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Next Semester Courses

Course Listing Spring 2016

ENGL 10900-01, 02: Introduction to 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 playwright’s such as Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Pirandello, 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 11300-01, -02   INTRODUCTION TO POETRY       3a HU LA
3 credits
ICC DESIGNATIONS:  Themes:  1) Identities or 2) Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation;  

Perspective:  Humanities
INSTRUCTOR: Kevin Murphy, Muller 332, Ext. 4-3551
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: None
COURSE DESCRIPTION: One objective of this course is to familiarize the student with both traditional and contemporary forms of poetry. To do so, we will study poetry chronologically (from Shakespeare to the present) and formally (the sonnet, the ode, the villanelle, etc.) The chronological survey from the 16th century through the 19th century will take place during the first half of the semester, and during the second half we will focus on American poetry written in the 20th century, especially poetry written since 1950. A second, and perhaps more important, objective of this course is to instill in the student the desire and the confidence to read poetry and the ability to write about it critically and persuasively, and therefore participation in class discussion is crucial.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: One five-page and one eight-page critical essay, homework assignments in preparation for discussion, a mid-term, and a final examination. Grading is based on attendance, participation in class discussion, examinations, and papers.

 

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

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATIONS: Themes: (1) Identities, or (2) Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation; Perspective: Humanities

INSTRUCTOR: James 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 explore 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 Elizabeth Bishop – 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 11300-03     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 19406-01,02  Search for the Self in Short Stories HU LA 3a h

3 credits


ICC Theme: Identities


INSTRUCTOR: Jean Sutherland, Muller 434

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section


PREREQUISITES: None STUDENTS: Open to all students.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: What creates our sense of who we are? How does a work of fiction reveal the complex web of influences that shape one’s identity and how one views the world? What roles do family, peers, age, class, education, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation play in influencing the way one thinks and acts, and how can an author suggest all of that in the space of a short story? What can a literary work reveal about our understanding of ourselves and of our world? In studying these works of short fiction, we will also consider some secondary material such as the authors’ comments about their work and scholarly commentary about them in order to enrich our understanding of why these stories are short but not slight.

The goal of the course is to make you a more active and critical reader. This is NOT a class in fiction writing


COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: This class relies largely on discussion. You will be expected to do much of the talking.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two essays; daily quizzes or writing exercises; essay mid- term and final exam. Grading is based on the requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation.

Text: The Story and Its Writer, ed. Ann Charters, 8th ed. (Bedford/St. Martins, 2011)

 

ENGL 19408-01 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, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Junot Diaz, Adam Mansbach, ZZ Packer, and Percival Everett.  

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 19411-01 Faking It: Reality Hunger in the Age of Artifice HU LA 3a 

3 credits, ICC Theme: Identities and World of Systems

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why, in the age of “reality” television, virtual universities, and computer games that promise a Second Life, do we continue to be obsessed with rooting out society’s hoaxes, fakes, and forgeries? We are, after all, increasingly a global culture of simulation, as much the willing perpetrators of hoaxes on ourselves, as the victims of others’ hoaxing. But still we hold fast to the promise of authenticity, the genuine at the root of our families, our communities, and our institutions. We ask our philosophers, historians, and politicians to rigidly define particular social realities even as we race down the rabbit hole towards further illusion. What are the consequences of being a society ever obsessed by the hoax? Over the course of the writing-intensive semester we will read accounts of our contemporary world’s relationship to the hoax, and compose arguments as to the form and nature of fakery. We will examine: the recent fascination with artificial intelligence, Wilkomirski’s faked memoir of the Holocaust, Orson Well’s documentary on fakers, the infamous hoax students at Princeton and Harvard, along with novels that dramatize or parody these kinds of fakery. Authors will likely include: Martin Amis, John D'Agata, Percival Everett, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tom McCarthy, and David Shields.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Intense discussion punctuated by occasional lectures on cultural and literary phenomenon of the hoax.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: There will be two short papers and one longer research paper. There will be a midterm that will draw upon your weekly preparation for class. Strict attendance policy.

