The Announcement of Classes is available one week before Tele-Bears begins every semester. Creative Writing and (for fall) Honors Course applications are available at the same time in the racks outside of 322 Wheeler Hall.
"Students are often enjoined to read �the great authors� in order to absorb �good English.� But English has so many variations across time and space that it�s hard to imagine what that could possibly mean. In this course, we�ll read a lot of poetry in order to observe some (but by no means all) of those variations, focusing on how we receive cues from language. What makes a text easy or hard to read? What conventions of spelling, grammar, rhythm, lineation, punctuation, pagination, and semantics do we expect to encounter when we read, and what do we do with texts that don�t meet those expectations? What is �style�? What makes a poem sound Dickinsonian, or Yeatsian?
This course will emphasize the interrelation of reading and writing, as we work to render our own thoughts in one of the varieties of English, an American academic dialect. In addition to writing and revising several short critical essays, students will produce short works mimicking the styles of different authors.
"Everyone experiences childhood, but representing that experience from the perspective of adulthood is often an act as much of imagination as of memory. This course will engage with texts that undertake that imaginative act. We will discuss how these texts construct their child figures through language and narrative, and how cultural institutions such as the family and the school shape ideas of what a child is (or should be). Through examining these representations of childhood perception and of the process of education, we will consider how these texts might also attempt to educate their readers.
This course is a workshop for developing the skills necessary to be a perceptive reader and an expressive writer of texts. To that end we will break down the sometimes daunting task of producing an essay into a series of smaller, more manageable steps. We will discuss specific methods and strategies for the various stages of paper writing, from devising an initial topic to revising a final draft, from structuring an argument to structuring a sentence. To practice these skills, the course will require frequent reading and writing assignments; expect to turn in a piece of writing on most class days. The class will also require substantial engagement with your peers, through both class discussion and peer review of writing assignments.
"Within the traditions of contemporary African American and Asian American poetry, a category of self-identified ?experimental? writing has emerged recently. What is minority ?experimental? poetry? One of the primary aims of this course is to familiarize ourselves with some exemplary works along with the debates ignited by these new trends. Since this course is also meant to satisfy the R1A requirement, our other aim is to improve students? reading, writing and research skills. The potential anxiety students might feel about writing longer expository essays should be lessened by breaking up assignments into research, prewriting, outlining, drafting, and editing components.
Our readings will be guided by several overarching questions. First, how might we provisionally define ?experimental? writing in a minority context? Second, how are African American and Asian American versions of ?innovative? or ?experimental? writing conditioned by each group?s specific literary history? We will investigate arguments concerning identity politics, ?political correctness,? and contemporary poetry?s notorious opacity and ?difficulty.? We will also ask how poetry attempts to repress or engage the political.
This course will be focused on breaking the often anxiety-provoking essay writing process into more manageable bits: outlining, prewriting, grammar, sentence and paragraph construction, theses, revision, and the strategic use of evidence to support critical claims. Along with journal responses to weekly readings, students will be expected to write two papers (4-6 and 7-10 pages) that will be critiqued and revised over the course of the semester.
"The problem of labor preoccupied writers of prose, fiction, and poetry during the reign of Queen Victorian, a period of industrial and urban expansion in England. The discourse around labor overlapped with aesthetic discourse, as both addressed the alienation of the laborer from the product of his hands. John Ruskin, a critic of art and society, promotes a pre-modern, Gothic aesthetic, in which objects are valued for the imperfections that bespeak the touch of numberless craftsmen. William Morris, too, promoted a return to craftsmanship as a way to counter the advance of a debased consumer culture in his essay �The Beauty of Life.� Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell addressed the oppression of the working class in their respective novels, Hard Times and Mary Barton. In addition to the texts mentioned above, we will read excerpts from Marx and Engels� The Communist Manifesto and poems by Tennyson, Landon, and Hopkins; we will also examine textiles, books, and stained glass produced by Morris & Company.
This course is an introduction to analysis and argumentation; the instructor runs the class as a discussion seminar and writing workshop. The writing requirement includes five short essays of increasing length."
"This course focuses on the period of American fiction and cinema often referred to as �Noir,� a cycle of crime and detective stories dating roughly from 1939 to 1958. We will begin the semester by trying to get at what exactly makes noir fiction and noir films �noir.� In doing so, we will gain a familiarity with the cinematic features typical of noir style (night-for-night lighting, flashback and voice-over narration, unreliable narration, objective versus subjective camera, etc.) and attempt to connect these formal features back to the novels and pulp stories on which they are based. Some of the primary questions guiding our discussion will include the issues of gender and sexuality implicit in the figures of the Private Detective, the Femme Fatale, the Hit-man, and the Aesthete. We will also address the role of slang and dialects in the new �hard-boiled� American lexicon developed by writers like Chandler , Hammett, and Hemingway.
Our method throughout will be a close in-class analysis of the texts. Our focus will be on the development of your close-reading skills as well as an improvement in your writing. While R1A is primarily designed to improve your writing, it is also a seminar, and so I anticipate active participation in the discussion from all members of the class. "
"For this course, we will look at a handful of texts that equate �reading� and �writing� with �playing.� In these texts, stories become games, books become toys, and passive reading becomes active participation. We will consider a handful of theoretical approaches to these texts exploring the nature of literary gamesmanship, play, and fun. Despite the seemingly light course topic, we will also examine the heavier political and social implications of this type of reading and writing.
ince the course texts understand the notion of play as a critical component of both reading and writing, this will give us an avenue by which to engage with our own reading and writing practices. You will be expected to write and read often, and more importantly, you will be expected to reflect on your own writing and reading activities through course discussion and a number of other textual exercises.
As our course texts will prove, the activities of reading and writing are inextricably bound together in the field of play. Similarly, literary analysis is the organized writing out of a highly focused reading. As such, you will devote considerable time in this course to writing, peer editing, and revising three larger pieces of literary analysis based upon careful readings of course texts. We will also spend some class time discussing and practicing organizational/logical strategies, including everything from sentence-level construction all the way up to essay-wide argumentation."
"Africa's literatures are old, rich, and vast, from epic poems and religious verse to an extensive dramatic and storytelling folk culture that can be found in almost every corner of the continent. This class, however, will focus on *modern * African writers, men and women who have written with pen, typewriter, or computer, who publish in European languages rather than in those of their ancestors, and whose books are more often read by affluent readers in the West than by other Africans.
They are also, it is worth noting, the first writers to consider themselves African at all. Before the British created the colonial Nigerian state, for example, Igbo people, Yoruba people, Hausa-Fulani people, Ijaw people, and hundreds of other ethnic groups inhabiting the region surrounding the Niger river not only didn�t ""realize"" they were Nigerians (a term they had never heard), but didn�t even think of themselves as Africans. The word, after all, was coined by the Romans thousands of years ago to describe the continent to their south but until the twentieth century it was never a word used by the people it described. Nation-states are, however, only part of colonialism�s legacy: when colonialists forced Africans to put aside the traditions and languages of their communities, they forced them into schools and churches, teaching them to read the bible and write in English, or French, or Portuguese. This course will ask the interesting question, therefore, of what it means to be an African writer.
This course also aims to develop students� ability to write persuasively, clearly, and precisely about literature. Students will therefore learn how to construct strong sentences and paragraphs, develop thesis statements, organize textual evidence and analysis, and make forceful interpretive arguments. Your writing will move from online responses to the reading to handed-in assignments to papers revised in consultation with me."
No additional information about this class is available at this time.
"Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat Sighing gave signs of woe, that all was lost. -- John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667)
We will read and write about environmentally engaged poetry of seventeenth-century England as we develop practical fluency in analytical, thesis-driven writing. Emphases will include grammar, sentence- and paragraph-construction, thesis development, and organization. Students will write and revise five short (2-5 pp.) essays.
For England, the Seventeenth Century was a time of urbanization, pre-capitalist economic development, the emergence of global trade, the rise of mass-scale modern warfare, and a general distancing of God and religion from the center of psychological experience. Among so much else, Englanders lived through the beheading of the King by Parliament, the collapse of a state church, a civil war, the proliferation of radical religious sects, and the blights of urban life. Englanders benefited from scientific innovation, yet they also experienced environmental devastation and a changing relationship with the land. The traumatic transformations of religion, politics, society and culture were marked upon the changing face of the natural landscape, and they also compelled poets to re-imagine and recreate the natural world within their art. Genres like the country estate poem, pastoral lyric, and even the epic register the intimate link between history and the natural world in profound and surprising ways. For instance, Andrew Marvell�s Upon Appleton House imagines a field of shorn wheat as a �Camp of battle newly fought/ � quilted o�er with bodies slain.� Robert Herrick�s lyrics embrace an idealized countryside in order to register the acute agony of political disenfranchisement. John Milton�s Paradise Lost shows an army of devils tearing gashes into the soil in order to make canons, and nature herself bemoaning the act of Original Sin.
As we are just now learning to come to terms with the seeming imminence of an environmental apocalypse of our own making, we are in a position to empathize with and learn from these poetic mediations. We will strive to develop an environmentally centered interpretation of early modern literature based on the grounding of individual and collective consciousness in the experience of history; this could be called a �non-presentist ecocritical hermeneutic,� or, in plain old English, a way of reading that is both historically informed and environmentally engaged. At the same time, we should expect our interaction with the literature to inform our experience as cultivators of our own groaning Paradise."
