Announcement of Classes: Spring 2016


Modern British and American Literature: Graphic Poetics

English 20

Section: 1
Instructor: Le, Serena
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 206 Wheeler


Book List

Recommended: Bergvall, Caroline: Drift; Cha, Theresa Hak Kyung: Dictee; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen

Other Readings and Media

You will be given a course reader containing all poems and essays listed on the syllabus, including excerpts from the works and writings of William Blake, John Keats, Charlotte Smith, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Robert Duncan, Susan Howe, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Anne Carson, Claudia Rankine, and others. These readings will be additionally available online (via bCourses) and on course reserve at the library. You will not be required to purchase any texts for this class.

Description

This course takes its inspiration from two very recent works of poetry: Caroline Bergvall’s Drift (2014) and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, both of which rely on a vast array of contemporary multimedia, printing, and performance techniques to accomplish their respective aimsSet alongside Shakespeare's sonnets or Robert Frost's snowy woods, these works can at times seem hardly recognizable as literature, much less as the subset of literature we typically call "poetry." Yet the boldest and most enduring claims about poetry describe it first and foremost as a medium for vivid and exceptional expression—a medium variously capable of capturing, creating, and even remaking human nature and reality. Rather than retreating from the dizzying pressures and perceptual richnesses of our media-saturated day-to-days, works like Rankine's and Bergvall's rush headlong into the fray, using contemporary materials to convey contemporary experience. In so doing, they in fact join a long lineage of writers for whom language is merely one aspect of poetic process and power, and who see other expressive registers as important, even necessary, components of the work they call poetry. This is the lineage our course charts and explores.
 
The "graphic" of our course title refers both to the integration of visual media and linguistic materials in many of the works we will encounter, and to the longer history of poetic attempts to represent, in increasingly explicit detail, some aspect of lived life. Throughout the semester, we will read from a rich array of projects that exceed prevailing expectations for written language. We will also attend a series of live performances that do what might be considered poetic work: grappling with the terms and potentials of representation, imagination, viscerality, and excess. These performances will likewise be graphic, both in the sense of involving text and visual media, and in the sense of being live occurrences with clear contemporary investments. As we will learn, not only can a poem inspire such things as a string, wind, and percussion sextet, but it can also require the expressive registers of an orchestra, a media room, a human body, or a paintbrush in order simply to exist as itself. Perhaps, by this definition, more things are poems than we realize.
 
This course is funded by a grant from Cal Performances and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. All Cal Performances tickets, as well as admission fees to related events, will be provided to students free of charge. Please do not sign up for this course unless you feel you can commit to attending ALL on-campus performance events. The dates and times are as follows: Sunday, January 31, 3 pm; Sunday, February 14, 3 pm; Saturday, March 19, 2 pm; Thursday, April 14, 8 pm; and Sunday, May 1, 7 pm.


Freshman Seminar: Masterpieces of World Cinema: Federico Fellini's La dolce vita

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, D.A.
Time: M 2-3
Location: 300 Wheeler


Description

Though over 55 years old, La dolce vita (“The Sweet Life,”1960) is still trending, with its famous images circulating in visual media more widely than ever.  This continued ebullience is probably owing to two things.  The first is the film’s still-contemporary attempt to grasp our modernity through the phenomenon of celebrity culture.  And the second is the film’s still-arresting style, which, with its blend of irony and complicity, formulates the predominant terms of response to that culture.  As part of our intensive viewing—and reviewing—of the film itself,  we’ll also be taking a look at some 21st-century LDV quotations, including its most recent cinematic makeover, Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza (“The Great Beauty,” 2013).

This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.


Introduction to the Study of Poetry

English 26

Section: 1
Instructor: Schweik, Susan
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 100 Wheeler


Book List

Ferguson, Margaret: The Norton Anthology of Poetry (5th Edition); Rankine, Claudia: Citizen

Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

In this course we’ll read poems together, intensively, across a long historical span, a variety of contexts (cultural, philosophical, political), and a wide range of modes, forms, genres, styles and techniques. We’ll respond to poems, analyze them, listen to them and write about them; there will be opportunities to play with translating, editing, and visually presenting them, as well as with writing and performing them. Requirements: Short analytic and creative written exercises due in every class period; one short (5 pp) and one longer (8-10 pp) paper; a final exam.

This will be a reading- and discussion-intensive course designed for prospective majors and transfer students looking to understand poetry and learn how to write about it critically.

 


Introduction to the Writing of Verse

English 43B

Section: 1
Instructor: Klavon, Evan
Time: MW 4-5:30
Location: Note new location: 301 Wheeler


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will contain a diverse range of 21st-century poems, as well as some prose readings about poetics.

Students will also pick one full-length, single-author book of poetry on which they will give a presentation to the class.

Description

What can poems do, and how do they do it? This course will explore how we as poets engage with the world through our writing, and how we as readers find value in poems. Our goal will be to develop an expansive sense of possible poetic acts, and to refine practical strategies and techniques. Weekly topics (such as place, history, the political, social relations, and identity) will provide a frame of comparison as we consider examples from a diverse range of contemporary poets, and then learn from and give feedback upon each other’s experiments.

Participants will write a poem a week, keep a reflective reading journal, open discussion on peers’ poems, and give an end-of-semester presentation about a full-length book of poetry. The final will comprise a portfolio of revised poems, including a writer’s statement.

