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Next Semester Courses

Course Listing Spring 2015

ENGL 10900-01, 02: The Impossible Heap: Hilarity and Hysteria in Modern Drama

LA 3a HU

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: None.

STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class cleverly avoids all Classical Greek and Shakespearean drama, and instead boldly leaps into the modern age. Having said this, however, don’t make the mistake of somehow equating modern drama with an “easy” or “simplified” form. It is anything but. Instead, think of this class as a general introduction to the milestones and masterpieces of European, British and American drama, that provides an exploration of key themes and stylistic developments of the form. Throughout the semester we will examine dramatic works by playwrights such as Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, O’Neill, Williams, Brecht, Beckett, Weiss, and Mamet, among others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of the primary works.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, response papers, formal essays, presentations, final exam.

 

ENGL 11300-02: INTRODUCTION TO POETRY       HU LA

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Stuprich, 316A Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 Students

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This section of English 113 will take a fairly traditional approach to the subject by focusing on ways to help students develop skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about poetry.  To those ends we’ll read a wide variety of English and American poetry written in different historical eras and in different poetic forms.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Almost entirely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: A number of short (1-2 page) writing assignments, 2-3 short (2-3 page) essays, a final essay in the 4-5 page range, and steady attendance and class participation.

 

ENGL 11300-03, 04   INTRODUCTION TO POETRY     HU LA 3a 

3.0 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Themes: (1) Identities, or (2) Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Jim Swafford, 330 Muller, ext. 4-3540

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to help the student develop skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about poetry.  We will analyze a wide range of poems from different historical periods, written in a range of forms and styles. The first part of the course will emphasize the various elements of poetry – imagery, figurative language, tone, sound and rhythm, and set forms (such as sestinas and sonnets). In the second part, we’ll spend more time considering what we can learn from studying a poem in the context of other poems by the same author – our case study will be Emily Dickinson – or poems on a similar subject. Note: this is not a course in poetry writing.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three critical essays, assorted quizzes and response pieces during the course of the term, a midterm, and a final examination. Grading is A-F, based on the above as well as on attendance and participation in class discussion. 

 

ENGL 11400-01   What is a Novel?            HU LA 3a 

3.0 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Themes: (1) Power and Justice, or (2) Identities

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes, 318 Muller, cholmes@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: Preferably at least one course in English or AP experience in high school.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Despite its unquestionable importance to literary studies today, the novel is a relative newcomer to the top of the literary food chain. After poetry’s long reign, the novel, for a good deal of the world, is now the form of choice for readers and writers. And yet, what precisely gets defined as a novel is a more complicated question. The novelist Jane Smiley defines it as “(1) lengthy, (2) written, (3) prose, (4) narrative with a (5) protagonist,” and boy if that doesn’t leave some wiggle room. Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin describes the novel’s greatest strength as its omnivorousness, its ability to gobble up other forms—poetry, media, visual arts—thus making it a hybrid of many forms and functions, always looking to genres other than itself. Courses on the birth of the novel tend to focus on the proliferation of, and early experiments with the genre in the late 18th and early 19th century in Europe and the United States, but the earliest recognizable proto-novels date back to 11th century Japan, 15th c China, and 17th c Spain. This course will use a wide variety of novel archetypes from around the world to seek out a more satisfying description of not only what the novel is, but also what it does. Beginning with excerpts from novels-before-there-were-novels, we will proceed across genealogies of the novel from The Tale of Genji (Japan) and Don Quixote (Spain) to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (UK) and Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot (US). Texts/Excerpts will likely include: Cervantes, Quixote; Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji; Cao Xueqin, Story of the Stone; Lawrence Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses; Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot; Haruki Murakami, 1Q8; DF Wallace, Infinite Jest; JM Coetzee, Diary of a Bad Year; Anne Carson, Red, Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion. 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two short papers and a longer paper, a midterm examination, and occasional informal assignments. Grading is based on participation in class discussion, examinations, and papers. Strict attendance policy enforced.

ENGL 19402-01,02: Oh Cruel World! The Literary Character in Crisis LA 3a HU
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: None
COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is a crisis? We can trace the word itself back to the Greeks (Krisis), where it was directly connected to a medical condition, when it was used to describe that specific, definable moment where a turning point was reached in a disease. The patient may become sicker, or that same patient might actually tilt toward recovery. Thus, to examine the very idea of crisis is to focus directly on that experience of turning, that border/boundary between wellness and disease, the threshold of change that marks stability and/or instability. 

