Announcement of Classes: Spring 2013

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.


Reading and Composition: Black and Yellow: Contemporary African American and Asian American Writing

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Lee, Seulghee
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Baker, K.: Nat Turner; Butler, O.: Bloodchild and Other Stories; Hong, C.P.: Dance Dance Revolution; Lu, P: Pamela: A Novel; Mullen, H.: Sleeping With The Dictionary; O'Hara, R.: Insurrection: Holding History; Parks, S-L.: Topdog/Underdog; Tomine, A.: Shortcomings; Truong, M.: The Book of Salt; Yau, J.: Ing Grish

Description

Regrettably, despite the title, this course is not about Wiz Khalifa or the city of Pittsburgh. But channeling Mr. Khalifa, we too will aim to "know what it is" by way of developing thinking habits that "do it big." Specifically, we will discuss black and yellow American writing of the last twenty years. Sampling fiction, plays, and poetry of the very-contemporary period, we will address what the latest inheritors of these two literary traditions have in common, as well as where and how they diverge. Questions we might ask together include: what does a rubric of "ethnicity" permit in and preclude from literary content? What are the relationships traceable between racial identities and literary forms? How have writers addressed both the fiction of "race" alongside the all-too-realness of its lived experience? Authors we might read together include Kyle Baker, Octavia Butler, Cathy Park Hong, David Wong Louie, Pamela Lu, Nathaniel Mackey, Harryette Mullen, Robert O’Hara, Suzan-Lori Parks, Adrian Tomine, Monique Truong, and John Yau. Along the way, we may also discuss cultural figures at the intersection of these racial formations, including Das Racist, Vijay Iyer, Yuri Kochiyama, Jeremy Lin, Miya Masaoka, and the Wu-Tang Clan.  


Reading and Composition: How to Read "How to Read Poetry"

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: Acu, Adrian Mark
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Eagleton, Terry: How to Read a Poem; Polonsky, Mark: The Poetry Reader's Toolkit: A Guide to Reading and Understanding Poetry; Pound, Ezra: ABC Of Reading; Vendler, Helen: Poems, Poets, Poetry; Zukofsky, Louis: A Test of Poetry

Description

1. The class title is not a typo.

2. Poetry is often considered to be the least self-explanatory form of literature.

3. Expositions on poetry often offer only limited aid.

Though one must accept the first two points if one is going to take this class, I hope to spend the semester exploring the third point.

How many of you were first taught to read poetry according to how it made you feel? Or by comparing poems to a list of poetic techniques? How many of you felt as if these tutorials either cultivated a taste for poetry, or prepared you to actually read poetry?

In this class, we will consider why attempts to teach poetry often fail by studying guidebooks that claim to teach students how to read poetry and anthologies by thinkers and poets curated to provide a poetic education. We will consider their approaches to reading as well as what poems they choose in order to ascertain their projects' agendas. By juxtaposing these differing perspectives on what poetry does - and what to do with it - we will come to understand how the poem's attractiveness might be tied to how unsettled our sense of it is.

After a short diagnostic essay, you will write 3 papers of increasing length while going through a peer-review process to better acclimate yourself to critical writing. 


Reading and Composition: The Bonds of Taste

English R1A

Section: 3
Instructor: Weiner, Joshua J
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 122 Latimer


Other Readings and Media

All course materials will be circulated electronically.

Description

What does it mean to cultivate “good taste” for oneself? What sorts of social relationships happen when we judge someone else’s taste or recognize through their appreciations a kindred spirit? How is taste learned and taught? Our course will be framed around the eighteenth-century critical texts that first took up taste as a key social problem. We will tackle very short works in three clusters: the first writers who argued taste could be a foundation for polite culture after 1700 (Addison and Shaftesbury), the group of writers around 1750 who produced the key mature statements about taste (Burke and Hume), and the writers around 1800 who looked away from taste as a way to understand the social life of artworks (Kant and Schiller). Each of these moments will be paired with works that will illustrate the theories (for example the poetry of Milton and Pope), test and complicate these theories (the engravings of Hogarth and the opera of Handel), and discover which social figures they helped construct (from the “fop” in Restoration drama to the “snob” in Proust). As we work through these materials, we will think about issues like the rise and persistence of consumer culture, the policing of class and gender through tacit judgment, and style as a social practice of selfhood. Frequent writing assignments will stimulate you to both cultivate your analytical skills and reflect on how aesthetic judgments bond you to yourself and to others.


Reading and Composition: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Representations of Numbers in 19th-Century Literature

English R1A

Section: 4
Instructor: Kolb, Margaret
Time: MW 4-5:30
Location: 205 Wheeler


Book List

Collins, Wilkie: The Moonstone; Dickens, Charles: Hard Times; Hardy, Thomas: Jude the Obscure; Shelley, Mary: The Last Man; Wordsworth, William, and STC Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads;

Recommended: Eliot, George: The Lifted Veil

Other Readings and Media

We'll also look at Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories, primary statistical texts by Quetelet, Galton, and others, selections from Henry Thomas Buckle’s History of Civilization in England, and a variety of relevant critical articles. These texts will be distributed in class. 

Description

“In this life we want nothing but Facts, sir, nothing but Facts,” Thomas Gradgrind infamously insists in Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times. “Facts” accumulated in the 19th century as never before. As statistics took disciplinary shape, an ever-broadening bureaucracy produced table after table – charting everything from population growth to the square of the minimum temperature necessary for lilacs to bloom in the spring. Literary representations of the numerical repeatedly interrogate such numerical representations, asking what counts as a fact, and why it might do so – a question to which we’ll attend carefully as we read a variety of literary and historical texts focused on numbers, evidence, and statistical representation. We’ll discuss how numbers and words inform and resist one another, how statistical evidence gets marshaled and/or repurposed in narrative, and how the texts under examination imagine themselves as participants in the scientific community.

As participants in our own academic community, we’ll want to consider similar questions for our writing: what evidence, and how much of it, should we employ in our arguments? What counts as a “fact” in literary analysis? In writing about literary texts, how can we offer responsible samplings of textual evidence? We’ll respond to these and other questions via weekly two-page writing assignments, interspersed with revisions of four or more pages in length.

 


Reading and Composition: Big Novels

English R1A

Section: 5
Instructor: Ling, Jessica
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Dickens, Charles: Bleak House; Eliot, George: Middlemarch; Eliot, George: Selected Essays, Poems, and Other Writings

Other Readings and Media

Additional articles and secondary sources in a course reader posted on b-space.

Description

Around the mid-nineteenth century, novels--like the British populace that wrote them--began to increase in size. Those peculiar and numerous Victorians were as famous for their queen as they were for their massive, unwieldy novels. In this class, we will tackle two great ones, vastly different in orientation, but similarly vast in their worlds, plots, characters and page count. We’ll witness the novel at the height of its “bigness”, a “bigness” that inspired Henry James’s vexed question, “ what do such large, loose, baggy monsters, with their queer elements of the accidental and the arbitrary, artistically mean?.” By way of asking what these novels mean, we will consider their relationship to particular social and cultural worlds, the evolution of the novel as a literary form, and more contemporary theorizations of the novel. As we develop papers of increasing length and complexity, we will ask what it means to write long things, and what can be gained from reading them.

This class seeks to hone writing skills, with particular attention to exposition and argument. In addition to weekly readings, a series of short writing assignments and longer analytic essays will be assigned. We’ll refine these essays through a combination of workshops and individual conferences.  All students are welcome, though avid readers and early risers are especially encouraged.


Reading and Composition: note new topic: Autobiography

English R1A

Section: 6
Instructor: Beck, Rachel
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 107 Mulford


Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Lunsford, Andrea: The Everyday Writer; Terkel, Studs: Working

Other Readings and Media

Brief additional readings posted on bspace.

Description

James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces, which chronicled the author’s horrific past, created a sensation among readers for its gripping treatment of addiction. But the book caused a far greater sensation when The Smoking Gun, checking police records against the claims Frey made in the memoir, determined that he “had wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his criminal career.” Frey and his publisher were eventually sued for fraud by readers for selling fiction as fact—for violating a convention of genre.

In this course we will set out a provisional definition of autobiography and its conventions, one we will complicate as we read texts that play with those conventions. Some questions we will consider: How do cultural norms influence the self one is able to represent in writing? What happens when another self is at the center of the writing? What does self-presentation look like in a work that is filled with many selves (e.g., a collection of oral histories)? How does autobiography employ elements of fiction? And given that elements of fiction are present in autobiography, what’s the relationship between fiction and nonfiction? What difference does it make if a story is true?

Like all R1A sections, this class is designed to develop the reading, analytical, discussion, and writing skills that will help you understand others’ ideas and articulate your own responses. To reinforce the critical reading and writing skills you are learning, we will regularly incorporate short in-class writing and revising exercises into class.


Reading and Composition: Special Friends

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Shelley, Jonathan
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Rossetti, Christina: Goblin Market; Shakespeare, William: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Shakespeare, William: Julius Caesar; Shakespeare, William: Two Gentlemen of Verona; Trimble, John R.: Writing with Style

Other Readings and Media

Selections from Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch, the Bible, Augustine of Hippo, Montaigne, Emerson, and others. The movie Thelma & Louise, possibly.

Description

This course will examine theories and depictions of friendship in a variety of philosophical and literary texts. What makes for a good friend? What circumstances are necessary for friendship to exist? What responsibilities does a friend have to another friend? What is the difference between friendship and romantic love? Is friendship between men the same as friendship between women? We will consider these and similar questions by reading dialogues, stories, and essays on friendship ranging from classical antiquity to the Bible to 19th-century America and will concentrate on the depiction of friendship in three English Renaissance plays—Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Julius Caesar—and the Victorian poem Goblin Market.

The primary goal of this class is to develop the skills for effective scholarly writing. We will use the works we encounter throughout the semester to read critically, gather evidence, formulate interesting arguments, and organize claims into persuasive essays. Over the course of the semester, students will produce several papers of varying length. These papers will be developed through a gradual process of outlining, drafting, editing, and revising.


