Courses in English M.A. and English and Creative Writing M.A.
|DAY/TIME||COURSE #||Course Title (Instructor)|
|Queer Victorians (Prof. Sulcer)|
4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
English 294 O
|Poe & Melville
4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
Focus on the Story (Prof. McPhee)
|TIME||COURSE #||Course Title (Instructor)|
|6:30-8:20 p.m.||English 294W||Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein (Prof. Brand)|
|TIME||COURSE #||Course Title (Instructor)|
|6:30-8:20 p.m.||English 291U||
Shakespeare (Prof. Pasupathi)
|4:30 to 6:20 p.m.||CRWR 294B||
Character Development (Prof. Markus)
|TIME||COURSE #||Course Title (Instructor)|
Powers of Darkness: British Gothic Fiction and Making of Modern Horror (Prof. Fizer)
Study Abroad – London – 1/2/12 - 1/22/12
|COURSE #||Course Title|
Contemporary British Theatre
English 291U : Shakespeare
W 6:30 to 8:20 p.m.
Reading Shakespeare (After the New Historicism)
This class examines Shakespeare’s works and Shakespeare Studies more broadly as they exist in aftermath of the critical movements loosely and closely bound under the label of New Historicist criticism. Looking at the ways in which scholars approached (and still approach) Shakespeare’s poetry and dramatic works, the works themselves, and the college-level textbooks produced in response to the critical renaissance of the 1980s and 90s, we will consider the gains, losses, and opportunities for the scholarly study of Shakespeare that those movements left in their supposed wake. In addition to reading primary works by Shakespeare and other contemporary documents that illuminate the historical and cultural conditions in which he wrote, students will gain familiarity with theories typically associated with New Historicist work, most prominently among them Feminism, Marxism, and Cultural Materialism; they will also learn about the schools of thought against which prominent New Historicists forged their methodologies, New Criticism, Biographical Criticism, as well as “Source Studies” and the so-called “Old” Historicism. In service of these goals, students will produce a transcribed excerpt of an early modern text published the same year as a particular work by Shakespeare; a short close reading of a sonnet, focused on formal elements and literary devices; two annotated bibliographies, one critical, one of primary texts; and a 15-20 page analysis of one of Shakespeare’s works that makes use of methodologies discussed in class OR a 15-page introduction to a proposed edition of a play, along with supplementary introductions to five or more contemporary texts to be included in the edition.
Primary texts by Shakespeare in the class include selected Sonnets; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; 1 Henry IV; Othello; and The Tempest (students will be expected to buy specific editions of these works). They will also read an additional play chosen from the following: The Comedy of Errors, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Cymbeline, or Pericles, from an edition of their choice.
Secondary works include: selections from Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning from More to Shakespeare; Louis A. Montrose, “Shaping Fantasies: Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture”; Introduction, Stephen Greenblatt and Annabel Patterson, “After the New Historicism”; Introduction, Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dollimore, Political Shakespeares; Introduction, David Scott Kastan, Shakespeare After Theory; Introduction, Terrance Hawks and Ivo Kamps, Alternative Shakespeares volumes 1 and 2; and Introduction and Chapter on The Tempest, Douglas Bruster, Quoting Shakespeare.
English 291Y : Powers of Darkness: British Gothic Fiction and Making of Modern Horror
R 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
Why is it pleasurable to read fiction that provokes sensations of fear and dread? Do confrontations between the living and the living dead—such as ghosts, speaking skulls, and corpses arisen from the grave—purify the world of evil or leave an irreparable experience of trauma? Therefore, can fiction that intends to heighten fear assert a critique of political oppression and tyranny, or does it channel and pacify cultural anxieties? And why does the passion of romantic love emerge within an atmosphere of overwhelming loss? Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, published in 1764, inspired both questions like these and the eighteenth-century literary phenomenon known as gothic fiction. In this course, we will read a series of texts published during the first fifty years of the British gothic tradition, which may include: Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents; Jane Austen’s satiric gothic, Northanger Abbey; John Polidori's "The Vampyre"; Matthew Lewis’ notorious novel, The Monk; Mary Wollstonecraft’s political gothic, The Wrongs of Woman; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (which can be read as both a revision and a misreading of her mother's novel, The Wrongs of Woman); and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Course requirements: active class participation, weekly reading responses, a short paper, and a longer final paper.
English 292F: Queer Victorians
When, in 1885, England criminalized male homosexual acts, Queen Victoria was asked whether there ought also to be a law against lesbian sexual acts. She famously retorted, “No woman would do that!” How is it that the Victorians, supposedly the stodgiest of our literary forebears, witnessed the emergence of homosexuality as we know it, best exemplified by the life and works of Oscar Wilde? This class takes up the question of the “other Victorians” through an examination of canonical and noncanonical literature, historical and contextual documents, and a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives, especially from gay and lesbian studies and queer theory. We mine the queer Romantic inheritance from Lord Byron, examine the tensions among women’s identifications and desires in Charlotte Brontë and Christina Rossetti, and trace the emergence of the century’s queerest figure, the aesthete, whose criticism inaugurated modern English studies and thus underwrote nearly every critical paradigm of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our focus is the professionalization of the queer—the proliferation of queer discourse (and queers) within the most powerful institutions of the day—in schools, universities, the literary establishment, the church, the law, medicine, and criminology.