This class will broadly focus on the concept of literary crisis, where a character is plunged into that peculiar moment of change and potential disaster. As part of our inquiry, we will examine specific crisis conditions and circumstances (moments of transition, epiphany, insight, horror, breakdown, action, death, ageing, temptation, etc), and the ways in which literary characters face these challenges in terms of their own identity, spirituality, sexuality, politics, and morality. To help deepen our investigation, we will be exploring a wide selection of literary forms, ranging from the Classical Greek drama to the modern play, the Anglo-American short story, the novella, and the contemporary novel itself. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, response papers, analytical essays, final exam.

ENGL 19407  ‘Tis Folly to be Wise:  Fools, Madmen, Saints

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322, ext. 4-1344.

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

PREREQUISITE: none. 

By representing the struggle of madmen and fools to understand society’s rules and customs--often incorrectly, often comically—authors manipulate and destabilize our preconceptions of what is “sane,” “normal,” and “good”; in the world of story (and perhaps other worlds) goodness may be mad, madness good, and folly universal.  The works in this course, some tragic, some funny, some both, will examine the inter-relatedness of madness and heroism, and how these categorical blurrings and anxieties refer back to the origins and ends of storytelling itself.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Discussion and lecture.

Course Requirements: Daily quizzes and reading reactions, mid-term and final essay, mid-term and final exam, class attendance and participation.

 

ENGL 19408-01, 02 The Power of Injustice & the Injustice of Power                       HU LA 3A h

TOPIC: Life at the Margins in American Literature

3 Credits         

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Diversity, Humanities, Power & Justice and Identities Themes

INSTRUCTOR: Derek Adams, Muller 304

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: none

COURSE DESCRIPTION:    Many individuals continue to feel as though they live at the margins of society, despite the “melting pot” rhetoric of inclusivity and acceptance that dominates narratives of American identity. While we commonly consider purposeful exclusion an act of injustice on the part of the powerful, we are often unaware of the way that subtle, hidden forms of power render particular groups and individuals powerless. American literature is one of the most widely utilized platforms for articulating the specific issues that arise in response to these forms of power. This course will use an array of American literary texts to explore the complexities of the life experiences of those who are forced by the powerful to live at the margins. We will read the work of Rebecca Harding Davis, Nella Larsen, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Junot Diaz, Percival Everett, Adam Mansbach, and Sherman Alexie.  

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students will closely examine course materials, keep a reading journal, put together an in-class presentation, actively engage in class discussions, craft three textual analysis essays, and complete a final exam.

 

ENGL 19413  "The Blood is the Life": Vampires in Literature

 3 credits

ICC THEME:  Mind, Body, Spirit

INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, Muller 434

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES:  none

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Buffy Summers, Bella Swan, and Sookie Stackhouse share an affinity for vampires, and in this class we’ll explore some of their desires and fears.  Why do vampires hold such sway in American culture today, and where did these blood-sucking characters come from?  Why are vampires portrayed with such mesmeric charisma, such powers of seduction, such ability to tempt the most chaste?  What’s at stake in giving into the temptation?  Vampires first appeared in English literature in the early nineteenth century, but the themes of seduction, temptation, and the risk of succumbing, help to define the codes of chivalry in much earlier texts from the Medieval period.  We'll explore some of the earliest characterizations of vampirism in Romantic poems, as well as lurid Victorian vampire tales, including “Carmilla” and Dracula.  Grounded in this vampire literary history, we’ll then turn to more recent renditions of the vampire, including Interview with the Vampire and Twilight.

 

ENGL 21900 INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE: SHAKESPEARE’S WOMEN

CREDITS:  3

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322, ext. 4-1344.

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor.  This course may be repeated for credit provided there is no duplication of the plays studied.