Reading and Composition: "Work Hard, Play Hard": Work, Leisure, the Victorians and Us

English R1A

Section: 8
Instructor: Larner-Lewis, Jonathan
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Dickens, C.: Great Expectations; Hardy, T.: The Return of the Native

Description

Work hard, play hard: it's the Berkeley way of life. 

But why do we work so hard? To get a job? To make money? To earn some leisure time? To give our lives meaning? We can shed light on all of these questions and many possible answers by studying an era distant from but strangely parallel to our own. Indeed, many of the kinds of work we do now, at the university and afterwards, and many of our own ways of thinking about work and leisure, came into being in the Victorian period. Certainly they came up for a lot of discussion. We will work over a series of texts (fiction, history, poetry and criticism) about work and leisure in order to spur our own thinking and writing around these issues.

At the same time we will work hard on our own writing, on how we construct sentences and paragraphs, and how we build arguments. Our assignments will progress through increasingly complex applications of these skills in academic discourse. We’ll write a short personal paper at the beginning of the semester, followed by three essays of increasing length, and make use of an extensive peer-review process. This will orient you to your audience, sharpen your critical skills, and improve your writing in the way only heavy revision can. No doubt: writing is hard work. (So why did many Victorians consider it a leisure activity?) 


Reading and Composition: Adventures of the Unheroic: A Hero’s Journey in Fourteenth-Century Poetry

English R1A

Section: 9
Instructor: Crosson, Chad Gregory
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Borroff, Marie: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Pearl; Esolen, Anthony: Inferno; Fitzgerald, Robert: The Aeneid; Mandelbaum, Allen: The Aeneid of Virgil

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader

Description

Narrow escapes, displays of prowess, and confrontations that end in triumph tend to typify the heroic in popular culture, whether in action films or graphic novels.  Although some contributions to these genres may at times complicate this portrayal, one needs only to mention films like Die Hard or the Matrix to convey popular expectations of the hero.  The subject of this course is fourteenth-century poetry with its display of, as some have put it, the unheroic; that is, besides lacking depictions of heroic action, this poetry creates the image of a humbled and weakened man.  As we read the poetry from this period, we will consider this unheroic image in some of the following ways: Does this poetry depict an unheroic man, or is the heroic ideal significantly altered from classical literature?  How do we approach questions of morality in an “unheroic” literary milieu?  What does this image reveal about the goals and challenges of the protagonists in this literature? 

We will begin this discussion by looking at examples of the hero in classical literature before moving into late fourteenth-century English poetry.  These literary works will form the basis for your practice in critical reading, and they will also form the subject of your papers.  Although much of our class discussion will revolve around the books we are reading, a significant portion of the course will focus on your writing.  Building from a series of short reading responses, drafts, and peer editing responses, you will compose 3 five-page essays.  Each of these essays will require you to craft and support a central argument as you use close literary analysis to explore the texts we will read.


Reading and Composition: Aspiring Minds and Expelling Bodies: A Brief Survey of Satire

English R1A

Section: 10
Instructor: Jeziorek, Alek M
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Happy Days; Conrad, Josef: The Secret Agent; Flaubert, Gustav: Bouvard and Pécuchet; More, Thomas: Utopia; Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels; Waugh, Evelyn: Vile Bodies

Other Readings and Media

"A Modest Proposal," by Jonathan Swift; Selections from "Wild Body" by Wyndham Lewis

Description

As the first course in the Reading and Composition series, this class will work to develop your ability to read and write critically. To that end, this class requires that you write several short essays of increasing length and sophistication as well as other shorter writing assignments. In order to help you succeed, we’ll focus on reading closely, asking great questions, developing effective arguments, organizing paragraphs in structured and meaningful ways, and revising drafts.

Satire will frame our reading for the semester. We will explore satire’s vexed status as an ethical, political, and moral “corrective,” which almost always assumes the guise of the very thing it aims to critique. Satire seems to enjoy vice before it lampoons it. Our response, laughter, is, of course, a pleasant reaction of the body, but it implicates our own enjoyment of vice, too. While satire seems to tend asymptotically toward utopia, or the ideal, it constantly trips over bodies.  As we progress in our survey, we’ll begin to question our assumptions about satire and study it as a strange constellation of utopia and dystopia, the ideal and bodily, the good and the cruel. We might address the following questions. How does satire actually relate to those serious categories—ethics, politics and morality? Is satire ultimately conservative or subversive? Is satire serious and, if so, how do we ultimately relate its ridiculous methods to this high seriousness? Why are our bodies funny and why do they matter?


Reading and Composition: Eros in Shakespeare

English R1A

Section: 11
Instructor: Castillo, Carmen
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Hacker, Diana: Rules for Writers; Shakespeare: Anthony & Cleopatra; Shakespeare: As You Like It; Shakespeare: Macbeth; Shakespeare: Othello; Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

Description

In this course we will read some of Shakespeare’s works and look at the aesthetics of Eros. We will read Shakespeare with an eye toward how Eros is represented: as a figure (the god of love), as “love” in the most spiritual sense to the bawdiest sense, in the reproductive sense and in the sense of the harmonizing force in Shakespeare’s art. In this course we will read one of Shakespeare’s long poems, some sonnets and five plays focusing on the reading experience as a way to track literary devices at play and as a way to generate fresh and compelling assertions and arguments about these works.

The goals of this course are to have fun, to explore, to learn to read closely, to develop increasing skills in clear writing, thesis and paragraph development, and argumentation. We will engage deeply with the texts, discuss them feverishly in class, and write a number of short essays, including revisions, toward the general goal of producing well-shaped and polished critical essays.


Reading and Composition: What Is Enlightenment?

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Mangin, Sarah
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Coetzee, J.M. : Elizabeth Costello; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels;

Recommended: Hacker, Diana: A Writer's Reference, 7th edition

Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

What constitutes cultural progress? How do we value the potential of a life and a mind? This course will explore some of the complicated legacies of the European Enlightenment. To begin, we will survey ways in which the Enlightenment remains both an ideal and an illusion as it is currently invoked in debates about American prisons and cognition in the Internet age. We will then turn to consider a variety of source materials from the crackling public sphere of the eighteenth century—popular magazines, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the paintings of Jacques-Louis David—all of which debate the nature of humanity and citizenship. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello will help us interrogate broader ethical, perceptual, and political anxieties about Enlightenment compacts in modernity. 

Amid these cultural contexts, our goal is to develop the range and depth of your thinking when approaching the college essay; we will consider matters of sentence craft alongside those of organization and critical reflection. In the final portion of the course, each student will investigate a topic that brings the themes of our readings into new focus and write a research paper. While we might not answer definitively the question of the course title, our task is that of transmuting “enlightenment” into essay form—into the convincing presentation of your discoveries.


Reading and Composition: The Poetry of the Past

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: Garcia, Marcos Albert
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: Troilus & Criseyde; Homer: Iliad (tr. Fagles); Lydgate, John: Troy Book- Selections; Shakespeare, William: Troilus and Cressida; Virgil: Aeneid (tr. Fagles)

Description

The objects of study in this course are ancient, medieval, and early modern poems that not only describe past events, but in doing so also formulate specific and often surprising conceptions of the past through the manipulation of poetic form.  We will reflect simultaneously on the aesthetic effect of these poems and on their valence in the social, political, and material contexts in which they were produced and reproduced.  Our goal will be to trace form's change or endurance over time, as well as to understand the meaning and effect of specific formal conventions and the particular conceptions of the past they generate.  Since our topic spans the concerns of both historicist and formalist literary criticism, we will also spend some time learning and applying the reading and research practices of each “school.”  The primary readings for the course will be historical poems that take up the matter of Troy, supplemented by secondary readings on the history and form of individual works, as well as essays and articles on the historicist and formalist methodologies.


Reading and Composition: Representative Men

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: Dumont, Alex
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Forster, E.M.: Howard's End; Gaskell, Elizabeth: Cranford; Thackeray, William Makepeace: Barry Lyndon; Wordsworth, William and Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: Lyrical Ballads

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be posted to bSpace, and will include works by Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Carlyle, Francis Galton, and others.

Description

This class, which takes its title from a series of lectures by Ralph Waldo Emerson, will examine one of the most basic questions of literature—about whom should we write?—and consider the ways in which this seemingly simple question is not simple at all. Should the subjects of literature be extraordinary, or should they be average? And how, in fact, would we decide what an average person or experience is? Are there certain types of people (poets? workers? residents of the city or the country?) who are somehow more representative than others? We will also think about the ways in which certain texts are seen as representative of a genre, a time-period, or an author’s body of work.

This class is designed to further develop your reading and writing skills, and broaden the scope of your essays to include research. It should also help you to think about your work as part of a larger conversation; one that includes literary criticism, history, and writing in the sciences. To this end, much of our class will be devoted to learning how to make sense of what others have written about a text, and how to respond thoughtfully to these other writers—skills that should serve you well whether your major is in or outside of the humanities.

 


Reading and Composition: “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I feel fine)”

English R1B

Section: 4
Instructor: Lee, Sookyoung (Soo)
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Kafka, Franz: Amerika: The Missing Person; Melville, Herman: Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life; Spark, Muriel: Memento Mori; Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels; Williams, Joseph: Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with the following materials: Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798); Didion, “Slouching towards Bethlehem” (1968); Dostoevsky, “The Grand Inquisitor” chapter from The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80); selections from First World War poetry; selections from Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789-1848 (1962).

Description

“But the age of chivalry is gone—That of sophisters, oeconomists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever,” laments the political thinker Edmund Burke upon seeing Marie-Antoinette’s head chopped off. “From the response of the nation, revealed through its culture, you would have thought that death had been invented on November 22, 1963. And for that culture, it indeed had,” observes the sociologist David Reisman in an essay written a month after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. An individual life speaks for the vitality of a collective. In turn, a nation, a culture or a time period is understood and talked about as an organic form, living, growing, decaying and dying. By what process does a phenomenon take on its inevitable, ironic character within the larger historical narrative? To put it differently and bluntly, how do we recognize when an era begins and ends, when the world as we’ve known it dissipates in anticipation of a world we’ve yet to know? “Be not afeard,” the brave monster Caliban assures the shipwrecked visitors:

The isle is full of noises,

Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices

That, if I then had waked after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,

The clouds methought would open and show riches

Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked

I cried to dream again. (The Tempest. III.ii. 137-145)

The texts in this course will show us, shipmasters and boatswains stranded and lost, the strange and surprisingly familiar imaginings of new and old worlds; tell us about the anxiety of discovery and of world-weariness; and bring us into experiences as foreign as they are intimately within. You will be asked to choose a text early on and sustain an ongoing research project throughout the semester. You will present your research writing in two stages, a preliminary proposal (5-7 pages) with an oral presentation and a final paper (10-12 pages) with at least two critical sources.