English 294 O : Poe & Melville Prof. Bryant
M 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
We know writers by their writing, but we are also drawn to their lives, creative processes, and careers. What compels them to write, and write the way they do, tells us something about our own encounter with language, creativity, and ideas. Writers grow from text to text, and they develop with and against the world(s) in which they live. This course follows the careers of two radically different, radically similar contemporaries: Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville. In looking at each career, we will gain a deeper understanding of how each writer used writing to grasp at the “ungraspable phantom” of consciousness. Each writer is peculiar: both are famously “dark” and yet comic; both transcendent and yet anti-idealistic. The central question for us will be how these differently self-contradictory writers grew. How did they develop their unique talents and ideas as they moved from tale to tale, or poem to poem, or (for that matter) from tale to poem and back? How did they manipulate or attempt to manipulate their audiences? Why did they succeed? Why did they fail? And yet why do they remain two of our most compelling American writers? In pursuing these questions, we also want to ask what these two careers tell us about the struggle and place of the artist in a democratic culture. With this broader context in mind, we will explore some of the social issues that affected these writers (race, gender, sexuality), the kinds of writing they experimented with (travel adventure, hoax, gothic tale, poem), and the critical views they expressed. I will ask students to write two short “get acquainted” essays, one on a specific text by each writer, and a longer final essay on an individual project developed with me. Our readings will include selected tales and short poems by both writers. We will also read Moby-Dick. Rest assured I will provide ample time during the semester for our interactions with this exciting work.
English 294W : Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein
This course will be a study of the works of three of the most important, interesting, and controversial American writers of the twentieth century. We'll examine the career of each author in the context of the revolutionary intellectual, political, and artistic climate of the period between the two World Wars. In response to the new world that was coming into being, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Stein each attempted to create a "modern" literature, a literature that would be responsive to the challenges of the Great War and its aftermath, the changes in social and sexual mores in the twenties, the rise of Fascism, the Depression, relativity, psychoanalysis, the automobile, cinema, celebrity journalism, jazz, Art Deco, cubism, etc. As self-consciously modern writers, each of these authors experienced confusions characteristic of this moment in history. If they were expatriates, what did it mean for them to be considered American? In a world of increasingly fluid sexual identity, what did it mean to be considered male or female, masculine or feminine, heterosexual or homosexual? In a world in which Communism and Fascism were ascendant, what did it mean to be a person of the Left or of the Right? If one was a literary celebrity whose identity was formulated by journalists, to what degree could one participate in the creation of one's own public persona, to what degree could one be taken seriously as a literary artist? Attempting to explore these and other modern confusions, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Stein wrote some extraordinary works and they had a significant impact on each other, on other writers and artists, and on the way in which the modernity of the '20's and '30's is discussed in our culture. We will read: Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and The Last Tycoon (fragment); Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast, and The Garden of Eden (reconstructed fragment); Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Four Saints in Three Acts, selections from Tender Buttons and The Making of Americans. Requirements will include a short (6-8pp.) paper, a long (15 pp.) paper, a journal, a take-home final, and active class participation.
CRWR 293J: Focus on the Story
M 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
This classic fiction seminar is for students in the M.A. program. We will study the craft of fiction by looking closely at what makes for a good story. How do we find the small moment that becomes the larger story, the small desires of a person that lead to the bigger consequences of a life? We will be using essays on the subject by fiction writers such as EM Forester, Stephen King, Francine Prose, Jane Smiley and many others. We will be discussing the basic elements of fiction writing from character development to plot to tone, voice, point of view, while always attempting to excavate strong character driven narratives that realize the world through vivid detail and observation. Students’ stories will be read and analyzed in class and used as well as the jumping off point for discussions particular to the manuscript and to the craft in general.
CRWR 294B : Character Development
W 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
This graduate seminar will center on character development in fiction ( and/or non-fiction if applicable) and it is a hands-on writing course. Our aim through the semester will be to improve our ability to create characters that live on the page, and to hewn our skill in the techniques that allow this to occur. The writer will concentrate on the variegated roots of human response in a way that brings a sense of authenticity to a character’s motivation. To implement this discussion, copies of Alice Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child” will be handed out and discussed at the beginning of the semester. Examining character psychology in no way implies that the character will be “explained” on the page, rather, as one creates a viable character, one will find that often the character itself will lead the writer towards authentic dialogue, setting, and plot development. If one is writing creative non-fiction, the discussion will center on the creation of persona that sees further than, as well as being an extension of, self.