OBJECTIVES:   This course will introduce Shakespeare’s theatre to both initiates and novices.  As we read the plays themselves we will study the political, religious, cultural, and scientific beliefs of Shakespeare’s time; what biography we possess and can conjecture; the workings of the Elizabethan theatre; Shakespeare’s poetic craft; his contemporary and subsequent reputation and that of individual plays; the vexed history of the texts themselves; and the forms and procedures of individual works as well as those of the genres of tragedy, comedy, romance, and history.  Using both the background of context and the foreground of the texts, we will approach larger questions of meaning, both for Shakespeare’s time and for our own.  Substantial emphasis will also be placed on the question of pleasure–why these plays pleased and still do; and on the question of cultural function, both in Shakespeare’s time and in our own.

STUDENTS: Required of English majors and minors and some Theater Arts majors, but all are welcome.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Discussion and lecture.

REQUIREMENTS: Close reading of seven plays; completion of all assigned readings (quizzes will be given at each class); one written response each class; participation in classroom discussion, memorization of fifty lines of student’s choice.

ENGL 22000-01        Black Women Writers                     HU LA 3A h

TOPIC: Writing as Resistance in the post-Civil Rights Era

3 Credits

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Diversity

INSTRUCTOR: Derek Adams, Muller 304

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION:    The end of the global Civil Rights era of the 1960s led many to consider issues of race, gender, sexuality, and social class closed. Civil rights legislation enacted in the United States, they believed, served as an armistice between governing institutions and those groups who had been traditionally marginalized by discriminatory practices. For them, this “resolution” made it unnecessary to ever again re-litigate issues of identity and marginalization in the realm of public discourse. Black women across the African Diaspora immediately saw through the superficiality of this resolution, and in the years following the final moments of the era, used their writing to continue resisting the marginalization they experienced in their daily lives. This course focuses on the forms of resistance that these black women offer in their texts, paying careful attention to the types of power they are actively working against. Their written work invites us to consider how black women’s resistance to institutional authority redefines discourses of feminism and women’s liberation for a new generation of activists and scholars. We will also explore how the category of black womanhood transforms through the process of writing. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Classroom discussion with occasional lectures

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Five short, focused response papers, an engaging in-class presentation, an annotated bibliography, regular attendance and active participation in class discussions, and an open mind.

 

HNRS 20027 STAGING HISTORY HU LA 3a, 3b

TOPIC: Versions of the Past in Modern Drama

3 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Claire Gleitman, 303 Muller, ext. 4-3893

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: Open to all students in the Ithaca College Honors Program; other students admitted by permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this class, we will study various 20th and 21st century plays (as well as one film, entitled "Stories We Tell"), all of which explore the vexed problem of how human beings seek to make sense of and represent their pasts. Some of our plays will focus upon the historical past and others will focus on the personal past. All of them, however, will invite us to ask: What constitutes "history"? How does one go about representing the past accurately? From whose vantage point is it most authentically told? These are the questions that lie at the heart of the dramas we will study together this semester. Authors will include George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Michael Frayn, Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard, Anna Deavere Smith, and Sarah Polley.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 4-5 page essays, 1 8-10 page essay, one presentation, frequent informal “think” pieces, and class participation. One out-of-class viewing of a film will also be required. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

 

ENGL 20100-01   APPROACHES TO LITERARY STUDY    

3.0 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Jen Spitzer, Muller 305, Ext 4-7056

ENROLLMENT:  15

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to encourage English majors early in their careers to become more reflective, self-conscious readers, writers, and thinkers, and thus better prepared for the upper-level English curriculum. Students will grapple with the issues and concerns that occupy literary critics when they think about literature, including the expectations and assumptions that guide us as readers. Focusing on a handful of texts spanning different genres—including Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Ibsen’s A Dolls House, Joyce’s “The Dead,” Morrison’s Sula, and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell—we will practice the skills of close reading and critical application. That is, we will attempt, first, to inhabit these works as worlds unto themselves, and second, to place them in appropriate critical conversations and align them with relevant critical schools of thought.

PREREQUISITE: One course in English. This course is designed primarily for first-years and sophomores who are working towards an English major, though others are welcome.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three short essays, several more informal (also short) writing assignments, and a final research essay. Final grade will be based on attendance, written work, and class participation.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion. 

