nascent capitalism, religious and ethnic differences. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students. Undergraduate English concentrators may request permission of the instructor.
ENGL 2360B. Before Holinshed: The English Brut Chronicle Tradition.
Holinshed's 16th-century history drew from 400 years of manuscript chronicles, most in verse, which founded the "modern" history of England on a Trojan/Celtic ancient Britain. We will read the medieval versions of these historical narratives from Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, and Layamon to the popular 15th-century Middle English prose Brut. Critical engagements with manuscript/print cultures and the "Brut" narrative as a vocabulary for nationalism. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360C. Beowulf.
This course will consist of a careful reading and analysis of Beowulf in its original language. In addition to developing language competence, we will also discuss the poem through comparison to other Old English poems and Scandinavian analogues. Themes will include the manuscript context, heroism, gender, sacrifice, lamentation and elegy, the monstrous, material culture, and contemporary theoretical approaches to the poem. Prerequisite: 2000-level Introduction to Old English or its equivalent. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360D. Early Modern Drama.
An intensive introduction, for specialists and others, to the great classics and some less-known gems of a stellar period in English drama. Plays by Marlowe, Middleton, Webster, Jonson, and Ford, among others. Topics: the popular theatre and its audience; urban culture; English nationhood; boy actors and the representation of gender and sexuality; play texts in print culture. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360F. Introduction to Medieval Studies.
Equips students with critical, linguistic, and historical knowledge to interpret Middle English texts (1066-1500). Primary texts by Chaucer and others, to be read in contexts of current critical debates (on topics including textuality, sexuality, and political formations) and medieval conceptual systems (including dream theory, alchemy, arts of memory). Priority to graduate students; no prior Middle English required. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360G. Medieval Manuscript Studies: Paleography and Interpretation.
How to read and understand a medieval manuscript text. Methodologies include paleography, codicology, editorial theory. Hands-on analysis and interpretation of specific Middle English texts in their manuscript medium (in microfilm, facsimile, digital representation, and when accessible, actual manuscripts). For students already acquainted with Old English and/or Middle English; Latin helpful. Textual projects in other medieval languages possible with instructor's consent. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360H. Race and Place in Renaissance Literature.
Reads early modern English drama, poetry, and prose depicting the migration of groups to foreign places (England, the Indies, the Americas) to consider how such writing defines the connection between space and identity. We will consider how this literature values environment as against blood, soil against seed, as determinants of identity capable of marking people as "strange," "alien," or "natural." Authors will include Marlowe, Shakespeare, Fletcher, Massinger, Drayton, Jonson, and Bacon. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students. All others will be admitted only with permission of the instructor.
ENGL 2360I. Renaissance Embodiments.
Considers Renaissance representations of self in pre-modern terms-that is, inseparable from the physical conditions of climate and region. How did early modern culture draw the line between culture and nature? Where do these theories connect with or depart from modern paradigms of self in such authors as Elyot, Shakespeare, Calvin, Luther, Burton, Donne, Montaigne, Jonson, and Browne? Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360K. The Renaissance and Modernity.
Modernism restages 17th-century cultural and political revolution and restoration. An examination of the problem of style and modernity, looking at practices in poetic and prose style and at the emergence of the term "modernity" at the moment of high modernism and after. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360N. The Pearl Manuscript in Context.
Close translation of the Middle English alliterative poems in British Library Manuscript Cotton Nero A.x, Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, with attention to their medieval theological, generic, and codicological contexts. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360O. Irony and Satire.
Works of irony and satire (from the Civil Wars to the death of Swift) allow an investigation of current issues in the study of Civil War, Restoration, and Early 18th-C. texts, including revisionist history, the public sphere, Anglo-Irish relations, print culture, mercantilism, and gender construction. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2360P. Thinking with Romance in the Renaissance.
Modernity defines romance as escapist, a mode that flies from the "real." Yet Renaissance writers placed it at the center of debates about politics, ethics, and knowledge. Tracking its generic fingerprint in Spenser's romance-epic, we will consider its adaptation for the stage as tragicomedy and its relation to epistemological shifts dividing science from fiction, knowledge from pleasure. Authors include Ralegh, Spenser, Shakespeare, Fletcher, Massinger, Bacon, Cavendish. Open to graduate students only.
ENGL 2360Q. Manuscript, Image, and the Middle English Text.
This seminar will engage with the interpretive issues raised by considering manuscript images in relation to manuscript text. Selected Middle English texts will include Pearl, works by Chaucer, and the popular Middle English prose Brut, in the context of twelve historiated manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2360R. Civil Wars, Restoration, and Early Georgian Literature.
The seminar will consider major works from the English Civil Wars to the first years of the eighteenth-century, with attention to cultural and theoretical contexts for understanding important developments such as print culture, war, nation-formation, the marketplace, and public/private spheres. Writers will include Milton, Rochester, Behn, Restoration playwrights, Dryden, Swift, and others. Additional readings will include selections from Adorno, Pocock, Anderson, Zizek, Brown, Johns, and others. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2360S. Alternative Miltons.
This seminar undertakes a close reading of Milton's monumentally significant epic "Paradise Lost." We will also consider the current state of Milton criticism. What's new in Milton criticism? What approaches have been holding fort? Has Milton criticism been slower to take to critical and theoretical innovation than Shakespeare criticism? If so, why, and what might we do about it? On that account, the seminar will engage a range of newer approaches—disability studies, queer theory, trauma theory, eco-criticism, animal studies, technoculture studies, and popular culture studies—to consider what they have to offer by way of new perspectives on Milton. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2360V. Literature of Disability.
This seminar explores disability studies, with attention to both theory and literature as distinctive forms of thought about issues crucial to this burgeoning subfield. Core primary texts will likely be those of Sophocles (the Theban Plays) and Shakespeare (King Lear, Othello, and Richard III), as well as more recent first-person accounts of disability (Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, Kleege’s Sight Unseen, and Clare’s Brilliant Imperfection). Theorists may include Chris Bell, Michael Berube, Eli Clare, Lennard Davis, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Georgina Kleege, Robert McRuer, David Mitchell, Ato Quayson, Ellen Samuels, Tobin Siebers, and Susan Snyder. Concepts to be discussed include care versus cure, narrative prosthesis, and aesthetic nervousness. Throughout, we will consider intersections of disability with gender, sexuality, and race, and what a literary “disability aesthetics” might add to thinking about disability at the present time.
ENGL 2360Y. Lyric and Ecstasy.
This seminar principally focuses on ecstatic states in the lyric verse of three extraordinary seventeenth-century English poets—John Donne, Richard Crashaw, and John Milton—who are rarely read together. We will consider lyric poetry—both erotic and religious—not only as an apposite medium for rendering ecstatic experience, but also how lyric poetry itself might function as a stimulus for ecstasy. We might also venture into some consideration of music along similar lines. Limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2360Z. Shakespeare: a Politics of Love.
This seminar will explore certain of Shakespeare’s plays—mainstays such as Romeo and Juliet and Othello but also more marginal texts, such as All’s Well and As You Like It—in order to discern a politics of love. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2380. Graduate Independent Study in Medieval and Early Modern Literatures.
Section numbers vary by instructor. May be repeated for credit. Instructor's permission required.
