Spring 2018 Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses in Language and Literature
Academic Year 2017-2018, Semester II

All courses carry 4 credits, unless otherwise indicated.

Requirements

Spring 2017 Graduate Courses that Fulfill Degree Requirements

For Ph.D. students: while one course may fit multiple categories, it can only be used to satisfy one distribution requirement.

Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism: EN 722, EN 742, EN 743, EN 795, EN 606, EN 674, EN 696
Medieval Literature – 1660, or History of English Language: EN 722, EN 674, EN 568
Literature in English, 1660-1860: EN 732, EN 743
Literature in English 1860-present: EN 743, EN 788, EN 795, EN 502, EN 535, EN 582, EN 588

Graduate Seminars

Medieval Things: Materiality, Objects, and Literary Practice

In this seminar we will read important works of medieval English literature alongside contemporary theoretical writing that shares an interest in things, objects, and the non-human. Since the 1980s, the humanities and social sciences have developed new ways of thinking about materiality.  Early work in material culture focused on the social construction of objects by human subjects.  More recently, however, critical approaches often grouped under the term “new materialist” have questioned this human-centered perspective, suggesting instead that the idea that people and things are essentially different is a specifically modern concept. The historian and philosopher of science Bruno Latour, for example, has argued that the dividing line between the human world and the world of natural phenomena – the line between subject and object, person and thing – was much more porous prior to the seventeenth century. Our seminar will investigate this claim, reading English medieval literature and philosophy to examine representations of the material world in the deep past: what can the premodern thing tell us about the dynamic relation between the animate and inanimate realms? What can the nonhuman can tell us about our desires for the human? Critical readings will include texts by Jane Bennet, Bill Brown, Gilles Deleuze, Sara Ahmed, and Manuel de Landa; and medieval literature by Geoffrey Chaucer (dream visions and some of the Canterbury Tales), William Langland (Piers Plowman), Marie de France (short romances called Lays), Julian of Norwich (A Revelation of Love), Thomas Malory (Morte Darthur).

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.
Fulfills the Medieval Literature – 1660, or History of English Language requirement.

EN 722 Appleford
Wed 6:30-9:15

Transatlantic Literature and the History of Print, 1700-1900

This course will examine the methodologies of book history as they are relevant to the Anglophone literary tradition, from The Spectator to The Bostonians. Over the past several decades, book history has drawn on multiple disciplines to investigate how print reflects and shapes politics, culture, and society. It places printed objects (books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, broadsides, etc.) in a network of economic and social relations in order to emphasize the material contexts that enable communication, including manufacturing, distribution, reading, and performance. With roots in the Annales school of social history and in analytical bibliography, book history aims to locate in the use of printed objects new insights into cultural history. For the literary scholar in particular, book history teaches that texts cannot be divorced from the material conditions of their production, dissemination, and commodity status. As such, it elevates printers, booksellers, and readers to an equal rank with authors in our understanding of a text’s relationship to the larger world. Over the course of the semester we will consider the relevance, uses, and insights of book history in relation to canonical and non-canonical works, with a special attention to the public sphere, the history of slavery and racism, and the prose genres of autobiography, political protest, and fiction. Texts might include Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, Daniel Defoe, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Thomas Paine, Olaudah Equiano, David Walker, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Henry James; and theory and criticism by Robert Darnton, Jürgen Habermas, Arjun Appadurai, Paul Gilroy, Joanna Brooks, Meredith McGill, and William St. Clair. Original archival research will be required of all seminar participants.

Fulfills the Literature in English, 1660-1860 Requirement.