No additional information about this class is available at this time.
"Visual art may include: Rubens, Goya, Corot, Warhol, Koons. This course will consider the relationship between concepts of fraud and authenticity in literature, using this basic opposition to explore questions about originality, representation, and identity. Can something fake be real if it provokes a genuine emotional response? Can fiction ever be �real�? What about things we are supposed to understand to be fake? Are collage and pastiche genuine artistic expressions, or simply legitimized modes of fraud? Is all art in some sense fake in that it is removed from direct experience? How does fraud complicate concepts of biography and personal history? Finally, why does it matter so much anyway? What is at stake in our claims of authenticity in relation to works of art?
This course will use these questions to help students generate and revise three papers of progressively greater length over the course of the semester as they develop their skills in analytical reading, research, and argumentation. "
"In 1927, the Mississippi River flooded some 27,000 square miles of American heartland, displacing hundreds of thousands of Southerners. Two years later, the stock market bottomed out and triggered the Great Depression. These national catastrophes provided a reason for the region to break with its agrarian past and explore progressive reforms. As rural Southerners moved to cities in record numbers, they brought their culture with them, a culture that was picked up by new neighbors and disseminated more broadly than ever before. Southern culture had become national culture.
This introduction to college writing and argument explores the Southernization of America from the 1930s to the 1950s. We�ll read a good deal of fiction and poetry alongside manifestos, documentary photography, music, and film. Our course material will help us ask questions about the relations between history and memory, race and nation, art and politics�themes you will explore in an eight to ten page research paper analyzing a cultural document of your choice. This is a writing-intensive course, so you will also complete two shorter essays, and we�ll spend much of our time discussing how to improve your research and composition skills."
"In this class we will consider style as a literary and a cultural problematic. We will endeavor to find precise ways of talking about the distinctive style of a text, and we will think about style in a broader sense, as a currency that promises creativity and hipness to those who know how to find it. All of the texts for this course are fraught by a tension about style, finding themselves caught sorting out the difference between permanence and mere trendiness, bookishness and worldliness, an idiosyncratic voice and a collective mood. Above all, style is meant to be noticed, and each of our texts is also freighted by the awareness that it wants to be checked out.
Such issues will be our intellectual fodder as we address the writerly concerns of the R1B syllabus. Over the course of the semester, we will work to build your fluency and confidence in pulling off great college writing through a number of short to medium-length writing assignments, and culminating in a research project on a topic of your choosing. Our concentration on style will allow us to consider the technical aspects of good writing (grammar, thesis, evidence, voice) in ways more pulse-quickening than such a list might at first suggest. Our common goal will be the mastery of those competencies necessary for the production of startlingly good analytic prose. All of this will acquaint you with the forms of argumentation that you will need at your disposal for such perils as one encounters in the classrooms of Berkeley , and beyond. "
"The texts we will read in this course will challenge us to think about how a story is constructed. Our imagination and critical thinking skills will be stretched to their limits by novels which disrupt assumptions we may have about how a story develops in time. We will read novels where the story oscillates back and forth from the past to the present. And we will get to know characters that come back from the dead; some that seem to travel into the future, others into the past. Authors will become characters in their stories, characters will become third person narrators, and we will become active participants in the stories we read. Can you imagine being a character of the story you are reading? We will be confronted by scattered pieces of narrative that will require the work of our hands and our minds to piece together. The skill of close reading will help us to see the pieces more clearly and how they might fit together; moreover, the way we think about a text will also help us to think about how we write.
Course Objectives: I want us to think about writing as an ongoing discussion we have with ourselves and the ideas that others have had on the text. We will incorporate critical perspectives which will question our assumptions about a text at the same time that they will enrich our reading of it. Our job is to understand how we can incorporate the research that we conduct with the ideas we have found through close reading. The goal of this class is to develop the skills needed to read, analyze, and write about literature, and to acquaint you with the research skills needed to write larger expository essays. To this end, you will be asked to write a number of short essays of 4-6 pages based on class readings, which will culminate in a final expository essay of 8-10 pages. You will have the opportunity of honing your writing skills through peer-editing exercises, and meetings with me, that will focus on drafting and revising your work. Ultimately, you should be prepared to write a minimum of 32 pages in addition to completing the required reading for this course."
"When did it become potentially criminal to be poor? Why is vagrancy a source of such contention and anxiety for so many? What are some of the popular myths and fantasies about vagrancy and homelessness, and where did they come from? What are the stories we tell ourselves about homelessness? These are just a few of the questions that will motivate our reading and research this semester. We will study a wide range of texts about vagrancy and placelessness, from Shakespeare�s King Lear and Elizabethan rogue pamphlets to California state laws concerning vagrancy and the current issue of Street Spirit. Your research may involve interviews at a local homeless shelter, of police officers, of business owners, and of other Cal students, in addition to sources available at the library.
Like all R&C classes, this course will focus on honing your skills as a critical reader and writer. The 1B class is designed to build on the fluency with sentence, paragraph, and thesis-development that you developed in 1A or elsewhere, and to develop your skills at academic research and essay writing. To that end, there will be three short (3-4 page) essays, two of which you will have the opportunity to draft and revise. A final research paper of 8-10 pages based on your collected research will conclude the semester. In addition to the written work, there will be 1-2 required in-class presentations. "
"This course will consider the ways in which literature has responded to the city and its accompanying modes of life: alienating, unhealthful and frightening; thrilling, liberatory and glamorous; the site of torments and marvels; of endless workdays and boundless consumption. Among our various lines of inquiry, we will want to identify the ways in which literary form�whether that of the lyric poem, the prose poem, the essay, or the science-fiction novel�impacts and is impacted by the social and historical forces at work in the city.
To this end, we�ll hone our skills as critical readers, learning how to make observations about the problems and intricacies that these texts offer, to broaden these observations through careful analysis, and to combine our analyses into a critical essay shaped by a thesis. As such, we will devote a large portion of class time to the particulars of students� own essays, paying special attention to sentence mechanics, paragraph construction, thesis and argument. In addition, because one of the aims of an R1B course is to introduce you to research methods used in the humanities, each of our primary texts will serve as the entry-point for individual research from a wide variety of fields: literary criticism, history, cultural theory and urban studies. Students will conduct independent reading projects, report on their research to the class, and incorporate what they have learned into two 7-10 page research papers."
"As you will learn in this course, the key to good writing is impeccable logic, but as you will also learn, good writing is often terribly illogical. Although that statement may make little sense, it should give you a good idea of the kinds of logic you�ll encounter in the reading for this course.
In this course, we will examine works that bend, twist, or butcher logic�whether deliberately or accidentally, seriously or facetiously�with the perverse aim of learning to do the opposite in academic writing. We will interweave lessons in logical argumentation with discussions of works that parody logic, turn it on its head, and empty it of content. We will also apply what we�ve learned to an analysis of the use and abuse of logic in current examples of argumentative writing, such as political speeches, op-ed pieces, and letters to the editor.
Meanwhile, you will be using these writers� good or bad examples to assist you in crafting and critiquing your own writing. This course requires three essays: one short diagnostic paper and two longer papers that you will develop through a process of researching, drafting, reviewing, and revising. "
"This course will examine the many ways in which the figure of Queen Elizabeth I fired the imagination of her contemporaries and of recent writers and directors. We will use Elizabeth as a touchstone; a central topic around which we will build skills of critical reading, basic research, and composition. The course will track her progress from a young and nubile virgin Queen to the eternal Virgin married to her country, examining how Elizabeth used her sexual status to ameliorate the challenges she faced as a female ruler. We will read her letters, speeches, prayers and poems, as well as plays and poems inspired by her. The class will devote some time to examining portraits of the queen in order to understand the role visual representation and iconography played in creating the myth of Elizabeth. Research topics will revolve around Elizabeth and the Elizabethan era, but can be tailored to each student�s field of interest. Topics might include court and international politics, fashion, music, economics, science, alchemy and early mathematics, etc.
The purpose of this course is to improve your writing and research skills. In pursuit of developing your critical reading we will proceed at a leisurely pace, allowing you time to analyze the text. A brief written commentary on the reading will be due on a weekly basis. A diagnostic essay will be assigned at the beginning of the semester. Two longer papers, one a 7-9 page critical essay, and the second a 10-11 page research paper, will be due at the mid-point and end of the semester. These will undergo several rounds of revision."
Wars punctuate and define our history. Governments declare armistices, but do we ever really move past the moment of battle? In the wake of death, what new forms of living emerge? In this course, we?ll focus on texts which play out the days, months and years after war?s end. The works we will encounter grapple with the consequences of past violence and navigate the strangely unfamiliar terrain of the present. As T.S. Eliot writes shortly after the First World War, ?I had not thought death had undone so many.? Reflecting upon an England shell-shocked by WWI, an American South haunted by the Civil War, or even the contemporary situation of Guant?namo detainees, the authors we?ll read pick up the threads of everyday life after ? and perhaps in spite of ? the trauma of war. As we read, we?ll try to come up with answers for some of the following questions: how does memory-production (or even memory loss) play a role in the shaping of individual, cultural or national identities? How do we appropriately mourn the dead? Can we even imagine a future in the wake of devastating loss? This course is intended to equip you with the skills needed to think critically about poetry, fiction and non-fiction prose, graphic novels, and film. How might fiction (or film, or poetry, or newsmedia) capture the tensions of a post-war present in ways that other forms don?t? We?ll place literary texts in conversation with historical and theoretical accounts of war, mourning, and reparation from thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, and Giorgio Agamben. You?ll build upon the analytical thinking and writing skills you developed in R1A, refining argumentation and organization as you begin to integrate your own research into progressively longer writing assignments.