ENGL 2450. Exchange Scholar Program.
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ENGL 2500. Romantic Address.
This course explores the figure of address in conjunction with the notion of romanticism. Questions to be taken up from this angle include: the trope of apostrophe; lyric as a genre; locodescriptive and postal dimensions of “address”; psychoanalytic, ethical, and political dimensions of literary address; whether particular kinds of speaking- or writing-to can be called “romantic.” Possible authors include: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, the Shelleys, Blake, Herbert, Dickinson, Hopkins, Tennyson, and perhaps some twentieth-century poets, in conjunction with theoretical, philosophical and psychoanalytic writings on lyric, romanticism, and the question of address.
ENGL 2510. Theory and Theory of the Novel.
The object of this course is then to retrieve the interest and insights of novel theory and its objects, in conversation with "theory" (especially in its deconstructive, postmodern, Marxist, psychoanalytic, and anti- or post-humanist) variants. It is an introduction to both sets of theoretical discourses by having them talk back to one another. Authors may include: Lukács (definitely), Bakhtin, Auerbach, Genette, Lacan, Derrida, Jameson, Butler. We will also read (as a way to check our work) novels that may include: David Copperfield, Wings of the Dove.
ENGL 2560A. American Exotics.
From the beginning of colonization all the way up to the American Revolution, America is consistently figured as a remote and alien place. We will explore the figurative transformation of "America" by examining the use of images of the "remote" and "exotic" in British American colonial writing, including poems, plays, maps, travel narratives and natural histories. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560C. Early American Studies.
A critical introduction for graduate students to the scholarly field of early American studies, from the colonial era to the late 19th century. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560E. Liberalism.
An interdisciplinary approach to American culture and literary history through the lens of liberal ideologies. Readings include Franklin, Thoreau, sentimental novel, and Ellison’s Invisible Man. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students. Exceptions with permission by instructor.
ENGL 2560F. Realism.
Begins with European theories of realism, including Lukacs, Watt, Jameson, and others, who define realism by linking it to some aspect of modernization. Moves to theories that expose the limits of classical realism in the name of someone as some aspect of history it systematically subordinates or excludes, e.g., women, colonial subjects, minority cultures. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560G. Romantic Orientalism.
Representations of the "Orient" in British and transatlantic literary culture during the "Romantic" period (c. 1770-c. 1830). Connections between cultural representation and both assertions of and challenges to British colonial and imperial power. Theoretical, historical and political analysis by Said, Barrell, and others; poetry by Coleridge, Southey, Byron, P.B.Shelley; prose by Sydney Owenson, Charlotte Dacre, Thomas DeQuincey. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560H. Romanticism and the Ideology of the Aesthetic.
Historical development of discourses of the "aesthetic" as they relate to the problem of "romanticism" as the name of a distinctive era in British and European literature and culture. Ideas about the autonomy of art in the period of the French and the Industrial Revolutions. Readings in Baumgarten, Kant, and Hegel; in Coleridge, W. Wordsworth, P. B. Shelley, and Keats. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560K. The Transatlantic Enlightenment.
A graduate seminar in literatures and cultures of the long 18th century in transatlantic context. Emphasis on print culture, the Black Atlantic, colonialism and slavery, as well as the American Revolution. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560L. The Victorian Novel.
An intensive seminar on the Victorian novel. The aim will be historically contextualized, theoretically informed interpretations of some leading examples of this complex literary form. Will focus on the role of the (British) novel, as distinct from the (American) short story, in rise of mass culture, and on recent formalist, stylistic, and historical approaches to the Victorian novel as a literary form. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560N. American Literature and the Corporation.
An examination of 19th-century American literature in the context of the rapid growth of corporate forms in American economic, political, and social life from the mid-1830s through the turn of the century. How does literature participate in the debate this process of incorporation occasioned, and in what ways was it shaped by the process of incorporation occasioned, and in what ways was it shaped by the process? Readings include Hawthorne, Melville, Harper, Grant, Alcott, Crane, and Chestnutt. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560Q. Victorian Fictions of Consciousness.
Victorian novels, Brontë through James, with an emphasis on the ways in which novels engage 19th-century theories of mind and psychology, looking at such central concepts as memory, will, sensation, and perception. Examines the importance of form and the subgenres of Victorian fiction (Bildungsroman, sensation novel, multiplot novel) in the construction of concepts of selfhood and consciousness. Attention also to the place of consciousness in Victorian and 20th-century theories of the novel. This course will also serve as an introduction to working on topics in science and literature. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560R. Romantic Dispossession: Subjectivity and Agency.
This course examines the diverse arguments made by writers of the Romantic era concerning nonidentity, and focuses on the kinds of ethical, political, and aesthetic considerations that arise once identity is forfeited and dispossession is perceived as either a matter of self-discipline, the negative result of sympathy, a characteristic of literary culture, or a sign of melancholic loss. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students. Undergraduate seniors will be admitted only with the permission of the instructor.
ENGL 2560T. The Realist Imagination.
A study of American literary realism. We will situate realism in the context of the realist turn in American artistic, political, legal, and economic enterprise from the Civil War to World War II, and measure the realist novel's relations to alternative aesthetic ideologies such as transcendentalism, regionalism, naturalism, and modernism. Authors to be considered include Emerson, DeForest, Grant, Twain, Cable, Chesnutt, Dreiser, Wharton, Cather, Anderson, Dos Passos, Faulkner, and Hurston. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560U. Romanticism and the Ruins of Empire.
Representations of the ruins of ancient empires (Babylonian, Assyrian, Roman) in relation to British and French imperialism during the period we call "Romanticism." Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560V. Transatlantic Studies.
This course offers a theoretical and historical examination of "translatlantic" models of literary analysis as an alternative to traditionally national ones. It will look at a recent criticism theorizing the field, including both literary and historical scholarship. Primary readings will be from Rowson, Equiano, Franklin, Emerson, and Twain, among others. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560W. The Figure of the Artist in the Nineteenth Century.
This course considers the changing representations of the artist in the 19th century, as prophet, intellectual, professional, critic, genius, madman, aesthete, and social celebrity. Readings will focus on 19th-century novels, with select essays, reviews, and other nonfiction prose. Authors include George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Arnold Bennett, George Gissing, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560X. The Rise of the Novel.
The seminar would combine the study of eighteenth-century novels [some canonical, like Robinson Crusoe, Clarissa, Tom Jones, and Tristram Shandy; some less so, like amatory fiction and revolutionary fiction of the 1790's] with important theories of and debates about the novel — its origins, rise, and discourses. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2560Y. Writing the Ruins of Empire: Romantic Cultural Property.
British literary responses to the shifting significance and value status of ancient artifacts and works of art in the period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Ruins as "cultural property," "cultural capital," and "aesthetic object"--then and now. Effects of colonial expansion and imperialist rivalry on collecting, connoisseurship, the advent of public museums, the marketing of antiquities, the marketing of literature. Primary readings in Gibbon, Volney, Byron, P.B. Shelley, Mary Shelley, Anna Barbauld, Felicia Hemans, Hazlitt, Keats.
ENGL 2560Z. Global Early American Literature.
