Announcement of Classes: Summer 2014


Reading and Composition: Awakening

English N1A

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Blevins, Jeffrey
Time: MW 2-4
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Kafka, Franz: The Metamorphosis; Proust, Marcel: Swann's Way; Shakespeare, William: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Other Readings and Media

Most of the reading for this course will be uploaded to bspace or will be available in a course reader. There will be semi-weekly film screenings.

Description

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
   – Theodore Roethke, from “The Waking”

Few people delight in awakening from sleep. Even for those who do, awakening can be a strange experience. Marcel Proust calls it a “stupid moment,” one of confusion, bewilderment, stupefaction. Stories about stupid, or stupefied awakenings are legion and timeless. It is immediately upon being jarred from a deep sleep that Penelope is informed of Odysseus’s return in The Odyssey, to which she reacts venomously, threatening the nurse who has told her and, in a twist, speaking of her interrupted sleep in terms that one might expect her to reserve for Odysseus himself, calling it “sweet” and speaking ardently of how it had just “possessed” her. In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the character Bottom falls asleep in the woods with companions, but awakens alone, at which moment he begins to oscillate between ecstatically recounting the "rare vision" of his just-vanished dreams and dishearteningly confronting the lonely fact of his now-friendless reality—occupying a disoriented state that is, as Lysander later says, "half sleep, half waking." Gregor Samsa, the hero of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, awakens to find himself radically transformed, his body now the carapace of an insect, a condition he initially blames on the fact of waking up at all: thinking, nicely in tandem with Proust, that "getting up early all the time ... it makes you stupid." In The Hangover, Stu (Ed Helms) awakens to his glasses lying on the floor, facing him, the dizzy gap between dazed eyes and clarifying lenses betokening a similarly puzzling gap between Stu's being asleep and awake—in the background, Lux Interior fuzzily croons: “Fever in the morning / Fever all through the night.”

In each case, a person is caught between sleeping and waking, somehow experiencing aspects of both at once, unable to tell which parts are dream and which reality. Think of this as the two-way street of emergence: as we awaken, we emerge into consciousness, yet we also emerge out of sleep. The tension between out and in—“coming to,” yet also “coming from”—creates a moment of confusion, when we struggle to reconcile two opposed states, like sleeping and waking. This is a course about that moment of awakening. How do artists depict awakenings? What are they generally like? What formal choices communicate the feeling of awakening, whether that feeling is dreamy and soft, harsh and disorienting, or something in between?

Students will consider poems, novels, plays, songs, paintings, and films that, in one way or another, organize themselves around awakening(s). The main interest of this course is literal awakening from sleep, because it provides a simple test case for discovering how art registers the emotional, aesthetic, cognitive, stylistic, and structural aspects of awakening or emerging out of one state and into another. That being said, we will also consider awakening’s applications as a broader synonym for realization: political awakening, sexual awakening, spiritual awakening, intellectual awakening, and so on. We will also look at small selections from philosophers who have thought hard about what it means to awaken or to emerge, especially as far as consciousness is concerned. (After all, what is waking up if not becoming—possibly slowly, maybe with great difficulty—conscious or aware: whether it be of our desires, needs, failings, potentials, fulfillments, etc., or just of our own basic selves, as newly wakeful entities, embedded in the fact of our lives?).

The hope for this course is that study of these texts about awakening will help students to awaken, as it were, into a greater enjoyment of critical reading and writing. Students will develop their reading and writing skills through a series of short analytical essays, in addition to other written exercises in observation, description, and reflection, often on their own experiences with awakening.

This course will be taught in Session C, which runs from June 23 to August 15.


Reading and Composition: (Note new topic:) Pop Truth

English N1B

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Ahmed, Adam
Time: TTh 12-2
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Blake, William: Selected Poems; Breton, Andre: Nadja; Lin, Tao: Taipei; O'Hara, Frank: Lunch Poems; Reines, Ariana: Couer de Lion; Wordsworth, William and Coleridge, S.T.: Lyrical Ballads

Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

NOTE NEW COURSE DESCRIPTION (and the instructor and texts have also changed):

In his “Proverbs of Hell,” from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake writes, “Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.” This perplexing proverb asks us to balance two contrasting statements: 1) truth cannot be told in a way that can be understood, and 2) truth cannot be disbelieved when it is told. Though these statements seem to rebut the Enlightenment claim that truth is something that needs to be told in a demonstrable way in order to be understood, Blake does not deny the need to tell truth. Instead, Blake’s proverb and his use of the proverb form to convey his truth lead us to wonder: if truth is something everyone should know, why does one need to be told how to know it? Through close readings of proverbs, pop songs, ballads, poems, tales, and novels, this class will look at the tension between truth that everyone knows and truth that needs to be told. In examining these different popular forms, we will also trace the historical shift of truth and the way it is told in Romantic adaptations of folk traditions, 20th-century avant-garde responses to the standardization of culture, and contemporary works that seek an unironic relationship with knowledge we all know.