Reading and Composition: Indecision

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Ty, Michelle
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Eugenides, Jeffrey: Middlesex; Euripedes: Oresteia; Kafka, Franz: Parables and Paradoxes; Plato: Crito; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet; Walser, Robert: Selected Stories; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

Film: Kurosawa's Rashomon

Available in a course reader:

Stein, "An Elucidation"; selected poetry of Dickinson, Yeats, and Eliot; Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener"; and selected photographs by Claude Cahun.

And selections from the following: Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Scepticism; Descartes's Discourse on Method; Goncharov's Oblomov; Carl Schmitt's The Concept of the Political; Kierkegaard's Either/Or; Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; I Ching; Freud's Ego and the Id and "The Uncanny"; Cartier-Bresson's "The Decisive Moment"; Derrida's Politics of Friendship; Breton's Nadja.

NOTE:  The books will be available at University Press Bookstore on Bancroft Ave.

Description

This course will ask its students to take up a strangely double task: to practice how to craft an argument—how to take a position in writing—while spending time reflecting on what it means to be, and to remain, undecided.  

We will begin by examining various incarnations of indecision in classical philosophy—in the antique traditions of skepticism and stoicism, and in Aristotle’s suggestion that decision is “the principle of action.”  In addition to considering how indecision might be lamented as a tragic flaw—a feature opposed to the strength and valor of the decisive act—we will explore how the experience of being undecided later comes to be associated with, if not partly constitutive of, modern subjectivity itself, with special attention to Hamlet’s famous bout of inaction and existentialism’s insistence that freedom is exercised through (semi-sovereign) choice.

In the latter part of the course, we will mull over indecision within the context of a whole host of related concepts, including psychic ambivalence; literary ambiguity; gender indeterminacy and androgyny; as well as the accusation of “waffling” or “flip-flopping” that is now prevalent in contemporary political discourse.

We will also consider the implications of thinking about artistic form as the manifestation of decision-making, and following this, will inquire how artists have sought alternatives to the imperative of choice—for instance, in the deliberate practice of leaving things to chance.

Requirements for the course include the following: one two-page response paper at the semester's beginning; an in-class presentation, relevant to the selected week's readings, which will become the basis for a 2-page paper, due the following week; one paper, 3-5 pages, which will be revised; annotated bibliography; one-page research paper prospectus; a final research paper, 8-10 pages.


Reading and Composition: Early American Literature - Pessimism and Unease

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: Junkerman, Nicholas
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Brown, Charles Brockden: Wieland; Crevecour, J. Hector St. John de: Letters from an American Farmer; Rowson, Susanna: Charlotte Temple

Other Readings and Media

A course reader featuring shorter works and critical essays.

Description

This course will concentrate on American works written in the decades following the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.  We will be focusing on the work of authors who express unease, pessimism and even anger about the newly created United States.  While they have their hopeful moments, these texts raise serious questions about the stability, the morality and even the sanity of the new nation and its people.  We will consider these dark musings in their immediate historical context, but also in a larger sense.  What is the value of national pessimism?  What are the consequences of righteous anger?  How and why do we write about our fears?

As we explore these issues, we will also be working to develop tools and strategies for effective reading, writing and research.  This will take place alongside and in dialogue with the works that we encounter throughout the semester.  Students will write several papers, including a final research paper.  We will take the longer papers through the crucial stages of drafting and revision, a process which will include peer review sessions and meetings with the instructor.           


Reading and Composition: The English of France

English R1B

Section: 7
Instructor: Perry, R. D.
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot: Bilingual Edition; Chaucer, Geoffrey: Dream Visions and Other Poems; Gower, John: The French Balades; Shakespeare, William: Henry V

Other Readings and Media

Additional primary readings on b-space from John Gower, Thomas Hoccleve, John Lydgate, Christine de Pizan, and someone who may be Geoffrey Chaucer.  Secondary material also on b-space by James Simpson, D. Vance Smith, Ardis Butterfield, Fredric Jameson, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt.

Films: Carl Theodor Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc, Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, Laurence Olivier's Henry V, and Bela Tarr's The Man from London.

Description

To say that the English have a complicated relationship to their French neighbors is probably a bit of an understatement.  There has historically been a great deal of political cooperation between these two nations, but there has been a great deal of animosity and cultural chauvinism as well.  Part of the complexity springs from the fact that the two almost became one nation at several different points in their shared history.  This course will focus on the way that complex political and cultural relationship emerges in works of art.  In some instances, the works will be thematically interested in this relationship, and in other instances international politics will help shape the work’s formal characteristics.  Although we will be interested in the long historical development of this relationship, we will pay particular attention to the medieval period, especially those years during the Hundred Years War, the period where the difference between England and France is least distinct. 

So, international relations are the subject of our course, but not the work of the course.  The purpose of R1B is to focus on your writing, specifically in the form of research papers.  We will spend a lot of time in class talking about how one uses material of one sort (perhaps historical, or from political theory) to discuss work of another sort (literary, in this instance).  We will discuss the basics of research methods and how best to incorporate research into the shaping of an argument.  You will write 3 different papers over the course of the semester.


Reading and Composition: Ethnicizing America

English R1B

Section: 8
Instructor: Xiang, Sunny
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 89 Dwinelle


Book List

Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby; Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Lee, Chang-rae: Native Speaker

Description

Why are we a “nation of immigrants”? What does it mean to possess “the audacity of hope”? How are we “post-race” but not post-ethnicity? This course examines the mythos of America through (mostly) contemporary literature. The form of Americaness at issue is one that has ostensibly eclipsed what W.E.B. Du Bois had deemed a twentieth-century problem – that is, the problem of the color line, or, put differently, of race. Through literary, historical, and critical texts, we will trace familiar themes – hard work, perseverance, opportunity, equality, and, of course, hope – with an especial focus on the potency of  “voice” as a political metaphor. To what extent can “one voice can change a room, . . .  a city, . . . a state, . . . a nation, and . . . the world” (to quote Barack Obama)? How do we read immigrant voices in relation to literary voices? What conditions influence our capacity as readers not only to listen to narratorial voices but also to trust and to heed them? In our approach to these inquiries, we will try to complicate the more general relationship between art and politics, text and context, and form and content.  

This course requires you to complete two essays, a research project, and short writing assignments and responses.  It will also guide you through a process of outlining, drafting, editing, and revising to build a repertoire of critical reading and writing skills.


Reading and Composition: This is Not Real.

English R1B

Section: 10
Instructor: Creasy, CFS
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw & In the Cage; Johnson, B.S.: Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry;

Recommended: Churchill, Caryl: A Number; Duras, Marguerite: The Ravishing of Lol Stein

Other Readings and Media

A film screening to be determined.
 
A course reader that may include excerpts from Cervantes’s Don Quixote, short texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Samuel Beckett, and theoretical excerpts from G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, and Georges Duthuit and Samuel Beckett.
 

Description

This is a course about a strange, perhaps essentially aesthetic form of experience. From daydreamers and romantics to addicts and the insane, these works confront us with figures whose experiences put in question any stable notion of reality. What do such experiences mean for our conception of literature, and our conception of something like a ‘real world’? And what if, instead of being exceptions, these experiences are instead the rule, or perhaps make it impossible to maintain the terms ‘exception’ and ‘rule’? In focusing on works drawn from the second half of the 19th century and from throughout the 20th, we will address with the ways in which these texts thematize and formalize problems of the real and the unreal—how they are about this relation, and how they somehow create the same problem anew for us in our experience of them.
 
Building on what you have already learned in the first of the Reading and Composition courses, this second course will use the questions that this material poses of us, as well as those we pose of it, to develop your critical reflection as well as your writing and research skills that will culminate in a larger research paper at the end of the semester. Our attention will be devoted in large part to approaching a research paper as a series of cumulative but individually small and manageable pieces. Supplementing the successively longer and successively more revised essays, these intermediate steps will include things like peer editing, an annotated bibliography, and a draft outline.


Reading and Composition: The Sonic Artifact

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Le, Serena
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Prometheus Unbound; Wordsworth, William: Lyrical Ballads

Other Readings and Media

A course reader containing additional poems by Matthew Arnold, John Keats, Charlotte Smith, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, essays by Arnold and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and excerpts from contemporary criticism in acoustics and ethnomusicology.

Listenings (including recordings of birdsong) available through library databases and other online resources.

Description

“How canst thou hear / Who knowest not the language of the dead?” This is the question Earth has for Prometheus in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound. Prometheus, inhabitant of the mortal world and not yet dead, should be deaf to Earth’s voice, which is the voice of all lived history, the sediment of nature and civilization turned to layers of planetary crust. Somehow, miraculously, Prometheus hears. Lacking similar miracles, how do we? This course is interested in sound as archaeology, in the crash of waves and the flutter of birdsong that become, in literature, a seeming portal to lost or absent time. From the poets of Romanticism, who insist on the quality of natural sound as that which allows them to hear through the ages, to modernist writers likewise predisposed, we will discuss sound as elusive object and persistent artifact, and the texts that, map-like, seem to bid us find it.

Written work for this course will consist of several essays of varying length, culminating in a research paper on a topic of the student’s own design. Students should expect to refine basic skills in researching and developing extended critical commentary.