What does American literature before 1860 look like viewed from a global perspective? Our goal will be to see what specifically literary problems and questions came into focus when we read American literature in terms of economic, social, philosophic, and ideological issues that extend across the globe. Authors may include John Smith, Anne Bradstreet, Charles Brockden Brown, and Herman Melville. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2561A. Manifest Destinies: Liberalism and Expansion in American Literature, 1820-1920.
An investigation of the relations between American literature and the territorial expansion of the United States from the early 19th century through World War I. Topics include the role of liberalism in the rise and operation of American expansion, the relationship between colonialist and imperialist visions of America's manifest destiny, the ideological implications of literary genres of open space (the western, the sea narrative), race and the patterns of internal migration in the United States, and the connection between the Turner thesis and literary form (Howellsian realism, Whitman's poetics and Dickinson's anti-poetics, Jewett's regionalism). Authors include Cooper, Poe, Melville, Douglass, Craft, Whitman, Dickinson, James, Jewett, and Twain. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2561B. Things Not Entirely Possessed: Romanticism and History.
This course explores how Romanticism thinks through the historical, and in particular, it engages Romantic mediations of historical knowledge through aesthetic form. What is the relationship of the aesthetic to the historical? How is subjectivity an effect of a poem’s negotiation of the past? And what role does the "future" play in Romanticism? Authors will include Liu, Pfau, Levinson, McGann, Goodman, Chandler, Ferris, Pyle.
ENGL 2561C. Intellectuals and the Public Sphere.
Considers the relationship of the artist to the public sphere, focusing on the late nineteenth century. We will look back from debates today over the "public intellectual" to Victorian debates over the "intellectual." Attention to how narratives of intellectual decline in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries portray the figure of the artist: as prophet, intellectual, professional, critic, genius, woman, madman, aesthete, scientist, and social celebrity. Readings will include literary writers and essayists (such as Dickens, Trollope, James, Pater, Shaw, Wilde, Wells), alongside theorists (Humboldt, Weber, Brecht, Benjamin, Habermas, Bourdieu, Latour, Kittler). Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2561H. American Literature Without Borders.
Recent theoretical and critical approaches to colonial and 19th-c. American literature: transatlantic, Caribbean, hemispheric; borderlands; imperial, colonial and postcolonial cultural formations; the Black Atlantic; diasporic and migration studies. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2561J. Satire and Irony.
Satire is not so much a genre as it is a mode of discourse, like irony, that resists formal constraints and can function in almost any kind of text. Satire’s dynamic contradictions (reform and frustration; laughter and anger; topicality and generality; purposefulness and pointlessness; public and private) enliven early modern texts, and complicate the relationship between language and meaning. Theories of satire provide a framework for the study of its history and practice. Emphasis falls on the great age of satire (especially the works of Jonathan Swift and his contemporaries) but some attention will be given to earlier and later examples.
ENGL 2561L. Nature and Law in American Literature.
This course will explore how American authors registered the transformation of natural history into the sciences of life. It will pay special attention to how new sciences of life influenced the legal and political practices that constitute our understanding of personhood. It will explore how sciences and emerging experimental medicine competed with discourses of the supernatural in deciding who has the right to live and die.
ENGL 2561V. The Pursuit of Happiness: Transatlantic Literary Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century.
English and American literature of the long eighteenth century with a focus on emerging concepts of happiness. Reading includes poetry, novels, satire, travel, moral philosophy, and other genres. The right to pursue happiness placed in the context of new forms of social mobility such as education, class, and affectionate marriage, but also in the context of war, empire, slavery, and other metropolitan and colonial cultural formations and exchanges. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2580. Graduate Independent Study in the Enlightenment and the Rise of National Literatures.
Section numbers vary by instructor. May be repeated for credit. Instructor's permission required.
ENGL 2700A. Capitalism & its Metamorphoses.
Not only has capitalism been defined in many different ways (as this or that); it also redefines itself endlessly. Is capitalism as metamorphosis the best definition of it? And if so, could we encapsulate capitalism in the conjunction or preposition “as,” which registers both the expression of equivalence (“as much as”) and the fiction of it (“as if,” “as though,” “as it were”). This collaborative humanities seminar will explore the metamorphic masks of capitalism through readings ranging from Marx (capitalism as vampirism) and Benjamin (capitalism as religion) to Sylvia Wynter (capitalism as plantation). We will approach literary genres such as “it-narratives” (where money narrates its own circulation) and reflect upon the fictionality of personhood (corporations acting as persons), as well as metaphors of mining (data) and extraction (energy) as shared logics of the "capitalocene."
ENGL 2760A. American Modernist Poetry and Poetics.
Study of the poetry and prose of Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Williams, H.D., Moore, and Hughes, with additional readings in criticism and theories of modernism. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760B. City, Culture, and Literature in the Early Twentieth Century.
Examines the way the city structures early 20th-century culture and history. Through novels, poetry, and cultural criticism, considers a range of topics that include the relation between the city, consciousness, and ideology; the effects of changing urban immigration; and the effects of mobility. Authors include Simmel, Benjamin, Harvey, Williams, Rotella, James, Woolf, Wright, and Eliot. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760D. Contemporary African American Literature and the End(s) of Identity.
Investigates the controversies surrounding the claim that the late 20th century marks the end of nationalist and essentialist paradigms in the scripting of black identity. Readings from a range of literary and theoretical works dealing with this intricate problem, including Stuart Hall, Hortense Spillers, Reginald McKnight, Trey Ellis, Octavia Butler, and Paul Beatty. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760E. Law and Literature: From Response to Responsibility.
Explores modernism as it is shaped by the normative and ethical concerns of a rapidly changing world through literary works, legal writings, and legal opinions. Examines the conceptual, psychological and rhetorical connections between literature and law, and considers how both disciplines shape the imagination but also aim to elicit response and responsibility. Authors include Walter Benjamin, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Chinua Achebe, and others; legal texts include Holmes, Bentham, Cover and a number of legal opinions. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760F. Metaphoric Expression: Emerson, James, Stein.
According to William Carlos Williams, metaphoric vision continually blinds Americans to the actual conditions of their world. In an attempt to answer this charge, we will read these three densely metaphorical writers against their varied historical backgrounds, hoping in the process to better understand the role played by figurative language in the shaping of American society, culture, and identity. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760G. Modernist Fiction and Theories of Modernism.
Examines a range of modernist fiction--including work by Conrad, Dos Passos, H.D., Joyce, Larsen, Rhys, Toomer, Woolf--alongside selected theories of modernism. Considers approaches ranging from theories of reification and the aesthetic to more recent considerations of modernism's relation to gender, nation, race, empire, and professionalism. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760H. Nationalizing Narratives: Studies in the Twentieth-Century U.S. Novel.
In this seminar, we will examine a number of important 20th-century U.S. novels for the ways in which they conjure the nation both as "imagined community" and "fictive ethnicity." Particular focus will be given to how the category of national identity becomes intertwined issues of race, gender, sexuality, and region as well as with ideologies of the aesthetic. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760I. Possession and Dispossession in the Modern Novel.
Examines modernist sentimentality as it is figured in notions of property. By exploring the legal and literary relationship between owning and being, we will consider how writers such as Forster, Woolf, Joyce, and Lawrence use property to conceive of human relationships-- and by extension, social justice-- in dramatically new ways. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760K. Postcolonial Theory and Africanist Discourse.
