Whole English Catalog spring 2014 The English Major The English major/minor requirements have changed and will affect students accepted to the program FALL 2009 forward. (See ‘Major Requirements for the Department of English 2013-2014 in the back of the catalog) English Honors acceptance requirements have remained the same, however, requirements for graduation have changed to include one (3 credit) English Department honors seminar and one Senior Thesis (independent work culminating in a thesis of 30-35 pages). Effective Fall 2009.
Membership to the International Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta will be open to all majors/minors with a 3. 0 GPA in English during the month of March 2014. Stop by Clemens 303 for more information, For more information on the Creative Writing Focus, please contact Professor Dimitri Anastasopoulos at: danastas@bufflo. edu. Check out the Creative Writing Facebook page at: https://www. facebook. com/UBCWF DROP/ADD TIMELINE one week only Beginning Fall 2011, students cannot continue to add and drop courses during the second week of classes. The Resign Policy applies after the 6th day of classes.
During the fall and spring semesters you may change your schedule (adding or dropping courses) at any time between your registration window/enrollment appointment until the 6th day of class. Courses dropped during this period will not appear on your transcript, and you are not financially responsible for these courses. Courses may be added on the 7th day of classes. You may visit your HUB Student center (via MyUB, UBITName required) to add and drop courses. A course is not “dropped” until you process the request in your HUB Student Center. Refer to the Student Calendars for specific dates.
For more information, visit the Student Response Center website at: http://registrar. buffalo. edu/registration/howtoregister/dropadd. php FYI… Incomplete Policy: The grace period for incomplete grades is 12 months. Incomplete grades assigned for (semester): Will default in 12 months on: Summer 2013 Fall 2013 Spring 2014 August 31, 2014 December 31, 2014 May 31, 2015 The English Major Club Do you want to meet more students in the department? Do you wish you had friends to go to for help on assignments? Do you enjoy just having fun? The English Club is looking for members.
It is a club for majors, minors, and anyone who simply enjoys anything written. If you’ve been looking for someone to help proof your assignments, talk about books, check out Buffalo’s literary scene, and simply relax and have fun with, then the English Club is for you.! E-mail ub. englishstudentassociation@gmail. com for more information. , or visit the webpage at: http://ubenglishstudentassociation. wordpress. com/. Look for us on Facebook: Visit the English Department website at: University at Buffalo Department of English http://www. english. buffalo. edu
Visit Career Services to look at potential career paths and to help plan your future! UB Career Services is the place on campus to help you explore how your English major connects to various career paths. Meeting with a career counselor allows you to explore your interests and career options while helping you take the necessary steps to reach your goal. You can also make a same-day appointment for a resume critique, cover letter assistance, or quick question on your job or internship search. Call 645-2231 or stop by 259 Capen Hall to make an appointment. Did you know…
Employers in many diverse fields – including business, law, government, research, education, publishing, human services, public relations, culture/entertainment, and journalism – LOVE to hire English majors because of their ? ? ? ? ? ability to read and write effectively and articulately excellent verbal communication and listening skills capacity to think critically and creatively comprehensive knowledge of grammar and vocabulary ability to weigh values and present persuasive arguments PLUS, knowledge about literature allows for intelligent conversation at work, dinner, meetings and functions.
Go English Majors! In conjunction with UB’s “Finish in Four” Program, explore the resources of UB’s Discovery Seminar Program for a roster of faculty-led one-credit seminars that encourage you to explore a new topic or engage a whole area of study. Explore, Discover and Engage UB’s Discovery Seminar Program provides first and second-year students with the opportunity to engage with a distinguished faculty member around a thought-provoking and challenging topic in a small-class environment. Students who participate in one of these one-credit courses will have the opportunity to: ?
Explore a unique topic in a comfortable, small-group setting ? Engage with an outstanding faculty member who is passionate about the material as well as teaching undergraduates ? Discover new ideas ? Enhance abilities to think critically and communicate effectively with peers and faculty Read more about the program and the previous and upcoming offerings at academies. buffalo. edu/discoveryseminars. English Department Discovery Seminars for Spring 2014: UE 141: Section A (1 credit) “Open the book: Introducing Literary Studies” Tuesdays, 2:00-2:50, Reg. No. 18421
Professor Barbara Bono Do you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a CEO—or, maybe, a political and policy leader? How about a creative writer, a novelist, a journalist, a publisher or an arts manager? A professor or a teacher? Do you like to read and write, to interpret fact and to tell stories? Then you should consider a major, a minor, or significant elective credit in UB’s nationally-ranked, award-winning English Department, where in addition to our wide roster of historical, generic and critical courses we offer a journalism certificate and a creative writing focus.
Every year we place our graduates in medical school (where they want strong humanities electives), law school (a classic target for English majors), in government (a recent graduate wrote speeches for the previous two governors), in journalism and publishing (another wrote scripts for Michel Moore and now writes for The Nation), in the arts, and in education. And every semester our c. 0 full-time faculty members (2 SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professors, 8 SUNY Chancellor’s Award winners for Excellence in Teaching, 3 Milton Plesur Student Teaching Award winners) and our advanced graduate students (on average 3 Graduate School Teaching Awards a year) offer some 60 or so mostly small- to mid-sized undergraduate courses on subjects like “Love in the Western World,” “Mythologies of the Americas,” “Shakespeare in Film,” “The Gothic,” “American Novel,” “Irish Literature and James Joyce,” “Literature of the African Diaspora,” “Feminist Theory,” “Creative Writing: Poetry,” “Ethics in Journalism,” and the renowned “Buffalo Film Seminars” (http://csac. buffalo. edu/bfs. html ). Explore our Department on-line at http://english. buffalo. edu, especially those pages devoted to “Undergraduate” and—under “Current Courses”—to our famous Whole English Catalogue of detailed descriptions of past, present, and future offerings.