"The critical reader may easily fall into the habit of regarding even the most innocent tale as a case awaiting solution, such that every bright country cottage or society salon becomes a crime scene to be scrutinized by the inch. Leaving aside the question of whether any tale is entirely innocent, this course will fully indulge the forensic impulse by examining texts that explicitly organize themselves around secrets (some dirtier than others). We will trace this theme through a variety of genres, from the detective story to the medical case history, in order to investigate how these authors began to decode human behavior and social systems. Throughout the course, detection will serve as a functional metaphor for reading, one that often allows authors to reflect on their practices of composition.
While many of the course readings will obsess over obfuscation, this course has as its primary aim the development of critical writing skills that will require a minimal effort of decryption on the reader�s part. Expect one short diagnostic essay followed by two progressively longer papers, in addition to exercises on topics such as thesis development, argumentation, sentence construction, and research."
"The document is a fragment that takes on a life of its own. An idea, a perception, an image gets uprooted and reframed, sculpted or distorted, and formed into something new. The result has an aura of 'the real'. Think of documents like your passport, drivers license, or credit card, in which are embedded your photograph, your signature, an authenticating secret number. The document plainly isn't the real thing (it isn't you but it has your photo), nor exactly a piece of you (a document is signed but not a fingerprint or a fingernail), but it's yours. It's official; you can use it; and it makes sense to other people.
This class will attempt to teach you composition as the production of documents in this sense: to embed your images, a signature style, even a secret � and work these into a communicating form. We will look at an eclectic selection of materials, each of which attempts this documenting thrill of the real, often without even pretending to be historically verifiable.
This feeling of the real is almost always connected to the ways sexuality and power by turns animate, inhibit, and get managed by the text. We will trace this thrill aimed at in both the contemporary documentary and the contemporary thriller back to the surrealist notion of the document. Our central text for theorizing this document-effect is an 18 th century epistolary novel that tries to write 'to the moment' of the happenings it describes. We will also explore a romantic true-crime drama, several kinds of autobiography, and a theory of the photographic document. By way of coda, we will consider some visual art (Raymond Pettibon and Cy Twombly) where image and text work together to produce this effect. "
"This seminar will investigate the nature of Shakespearean comedy in Twelfth Night, which involves disguise, cross-dressing, gender-bending, mistaken identities, and misdirected affections. The seminar will read the entire play through in the first week or two of the semester, then go through the text again scene by scene, character by character. Each participant will give one ""practice"" and one formal oral presentation to the rest of the seminar. We will also attend the production of Twelfth Night scheduled for performance by the California Shakespeare Theater in nearby Orinda (accessible by BART). Students should therefore be prepared to purchase a ticket to the play (estimate $15) in addition to the required text.
This course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major."
The past two decades have seen a dramatic reassessment of Ernest Hemingway. Departing from earlier critical traditions that first celebrated him as a macho sportsman, then vilified him as a misogynist, a homophobe, and a racist, the current critical reassessment reveals a Hemingway whose work and life was shaped by his obsession with and ambivalence toward gender norms and sexual aberrations. We will participate in this critical rethinking by attending to the centrality of issues of identity-especially gender and sexual identity, but also racial, ethnic, and class identity-to the man and his fiction. We will read one, or at most two, of Hemingway's most famous novels (probably The Sun Also Rises, and possibly one other to be determined by class vote), slowly and carefully mapping the intersections among gender and sexual concerns, narrative strategies, characterization, and plotting. The leisurely pace of our reading will allow us to inhabit the text in a way that the more hectic pace of most 4-unit classes generally does not permit. We will supplement our reading of the fiction with literary critical articles and historical and biographical essays. Assigned work will include oral presentations of selected passages and short written responses to the readings, and will culminate with in-class readings of our own attempts at writing Hemingway parodies.
"Dickens's last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, is the most successful mystery story ever written. Dickens died before finishing it, or solving the mystery. Unlike other mystery stories, it fails to reassure us that justice is done, and forces us to accept the absence of closure. We must move beyond reassurance into the larger mysteries of motivation and behavior that lie behind any crime. Dickens is writing a new kind of novel, in which the imaginative process and its translation into writing become the central subject. At the peak of his powers, Dickens is exploring his own motivations as a writer, and the geography of his own imagination. Please read chapters 1-4 for the first class meeting.
This course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major."
We will read Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, together with some film versions of these two archetypal horror tales, appreciating them as mirror opposites of each other, and investigating what they have to tell us about human agency, responsibility and denial.
"We will read Thoreau's Walden in small chunks, probably about thirty pages per week. This will allow us time to dwell upon the complexities of a book that is much more mysterious than those who have read the book casually, or those who have only heard about it, realize. We will also try to work some with online versions of the books, using the wordsearch command to identify words such as ""woodchuck"" or ""dimple"" that reappear frequently, in order to speculate on patterns Thoreau is trying to establish. Regular attendance and participation, along with a loose five-page essay at the end, are required. "
This course will concentrate on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Spenser's Faery Queene (Book I); and Milton's Paradise Lost; additional works in the Norton Anthology will be read for the sake of historical context. If this course has a thesis, it is that English authors, far from being content with native traditions, tended to look to ancient Greece and Rome, and to modern Italy and France for inspiration and approval. Written work for the semester will consist of several quizzes, one midterm exam, several short papers, and a final exam. Students must be prepared to attend lectures and discussion sections faithfully, as accumulated absences without a viable excuse, especially for section, will result in a severe reduction in the final grade.
An introduction to English literary history from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Canterbury Tales, The Faerie Queene, and Paradise Lost will dominate the semester, as objects of study in themselves, of course, but also as occasions for considering issues of linguistic and cultural change, and of literary language, form, and innovation.
As we read works produced in a period of often tumultuous change, we shall consider those works as zones of contact, reflecting and sometimes negotiating conflict. In a world of expanding global commerce (imports like tea suddenly become commonplace in England), political revolution (English, French, American), and changing conceptions of what it means to be a man or woman (a new medical discourse wants to view them as categorically distinct), increasingly available printed texts become sites of contestation?including debates about what constitutes ?proper? language itself. We shall think about the ways in which separate groups?British and African, masters and slaves, slave owners and abolitionists, arch capitalists and devout religious thinkers, Republicans and Conservatives, and men and women?use writing to devise ongoing relationships with each other, often under conditions of inequality. Throughout we shall be especially attuned to formal choices?from linguistic register to generic conventions?and how writers deploy these to incorporate opposition, resist authority or authorize themselves. Requirements will include two papers, a mid-term, a final, and occasional quizzes.
This course will be a survey of some major texts in British and American literature written between 1670 and 1850. There will probably be two papers and mid-term and a final. Texts are three Norton anthologies, which come cheaper ordered together, the first volume of their American Literature survey, the romantic period and the British 18th century. In addition, there will be Jane Austen's Emma and perhaps Dickens' Our Mutual Friend as well as one Restoration play by Wycherly.
English 45C will offer a survey of major texts in British and American literature from about 1880 until 1950. Thanks to Lyn Hejinian, this class will provide a distinctive opportunity. Students admitted to her 143B/1 course will also enroll in this section of 45C, and she will contour many assignments to the English 45C syllabus. And she and I will attend and be present in both classes. Our ambition is to dramatize how reading and writing can mutually inform one another.
"A survey of English and American literature from the late nineteenththrough the mid-twentieth century, with attention given both to conceptions of literature intrinsically claimed by the texts assigned and to the historical and cultural grounds out of which they emerged. The course will inevitably investigate the emergence and rise of modernism and also , in passing, the value and nature ofsuch constructions as ""the author,"" ""literature,"" ""literary history,"" and""period."" Active participation in discussion sections will be essential. There will be two short papers, a final exam, and possibly a midterm."
This is an innovative team-taught course that surveys global environmental issues at the beginning of the twenty-first century and that introduces students to the basic intellectual tools of environmental science and to the history of environmental thought in American poetry, fiction, and the nature writing tradition. One instructor is a scientist specializing in the behavior of soils and ecosystems (Garrison Sposito); the other is a poet (Robert Hass). The aim of the course is to examine the ways in which the common tools of scientific and literary analysis, of scientific method and imaginative thinking, can clarify what is at stake in environmental issues and environmental citizenship.
Contemporary Native American stories are survival stories, reckonings with the brutal history of colonization and its ongoing consequences: they calculate indigenous positions, settle overdue accounts, note old debts, and demand an accounting. These are the stories, says Joy Harjo, that ?keep us from giving up in this land of nightmares, which is also the land of miracles.? Focusing on the short fiction of a select number of contemporary Native North American writers from within the U.S., we will examine how these Native writers convey: cultural survival in the wake of colonization; struggles for sovereignty; rejuvenations of ceremonial healing; retellings of myth and history; experiments with orality and literacy; and articulations of a geocentric epistemology and land-based narrative. In addition, we will examine the literary, cultural and regional influences on these writers and place their work in the context of Native American literatures specifically and U.S.literatures and global indigenous literatures, generally.
"Socrates has often been compared to Jesus, an enigmatic yet somehow unmistakable figure who left nothing in writing yet decisively influenced the mind of his own and later ages. We will read Aristophanes' comic send-up of Socrates in Clouds and the Platonic dialogues purporting to tell the story of Socrates' trial and death (Euthyphro, Apology of Socrates, Crito, and selections from Phaedo) attempting to trace the construction of the Socratic icon and assess its relevance to issues in our contemporary ""culture wars,"" e.g. identity, freedom of speech, elitism, science and religion, ""know thyself,"" the aims of education, authority, male chauvinism, virtue, anti-intellectualism, academic freedom, family, civil disobedience, ""spin,"" body and soul, self-esteem, anomie, patriarchy, individualism, relativism, reductionism, self-ownership, conscience, reason, etc. Links to Wikipedia articles and other on-line resources on these topics are provided in the syllabus. Weekly meetings consist of two 50-minute sessions, each devoted to class discussion of one or another such issue, led by a team of two or more students who are to prepare for it in office-hour consultation with the instructor. The object is to provoke a lively debate. The course is intended to appeal especially to students who are desirous of getting in on the intellectual conversation of our time and curious about its cultural antecedents."
This course will examine the formal techniques, expectations, experiences, and thematic concerns of some of Ang Lee's films, in the context of Hollywood and foreign films. We will also take advantage of the resources of Cal Performances and the Pacific Film Archive.
The theme of this course is the discourse of travel in later eighteenth-century British literature. In this, the period of the �grand tour,� developing ideas of cultural identity and national identity inflect travelers� perceptions of both the foreign and the domestic, and vice versa. Readings include both the impressions of fictional travelers who venture abroad and within Britain itself, and also a selection of biographical accounts of such journeys. In addition, we will study issues surrounding the horror of travel in the eighteenth century, specifically focusing on the narrative of a former slave who recounts both his abduction and transportation from Africa and his eventual voyages as a free man. We will concentrate on these writers� preoccupations with questions of what constitutes British-ness (or, in some cases, specifically English-ness or Scottish-ness), what the relationships are between the �civilized� and the �primitive,� and notions of human history and human progress. The culmination of the Senior Seminar in a 20-page research paper, and part of the focus of the class will be learning how to do literary research and integrate the opinions of others into our own, whether as supplement or counterpoint. There will also be a final exam.
This course is premised on the notion that the threat of death (e.g. the threat of lynching) is the most fundamental mode of coercion and that oppressive social structures like slavery and Jim Crow society are grounded on the deployment of that threat. In order to function effectively, that threat must permeate the individual and the collective subject ? the parent and child and the relationship between them that comes to constitute the ?family.? Modern Black feminist fiction provides a remarkable retrospective meditation on the different ways in which such coercion permeates the process of reproduction, the structure of the family, and the structure of individual psyches as well as on the different ways in which such coercion can and must be resisted. This course will examine the ?politics? and the meaning of birth, death, love, and family in the following texts: Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland and The Color Purple; Gayl Jones, Corregidora; Toni Morrison, Beloved and A Mercy; Carolivia Herron, Thereafter Johnnie; Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose; Octavia Butler, Kindred; Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones.
An examination of the development of various themes in Toni Morrison's fiction and the aesthetic rendition of these themes.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding this course.
This course will explore the interconnections between American literature and the news throughout the 20 th-21 st centuries. We will read theoretical and primary texts to scrutinize how American writers, graphic novelists, and photojournalists affirm, dispute, or qualify the dominant modes of news reporting concurrent with their times. Understanding that news can be conceptualized in concrete ways yet contains no irreducible content, we will look at how notions of newsworthy materials and the forms used to represent them shift in relation to socio-political conditions as well as the strictures of genre, and how inequalities of race, gender, and class organize what gets to be reported and how. The class will end with a consideration of the pressures and possibilities that globalization and border-crossing technologies bear to a nuanced and ethical treatment of news, whether moments of war and transnational migration or the conditions of local, everyday life. Assignments include a research paper and presentation.
In 1955 the leading Caribbean intellectual and political leader Eric Williams characterized the new writing coming out of the region as ?a literature of poverty, oppression, ignorance, violence, sex, and racial friction.? From such inauspicious beginnings has emerged one of the most distinctive, inventive, and influential bodies of twentieth-century writing. This course will serve as an introduction to the literature of the Anglophone Caribbean, broaching the great diversity of work it encompasses while inquiring into the factors that unify it. Organizing themes of our discussion will include: the living memory of the past; the imaginative recovery of experiences of slavery, indentureship, and colonialism; continuities and discontinuities between literary and political movements; and literature?s relationship to oral culture. Our booklist emphasizes prose narrative, but we will also read widely in poetry and pay some attention to drama, film, visual art, and popular music. We may also read some work translated from other linguistic traditions. Requirements for the course include two shorter papers, guided research assignments, and a term paper of 10-12 pages.
This course examines the relationship between imperialism and migration through literary texts. We will look at notions of space, the homeland, and belonging. We will also pay attention to the way in which authors engage with U.S. imperial history.
Besides reading and discussing fiction and poetry with Western settings, and essays attempting to identify or explain distinctive regional characteristics, this course will include consideration of some movies shaped by and shaping conceptions of California . Writing will consist of a term paper of 16-20 pages. Depending on enrollment, each student will be responsible for organizing and leading class discussion (probably teamed with another student) once during the semester. There will be no quizzes or exams, but seminar attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.
This course considers major texts by Henry James and Edith Wharton in light of their shared fascination with marriage, manners, and extravagant wealth. Our readings will survey the shape of each author?s career, beginning with some of James?s earlier and more popular texts and moving on to later works that demonstrate his stylistic and thematic development. The second half of the course will focus on Wharton. We will read several of her best-known novels, as well as some lesser-known works and short fiction which explore dimensions of her career that complicate her image as the elite chronicler of ?Old New York.? We will be especially interested in the ways each author investigates the world of manners, courtship, and sophisticated sociability in order to understand better the violence, sexuality, and even brutality that this tries desperately to channel and contain. We will also discuss how James and Wharton can help us understand historical relations between literary realism and depictions of modernity, between gender, sexuality, and professional authorship, and between nationality and cosmopolitanism at the turn of the twentieth century.
Jacques Lacan has said that ?the first object of desire is to be recognized by the other.? The subject does not desire autonomously; who he is and what he wants are the by-products of a social relation. In this course, we will focus on perverse manifestations of desire, in which the protagonist?s inextricable bond with the other is aggressive and parasitic . . . not just symbiotic or mutually constitutive. How does this perverse relation reflect the dominant concerns of the modern and postmodern eras about the status of the subject? How does it affect the subject?s engagement with sexuality, creativity, agency, authority? How does the dyad work as a literary device to yield information about the protagonist?s interior? Our observation of the ?parasite? dynamic will allow us to apply critical theories of subjectivity and desire to various narrative forms, and in turn, to use fictional constructions in narrative to inform and modify the theoretical conception of the constructed subject.
"Who were the Angelcynn? What were the English like before they were �English�?
The name �Anglo-Saxon England� is a relatively modern term to designate peoples and kingdoms that, across several centuries before the Norman Conquest, knew themselves by various other names. The names �England,� �English,� and �Anglo-Saxon� are thus terms that mark a history of contest over lands and identities and a narrative about modern England.
In this course we will read a wide range of texts from Anglo-Saxon England in order to explore both the writings and the intellectual world of the Angelcynn (a.k.a. Angli) and the ways in which they came to know themselves as �English� (Englisc). Our texts will include chronicle and history, epic and elegy, saints� lives and riddles, and samplings of the curious (recipes, charms, prognostications). We will consider the role of writing itself as a new technology in England , and discuss how that new technology changed both history and culture. Course materials will include visual images, both of manuscript pages and of artifacts � ornaments, weapons, grave goods. We will ask ourselves what such object s reveal about the culture that created them and think through the relationship between visual images and written text . Certain historical events will be very important to us. The invasion of England by Viking marauders and the Viking colonization of the land had profound effects on English culture. So did the Christianization of the Anglo-Saxons, an ongoing process throughout the period. Co-existing uneasily with Christianity was the heroic culture of the Anglo-Saxons, the world of warriors and battle, weapons and armor. We will explore what it meant to be a hero in the Anglo-Saxon world, and ask ourselves if being a hero and being a Christian at the same time was possible. Women in Anglo-Saxon England weren�t just �cup-bearers� and �peace-weavers,� though it might seem that way in heroic narratives. The lives of female saints were often constructed using a heroic model, and women played other important roles in English culture as well.
If you are interested in Old English poetry, we will be spending a large part of the semester reading Beowulf and other Old English poems. We will compare translations, examine the original, and experiment with the Old English alliterative mode. You will hear Old English read aloud, and have the chance to read it aloud yourself.
As part of our explorations, we will investigate the ways writing as a technology impacted their culture and will use various artifacts (for example, images of manuscript pages and their illustrations, ornaments, weapons, grave goods) to help visualize their world. We will interrogate claims about Christianity and paganism and the ways in which these ideas were deployed in constructing identity and in defending against colonization by Viking marauders. We will explore notions of gender, and the ways in which constructions of the heroic found its ways into lives of saints, both male and female And we will have the opportunity to experiment with Old English poetry as it looked and as it sounded.