Explores central questions in current Anglo-American postcolonial theory, and examines how related questions emerge with specific inflections in writings by Africanist philosophers, historians, and creative writers. Issues include: varied connotations of the very idea of "Africa"; ideology and subjectivity; constructivism and essentialism; nationalism and globalization; aesthetics and politics. Texts by Amilcar Cabral, Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, Paulin Hountondji, Fredric Jameson, Ernesto Laclau, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Wole Soyinka, Gayatri Spivak, Yvonne Vera. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students. Undergraduate seniors may be admitted with instructor's permission.
ENGL 2760L. Literature and Photography.
Since the invention of photography in 1839, novelists have often claimed the camera as an important model for their work. We will endeavor to investigate this claim, asking in the process what the links between modernism and the visual arts have to tell us about the nature of fictional representation. Readings to include a number of theoretical discussions of photography. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760M. Postcoloniality and Globalism.
This seminar is an introduction to postcolonial theory: its precursors, key figures, and ongoing configurations in anglophone literary studies. Starting with Stuart Hall’s provocative question posed in a 1996 essay –“When was the post-colonial?”– we will ask why it became possible to name an intellectual current “postcolonial” in the 1990s. We will consider how literary and cultural criticism got to the moment of Hall’s intervention, and where we currently are in terms of archives and the aims of postcolonial humanistic inquiry. Readings will move between theoretical and literary texts, allowing us to explore how theory and literature can enrich or complicate one another. Issues to be addressed include: modernity, cultural nationalism, racialization, and the idea of “literature” itself, understood as motion of critique. Authors will include: Bhabha, Césaire, Chow, Fanon, Hartman, Morrison, Said, Salih, Spillers, Spivak, Walcott, Wicomb, Wynter.
ENGL 2760N. The Politics of Modernism.
An exploration of the controversies that have surrounded the political implications of modernist form. Topics will include the Brecht-Lukacs debate, surrealism and the politics of the avant-garde, the so-called "great divide" between innovative and popular art, and the relation of modernism to postmodernism. In addition to examining important theoretical statements, we will test their arguments against selected literary examples. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760O. Shame, Colonialism, Ethics.
This course constructs a dialogue between debates on post-Holocaust aesthetics ("Is poetry possible after Auschwitz?") and the central questions of postcolonial theory ("Can the Subaltern Speak?"), and considers the ethical and aesthetic salience of shame. It is organized around three writers whose work suggests that the novel form itself might require decolonization: Naipaul, Coetzee and Caryl Phillips. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760P. The Fifties in Color: Race, Empire, and U.S. Cold War Culture.
Examines U.S. cultural texts of the `50s in relation to both domestic race politics and foreign policy concerns. Explores issues of assimilation, conflict, containment, development, and integration in a transnational as well as a national framework. Writers we study may include Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac, Phillip Roth, John Okada and Jade Snow Wong. This course is limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760Q. Ways of Seeing: Modern American Fiction and Photography.
Reads a number of important modernist novels alongside the work of early 20th-century American photographers, focusing on what this fiction's engagement with photography has to teach us about the reproduction and circulation of American identity and history. Writers include James, Dos Passos, Hurston, Agee, Welty, and Ellison; photographers include Stieglitz, Strand, and Weston. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760R. Realism and the American Novel.
An inquiry into the form, purpose, longevity, and afterlife of American realism. In what way did it differ from its British counterpart? In what ways was it different from naturalism, modernism, and romanticism? What was its aesthetic and political legacy? How has it been read by critics? Writers to include Melville, Dreiser, Norris, James, Chestnutt, Wharton, Jewett, and Wright. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760T. Postmodernism and Literary Form.
Intended for graduate students interested in the relationship between socio-historical conditions and literary form, and for those interested in thinking beyond a narrowly periodized notion of the postmodern. Beginning with Lukács's The Theory of the Novel, considers the problematic of literary representation as it emerges in the modern age. Readings include Beckett, Nabokov, Burroughs, Amis, Rushdie, McEwan, Lyotard, and Moretti. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760U. Reading the Black Masses in Literature and Critical Practice.
For more than a century, African American literature and criticism have been definitively shaped by claims about the linked fate of the black masses and the world of letters. These contested assertions provide occasions for rethinking the traditional ends of black literary production. Class conflict, the waning of black nationalism, and diasporic identity politics, are among the topics examined under this rubric. Likely literary writers include Washington, Larsen, Ellison, Brooks, and Wideman. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760V. Neo-Victorianism: Rewriting the Long Nineteenth Century.
This seminar examines recent novelists rewriting canonical 19th-century texts by Dickens and others, playing with matters of postcoloniality and gender. Jack Maggs, for example, answers the questions, "Can the subaltern speak?" and "Does the empire write back?" while Fingersmith offers a lesbian version of the Victorian sensation novel. Patchwork Girl rewrites Frankenstein, stitching together fiction, gender, and identity. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2760W. American Literature and the Visual Arts.
With the publication of several recent studies of cinema and modernism, interest in the relation between literature and the visual arts has never been higher. We will chart the forms this relation takes in the modern era by reading both theoretical attempts to diagnose it (Benjamin, Barthes, Derrida, Rancière) and literary attempts to enact it (James, Stein, Ellison, Williams, Agee). Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760X. After Postmodernism: New Fictional Modes.
What happens when the "postmodern," the period that did away with periodization, is over? This class will discuss issues such as contemporaneity, materiality, subtraction, subjectivity, the event, and the frame in approaching British and American literature at the turn of the 21st century. Readings include Ishiguro, Cooper, Toussaint, Seth, Coetzee, Chatwin, Danielewski, Deleuze, Bergson, Badiou, Lukács, Voloshinov, Adorno, Pasolini, Nancy. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.
ENGL 2760Y. American Orientalism and Asian American Literary Criticism.
We examine critical studies of American Orientalism, influential works of Asian Americanist cultural criticism, American Orientalist texts by white and black authors, and literary texts by Asian American authors. Critics, cultural historians and writers we read may include: Christina Klein, Vijay Prashad, Elaine Kim, Frank Chin, Lisa Lowe, W.E.B. DuBois, Susan Choi, Nam Le, Karen Tei Yamashita. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2760Z. African American Literature After 1965: Nationalism and Dissent.
Since the late 1960s, major theoretical and literary currents in African American letters have been profoundly influenced by black nationalism. This seminar examines the persistence of nationalist thought in ongoing debates about racial authenticity, gender inequality, black aesthetics, and diasporic politics. In so doing we will attend to both the complexity of nationalist ideology and the dissent generated by it. Authors include Baraka, Cruse, Giovanni, Morrison, Senna, Whitehead, and Gilroy. Open to graduate students only.
ENGL 2761B. Temporalities.
Centered on modernism and the early 20th century, this course will investigate the varied models of time pulsing through literary and theoretical texts, and consider a range of issues, including memory and forgetting, historical progress and decay, utopian futurity, and queer temporalities. Readings include work by Freud, Bergson, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Joyce, Woolf, Barnes, Stein, Faulkner. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2761C. Black Internationalism and Its Discontents.