And take this 1-credit exploratory course, where every other week Professors from the Department will drop by to talk about their specialty and their passions, while, in between, under the guidance of the organizing Professor—in this case Chancellor’s and Plesur Award winner Barbara Bono—we process, discuss, and apply what they’ve had to say. Open the book . . . . UE 141: Section K (1 credit) “Nobel, Ig Nobel, and Everything in Between: Telling the Stories of Science, Medicine, and Technology” Thursdays, 10:00-10:50, Reg. No. 17858 Douglas Basford The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics went to a pair of expatriate Russian researchers whose isolation and characterization of the exciting new super-substance graphene began with their lab’s habitual Friday afternoon engagement with off-beat experiments: the decisive one that kicked off the research leading to the Nobel involved stripping away layers of graphite with Scotch tape. One of the two winners, Andre Geim, is also renowned for aving magnetically levitated a frog (for which he won an “Ig Nobel Prize”) and for listing his favorite hamster as a co-author on one of his published papers. Geim’s story almost writes itself, but science journalists and historians of science regularly grapple with complicated concepts, contentious politics, and the bugbear of scientific uncertainty in translating science, medicine, and technology for the public and even for specialist readers. This seminar will explore a number of historical and recent episodes in scientific research, discerning through popular science writing, primary sources, and historical scholarship some crucial techniques for writing effectively about them, and culminating in students writing their own science stories on subjects of their own choosing.
UE 141: Section L (1 credit) “Living Deliberately: Thoreau’s Walden and the Writings of American Transcendentalists” Monday, 11:00-11:50, Reg. No. 17863 Prentiss Clark What makes a human life significant? ethical? meaningful? How might the natural world, personal experiences, and interactions with fellow persons instruct us, and what kinds of knowledge might we receive? Grounded in the writings of the American transcendentalists, this course is a broad investigation of the following topics: philosophies of life, the individual and society, humankind’s relations to the natural world, the concepts of knowledge and experience, and the ethical question, “How shall I live”?
Our investigations will build around a semester-long study of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (variously considered nature writing, escape literature, social critique, and spiritual autobiography, and noted for its influence on civil rights thinkers such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. ). Along the way we will engage neighboring texts such as the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a selection from Margaret Fuller’s “The Great Lawsuit,” excerpts from Henry Bugbee (a 20th-century philosopher of the wilderness and exemplar of “the examined life”), and short lectures by psychologist and philosopher William James. Class participants will be asked to keep an ongoing Reading Journal in which they will informally respond to course texts and further pursue the topics and questions of interest to them. This course welcomes students from all academic fields and emphasizes ntellectual exploration and thoughtful self-expression. This class offers participants an opportunity to build critical reading, thinking, and communication skills in an informal and collegial setting. Similarly, as a discussion-based class this course will provide students with an opportunity to interact closely with — and to learn from — their peers. Finally, students in this course will receive an introduction to some of the foundational and lastingly influential American literary texts, texts that speak to a wide range of local and global concerns. UE 141: Section M (1 credit) “Vampires and Zombies: Lifestyles of the Undead and (In)Famous ” Tuesdays, 2:00-2:50, Reg. No. 17834 John Browning
The first part of this multidisciplinary course will follow the story of the vampire across time and culture, from its earliest beginnings, to Gothic literature, to contemporary popular culture and the modern phenomenon of self-identifying human “vampires. ” In the process, students will use literary texts, history, film, and animation to investigate how vampires have been used to negotiate fears ranging from mortality, immigration, and miscegenation to homophobia and AIDS. The second part of the course will explore the zombie’s historical significance and representation across horror and fantasy texts as students engage in and apply scholarship from a variety of disciplines, including literary studies, cultural studies, film and media studies, race theory, history, Continued . .. anthropology, medicine, and economics.
In addition, an overview of Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend (1954) and the zombie’s filmic progeny will help students to explore the zombie’s particular strains and narrative complexity, as well as its continuous hybridization by other, more non-traditional, genres and narrative forms. This seminar is bound to appeal to students from various disciplines and will accommodate a variety of tastes and interests. In the course of the semester, students will be able to identify the main threads of the vampire’s and the zombie’s legacy in folklore, literary and filmic narratives, and in modern-day subcultures, using not only secondary texts by leading scholars in the field, but also primary texts, from reports detailing grave exhumations of “suspected ampires” in seventeenth century Europe and nineteenth century America to interviews with real-life vampires and recent news accounts of “zombie murders. ” Students will finish the course with not only a firm grasp of the vampire’s cultural importance and versatility, but they will be able to map out the structural principia upon which modern zombies are generally defined based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend (1954) and the filmic work of George Romero and subsequent, related offshoots. UE 141: Section N (1 credit) “Reading Freud: From Religion’s Illusions to Civilization’s Discontents” Fridays, 10:00-10:50, Reg. No. 17844 Rick Feero “One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be ‘happy’ is not included in the plan of ‘Creation. ‘” Sigmund Freud
This seminar will focus on Freud’s The Future of and Illusion and Civilization and Its Discontents. While Freud begins both by noting the source of humanity’s suffering in nature and civilization, the earlier text ends with him lamenting the notion of God as a father protecting helpless infants. Here, religion is a wish fulfilling illusion, evading attempts at proof, and destined to wither in the face of science, “our God Logos. ” However, Freud’s interpretation shifts, and he “[finds] a formulation” that does more “justice” to the role of religion than this “essentially negative valuation” : “while granting that [religion’s] power lies in the truth which it contains, [he shows] that that truth was not a material but a historical truth. ”
Our goal will be to explore what Freud means by “historical truth” through a close reading of Civilization and Its Discontents, and to compare his analysis with the seemingly more generous views of William James and Carl Jung. We’ll conclude our enquiry with selections from H. D. ’s Tribute to Freud, a text that in part traces the conflict between H. D. ’s mystical Christian beliefs and Freud’s atheism, enacting something of Jesus’s dictum to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. ” This class is meant not only for those interested in the beginnings of psychoanalysis and its interpretation of religion, but for anyone who is interested in the ways this discourse both bears on the realm of personal experience and animates aspects of academic discourse.