Reading and Composition: Asian American Speculative Realism

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Fan, Christopher Tzechung
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 223 Wheeler


Book List

Choi, Susan: A Person of Interest; Hong, Cathy Park: Dance, Dance, Revolution; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; Yu, Charles: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Description

Asian American literature hasn’t always gotten along with realism. As a literature read through the lens of ethnicity, it is saddled with the responsibility of realistically portraying ethnicity. Is Asian American realism therefore ultimately only about something called “Asian America?” This is the central question we will be dealing with in this course. In order to even begin formulating an answer, however, we must first answer some more fundamental questions. What is “Asian America?” Does such a thing exist? If so, when was it invented, and what purpose does it serve? What is “realism,” and what is the “reality” it purports to represent? As the title of this course indicates, we will be approaching this last question in a rather unconventional way: through the paradoxical figure of a speculative realism. Does realism always have to be about an actually existing or past reality? Or do the future and the imagination also constitute our reality in some important way?


Reading and Composition: Difficult Literature

English R1B

Section: 13
Instructor: Taylor, Bradford Alden
Time: MWF 3-4
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Barnes, Djuna: Nightwood; Eliot, T.S.: The Waste Land; Sebald, W.G.: The Rings of Saturn

Description

“Poets in our civilization, as it exists at present, must be difficult.” Or so thought T.S. Eliot in 1921. Whether poets must be difficult is an open question, but the fact is that a lot of what we call literature is not exactly easy to read. Strange words, incomprehensible characters, unnecessary scenes, inscrutable systems, irascible narrators: all of these things can be very frustrating, so why do we keep coming back for more? What about difficulty is enticing and important? Why can’t literature just tell it how it is? Why must literature be difficult?

This class will look at a range of poems and novels that are often considered difficult. We will tackle these texts with a combination of close reading skills, secondary literature, and a sense of humor. We will learn how being confused can be a good thing, and we will work together to clarify and channel this confusion into literary critical essays.


Reading and Composition: Revelation and Revision

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: O'Connor, Megan
Time: MW 4-5:30
Location: 104 Dwinelle


Book List

Austen, Jane: Persuasion; Douglass, Frederick: My Bondage and My Freedom; Hacker, Diana: Rules for Writers; Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories; Melville, Herman: Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales

Other Readings and Media

Course reader that may include shorter texts by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, and Walt Whitman.

Description

“… now with the scales dropped from his eyes…”

-       Herman Melville, “Benito Cereno”

As an R&C course, this R1B course will continue to build on the writing practices developed in R1A.  As students further refine the skills of exposition and argumentation, this course will also focus on more complex and sustained arguments.  The writing assignments will be longer than in R1A and the papers will incorporate a research component. 

We will engage the assigned readings – novels, poems, short stories, and essays – as texts that challenge us to read with greater attention to detail, think more critically, write with more precision, and argue with greater nuance.  More specifically, we will follow the assigned texts in asking questions about revelation and revision.  How do these texts present moments of understanding or flashes of insight?  What are the effects of such events in perception?  What kinds of relationships can we see between an individual revelation and one recognized by a larger community?  After a moment of insight, how do these texts present the transformation and interpretation of vision into memory or in the process of communicating the insight to others?  What kind of revision process might that moment of vision undergo?  How does literary form privilege or undermine vision as truth or, alternatively, present it as merely ostensible revelation?

Requirements

• 3-page diagnostic paper

• Research component to papers

• 16 pages each of preliminary drafts/revisions and final drafts


Reading and Composition: Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Long 20th Century

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Richards, Jill
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Bolaño, Roberto: By Night in Chile; Coetzee, Joseph: Waiting for the Barbarians; Collins, Suzanne: The Hunger Games; Conrad, Joseph: The Secret Agent; Lewis, Wyndham: BLAST 1; Satrapi, Marjane: The Complete Persepolis

Description

Hannah Arendt once claimed that the modern concept of revolution involves a sometimes mistaken sense of history beginning anew. For Arendt, this notion of a new day, of  “an entirely new story, a story never known or told before” is inevitably intertwined with revolutionary action, because revolutionary action must always confront the political problem of beginning anew. Though we will not always take Arendt at her word, this class will take a closer look at the stories of new days and new worlds that emerge amidst moments of political upheaval. Beginning in revolutionary France, we will travel through the long twentieth century, moving across anarchist cabals in turn of the century London, the Spanish Civil War, Pinochet’s counter-revolution in Chile, Iran’s White Revolution, and the Arab Spring. Through close readings of prose poems, detective stories, manifestos, agitprop posters, cinema, and the graphic novel, we will look at the way that literary forms speak through and for the moments of historical rupture that they take as their subject. We will ask: How does the imagination of a new day or new world necessitate new ways of saying and doing? Can a text take a clear stand as for or against? Would we want it to?

This class will focus on analyzing and writing about literary texts. We will think about the formal choices an author makes: Why write a character as flat or round? Why break the poetic line at any given point? Why use a really long sentence or a really short sentence? Why rhyme or not rhyme? What do these choices do?  In class we will ask ourselves this question while moving through literary, cinematic, and historical texts. We will disagree, agree, persuade, and generally wander in and around these materials to better understand how they are put together. These conversations will provide a model for what literary arguments can look like. A portion of the class will be spent working on the writing skills you need to convey such arguments clearly and effectively in a full-length paper.  This section of the course will be geared toward honing your skills to create an original, argumentative thesis, organize a paper, incorporate secondary sources, and avoid common grammatical mistakes. Even if you are not an English major, this course should provide you with the foundational skills you will need in your future studies. 


Reading and Composition: “So this is Dyoublong?”: Reading Modern Ireland

English R1B

Section: 16
Instructor: Tazudeen, Rasheed
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot; Bowen, Elizabeth: The Last September; Enright, Anne: What Are You Like?; Harrington, John P.: Modern Irish Drama; Joyce, James: Dubliners; Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest

Other Readings and Media

Neil Jordan, The Crying Game (film); Ken Loach, The Wind that Shakes the Barley (film); Course Reader with selections from Samuel Beckett, Seamus Deane, Lady Augusta Gregory, Seamus Heaney, Douglas Hyde, Declan Kiberd, J.M. Synge, and W.B. Yeats.  All titles subject to change.

Description

James Joyce claimed in a 1907 lecture that “No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.” Literary critic Declan Kiberd writes that the Irish in the early twentieth century “suffered from a homeless mind.”  As both a colony of England and an agent of the British Empire that participated in England’s colonial missions abroad and its wars in Europe, as a country comprised of both a “native” Irish-Catholic population and an Anglo-Protestant settler class each vying for political and cultural dominance over the other, and as a population of citizens who more often left Ireland and claimed identification with America, England, and the European continent than remained in the country, Ireland had no simple and self-evident national identity to fall back on.  The response of several of the writers we will explore in this course, from Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, and Anne Enright at the turn of the millennium, was to use literature and drama to invent an Irish identity out of this chaotic tangle of competing national, cultural, religious, sexual, racial, and ethnic affiliations.  In this course, we will explore the role of literature in producing and contesting ideas of “Irish” identity, challenging the racial, sexual, and cultural norms of both English imperialism and Irish nationalism, and above all, asking the pervasive and timeless question: what does it mean to belong?

The primary goal of this class is to improve your writing skills and your ability to construct complex ideas and interesting arguments and develop them in your essays.  We will concentrate on mechanics and style, learning how to read closely, formulate arguments, gather evidence, and organize claims into persuasive essays.  Course assignments will include a minimum of 32 pages of writing divided among a number of short essays and culminating in a longer research paper. 


Reading and Composition: Creation and Creativity

English R1B

Section: 17
Instructor: Saltzman, Benjamin A.
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Alexander (trans.), G.: Sidney's 'The Defence of Poesy' and Selected Renaissance Literary Criticism (Penguin Classics); Kaufman and Sternberg: The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity; Murray and Dorsch (trans.): Classical Literary Criticism (Penguin Classics); Robinson, K.: Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative; Strunk and White: The Elements of Style

Other Readings and Media

Students will also be required to purchase a reader containing material from Augustine, Bede, Chaucer, Genesis, Milton, Plato, and Shakespeare.

Description

“It is only good for God to create without toil; that which man can create without toil is worthless.” – John Ruskin

Creativity was not always a concept applied to the human potential to conceive of something original, to invent something novel, to produce something out of nothing. Aristotle regarded poetic creativity as primarily a mimetic (imitative) process. In the Middle Ages, creativity (from Latin ‘creare’ [to produce]) seems to have belonged predominantly to the domain of God—the Creator of the universe, the Poet of the world. And it has been argued that “the Renaissance discovery of creativity” was an application of the medieval Christian idea of God as the ultimate Creator—having created the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing)—to the work of human ingenuity. The Renaissance application of this idea to human endeavors—supposing that humans too could create something out of nothing—is largely responsible, so the argument goes, for the way we conceive of creativity in the western world today. Two problems arise: first, the Middle Ages and the conceptions of creativity (both divine and otherwise) developed therein are not so simple; and second, how we think of creativity in the western world today has come under serious consideration from scholars of various disciplines (e.g., psychology, history, education). This course will examine classical, medieval, and early-modern ideas of creativity, narratives of creation, and a even few creative products (e.g., poems, sculptures, plays) in order to gain a deeper understanding of what it actually means to “create.” We will also survey the current state of the field of creativity studies. Over the course of the semester, each student will develop a unique research project that investigates some aspect or manifestation of creativity, whether ancient or modern.

Good research requires creativity. In this course, we will encounter the fundamental (and often paradoxical) burden of the researcher: on the one hand, the researcher must gather knowledge and take stock of what research and ideas have come before; on the other, in order for research to be significant, it must be “original,” it must uncover something new about the topic at hand, and it must—above all—produce new knowledge. While honing our reading and interpretive skills, we will have an opportunity to experience that burden and to discover the great joy of producing original research. 


Reading and Composition: The Parallel Discourses of Sex and Race: The Problems of Othering Sexuality

English R1B

Section: 18
Instructor: Seeger, Andrea Yolande
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Allison, Dorothy: Bastard out of Carolina; Baldwin, James: Go Tell It on the Mountain; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye

Other Readings and Media

secondary reading TBA

Description

James Baldwin once said, “The sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined, you know.  If Americans can mature on the level of racism, then they have to mature on the level of sexuality.” This course will be invested in explaining and exploring how the discourses of race and sexuality interact with and construct a culturally prevalent dialogue based on scientific racism, misinformation, fantastic social assumptions, counter-factual evidence, privilege, and power—we will utilize these discourses to theorize how twentieth-century American writers engage with and deconstruct the legacies of scientific racism, class prejudice, and misogyny in their fictional writing about race and sexuality in general and incest in particular.