No prior knowledge of Old English or of Anglo-Saxon history is required; all texts will be in translation.
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This course will concentrate on Chaucer?s two greatest works, the Troilus and Criseyde and the Canterbury Tales, glancing more quickly at other bits of his oeuvre and at pieces of the literary tradition he assembled from Latin, French, and Italian sources. Chaucer readings will of course be in Middle English; we will give some brief attention at the beginning of the semester to properties of the language, and occasional quizzes will check on the students? mastery of it.
The English theater was the first mass medium, an avowedly commercial, hyper-competitive, fad-driven industry of sound and spectacle, which both catered to and ruthlessly parodied the sophisticated, novelty-craving consumerism of the seventeeth century?s greatest boom-town: the sprawling, incomprehensible, luxurious, grotesque metropolis of London. The brilliance of the Jacobean drama displays itself in the players' drive to go over the top, to push past the limits of realism (and to surpass their competitors? plays) into the experiences of satire and sensation, in order to represent to their audiences the strangeness of their own city and society. The rapid transformations of urban form, of social status, and of luxury consumption continually remade the lived spaces of London and of its theaters into new shapes of both intimate sensual delight and alien sensual decadence, at once more and less than real.
"This will be a survey course, but a highly selective one. Although I plan to look at the best and/or most interesting work of several lesser sixteenth-century writers--for instance, some lyrics by Wyatt and some by Sidney, and Surrey's blank verse--I mean to give over the bulk of class time on the verse of Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare, particularly their narrative verse.
I think I can teach you more about the sixteenth-century works I don't discuss in class by looking in detail at a few works than I could by scurrying through a handful of anthologies or by generalizing at length about either the particular qualities of particular authors or schools or by focusing on the particular qualities that characterize the culture that sixteenth-century literature reflects. I'm not good at categorizing, and I deeply mistrust categorization as an intellectual tool.
Three papers, each of a length determined by how much you have to say and how efficient you are in saying it. The third paper will take the place of a final examination and will be due in my box in 322 Wheeler Hall any time between the last class meeting and 3:30 p.m. on the day assigned this course for a final exam."
In this course, we�re going to trace the development of Shakespeare�s dramatic work over the first half of his career, as he became the premier playwright of London�s leading stage company. We�ll also read many of his sonnets, which are related thematically and psychologically to the plays, offering glimpses of the writer as friend, lover, poet, and actor. Shakespeare�s plays were written to be performed, not simply read, so we�ll approach them with their performative aspects ever in sight. Studying the texts closely, we�ll observe diction and speech patterns, theme, character, motive, and movement--imaginatively transferring the words on the page into space, sound, and action. We�ll screen and critique scenes from filmed stage performances and movie versions, and see a live performance at the nearby California Shakespeare Festival. At least one week will be devoted to each play so that we can analyze and discuss different interpretive possibilities. There will be two midterms, two papers, and a final exam.
This course is designed to give you a sense of the range of Shakespeare�s career. Lectures will focus on two related topics: first, how Shakespeare uses plot and character to think about literary, social, sexual, religious, political, and philosophical issues; and second, how Shakespeare justifies his life in the theater, when much of English society regarded the theater as a frivolous, debased, and vaguely criminal institution.
"The period from the ""Restoration"" of Charles II (1660) to the death of Alexander Pope (1744) produced the last poems of Milton, the first English pornography and feminist polemic, the most devastating satires ever written, some of the most influential novels, the most amusing comedies, and the most outrageous obscenity. London (already the largest city in the world) burned to the ground -we will begin the course by reading contemporary accounts of this catastrophe -but within a few generations had developed all the benefits of modern civilization: a stock market, a scientific revolution, an insurance industry, a colonial empire based on slavery. This course will try to convey not only the abundance and brilliance of this period, but its contrasts and contradictions. Canonical figures like Milton, Hobbes, Dryden, Congreve, Pope and Swift will be juxtaposed to scandalous and/or marginal authors: women writers like Aphra Behn, Mary Astell and Mary Wortley Montagu, Puritan outlaws like John Bunyan, and renegade aristocrats like the Earl of Rochester. This stylish but realistic literature tackles fundamental questions: How can a culture restore its self-confidence after a devastating civil war? Is the success of society incompatible with morality? Does reason help us to lead a better life, or is it a cruel delusion? How can men and women live together in a civilized world? What resourses are available for those who are excluded from this ""civilization,"" especially the enslaved and the colonized? Is this ""the best of all possible worlds""? If not, are irony and humor absolutely necessary to make existence bearable? Are babies tastier roasted or boiled?
Most of our readings come from the Norton Anthology, plus Wycherley's sex-farce The Country Wife.
The class will be a mixture of informal lectures and class discussions, normally on questions already assigned during the previous class; you should come prepared to participate as fully as possible, and I may sometimes give out small written assignments to help you prepare. You will be graded on class participation, the occasional quiz, a short essay (7-10 pages) due about mid term, and a final examination that will include passages to identify and another written essay."
A survey of the modernist turn in poetry. This course will explore some of the more remarkable (and occasionally notorious) formal experiments of the twentieth century�s turbulent first half. We will contend with work from Britain, Ireland, and the United States, seeking to devise strategies with which to read texts that often seem impervious to reading and striving to account for the historical pressures that made such experiments seem necessary in the first place.
This class moves from the early national period to the Civil War and surveys the oral and written histories, autobiographies, novels, stories, private letters, public appeals, speeches, and poems of this age of reform, romance, and rebellion. We will examine the literature of this period as a product of contact, exchange, and conflict across the nation?s changing external borders and across its increasingly pressured internal divides. We?ll examine the formal strategies involved in declarations of freedom and appeals to reform, in the visions and prophecies that inundate the period, in presentations of the weird and of the familiar, in print and oral expression, in irony and sentiment, and in exhortations to self-reliance and narratives of slavery. Authors studied include Fuller, Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Spofford, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Douglass, Jacobs, Turner, Walker, Stewart, Apess, Fern, Osgood, Sigourney, Longfellow, Whittier, Whitman, and Dickinson.
A survey in United States literature from the Civil War to the beginning of the twentieth century. Course requirements include weekly reading responses, two essays, one midterm, and one final exam.
This course will survey a range of significant works of American literature from the first half of the twentieth century, paying particular attention to literary form and technique ?- to formal innovation and style -- as responses to the experience of ?modernity.? My lectures will focus on questions of freedom and constraint, desire and drive, anomie and loss. Requirements will include two midterm take-home exams and a final.
A survey of major African American writers in the context of slavery and its immediate aftermath. There will be weekly writing, a midterm, two essays, and a final exam.
Co-taught by a literary scholar and a historian, this course offers an interdisciplinary examination of how the American metropolis has been portrayed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in novels, short stories, poetry, journalism, essays, photography, and film. We will pay special attention to texts and images of New York, but we also will devote significant attention to four other cities (Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) in different periods of American urban history. There will be two midterms and one final examination. All examinations will include both in-class and take-home components.
This is a course on the form, theory and practice of short fiction. Students are required to fulfill assignments on specific aspects of craft, analyze aesthetic strategies in selected stories by published authors, and to write approximately 45 pages of original fiction.
A short fiction workshop, with accompanying readings from a contemporary anthology. Typically, workshops are free-wheeling explorations of form, style and content and this one will be no different. Course demands: depending upon the final size of the class, a minimal expectation of 3-4 stories, full participation, written critiques returned to the authors. There will of course be hectoring asides from the leader on structure, pacing, sequencing, scene and narration. The watchword for this course: energy�how to generate it, how to capture it, how to use it.
This class will be conducted as a writing workshop where students will submit and discuss their own short fiction. We will also closely examine the work of published writers. Students will complete 3 short writing assignments approximately 40 pages of new fiction, and one-page critiques of classmates? work.
"This version of English 143B will be tied in with Prof. Charles Altieri?s English 45C/1 class; for entrance into this 143B class, students must be enrolled in (or, under special circumstances, auditing) that 45C class. This 143b/45c connection is intended to encourage critical rigor in poetry and creative thinking in criticism.
Please note that if you are selected for admittance to this 143B section, but have not enrolled yourself into Professor Altieri's 45C/1 by the time fall classes begin, your place in this 143B may be given to someone else. "
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding this course.
This course concentrates on the practice of creative non-fiction, particularly on the writing of the personal essay. Students are expected to fulfill specific assignments and to write approximately 45 pages of original non-fictional narrative.
The purpose of the class is to give students a chance to work on verse translation, to share translations and give and receive feedback on their work, to read about the theory and practice of translation, and perhaps to try out different practices and techniques. Participants must have some competence in a language they want to translate from and develop a project in that language. For each workshop students will provide original texts, word-for-word versions, and a draft of a translation which the class can then discuss. It makes for an interesting way to study poetry and verse technique?to see how one goes about making poetry in one language come alive in another.
"A polytropically intensive examination of Joyce's fiction. We'll begin the semester with a rapid study of Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, focus lengthily on Ulysses over the major part of the term, and conclude with a brief gaze into the lucid darknesses of Finnegans Wake. Members of the seminar will be expected to work on a long seminar-paper during the semester and to participate in class discussions.
"This course surveys some of the most popular Irish literature in the last one hundred years. Irish Writing in the early part of the 20th century was part of a cultural revolution that culminated in a political revolution, a war of independence and the foundation (in the south) of a free state . In this course, we�ll be looking at some of the key texts that influenced and were influenced by the cultural nationalist movement. Then we�ll look to later-century fictions, some of which look back to the revolutionary period, and some of which look, very deliberately, away from it. Along the way we�ll try to identify as many thematic and aesthetic continuities as we can in order to come up with a conception of what Irish literature is, or may be, in the 20th century. One medium-length essay, one final 15pp research paper, one in-class presentation required.
By focusing on the starkly different fictional worlds created by two (late) nineteenth-century writers, Lewis Carroll and Thomas Hardy, this course is designed to raise questions about the phenomenology of representation. How do these writers produce the very different effects of the ?virtual? and the ?real?: are these effects of style or of content? In what variety of ways can readers ?enter? or immerse themselves in the ?flatland? (that is, the two-dimensional space) of the page? What are the roles of narration and description?of language in general--- in generating a fictional ?world?? How minimalist or detailed must a rendering be to produce the effect of the real or the virtual? Is the difference between the real and the virtual parallel to the difference between sensory and cognitive experience? Or do we only distinguish between sensory experience and its hallucination or simulation by means of concepts that are themselves fictions? How are such questions illuminated by the translation or ?remediation? of a literary text by a technology like film? By theories and technologies of computer-generated ?virtual reality?? In addition to reading various critics on Carroll and Hardy?including Gilles Deleuze and Elaine Scarry-students will read some foundational essays in phenomenology and media theory. Students will have the option of writing a 20-page essay that focuses on either one of the writers or on both.
Reading relies on the neural and cognitive mechanisms of actual perception, but what this reliance tells us about the actual experience of readers is far from clear; there is no consensus regarding the proper definition or even the very existence of the literary image. Exploring the critical tradition that treats literature as ?word-painting? and the counter-tradition it inspired, we will try to develop a critical language to describe the relationship between reading and imagining. Does writing praised for its ?vividness? employ techniques to overcome the fragility and thinness of our mental imagery or does it make a virtue out of that very weakness? How does the felt concreteness or vagueness of a given fictional world shape the reader?s sense of implication in that world? Finally, what sorts of experiences, and readers, do visually oriented models of reading exclude? Students will produce two short analyses and one longer paper.
Within the past decade, the phenomenon of J-horror (originally Japanese, but now associated with other Asian countries) has gone from minor cult status to accepted Hollywood convention, due to the success of American adaptations like The Ring. But as Takashi Shimizu noted while directing an American adaptation of his own film, horror which comes from a specific tradition can be difficult to adapt to another culture. This course considers the horror genre in cultural context, primarily focusing on its presence in American literature and film over the past fifty years, but also examining its revitalization through more recent international influences. In what ways does horror transcend cultural differences, and in what ways does it depend on cultural specificity? To what extent do these texts derive their power from racial, sexual, and social fears? Assignments will include a brief oral presentation, bibliography, and final research paper on a topic of the student?s choice. Films will be screened outside of class in the evening; students who cannot make the screening can see the films on their own at the Media Center in Moffitt. Students interested in taking this course may want to read The Stand over the summer, so that we can approach this thousand-page novel as familiar readers.
"Met these four boys Frank O?Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Jimmy Schuyler?at the Cedar Bar in ?52 or ?53. Met them through Bill (de Kooning) who was a friend of theirs and they admired Kline and all those people. Painters who went to the Cedar had more or less coined the phrase ?New York School? in opposition to the School of Paris (which also originated as a joke in opposition to the School of Florence and the School of Venice)?..So the poets adopted the expression ?New York School? out of homage to the people who had de-provincialized American painting. ?Edwin Denby
It?s easy to name the first generation of New York School poets, as Denby does incompletely above (Barbara Guest makes the fifth), but much harder to decide what, if anything, that rubric yields beyond friendships, a tendency to have gone to Harvard, to write for ARTNews, and, of course, to live in New York City. It?s this last that makes it into the name and may make its way furthest into the poetry: ?New York?that kaleidoscopic lumber-room where laws of space and time are altered?where one can live a few yards away from a friend whom one never sees and whom one would travel miles to visit in the country? Ashbery). Despite Ashbery?s pyrrhic definition of the group via ?its avoidance of anything like a program,? this course will use the convenient critical grouping as an excuse to think about the poetry of a specific place and time (1956-1975 in NYC) and what it might tell us about how poetry models, and is modeled by, the U.S. megacity?a de-provincialized space of shock, anonymity, chance, poverty, commodities, and friendship that stays open ?terribly late.?"
We will immerse ourselves in the careers of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, taking up issues of literary influence, biography, psychology, authorship, sexuality, aesthetics, and politics. Readings will include a variety of works by the two writers: short stories, novels, essays, and (in the case of Melville) poetry. We will examine literary criticism that pairs and contrasts the two writers. Given Melville?s linking of Hawthorne with Shakespeare in his review ?Hawthorne and His Mosses? and given the influence of Shakespeare on Moby-Dick, we also will read King Lear and consider the role Shakespeare plays in this literary relationship. Course requirements include an oral presentation and a substantial research essay to be written in stages across the semester.
"Most Utopian authors are more concerned with selling readers on the social or political merits of their schemes than with the ""merely"" literary qualities of their writing. Although some Utopian writing has succeeded in the sense of making converts, and inspiring some readers to try to realize the ideal society, most has had limited practical impact, yet has managed to provoke readers in various ways�for instance, as a kind of imaginative fiction that comments on ""things as they are"" only indirectly, with fantasy and satire in varying doses. Among the critical questions posed by such material are the problematic status of fiction that is not primarily mimetic, but written in the service of some ulterior purpose; the shifting relationships between what is and what authors think might be or ought to be; how to create the new and strange other than by recombining the old and familiar; and so on. The reading list will include anti-Utopian as well as Utopian works, and possibly some writings by Malthus, Owen, Engels and Marx that do not present themselves as flights of fancy. Several films will be assigned (based on holdings in the Moffitt Library AVMC) and discussed (but not shown) in class, e.g. Lang�s Metropolis, Chaplin�s Modern Times, Gilliam�s Brazil and the like. Required writing will consist of a single 15-20-page term paper. Depending on enrollment, each student will be responsible for organizing and leading class discussion (probably teamed with another student) once during the semester. There will be no quizzes or exams, but seminar attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.
What gives literature its special status, both as an art form and as a culturally important discourse? Does the value of literature reside in its power to improve society? In the quality of the emotion it produces? In the type of knowledge it makes possible? In the beauty it offers? This course studies the way questions about literariness and literary value have been theorized in the history of criticism. Course reading ranges broadly from Plato to Derrida, from Aristotle to Adorno. Our investigation of the problem of the literary will lead us to consider related topics such as genre, genius, mimesis, imagination, beauty, ethics, authorship, intentionality, textuality, fictionality, social discourse, ideology, and canonicity. The seminar format invites students to bring their own questions and investments to the course reading. Requirements include one oral presentation and two short essays (each 7-8 pages).
"The lectures, class discussions, readings, and writing assignments are intended to develop students ability to analyze, understand, and evaluate a number of important ancient texts. The class will examine the deep implications of these early sources and how they raised critical questions that concern western societies up to the present day. The class will look at their concepts of individuality, family, freedom, will, meaning, knowledge, mind, God, andpolitical practice. Along the way, the course will consider some connecting tissue, such as psychotherapy, economics, gender, literary theory, and ecology.
Visual art may include: Rubens, Goya, Corot, Warhol, Koons. This course will consider the relationship between concepts of fraud and authenticity in literature, using this basic opposition to explore questions about originality, representation, and identi
This course is an intensive and rigorous course in the literature of the Americas and in trans-American literary and cultural criticism. We will be reading intensively and extensively, and the format of our course requires constant attendance. Our course is a detailed trans-American study of William Faulkner, Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez, Toni Morrison, and Sandra Cisneros? major imaginative writings in the aesthetic and geopolitical contexts of the South and the Global South. What does it mean to read, South by South? South by North? We will be considering the idea of the South as a real and imaginary territory, a rich ideological geography, and a geo-culture, where regional mythology, ethnic and racial formations and divisions, national and transnational contestations, and the new imperialism together produce extraordinary narratives. Additionally, our course will look at the photographs of the South by Walker Evans, and some of the Global South's paintings by Kara Walker and Fernando Botero, among others. Throughout this special topics course, we will grapple with the research question--do the Am?ricas have a common literature?
This course examines the intersections between literature and visual media in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on film and its cultural effects. We will read novels, short stories, poetry, and essays that not only track the social and historical implications of cinema, but also show how literature tries to understand its situation and appeal among competing media technologies. Lectures and discussions will consider such topics as the status of reading in a culture of looking, the politics of mass popularity, celebrity as a way of life, and the commercial origins of the modern work of art. The course also looks at what happens when �new� media, such as film, grow old and perhaps even die, and charts the literary emergence of film connoisseurship as a response to TV and other technologies that come to challenge film�s place as the century�s dominant medium. Of particular interest will be texts and films that directly address the mythology of Hollywood, as well as writers who borrow from film practice and technique as an aesthetic resource.
