These listings are incomplete. More courses will be added and some changed. This is preliminary information only.
English 8: Introduction to Literary Study, Professor Edmondson at the 11 hour
This course is an introduction to literary study at the college level. Although content varies from year to year, the course examines both literary texts and the kinds of language used in literary criticism. It asks in what ways we read and interpret literary texts and what tools are used to accomplish this. Such features of literary meaning as image, character, narrative, structure, and sound will be covered, and students will learn the analytical skills necessary for writing about literature.
Although the course is equally suitable for majors and non-majors, it can be used as a introduction to the major, providing some basic understanding of the fields of inquiry currently most central in literary studies, and on which the structure of our major is based. Some or all of the following topics may be included: literary genre; poetry and poetics; relevant literary and intellectual history; national traditions and countertraditions; colonial and postcolonial studies; cultural studies and popular culture; oral interpretation as criticism. Race, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity will be considered in their literary manifestations.
This course does not carry English major credit.
English 15: Introduction to Literary Theory, Professor Travis at the 11 hour
The course will introduce students to some of the leading texts, concepts, and practices of what has come to be known as theoretical criticism. Topics to be considered may include some of the following: structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, new historicism, post-colonialism, post-modernism, queer theory, and cultural studies. Attention will also be given to historical and institutional contexts of this criticism. Intended to provide a basic, historically informed, knowledge of theoretical terms and practices, this course should enable students to read contemporary criticism with understanding and attempt theoretically informed criticism themselves. Course Group IV
English 20: Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, Professor Otter at the 10 hour
An introduction to Chaucer, concentrating on ten of the Canterbury Tales, and studying him as a social critic and literary artist. Special attention will be paid to Chaucer’s language, the sounds of Middle English, and the implications of verse written for the ear. Course Group I, CA tags Genre-poetry, Genre-narrative.
English 24: Shakespeare I, Professor Saccio at the 9 hour
A study of about ten plays spanning Shakespeare’s career, including comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances. Attention will be paid to Shakespeare’s language; to his dramatic practices and theatrical milieu; and to the social, political, and philosophical issues raised by the action of the plays. Videotapes will supplement the reading. Exercises in close reading and interpretative papers. Course Group I, CA tag Genre-drama
English 32: The Rise of the Novel, Professor Cosgrove at the 10 hour
A study of the eighteenth-century English novel, with emphasis on formal variations within the genre as well as on interrelations of formal, political, and psychological elements of the narratives. Reading may include works by Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Oliver Goldsmith, Frances Burney, and Elizabeth Inchbald, as well as twentieth-century criticism. Course Group II, CA tag Genre-narrative
English 36: Victorian Literature and Culture, 1837 - 1859, Professor McCann at the 11 hour
This course examines early Victorian poetry, prose and fiction in the context of cultural practices and social institutions of the time. We will locate cultural concerns among, for example, those of capitalism, political reform, scientific knowledge, nation and empire. And we will consider revisions of space, time, gender, sexuality, class, and public and private life that characterized formations of British identity during this period. Texts may include work by Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charlotte Bronte, John Ruskin, Charles Darwin. We will also read selections from recent criticism of Victorian culture. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Course Group II, CA tag Cultural Studies an Popular Studies.
English 41: American Prose, Professor Renza at the 11 hour
Readings of nonfiction narratives by such American writers as Franklin, Emerson, Thoreau, Henry Adams, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and Jack Kerouac. Course Group II, CA tags Genre-narrative, National Traditions and Counter-Traditions
English 48: Contemporary American Fiction, Professor Favor at the 11 hour
Contemporary American fiction introduces the reader to the unexpected. Instead of conventionally structured stories, stereotypical heroes, traditional value systems, and familiar uses of language, the reader finds new and diverse narrative forms. Such writers as Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Maxine Hong Kingston, Leslie Silko, Norman Mailer, Don DeLillo, and Ralph Ellison, among others, have produced a body of important, innovative fiction expressive of a modern American literary sensibility. The course requires intensive class reading of this fiction and varied critical writing on postmodernism. Course Group III, CA tags Genre-narrative, National Traditions and Counter-Traditions
English 66.2: Reading Between the Color Line: 19th Century Literature of Interracial Identity, Professor Chaney at the 12 hour
From antebellum anti-slavery memoir and fiction to reconstruction-era realism, the issue of the color-line and the drama of its crossing permeate nineteenth-century American literature. This course examines narratives of racial amalgamation, passing, and interracial identity, placing emphasis on the way literary texts construct and complicate notions of racial identity, assimilation, and interracial contact. In addition to tracing socio-historical and theoretical representations of “mixed race” identity, we shall also track how whiteness as a category of identification evolves during this period. Likely readings include Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Brown’s Clotel, Harper’s Iola Leroy, Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Craft’s Running A Thousand Miles to Freedom, and Chesnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars. Students will be required to critically read, discuss, and analyze course texts; graded work will consist of participation, multiple short responses, and one or two formal essays. Course Group II, CA tags National Traditions and Counter-Traditions, Multicultural and Colonial/Post Colonial Studies.