The writing fundamentals of the course build on the basic writing tenets introduced in R1A by essaying longer expository and argumentative pieces with an emphasis on learning and utilizing research skills.  Students will write and rewrite progressively longer essays as the course progresses, culminating with a ten-page research essay.  This class places a premium on peer editing and student workshopping.


Reading and Composition: U.S. Latina/o Literature and Culture

English R1B

Section: 19
Instructor: Maese-Cohen, Marcelle
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Alvarez, Julia: In the Time of the Butterflies ; Davalos, Karen Mary: Yolanda M López; Diaz, Junot: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Thomas, Piri: Down These Mean Streets

Other Readings and Media

Required Viewing:
Luis Valdez. Zoot Suit. (1981)
Lourdes Portillo. The Devil Never Sleeps. (1994)
Iris Moralis. Palante, siempre palante! The Young Lords (1996)
Peter Bratt. La Mission. (2009)

Course Reader: M. Jacqui Alexander, alurista, Gloria Anzaldúa, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles, Audre Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, selections from The Afro-Latin@Reader (Miriam Jiménez Roman and Juan Flores, eds.)

Description

This course will move toward a collaborative writing practice through in-class presentations designed to create a shared responsibility for understanding the reading, peer-editing, and group office hours. We will also learn the various stages of the research process and conclude with a mini-conference where students will present their work to the class before submitting the final research paper. Our assigned reading will begin with an introduction to queer of color and feminist theories of intersectionality. In this way, we will situate our study of Chican@/Latin@ Literature and Culture through the interlocked and contested terrains of race, labor, sexuality, and nation. In particular, we will consider representations of indigeneity and Afro-Latinidad in relation to spirituality, discourses of social justice, and the (post)colonial history of the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.


Reading and Composition: A Poetic Education in the American Grain

English R1B

Section: 20
Instructor: Miller, Christopher Patrick
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Ashbery, John: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror; Bishop, Elizabeth: Poems; Frost, Robert: North of Boston; Howe, Susan: Souls of the Labradie Tract; Hughes, Langston: Selected Poems; Stein, Gertrude: Selected Writings; Whitman, Walt: Poetry and Prose; Williams, William Carlos: Imaginations

Description

Why is there education, there is education because the two tables which are folding are not tied together with a ribbon, string is used and string being used there is a necessity for another one and another one not being used to hearing shows no ordinary use of any evening and yet there is no disgrace in looking, none at all.  This came to separate when there was simple selection of an entire pre-occupation… A curtain, a curtain which is fastened discloses mourning, this does not mean sparrows or elocution or even a whole preparation, it means that there are ears and very often much more altogether.

            - Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons (1914)

At a time when the role and structure of education is being redefined in the United States, we will investigate what role poetry and poetic thinking has in the formation both of individuals and of a national identity.  The challenge will be to develop language for what "poetic" speech can accomplish and how it might make available different ways of learning, knowing, belief, and care.

The class will be divided into two sections: a brief history of American poetry and "poetic" renditions of America's cultural and historical formation.  We will also read some foundational texts about poetics.  The goal of the class is to establish how poetry works and what kinds of models of personhood, value, and social/political life it imagines.  With some concrete examples in place, we will then attempt to understand how these poets mobilize these concepts to re-interpret notions of historical progress and national formation.

Individual research projects can be designed to evaluate a body of poems or use the resources of poetry and poetics to interpret another generic form, historical moment, event, etc.

PROSPECTIVE READING LIST:

 

History of the Lyric:

Song of Myself – Walt Whitman

Three Lives & Everybody's Autobiography– Gertrude Stein

North of Boston – Robert Frost

Spring and All – William Carlos Williams

North and South – Elizabeth Bishop

Montage to a Dream Deferred – Langston Hughes

Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror – John Ashbery

Souls of the Labadie Tract – Susan Howe

 

Poetic Critics of the United States:

Democratic Vistas – Walt Whitman

Education of Henry Adams – Henry Adams

D.H. Lawrence on American Literature

The Making of Americans – Gertrude Stein

In the American Grain – William Carlos Williams

My Emily Dickinson – Susan Howe

 

In addition, we will also be reading selections of writings on poetics from Aristotle, Sydney, Wordsworth, Shelley, and others.


Reading and Composition: Bad Writing

English R1B

Section: 21
Instructor: Mansouri, Leila
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 225 Wheeler


Book List

Hacker, Diana: Rules for Writers, 7th Edition; Smith, Zadie: White Teeth; Twain, Mark: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Case Studies in Critical Controversy)

Other Readings and Media

Essays and short stories by David Foster Wallace, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Peter Ho Davies, James Wood, and others.

Description

This course asks students to become better writers by thinking – and writing – about why we call certain kinds of writing “bad” and other kinds “good.” Specifically, we’ll ask what writers, critics, and, yes, teachers have stood to gain by labeling certain styles of writing and certain writers as “bad,” and we’ll discuss why some authors have welcomed, even courted, the label. Along the way we’ll read two popular novels that have attracted more than their share of critics’ and readers’ ire – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth – and we’ll talk about banned books, grammar SNOOTs, what makes “good” fiction, and why Nathaniel Hawthorne was so concerned that the America of his day was “wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women.” Your own research on what authors, critics, and readers have had to say about “bad writing” will become increasingly central to the class as the semester progresses, helping us to build an account of how definitions of “bad writing” have changed over time and continue to change even in the present day.

The point of all this is, of course, to make ourselves better writers even as we think more critically – and perhaps become a bit more circumspect – about just what, exactly, good writing and bad writing are. To that end, over the course of the semester a series of essay assignments culminating in a substantial research paper will ask you to develop your analytical and research skills. The peer-review and revision process for each essay will help you learn to fully develop your ideas in writing, to sharpen your prose, and, most importantly, to engage and persuade your audience.


Reading and Composition: Thinking Through Poetry

English R1B

Section: 22
Instructor: Lee, Richard Z
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 223 Wheeler


Book List

Lehman, David: The Oxford Book of American Poetry; Ricks, Christopher: The Oxford Book of English Verse;

Recommended: Eagleton, Terry: How to Read a Poem

Description

"Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."
"Poetry makes nothing happen."

Behind Percy Bysshe Shelley's exalted claim for poetry's shaping influence on the outside world and W.H. Auden's skeptical rejoinder lie the poems themselves and those that create them. Over the course of the semester, we'll take a fresh look at some major examples of the Anglophone poetic tradition of the past 500-plus years, as we attempt to situate our understanding of this literary form within the range of possibilities suggested by the very different claims of Shelley and Auden. In the process, we’ll introduce and develop students’ close reading skills, paying close attention to matters of form and content. Some of the more specific questions we’ll investigate as we proceed through the centuries will involve the role of poetic genre; the competing claims of the public and private worlds; and the political, commercial, and creative pressures poets have historically confronted. No experience with reading poetry is necessary—only a willingness to engage closely with rich and challenging material.

Through frequent composition, class discussions, and one-on-one conferences, this course will further develop students’ understanding of the process, discipline, and pleasures of writing. It will also familiarize them with the varied resources of the University library. Students will ultimately produce a total of at least thirty-two pages of writing across several essays, including a longer research assignment due at the end of the semester on a poet of their choice.  


Introduction to the Writing of Verse

English 43B

Section: 1
Instructor: Loofbourow, Lili
Loofbourow, Liliana
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Finch, Annie: An Exaltation of Forms; Kowit, Steve: In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop;

Recommended: Boisseau, Michelle: Writing Poems

Description

Watermelons

Green Buddhas

On the fruit stand.

We eat the smile

And spit out the teeth.

--Charles Simic

Poetry’s hardy stuff. It doesn’t have to be sacred. In this course we’re going to wade in with muddy hands, take poetry and make it do things. We’ll read it, write it, bend it, hem it, saw it, smell it. We’ll talk about what energizes and what drags, and whether vim or sloth seems right for that poetic moment. We’ll be thinking hard, not about what we like or what we don’t—though that’s part of it too—but how our liking or misliking is born. What effect triggered it? How was the effect built? On what grounds, in other words, is your aesthetic response built? By the end of this course we’ll have experimented with a wide range of poetic angles on the world and thought deeply about craft, form, and how we’ve been invited to see. Hopefully, we’ll come to understand poetry as a flexible material with which to make new experiences (earthy, sonic, passionate, formal, quiet, rhythmic, carnal or abstract).

We’ll be investigating some forms and production methods you might know as well as some new ones (these will include elegies, aubades, sonnets, litanies, etc.). Each week, we’ll be exploring a different mode while studying a wide variety of poems and writing and workshopping poems of our own. The final assignment will be a portfolio of your revised poems. 

To be considered for admission to this course, please submit 5 photocopied pages of your poetry, along with an application form, to Lili Loofbourow's mailbox in 322 Wheeler BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Nelson, Alan H.
Time: MW 10-11 + discussion sections F 10-11
Location: 110 Barrows


Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales; Greenblatt, Stephen, ed.: Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1; Milton, John: Paradise Lost

Description

Edmund Spenser admired and imitated Geoffrey Chaucer; John Milton admired and imitated both Chaucer and Spenser. This kind of admiration and imitation constitutes “literary tradition.” Early modern English authors looked not only to native precedents, but also to ancient Greece and Rome, and to contemporary Italy and France, for inspiration and approval. This course will concentrate on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Spenser’s Faery Queene (Book I), and Milton’s Paradise Lost; additional texts will be read for the sake of historical context. 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. 


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 2
Instructor: Arnold, Oliver
Time: MW 1-2 + discussion sections F 1-2
Location: 3 LeConte


Book List

Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works; Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales; Greenblatt, Stephen: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1

Description

This course will introduce students to Chaucer, Spenser, Marlowe, Donne, and Milton; to literary history as a mode of inquiry;  and to the analysis of the way literature makes meaning, produces emotional experience, and shapes the way human beings think about desire, commerce, liberty, God, power, the environment, subjectivity, empire, justice, death, and science.  We will study how a literary text emerges out of the author's reading of his or her predecessors and in relation to contemporary political, religious, social, and scientific discourses and events.