While we consider truths that everyone knows, the goal of this class will be to make sure everyone knows what you’re talking about. As an R1B, this course will develop students’ organizational and rhetorical strategies for an argumentative essay (5-6 pages), while introducing them to some of the scholarly and analytical techniques for a longer (8-10 page) research paper. Through themed groupings of critical material, small writing exercises, and analytical papers, students will learn how to engage with outside source material to support their own original theses. 

This course will be taught in Session C, which runs from June 23 to August 15.


Modern British and American Literature

English N20

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Creasy, CFS
Time: MTuTh 10-12
Location: 242 Hearst Gym


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Watt; Joyce, James: Dubliners; Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse

Other Readings and Media

A course reader that may include poems, short stories, and excerpts from works by W.H. Auden, Djuna Barnes, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Henry James, Wyndham Lewis, Mina Loy, Walter Pater, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Rebecca West, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and William Butler Yeats; and theoretical or critical excerpts from figures such as Sigmund Freud, Roger Fry, Max Nordau, and Georg Simmel.

Description

Virginia Woolf famously wrote that “on or about December 1910, human character changed.” In her view, the exciting and experimental works of modernism—written by authors like T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Woolf herself—came out of the search for new ways to express this new human character. Many have followed Woolf in considering the masterworks of modernism as responses to the changes of the modern age: new ideas about psychology and the inner experience of the individual, war, technology, and an increasingly complex and urban world.

In this survey of modernist literature, we will spend time tracing the links Woolf emphasized—links between modernist literature and such developments as literary impressionism, modernist visual art, depth psychology, and psychoanalysis. But, at the same time, we will also investigate another modernist tradition—one that seeks to undo the binds holding literature to the integral representation of character, emotion and psychology, the individual, and inner experience.

This course will be taught in Session D, which runs from July 7 to August 15.


Literature of American Cultures: Democracy and Division

English N31AC

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Mansouri, Leila
Time: MTuTh 2-4
Location: 88 Dwinelle


Book List

Acosta, Oscar: The Revolt of the Cockroach People; Herman, Melville: Benito Cereno; Kobek, Jarett: Atta

Other Readings and Media

Films: The Godfather, Part II; Do The Right Thing

A course reader and/or b-space site including: selections  from Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Sui Sin Far, Charles Chesnutt, Zitkala Sa, Amy Tan, Alice Walker, and others. 

Description

The United States Constitution refers to “We, the People,” as if it’s obvious who’s included in – and excluded from – that “we.” In fact, though, the reality has always been much messier. Fights over who was part of that “we” nearly derailed the United States’ founding, and its subsequent history has been defined by struggles over who is included in the “real America,” as one politician infamously put it a few years ago. In this course, we’ll look at how American literature has helped make and remake that “We, the People.” We’ll focus especially on slavery, immigration, racial integration, and terrorism, and we’ll look closely at how fiction, essays, poetry, and films have intervened into often-violent struggles over who counts as an American and as a person. As we do so, we’ll investigate how this process of defining and redefining the American people has prompted Americans to alter the boundaries of categories like “whiteness” and “blackness” and even to rethink the concept of race itself.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.

This course will be taught in Session D, which runs from July 7 to August 15.


Shakespeare

English N117S

Section: 2
Session:
Instructor: Arnold, Oliver
Time: MTuTh 12-2
Location: 2 LeConte


Book List

Greenblatt, S., ed.: The Norton Shakespeare

Description

Shakespeare’s poems and plays are relentlessly unsettling, crazy beautiful, deeply moving, rigorously brilliant, and compulsively meaningful: they complicate everything, they simplify nothing, and for 400 years, they have been a touchstone—indeed, something like an obsession—for literary artists from Milton to Goethe to George Eliot to Joyce to Brecht to Zukofsky to Sarah Kane and for philosophers and theorists from Hegel to Marx to Freud to Derrida to Lacan to Zizeck.  We will be especially concerned with five large issues: compassion; political representation and its discontents; the nature of identity and subjectivity; colonialism; and the relation between the ways Shakespeare’s plays make meaning and the ways they produce emotional experience. 