It should appeal to students in a variety of disciplines, especially those that draw on the insights of Freud, Jung and James, but without necessarily spending time with their actual texts. Department of English ~ Spring 2014 Subject to change 193 207 207 207 221 225 241 242 251 252 252 253 253 258 271 273 281 Fundamentals of Journalism (JCP) Intro Writing Poetry/Fiction (CW) Intro Writing Poetry/Fiction (CW) Intro Writing Poetry/Fiction (CW) World Literature Medieval English Literature American Writers I American Writers II Short Fiction Poetry Poetry Novel Novel Mysteries African American Literature Women Writers Special Topics: Pattern Poetry W (eve) T Th MWF T Th T Th MWF T Th MWF MWF T Th MWF MWF MWF T Th MWF MWF T Th 7:00 2:00 12:00 9:30 3:00 11:00 9:30 3:00 4:00 12:30 11:00 10:00 12:00 11:00 10:00 1:00 11:00 Galarneau
McCaffery Hall Victor Manuratne Gutmann Godley Sylvester Hubbard McCaffery Algozin Spiegel Chaudron Schmid Young Zigon Ma 301 301 Criticism Criticism MWF T Th 11:00 9:30 Feero Ma 310 Shakespeare, Late Plays (E) *(Recitation: F @ 9:00, 10:00, or 11:00) Milton (E) British Drama 18th Century Literature (E) Victorian Literature Studies in Irish Literature (B) American Literature to Civil War 19th Century U. S. Fiction The Novel in the U. S. Studies in African American Literature (B) Studies in U. S. Literature Studies in British & American Lit (B): University Honors Poetry Movements (CW) Queer Theory (B): University Honors Heaven, Hell & Judgment (E)
National Cinemas Creative Writing Poetry Workshop (CW) Creative Writing Fiction Workshop (CW) Writing Workshop: Spectrum Newspaper MW*F 9:00 Bono MWF T Th T Th T Th T Th MWF MWF MWF MWF T Th MWF T Th Tuesdays Mondays (eve) MW T Th Mondays (eve) Mondays 4:00 11:00 8:00 2:00 12:30 10:00 12:00 2:00 9:00 11:00 2:00 3:30 3:30 7:00 12:00 12:30 7:00 5:00 Eilenberg Alff Alff Brown Keane Dauber Dauber Daly Holstun Lam Hubbard Kim Dean Christian Spiegel Goldman Anastasopoulos Biehl 315 317 319A 322 331 333 335 338 341 348 349 362A 371 375 381 390 391 394 Continued… 398 399 399 400 407 418 434 438 480 Ethics in Journalism (JCP) Journalism (JCP) Journalism (JCP)
Department Honors: Cinematic Modernism Books of the Ancient Mayas (E) or (B) Topics in African American Literature/History (B) Advanced Creative Writing Poetry (CW) Film Directors (Off Campus @ Market Arcade Theatre) Creative Writing Capstone (CW) T Th Tuesdays (eve) Thursdays (eve) MWF T Th MWF Thursdays (eve) Tuesdays (eve) Wednesdays (eve) 11:00 7:00 7:00 1:00 9:30 1:00 7:00 7:00 7:00 Kleinberg-Biehl Andriatch Anzalone Solomon Tedlock Young Kim Jackson Anastasopoulos CREATIVE WRITING CERTIFICATE COURSES 207 207 207 Intro Writing Poetry/Fiction Intro Writing Poetry/Fiction Intro Writing Poetry/Fiction T Th MWF T Th 2:00 12:00 9:30 McCaffery Hall Victor 362A 390 391 434
Poetry Movements Creative Writing Poetry Workshop Creative Writing Fiction Workshop Advanced Creative Writing Poetry T Th T Th Mondays (eve) Thursdays (eve) 3:30 12:30 7:00 7:00 Kim Goldman Anastasopoulos Kim (Pre-requisite course for the Creative Writing Certificate Program) JOURNALISM CERTIFICATE COURSES 193 Fundamentals of Journalism Wednesdays (eve) 7:00 Galarneau 394 394 398 399 399 399 Writing Workshop (Spectrum Newspaper Writers) Writing Workshop (Spectrum Newspaper Photographers) Ethics in Journalism Journalism Journalism: Editing for the Conscientious Writer Journalism: Journalism in the Iphone age Mondays Mondays T Th Tuesdays (eve) Thursdays (eve)
Monday (eve) 5:00 4:30 11:00 7:00 7:00 7:00 Biehl Biehl Biehl Andriatch Anzalone McShea (Pre-requisite course for Journalism Certificate Program) Compilation of Required Courses for the English Major Spring 2014 Criticism 301 301 Criticism Criticism Feero Ma Earlier Literature 310 315 319A 375 407 Shakespeare, Late Plays Milton 18th Century Literature Heaven, Hell, and Judgment Books of the Ancient Mayas Bono Eilenberg Alff Christian Tedlock Breadth of Literary Study 331 341 371 407 418 Studies in Irish Literature Studies in African American Literature Queer Theory: University Honors Book of the Ancient Mayas African American Literature/History Keane
Holstun Dean Tedlock Young Fundamentals of Journalism (pre-requisite course for the JCP) Andrew Galarneau, Wednesdays (eve) 7:00 – 9:40 Reg. No. 11329 This course will teach you to think, act and write like a journalist. The course is a gateway into the Journalism Certificate program and will provide an introduction to the basic principles of research, reporting and writing for print, broadcast and the web. We will cover essential reporting tools (researching, interviewing, observing) and learn to write hard news stories, short features, blogs, TV broadcasts and reported opinion pieces. You may even write the same story for three different mediums.
By the end of the semester, you will be able to produce a news story on deadline for print or web and develop news feature ideas and report and write them competently. If a big story breaks, prepare to cover it. In the classroom, in addition to lectures, presentations, discussions and assignment reviews, students will do writing exercises, lots of writing exercises. Outside the classroom, students will cover assignments in the city. To be a good reporter you have to be informed about what’s happening in the world around you. For this class, you have to read The New York Times and Buffalo News every day. Once a week you will have a brief news quiz on the big stories of the week. Journalism Certificate Course 193
English 207 is also a pre-requisite course for all subsequent creative writing workshops and the Creative Writing Certificate Curriculum. 207 Intro to Writing Poetry/Fiction – Three sections available: Professor Steve McCaffery T Th 2:00-3:20 Reg. No. 23638 Joseph Hall MWF 12:00-12:50 Reg. No. 19094 Divya Victor T Th 9:30-10:50 Reg. No. 20718 Through a series of linked exercises and related readings, ENG 207 will introduce students to fundamental elements of the craft of writing poetry and fiction. We will study differing modes of narration (the benefits of using a 1st person or a 3rd person narrator when telling a story, or how an unreliable narrator is useful in the creation of plot).
We will examine character development (why both “round” and “flat” characters are essential to any story), as well as narrative voice (creating “tone” and “mood” through description and exposition), and think about “minimal” and “maximal” plot developments. We will consider the differences between closed and open forms of poetry. The use of sound and rhythm. We will try our hand at figurative language and consider how imagery is conveyed through our choice of words. We will study prosody and the practice of the line. Selected readings will expose you to a variety of poetic forms, fictional styles and narrative models. Assigned exercises will give you the space to practice and experiment with unfamiliar forms.