 


Literature in English: Late-17th Through Mid-19th Centuries

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: MW 12-1+ discussion sections F 12-1
Location: 3 LeConte


Book List

Austen, Jane: Persuasion; Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko and Other Writings ; Blake, William: Poems; Burns, Robert: Poems and Songs; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Gates, Henry Louis: Classic Slave Narratives; Melville, Herman: Bartleby and Benito Cereno; Pope, Alexander: Essay on Man and Other Poems; Rowlandson, Mary: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels; Wordsworth, W. and Coleridge, S.T.: Lyrical Ballads and Other Poems

Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available including poems by Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Lady Mary Montagu, Mary Leapor, William Collins, Thomas Gray, James Macpherson, Stephen Duck and Mary Collier, and short fiction by Walter Scott, E. A. Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Description

Readings in English, Scottish, Irish and North American prose narrative and poetry from 1688 through 1848: a century and a half that sees the formation of a new, multinational British state with the political incorporation of Scotland and then Ireland, the global expansion of an overseas empire, and the revolt of the North American colonies. Our readings will explore the relations between home and the world in writings preoccupied with journeys outward and back, real and imaginary -- not all of which are undertaken voluntarily.

 


Literature in English: Late-17th Through Mid-19th Centuries

English 45B

Section: 2
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: MW 3-4 + discussion sections F 3-4
Location: 2 LeConte


Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave ; Franklin, Benjamin: Autobiography; Pope, Alexander: Essay on Man and Other Poems; Rowlandson, Mary: Sovereignty and Goodness of God ; Wordsworth, William: The Major Works: Including The Prelude

Description

I will lecture on the cataclysmic rise of bourgeois modernity as it registers in English and American literature during the period 1660-1860. I will emphasize the mixture of euphoria, wonder, deprivation and anxiety that this transformation provokes, and I will concentrate on the Enlightenment and Romanticism as attempts to exploit historical opportunity while compensating for history’s deficiencies. Two five-page essays, a final exam, and regular participation in lecture and discussion section will be required.


Literature in English: Mid-19th Through the 20th Century

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Lee, Steven S.
Time: MW 9-10 + discussion sections F 9-10
Location: 2 LeConte


Book List

Conrad, J.: Heart of Darkness; Joyce, J.: Dubliners; Morrison, T.: Beloved; Nabokov, V.: Speak, Memory; Pynchon, T.: The Crying of Lot 49; Woolf, V.: To the Lighthouse; le, t.: The Gangster We Are All Looking For

Description

This course provides an overview of the many literary innovations now grouped under the term “modernism,” as well as their relations to the historical and social disruptions associated with the term “modernity.”  After providing a firm grasp of these terms, the course will emphasize both literary form and historical context.  How does literature respond to the pressures of industrialization, revolution, and empire, as well as to an ever-growing awareness of a diverse, interconnected world? 


Literature in English: Mid-19th Through the 20th Century

English 45C

Section: 2
Instructor: Flynn, Catherine
Time: MW 2-3 + discussion sections F 2-3
Location: 2 LeConte


Book List

Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw; Joyce, James: Dubliners; Morrison, Tony: Jazz; Ramazani, Jahan: The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry (Third Edition). Volume 1: Modern Poetry.; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse

Description

This course examines radical changes and unexpected continuities in literature in English from 1850 to (almost) the present.  We will read poetry and fiction from Britain, Ireland, North America and Africa in order to explore a range of literary responses to different aspects of modernity, such as urbanization, colonialism and popular culture. We approach these texts in a variety of ways: we will consider them as belonging to different modes (realism, naturalism, modernism, postmodernism); we will think about them as producing new kinds of narrative and poetic form; and we will read them closely.


Sophomore Seminar: Woody Allen

English 84

Section: 1
Instructor: Bader, Julia
Time: W 2-5
Location: 300 Wheeler


Book List

Allen, W.: The Insanity Defense: The Complete Prose

Description

We will examine the films and writings of Woody Allen in terms of themes, narration, comic and visual inventiveness and ideology.  The course will also include a consideration of cultural contexts and events at Cal Performances and the Pacific Film Archive.

This 2-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.


Topics in the English Language: Meters of English Poetry

English 102

Section: 1
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: note new room: 130 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

The principal text for the course will be a draft of a book I am writing on meter in English.  The principal task will be practical scansion, with each student pursuing an extended exploration of the metrical practice of a poet of their choosing. Therefore, most materials will be either photocopies or electronic files which can be modified to allow ample room for scribbling on. Students should also expect to purchase a good edition of the works of the poet they choose to focus on, as will be discussed further in class.

Description

This course is an introduction to the major meters of the English poetic tradition from a linguistic perspective. Beginning with the iambic pentameter of Shakespeare's Sonnets, we will explore its defining constraints on stress, syllable count and caesura placement, rhythmic variation these allow, expressive effects they create, and their relationship to rhythmic structure in language. We will then situate this meter historically, exploring its development from closely related forms in Romance languages, including Petrarch's Rime, and into various alternative forms of iambic pentameter in English, including those of Shakespeare's plays, Milton's Paradise Lost, and other English poetry. Finally, we will consider these several meters in relation to their still more distant ancestors in Old English and Classical Latin and Greek, and some of their descendents, including various forms of strong-stress and triple meters that came to be popular especially in the nineteenth century, in the work of such poets as Hopkins, Tennyson and Swinburne. Throughout, the main goal will be for students to become confident in ascertaining and describing metrical form and integrating it with consideration of other aspects of poetry. No prior background in metrics or linguistics or even English poetry is required.


English Drama from 1603 to 1700

English 114B

Section: 1
Instructor: No instructor assigned yet.
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: note new room: 110 Barrows


Book List

English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader

Description

This course will be a survey of some of the best seventeenth-century English drama. We will focus on the plays as plays – as series of actions upon the minds of audiences – and on ones first performed between 1603 and 1642, when the theaters were closed. If we have time, we may talk some about a Dryden play and possibly Congreve’s The Way of the World.

In no particular order, here are some of the plays I plan to assign: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Jonson’s Epiocene and Bartholomew Fair, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, Shirley’s The Cardinal, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and a couple of masques – Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness and Milton’s Comus.

Two formal essays and an essay in lieu of the final exam.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

 

 


Shakespeare: Shakespeare after 1600

English 117B

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: MW 3-4 + discussion sections F 3-4
Location: 159 Mulford


Book List

Shakespeare, William: Norton Shakespeare

Description

We will read ten or eleven plays from the later half of Shakespeare's career (which covers the late "problem" comedies, the major tragedies, and the tragicomedies). Taking our cue from the plays' self-consciousness of their medium of theater, we'll consider how the actions and utterances of performing bodies can define and reshape the boundaries between what's present, what's represented, and what is made real. I've ordered the Norton Shakespeare at the bookstore, but you may use any recent edition of the plays.


Shakespeare

English 117S

Section: 1
Instructor: Knapp, Jeffrey
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 159 Mulford


Book List

Shakespeare, W.: The Comedy of Errors; Shakespeare, W.: The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, Sonnets

Description

Shakespeare wrote a vast number of extraordinary plays.  We'll consider the range of these plays and why this range was important to him.  We'll also explore how the variety of plays in which he wrote affected Shakespeare's representation of plot and character, as well as the literary, social, sexual, religious, political, and philosophical issues he conceptualized through plot and character.  Finally, we'll think about Shakespeare's plays in relation to the range of social types and classes in his mass audience.

[PLEASE NOTE: The Norton collection I've assigned is a paperback of selected plays, not the hardcover complete plays.]


Literature of the Restoration and the Early 18th Century

English 119

Section: 1
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 170 Barrows


Book List

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy; Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works; Bunyan, John: Grace Abounding; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Pope, Alexander: Alexander Pope: The Major Works; Swift, Jonathan: The Writings of Jonathan Swift

Description

We will explore the relationship between literature and everyday life in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Areas of emphasis include popular periodical literature (England's first advice column, the first "women's magazine," and the first periodical to be published daily), religious responses to the so-called "new science," the early novel, and the writings of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. In addition to the texts listed, there will be a course reader.

Course requirements: two short analyses (1-2 pages), one substantial paper (7-9 pages), and a final exam.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.


Literature of the Later 18th Century

English 120

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 106 Moffitt


Other Readings and Media

The books will be available at Analog Books, 1816 Euclid Ave.

Description

Late-eighteenth-century writing shaped many of the forms and institutions of literature we now take for granted. Fiction writers worked to establish the genre—and—legitimate as worthy reading—what we now call novels, while others experimented with the first gothic horror stories. Poets reckoned with a literary market and tidal wave of printed works that threatened to render all writing mere commodities. They thematized their position as misunderstood guardians of creative spirit, sometimes of a national past, in model of the tortured poet with which we are still familiar. Women writers cannily intervened in the republic of letters, even as their public writing was seen as semi-scandalous. All helped develop a new sense of Literature with a capital “L”—not just writing but imaginative writing that might play a special role in society, from protecting classical values in a modernizing world, to promoting a standard national language and literature, to cultivating sentimental feelings for others in an increasingly anonymous society.

Authors include: David Hume, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Frances Burney, Horace Walpole, Jane Austen, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Gray, William Collins, William Cowper, Charlotte Smith.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.


The Victorian Period

English 122

Section: 1
Instructor: Jordan, Joseph P
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: note new room: 247 Cory


Book List

Dickens, Charles: Great Expectations; Eliot, George: Silas Marner; Hardy, Thomas: The Mayor of Casterbridge; Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader

Description

This course is designed to be a wide-ranging survey of some of the best imaginative writing in English from the so-called “Victorian” period (roughly, 1837-1901), as well as an introduction, though only incidentally, to the historical pressures that shaped the works. The focus will be on the works themselves – and why twenty-first century readers might value them.

We will spend most of our time on the works of the major poets (Tennyson, Browning, the pre-Raphaelites, Arnold, Hopkins, and so forth) and novelists (Eliot, Dickens, Hardy, maybe Thackeray). We will spend a shorter amount of time on the prose writers (Carlyle, Newman, Ruskin, Pater). And we will end the term with The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

Three formal essays. The third essay in lieu of the final exam.


