Fall 2019 Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses in Language and Literature
Academic Year 2018-2019, Semester I

All courses carry 4 credits, unless otherwise indicated.

Fall 2018 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.

Courses with a (T) count for the Theory Requirement

Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism: EN 792, EN 604,
Medieval Literature – 1660, or History of English Language: EN 724, EN 665(T), EN 673(T)
Literature in English, 1660-1860: EN 731, EN 771(T), EN 666
Literature in English 1860-present: EN 741, EN 789(T), EN 693(T), EN 537(T), EN 574, EN 584, EN594, EN513

Graduate Seminars

Masculine Poetics: English Secular Lyric of the Seventeenth Century

From John Donne’s infamous injunction to “Hope not for minde in women,” to Andrew Marvell’s musings on how “Such was that happy Garden-state, / While Man there walk’t without a Mate,” to the Earl of Rochester’s pornographic invectives, seventeenth century English lyric poetry leveled sustained assaults against what its practitioners characterized as the weaker sex. Yet their misogynistic impulses owed much to the prospect of emergent female writers who challenged the “masculine line” of English poetic tradition itself. While recent decades have charted the way these women writers conceived their own discourse in contrast to male conventions, our seminar reverses this paradigm to explore how male secular poets found both a threat and a stimulus in their craft. With an eye to the innovations of women poets like Aemilia Lanyer, Mary Wroth, Margaret Cavendish, and Katherine Philips, we examine the century’s developing lyric practice, with special attention to the hetero- and homosocial relationships on which it focuses. While Donne’s Elegies and Songs and Sonnets, Jonson’s Epigrams, Underwood, and The Forest, Marvell’s verses, Herrick’s Hesperides, and Rochester’s erotic lyrics will preoccupy our discussions, we will also survey the “Cavalier” poets and lesser-known figures like Alexander Brome and John Collop.

EN 725 A1 Martin
F 11:15a – 2:00p


Cultures of Science

This course explores the shared cultures of the sciences and literature from the Enlightenment through the Victorian era in Britain and Europe. We combine the history of science, the social history of literature and related arts, and the sociology of knowledge in order to rethink the persistent assumptions about the “two cultures” of science vs. humanities. Thus, this is not a class connecting or combining two stable categories of “science” and “literature”; neither do we assume that the former generated knowledge while the latter represented it, because that would be an ahistorical assumption. In place of this inadequate “two cultures” model, we will resituate the sciences and humanities in their shared social dimensions in the Enlightenment and 19th centuries, in order to uncover the social, political and historical transformations of what was known, how it was known, who made knowledge and where, and what knowledge was used for. Men and women of science, poets, philosophers, and novelists pursued the imaginative, politically charged possibilities of the sciences in diverse print genres and new forms of public entertainment. Authors include Erasmus Darwin, Margaret Cavendish, Mary Shelley, Charles Darwin, Alexander von Humboldt, Julian Offray la Mettrie, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Eliza Mary Hamilton, William Rowan Hamilton, Humphry Davy, Edgar Allan Poe, William Herschel, Lord Byron, Comte de Buffon, George Cuvier, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Smith. We will also read critical works in the history of science, sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies, gender and feminist studies, and literary and cultural theory.

 EN 731 A1 Craciun
T 12:30 – 3:15p


Money and Marriage in American Fiction 1796-1925

How has Americans’ understanding of marriage shaped and been shaped by the American novel? What are the implications for fiction of thinking about marriage as a contract, with contract’s requirements of consent, bargain, rights and obligations, its links to notions of autonomy and individualism, but also to commerce and commodification? How did historical events like the Revolution or the Civil War and Emancipation affect marriage? If marriage is “the structure that maintains the Structure,” then how has it carried, enforced, or challenged the values that characterized American culture at different historical moments? What is “the marriage plot” and how is it key to the novel’s development as a genre? What happens when a novel begins rather than ends with marriage? American literature is often imaged as centrally concerned with the self-creating individual defining himself in opposition to women, society and marriage; how then do novels that engage courtship, marriage, divorce, and adultery contribute to shaping the American literary tradition? How have American writers represented the Gilded Age marriage market and its paradoxical requirement that every participant be both commodity and consumer, purchaser and purchased? What happens when the woman has the money? Readings in law, economics, criticism. Authors include Foster, Phelps, Howells, Hopkins, Wharton, James, Fitzgerald.

EN 741 A1 Korobkin
Thurs 12:30 – 3:15p


Novel Theory and History

Does the novel rise in the eighteenth century, as Ian Watt suggests, in his monumental, The Rise of the Novel (1957)? One scholar argues that there were ancient, medieval, Renaissance and early modern novels. Defoe himself wrote two failed novels before Robinson Crusoe, one a lunar voyage modeled on the 2nd century CE skeptic Lucian of Samasota, and the other a continuation of the first spy novel in English, first published in 1684. These works belong to an older humanist tradition, which we now call cosmopolitan. What happens to the “rise” if we restore these to the account? Watt’s rise leaves out female authors. How does the early history of the novel look if we restore them to their rightful place?