 

ENGL 19413  “Mysterious Muddles and Commonplace Crimes”: Gothic and Detective Fiction

3 credits

ICC THEME:  Investigation, Innovation, and Inquiry

INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, Muller 434, ext. 4-5142

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITES: none

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Reading, like detecting, involves locating and interpreting clues, putting pieces together in order to recognize the larger issues at stake, and looking carefully at both the minute details and the overall picture.  The authors we’ll be reading in this course emphasize the parallel between reading fiction and detecting the “truth” by gradually revealing plot and character through clues, hints, and symbols.  But, as these authors attest, the interpretation of those clues can be affected by perspective, emotions, biases, and by the possibility that there is no clear, undeniable “truth” at all—only narratives and fictions. We’ll read Frankenstein and Dracula, we’ll explore the transition to detective fiction with Edgar Allan Poe, we’ll investigate with Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe, and we’ll end the semester with Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 4-5 page essays, three 2-page response papers, a presentation, reading quizzes, a take-home final exam, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Due to the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades. 

 

ENGL 19416 Coming of Age in Modernity: Fictions of (Arrested) Development

3 Credits

ICC DESIGNATIONS: Identities (pending)

Instructor: Jennifer Spitzer, 305 Muller

Why do some characters grow up while others refuse to adjust to maturity and socialization?  Why do some narratives progress and resolve while others seem to resist closure altogether? This course will focus on (so-called) coming-of-age narratives that undermine realist principles of development and progress. We will examine literary narratives in which youth is extended and maturity, delayed. We will consider how these narratives of delay are informed by their historical and geopolitical contexts and by the specific conditions of modernity. We will consider how the refusal to grow up may be a form of protest against normative values as well as a longing to remain enclosed within the supposed magic and innocence of childhood. We will think about how modern fictions challenge the nineteenth-century Bildungsroman, or novel of education.

Expanding the frame, we will look at the relationship between nationhood and self-making, at the resistance to heteronormative development in gay and lesbian writing, and at the difficulty of self-realization in fictions about women and persons of color.  We will read short and long fictions from the turn of the century to the present, and we will view television and films that reflect this theme. Texts will include J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, James Joyce’s “Araby,” Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party,” Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, and Marc Forster’s film Finding Neverland.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some brief lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: One 4-5 page essay, one 5-7 page final paper, midterm and final exams, and short informal writing assignments.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation and attendance will be an essential part of students’ final grades. 

 

ENGL 19417-01,02: Earth Works: Literature, Nature, and the Environment. LA 3a HU
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
ICC DESIGNATIONS: Quest for a Sustainable Future and Mind, Body, Spirit (pending)
PREREQUISITES: None
STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is the nature of nature? This class offers an exciting literary, cultural, and historical exploration into the idea of “nature” and the “natural.” While it may seem self-evident to us that nature is all of that stuff “out there” – trees, rocks, oceans, animals, you know what I mean – this class will explore how natural environments in literature are not simple, common-sense places, but are in fact dynamic cultural constructions that change over time. What do we actually mean by nature? How do we understand it as a place, as an object, or as a literary form? Might nature be nothing more than a unique human experience? As you can see, this class will raise many intriguing questions, and by examining the “eco-literature” embodied in novels, stories, poems, biographies, and non-fictions, our sense of the natural will be challenged, and hopefully, expanded. We will be helped on our journey by Thoreau, Wordsworth, Cather, Wolfe, Krakauer, Snyder – among many others.  

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/ limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of primary works.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, response papers, analytical essays, presentations, final exam.

 

ENGL 20100-01, 02  APPROACHES TO LITERARY STUDY  HU LA 3a

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 15 students per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in English.

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 biases and assumptions that guide them. Focusing on a handful of well-known texts spanning a variety of literary genres—including Joyce’s “The Dead,” Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,  Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Morrison’s Sula—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. The course will thus involve both formal analysis and scholarly commentary.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 3-5 page essays, an in-class presentations, and a longer final research project. 