Only continuing UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 of your poems, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 4 P.M., THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29.

Also be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses.


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Justice, Steven
Time: MW 12-1; discussion sections F 12-1
Location: 213 Wheeler


Book List

Greenblatt, S.: Norton Anthology of English LIterature, Volumes A and B

Description

In this course we will read some of the best books ever written in English, and the course will try to treat both you and those books seriously and justly. The course will give you a sense of the shape of literary history from the earlier middle ages through 1667: the Beowulf-poet, Chaucer, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton will get our closest attention, but they will also provide the scaffolding on which to hang a more detailed picture of the imaginative and intellectual development of literature. It will work hard to give you the skills to read easily and intelligently (and out loud) the earlier forms of the language in which these works are written, and to develop also the skills by which you can take writing apart and see how it works. It will also take up the big questions raised by the whole undertaking: what literary art is good for, what forms of reason and understanding are most at home in it, and why the past is worth bothering with--all, in fact, questions that the works themselves are preoccupied with.


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 2
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: MW 1-2; discussion sections F 1-2
Location: 213 Wheeler


Book List

Greenblatt, Stephen : Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volumes A and B

Description

This is a story of discovering, then forgetting, then discovering again the fact that a particular language can be used not only for communication but also for creation. At the beginning of our story Caedmon, a shepherd, is called upon in his dream to praise God in poetry. A thousand years later, John Milton calls upon the “Heav’nly Muse” to sing “Of Man’s First Disobedience.” In between them, English turns from its humble beginnings into a medium of literature. In this course, we trace this transformation by readings works of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton. 


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

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: MW 10-11; discussion sections F 10-11
Location: 2 LeConte


Book List

Austen, Jane: Persuasion; Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko; Blake, William: Songs of Innocence and of Experience; Blake, William: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Gates (editor), Henry Louis, Jr.: The Classic American Slave Narratives; Melville, Herman: Bartleby and Benito Cereno; Rowlandson, Mary: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels; Wordsworth, William, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads

Other Readings and Media

A course reader (including poems by Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, William Collins, Robert Burns, etc.; short fiction by Walter Scott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe) will be made available; other readings and supplementary materials will be posted on our B-course site.

Description

Readings in English, Scottish, Irish and North American prose fiction, autobiography, 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 breakaway of the North American colonies to form a new empire between the Atlantic and the Pacific. 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: Sorensen, Janet
Time: MW 2-3; discussion sections F 2-3
Location: 213 Wheeler


Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko; Defoe, Daniel: Moll Flanders; Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself; Pope, Alexander: The Rape of the Lock and Other Major Writings; Wordsworth, William: Lyrical Ballads

Description

As we read works produced in a period of tumultuous change, we shall consider those works as zones of contact, reflecting and sometimes negotiating conflict. In a world of expanding global commerce (imports like tea suddenly becoming commonplace in England), political revolution (English, American, French), and changing conceptions of what it means to be a man or woman (a new medical discourse viewing them as categorically distinct), increasingly available printed texts become sites of contestation—including debates about what constitutes “proper” language and Literature itself. We shall think about the ways in which separate groups—British and African, masters and slaves, slave owners and abolitionists, arch capitalists and devout religious thinkers, Republicans and Conservatives, men and women—use writing to devise ongoing relationships with each other, often under conditions of inequality. Throughout we shall be especially attuned to formal choices—from linguistic register to generic conventions and innovations—and how writers deploy these to incorporate opposition, resist authority or authorize themselves. Requirements will include two papers, a mid-term exam, a final exam, and reading quizzes.


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

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Altieri, Charles F.
Time: MW 11-12 + discussion sections F 11-12
Location: 213 Wheeler


Book List

Coetzee, John: Disgrace; James , Henry: What Maisie Knew; Ramazani , Jahan, et al.: Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry; Wilde, Oscar: Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

There will probably be postings on bcourses. 

Description

This course will involve close readings of texts by those whom I consider indispensable authors who define significant parameters for literature in England and in the US from about 1870-1950, with a final novel by the South African writer John Coetzee, who in many ways questions the value of this exercise in coming to know a dominant culture.  I will emphasize learning to read texts closely and to discuss them in terms of how close reading makes demands on our getting our minds around the material.  There will two lectures on Modernism in art and there will be frequent references to modern philosophy.  You get all this for the price of a mere two papers, a mid-term and final exam, and mandatory regular attendance. 


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

English 45C

Section: 2
Instructor: Lee, Steven S.
Time: MW 3-4; discussion sections F 3-4
Location: 2 LeConte


Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Joyce, James: Dubliners; Le, Thuy: The Gangster We Are All Looking For; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pnin; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse

Description

Note that the instructor, book list, and course description of this section of English 45C have changed (as of Nov. 9, 2015).

This course will provide an overview of the aesthetic shifts captured by such terms as realism, modernism, and postmoderinism, with an emphasis on the relation between literary form and historical context. We will explore how literature responds to the pressures of industrialization, war, and empire, as well as to an ever-growing awareness of a diverse, interconnected world. Attention will also be paid to the relation between literature and other forms of cultural expression, e.g., painting, music, and film.

 

 


Sophomore Seminar: Woody Allen

English 84

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


Book List

Allen, Woody: The Insanity Defense

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 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, but it may be used to satisfy the Arts and Litearture breadth requirement in Letters and Science.