 

ENGL  21000-01    THE LITERATURE OF HORROR            HU LA

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Stuprich, 316A Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 Students

PREREQUISITES: One course in English

COURSE DESRICIPTION: In this course we will study and discuss works of the imagination that have been consciously designed to shock, horrify, terrify, disturb, or just plain scare us.  The two questions central to horror art that we’ll continually seek answers to are these: 1) Why do we enjoy the “aesthetic” experiences of horror art when similar “real” experiences would repel and disgust us? and 2) Where do the most popular images of horror art come from and, why, after centuries, do they continue to enthrall us?  Our syllabus will include stories by Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker, as well as such classic horror novels as Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Exorcist.  We’ll also take a look at several classic horror films, including the original Dracula and Frankenstein.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mainly discussion, with the occasional context-setting lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: A number of short (1-2 page) writing assignments, one mid-term writing assignment, a final paper in the 6-7 page range, a class presentation, and active class participation.

 

ENGL 21900 Shakespeare (2 sections) GE 3a: Verbal Language, GE h: Historical Perspective, Humanities, Liberal Arts

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: When Shakespeare’s fellow actors assembled Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies in 1623 – arguably the most important book in the English language – they divided thirty-six plays into the broad categories of comedy, tragedy, and history.  But is Shakespeare’s complex dramatic art so easily encompassed by this tripartite scheme?  When Polonius in Hamlet separates the drama into “tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral” (2.2.396) one senses Shakespeare held a rather more complex view of the way genres tend to interpenetrate each other.  This course invites students to read a selection of the major plays (The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Winter’s Tale) while engaging with critical questions about dramatic genre in the time of Shakespeare.  What ancient and medieval theories of comedy and tragedy did Shakespeare inherit—and how did he adapt these to his own purposes?  How did writing for a commercial repertory theater influence his approach to theatrical convention?  What cultural and philosophical concerns underlie Elizabethan and Jacobean sub-genres such as “revenge tragedy” and “tragicomedy”?  And why ultimately do Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies remain so compelling to us now, four centuries after they were first staged?

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, formal essay.

 

ENGL 27100 Renaissance Literature GE 3a: Verbal Language, GE h: Historical Perspective, Humanities, Liberal Arts

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores the literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a period known as the English Renaissance. We will closely read major works of poetry, prose, and drama by Sir Thomas Wyatt, Christopher Marlowe, Queen Elizabeth I, John Donne, Lady Mary Wroth, Ben Jonson, Margaret Cavendish, and John Milton, with close attention to their social, religious, and political contexts.  What impact did ground breaking developments such as Humanism, the Reformation, and the English Civil Wars have on the English literary imagination? What led the period’s artists to creatively redefine inherited genres like the erotic lyric, stage tragedy, pastoral, and epic?  In what ways were literary and dramatic works published and performed?  As we formulate answers to these and other questions, we will see how English culture underwent a radical transformation within the context of a pan-European Renaissance inspired by continental authors such as Petrarch, Castiglione, and Montaigne.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, formal essay, commonplace book.

 

ENGL 27200-01    THE LITERATURE OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT (1660-1800)   HU LA

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Stuprich, 316A Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 Students

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we’ll read and study a number of works by English authors from the period extending from the Restoration (1660) to the early years of the 19th century.  Our syllabus will include several Restoration comedies, Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Our approach to these works will be broadly contextual: we’ll read each work closely and carefully, while examining the culture within which these works were produced.  We’ll ask questions about sex and gender, about class, and about the formation of a group of ideologies which might be called modern, and their effects on women, on the family, and on literature.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Almost entirely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: A number of short writing assignments (2-3 pages), a class presentation or two, a final essay in the 6-7 page range (with outside sources), steady class attendance and active class participation.

 

ENGL 31100-01   DRAMATIC LITERATURE I     HU LA 3a h

TOPIC: THE COMIC AND THE TRAGIC

3 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Comedy” and “tragedy” are ancient categories, invoked originally to describe different kinds of dramatic composition.  Though this distinction remains a convenient (and relevant) one for contemporary readers and audiences, it is also the case that these seemingly simple, seemingly antithetical terms convey a range of emotion and experience that is not always easily divisible.  Tragic—or potentially tragic—situations often arise in comedy, and there are moments in most tragedies at which the plays seem as though they might begin to move in more optimistic or affirming directions.  This course will begin with the hypothesis that the terms “comedy” and “tragedy” describe actions taken by dramatic characters in response to crisis, and the specific consequences of those actions.  As such, we will attempt to locate “comedy” and “tragedy” within fundamental elements of human experience, and examine the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of each.  We will read a selection of plays from the Classical, Renaissance English, and Restoration traditions including Sophocles’ Ajax, Plautus’ Pseudolus, Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II  and Aphra Behn’s The Feigned Courtesans. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 5-7-page essays, a short (2-3 pages) response paper, a take-home final exam, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