  

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 DraculaThe 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 21900-01, -02 SHAKESPEARE HU LA 3a h

3 CREDITS 

ICC DESIGNATION: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The sign of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is said to have featured the Latin inscription “Totus mundus agit histrionem”: the whole world acts a play.  The notion that we are all actors in a ‘theatrum mundi’—or theatre of the world—has long been central to the history of ideas. “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players,” as Jaques famously says in As You Like It.  That Shakespeare should express this concept so enduringly is not surprising.  His plays are preoccupied with the question of whether the parts we play on domestic, social, and political stages are determined by forces larger than ourselves—scripted in advance, as it were, by destiny, biology, or ideology—or whether in fact we possess the agency to craft our own performances and imaginatively determine our own trajectories in life.  This course invites students to explore the relationship between performance, identity, and imagination—both as dramatized by Shakespeare and as experienced in everyday life.  Readings will include five major plays (The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra) as well as selected theoretical works on social performance by Baldassare Castiglione, J.L. Austin, Erving Goffman, and Judith Butler.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

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

 

21900 INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE: SHAKESPEARE’S COMEDIES 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. 

            We’ll be considering Shakespeare as a writer of comedies; plays will be selected from all periods, ranging from earliest (Comedy of Errors; Taming of the Shrew; Love’s Labors Lost) through the great middle period (As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing); the troubling “problem plays” (Measure for Measure; All’s Well), and finishing with one of the very late romances.  We’ll consider genre, source, stylistic evolution, persistent themes and concerns, and as always, the myriad ways in which these works have delighted and intrigued four centuries of audiences and readers.

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 22100-01  African American Literature Survey  HU LA 3A h

TOPIC: African American Literature

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: This survey course traces the development of African American literature from the colonial era to the present. Primarily, our interest will be in how authors represent what is commonly (and problematically) known as “the black experience.” Our exploration will consider the role of violence, cultural memory, gender and sexuality, trauma, folklore, signifying, humor, and family in shaping this experience. To make our exploration as comprehensive as possible, we will cover poetry, political speeches, critical essays, fiction, drama, and music. As we proceed, we will also focus on the unique relationship between this body of literature and the American literary canon overshadowing it.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Active and regular participation is a substantive factor in the grading. There will be one major textual analysis essay, an in-class presentation, a reading journal, and a final exam.

 

HNRS 24010 01 HONORS SLOW READ: TRISTAM SHANDY

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

PREREQUISITE: Open to students in the Honors Program and by permission of instructor.

OBJECTIVES:  Tristram Shandy, written between 1759 and 1767, startled, delighted, perplexed, and appalled its original audience; it has proved one of the most influential novels ever written.  Most English majors have heard of it (especially if they’ve taken any course with me).  But what is it?  What makes it so addictive, pleasurable, perplexing?    Joyce, Woolf, Fuentes, Kundera, Rushdie, Grass, and many other modernist and post-modernist writers have responded to its methods and themes; to read Tristram Shandy is to approach post-modernity from its pre-modern side.

As the course title suggests, we’ll read it slowly—the only worthwhile way.   There will be perplexity (I’ll help you with that), bawdry (you’re mostly on your own), delight (we’ll all share).

REQUIREMENTS: Attendance, weekly short written responses, one extended analytical essay.

 

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

3 CREDITS
ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive
INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014
ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section
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 31200-01, 02   DRAMATIC LITERATURE II     HU LA 3a h

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

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

TOPIC: The Captivating Past in Modern and Contemporary Drama.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: An old man sits listening to tapes recorded by his younger self—a self that, now, he barely recognizes as his own. With the bravado of youth, the taped voice declares that his “best years” are gone but that he “wouldn’t want them back.” His older self listens in silence—and we do not imagine for a second that he agrees. This brief moment in a brief play captures a tension that reverberates through the modern drama: the impulse to move forward, which is often at odds with a longing to go back.  In this course, we will read a variety of modern European, American, and Nigerian dramatists, examining each one’s exploration of this tension between what used to be and what is. Some of our authors focus upon the ways in which the past can hold us captive, ensnaring us in stagnant longing and regret, while others enact the difficulties we confront when we attempt to look backwards at the past and examine it with accuracy. Still others offer dramatic portraits of the past in order to appeal to the present to take heed of its messages. In almost every case, we will find our authors asking the question: How can we unburden ourselves of the dead weight of the past and inhabit the present, without becoming soulless—a traitor to our families, our countries, our past selves—in the process? To put the problem another way, it may be a form of madness to live, as A Streetcar Named Desire’s Blanche DuBois does, in hopeless pursuit of what might have been. Yet the alternative stance carries problems of its own, as manifested by her nemesis Stanley Kowalski, whose last lines are: “Now, honey. Now, love. Now, now, love…Now, now, love. Now, love.”
Playwrights will include Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Wole Soyinka, Brian Friel, Anna Deavere Smith, Tom Stoppard, Quiara Alegria Hudes, and Anna Ziegler.