Students will also be given the opportunity to meet with visiting poets and fiction writers at Poetics Plus and Exhibit X readings on campus and in downtown Buffalo. It may come as no surprise that Nabokov also noted that he has “rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. ” This introductory course is designed to be the first step on the long journey of literary practice. CW Certificate Course Vladimir Nabokov once reflected that “a writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist. ” This introductory course is specifically designed for beginning writers who would like to take the first steps towards exploring the craft of poetry and fiction. Students will be introduced to the fundamental vocabulary and basic techniques of each genre.
Throughout the semester, the class will also be presented with a diverse group of readings to study and emulate in order to kindle our own imaginative strategies. No prior writing experience is necessary. 221 World Literature Salwatura Manuratne T Th 3:00 – 4:20 Reg. No. 24053 225 Medieval English Literature Sara Gutmann MWF 11:00 – 11:50 Reg. No. 22780 Women in Asian Literature In Theri Gatha (songs by early Buddhist nuns in India) the nun Sumangalamata sings: “from the pestle/From my husband/ . . . And my pots and pans/ . . . From all these released am I. ” These early nuns sing of their freedom in visceral ways: freedom from grief, body, family, and work.
We learn from them that they live in a world shaped, not only by their gender, but by class and caste differences. They speak of that rare freedom of the mind that we often associate with modern thinking, repeatedly singing of their own profound separation from everything that oppressed them. There is no one way, we see, to be a woman even within one historical age or social milieu. From such pre-modern writings about womanhood to modern representations of living at the cross-roads of tradition and modernity, oppression and resistance, Asian literature consists of a rich tradition of writing by and about women in Asian countries and cultures. This survey course in Asian Studies invites ou to examine a range of literary and cinematic works to explore how religious/cultural ideas and material realities shape women’s identities in a variety of Asian contexts. The course will be organized around four modules: ideologies of women and/in the family, women and caste, women and class, and women and politics. It will focus on literary texts from Japan, China, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Palestine, and Lebanon that focus on women’s experiences and their place in society. In addition, the course content will include cinematic works from Iran and India. The main genres covered in the course will be fiction, diaries/memoirs, written texts merging from oral traditions, and cinema. Course requirements include active class participation, a short midterm paper, a longer researched paper at the end of the semester, class quizzes, graded online semi-formal discussions, and graded in-class student-led discussions. All texts will be in English and no prior knowledge about Asia is required. What constituted the “world” in the medieval mind? This class will take an “ecological” approach to the literature of the medieval period by looking at how worlds were imagined and represented. The environments we will consider are expansive and local, familiar and dangerous, human and supernatural. We will begin our odyssey with he formation of a physical world, writ large in the biblical story of Genesis and on a smaller but still continental scale with excerpts from chronicle history. Although we will continue to consider biblical narratives, since Christianity and faith were driving forces in the Middle Ages, we will also read of the pre-Christian “British” in Arthurian lore and the English folk depicted by Chaucer and Langland. Then, moving from the “safety” of the physical and populated worlds, we will shift our gaze to spiritual worlds in the visionary narratives of The Dream of the Rood, an excerpt from Langland’s Piers Plowman, the ecstasies of Margery Kempe, as well s in the humorous Second Shepherd’s and Chester Noah’s Flood plays. After this midpoint of the semester, we move to even more uncertain territory in worlds decidedly nonhuman. We will look at Gower’s retelling of Ovidian myth and Chaucer’s “chick lit. ” From animality we move to monstrosity with Beowulf, Marie de France’s tales of fairies and werewolves, and the strange journeys of Arthurian knights. Having already broken boundaries and compressed time, the final worlds we will consider are the mysteries of the East and the morality play Mankind. 241 American Writers 1 James Godley T Th 9:30 – 10:50 Reg. No. 14335 Often without realizing it, when we identify ourselves as Americans” we are laying claim to something— a shared history, a tradition, a set of core assumptions and beliefs–which seem to us to hold together in an imagined unity, literally a “united state. ” Scratch the veneer a bit, and this supposed unity reveals a complex and discontinuous infrastructure, rife with historical tension, patterned as much out of dreams as reality. Soon it becomes obvious that rather than giving us a stable sense of identity, “America” is an index of the way we are cut up and shaped from within by images and signs, some of which are brightly lit and all-too-familiar, others of which are aberrant, obscure, even perverse. If America is a kind of story, it might best be characterized as a ghost story. We
Americans are its haunted, afflicted with its ideals and ideology, whether we know it or not. But every ghost had a life, once. In this course we journey through the weird underside of American culture, from the fever-dreams of the Puritans to the utopic visions of the Spiritualists and Transcendentalists. We will investigate such American specters as the witches of Hawthorne’s horror The House of the Seven Gables, or the shellshocked characters of Ambrose Bierce’s bloody Civil War Stories, or the actual historical nightmare of slavery through Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Which horror is worse, the disaster of history or the disaster of fantasy?
How are they intrinsically related? We will plumb the depths of the American unconscious in search of answers. 242 justice and literary production, economic and social collapse, political activism and revolt, as well as the aesthetics of violence in general and war in particular. Our course’s organization along both chronological and conceptual lines will allow us to think through the social and historical contexts and frameworks of our readings, while also enabling us to ask whether or not these explanatory models do justice to the breadth and depth of the texts themselves. Our goal, in the end, will be to assemble our own critical models and frameworks that take into ccount such historical and social contexts, but also allow us to say something new about the examples of American writing we will be considering and the definitions and models of American-ness they offer. These texts will include novels such as Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jean Toomer’s Cane, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, poems by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Poud, and Alan Ginsberg, short stories and selections by Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Toni Morrison, as well as Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesmen. Students will be required to participate in class discussion and activities, take two exams, and write two, ive-page papers throughout the course of the semester. 251 Short Fiction Professor Stacy Hubbard MWF 4:00 – 4:50 Reg. No. 24219 American Writers 2 Christopher Sylvester MWF 3:00 – 3:50 Reg. No. 11226 Our course will survey works of American literature from 1865 to the present. We will seek to answer questions about what it means to be an American, and to be an American writer, by investigating how this designation is defined and re-defined throughout a period of intense social, economic, demographic, and political upheaval. In order to properly undertake this investigation, we will read a wide variety of novels, short stories, poems, and plays arranged chronologically, but also grouped by a umber of concepts and issues that will repeat throughout the semester, such as: gender performance and sexual difference, questions and conflicts over race and ethnicity, Short stories are the 50-yard dashes, the balance beam back flips, the high wire acts of fiction—they depend upon economy, precision and power. In this course, we’ll be reading the kind of stories that are hard to get out of your head after you encounter them: stories about murder, lust, religious ecstasy and office work, people in the throes of mortal terror and people fishing or going to the supermarket—everything from the mundane (made luminous or strange) to the improbable Continued . . . (brought close and made real).