EN 732 Rezek
Thu 12:30-3:15

Knowing, Feeling, and Judging

We routinely say that literary and other artworks are about something, and we just as routinely that they’re beautiful, powerful, boring, interesting, clichéd, and so on. But how do we make such claims? Do they derive from calculation, rational choice, or specialized training? Are they the product of brute innate preferences, ideological formations, practical reasoning, special intuition, or divine revelation? And why, compared to claims about arithmetic or basic science, do we so routinely fail to agree about them? Such questions are longstanding in philosophical aesthetics, but have special purchase in the modern context, with changes in communal norms of evaluation, the development of new interpretive methods, and the creation of new social, political, and economic institutions. This course will begin with one of the most important and influential—as well as most challenging and rewarding—responses to these questions and developments: Immanuel Kant’s so-called “third critique,” the 1790 Critique of Judgment. Kant’s book has things to say about most of the topics we continue to debate in literary studies, including meaning, beauty, sublimity, form, feeling, cognition, concepts, nature, human creativity, and the place of morality and politics. From there we will move to several modern and contemporary figures who build upon Kant, refuse Kant, or extend themes that Kant raises. Among the perspectives we will survey are representatives of New Criticism, ordinary language philosophy, neo-pragmatism, neo-Hegelianism, neo-Darwinism, affect theory, and Marxism. Through our readings we will try to come to terms, first, with whether claims about language, form, style, and narrative are a matter of judgment, feeling, knowledge, or something else; and second, whether and how our art-talk reflects how we talk about our moral and political lives.

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.

EN 742 Chodat
Fri 11:15-1:45

Narrative and Literary Conceptions of Time

This interdisciplinary course pairs narrative theory with the history of science and technology to explore how literary texts play with time. How do writers from Charles Dickens to Virginia Woolf jolt their readers out of everyday temporal scales, setting millions of years or the lighting of candles next to the span of human life? How do development such as the discovery of dinosaurs, the invention of telegraphs, and the birth of moving pictures affect the structure of poems and novels? How do writers create the feeling of motio in their readers or make them aware of parallel perceptual worlds that ordinarily remain invisible? Authors include Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, and Marcel Proust, as well as a selection of classic theory of the novel and narratological texts.

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.
Fulfills the Literature in English, 1660-1860 Requirement.
Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 743 Henchman
Tue 3:30-6:15

Transnational Modernism

Drawing on examples from literature, visual arts, and history, this course examines how intercultural dialogue and exchange across national frontiers shaped the development of modernism in the U.S. and the Caribbean. We begin by revisiting the topic of modernist cosmopolitanism, studying the significance of expatriation, the immigrant experience, the Great Migration, and the portrayal of an emerging global culture in works by Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Carl Sandburg, Lewis Hine, and Jean Toomer. Next, we learn about transnationalism, translation, the rise of black internationalism, and the discovery of modernist styles in a New World context. Here, we’ll turn to the writings of Claude McKay (from Jamaica), Aimé Césaire (from Martinique), and Derek Walcott (from St. Lucia), as well as translations of the Haitian author Jacques Roumain (by Langston Hughes) and the Guadeloupean poet St.-John Perse (by T. S. Eliot). During our final sessions, we’ll explore cultural crossings with Asia in works by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Richard Wright, Miné Okubo, Ansel Adams, Mitsuye Yamada, and Ha Jin.

Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 788 Patterson
Mon 2:30-5:15

Professional Seminar

Developing professional skills and preparing for advanced independent scholarship for English doctoral students in the last semester of coursework. Course includes preparation for comprehensive exam and dissertation prospectus; conference paper submission; publication; fellowship and job applications. For English PhD students in their final semester of coursework.

EN 794 Rezek
Tue 12:30-3:15

World Literature: Theory and History

We consider whether postcolonial studies might be expanded to include approaches whose primary aim is not to “subvert” empire. Imperial histories as well as Anglophone fictions and autobiographies by minorities will be studied with this in mind.

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.
Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 795 Krishnan
Thu 3:30-6:15

Undergraduate Courses that May Be Taken for Graduate Credit

History of Criticism 2

Survey of literary critical perspectives and trends in humanistic theory relevant to literary interpretation from the middle of the twentieth century onward, including formalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, gender studies, new historicism, and post-colonial studies. Frequent writing assignments of various lengths. Fulfills the Concepts and Methods of Literary Study Requirement.

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.