This seminar reassesses the broad influence of internationalism in African American letters from the age of abolition to the present. We will be concerned with literary writings that foreground the global struggle of black subjects to assert political agency in relation to Western imperialism and transatlantic slavery. Equally crucial will be a reconsideration of an established body of theoretical writings that conceive of diasporic modes of solidarity and cultural expression as alternatives to the black nationalist intellectual tradition. Authors include Martin Delany, W.E.B Du Bois, Richard Wright, Angela Davis, Brent Edwards, and Paul Gilroy.
ENGL 2761F. The Racial Lives of Affect.
This course explores both dominant and emergent theoretical paradigms that anatomize the affective dimensions of racialized subjectivity in the US with a particular emphasis on recent scholarship that is linked with the field of affect theory. Rather than attempting an exhaustive or definitive mapping of that field, this seminar focuses on those thinkers whose works enhance our understandings of race. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2761J. Identity and Agency.
Any consideration of identity is bound to run up against the concept of agency. Considering identity and agency as mutually constitutive, this course looks at identity's formation and reformation as a narrative experience and effect, examining its emergence on historical and affective terrains. Approaching identity from a range of vantages (psychoanalysis, gender, history, law), we trace the ways that identities might be consolidated into (or, alternatively, unravel) cultural, political, national, or social arrangements. Works by Woolf, Selvon, James Weldon Johnson, Christopher Isherwood, Proust, Fanon, Arendt, Freud, Winnicott, Butler. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2761Q. Blackness and Being: Studies in Black Literary and Cultural Criticism.
Through some recent critical readings, we will think about the enduring “problem” of blackness—its representational, aesthetic, and/or philosophical (ontological, epistemological, ethical) challenges. Our study will think through feminist and queer studies, as well as through diaspora and American and ethnic studies. We will also think historically about what motivates various turns to thinking about blackness and being. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2761S. Naturalism and the Anthropocene.
The world of naturalist fiction is strange and terrifying: monstrous new forms of life; speaking animals; suicide; madness; financial ruin; ecological disaster. We will study this world in light of our catastrophic present, reading recent work in new materialism, neuroscience, animal studies, science studies, and environmentalism. Authors include Zola, Stein, Wharton, Chesnutt, Conrad, Hardy, Nietzsche, Bergson, Freud, Du Bois, James. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2762. The Art of Dissent.
We tend to think of dissent as a political posture, a mode of refusal or resistance to power. In this seminar, we approach dissent as an aesthetic category and explore its idioms, forms, and contexts. Beginning with judicial dissents—those postscripts to our legal system that also sow the seeds of potential law—we will consider the body as a form of dissent (from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to hunger strikes); the tone, registers, and shapes of dissenting voices in works by Dubois, Larsen, Woolf, Forster, Baldwin, and Orwell; and the relationship between dissent and confrontation in contemporary events like the Chinese protests against zero-Covid restrictions, in music (Plastic People of the Universe, Public Enemy, N.W.A.) and in standup comedy (Ali Wong, Wanda Sykes, Bo Burnham).
ENGL 2780. Graduate Independent Study in Modern and Contemporary Literatures.
Section numbers vary by instructor. May be repeated for credit. Instructor's permission required.
ENGL 2900A. Contemporary Feminist Theory: Feminist Address.
Recent feminist theory addresses identity politics and the critique of the subject; problematics of race, class and gender; the challenge of queer theory; the demand for materialist analysis. We consider these topics in light of the problematics of address. What are the forms of feminist address? How are they received or refused? Who are the subjects of contemporary feminisms? Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900C. Theories of Literature: From Classical Antiquity to Postmodernity.
Investigates theories of literature in two self-conscious historical epochs: classical antiquity, represented by figures such as Plato, Aristotle, and Horace, and by practices such as marginal notation of texts, literary commentaries, and performance techniques; and the 20th century, represented by figures such as Adorno, Barthes, and Bahktin, with special attention to the intersections between philosophy and literature and poststructuralist conceptions of textuality. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900D. Walter Benjamin and Modern Theory.
Intensive study of Walter Benjamin's essays on modern culture and literature (in particular Goethe, Baudelaire, Proust, and Kafka). Explores the consequences of his thinking for problems in contemporary literary and cultural theory. German and/or French helpful but not required. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900E. Deleuze: Literature and Aesthetics.
How does Deleuze help us read modern culture? This course will focus on Deleuze's writings on literature, painting and cinema as a point of entry to the work of one of the most original and intriguing thinkers of the late 20th century. We will look at the reasons for Deleuze's fascination with Anglo-American literature, and discuss the extent to which Deleuze's model of literary analysis breaks with -- while remaining fundamentally indebted to -- Marxism and psychoanalysis. Other readers include Melville, Kafka, T. E. Lawrence, as well as films by Antonioni, Godard and Sembene. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900F. Form and Content.
Readings in aesthetics, literary theory, structuralism-poststructuralism, and cultural studies that address the form/content distinction in one of its many avatars. Topics will include the sign, thematics, formlessness, formalism and historicism, tenors and vehicles, structure, and defamiliarization, among others. Previous work in literary or cultural theory strongly recommended. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900G. History and Form.
An exploration of the relation between historical and formalist approaches to literary interpretation, from the New Critics to the so-called "New Formalism." What is the role of form in historically and politically oriented criticism (examples will be taken from Marxism, the New Historicism, feminism, cultural studies, and post-colonial theory)? What happens to history when form takes center stage (for example, in structuralism and deconstruction)? Is it possible (and desirable) to avoid a pendulum swing between the poles of historicism and formalism and to mediate the conflicting claims of history and form? Or is a focus on one at the expense of the other the necessary cost of an incisive interpretive strategy? In addition to theoretical readings that exemplify the conflict between history and form, attention will be paid to the history of reception of one or more literary works in order to articulate the practical implications of their opposition and interdependence. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900H. Queer Passivity.
A study of the concept of passivity in queer theory, literature, and film. Subjects will include AIDS and temporality; the senses and dissolution; ascesis and chastity; pornography and sovereignty. We will explore post-structuralist theories and continental philosophies (Agamben, Cavarero, Deleuze, Derrida, Marion, Nancy) that resonate with the kind of queer receptivity that will be the object of study. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2900K. Nietzsche, Foucault, Latour.
The seminar will trace a line of radical thought about truth, language, knowledge and power—and their interrelations—in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault and Bruno Latour. Particular attention will be given to the significance of their work for poststructuralist language theory, constructivist epistemology and science studies, and current issues involving the relations between science and religion. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2900M. The Reading Effect and the Persistence of Form.
This course examines the "reading effect" as it emerges in work on the question of form and contemporaneous scholarship on the problematics of reading. We will trace the ways in which these related but distinct critical idioms negotiate concepts of mutual concern (interpretation, representation, the reading subject/reading brain). Topics include "new formalism," cognitive studies, symptomatic reading. Theorists from Althusser and deMan to Marcus, Wolfson and Zunshine. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students; undergraduate seniors may enroll with instructor permission.
ENGL 2900N. Ethical Turns in Psychoanalysis and Literature.