We’ll also do a few readings about how short stories are put together, what makes them work or not, and how they relate to their social and historical contexts (discussions meant to enhance your experience as a reader, and to enrich your own practices if you are a fiction writer). We’ll also watch two film adaptations of short stories (Smooth Talk, based on Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ” and Everything Must Go, based on Raymond Carver’s “Why Don’t You Dance? ”) to see what happens when these tight little tales are expanded and visualized as feature-length films. We’ll read stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora
Welty, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Raymond Carver, Bharati Mukherjee, Amy Tan, Joyce Carol Oates, Jamaica Kincaid, Ha Jin, and others. This course requires no particular background—all are welcome: students looking for an elective or fulfilling a general education requirement, and prospective or declared English majors getting their feet wet in the field. The course will help you to develop skills of closereading and critical writing and introduce you to elements of narrative form and style. Most importantly, it will expose you to a range of masterful writers whom you’ll want to read and reread for years to come.
Requirements include regular attendance and active participation, two 5-7 page papers and a final project for which there will be several options (including some offbeat and creative ones). 252 Poetry Professor Steve McCaffery T Th 12:30 – 1:50 Reg. No. 23642 This course is designed to introduce students to the mechanics and forms of poetry: its four defined historic functions (to imitate, to teach, to express, to invent), its different partitions (genres) and how and why it differs from prose. We will consider a wide range of forms from the sixteenth century to the present and learn to analyze the structure of poems in detail. The range of texts will include, among others, the sonnet, ode, elegy, pastoral nd the more recent examples of concrete and sound poetry. The goals of the class are, among others, to assist students improve their reading skills, engage in class dynamic, compare and analyze texts in both their formal and historical contexts, and develop their communication skills in both written and oral form. Assignments include: reading aloud (the sound of poems is so important! ), periodic quizzes (largely on terminology), a mid-term exam, and a final 10-page paper. Required texts: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, shorter 5th edition. Course Kit Recommended: M. H. Abrams, Glossary of Literary Terms 252 Poetry Joseph Yearous-Algozin MWF 11:00 – 11:50 Reg. No. 20717 What is a poem?
How are Shakespeare’s Sonnets anything like William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow”? How can the same word be used to describe both of these texts that are separated by hundreds of years and an ocean? At the core of ENG 252 is this seemingly simple question: When we say that something is a poem, what do we mean? While each poet provides an answer in his or her own way, there must be characteristics that span centuries. Accordingly, in this class we will immerse ourselves in the long tradition of English language poetry, so that we can begin to understand what about poetry has remained over centuries and what has fallen by the wayside. Not only ill we encounter such figures as Shakespeare and Chaucer who have shaped this tradition, but poets like Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, whose work questions this very tradition in order to change it. We will work together to sharpen our critical tools to engage and discuss each poet’s use of meter, rhyme, and genre, while looking at the historical contexts that shape this work, as well as the poet’s own Continued . . . statements on their poetry. As a class we will develop methods for close readings and use them to write critically and formulate critical arguments based on historical evidence and poetic statements, as well as how to conduct appropriate secondary research. While the core texts are the starting point for our inquiries, it is our in-class discussions as we trace out onnections and gaps between this wide range of texts that is the engine for this course. At times, I will provide lectures and additional reading materials, but it is through our on-going examination of these texts as a community of scholars and readers that will allow us not only to approach poetry in this course, but look towards our own contemporary moment, as well. The ultimate goal, then, for this course is that by the end of our time together, if someone asked you how Aram Saroyan’s single word, “lighght,” is a poem, while you might not have a ready answer, you will have the tools available for further investigation. 253 Novel Professor Alan Spiegel MWF 10:00 – 10:50 Reg. No. 19097
A selection from the best American fiction of the modern era: novels by Twain, Dreiser, Hemingway, Nabokov, and Bellow. What is uniquely “American” about the American novel? What is so uniquely “modern” about the modern novel? What is so curious and tribal about American attitudes toward sex, crime, war, and money; race, gender, kids, and family life? A study of national identity in terms of the modern literary imagination eyes. ” We will delve into the rich array of realities that the novel has to offer starting in the eighteenth century and continuing to the present day. As Emile Zola argued, the novel is an “eminently seductive form” and we will nvestigate the productive but messy entanglements between fact and fiction that make up “reality. ” Being both defined by change and our need to grapple with it, the development of realism in the late nineteenth century coincided with the rise of the novel as the most popular and highly respected literary form. We will explore the extent to which “reality” is socially and literally constructed and functions as a historically shifting category in the novels of British and American authors. We will focus on how authors construct their literary realities through their encounter with the everyday, the way the past reemerges in the present, and how ethnicity and race complicate hat is familiar. Starting with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and ending with Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000), we will investigate how form, the use of voice(s), and questions of authority shape, diversify, and reimagine what realities the novel can offer us. Readings will probably include Their Eyes Were Watching God, Henderson the Rain King, Mrs Dalloway, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Kindred, and Daisy Miller. 258 Mysteries Professor David Schmid T Th 11:00 – 12:20 Reg. No. 11710 For decades, mystery novels have been dismissed as “potboilers,” not worthy of serious critical attention. Whatever one may think of the literary merits of
The course is half lecture, half discussion; the student will mysteries, there is no denying the fact that they have be expected to read a lot and talk a lot. Final exam, proved to be a remarkably resilient and diverse form of quizzes, papers or a journal (or something along those popular fiction. The aim of this course is to survey a lines). selection of both the most important examples of mystery writing and recent attempts to “update” the genre. Our focus throughout the semester will be on the narrative Novel techniques used by these writers to create character, Patricia Chaudron structure plot, and maintain suspense. We can tell a lot MWF 12:00 – 12:50 about a society from the way it Reg.