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 31900-01    GREAT AMERICAN WRITERS BEFORE 1890     HU LA 3a

Topic: Declarations of independence; revelations of confinement

3 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: 9 credits of literature.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Throughout its relatively short recorded history, America has trumpeted itself as an exceptional experiment in nationhood—a democratic, self-reliant citizenry that serves as a model to the world. In this class we will interrogate some of the assumptions behind the idea of "American exceptionalism" and the myth of the "American dream." Beginning with accounts of European contact, we will follow the “new world” theme through the Puritan, Colonial, and Transcendental eras, through the Civil War to the brink of the 20th century. In one sense, the cultural trajectory of this course traces a familiar path—from a sense of early expectation and unlimited potential to the sobering realities of human pain and historical contingency. Throughout the term, we will examine how America's declarations of independence often reveal or conceal painful episodes of confinement— literal enslavement and also psychological imprisonment. To trace this theme, we will read a variety of American documents, including religious sermons, political treatises, philosophical essays, autobiographies, poems, short stories and, at the end of the term, a novel by Henry James.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 5 page essays, and a substantial take-home examination.   

 

ENGL 32400-01  LITERATURE OF THE BIBLE  (HU LA)

CRN 42694

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564, twomey@ithaca.edu.

ENROLLMENT: 20.

PREREQUISITE: Three courses in the Humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  The Bible is the best-known book that most of us have never read.  This course considers biblical narratives and poetry as literary and cultural documents.  Although reading the Bible will necessarily invoke religious concepts, I teach the course from a scholarly, non-sectarian point of view.  I expect that students in the course will be open-minded about the approaches they learn in the course, and that they will not look to the course for affirmation of preconceived religious ideas.  The course emphasizes the Bible specifically as literature: how style, characterization, and other literary features of prose and verse enable us to understand biblical texts.  The two major units are the historical narratives in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, Esther; and the poetic writings in Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and Job.

            Texts:   (1) HarperCollins Study Bible, with Apocrypha (Student Edition) . 

                        (2) Other texts and critical readings, posted on Sakai and/or handed out.

                        (3) Shimon Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible.

COURSE FORMAT AND STYLE:  Discussion, in-class reports, lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  Regular attendance and participation in class discussions, two 5-page essays, short response pieces, in-class presentation, a final exam.  In this course it is essential to do the reading when it is assigned.

 

ENGL 35200-01    STUDIES IN 19th-CENTURY ENGLISH LITERATURE: ENGLISH ROMANTIC POETRY  HU LA

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: Nine credits of literature

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will survey the remarkable achievement of English Romantic poetry of the late 18th and early 19th centuries: not “romantic” in the sense of a love affair – although plenty of the poems have much to do with love, spiritual and physical – but rather in the sense of an attitude or orientation that largely rejects classical values of order, balance, and rationality.  Our poetry will show a continuing fascination with dynamism, change, and experimentation; with nature as a living entity; with the (godlike?) power of imagination; with intuition and intense feeling; with the individual self and its unique perception; with the artist as hero; with the figure of the outcast; with symbolism and myth; with both the political and the psychological; with both the common and the visionary.  The traditional “big six” – William Blake, William Wordsworth, S. T. Coleridge, Lord Byron, P. B. Shelley, and John Keats – will probably occupy the spotlight most of the time, but we’ll be sure to give attention as well to the traditionally undervalued poets who were women (like Felicia Hemans) or who came from the lower classes (like John Clare) and to a few of the later 19th-century writers who tried, as Oscar Wilde put it, to continue carrying the torch of the romantic “Spirit of Beauty.”  NOTE: English majors may use this course as a substitute for ENGL 28100 Romantic and Victorian Literature, one of the three required historical “period of literature” courses.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion.  Students will take turns, several times during the term, collaborating with the instructor in leading those discussions. 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND 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 (A to F) is based on the above as well as on attendance and active participation in class discussion. 

