Announcement of Classes: Spring 2020


Reading and Composition: The Novel and Mass Culture

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Kaletzky, Marianne
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 263 Dwinelle


Book List

Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49; Smith, Zadie: NW; Stoker, Bram: Dracula; Wright, Richard: Native Son

Other Readings and Media

Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (excerpts)

Description

Contemporary discussions of novel-reading tend to characterize it as a refined, scholarly pursuit, more closely aligned with going to the symphony or visiting an art museum than with watching TV. Yet the novel’s place in the pantheon of high cultural forms has not always been so assured. Indeed, the European novel emerged in the seventeenth century as a form of entertainment accessible to the masses—written in vernacular languages rather than Latin and cheaply reproducible thanks to the recent invention of the printing press—and novels have been negotiating their relationship to mass culture ever since.

In this course, we’ll read a series of novels that depict populations in thrall to mass media, from the adventure stories that delight Don Quixote to the movies and magazines that pervade Native Son to the social media that structures daily experience in Zadie Smith’s NW. As we read, we’ll ask how these novels understand both the workings and the value of mass culture. When and why do these texts decry mass culture, and on what grounds do they celebrate it? Does mass culture appear as an emancipatory form that all are able to comprehend and enjoy? Or is it portrayed as a carefully engineered mechanism for reproducing oppressive hierarchies? As we consider how these novels represent mass media, we will also ask how they reflect on their own status as mass culture, high literature, both, or neither.

The goals of this course fall into two categories: reading and writing. The course will develop students’ abilities to read texts closely and carefully, to examine both points of coherence and moments of tension within them, and to analyze the relationship between meaning and textual form. The other major aim is to help students express increasingly complex ideas in writing. The various writing activities in the class, from the major analytical essays to shorter creative exercises, will connect critical thinking and writing, improve students’ control over their writing voice, and introduce new ways of thinking about structure and development.


Reading and Composition: American Satire (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to Sorry to Bother You)

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: O'Brien, Garreth
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 35 Evans


Book List

Beatty, Paul: The Sellout; Loos, Anita: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes; Powell, Dawn: Turn, Magic Wheel; Ross, Fran: Oreo; Schuyler, George: Black No More; West, Nathanael: Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust

Other Readings and Media

We will watch a number of movies, most likely chosen from the following: Modern Times, The Great Dictator, The Great McGinty, Ace in the Hole, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Dr. Strangelove, Nashville, Network, and Sorry to Bother You. (This list as well as the list of books is subject to change.)

Description

This course will focus on longform narrative satire (read: novels, movies, and possibly a play or two) produced in the U.S. from the 1920s to just about now. Northrop Frye has defined satire as "militant irony"; a study of this most militant of fictional modes will provide an opportunity to consider the relationship between writing, its time, and its future. What can a (short) history of grotesque visions of the U.S. tell us about the history of the U.S.? At the same time as we consider the contradictions of American society as seen through these works, we will consider the contradictions of a mode that, at its best, can be simultaneously hilarious and devastating. And as you hone your writing skills, we will ask: what gives writing its bite?

The goal of this class is to equip students with techniques for and practice in analytical and argumentative writing. Students will compose a variety of shortish assignments, including responses, reflections, textual/visual analyses, and argumentative essays. Students will revise their work over the course of the semester, which will culminate in a longer essay on a satire or satires of their choice.

(Please note the changes in the instructor and content of this section of English R1A [as of October 17].)


Reading and Composition: Exiles and Everyday Life

English R1A

Section: 3
Instructor: Khan, Mehak Faisal
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 35 Evans


Book List

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi: Americanah; Anand, Mulk Raj: Untouchable; Ferrante, Elena: My Brilliant Friend; Hanif, Mohammed: A Case of Exploding Mangoes; Kondo, Marie: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Other Readings and Media

Gone Home (Fulbright)

Other readings will be made available on bCourses.

Description

“Even intellectuals who are lifelong members of society can, in a manner of speaking, be divided into insiders and outsiders: those on the one hand who belong fully to the society as it is, who flourish in it without an overwhelming sense of dissonance or dissent, those who can be called yea-sayers; and on the other hand, the nay-sayers, the individuals at odds with their society and therefore outsiders and exiles so far as privileges, power, and honors are concerned.” 

- Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual

How do we go about leading life? When are we most ourselves? This course explores different theories of living life, and the ways in which “normal” life might be stressed, strained, stretched or even broken under adverse conditions. We will consider the ways in which bodies live lives differently—what Edward Said might call “intellectual exiles—bodies that are non/human, gendered, raced, queered, dis/abled, casteized, de/colonized. This course will look to theorists, philosophers, and social collectives like Sara Ahmed, Michel De Certeau, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, Edward Said, and the Situationist International; games, films, novels and poems might include Gone Home (Fulbright), Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, Queer Eye, and The Great British Bake-Off.