The English Novel (Defoe through Scott)

English 125A

Section: 1
Instructor: Starr, George A.
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: note new room: 175 Barrows


Book List

Austen, J.: Persuasion; Beckford, W.: Vathek; Behn, A.: Oroonoko; Burney, F.: Evelina; Defoe, D.: Robinson Crusoe; Godwin, W.: Caleb Williams; Richardson, S.: Pamela; Smollett, T.: Humphry Clinker

Description

A survey of early fiction, much of which pretended to be anything but. Most of it, published anonymously, purported to be a true "History," "Expedition," or the like, about "Things as They Are." We will consider at the outset why these works so strenuously disavowed their status as romances or novels, and why for purposes of disguise they chose the genres they did.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.
 


The English Novel (Dickens through Conrad)

English 125B

Section: 1
Instructor: Eichenlaub, Justin
Eichenlaub, Justin
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: note new room: 210 Wheeler


Book List

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights; Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Dickens, Charles: Bleak House; Eliot, George: The Mill on the Floss; Gaskell, Elizabeth: North and South; Hardy, Thomas: Jude the Obscure; Kipling, Rudyard: Kim; Trollope, Anthony: Dr. Wartle's School; Wells, H.G.: The War of the Worlds

Description

What do novels do? How do they 'think'? How do they change the ways in which we perceive fictional and real worlds? Why does the novel come to dominate the literary scene so thoroughly in the Victorian period and into the twentieth century? What did nineteenth-century readers get out of reading prose fiction, whether in serial or volume form, and how do past reading practices connect with the ways we read and consume fiction today?

We will pursue these questions and others through a range of novels by authors including Dickens, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, Trollope, Hardy, H.G. Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad. The class will consist of a mix of lecture, full-class discussion, in-class activities, a paper, and two exams.


The 20th-Century Novel

English 125D

Section: 1
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 88 Dwinelle


Book List

Achebe , Chinua: Things Fall Apart; Gibson , William : Neuromancer; Mann , Thomas: The Magic Mountain; Woolf , Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway; Zola, Emile: La Bête Humaine

Description

This course is a general survey of the 20th-century novel. The novel is the quintessential form of expression of modernity and modern subjectivity. In this survey of key works of the century, we will explore the novel form as it is framed by these three thematics-- history, modernism and empire. These are some questions we will address: how have the vicissitudes of modernity led to a re-direction of historical narration within the novel; how has modernist aesthetic experimentation re-shaped the very form of the novel; and lastly how has the phenomenon of imperialism, the asymmetrical relations of power between center and periphery, widened the scope of fictive milieu?


Modern Poetry

English 127

Section: 1
Instructor: Altieri, Charles F.
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 141 McCone


Book List

Ramazani, Jonathan: Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Description

This course will survey major work and significant stylistic innovations in a variety of poets.  Major figures incude William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Mina Loy, T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens.  I am not sure if I will include poets of John Ashbery's generation.  The major work of the class will be finding the kinds of critical questions that deepen our pleasure and sense of significance in the work.  There will be two papers, a mid-term and final, and regular attendance is required.


American Literature: 1800-1865

English 130B

Section: 1
Instructor: McQuade, Donald
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: note new room: 9 Lewis


Book List

Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

In Beneath the American Renaissance, David Reynolds argues that “delving beneath the American Renaissance occurs in two senses: analysis of the process by which hitherto neglected popular modes and stereotypes were imported into literary texts; and the discovery of a number of forgotten writings which, while often raw, possess a surprising energy and complexity that make them worthy of a study on their own.”  In this class we will consider many of the major authors of the period (for example: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson) against the vibrant backdrop of antebellum politics and popular culture.  

This was an age when Andrew Jackson redefined the presidency and James K. Polk expanded the nation’s territory.  This was also a period of violent mobs, Barnum’s freaks, all-seeing mesmerists, polygamous prophets, temperance advocates, revivalist preachers, and resolute feminists. The literature and popular culture of the 1830s, 40s, and 50s bear witness to democracy caught in the throes of the controversy over slavery, the rise of capitalism, and the birth of urbanization.  In the midst of this turbulence, a remarkable range of mass cultural forms surfaced, including P.T. Barnum's American Museum, the moving panorama, and an early form of photography called daguerreotype.

Together, we will read, talk, and write about a great deal of the major literature of this era, study fascinating examples of the popular culture of the period, and explore the emergent cultural practices that make the antebellum period such an instructive and significant period in American cultural history.  We will focus on issues of "self" (the search for transcendence and the complexities of relations); the Puritan legacy; the landscape; the democratic experiment; the efforts to reform the American character; and the struggles over the rights and roles of women, African Americans, and Native Americans in the expanding nation.  Two midterms — or essays — and a final examination will be required.

 


American Literature: 1900-1945

English 130D

Section: 1
Instructor: Speirs, Kenneth
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: note new room: 155 Kroeber


Book List

Eliot, T. S.: The Waste Land, Prufrock and Other Poems; Faulkner, William: Light in August; Frost, Robert: Early Poems; Hammett, Dashiell: Red Harvest; Hemingway, Ernest: The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway; Hughes, Langston: Selected Poems of Langston Hughes; Wharton, Edith: The House of Mirth

Description

This course traces the formal and thematic development of American literature from 1900 to 1945, focusing on innovations in literary forms as they engage with history, identity, race, class, and gender. A principle goal of this course is to bring you to an almost fatal fascination with the choices the writers we study make (the striking stylistic, rhetorical, and structural features of the writing, including word choice and order, style, symbol, metaphor, structure, and narrative). We will also want to consider the writers' lives, prevailing beliefs, and the various environments (literary, geographical, political, etc.) within which these writers worked.

 

 


American Novel

English 132

Section: 1
Instructor: Carmody, Todd
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: note new room: 85 Evans


Book List

Three Classic African American Novels; Cather, Willa: Sapphira and the Slave Girl; Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom's Cabin; Twain, Mark: Pudd'n'head Wilson

Description

This course offers a survey of major American novels written in the years between the Civil War and the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. Course requirements include two essays as well as midterm and final exams.


Topics in African American Literature and Culture: African Diaspora Literature: Conversations in Black

English 133T

Section: 1
Instructor: Ellis, Nadia
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 106 Wheeler


Book List

Achebe, C.: Arrow of God; Adichie, C.: Half of a Yellow Sun; Baldwin, J.: Go Tell It On the Mountain; Brodber, E.: Louisiana; Diaz, J.: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Marshall, P: Brown Girl, Brownstones; McKay, C.: Home to Harlem; Rhodes-Pitts, S.: Harlem is Nowhere

Other Readings and Media

We will also study shorter works and critical essays by such writers as Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, George Lamming, CLR James, Stuart Hall, Edouard Glissant, Nathaniel Mackey, Brent Hayes Edwards, Krista Thompson, and Saidiya Hartman.

Description

This course surveys 20th and 21st century texts by black writers in order to explore the making and meaning of African diaspora literature. Through attention to writers' citational practices, including their references to music, religion, visual art, and each other, we will explore how a black global imaginary is constructed and delineate the conversations that emerge amongst writers in the global sphere of literature. We will also tackle the difficult questions diaspora poses. What might it mean to belong to the diaspora, for instance? How are the claims of identity balanced against the antagonisms of difference? How do writers speak to each other across nation, region, and diaspora? And how do gender and sexuality refract any presuppositions of diaspora?

Students will write regular response papers, make presentations, and conduct a substantial final research paper.

 


Literature of American Cultures: Race and Ethnicity in Hollywood Cinema

English 135AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: TTh 3:30-5 + M 6-9 films
Location: 105 North Gate (lectures) + 2040 Valley LSB (films)


Other Readings and Media

There will be an online reader or some pdfs to download.

Films:  Broken Blossoms (1919)The Sheik (1921)The Jazz Singer (1927), Bordertown (1935)Intruder in the Dust (1949)The Searchers (1956)Touch of Evil (1958), Imitation of Life (1959)West Side Story (1961)Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)Night of the Living Dead (1968)Apocalypse Now (1979), Do the Right Thing (1989).

Description

An introduction to critical thinking about race and ethnicity, focused on a select group of films produced in the United States over the twentieth century. Major themes include law and violence, kinship and miscegenation, captivity and rescue, passing and racial impersonation. There will be weekly writing assignments, two essays, and three exams.

This course satisfies U. C. Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.


Topics in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: Chicano Art and Literature

English 137T

Section: 1
Instructor: Padilla, Genaro M.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 123 Wheeler


Description

We will survey Chicano/a literature, art and film from the Chicano/a Movement (1960s through the 1980s) through more recent political and aesthetic formations.

The class will open with study of  a particularly fertile period during which the civil rights movement fomented a cultural florescence within the Chicano community that led to publication/performance of politically spirited and unifying poetry, art, novels and documentary film.

We will think about the convergence of a political aesthetic in the work of these novelists, poets, painters/sculptors, filmmakers, and we will try to account for the contrasts and connections with the wider spheres of art and politics that influenced their work.  To help situate and ground our thinking, we will outline  the historical and political backgrounds of this period and press these up against a cultural production that articulated resistance to the U.S. hegemony just as it often restated the patriarchal, homophobic, and nationalist and identitarian problematic that confronted the Chicano community in the first place. We will think about social and political content, of course, but I also want to look at the formation of a distinct aesthetic experimentation with language and form/genre and audience.

This course is open to all English majors interested in questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and the convergences and contestations of literary and  artistic representation and experiment and form. 

Course Requirements:

30%: sustained in-class contribution and group projects/presentations. At the beginning of class, I will clarify how this will work

30%: mid-term paper of 6 pages

40%: final essay of 8-10  pages based on topics of your own choosing, but covering at least three writers, artists or filmmakers.


Studies in World Literature in English: What Is South African Literature?

English 138

Section: 1
Instructor: Boniface Davies, Sheila
Boniface Davies, Sheila
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 183 Dwinelle


Book List

Coetzee, J. M.: Life and Times of Michael K; Magona, S.: Mother to Mother; Mda, Z.: The Heart of Redness; Paton, A.: Cry the Beloved Country; Van Niekerk, M.: Agaat

Other Readings and Media

There will also be a course reader.