This course examines ethics, broadly conceived, as the place where literature and psychoanalysis intersect or coexist in tense or collaborative relation. We will consider ethics at sites or moments of transition—as turns, upheavals, or ordinary acts that bring into view notions of responsibility, conviction, obligation, knowledge, ignorance, and complicity. Readings by Barthes, Benjamin, Fanon, Arendt, Freud, Lacan, Winnicott, Klein, Butler. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2900X. Postcolonial Theory.
In this introduction to postcolonial theory we will consider key Western sources (Hegel, Marx, Lacan, Levi Strauss, Emmanuel Levinas); anticolonial manifestos (Gandhi, Fanon, Césaire, Memmi); political and ethical practices (civil disobedience, armed struggle, friendship). In addition to canonical critics (Said, Bhabha, Spivak), the course will review new interests in the field (transnationalism, non-western imperialisms, the environmental turn). Offered as a collaborative humanities seminar in Spring 2022, Postcolonial Theory will host and think with a series of guest scholars.
ENGL 2901D. War and the Politics of Cultural Memory.
The past several decades have seen the rise of a veritable memory industry devoted to the memorializing of wars. This seminar focuses on a selection of British, European, and American novels, memoirs, and films that self-consciously engage in remembering a range of conflicts, from the First World War to the “War on Terror,” alongside a relevant body of theoretical writings. Our aim is to think in detail, and collectively, about the political stakes of such literary remembrances and to develop together a “contrapuntal” approach that engages with the collaborative tensions between Anglo-European, postcolonial, and US minority modes of memory.
ENGL 2901K. Theory, Technics, Religion.
Critical theory has a rich history of engagement with fundamental and overlapping questions of technics, media and religion. This seminar focuses mainly on important texts from the last century (Benjamin, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Agamben), but also reads more broadly in the post-Enlightenment critical and speculative tradition (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Weber). Selections from the Bible and readings from a few literary texts from various eras will also be assigned. Enrollment limited to 15 graduate students.
ENGL 2901P. Black Feminism: Roots, Routes, Futures.
This graduate seminar pursues an interdisciplinary investigation of black feminist theories, methods, praxes, and politics. Using a black feminist lens, it investigates legacies of racial slavery and colonialism; the pathways and promises of African diaspora; citizenship, labor, and the law; theories of the flesh and changing definitions of kin; human ontology and the mutability of gender; black expressive practices and emancipatory politics. Enrollment limited to 15.
ENGL 2940. Scholarly Writing for Journal Publication.
Writing and professionalization workshop intended for graduate students in literary studies. Topics covered include selection of journal; framing, structuring and composition of the article; the logistics of peer review; sharing and workshopping drafts; working with academic mentors and advisors. Every passing student will have a publishable article under consideration by the end of the semester. Enrollment limited to 12 English Ph.D. students. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
ENGL 2950. Seminar in Pedagogy and Composition Theory.
An experimental and exploratory investigation into writing as a preparation for teaching college-level writing. Reviews the history of writing about writing, from Plato to current discussions on composition theory. Against this background, examines various processes of reading and writing. Emphasizes the practice of writing, including syllabus design. Enrollment restricted to students in the English Ph.D. program.
ENGL 2970. Preliminary Examination Preparation.
For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for a preliminary examination.
|Fall||ENGL2970||S01||16110||Arranged||'To Be Arranged'|
|Spr||ENGL2970||S01||24863||Arranged||'To Be Arranged'|
ENGL 2990. Thesis Preparation.
For graduate students who have met the residency requirement and are continuing research on a full time basis.
|Fall||ENGL2990||S01||16111||Arranged||'To Be Arranged'|
|Spr||ENGL2990||S01||24864||Arranged||'To Be Arranged'|
ENGL XLIST. Courses of Interest to Students Concentrating in English.
The English Department fosters the study of British, American, and Anglophone literature—old and new—in ways that are both intensive and open. We study how English literature works, how we understand and appreciate it, and how we write about it. We offer a wide array of courses in poetry, drama, fiction, creative nonfiction, film, digital media, and theory. All our courses emphasize the development of student skills in writing, textual analysis, and argument. The department’s faculty members are deeply committed to undergraduate teaching and advising. You will find considerable diversity in our critical methods, including cross-disciplinary approaches that relate the study of literature to history, politics, science, as well as to other art forms. We encourage students in our classes likewise to forge their own new ways of understanding literature and culture.
In addition to the standard English concentration, we offer an English concentration track in the practice of Nonfiction Writing. The concentration in English and the English/Nonfiction track follow the same core requirements, and students in the English concentration may elect Nonfiction Writing courses as electives. We invite applications from qualified juniors to the honors programs in both English and Nonfiction.
One of the largest humanities concentrations at Brown, English provides a strong foundation for a liberal education and for employment in many sectors, especially those that centrally involve writing and working with texts (in any form). In addition to authorship, scholarship, and teaching, these include: journalism, publishing, advertising, visual media, consulting, public relations, public service, finance, government, corporate research, and administration. Our English concentrators routinely go on to law, medical, and professional schools as well as to graduate education in literature and the arts.
About the Concentration
We encourage students interested in concentrating in English to visit the department offices at 70 Brown Street and speak with a concentration advisor. Students in English courses who are considering an English concentration are welcome to make an appointment to speak with their instructor. Concentration programs must be approved by a concentration advisor.
Concentration Requirements (10 courses1):
|1. ONE course in "How Literature Matters" (ENGL0100, 0101):||1|
|Addressing topics about which professors are especially passionate, these introductory courses aim to deepen and refine students’ understanding of how literature matters: aesthetically, ethically, historically and politically. Students not only engage with larger questions about literature’s significance, exploring the particular kinds of insights and thinking it is especially suited for conveying, they also gain a deeper awareness of the critical methods we use to understand and analyze it, engaging with matters of form, genre and media. Finally, these courses help students develop their skills as close, careful readers of literary form and language.|
|How To Read A Poem|
|Matters of Romance|
|Devils, Demons, Do-Gooders|
|The Literature of Identity|
|Cultures and Countercultures: The American Novel after World War II|
|How Poems See|
|American Histories, American Novels|
|The Simple Art of Murder|
|Inventing Asian American Literature|
|Do the Right Thing|
|Independence and Modern Literature|
|Earth Poetics: Literature and Climate Change|
|2. ONE course in Medieval and Renaissance Literatures (Pre-1700):||1|
These courses, which center on Medieval and Renaissance literary works, cast light on periods that can come across to us as both familiar and strange. They focus our attention on how literatures from these periods depict concepts such as aesthetics, romance, gender, sexuality, race, power and politics in ways that are like and unlike how we tend to think of them today—on how pre-modern or early modern works can both defamiliarize the categories of experience and identity we tend to take for granted and also suggest something of their origins. Several courses under this rubric will also engage with recent literary and filmic adaptations of works from these eras, exploring how many such works continue to function as vibrant and at times ambivalent inspirations for the literary imaginings of later periods.
|3. ONE course in Literatures of Modernity (Post-1700):||1|
These courses explore the many strands of writing in English that have emerged from the eighteenth century through the present, shaping the contemporary world. These literatures reflect on political, economic, and intellectual history, from the idea of the nation and the structures of capital through the rise and dissolution of empire and the emergence of postcolonial states, including the forms of race, gender and sexuality that cut across them. Courses also examine how aesthetic works can shape and critique their moment: they look at genres like the novel and short story, poetry, drama, essays, and new, hybrid forms that have arisen with expanding digital media; they also take up a multitude of literary movements whose influences remain with us today, including Romanticism, realism, naturalism, modernism, and post-modernism.