Given the notorious length of early modern novels and the brevity of the semester, our approach will be to read in common a group of novels and to assign reports to cover important but necessarily supplemental works, both primary and critical. So in addition to reading some of the most important prose fiction of the late seventeenth and eighteenth century—Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688), Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess (1719-20), Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), excerpts from Richardson’s Pamela (1740) and Clarissa (1748), Fielding’s Joseph Andrews (1742), Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759-67), Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), and Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818)—we will encounter less well known authors and works, such as Jane Collier and Sarah Fielding’s The Cry: a Dramatic Fable (1754). In addition to using Watt’s The Rise of the Novel as a theoretical reference point, we will assess the strengths and weaknesses of a number of other accounts of the development of prose fiction in the early modern period. You will receive background readings in the religious, philosophical, political, and economic history of the period, as well as the history of popular and cosmopolitan forms that feed into the novel—letter writing, space voyages, miscellanies, oriental tales.

EN 771 A1 Prince
R 3:30 – 6:15p


After Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein is commonly cited as one of the central figures in twentieth-century philosophy, and the “ordinary language philosophy” of J. L. Austin and Stanley Cavell is often seen as one of the century’s major philosophical movements. Yet the writing of all these figures remains relatively underappreciated in literary studies. In this course we will address this shortcoming in two ways. First, we will examine some of the basic claims put forward in this tradition, beginning with several weeks on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (1953) and extending into readings not only by Austin and Cavell, but also (possibly) by Alasdair MacIntyre, Richard Rorty, Iris Murdoch, Jacques Derrida, Cora Diamond, Toril Moi, Ross Posnock, Stephen Mulhall, and others. Topics are liable to include meaning, intention, and interpretation; emotion, affect, and expression; deconstruction, American pragmatism, and speech-act theory; rule-following and normativity; rationality and cultural relativity; gender; animals; the nature of fiction; “modernity,” “modernism,” the “avant-garde,” and other contested literary-historical-critical categories. Our second task will be to appraise how such readers have interpreted a variety of major modern literary texts. In this vein, potential authors include Henrik Ibsen, Gertrude Stein, Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, J. M. Coetzee, and Vladimir Nabokov.

EN 789 A1 Chodat
W 11:15a – 2:00p


Introduction to Recent Critical Theory and Method

A selective study of recent literary theory and criticism, with emphasis on comparison of critical frameworks and methodologies. Topics may include formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, New Historicism, gender theory, speech acts, and post-colonialism. Fulfills the graduate requirement in literary theory.

EN 792 A1 Matthews
T 3:30 – 6:15p


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 A1 TBD
M 2:30 – 5:15p

Undergraduate Courses that May Be Taken for Graduate Credit
History of Criticism I

Literary study benefits from an understanding of how critical standards develop historically, in response to shifting cultural contexts. Our course surveys a sequence of key western documents in this history, from the earliest surviving formulations in classical Athens to the beginning of the twentieth century. After an examination of the literary-critical judgments that take form in Greco-Roman antiquity and the Christian Middle Ages in the first half of the course, we turn our attention almost exclusively to English criticism from the Renaissance to the late Victorian period, with a closing turn to T. S. Eliot’s pivotal, retrospective essay on the role of tradition itself in shaping literary creativity and our response to this.

EN 604 A1 Martin
MWF 9:05 – 9:55a

Critical Studies in Literature & Society: Hamlet/Lear/Macbeth: Appropriation and Performance

This course will engage these three tragedies through multiple approaches, including historical context, performance histories, and contemporary appropriations and transformations. We will consider the various narratives about Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth from the year 1200 to 2019, and analyze films, novels, and poems related to these plays from England, France, Norway, Germany, Russia, Australia, and Japan, as well as the US. Other authors read will include Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), John Updike (Gertrude and Claudius), Heiner Müller (Hamletmaschine), Eugene Ionesco (Macbett), Charlotte Jones (Humble Boy), Bryony Lavery (Ophelia), and Welcome Msomi (uMabatha). Among the films will be Kurosawa’s The Throne of Blood, Kozintsev’s King Lear, and Almereyda’s Hamlet. The course will offer both a detailed understanding of the plays as well as theoretical considerations of adaptation and appropriation, including such topics as intertextuality, performance as interpretation, cultural politics, canon formation, and the global marketplace of culture.

EN 665 A1 Carroll
TR 11:00a – 12:15p

Critical Studies in Literature & Society: Early Black Atlantic Literature

This course considers the radical politics and aesthetics of early black Atlantic literature, from 1760 to 1845. Authors such as Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, David Walker, Mary Prince, and Frederick Douglass participated in a transatlantic counter culture that did not conform to national boundaries or nationally defined historical narratives. We will read their texts in relation to the Revolutionary age in which they lived and along with current scholarship that theorizes their work – especially Paul Gilroy, who coined the term “the black Atlantic.” The first century of black Atlantic literature is fascinating for its engagement with the early modern histories of racism, slavery, nationalism, selfhood, religion, capitalism, and the public sphere. In autobiographical writing, spiritual narratives, letters, poetry, abolitionist tracts, public orations, and slave narratives, early black writers imagined and reimagined their place in an Anglophone world defined by slavery and the slave trade. How did they imagine their world? How did such imaginings work to change it?