English 67.2: Native Cartographies and Narration, Professor Goeman at the 2A hour (crosslisted with NAS 80.2)
This class will address various issues of particular importance to indigenous communities as it is reflected in twentieth-century creative works. The relationship between race, gender, and nation will be explicated through an examination of films, visual work, short stories, poems, and novels. We will begin with American Indian literature at the turn of the century, which addresses the trope of the frontier and the push westward, and end with current indigenous work that comments on global restructuring and the indigenous movement in the Americas. By using literary analytical tools in exploring metaphor, poetic structures, and genres, we will engage with the methods American Indian writers employ in their work to map out spaces of their own making. The selected material is presented with a concern for the diversity of American Indian Nations and the variety of their experiences and ideas in order to tackle common misperceptions and put forth the rich complexity of the legal, psychological, and communal contexts of the work. Important to this class is an open and thoughtful discussion about the active struggle for decolonization and healing that takes place in Native communities. Texts will include: Course Reader; National Museum of the American Indian Website, Various Exhibits; Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto FistFight in Heaven; Esther Belin, From the Belly of My Beauty, Fast Runner; Joy Harjo, How We Became Human; Linda Hogan, Solar Storms; Rabbit Proof Fence; Greg Sarris, Grand Avenue; Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead; Marc Warhus, Another America: Native American Maps and The History of Our Land. Course Group III, CA tags National Traditions and Counter-Traditions, Multicultural and Colonial/Post Colonial Studies
English 67.3: Introduction to the Southern Gothic, Professor Castillo, at the 2A hour
The South is a region that has always been obsessed with boundaries, whether territorial (the Mason-Dixon line), or those related to gender, social class, and particularly of race. In this course, we will examine the ways in which the grotesques, monsters, freaks and doppelgangers that populate the Southern Gothic are directly linked to the region's past, particularly to its difficulties in coming to terms with its history of slavery and with interracial sexuality. Authors to be studied include Edgar Allan Poe, George Washington Cable, Charles Chesnutt, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and Tennessee Williams. Course Group III, CA tags Genre-narrative and Cultural Studies and Popular Culture
English 67.4: A History of Asian America in Novels and Prose (Introduction to Asian American Literature), Professor Santa Ana at the 10A hour
What have been the historical experiences of Asian Americans and how have these experiences shaped their identity? How might we understand Asian Americans as a "race" through their literature and prose? In this course, we will read a survey of literary texts from the past to the present by various Asian American subgroups (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian). We will examine and situate novels and prose narratives within the social contexts of important moments in Asian American history: the emergence of Chinatowns in urban enclaves, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Filipino "postcolonial" condition under U.S. imperialism, the early generation of exiled Koreans in California, and recent immigration of Asian Indians to North America. For each Asian American subgroup, we will pay particular attention to the authors' depictions of labor, class mobility, generational difference, interethnic relations, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and assimilation. We will also read secondary materials to help us situate the literary texts in social and historical contexts. Texts may include Course Reader, Louis Chu's Eat a Bowl of Tea, Fay Myenne Ng's Bone, John Okada's No-No Boy, Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, Ronyoung Kim's Clay Walls, Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life, and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. Course Group III, CA tags Genre-narrative, Multicultural and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies
English 67.5: Toni Morrision, Professor Gerzina at the 2A hour
Unspeakable Things Unspoken. An examination of the novels and nonfiction writings of Toni Morrison, as well as critical writings about her work. In addition to close readings and discussions of style, we will look at the historical contexts within which the fiction takes place. Papers will include a close-reading midterm essay and a long final research paper. Readings include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, and Playing in the Dark, as well as her play Recitif, and critical writings by and about Morrison. Course Group III, CA tags Genre-narrative, Multicultural and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies.