|4. ONE course in Literatures of the Color Line:||1|
In 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois famously proclaimed in "The Souls of Black Folk" that “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.” Courses in this category explore the complex ways in which literary texts have addressed American histories of race, ethnicity, and empire. They may do so from the vantage point of ideas about difference and hierarchy that predate the modern conception of race and by engaging with earlier histories of conflict and contact. These courses explore issues of intersectionality as well, highlighting how race operates in relation to other structures of difference such as gender, sexuality and class.
|Devils, Demons, Do-Gooders|
|Inventing Asian American Literature|
|Independence and Modern Literature|
|The Claims of Fiction|
|Brontës and Brontëism|
|Slavery and American Literature|
|Literature of the American Renaissance|
|American Fiction and Mass Culture|
|Modernism and Race|
|African American Literature and the Legacy of Slavery|
|American Literature in the Era of Segregation|
|Death and Dying in Black Literature|
|Readings in Black and Queer|
|Literature of US Inequality, 1945-2020|
|The Origins of American Literature|
|American Literature and the Civil War|
|Lincoln, Whitman, and The Civil War|
|Realism, Modernism, Postmodernism: The American Novel and its Traditions|
|Harlem Renaissance: The Politics of Culture|
|Modern African Literature|
|Literature and the Problem of Poverty|
|Nationalizing Narratives: Race, Nationalism, and the American Novel|
|The Literature and Culture of Black Power Reconsidered|
|Reading New York|
|Lyric Concepts: The Question of Identity in Modern and Contemporary Poetry|
|Art for an Undivided Earth / Transnational Approaches to Indigenous Art and Activism|
|The Politics of Perspective: Post-war British Fiction|
|Contemporary Black Women's Literature|
|Monsters in our Midst: The Plantation and the Woods in Trans-American Literature|
|Radical Pasts, Radical Futures: Literature and the Left|
|American Modernism and its Aftermaths|
|Narratives of Blackness in Latinx and Latin America|
|Blackness and Being|
|Translational Echoes of the Korean War|
|The Korean War in Color|
|Literature and Politics|
|Fanon and Spillers|
|The Recent Novel and its Cultural Rivals|
|5. ONE course in Literary Theory and Cultural Critique:||1|
The late-twentieth century saw a revolution in the field of literary studies in the United States, as critics turned their attention to the contextual and historical nature of our categories of knowledge. This turn to theory was influenced by developments in psychoanalysis, linguistics, philosophy, political theory and sociology and by the emergence of social movements that challenged such structures as patriarchy, homophobia, racism, imperialism, economic inequality, and environmental violence. The avenues of inquiry opened up brought an increased awareness of the implication of literature in the operations of power and ideology; a sense of the potential for literary modes of presentation to challenge and displace such operations; and a new attention to the role of gender, race, empire, class, and sexuality in the formation of the literary work. Courses that satisfy the Literary Theory and Cultural Critique requirement explore some dimension of these issues – either directly, taking as their primary focus a set of theoretical questions or debates, or indirectly, by examining a compelling topical question of social and political significance through works of literature and literary theory.
|Literature and the Visual Arts|
|Reading Practices: An Introduction to Literary Theory|
|Ishiguro, Amongst Others|
|Poetry and Science|
|Trans Cultural Production and Trans Studies|
|Readings in Black and Queer|
|Intellectual Pleasures: Reading/Writing the Literary Text|
|Poetics of Narrative|
|Emily Dickinson and the Theory of Lyric Form|
|Writing and the Ruins of Empire|
|Nationalizing Narratives: Race, Nationalism, and the American Novel|
|The Politics of Perspective: Post-war British Fiction|
|Art for an Undivided Earth / Transnational Approaches to Indigenous Art and Activism|
|Reading Gravity's Rainbow|
|Hollywood and American Modernism from FDR to JFK|
|Reading the Black Masses in Literature and Critical Practice|
|W. G. Sebald and Some Interlocutors|
|Literature and Politics|
|History of Criticism from Plato to Postmodernism|
|Medieval Manuscript Studies: Paleography, Codicology, and Interpretation|
|Neuroaesthetics and Reading|
|The Late 60s: Film Countercultures|
|Fanon and Spillers|
|You Better Work: Sexuality, Labor, Blackness|
|Reading Narrative Theory|
|The Recent Novel and its Cultural Rivals|
|Shakespeare: a Politics of Love|
|Black Internationalism and Its Discontents|
|The Pursuit of Happiness: Transatlantic Literary Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century|
|Ethical Turns in Psychoanalysis and Literature|
|War and the Politics of Cultural Memory|
|Theory, Technics, Religion|
|Black Feminism: Roots, Routes, Futures|
|6. FIVE electives 2||5|
Each course may fulfill ONE requirement. Five courses must be 1000-level courses. With advisor approval, two of the ten required courses may be taken in departments other than English.
Only TWO courses dealing primarily with the practice of writing at the 1000-level may be counted as electives.
ENGL0900 and ENGL0930 do not count toward the concentration, however they do fulfill prerequisites for upper-level Nonfiction courses.
One ENGL0200 may be counted toward the 10-course requirement only as an elective.
All substitutions and/or exceptions must be approved by the concentration advisor in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. A substitution or exception is not approved until specified in writing in the student’s concentration file housed in the English Department.
English Concentration -- Nonfiction Writing Track (10 courses)
The English concentration also includes a Nonfiction Writing Track. The requirements are the same as 1 through 6 above, but three of the five electives must be 1000-level Nonfiction Writing courses (only ONE of which may be intermediate: ENGL1030, ENGL1050). Only THREE Nonfiction courses may count toward the track.
Honors in English
The English Honors program is intended for students who have been highly successful in their English concentration coursework and who want the opportunity to pursue a research project in more depth than is possible in an undergraduate seminar. The program is intended for those students with a strong desire to conduct independent research under the supervision of a thesis advisor and culminates in the writing of a thesis during the senior year.
Students apply to the Honors Program early in the second semester of their junior year. December or mid-year graduates may apply in their 6th semester, but are encouraged to apply during their 5th semester and write their theses alongside May graduates. Interested concentrators should speak to the Honors Advisor early in their junior year to discuss their plans. Specific deadlines for admission are announced annually and are available on the department website. Students who are studying off campus are expected to meet the application submission deadline.
Admission to the English Honors Program depends on evidence of ability and promise in the study of literature. To be eligible for admission, students must have received more As than Bs (and no Cs or below) in concentration courses completed. Students must complete an application; supply a brief writing sample, and request two letters of recommendation from English faculty with whom they have taken courses. If necessary, letters may come from faculty in related departments. Letters from teaching assistants may only serve as supporting recommendations. Candidates must also submit a one-page project proposal signed by the faculty member who has agreed to serve as the thesis advisor.
See procedures and application for more details.