EN 666 A1 Rezek
MW 10:10 – 11:25a

Critical Studies in Literary Genres: The Earliest Women Writers

Topic for Fall 2019: The Earliest Women Writers: Poets, philosophers, and mystics — Starting with the love lyrics of the ancient Greek poet Sappho and the Virgilian devotional poetry of Proba, this course explores the work of premodern women writers. Our readings will include prose and poetry produced in the medieval ‘golden age’ of women’s visionary writing; the letters of Heloise (and Abelard); courtly romances of Marie de France; and the political writings of that erudite defender of women, Christine de Pisan. Although the main focus of our readings will be women writing in the European vernaculars, with a specific focus on Britain, we will devote several weeks to working comparatively, reading medieval women writing in Persian, Arabic, Indian, and East Asian, including the court poetry of Jahan Malek Khatun; works by poet and philosopher Mahsati Ganjavi; and writings associated with Sufi mystic Rabia al-Basra.  Guiding questions will include: how did women writers participate in or drive the invention of new literary forms, such as the lyric, the political treatise, and the dream or theological vision? Does women’s writing have specific formal or stylistic characteristics, and are these affected by women’s social standing and access to education?  Critical essays by Judith Butler, Judith Bennet, Caroline Bynum, Julie Scott Meisami and others will support our investigation into the complexities of reassembling women’s literary culture in the deep past. Works will be read in translation or in student-friendly Middle English editions; no previous experience with medieval literature required.

EN 673 A1 Appleford
TR 12:30 – 1:45p

Studies in Literature and the Arts: Experimental Translational Practices and Translingual Traces in Art, Writing, and Performance

This course works to expand the concept of ‘translation’ in art, writing, and performance in the last century, with a strong focus on the present. It examines a number of translational techniques (be they from one language to another, one medium to another, or incorporating other forms of research, appropriation, citation, reference and work with source materials)—asking about the political and ethical potential (or pitfalls) of such practices along the way.

EN 693 A1 Seita
TR 3:30 – 4:45p

Black Thought: Literary and Cultural Criticism in the African Diaspora

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 591. Fulfills the Diverse Literatures in English Requirement.

EN 537 A1 Chude-Sokei
MW 12:20 – 1:35p

Studies in Crime and Detective Fiction: Theory and Practice

As popular genres, crime and detective fiction have long assumed a special place in theories of narrative and of the relationship between literature and society. They are distinguished by their focus on liminality: the porous boundaries between authority and autonomy, sanity and psychosis, self and other, justice and vengeance, detective and criminal, the citizen and the crowd, art and entertainment. Classical detection in particular has provoked famously challenging and sophisticated analyses of genre and narrative, while hard-boiled and noir fiction have consistently generated salient reflections on class, gender, and race in relation to the policing function not just of popular fiction, but of fiction in general. Both the primary and secondary literatures of crime and detection are too vast to permit more than a series of brief skims along its surface in the course of a semester. The readings for this class were chosen to provide glimpses of the field’s depth of possibilities at each stage of its historical development. The list of possible authors includes, but is not limited to, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Chester Himes. Readings in the criticism, both practical and theoretical, will come from a list that includes the work of Jacques Lacan, Tsvetan Todoroz, Peter Brooks, John Irwin, W. H. Auden, and Slavoj Zizek.

EN 574 A1 Rzekpa
MWF 10:10 – 11:00a

Studies in Literature & Ethnicity: Literature of the Migrant

A reading of eleven novels that all bear on human migrations. Besides examining major issues, the focus is on how these books were made. Some of the texts are translations, but most of them are written by American authors. Fulfills the Diverse Literatures Requirement.

EN 584 A1 Jin
T 12:30 – 3:15p

Studies in Literature & the Arts: The Cinema of Michael Haneke

Intensive study of films by Michael Haneke, from his early work in television to the 2017 film Happy End.  Haneke, a true auteur, makes unsettling, confrontational, and frequently disturbing works that de-stabilize the bourgeois complacency of both the films’ characters and the films’ viewers.  We will read literary works Haneke adapted to film (Kafka’s The Castle, Jelinek’s The Piano Teacher) and fiction thematically relevant to his cinematic concerns (We Need to Talk About Kevin with Benny’s Video, Camus’ The Stranger with Caché).  Brilliant, deeply political, and sometimes trenchantly funny, Haneke’s work overturns cinematic conventions and expectations and is not for the faint-hearted.  Weekly screenings.

EN 594 A1 Monk
TR 3:30 – 6:15p


Modern English Grammar & Style

This course will show how to systematically analyze the grammar and style of sentences and longer units of discourse in English. It will explore academic and popular debates on grammar and grammar instruction and help you become a better speaker and writer.

EN 513 A1 Bizup
TR 9:30 – 10:45a