"This course is two courses wrapped up in one. First, it offers a selected history of major innovations in American popular culture of the last hundred years ? from the origins of the American culture industries in blackface minstrelsy, ragtime, and jazz to the development of the Hollywood studio system, rock 'n' roll, soul music, and the ""New Hollywood"". Second, it tells that first very large story through America's unique history of crossracial and crossethnic interplay. Why, we might ask, is the story of the US so often told through stories of interracial dependency or conflict, whether it's the story of American colonists dressing up as Indians at the Boston Tea Party, Little Eva blessing Uncle Tom, or Elvis or Eminem borrowing from the 'other side of the tracks'? Following this line of inquiry, we will trace America's history through the development of structures of inequity and opportunity that define our social history, and through the development of complicated race-inflected stories of camaraderie, rivalry, beset virtue, and desire that often define our national fantasy life."
"Literature, especially poetry, has in common with one other art, music, that a key element of its aesthetic structure is rhythm. This course will explore rhythm, considering how even its most basic forms are similar yet also different in each of these arts and also in ordinary experience, including language. This subject has been broached in recent work on ""textsetting"", bringing psychology, linguistics, music and poetics together in studies of how words are set to tunes in folk songs. We will build on the formal foundation established by this work, and use it to address aesthetic questions raised by textsetting in more ambitious works of art. These works will be drawn primarily from the eighteenth century, a particularly flourishing time for collaborations between poets and composers in England. The course will include several excursions to hear live performances. There are no prerequisites.
It is a commonplace that the medium of literature is language. This course will develop a substantive understanding of this relationship through a survey of literary forms defined by special linguistic structures, and an exploration of how these structures are systematically like and unlike those of non-literary language. These forms will include meter; rhyme and alliteration; syntactic parallelism and other syntactic structures special to poetry; formulas of oral composition; special narrative uses of pronouns, tenses and subjective features of language to express point of view and render 'represented speech and thought'; and figurative language such as metaphor, metonymy and irony. The emphasis will be on literature in English, but comparisons with literature in other languages will also be drawn. No knowledge of linguistics will be presupposed, but linguistic concepts will be introduced, explained and used.
"Autobiographies written by people with disabilities offer readers a glimpse into lives at the margins of mainstream culture, and thus can make disability seem less alien and frightening. Disability rights activists, however, often criticize these texts because they tend to reinforce the notion that disability is a personal tragedy that must be overcome through superhuman effort, rather than a set of cultural conditions that could be changed to benefit a wide range of individuals with similar impairments. Are these texts agents for social change or merely another form of freak show? In this course, we will examine a diverse selection of disability memoirs and consider both what they reveal about cultural attitudes toward disability and what they have in common with other forms of autobiography. Requirements will include two 5-8 page papers, and a take-home final exam.
We will spend much of the semester sorting out what the title of this course means. We?ll start by thinking about the so-called ?roots of lyric,? not only Sappho and Greek lyric, but other forms and shapes that are deeply buried within the matrices of modern poetry?chants, spells, charms, riddles, curses. Along the way, we?ll revisit some favorites from the English-language canon (Donne, Marvell, Blake, Keats, Hopkins, Dickinson, Stevens, Hughes, Moore, Bishop, Ashbery, Plath) as well as several recent experiments (Anne Carson, Harryette Mullen, Lisa Robertson). We?ll pair various poems with various media (painting, music, movies, dance, video games) and concepts (chaos theory, ecology, literary theory, cognitive science) in order to tease out some of the alternate currents running through the texts. Reading assignments will be small, but dense. In addition to a final exam, there will be one short essay (3-5 pages), and one longer essay (7-9 pages) that may be critical, historical, or a hybrid critical-creative piece.
A survey of the American novel, its forms, patterns, techniques, ideas, cultural context, and intertextua- lity. Special attention will be paid to questions of aesthetics, epistemology, and ethics�what is beautiful? how do we know? what ought we do?�in the American milieu as it develops in the twentieth century. Average 250 pages per week. Two papers (5-8 pages); ID midterm; essay final.
We will spend most of the first semester sampling readings in literary theory, introducing such topics as poststructuralism (Barthes, Derrida, Lyotard); sex, gender, and performativity (Irigaray, Butler, Sedgwick, Miller); and various modes of cultural, ideological, and historical critique (Benjamin, Foucault, Bhabha, Jameson). Toward the end of the semester student groups will lead the class, assigning literary, critical, and theoretical texts of their own choosing. By December you will hand in a prospectus for your thesis and a ten-page essay exploring one aspect of it.
The purpose of this section of H195 is to provide an exposure to literary theory that should be of equal value to honors projects belonging to earlier and later periods. The approach taken to the reading, however, will likely be most useful to students particularly invested in exploring the relationship between literature and history, and between literature and politics. First, we will establish some grounding in the traditions considered fundamental to the moment of ?literary theory?: structuralism, psychoanalysis, marxism, deconstruction. With the aid of this grounding, we will take stock of some topical concerns of contemporary literary criticism: globalization and transnationalism, aesthetic form and affect. In the fall semester, students will simultaneously be working toward the development of a prospectus for the 40-60 page honors thesis they will produce in the spring semester. The spring semester will be devoted to the research and writing of the thesis, and students will be divided into groups to help each other with this process.
The fall component of this year-long course-- in which students develop a topic, conduct research, and write a thesis of 40+ pages--will provide an intensive introduction to key issues in literary theory and familiarize you with the tools and conventions of textual scholarship. The assigned readings are selected to enable you to undertake what might be called (after Poe) a �thorough research of the premises� of reading and literary interpretation�including the analysis of institutions (like the university) and practices (literary scholarship, the critical essay) that help to form, sustain, and reform the category of literature. You will also begin to shape your thesis topic, first by developing bibliographies on specific topics in literary theory relevant to your own interests, and on key works on the writer, period, genre, medium, or issue you seek to investigate; second, by writing a 7-10 page thesis proposal, due in early December. Each student will participate in a �working group� whose members will read and comment on each other�s work throughout the year. Working groups will be responsible for designing a one-week syllabus and leading discussion on materials pertinent to their common interests�that is, more specifically about an given genre, historical period, medium, political issue or cultural location than the readings assigned by me.
Approaches to literary study, including textual analysis, scholarly methodology and bibliography, critical theory and practice.
Approaches to literary study, including textual analysis, scholarly methodology and bibliography, critical theory and practice.
This seminar will undertake a critical reading of, and participation in, some possibilities (or impossibilities) of 20th/21st century �realism�; it will query, from an array of perspectives, problems of representation, referentiality, literary historiography, spectatorship, etc., with reference to a range of theoretical works read in parallel with the some recent (and largely �experimental�) literary texts. In addition to the readings, each student will be required to undertake a daily writing project of his or her own that is capable of querying its own language and the character of dailiness, as a subjective site and as an objective realm of experience.
This course will locate colonial and early national texts from North America in the broad circuit of the Atlantic world, examining that Atlantic context both as a cultural arena and as a critical construction. Through close literary readings, we will study the mediation of consciousness, epistemology, power, and identity through textual production in an era defined by unprecedented levels of global circulation of goods, peoples and ideas. Because this is a course in colonial literatures, our primary texts will include a great many genres: settlement histories, personal narratives, sermons, prophecy, translation guides, civic texts, natural sciences, dramas, and early novels. Given that scholars of early America have so recently and so radically re-conceived this field of study, we will also take up the challenge of examining how intellectual projects are shaped through critical discourse. This is field that has, with fair rapidity, broadened its scope from a myopic obsession with New England divines to a global purview that links Native America, Europe, Africa, North and South America, the Carribean, and all the waterways between them. How, in this transformation, do theory and methodology interact? How can older and newer critical models claim to map the same territory? How does critical practice translate across disciplines? What is the status of the text in the meantime? These and allied questions will give us plenty to discuss. Two 10-page essays and one seminar presentation on secondary critical materials are required.
This will be a hands-on writing workshop intended to facilitate and accelerate the transition from qualifying exams to prospectus conference, and from prospectus conference to the first dissertation chapter. The workshop will provide a collaborative critical community in which to try out successive versions of your dissertation project and to learn how your peers are constructing theirs. Weekly writing assignments will structure points of entry into these projects. Beginning with exercises to galvanize your thinking, the assignments will map increasingly onto the specific components of the prospectus as the semester proceeds. We will also review a range of prospectuses from the past to demystify the genre and to gain a better understanding of its form and function. The goal is to insure that by the end of the semester, every member of the workshop will have submitted a prospectus to his or her committee. If you complete a draft of the prospectus early in the semester, we will reserve time to consider it fully and to structure assignments relevant to the writing of the first chapter (including the question of which chapter should be written first).
This course traces the development of novel theory in the twentieth century. Designed as an introduction to major arguments that have been--and still are--influential to literary studies generally, the course asks why so many different theoretical schools have made novels the privileged object of critical attention. Topics of discussion include the difference between narrative and the novel; the location of novelistic difference in the representation of time and space; the definition of subjectivity in terms of vision and voice; the valorization of grammatical structures; the search for a masterplot; the historicization of genre; the confusion of realism and reality; and the belief in a politics of form. Readings will be drawn from, but not limited to, works by H. James, Shklovsky, Luk?cs, Jameson, Barthes, Girard, Genette, Booth, Bakhtin, Bhabha and Spivak. James's What Maisie Knew and Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God will serve as test cases. Two short papers will facilitate the work of theoretical analysis and discussion.