If you own a good complete Shakespeare (Norton, Riverside, Pelican), you need not purchase the edition that I have ordered for the class.

This course satisfies the Shakespeare requirement for the English major.

This course will be taught in Session D, which runs from July 7 to August 15.


The English Novel: Dickens through Conrad

English N125B

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Time: TTh 12-2
Location: 213 Wheeler


Book List

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights; Carroll, Lewis: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Conrad, Joseph: Lord Jim; Dickens, Charles: Hard Times; Eliot, George: Silas Marner; Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Description

In this class we'll read novels by Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Lewis Carroll and others. We'll think about these novels in two related ways. First, what was it about the novel—as opposed, for instance, to the poem or the essay—that made it so important to nineteenth-century culture (as well as to our more or less accurate twenty-first-century ideas about that culture)? Was it because it showed the world as it really was or because it offered an opportunity to escape that world? Was it because it said something persuasive or true or seductive about life, about other people, about history, about sex, love or money? What, in other words, were nineteenth-century readers reading (and reading for) when they read Silas MarnerWuthering Heights, or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Second, we'll use "The English Novel: Dickens through Conrad" to ask and, perhaps, to answer persistent questions about the novel as such. What is a novel?  Is a novel most about its characters or most about its plot? Should the novel educate or entertain? Thinking about the novel as a particular game with particular rules ("I don't think they play at all fairly,' Alice began...") will help us both to understand the novel in its context and maybe to know what we talk about when we talk about novels.

 

This course will be taught in Session C, which runs from June 23 to August 15.


The 20th-Century Novel

English N125D

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: MTuTh 2-4
Location: 88 Dwinelle


Book List

Achebe , Chinua: Things Fall Apart; Ishiguro, Kazuo : Never Let Me Go; 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?

This course will be taught in Session A, which runs from May 27 to July 3.


The American Novel

English N132

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: TTh 2-4
Location: 105 North Gate


Book List

Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby; Hawthorne, N.: The Scarlet Letter; Hurston, Z. N.: Their Eyes Were Watching God; Islas, A.: The Rain God; Robinson, Marilynne: Housekeeping; Twain, M.: Huckleberry Finn

Description

We will concentrate on the central issues deeded to the American novel by democratic ideology -- refusal and autonomy, loyalty, guilt, and atonement, futurity and the burden of the past -- and try to figure out how the formal innovations in the American novel are responses to those issues.

Two six-page essays, a final exam, and regular attendance and participation will be required. 

This course will be taught in Session C, which runs from June 23 to August 15.


The Language and Literature of Films: The Hollywood Western

English N173

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: M 2-5 & W 2-4
Location: 160 Dwinelle


Other Readings and Media

No assigned texts. Xeroxed critical essays will be distributed.

Description

Regular attendance is required. Two seven-page essays and a final quiz. Viewing notes taken during films viewed on Mondays will be handed in on Wednesdays. The class will be a mix of lecture and discussion.

This course will be taught in Session C, which runs from June 23 to August 15.


Science Fiction: Speculative Fiction and Dystopias

English N180Z

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: MTuTh 10-12
Location: note new location: 180 Tan


Book List

Dick, Philip, K. : Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Hoffmann, E.T.A. : Tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann; Shelley, Mary : Frankenstein; Strugatsky, Arkady and Boris: Roadside Picnic; Whitehead, Colson : Zone One

Other Readings and Media

Fiilms: The Matrix; Stalker; Bladerunner 

Description

This course will examine in depth the history of speculative fiction and its engagement with the thematics and topoi of the new life sciences—representation of cloning, ecological dystopias, hybrid life-forms, genetic engineering dystopias. While science is the thematic point of departure of speculative fiction, the concerns of this course will be the literary. How does literature’s encounter with the projected realities of the new biology revise our conceptions of the subject? Could there be a Leopold Bloom of the genetically engineered, a subject whose interior voice is the free-flowing expression of experience? Behind the endless removes of social, material and technological mediation stand the construction of a flesh and blood body, separated from itself through the workings of consciousness. If indeed the post/modern subject requires a psychic space shaped by the authenticity of ‘being’, a consciousness deeply rooted in the human experience, then how do we represent that being whose point of origin is the artificial, the inauthentic? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this course. 

This course will be taught in Session A, which runs from May 27 to July 3.