December or mid-year graduates who wish to apply to honors have two options, but the first is highly encouraged:
In their 5th semester (Spring), students apply to the honors program along with the other juniors. Accepted students will be incorporated into the regular honors cohort and must meet the same deadlines: i.e. they must complete their theses at the same time as the other honors students (though for mid-years this will be at the end of their 7th semester). They register for ENGL 1991 English Honors Seminar in the Fall, and ENGL 1992 Senior Honors Thesis in the Spring.
In the 7th semester (the Spring of their final year), students take an independent study with their thesis advisor, under whose direction they will begin to research and write their theses. This course must be taken S/NC.
In the 8th semester (the Fall of their final year), as they complete their theses, students take ENGL 1992 for a grade. Mid-year graduates should consult with the Honors Director for information about deadlines.
The course requirements for the English Honors Program are the same as those for the regular concentration, with the following additions:
As part of regular coursework, and counting toward the concentration requirements, honors candidates must complete at least three upper-level seminars or comparable small courses in which students have the opportunity to do independent research, take significant responsibility for discussion, and do extensive scholarly and critical writing. Students are encouraged to include at least one graduate seminar in their program. (Permission to take a graduate course must be obtained from the instructor.) Honors candidates should discuss their proposed course of study with the Honors Advisor.
During the Fall and Spring of the senior year, honors candidates must complete two additional courses beyond the ten courses required by the regular concentration: ENGL 1991 and ENGL 1992. ENGL 1991 is the Senior Honors Seminar, in which students begin to research and write their theses, as well as meet to discuss their work. This is a mandatory S/NC course. ENGL 1992, the Senior Honors Thesis is an independent research course that must be taken for a grade.
Honors candidates must continue to receive more As than Bs in courses taken as part of the concentration. Courses completed with a grade of C will not count toward an Honors concentration. A student who receives such a grade and wishes to continue in the program must complete a comparable course with a grade higher than C.
The Honors Thesis
The Honors thesis is an extended essay, usually between 50 and 80 pages, written under the supervision of a department faculty advisor and second reader. (Where appropriate, the advisor or the reader, but not both, may be in another department.) The thesis may be an interdisciplinary or creative project, but it is usually an essay on a scholarly or critical problem dealing with works of literature in English. The specific topic and approach of the thesis are worked out between the student and the thesis advisor, with assistance from the student's second reader. This process should begin in the latter part of the student's junior year. A good way to get an idea of what sorts of projects are possible is to visit the Hay Library, which stores theses from previous years, or to meet with the Honors Advisor.
A prospectus describing the project and endorsed by the faculty advisor must be submitted to the Honors Advisor at the beginning of the senior year. At the end of the senior year fall term, a student must submit approximately 25 pages of draft material toward the thesis. Full thesis drafts are due by mid-March; final bound copies of the thesis are due in mid-April. Late theses will not be accepted for honors after the April deadline; students who hand in theses after the deadline but before the end of the term will receive a grade for the thesis course, but they will not be eligible for departmental honors. The completed thesis will be evaluated by the student's advisor and a second reader, each of whom provides written commentary and suggests a grade for ENGL 1992.
The English Department reviews the academic record as well as the thesis evaluations for each senior completing the Honors Program. Following a successful review, the student will be eligible to graduate with Honors in English.
Honors in Nonfiction Writing
The Nonfiction Writing Honors Program is intended for students who have been highly successful in their English concentration work. Specifically, it allows those who have an expressed and proven interest in nonfiction writing to pursue more completely a single project under the supervision of a first reader. The intention is to help students to complete work worthy of publication. The program culminates in the writing of a thesis during the senior year.
Students apply to the Nonfiction Writing Honors Program in the second semester of their junior year. December or mid-year graduates may apply in their 6th semester, but are encouraged to apply during their 5th semester and write their theses alongside May graduates. Interested concentrators should have already made contact with at least one member of the Nonfiction Writing faculty and should meet with the Honors Advisor early in their junior year to discuss their plans. Specific deadlines for admission are announced annually and are available on the department website. Students who are studying off campus are expected to meet the application submission deadline.
Admission to the Honors Program in Nonfiction Writing depends upon a student's demonstrated superior ability in nonfiction writing. Students must have taken either one intermediate and one advanced writing course, or two advanced writing courses by the end of their sixth semester and completed each of them with an S. To be eligible for admission, students must have earned more As than Bs (and no Cs or below) in other courses in the concentration plan. Students must submit an application, two letters of recommendation, a writing sample from an advanced writing course, and a project proposal.
See procedures and application for more details.
December or mid-year graduates who wish to apply for nonfiction honors have two options, but the first is highly encouraged:
In their 5th semester (Spring), students can apply to the nonfiction honors program along with the other juniors. Accepted students will be incorporated into the regular nonfiction honors cohort and must meet the same deadlines: i.e. they must complete their theses at the same time as the other honors students (though for mid-years this will be at the end of their 7th semester). They register for ENGL 1993 Nonfiction Honors Seminar in the Fall and ENGL 1994 Senior Honors Thesis in Nonfiction in the Spring.
In their 7th semester (the Spring of their final year) students take ENGL 1200 and in their 8th semester (the Fall of their final year) they take ENGL 1994. (Students choosing this option must consult with the Honors Advisor for information on deadlines.)
Students in the Nonfiction Writing Honors Program take two additional courses beyond the ten courses required by the Nonfiction Writing Track -- ENGL 1993 Honors Seminar in Nonfiction Writing (with the Honors Advisor) and ENGL 1994 Senior Honors Thesis in Nonfiction Writing; the Honors track will bring to twelve the total number of required courses. The ENGL 1993 grade option must be S/NC; ENGL 1994 must be taken for a grade. Honors candidates should discuss their proposed course of study with the faculty member they choose to direct their thesis.
Honors candidates must continue to receive more As than Bs in courses taken as part of the concentration. Courses completed with a grade of C will not count toward an Honors concentration. A student who receives a "C" after admission to Nonfiction Honors and wishes to continue in the program must complete an additional course in a comparable subject area, with a grade higher than C.
The Honors Thesis
The Nonfiction Writing Honors thesis is an extended project, usually of between 50 and 80 pages, written under the supervision of one of the Nonfiction Writing faculty and a second reader (who can be from literature or another department). The specific topic and approach of the thesis are worked out between the student and the first reader, with assistance from the student's second reader. A good way to get an idea of what sorts of projects are possible is to visit the Hay Library, which stores theses from previous years, or to meet with the Honors Advisor. The work typically is in a genre chosen from Nonfiction Writing's spectrum: critical analysis, literary journalism, memoir, lyric essay, or narrative based on travel, science, history, or cultural critique.
Full thesis drafts are due by mid-March; final bound copies of the thesis are due in mid-April. Late theses will not be accepted for honors after the April deadline; students who hand in theses after the deadline and before the end of the term will receive a grade for the thesis course, but they will not be eligible for departmental honors. The completed thesis will be evaluated by its first reader and second reader, each of whom provides written commentary and suggests a grade for ENGL 1994.
The English Department reviews the academic record as well as the thesis evaluations for each senior completing the Nonfiction Writing Honors Program. Following a successful review, the student will be eligible to graduate with Honors in Nonfiction Writing.
The Department of English offers a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.
For more information on admission and program requirements, please visit the following website: