Announcement of Classes: Spring 2009

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.


Graduate Courses

Graduate students from other departments and exceptionally well-prepared undergraduates are welcome in English graduate courses (except for English 200 and 375) insofar as limitations of class size allow. Graduate courses are usually limited to 15 students; courses numbered 250 are usually limited to 10.

When demand for a graduate course exceeds the maximum enrollment limit, the instructor will determine priorities for enrollment and inform students of his/her decisions at the second class meeting. Prior enrollment does not guarantee a place in a graduate course that turns out to be oversubscribed on the first day of class; fortunately, this situation does not arise very often.


Topics in the History of the English Language: The Development of Linguistic Representations of Point of View

English 201B

Section: 1
Instructor: Banfield, Ann
Banfield, Ann
Time: Note new time: Th 9:30-12:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Beowulf, Seamus Heaney translation; Chaucer, Geoffrey, Troilus and Criseyde; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Austen, Jane, Lady Susan; Austen, Jane, Sense and Sensibility; Mansfield, Katherine, Stories; Woolf, Virginia, To the Lighthouse.

Description

This course will be devoted to the history of the development of styles for the representation of subjectivity or consciousness in narrative, including, importantly, represented speech and thought (free indirect style). It will use the original comparative method, i.e., comparing texts of different periods. The reading list is meant to be suggestive, a starting point. The interests of the class will also determine the directions of our inquiry, i.e., students can concentrate on a particular period and genre, e.g. on the medieval romance, the early novel or the modernist novel, selecting texts they wish to focus on and presenting their findings to the class as a whole. Since our focus is on a style, we will look at short texts or even selections from longer texts. The readings will also include articles on the styles for representing point of view, including readings presenting some historical hypotheses.


Graduate Readings: Gender, Poetry and Psychoanalysis in Irish Poetry

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Sullivan, Moynagh
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Eavan Boland, New Collected Poems; Seamus Heaney, Opened Ground: Selected Poems; Rita Ann Higgins, Throw in the Vowels; Michael Longley, Collected Poems; Medbh McGuckian, Selected Poems; Jessica Benjamin, Like Subjects Love Objects Essays on Recognition, Identification and Difference; Christopher Bollas, The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known; Toril Moi, Ed, The Kristeva Reader;  Rosalind Minsky, Psychoanalysis and Culture: Contemporary States of Mind;  Margaret Whitford, ed., The Irigaray Reader

Recommended Reading:  Christopher Bollas, The Mystery of Things; Jessica  Benjamin, The Shadow of the Other Intersubjectivity and Gender in Psychoanalysis;  Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism; Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams; Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller; Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudiez; Price, Janet and Margaret Shildrick, Eds. Feminist Theory and the Body: A Reader; Scarry, Elaine. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.

Additional readings to be announced.

Description

Using feminist theory, object relations theory and psychoanalysis, this course will examine the work of a number of leading contemporary Irish poets with a view to reflecting on gender, representation and representatives in contemporary Irish culture. It also asks why, in a post-structuralist cultural world, the practice of poetry remains a semi-sacred, quietest cultural activity, with semi religious undertones, and seeks to answer questions about how male and female poets are positioned within such an economy. To this end, the student is invited to explore Irish poetry and the cultures that sustain it as well as those that are derived from it, from a number of related angles. Sample questions to enable such analysis will include:

•    How is the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland treated in the work of these poets?

•    How can representations of the political border be read in psychoanalytical terms?

•    Can poetry criticism be related to psychoanalytical practice?

•    What insights can psychoanalytical theory provide for poetic and broader cultural analysis?

•    What roles does a poet perform in contemporary Irish culture?

•    What functions does poetry have in contemporary Irish culture?

•    Does the role of the contemporary poet differ from that of the traditional bard?

•    Does a belief in cogent national identity enable the notion of a poetic public representative?

•    Does playing with fixed and inherited gender roles trouble traditional or popular beliefs in a cogent national identity?

•    Are representations of land and landscape gendered and how do you think this is significant?

•    What is the significance of houses and dwelling places in the work of these poets?

•    How do these poets negotiate the legacy of the Irish Cultural Renaissance?

•    How can these poets be placed/read in terms of international poetry schools and movements?


Graduate Readings: Literature and Psychoanalysis

English 203

Section: 2
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Puckett, Kent
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location: 301 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Freud, S., Beyond the Pleasure Principle; Freud, S., The Interpretation of Dreams; Freud, S., Three Case Histories; Gay, P., The Freud Reader; Klein, M., Selected Melanie Klein; Lacan, J., The Ethics of Psychoanalysis; Shakespeare, W., Hamlet; Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra; a course pack of readings.

Description

What do literature and psychoanalysis have in common?  For one, both are usually about at least two of the following: sex, death, love, hate, jealousy, anxiety, loss, and the search for some kind of structure.  Seemingly made for each other, literature and psychoanalysis have been in a more or less close conversation since the latter's emergence at the end of the nineteenth century. In this course, we will consider the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis in a number of ways: we will look at Freud's own writing as literature in the context of psychoanalysis's early days as practice, institution, and scandal; we will consider historical and intellectual connections between Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis and different kinds of literary interpretation; and we will work to derive from the language of psychoanalysis tools to help us cope with the considerable formal and thematic complexity of literary texts. We'll consider other questions as well: how does psychoanalysis manage or mismanage time?  In what ways can we understand psychoanalysis as a distinct kind of reading?  What, in turn, can we say about psychoanalysis as writing?  Does psychoanalysis have a style?  The syllabus will include writing by Freud, Lacan, Klein, Laplanche, and others as well as works by literary critics who derive some or all of their terms from the language of psychoanalysis.


Graduate Readings: Victorian Novel

English 203

Section: 3
Instructor: Gallagher, Catherine
Gallagher, Catherine
Time: T 9:30-12:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Brontë, Charlotte, Jane Eyre (Norton Critical); Brontë, Emily, Wuthering Heights (Norton Critical); Conrad, Joseph, Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical); Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations (Norton Critical); Eliot, George, Middlemarch (Norton Critical); Hardy, Thomas, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Norton Critical); Thackeray, William, Vanity Fair (Barnes & Noble Classics)

Description

Over 7,000 novels were published in Victorian England; we’ll read the best seven.  The course will emphasize the place of novels and novelists in a variety of Victorian cultural innovations, such as the creation of modern cosmopolitan and historical consciousness, of changing temporal perceptions, of deep psycho-sexuality, and of new aesthetic expectations.  We will be interested as well in how novels helped reorganize social categories and seemed to give substance to the very concept of “society”.   We will be asking why the novel, a genre explicitly disclaiming to represent real persons and events, came to be implicated in such large cultural and social transformations.  What was it about the novel’s form, specifically, that equipped the genre for its role in helping to make the modern world?  And what is it about these novels, individually, that seems to exceed the category “Victorian”? You will write one short oral report and two papers suitable for twenty-minute oral presentations at conferences.


Graduate Readings: The Writings of Henry Adams and William James

English 203

Section: 4
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 221 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays; Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams; Henry Adams, Mont St. Michel and Chartres; Henry Adams, Democracy: An American Novel; William James, The Writings of William James; William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

Description

These two American friends stand at the beginning of the twentieth century reprising the melancholy and experimental strains of New England culture, and anticipating modernism:  T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, W.E.B. DuBois, Wallace Stevens and Thomas   Pynchon would cite them as focalizing influences.  I hope that our discussions will be based on close reading and adventurous speculation, and that we will achieve at least a preliminary understanding of Adams’s and James’s countervailing views concerning American possibility.  In addition to regular attendance and participation in discussion, a total of twenty five pages of writing will be required, whether in the form of a single essay or divided into several pieces of various lengths.  Essays relating Adams and/or James to other American writers will be welcome.


Graduate Readings

English 203

Section: 5
Instructor: O'Brien O'Keeffe, Katherine
O'Brien O'Keeffe, Katherine
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Klaeber, Fr., et al. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg [Note: Fourth edition only].

Description

In “Reading Beowulf" we will be particularly interested in the making of Beowulf as a text and as a canonical poem. The first goal addresses issues of language, paleography, and textual editing as we translate; the second addresses the cultural investments of the last two centuries (and of the present moment) that have shaped our reading(s) of the poem. Attending to the particularity of the poem’s language and the poem’s vexed relationship with the culture that produced it will raise questions about Anglo-Saxon poetics, literary history, and aesthetics; it will also invite other strategies of reading that the members of the course bring to the table. If you have questions about the course please contact Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe at kobok@berkeley.edu.

Prerequisite: Completion of English 205A (Old English) or the equivalent.


Graduate Readings: Reading Novels Now

English 203

Section: 6
Instructor: Serpell, C. Namwali
Serpell, Namwali
Time: Th 3:30-6:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Novels:  Robbe-Grillet, A. : La Jalousie ; Nabokov, V.: Pale Fire ; Pynchon, T.: The Crying of Lot 49 ; Jones, G. Corregidora ; Calvino, I.: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler… ; Beckett, S.: Nohow On ; Ellis, B.: American Psycho ; Morrison, T. Jazz ; Eugenides, J.: The Virgin Suicides ; Saramago J.: Blindness ; Sebald, W. G., Austerlitz ; McEwan, I.: Atonement ; Jones, E. P.: The Known World ; Mitchell D.: Cloud Atlas ; Safran Foer, J.: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ; Diaz., J.: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Theory:  Barthes, R.: The Pleasure of the Text ; Rosenblatt, L.: The Reader, The Text, The Poem ; Iser, W.: The Act of Reading ; Tompkins, J.: Reader Response Criticism: From Structuralism to Post-Structuralism

Description

This course aims to formulate new phenomenological models of reading contemporary novels.  We will conduct a broad survey of theories of reading, old and new, dabbling along the way in cognitive theories of reading; historical accounts of reading practices; analyses of the ethics of reading; theories of translation; and theories of rereading.  We will then pose some simple questions about turn to reading as it takes place now in the West:  Who reads?  What do we read?  Why do we read?  And most importantly: do we read?  We will examine twenty-first century debates about the status of reading, taking into consideration competing genres (film, blogs, photography); new modes of production and distribution (self-publishing, e-books, books on tape); and new technologies (hypertext, the internet, electronic readers like Sony’s Reader and Amazon’s Kindle).  Throughout the semester, we will read a set of European and American novels (1957-now) alongside the theories of reading we explore. Each student will undertake a final project to construct a new phenomenology of reading, using one or more of these novels to make a case for, to exemplify, or to derive the theory.  Two papers (8-10 pages and 15-20 pages).


Graduate Readings: Narrative and Middle Passage

English 203

Section: 7
Instructor: Best, Stephen M.
Best, Stephen
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 222 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave; Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery; Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Robert Harms, The Diligent; Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother; Charles Johnson, Middle Passage; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Caryl Phillips, The Atlantic Sound; Stephanie Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery;Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past

Description

Toni Morrison once remarked, on the subject of African American slave culture, that “no slave society in the history of the world ever wrote more – or more thoughtfully – about its own enslavement.”  For those Africans who were kidnapped into slavery the truth is much closer to the opposite.  African narratives of captivity and enslavement are comparatively scarce; and, in fact, there is not one extant autobiographical narrative of a female captive who survived the Middle Passage. Illiteracy, violence, and an historical record predisposed toward the quantitative (e.g., markets, values, property) have provided strong impediments to the narration of middle passage. Our knowledge of transatlantic slavery is structured around an absence – the silence of the slaves themselves.
In this course we will explore how two domains – history and literature – deploy similar narrative and figurative strategies to compensate for this silence, and will attend as well to the paradox of trying to recover slave voices from structures that in the act of apprehending them destroy them.  We will generate a critical vocabulary out of recent work on black memory that engages both questions of the archive and affective history.  Some of our questions will include the following: What relation to these figures do we hope to cultivate?; What desire propels our engagement with them?; What do we believe eyewitness accounts of middle passage afford us that other types of evidence do not?; Can a fiction of middle passage be redemptive and redressive, or will it only serve to make explicit the inevitable failure of any attempt to recover the past?; Do fictions provide us with “information” on the slave trade, or is their most potent effect to provide readers with an experience of representational failure or absence that approaches that of an ethical encounter?; Should it make any difference to us that the narrative protagonists of middle passage can be both slaves (The Life of Olaudah Equiano) and slave ships (The Diligent)?


Milton

English 218

Section: 1
Instructor: Kahn, Victoria
Kahn, Victoria
Time: W 2-5
Location: 2505 Tolman


Other Readings and Media

John Milton, Complete Poetry and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes

Description

An introduction to the poetry and major prose of John Milton. We will discuss Milton's conception of authorship, Milton and the English civil war, Milton's relation to humanism and to the Protestant Reformation. Extensive secondary reading in seventeenth-century works and modern criticism.