This class is intended to equip students with the linguistic and cultural knowledge necessary to read and analyze Old English texts in prose and verse. Much of the work for the earlier part of the course will consist of in-class translation and commentary, but as students? reading skills develop, we will move on to examine issues of form and style; genre; the manuscript as context; and the cultural expectations that shaped vernacular writing in the Anglo-Saxon period. Depending on student interest, we may also consider topics such as the interaction of Latin and Old English; textual criticism; or modern translations and versions of Old English texts. No prior knowledge of Old English is necessary.
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"I expect this course to do all the basic work of a Shakespeare survey and also to have seminar-like intellectual crossfire. We will take up all the topics that concern Shakespeare scholars, but rather than approaching them systematically, we will wait for particulars of classroom discussion to invite comment and background on such issues as printing-house practices, Shakespeare's stage, and the composition of his audience. The course will concentrate on Shakespeare's language and on the plays as plays. I will ordinarily assign one play per week, although, if no one objects, I will twice ask you to read two plays (/Richard II /and /1 Henry IV; 2 Henry IV /and /Henry V/) in a single week/. /The other assigned plays will /probably /be/: Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Love's Labor's Lost, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Twelfth Night,/ and /The Winter's Tale./ (/Hamlet/ and /King Lear/ are not listed because I assume previous study of them; if my assumption is ill-founded, we can substitute one or both of them for one or two of the others on the list.)
Each week's play will be the basis for that week's writing. Every other week (or, if the class is unusually big, every third week), each member of the class will write a very short essay on some aspect of that week's play. In his or her week off (or weeks), each member of the class will read and comment scrupulously and strenuously on all the essays written by students in their ""on"" week. I will read all the comments on all the papers and comment on the comments. Essays will be due at the beginning of class on Tuesdays. Two sets of comments (one for each essayist, one full set for me) will be due at the beginning of class on Thursdays. You may, if you can conveniently do so, do your commenting by e-mail; my e-address is firstname.lastname@example.org. "
"The point will be to write poetry in public spaces, to write with an eye toward performance/ publication. My assumption is that people entering the class will enter with projects underway and/ or with a strong interest in the problems and issues of producing and discussing a public art.
To be considered for admission to this class, please submit photocopies of no more than 8 of your poems to Professor Giscombe's mailbox in 322 Wheeler Hall BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, APRIL 22, AT THE LATEST."
An exploration of the satire, devotional autobiography, prose fiction, letter-writing, diaries, heroic verse, drama, pornography and feminist polemic produced in England between the Restoration of Charles II (1660) and circa 1735; these will include Behn's Oroonoko, the world best-seller Robinson Crusoe, the earlier works of Pope (Rape of the Lock), selected letters of Mary Wortley Montagu describing her life in Turkey, and major writings by Swift (Tale of a Tub, Modest Proposal, Gulliver's Travels). Canonical figures like Milton, Congreve, Pope and Swift will be juxtaposed to scandalous and/or marginal authors: Bunyan, Behn, Rochester and Astell. My selections emphasize the aftermath of Civil War and Puritanism in defeat, the representation of transgressive sexuality, the search for the heroic, the encounter with the alien, the resistance to Amodernity, and the change in the idea of the author as women enter the literary marketplace; many of our texts combine all of these themes. My suggestions for further reading (including J.M. Coetzee's novel Foe) may help you find alternative themes and ways of focusing on this mercurial period
"We will read widely in prose from the mid-nineteenth through the early-twentieth century, with particular attention to the ways in which pragmatism functioned as a seam for American literature and popular culture. We will begin - and - end the course by considering William James's essay, ""What Pragmatism Means"" (1907) as an articulation of an American cultural temperament rather than as an epistemology-centered philosophy. We will explore how the pragmatists' interest in consequences rather than propositions, provocation rather than instruction, invention rather than tradition, and personality rather than community, offered a set of interpretations, a cultural commentary, that sought to explain America to itself - during a period in which public discourse seemed caught in the whirlwinds of ideological polemics as well as of class, racial, and gender conflicts."
"This research seminar addresses two areas of literary and critical theory concerned with animal/human divides and the relationship between place, language and politics. ""Biopolitics"" commonly refers to the politicization of those areas of life that the human shares with other animals, and to the interest the modern state takes in �making live� and in the regulation and rendering productive of life functions�through statistics on population, sexual habits, health, sanitation, etc. �Ecocriticism,� on the other hand, usually refers to the study of the relationship between literature and something called �nature� and is often defined by narratives of human destructiveness and difference. As we compare different definitions of �nature��as a set of finite, exploitable resources, a normative authority limiting human experimentation, a repository of traditional ways of doing and knowing, and a site of vulnerability in need of protection from extinction�we will also explore the alternatives to the nature/human binary developed by the writers in question. This research seminar addresses two areas of literary and critical theory concerned with animal/human divides and the relationship between place, language and politics. �Biopolitics� commonly refers to the politicization of those areas of life that the human shares with other animals, and to the interest the modern state takes in �making live� and in the regulation and rendering productive of life functions�through statistics on population, sexual habits, health, sanitation, etc. �Ecocriticism� usually designates the study of literature in relation to something called �nature,� and is often defined by narratives of human destructiveness, difference and lost connection. What insights can these two fields bring to bear on one another and what role does the study of literature and linguistic experience play in either? How and why has the ethical turn toward nonhuman others�evident in the emerging field of animal studies--coincided with the industrialization of food production and modern consumerism? Other topics will include: the conflict between �modernity� and �modernization� and the role of marginalized communities; agriculture as a border-space between �culture� and �nature�; fantasies about ecological disaster, social catastrophe, and science�s (or poetry�s) ability to save or destroy humankind.
What does Blake mean by ?the Poets Work,? and how can that work be achieved ?Within a Moment? that has the length of a historical ?Period? but is also as brief as ?a Pulsation of the Artery?? We will read enough of Blake?s poetry to let us grapple with the questions raised by his last illuminated epics, Milton and Jerusalem, but we will also use our readings to interrogate the relationship between poetic and other forms of labor, especially artisanal and political labor. We will set Blake?s singular aesthetic practices within the relevant contexts of his own era (1790s radicalism, 18th century religious dissent, transatlantic sentimentalism and social reform, Romantic period economies of book and print production) while also considering our own critical contexts, where Blake has come to stand for critical agency itself and thus for the transformative potential of experimental art. Attention to the posthumous work of poetry?what Derrida generally calls teleiopoesis?will lead us to ask why Blake matters to new historicists and new formalists alike, and why the Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe turns a reading of Blake into the organizing activity of his novel Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age.
"It is an odd fact of modernist literary history that a large number of the period?s major figures produced as much critical prose--by turns polemical, self-authorizing, speculative, outlandish, and extreme--as poetry or fiction. Scaling from aesthetic criticism to philosophical argument and cultural critique, this most ubiquitous but overlooked of modernist genres is often quoted secondarily, but rarely read on its own discursive terms. This seminar will attempt to do just that, sampling some of the period?s prosaic experiments in a seemingly minor and distinctly non-autonomous literary form: reviews, lectures, essays, tracts, treatises, and quasi-academic squabbles.
Moving from early avant-garde manifestoes to late modernist critical primers, we will grapple first with the modernist practice of criticism, tracing the period?s attempt to construct (and enforce) its own interpretive apparatus and criticism?s encroachment on a number of adjoining discursive fields, from economics to theology. We will next shift our attention to two of criticism?s cognate terms, briefly sampling some of the rhetorics of ?crisis? (of enlightenment, of perception, of semblance, of historicism, of parliamentary democracy, of European sciences) that so frequently emerge as descriptions of the moment, before turning to several versions of the corollary idea of ?critique?. We will conclude with a consideration of one of the most contradictory and totalizing of the period?s emergent concepts, that of culture. Might modernism be said to constitute (among other things) an attempt at a systematic critique of culture: what Ezra Pound called ?kulchur? and T. S. Eliot conceived as ?a whole way of life?? And how might such an understanding alter our sense of its aesthetic project?"
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"Through seminars, discussions, and reading assignments, students are introduced to the language/writing/literacy needs of diverse college-age writers such as the developing, bi-dialectal, and non-native English-speaking (NNS) writer. The course will provide a theoretical and practical framework for tutoring and composition instruction.
The seminar will focus on various tutoring methodologies and the theories which underlie them. Students will become familiar with relevant terminology, approaches, and strategies in the fields of composition teaching and learning. New tutors will learn how to respond constructively to student writing, as well as develop and hone effective tutoring skills. By guiding others towards clarity and precision in prose, tutors will sharpen their own writing abilities. New tutors will tutor fellow Cal students in writing and/or literature courses. Tutoring occurs in the Cesar E. Chavez Student Center under the supervision of experienced writing program staff.
In order to enroll for the seminar, students must have at least sophomore standing and have completed their Reading and Composition R1A and R1B requirements.
Some requirements include: participating in a weekly training seminar and occasional workshops; reading assigned articles, videotaping a tutoring session, and becoming familiar with the resources available at the Student Learning Center; tutoring 4-6 hours per week; keeping a tutoring journal and writing a final paper; meeting periodically with both the tutor supervisor(s) and tutees' instructors. "