EN 406/EN 606 Matthews
Mon, Wed, Fri 11:15-12:05

Critical Studies in Literary Genres: Early Modern Women Authors

The rise of humanism in early modern Europe marked one of the most dramatic watersheds in western history, as long-standing social and ideological conventions underwent profound change. Although feminist scholars have questioned the extent to which women enjoyed access to or benefitted from such cultural innovation, all recognize the importance of the literary work that women of the period produced. Through a survey of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century women’s writing across national, generic, and class boundaries, our course examines more closely their achievements: from Christine de Pizan’s groundbreaking allegory The Book of the City of Ladies to the multivalent fictions of Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron, from the erotic lyrics of Gaspara Stampa and the Italian courtesan poets to St. Teresa of Ávila’s spiritual autobiography, from the political rhetoric and correspondence of England’s Queen Elizabeth I to the epistolary and religious poems of her countrywomen Isabella Whitney and Aemilia Lanyer. Although our chief focus will remain on the way period constructions of gender inflect modes of literary expression, we will also glance towards other art forms through which women of the time fashioned “voices,” such as needlework and the book arts. Throughout, our discussions will attend to the historical settings and intellectual climates—both nurturing and hostile—that these figures reflected and addressed.

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.
Fulfills the Medieval Literature – 1660, or History of English Language requirement.

EN 474/EN 674 Martin
Mon, Wed Fri 12:20-1:10

Critical Studies of Literary Topics: Fables and Tales

Stories have designs on you. To study the relationship between design and objectives, the course develops a fairly intuitive methodology for studying how the “grammar” of storytelling shapes meaning and makes it persuasive. The primary texts include Aesop’s Fables, The Arabian Nights, the Grimms’ Household Tales, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Boccaccio’s Decameron, supplemented with narratives by more recent authors, Borges, Calvino, John Barth, and Patrick Suskind. The format will be as close to a seminar as the enrollment allows, with some workshopping and group presentations of theoretical material. Fulfills the Requirement in Concepts and Methods of Literary Studies.

Fulfills the Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism Requirement.

EN 496/EN 696 Breiner
Tue,Thu 2:00-3:15

Crafting A Nonfiction Voice Workshop

A writing workshop that explores the notion of voice on the written page. Through reading, analysis, writing exercises, and independent projects, students become familiar with techniques for recreating the voices of others and for shaping a distinctive nonfiction voice (or voices) of their own. Required: a writing sample (fiction or non-fiction) of no more than ten pages.

Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 502 Loizeaux
Thu 3:30-6:00

Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poets

Close reading of balladic, lyric, and longer poems by Hardy, Yeats, Lawrence, Auden, Rosenberg, Mew, Loy, MacDiarmid, Gurney, Douglas, Larkin, Hill, Harrison, Prynne, others. Poets’ essays and opposed schools and approaches. Reference to other arts, and times of political tragedy.

Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 535 Fogel
Tue, Thu 11:00-12:15

Shakespearean Tragedy and Film

This course explores the adaptation of Shakespearean tragedy into the medium of film. We will take up such questions as: What constitutes “authenticity” when dealing with Shakespeare? How does placing the play in a modern or contemporary setting change or develop the traditional interpretation of the play? When is a rearrangement or rewriting of the playtext permissible, even necessary? While Shakespeare would seem to be the essential “English” writer, international filmmakers such as Kurosawa, Bhardwaj, and Koznitzev have successfully transferred his plays into Japanese, Indian, and Russian cultural settings, and we will consider what elements of each play constitute an essential core subject to appropriation. In addition to the techniques of adaptation, we will also consider the formal properties of each film (lighting, framing, uses of color, point of view etc.): directors such as Orson Welles, Julie Taymor, Akira Kurosawa, Franco Zeffirelli, Roman Polanski, Grigori Kozintzev, and Peter Brook re-imagine the plays in extraordinary and innovative ways. We will view and discuss as a group two or three films each of the four major tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth) as well as Ralph Fiennes’s Coriolanus. Student presentations will analyze additional films not viewed by the entire class.

Fulfills the requirements of Pre-1800 Literature.

EN 568 Carroll
Tue, Thu 3:30-4:45

Studies in Modern Literature: Joyce and After

Readings in transatlantic modernism (Irish, British, American) from 1922 forward. Joyce’s Ulysses is central. Other readings from authors such as James Baldwin, Alison Bechdel, Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bishop, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, and Virginia Woolf.

Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 582 Riquelme
Tue, Thu 9:30-10:45

Studies in African American Literature: Tracking Changes in the Twentieth-Century African American Novel: Negotiations of Genre and Gender

Readings of Slave Narratives and Neo Slave Narratives, and the Urban Novel. Authors include Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Walter Mosley. Meets with AA 502.

Fulfills the Literature in English 1860-present requirement.

EN 588 Boelsckevy
Wed 2:30-5:15