 

ENGL 37300-01, RENAISSANCE DRAMA: TRAGEDY AFTER MARLOWE HU LA
3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: ENGL-21900 or ENGL-27100

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Before his mysterious and violent death in an isolated Deptford dining room at the age of twenty-nine, Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) wrote a sequence of shockingly experimental plays that fundamentally changed the way his contemporaries—including Shakespeare—wrote tragedies for the London stage.  This course invites students to explore this Marlovian revolution through the study of eight English Renaissance plays and their cultural contexts.  After familiarizing ourselves with the intellectual, religious, and political currents of the Elizabethan world in which Marlowe lived, we will study four of his major plays (Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward II), paying special attention to the way their formal styles and content explode inherited theatrical conventions.  We will then turn our attention to a selection of tragedies that bear the stamp of Marlowe’s influence, including Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Middleton & Rowley’s The Changeling, and Ford’s Tis Pity She’s a Whore.  Warning: there will be blood.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, research essay.
FULFILLS: Periods of Literature Requirement in English

 

ENGL 38000-01 World Literature: The South African Novel After Apartheid HU LA 3a 

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes

ENROLLMENT: 20

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Apartheid,” the system by which the minority colonial government in South Africa ghettoized the population by racial/ethnic classification into separate homelands, was the dominant system of governance for half a century. With the end of Apartheid and the rise of democratic, Black African rule came great uncertainties about the future of the nation’s history, culture, and language. Literature has played a particularly important role in imagining what that future might hold, and our seminar will be considering some of the major literary works responsible for forging that vision. We will be reading novels and historical accounts written since 1994 that attempt with broad and narrow foci to encapsulate the struggle for a reconstituted nation and the potential for historical healing. Our goal will be to explore the broader theme of human rights in the age of decolonization by taking up issues of land ownership, interracial relationships, new kinship communities, and revolution vs reconciliation. In considering the social context of the novels, we will engage the formal choices and experiments with which the writers seek to reframe the dialogue of how to speak the post-Apartheid nation into existence.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Intense discussion punctuated by occasional lectures on the socio-historical background of apartheid South Africa.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: There will be two short papers and one longer research paper. There will be weekly writing assignments. Strict attendance policy.

 

ENGL 38200 Modern Literature, Making it New: British and American Modernism

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer Spitzer, 305 Muller

PREREQUISITES: Any three courses in English

ENROLLMENT: 20 Students per section

If Ezra Pound’s “make it new” is the signature slogan of literary modernism, what do we make of the fact brought to light by the critic Michael North that the slogan was not itself new but a recycled phrase from Chinese history?  Why was literary modernism so invested in the concept of newness, and what was about modernism was new? In this course, we will think about modernism as a “crisis of representation” and a “revolution of the word,” but we will also consider the aspects of literary modernism that were anti-modern and reactionary.

We will begin the course by surveying some of the earliest statements of literary modernism, Charles Baudelaire’s “The Painter of Modern Life” and Georg Simmel’s “The Metropolis and Mental Life”.  We will go on to consider how various modernisms announced themselves through the manifesto, and we will look at several examples of the genre, including Wyndham Lewis’ Blast and Mina Loy’s “Feminist Manifesto.” For the remainder of the course, we will range across modernist genres and media—the experimental short story, the free-verse poem, the stream-of-consciousness novel, and the modernist film—to assess how and why modernists renovated earlier forms. We will consider the dialectic between “high-brow” literature and more popular forms, such as the music hall production. Finally, we will consider the sociological developments that helped pave the way for literary modernism, among them urbanization, immigration, imperialism, the rise of advertising and mass communication, and upheavals in relations of race, class, and gender. As we think about newness in art, we will consider the proliferation of “new” social types during this era, including the New Woman and the New Negro.

We will read poetry, fiction, and essays by Charles Baudelaire, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Mina Loy, Langston Hughes, Wyndham Lewis, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Rebecca West, D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos. We will also screen The Jazz Singer and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Regular attendance and active participation in class discussion. Students will participate in group presentations, and will hand in short reading responses, a midterm 5-6 page paper, and a final 8-10 page paper.