 

ENGL 31200-01and 02 DRAMATIC LITERATURE II HU LA 3a h

TOPIC: Performed Identities in the Modern Drama

3 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Claire Gleitman, 303 Muller, ext. 4-3893

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: 9 credits in English or Theatre.  Dramatic Literature I (ENGL 311) is NOT a prerequisite for this course.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, we will read a variety of modern American, European and Nigerian dramas, beginning in 1879 with Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House and concluding with a play first written and produced in 2014.  Each of our plays will engage in some fashion with the following question: Are our identities “real”—intrinsic to who we are and hence stable, accompanying us as we walk through life with reliable consistency—or are they performances, fluid and forever subject to change? Do we construct fictional selves to suit the particular circumstances in which we find ourselves, discarding those selves and replacing them with other ones when our circumstances change?  Do our economic and social circumstances, our histories, our loved ones, our genders project identities onto us that are ill-fitting, fundamentally at odds with what we perceive ourselves to be? These are among the questions that our plays will explore. Our playwrights will include Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Wole Soyinka, Tennessee Williams, Brian Friel, Tom Stoppard, Suzan-Lori Parks and Heidi Schreck. In addition, the class will culminate with a visit to our class by a contemporary playwright (TBA), whose work we will read together and see performed by On the Verge in a staged reading. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 6-8-page essays, frequent informal “think” pieces, a take-home final exam, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

 

ENGL 35200-01 STUDIES IN 19th-CENTURY ENGLISH LITERATURE: OSCAR WILDE  LA HU

3.0 credits

INSTRUCTOR: James Swafford, Muller 330, ext. 4-3540

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: 9 credits of literature. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Everyone still reads the works of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), or sees them staged or turned into films; yet Wilde famously said that he put only his talent into his works and his genius into his life, as if that life itself were his greatest work of art.  (That life, of course, crashed spectacularly in 1895 when Wilde was convicted of “acts of gross indecency with another male person” and was sentenced to two years in prison.)  So this course must examine not only Wilde’s literary achievement in a surprising number of genres – poems, plays (like The Importance of Being Earnest), fiction (The Picture of Dorian Gray), essays, autobiography (De Profundis, his remarkable letter from prison) – but also Wilde as a person and as a cultural figure.  We will study the Wilde produced by photographers, news reporters, cartoonists, courts of law, playwrights, novelists, sculptors, and scholars, as well as the Wilde that Wilde himself served up for public consumption.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two short critical essays, a few written exercises and response pieces during the course of the term, an oral report, and one longer research essay. Grading is based on the above as well as on attendance and active participation in class discussion. 

 

ENGL 37800 TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVEL

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Jen Spitzer, Muller 305, Ext. 4-7056

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: 3 courses of literature, or permission of the instructor

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course offers an introduction to the British novel of the twentieth century. We will examine the ways in which the social, political, and cultural events of British history have shaped the production and reception of modern and contemporary British novels. Part of our task will be to put pressure on the concept of Englishness as a shifting category of identity, and to explore its relationship to other categories, such as gender, ethnicity, race, and class. Some of our guiding questions will be: How do two world wars, the expansion and contraction of empire, the decolonization of Ireland, and the rise of conservatism figure into in the British novel? How do these authors figure into larger international movements, such as modernism and postmodernism? And finally, how do contemporary British novels respond to the promises and disappointments of nationalism, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, and neoliberalism? Novels will include Rebecca West The Good Soldier, James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Jean Rhys Voyage in the Dark, Kingsley Amis Lucky Jim, Ian McEwan Atonement, and Zadie Smith On Beauty

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, weekly secondary readings to complement the novels, 1-2 short reading responses, 2 formal essays.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion. 