Fiction Writing Workshop

English 243A

Section: 1
Instructor: Mukherjee, Bharati
Mukherjee, Bharati (a.k.a. Blaise, B.)
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 301 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

(eds. R.V. Cassill & Joyce Carol Oates). The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction (2nd. Edition).

Description

This limited-enrollment workshop course will concentrate on the form, theory and practice of fiction.  Undergraduate students may apply for admission to this graduate course. 

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit approximately 12-15 photocopied pages of your original fiction (short story or chapter of a novel) to Professor Mukherjee's mailbox in 322 Wheeler Hall, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for further information on enrollment in such courses!  


Graduate Proseminars: Renaissance (16th-Century): Faustus' Books

English 246C

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Landreth, David
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 301 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Bacon, F., Essays (1597); Bible, "King James" Version; Cranmer, T., et al. The Book of Common Prayer; Erasmus, D., The Praise of Folly; Jones, E., ed., Oxford Book of Sixteenth-Century Verse; Machiavelli, N., Prince; Marlowe, C., Doctor Faustus; Marlowe, C., Tamburlaine; Montaigne, M., Essays (tr. Florio 1603, if you can get it, or Frame); More, T., Utopia; Nashe, T.,The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works; Ovid, Metamorphoses, tr. Golding; Shakespeare, W., A Midsummer Night's Dream; Sidney, M., Sidney Psalter; Sidney, P., Defense of Poesy; Spenser, E., Faerie Queene
Spenser, E. Minor Poems; Virgil, Aeneid.

Description

               Divinity, adieu.
These metaphysics of magicians
And necromantic books are heavenly:
... his dominion that exceeds in this
Stretcheth as far as does the mind of man.

As the sixteenth century began, English literary culture was emerging from the long shadow of domestic strife to claim the cosmopolitan promises of humanism— a citizenship both of the modern world and of classical history.  Yet as suddenly as that world had doubled with Columbus' discovery, the Reformation split it in half.  The consuming passion and the divisive trauma of learning are the twin legacies of humanism to the Elizabethan Renaissance: the deal with the devil that Faustus makes in order at once to know more and to flee from what he knows already.

Students should read the "A-text" (1604) of Doctor Faustus before the first class meeting and bring the text to class. The rest of the following booklist is tentative (and will be trimmed).


Research Seminar: Philosophy and the Arts

English 250

Section: 1
Instructor: Altieri, Charles F.
Altieri, Charles
Time: M 3-6
Location: 108 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

There will be an elaborate reader. In addition, students will be asked to buy Spinoza’s Ethics, Altieri’s The Particulars of Rapture, and Buat, The Emotions: Art and Ethics. Then by the third week we will have to buy many of the texts students choose to work with. I will Xerox the relevant passages from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Miller translation) but I envision it being used enough to merit students' buying it.

Description

This course will try to relate the concept of sensuousness to the roles the affects can play in aesthetic experience.  The first half of the course will be devoted to familiarizing ourselves with basic concepts that establish a language for characterizing a range of affective experiences and connecting them to concerns for the values within what we are doing as well as the values that they might help establish beyond art.  Then there begins the hard work. Students will be asked to chose a text—a novel or play or movie or series of poems—and present the text in class by exploring what it is possible to claim about distinctive aspects of its engagement with concerns about affects we have developed.  Conversation will focus on what problems the critic faces in applying this critical perspective to making claims about the significance of particular works of art.


Research Seminar: Native American Fiction

English 250

Section: 3
Instructor: Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Wong, Hertha Sweet
Time: W 3-6
Location: 2525 Tolman


Other Readings and Media

Alexie, S., The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Callahan, S. A., Wynema; Endrezze, A., throwing fire at the sun, water at the moon; Erdrich, L., Love Medicine; Harjo, J., The Woman Who Fell from the Sky; Hogan, L., Power; McNickle, D., The Surrounded; Momaday, N.S., House Made of Dawn; Power, S., The Grass Dancer; Silko, L.M., Ceremony or Almanac of the Dead; Wong, H., et. al, Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women.

Description

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 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; articulations of a geocentric epistemology and land-based narrative; and an engagement with contemporary literary forms. 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.