Description

‘What is South African Literature?’ is an introduction to a broad range of storytellers who make up the country’s literature from the colonial period to the present day. Students will be exposed to a variety of voices in English or English translation – including, but moving well beyond, Nobel Prize winners J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer – through in-depth explorations of novels, shorts stories and poetry. But the question ‘What is South African Literature?’ is also, of course, entangled with issues of power. Not only are repression and resistance persistent themes in the literature itself, the history of South African literature has been shaped by political acts – from the earliest transcriptions of indigenous oral poetry, to the conscription of ‘culture as a weapon of the struggle’ during apartheid, and the suppression of creative expression, and disruption of literary traditions, through censorship and exile. This course will engage students in debates over what comprises ‘Literature’ (the place of orature and the interaction of oral and written forms; ‘aesthetics of revolution’ vs. ‘aesthetics of transcendence’...), whether it is possible/helpful to talk of a unitary South African Literature, and the role of South African literature in a post-apartheid, post-colonial and transnational world. In short, this course will consider how the story of South African literary historiography has been written and rewritten – giving insight into how canons are formed, why they are challenged, and by whom. The aim is to develop close-reading skills while never losing sight of socio-political and historical concerns.


Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.) : Writing Fiction, Drama, and Poetry

English 141

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Melanie Abrams
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: note new room: 170 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

Course reader available from Zee Zee Copy

Description

This course will introduce students to the study of creative writing – fiction, poetry, and drama.  Students will learn to talk critically about these genres and begin to feel comfortable and confident with their own writing of them.  Students will write in each of these genres and will partake in class workshops where their work will be edited and critiqued by other students in the class.

This course is open to English majors only.


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Vikram
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Perrotta, Tom: Best American Short Stories 2012

Other Readings and Media

A course reader, to be purchased at Zee Zee Copy.

Description

A short fiction workshop.  Over the course of the semester, each student will write and revise two stories.  Each participant in the workshop will edit student-written stories, and will write a formal critique of each manuscript.  Students are required to attend two literary readings over the course of the semester, and write a short report about each reading they attend.  Students will also take part in online discussions about fiction.  Attendance is mandatory.

Throughout the semester, we will read published stories from various sources, and also essays by working writers about fiction and the writing life.  The intent of the course is to have the students engage with the problems faced by writers of fiction, and discover the techniques that enable writers to construct a convincing representation of reality on the page.

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit 10-15 photocopied pages of your fiction, along with an application form, to Vikram Chandra's mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 2
Instructor: Mukherjee, Bharati
Time: Tues. 3:30-6:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

(eds.) R.V. Cassill & Joyce Carol Oates.: The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction (Second Edition);

Recommended: Mukherjee, Bharati.: The Middleman & Other Stories

Description

This limited-enrollment workshop course will concentrate on the form, theory and practice of short fiction.

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit 10-12 photocopied pages of your fiction, along with an application form, to Bharati Mukherjee's (a.k.a. B. Blaise) mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!

 


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 3
Instructor: Oates, Joyce Carol
Time: Thurs. 3:30-6:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Oates, J. C., ed.: The Oxford Book of American Short Stories 2012

Description

A fiction workshop in which students will be expected to turn in material approximately every third week, to be edited and discussed in class.

Emphasis will be upon editing and revising. Quality rather than quantity is the ideal, but each student should be prepared to write about fifty pages through the term, to be gathered into a small “book” and turned in on the last class day. Appropriate assignments will be made in the new, 2012 edition of THE OXFORD BOOK OF AMERICAN SHORT STORIES edited by Joyce Carol Oates.

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit 10-15 photocopied pages of your fiction, along with an application form, to Prof. Joyce Carol Oates' mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concenring creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!


Verse

English 143B

Section: 1
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

Course reader, available from Krishna Copy (University & Shattuck)

Description

In this course you will conduct a progressive series of explorations in which you will try some of the fundamental options for writing poetry today (or any day)—aperture and closure; rhythmic sound patterning; sentence and line; short and long-lined poems; image & figure; stanza; poetic forms (haibun, villanelle, sestina, pantoum, ghazal, etc.); the first, second and third person (persona, address, drama, narrative, description); prose poetry, and revision.  Our emphasis will be on recent possibilities, with an eye and ear to renovating traditions.  I have no “house style” and only one precept:  you can do anything, if you can do it.  You will write a poem a week, and we’ll discuss four or so in rotation (I’ll respond to every poem you write).  On alternate days, we’ll discuss illustrative poems in our course reader.  If the past is any guarantee, the course will make you a better poet.

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit 5 photocopied pages of your poems, along with an application form, to John Shoptaw's mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!


Prose Nonfiction: Like & Love

English 143N

Section: 1
Instructor: Farber, Thomas
Time: Thurs. 3:30-6:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

No texts.

Description

An upper-division creative nonfiction writing workshop open to students from any department. Drawing on narrative strategies found in memoir, the diary, travel writing, and fiction, students will have work-shopped three literary nonfiction 5-10 page pieces. Each will take as point of departure the words and emotions like or love. What’s liked or loved (or not) and so described may include people, places, things. Each week, students will also turn in one-page critiques of the two or three student pieces being work-shopped as well as a 1-2 page journal entry on prompts assigned (these entries may be used as part of the longer pieces). Probable semester total of written pages, including critiques: 60-70. Class attendance: mandatory.

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit 10-15 pages of your creative nonfiction or fiction, along with an application form, to Thomas Farber's mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!


Poetry Translation Workshop

English 143T

Section: 1
Instructor: Hass, Robert L.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 301 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available from Copy Central on Bancroft.

Description

This is a workshop in the translation of poetry into English. Workshop members will develop a project and submit a translation a week (together with the original poem and a word-for-word version) and the work of the class will be for members to give one another feedback on their translations and to talk with one another about the pleasures and perils of the process. There will be weekly reading in the theory and practice of verse translation. The final project will be for each workshop member to produce a chapbook of a dozen or so translations.

Admission will be by permission of the instructor, based on (1) five to eight pages of YOUR OWN translations of either your own poems or other people's poems (or a combination of the two) into English, as well as the corresponding pages in the original language, and also a brief statement (no more than a sentence or two) describing the translation project you hope to work on; (2) a one-paragraph statement of your interest in translation; and (3) an application form; all of the above is to be submitted to Robert Hass's mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses!


Special Topics: Modern Latin American Fiction

English 165

Section: 1
Instructor: Campion, John
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 80 Barrows


Book List

Borges, Jorge Luis: Ficciones; Donoso, Jose: The Obscene Bird of Night; Fuentes, Carlos: The Death of Artemio Cruz; Garcia Marquez, Gabriel: One Hundred Years of Solitude; Lispector, Clarice: The Passion According to G.H.; Rulfo, Juan: Pedro Paramo

Description

The reading and writing assignments--linked with the lectures and class discussions--are intended to develop students’ ability to analyze, understand, and interpret six great masters of Latin American fiction (in English translations): Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, Clarice Lispector, Jose Donoso, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  As the course develops, we'll examine the deep Latin American contexts (philosophical, historical, psychological...) of the works as well as their innovative and influential forms. Students will be expected to participate fully in class discussions and to write critical papers effectively arguing how the works achieve their particular aims.

This course is open to English majors only.


Special Topics: African American Literature from Reconstruction to Renaissance

English 166

Section: 1
Instructor: Carmody, Todd
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: note new room: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Norton Anthology of African American Literature; Three Classic African American Novels; Dunbar, Paul: Sport of the Gods; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Description

This course offers an overview of African American literature from Reconstruction through the New Negro (or Harlem) Renaissance. Particular attention will be paid to questions of history, memory, and changing notions of modernity.


Special Topics: Readings for Fiction Writers

English 166

Section: 2
Instructor: Mukherjee, Bharati
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 220 Wheeler


Book List

Coetzee, J.M.: Disgrace; Danticat, Edwidge: The Dew Breaker; Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby; Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary; Forster, E.M.: Howards End; Mukherjee, Bharati: Jasmine; Smith, Zadie: White Teeth

Description

This course will focus on each novelist's invention of, or critique of, national identity myths in a time of national crisis.  Students will explore the intimate connection between choice of narrative strategy and construction of meaning.


Special Topics: Infrastructuralism: Reading Setting in Literature and Film

English 166

Section: 3
Instructor: Eichenlaub, Justin
Eichenlaub, Justin
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 210 Wheeler


Book List

Barthes, Roland: Camera Lucida; Waldie, D.J.: Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir; Ware, Chris: Building Stories; Yamashita, Karen Tei: Tropic of Orange

Other Readings and Media

The course will include a reader.

Description

In a film essay on the way movies depict Los Angeles, Thom Andersen raises a question that will form the basis for this course: “If we can appreciate documentaries for their dramatic qualities, perhaps we can appreciate fiction films for their documentary reflections.” Beginning with Andersen’s film, Los Angeles Plays Itself, we’ll consider his hypothesis and investigate the surprising importance, sometimes even the primacy, of setting in literary and filmic works—including Charles Lamb’s essays in praise of urban London, a Hitchcock film, William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes, Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Karen Tei Yamashita’s magical-realist novel Tropic of Orange, Chris Ware's new graphic novel Building Stories (this text is a 'total work of art,' with a number of different pieces, so it retails for $50--it is currently $30 on Amazon), D.J. Waldie’s suburban memoir Holy Land, and Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Space.

Rather than take spaces, places, and infrastructure in these works as the object of a transparent representation, we will pay close attention to the way the written word and the camera shape how we read, see, and perceive the worlds that fictional characters inhabit. We will consider both the role of places and spaces in these works and their relevance (or irrelevance) to story and discourse, to narrative and descriptive modes, and to theories of novelistic and filmic space. While our primary focus will be on what literary and film scholars have to say on these issues, we will also consider the work of geographers and architectural theorists, among others. Theorists and critics of literary, filmic, and urban space will include Stephen Heath, Roland Barthes, Michel de Certeau, and György Lukács.