English 71.1: Not Your Father's Walt Whitman, Professor Cook at the 10 hour
A close study of Whitman’s texts (poetry and prose), contexts (literary and historical), and significance (cultural and critical). This course will span Whitman’s literary career and pay particular attention to his changing sense of self and nation. We will examine the revisions of Leaves of Grass between the first edition of 1855 and the death-bed edition of 1891-92 to learn how Whitman reconceptualized his project and his own role. We will consider his self-stylization as the American poet in light of the changing definitions that he attached to "America" as he repeatedly reinvented himself from the newspaperman of the 1840’s to the ‘Good Gray Poet" of the 1880’s. In addition, we will carefully examine most of the poetry and prose dropped by Whitman , revised by him and excluded from the canonical Library of America Complete Poems and Collected Poetry of Walt Whitman in order to recover both "the great sexual mystery of Whitman" and a subtler and more complex portrait of the "Good Gray/Gay Poet." Prerequisite: one course in poetry or in nineteenth century American Literature, or permission of the instructor. Requirements: each student will be expected to make two presentations to the class, and to write a term paper on the subject of Whitman’s poetry and/or prose). Course Group II, CA tag Genre-poetry
English 72.1: The Poetry of Wallace Stevens, Professor Renza at the 3A hour
The course will mostly consist of reading and discussing Stevens' collected poems and some prose. We will also read critical interpretations of his works. Students will give oral class reports and write two essays on approved topics. Course Group III, CA tag Genre-poetry
English 72.2: American Writers Between the World Wars, Professor Will at the 2A hour
This course will examine the work of American authors writing between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II. We will consider such topics as: “post-war” and “pre-war” writing, interwar nativism, black internationalism, and the afterlife of artistic modernism. The course will combine a strong historical focus with close readings of texts by Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Baldwin, Hemingway, Cather, Stein, and Dorothy West. Course Group III, CA tags Period Study, National Traditions and Counter-Traditions
English 72.3: Jews in American Culture and Theory: The New York Intellectuals, Professor Milich, at the 10 hour
(crosslisted with JWST 30)
No other group of Jewish critics has been so influential in American literary and cultural politics as the New York Intellectuals, who came to prominence with the foundation of the Partisan Review (1937-2003). While some scholars interpret their political transformation from Marxist criticism to “liberal imagination” as a move from the periphery to the center of cultural critique, others consider this reconciliation with America as a depoliticization. Taking the New York Jewish Intellectuals as a paradigmatic segment of American criticism since the 1930s, this course shall focus on their political debates in the 1940s and 1950s (Marxism, the Rosenberg trials, McCarthyism), their alienation from European high culture after Fascism and Stalinism in the 1950s, their literary and cultural debates about the shift from modernism to postmodernism in the 1960s (the Beat Generation, Pop art, counterculture, the student movement), and finally their political separation since the 1980s. Starting from the assumption of what Russel Jacoby has identified as a Jewish-gentile split among the NYI, special emphasis will be laid on how the political and cultural debates informed notions of Jewish-American identity, particularly in respect to other minority groups such as African Americans. Course Group III, CA tags National Traditions and Counter-Traditions, Cultural Studies and Popular Culture
English 80: Creative Writing, Professor Dimmick at the 2A hour
This course offers a workshop in fiction and poetry. Seminar-sized classes meet twice a week plus individual conferences. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and to first-year students who have completed their seminar. Students will be admitted on a competitive basis. Please pick up the “How To Apply To English 80” form from the English Department and answer all of the questions asked in a cover letter. Students should submit a five-eight page writing sample of poetry and/or fiction to the Administrative Assistant of the English Department by the last day of classes of the term preceding the term in which they wish to enroll. English 80 is the prerequisite to all other Creative Writing courses. It does not carry major or minor credit. Starting with Academic Year 2001-2002, this class will be graded.
English 85.1: Senior Workshop in Poetry and Prose Fiction, Professor Huntington at the 2A hour
English 85.2: Senior Workshop in Poetry and Prose Fiction, Professor Dimmick at the 3A hour
This course is to be taken by Creative Writing majors in the fall of their senior year. Each student will undertake a manuscript of poems, short fiction, or literary non-fiction.
Last Updated: 10/8/08