No. 23027 discusses crime and punishment. Therefore, we will also study how Novel Realities these novels and short stories provide What is “The Real Thing” and how does the novel miniature social histories of the continuously make it new? These are the central questions periods in which they were written. we will ask during this course. Almost a century ago Course Texts Mikhail Bakhtin wrote that “the novel is the sole genre Edgar Allan Poe – The Dupin Tales (“The Murders in that continues to develop, that is as yet uncompleted. The the Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of forces that define it as a genre are at work before our very Continued . . . 253
Marie Roget,” “The Purloined Letter”) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Six Great Sherlock Holmes Stories Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep Chester Himes – Cotton Comes to Harlem Jim Thompson – The Killer Inside Me Sara Paretsky -Blood Shot Barbara Wilson – Murder in the Collective We will also watch and discuss two movies: Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), and Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000). Attendance and keeping up with the reading are mandatory, participation is extremely desirable. There will be three five-to-seven-page papers, and reading notes throughout the semester. 271
African American Literature Professor Hershini Young MWF 10:00 – 10:50 Reg. No. 23028 This class will introduce students to contemporary African American literature. Using innovative texts, we will look at the diversity of literary production that falls under the category of black. What does it mean to be black and how does the literature we read explode any preconceptions we might have about its various meanings in different locations and time periods? Attention will be paid to topics such as immigration, sexuality, gender and slavery. In addition to novels and graphic novels, the class will include critical analyses of popular culture such as ip-hop, music videos and blogs. Many of the topics can become controversial but the classroom will be a safe place to work through some of the messiness of race and gender. 273 Women Writers Tina Zigon MWF 1:00 – 1:50 Reg. No. 23029 In “A Room of One’s Own,” Virginia Woolf’s canonical essay on women and writing, she writes, “It is fatal for any one who writes to think of their sex. It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly. ” Woolf also imagines what would happen if Shakespeare had a sister who was equal to him in genius. Because she was a woman, Woolf thinks, she never wrote, so her talent went unrealized. But if
Shakespeare’s sister had been given the same freedom to write as her famous brother, Woolf believes she could have become equally successful. During this course, we will attempt to find answers to the following questions: Why is a female author a “woman writer,” but a male author simply a “writer”? Is there something intrinsically female in a woman’s writing? We will try to get to the bottom of why this division between women and men writers Diane di Prima at one of her readings. persists, even at a time when there are more published female authors than ever before. We will push this question of the gender binary even further—what does it mean, and how is it enforced in iterature? Are there traditional “masculine” subjects that women authors are discouraged from writing about, and are there, conversely, “feminine” topics towards which they are guided by society? Finally, how do authors “write” gender in ways that both reinforce and undercut assigned roles? What happens when authors break gender binaries and other dividing lines (such as race and class) that intersect with it? Indeed, what happens when characters pass from one gender to another? As we will discover over the course of the term, resistance to such gender “transgressions” is not merely critical or symbolic, but can become coercive, even violently so.
List of possible readings: Virginia Woolf, Orlando; Nella Larsen, Passing; Tillie Olson, Yonnondio; Diane di Prima, Dinners and Nightmares; Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues; Margaret Attwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; Joyce Carol Oates, The Female of the Species; kari edwards, a day in the life of p. , Slavenka Drakulic, S. : The Novel About the Balkans. 281 Special Topics: Pattern Poetry Professor Ming Qian Ma T Th 11:00 – 12:20 Reg. No. 23917 Designed as an appreciation class, English 281 introduces students to an ancient type of poetry called “Pattern Poetry,” which is also, and sometimes loosely, referred to as “Shaped Verse,” “Concrete Poetry,” or “Visual Poetry. However called, Pattern Poetry is, fundamentally, visual, a language-painterly art dramatizing a textual physiognomy either blatantly suggestive or mysteriously baffling. Focusing on the historical period roughly from antiquity to 1900, we will look at examples of Pattern Poetry composed in diverse languages and cultures such as Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, French, Germany, Scandinavian, Dutch, English, Indian, Islamic, Chinese, Sanskrit, and so forth. At the same time, we will also read some selected essays on the definitions and theories of Pattern Poetry. The goal of the class is to open our eyes to an ancient genre of poetry and to learn to read, understand, and appreciate its beauty and significance. Course requirements include regular attendance, active articipation in class discussions, periodical responses, and a term paper. No knowledge of foreign languages is required. Primary texts required for the class: Pattern Poetry: Guide to an Unknown Literature by Dick Higgins. SUNY Press, 1987. Selected readings distributed in the form of handouts. 301 Criticism Professor Rick Feero MWF 11:00 – 11:50 Reg. No. 14040 The purpose of this course is to introduce the craft of literary criticism, including the techniques of close reading, cultural critique, and historical analysis; a variety of literary theories; and strategies for researching, writing and revising critical papers. We’ll seek familiarity with ey journals in the field of literary studies, with major critics, and with the use of manuscripts and historical documents—both in the library and in on-line databases. In short, English majors can use this class as an entrance into the discipline’s conversations and codes, developing the cultural capital of literary studies. We’ll read some heavily worked literary texts, including selections from Doyle, Dickinson, Gilman, James, and Stevens, and sample from a number of perspectives on these works, including reader-response, feminist, psychoanalytic, deconstructive, new-historicist, and Marxist criticism. In order to test this material and make t our own, we’ll keep a common-place journal, engage in a weekly discussion board, and write several shorter informal pieces that explore and interrogate the readings. The main writing project will be researching, drafting, reviewing and revising a 12 page formal essay that can take its place in the field. Required Texts ? Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-19-969134-0 ? Henry James; Peter G. Beidler (Editor), The Turn of the Screw. Bedford/Saint Martin’s, 2010. ISBN 978-0312-59706-1 301 Criticism Professor Ming Qian Ma T Th 9:30 – 10:50 Reg. No. 11491 Designed as a survey class, English 301 is intended to ntroduce students to literary criticism of the 20th-Century, with an emphasis on the post-1960s period. Chronological in approach, it will study the representative texts of various schools of criticism, such as Formalism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Historicism, Marxism, Feminism, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, among others, focusing on the basic terms, concepts, and methodologies. The goals of this course are 1) to learn and understand the principles and paradigms of each kind of criticism; 2) to become critically aware of not only the significance but also the ramifications of literary theory; 3) to rethink and question such notions as “innocent eading” or “purely spontaneous response”; and 4) to learn a range of interpretative methods. Class requirements include regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, periodical response papers, and a 6-8 page term paper. The primary texts for the course are: Literary Theory: An Anthology, 2nd. Edition. Edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Blackwell, 2004. (ISBN: 1-4051-0696-4) Billy Budd and Other Tales, by Herman Melville, with a new introduction by Joyce Carlos Oates. Signet Classic, 1998. (ISBN: 0-451-52687-2) (Supplementary reading materials in criticism will be distributed when needed. ) 310 Shakespeare: Late Plays Professor Barbara Bono
Lectures are MW from 9:00 – 9:50 Students must register for the course by enrolling in one of the following recitation sections on Friday–either: Section B1 9:00 – 9:50 Reg. No. Section B2 9:00 – 9:50 Reg. No. Section B3 10:00 – 10:50 Reg. No. Section B4 11:00 – 11:50 Reg. No. 19081 23030 23031 23032 Origin, conflict, sex, murder, ambition, death, production, and reproduction. We’ll start where I typically leave off in English 309: Shakespeare: Earlier Plays, with the Chorus’s fond hope at the beginning of Act V of Henry V that the triumphant Hal will enter London like a “conqu’ring Caesar,” or “As, by a lower but high-loving likelihood, Were now the General of our racious Empress—/As in good time he may—from Ireland coming, /Bringing rebellion broached on his sword. ” (Henry V, Chorus, Act V, ll. 22-35). But there’s a problem. Essex, the ambitious courtierknight who was “the General of our gracious Empress” (the aging Queen Elizabeth I) did not come home from Ireland like a “conqu’ring Caesar,” “Bring rebellion broached on his sword. ” Instead he came home defeated, rebellious himself. In the late Elizabethan regime, the fragile balance that created celebratory history plays and resolved romantic comedies—the materials of English 309: Shakespeare’s Earlier Plays— collapses, so that, with Elizabeth’s death and James’s ccession, we are left with frank examinations of how political order is often created out of irrational and self-interested acts of violence (Julius Caesar), leaving skepticism (Hamlet), excoriating sexual jealousy and doubt (Othello), heated ambition (Macbeth), and the threat of total annihilation (Lear)—in critic Franco Moretti’s phrase, “the deconsecration of sovereignty” that led to the staged public execution of James I’s successor Charles I. In Shakespeare’s final plays, including The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, the problem of political authority reorganizes itself around greater and more various agency for women and anticipations of the new world order of the Americas.
These—Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest—will be our texts; these—origin, conflict , sex, murder, ambition, death, production, and reproduction—will be our issues. It should be quite a semester. Format: Regular attendance, and active participation and discussion. Weekly informal Worksheets. Two medium-length (c. 5-10 pp. ) formal, graded, analytic and argumentative papers. Midterm and cumulative final examinations. This course satisfies an Early Literature Requirement 315 Milton Professor Susan Eilenberg MWF 4:00 – 4:50 Reg. No. 14543 This course will be devoted to the study of John Milton, devoted student of power relations, a poet whose maginative audacity and intellectual power have inspired three centuries of poets and other readers with wonder and chagrin. Milton is the premier poet of excess, a too-muchness that works, paradoxically, to convert plenitude into poverty and to subvert the possibility of measurement and comparison that reason requires. This subversion–the confusion between too much and too little–will be our theme as it was Milton’s. We shall read his major poetry and a little of his prose: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Areopagitica, as well as such slighter works as Comus and “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity. ” For relief from sublimity–and in order to emember the stories that nourished the poems–we shall also be reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The written work will include several brief, written responses to the reading, a midterm, a final paper, and a final exam. Attendance will be required and intelligent participation appreciated. This course satisfies an Early Literature Requirement 317 British Drama Professor David Alff T Th 11:00 – 12:20 Reg. No. 20714 London’s playhouses had been shuttered for eighteen years when Charles II lifted thePuritan ban on public stage performance. His 1660 order to re-open the theaters triggered an outpouring of new and adapted plays from the likes of John Dryden, William Wycherley,
Aphra Behn, and many others, while re-authorizing modes of cultural commentary and political expression that had been driven underground during the Interregnum. This course will familiarize students with British drama written between 1660 and 1730. We will read one play per week, giving special attention to how the London stage became a space for raising problems of class, gender, race, and national difference. Signature thematic interests of this period included differing conceptions of sex, marriage, and domesticity, the corruption of state leaders, the expansion of overseas empire, and the growing popularity of the city and its mercantile values. Our analysis will also take into the ccount how drama itself was changing in this period, including, most notably, the debut of women on stage. In addition to the primary literature, students will read brief excerpted works of modern performance theory to consider what experiences and knowledge our text-based “reading” of drama might exclude. 319A 18th Century Literature: Poetry Professor David Alff T Th 8:00 – 9:20 Reg. No. 23033 18th Century Poetry What was a poem in eighteenth-century Britain? What did it do or try to do? These are the guiding questions behind this course’s survey of English verse written between 1660 and 1800. We will study poems both as self -conscious aesthetic objects possessing certain rhetorical nd metrical properties, and as vehicles for public expression. Class discussion and writing assignments will stress the techniques of formal analysis, “close reading” skills that students can use to make sense of poetic texts from any period. Keeping in mind the mutuallygenerative relationship between text and cultural context, we will ask why poets adapted certain poetic forms to articulate positions on contemporary issues. How does Marvell’s use of tetrametric octets contribute to his orderly depiction of nature in Upon Appleton House? Why does James Grainger draw upon the Virgilian tradition of georgic poetry to salute commercial productivity in the Caribbean?