 

ENGL 38000 Studies in World Literature: In the Age of the Global Novel    HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITE: 9 credits of English
COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Globalization” most often refers to the period after the fall of the Berlin Wall and is characterized by intense cross-cultural interaction, facilitated by technology and the mass migration of peoples across national territories. Our seminar will consider how the contemporary novel in English grapples with globalization in its broadest political, economic, and cultural terms, and how an emergent literary genre, the “global novel,” may or may not be the most sensitive form for describing our particular historical moment. We will be reading some of the most influential global stories of the last three decades, looking to India and Pakistan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, Sub-Saharan Africa and the West Indies, and the US and the UK for innovation of form and content. And we will put these narratives into the context of a literary world system, a system of circulation of goods and ideas that is particularly interested in texts that translate linguistically and culturally outside of their place of origin. Through close engagement with novels written since 1988, we will be considering the ways in which developments in globalization are affecting literature—reshaping both the style and form of literary works themselves and the larger system of literary readership. Novelists may include: Tash Aw, Mohsin Hamid, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Junot Diaz, Karen Te Yamashita, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two formal essays, mid-term, weekly writing on the class website, and class participation.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion and lecture.

 

ENGL 39000-01  Metamorphoses: Ovid to Rushdie GE 3a: Verbal Language, GE h: Historical

CREDITS: 3

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322, ext. 4-1344.

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

PREREQUISITE: 9 Credits in English

Objectives: From earliest times, storytellers have imagined people changing shape.  While such wondrous tales have long pleased readers, stories of shape changing, or metamorphosis, also address important questions having to do with our identification with or disconnection from our physical beings.  What if our bodies do not reflect who we feel ourselves to be?  What is our fantasy of alteration—be it reward or punishment—if we are not the body we actually inhabit?  The fictions we will read explore how those identifications with and disconnections from our bodies can alter with time, place, contingency, mood, desire.  Our authors—Ovid, Shakespeare, Kafka, Woolf, Stevenson, Shaw, Wilde, LeGuin, Rushdie—challenge us to imagine what it would be like to metamorphose into something that reflected our true nature—a beautiful woman, a hideous man, a wolf, a god, a pillar of salt, a cockroach. 

Format and Style: Discussion and lecture.

Course Requirements: Daily quizzes and reading reactions, mid-term and final essay, mid-term and final exam, class attendance and participation.

 

ENGL 48200-01   SEMINAR IN MODERN LITERATURE     HU LA 3a h

TOPIC:  THE POETRY OF SEAMUS HEANEY: OUT OF THE MARVELOUS

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: KEVIN MURPHY, 332 Muller, ext. 4-3551

ENROLLMENT: 10

PREREQUISITE: Four courses of literature and/or permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: When Seamus Heaney’s death was announced in August 2013 at Croke Park Dublin during the half-time of the All-Ireland semifinal Gaelic football match between Kerry and Dublin, the more than 80,000 spectators rose and gave him a two-minute standing ovation.  While such a response is unheard of in England and America, Heaney, who started his career as a member of the Catholic minority community in Northern Ireland, went on to be acknowledged not only as the national poet of Ireland but also, after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, as the most celebrated poet across the English-speaking world.  Part of Heaney’s fame is due to the variety of ways his personal biography crossed with the political violence or “troubles” which marked Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century. His early volumes, especially North (1975), recorded what Heaney called “symbols adequate to our predicament,” and his poetry has embodied the deep tensions of his divided society and a humane and complex response to those tensions.  In his later work, Heaney introduced a more transcendent element into his poetry, waiting until he was 50 to “credit marvels,” even as he continued to address more global issues of political violence in both poetry and translations of Greek drama.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: While there will be some time spent clarifying the political, historical, and religious contexts in which Heaney wrote his poetry, drama, and criticism, the main focus of the seminar will be an intensive study of the poems themselves, with special attention paid to the way Heaney embraces and transforms the formal poetic traditions he inherited.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: There will be a short essay (5-7 pages) due at the midterm, and a longer essay (10-12 pages) due at the end of the semester.  In addition, each student will give two presentations during the term, one before and one after the midterm, which will be accompanied by a short summary (2-3 pages) of the student’s research and analysis.  Since this is a seminar, as opposed to a lecture or discussion class, there will be a marked emphasis on student participation and collaboration across the semester which will be a full 20% of the final grade. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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