 

ENGL 39001-01  Environmental Criticism: Green Reading (HU LA)

CRN 43797

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564, twomey@ithaca.edu.

Enrollment: 20.

Prerequisite: Three courses in the Humanities.

Course description: What do literature and the environment have to do with each other?  Usually we read literature for what it tells us about human characters and situations.  Instead, this course explores the representation of the non-human in literature and what it reveals about our often unconscious, culturally-constructed views of the ecosystems outside our skin.  We will do this through “green reading,” an ecologically informed mode of literary criticism formally known as environmental criticism or ecocriticism.  In the words of ecocritic Glen Love, green reading reminds us that “the enveloping natural world is a part of the subject on the printed page before us, and even when it is not, it remains a given, part of the interpretive context.”  In our earth-centered approach to literary study, we will investigate relationships between humans and non-humans in the natural world—landscapes, plants, animals—as they are expressed in literature and in ecocriticism, and we will reconsider the implications of the self-referential attitude toward the non-human that ecocritics label anthropocentrism.  Literary texts will be drawn from ancient to modern times; we will also read selections from ecocritics such as Timothy Clark, Greg Garrard, Donna Haraway, Carolyn Merchant, Simon Schama, and Louise Westling.

Course format and style: Some lecturing, lots of discussion, student-directed projects, environmental encounters.

Course requirements:  Regular attendance and participation in class discussions, two short essays, environmental journal, in-class exercises and presentations, final paper.  In this courser it is essential to do the reading when it is assigned.

 

ENGL 42000-01  SEMINAR: SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS

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

ENROLLMENT: 10 per section

PREREQUISITE: Four English courses, one of which must be at level 3, or permission of instructor.

OBJECTIVES: Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets have challenged, perplexed, and moved readers since their publication in 1609; they represent Shakespeare’s poetic art at its most sustained and most highly wrought.  The subjects range across his passionate love for a noble youth, his resentment of a rival poet, and his tortured love for a “dark lady”—and throughout, the horror at all-devouring time, and the insistence upon the power of poetry to sustain life and memorialize even after death.  Readers have taken the sonnets to show Shakespeare at his most personal and intimate, tormented, self-aware. 

            As we conduct our close study of the sonnets themselves, we will consider contemporary political, religious, cultural, and scientific beliefs; what biography we possess and can conjecture; the relation of the sonnets to precursor and contemporary sonnet writers and sequences; the works’ formal complexity and variety; the history of the sonnets’ reception, ranging from contemporary indifference, later condemnation on moral grounds, and subsequent privileging as the apogee of Shakespeare’s poetic art and self-revelation.  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 sonnets pleased and still do; and on the question of cultural function, both in Shakespeare’s time and in our own. 

REQUIREMENTS: Close study and presentation of selected sonnets; two extended  analytical essays; memorization and recitation.

 

ENGL 46000-01, SEMINAR IN JAMES JOYCE’S ULYSSES     HU LA 3a h

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Kevin Murphy, 332 Muller, ext. 4-3551

ENROLLMENT: 10 students

PREREQUISITE: Any four courses in English, or permission of the instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: James Joyce’s Ulysses is arguably the most important novel written in the past century.  The work is a radical departure from traditional forms and assumptions in literature, and, along with T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” which was also published in 1922, the novel establishes the foundation of literary modernism.  As such, the novel’s experimental structure and stream-of-consciousness narration has had a profound impact on the fiction written throughout the twentieth century.  Given the special difficulty attendant reading such a dense and experimental work, the primary purpose of this seminar is to provide and structure a close reading of the novel, one which will emphasize the integrity of the work and the multiple contexts (social, psychological, stylistical, and textual) within which and against which the novel was written.  Given its experimental nature, the novel has also lent itself to a number of innovative theoretical approaches to the nature of literature itself which will also be considered in the course of the semester.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: There will be occasional background lectures, films, and audiotapes, but the seminar will proceed on the basis of student reports and presentations focused on the eighteen different episodes of the novel.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Each student will be expected to give two oral presentations on aspects of the novel, one before and one after the midterm.  In addition, there will be two papers due, a five-page essay at the midterm and a 10-12 page research essay due at the end of the semester.

 

 

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