Primary readings will include verse by John Dryden, Mary Wortley Montagu, John Gay, Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Charlotte Smith, and many others. This course satisfies an Early Literature Requirement 322 Victorian Literature Professor Kate Brown T Th 2:00 – 3:20 Reg. No. 21581 In this course, we will examine literary strategies by which Victorian writers sought to explore the possibility and hazards of being “oneself”: of achieving and expressing a sense of personal uniqueness, coherence, and authenticity during a period in which social relations became increasingly impersonal and mobile. The reading will cover major writers of the period, as well as a wide range f literary forms, including essays, novels, poetry, short stories, and plays. What these texts share is a sense that traditional bases of identity no longer govern social relations. In response, they tend to ask what is the nature of modern identity: How we can know ourselves and others? Is an authentic self possible? Is it even to be desired? In class discussion and writing assignments, you will be asked to attend closely to the language, structure, and genre of a text, so that we can consider how the literary experience it affords compares to the historical or social experience it depicts. REQUIRED TEXTS are likely to include the following ong works, as well as shorter texts: ? ? ? ? ? ? Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1848) Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King (1859-85) Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892) Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man (1897) 331 Studies in Irish Literature Professor Damien Keane T Th 12:30 – 1:50 Reg. No. 23034 IRISH WRITING, 1922–1972 This course will focus on Irish writing and culture produced between 1922 and 1972, the fifty years roughly between the end of one period of intense violence and the beginning of another.
In the aftermath of the outpouring of literary energy that accompanied the political struggles for Irish independence in the first decades of the twentieth century, Irish writing has been conventionally been held to have diverged along two separate paths: one that continues with innovatively modernist and internationalist forms; and another that rejects experiment and instead falls into a stagnant and an insular naturalism. Through our reading for this course, we will question this sweeping characterization of Irish writing after 1922, with special attention to the kinds of social critique that are enabled – and forestalled – by each of these broad modes of writing.
The readings for the course will be drawn from a wide variety of genre and media: prose fiction (novels and short stories), poetry, drama, autobiography, radio scripts, political pamphlets, and sound recordings. Works for the course will be chosen from those by: Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Sam Hanna Bell, Elizabeth Bowen, Padraic Fallon, John Hewitt, Aidan Higgins, Patrick Kavanagh, Molly Keane, Mary Lavin, John McGahern, Micheal MacLiammoir, Michael McLaverty, Louis MacNeice, Ewart Milne, John Montague, Brian Moore, Flann O’Brien, Kate O’Brien, Sean O’Casey, Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Liam O’Flaherty, Blanaid Salkeld, Francis Stuart, and Jack B. Yeats.
Requirements for the course will include: good attendance and active in-class participation; two or three shorter papers (2–4 pages), a mid-term exercise, and a final essay (10–12 pages). No necessary prior knowledge of Irish literature or history is required. Satisfies a Breadth of Literary Study requirement 333 American Literature to Civil War Professor Kenneth Dauber MWF 10:00 – 10:50 Reg. No. 14346 This course will survey American literature from its beginnings to the Civil War, including some of the most important works of Benjamin Franklin, James Fenimore Cooper, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Hawthorne, and Melville. We will discuss such topics as democratic writing, the representation of slavery, the form of the romance, and the “making” of American literature in a time when
England served as the great influence to be undone as a model for writing in English. Throughout we will be asking “What makes American literature American? ” “Is there such a thing as “American” writing, philosophy, literature. ” Are such questions still pertinent ones. 335 19th Century U. S. Fiction Professor Kenneth Dauber MWF 12:00 – 12:50 Reg. No. 20712 This course will survey the American novel from its beginning through the end of the nineteenth century. We will start with Benjamin Franklin’s “Autobiography” as it provides a model for American narrative and proceed, historically, through the development of American fiction from romance to realism to naturalism. Writers that we ill read include Charles Brockden Brown, the first professional novelist in the country; James Fenimore Cooper, the inventor of the cowboy-and-Indian story; Harriet Beecher Stowe, the most popular woman novelist of the era; Hawthorne and Melville, the climax of American fiction before the Civil War; Henry James and Mark Twain, who exhibit the twin poles, high and low, of American realism, and some beyond. 338 Novel in the U. S. Professor Robert Daly MWF 2:00 – 2:50 Reg. No. 19099 This course is open to students from all majors and does not presume any prior knowledge of its subject. I shall define terms and provide contextual information as we go along. To start with the most recent voice, in 20I3 Alan H. Goldman, Kenan Professor of Humanities at William nd Mary, linked reading novels with preparing for life outside them: “Novels . . . challenge us to continuously interpret as we read,” thereby “broadening our repertoire of responses to situations that might arise” in our lives. Earlier scholars had already started the theoretical argument in this direction. In 2006 Amanda Anderson, English department chair at Johns Hopkins, argued, “We must keep in mind that the question, How should I live? is the most basic one” and “must acknowledge the priority of normative questions and the fundamentally practical structure of human action and understanding. ” In 2007 Jonathan Culler, of Cornell University, added hat literature aids our “engagements with otherness,” affords us “a mental calisthenics, a practice that instructs in exercise of agency,” enables us both to “sympathize” and to “judge,” offers us a theoretical knowledge “that migrates out of the field in which it originates and is used in other fields as a framework for rethinking broad questions,” and gives us an intellectual toolkit to read “novels as a force for imagining the communities that are nations. ” In 2012 Jeffrey Nealon, from Penn State University, argued for reading literature as a preparation for living in the larger world that includes but is not limited to language and literature.
He suggests that we have “relied on a kind of linguistic nostalgia, clinging to the life raft of the hermeneutics of suspicion,” and he suggests that we need to move from “the hermeneutics of suspicion” to a “hermeneutics of situation,” our own situations as well as those of the texts. They and others will help, but mostly we shall read the texts themselves closely, in detail and in context. We shall read them in the contexts of both their times and ours. We shall pay attention to the cultural conversations and the cultural work of the novel in our time and place. We shall read, within the reciprocal economies of their cultural contexts, some modern, postmodern, and contemporary American novels, along with some in which the borders between these categories seem quite permeable.
In works by Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Pynchon, John Gardner, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, Susan Power, and Annie Dillard. We shall explore questions of representation and agency, of literature and life. We shall consider these texts as both representative (participating in the cultural conversations of their times) and hermeneutic (affording practice and skills in the arts of interpretation). Each student will write two preliminary examinations, each preceded by a careful review in class, a take-home final examination, and a research essay on a subject of his or her own choosing. There will be a handout on how to write research essays.
Though I shall provide a good deal of information on modes of reading, the central focus of the course will remain on the novels, their relations with each other, and their use as a propaedeutic to ethics and other aspects of living well in American culture. 341 Studies in African American Literature Professor James Holstun MWF 9:00 – 9:50 Reg. No. 20711 In this class, we’ll read six classic books from nineteenthcentury America. By looking at a variety of genres (novels, slave narratives, orations, political philosophy, poetry), I hope we’ll get a fuller sense of the complex black struggle against slavery and white supremacism, and of American