One of the goals of this course is to strengthen close reading and critical writing skills; to that end, there will be frequent short writing assignments, and in-class presentations on the critical texts we will be reading. One longer final paper will be required for this course. 

Texts are subject to change; please do not buy them until after the first week of class.


Reading and Composition: Reason and Superstition in the Nineteenth Century

English R1A

Section: 4
Instructor: Kaletzky, Marianne
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 31 Evans


Book List

Carpentier, Alejo: The Kingdom of This World; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Stoker, Bram: Dracula; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Other Readings and Media

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (excerpts); Arthur Conan Doyle, selected Sherlock Holmes stories; Christina Rossetti, "Goblin Market"; William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, selected poems

Description

Nineteenth-century Britain was the setting for a dazzling array of scientific discoveries and technological innovations, from the advent of electric lighting and photography to the formulation of new theories of evolution and disease to the extension of railways and telegraph lines across the nation and the globe. The same period saw an unprecedented interest in esoteric pursuits now often dismissed as superstition. Séances, fortune-telling, and attempts at telepathic communication not only captured the British public’s imagination, but also became the subject of study by leading intellectual authorities.

How could the same era that generated so many scientific breakthroughs also give rise to such fervent enthusiasm for occult beliefs? Do the two tendencies represent opposing social forces, or might they develop from a set of common circumstances? To answer these questions, we will read broadly in two of the period’s most popular literary genres—detective fiction and the Gothic novel—as well as consider selected readings in poetry and nonfiction. The course will close with a novel by twentieth-century Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, whose representation of the Haitian Revolution challenges us to reconsider how we distinguish between reason and superstition, as well as the values we assign to each.

The goals of this course fall into two categories: reading and writing. The course will develop students’ abilities to read texts closely and carefully, to examine both points of coherence and moments of tension within them, and to analyze the relationship between meaning and textual form. The other major aim is to help students express increasingly complex ideas in writing. The various writing activities in the class, from the major analytical essays to shorter creative exercises, will connect critical thinking and writing, improve students’ control over their writing voice, and introduce new ways of thinking about structure and development.


Reading and Composition: Victorian Vampires

English R1A

Section: 5
Instructor: Hobbs, Katherine
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 54 Barrows


Book List

Le Fanu, Sheridan: In a Glass Darkly; Stoker, Bram: Dracula

Other Readings and Media

Other readings will be made available in pdf form on bCourses.

Description

The figure of the vampire is constantly being reinvented, but it is always able to feed on our collective imagination. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight to What We Do in the Shadows, vampires pursue us—and we can’t get enough. We often look back to Bram Stoker’s late Victorian novel Dracula (1897) as an origin point for our twentieth- and twenty-first-century vampires. But Dracula should also be seen as an endpoint, coming at the close of a century with its own vampire obsessions.

This class will follow the nineteenth century through its literary vampires, beginning with John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1819) and ending with Stoker’s fiction. In the process, we will consider how the figure of the vampire can be adapted to address a large range of issues, including sexuality, property ownership, race, and colonialism. The vampire myth is remarkably flexible in nineteenth-century culture, and we will encounter vampires in all sorts of forms: rakish aristocrats, withered crones, and seemingly innocent young women, among others. And these vampires inhabit literary forms as diverse as themselves. They are equally at home in the pages of lowbrow penny publications and more “respectable” upper- and middle-class publications, and they migrate across genres such as short stories, novels, and plays. As we track these pre-Dracula vampires, we will also think about how vampire literature during this period developed a set of recognizable tropes that we have inherited in our own time.

Primary readings for this course will include works by Bram Stoker, Sheridan LeFanu, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and others. We will also read relevant literary scholarship and other critical works addressing the vampire’s position in popular culture. Students will write, workshop, and revise a series of analytical writing assignments over the course of the semester.


Reading and Composition: (Un)Belonging Bodies and Citizenship

English R1A

Section: 6
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Okada, John: No-No Boy; Vuong, Ocean: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Other Readings and Media

Film: Jordan Peele's Get Out

Course reader (working list): select poems by Walt Whitman, excerpts from Walden Pond, by Henry Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, Gloria Anzaldua's La Mestiza/The Borderlands, Claudia Rankine's Citizen

Description

Our bodies—even if we might claim them as our own—are far from neutral, as they carry embedded signals, texts, and even silences that reflect our multiple social positionings. This course explores narratives of embodiment, considering how bodies can reflect certain ideals of the nation, wherther through self-desire, discipline, or forced submission. In particular, we will untangle the normative paradigms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion that feed into the American imagination, while finding openings for resistance, alternate expressions of identity, and community.

In addition to exploring these questions, students will set out to accomplish a wide range of writing objectives with the intent of reaching different audiences. We will examine how and why we value effective writing, while practicing rhetorical appeals, close (re)reading of written and visual narratives, critical analysis of primary sources, and original argumentation supported by textual evidence. Writing assignments will include regular short responses to readings in addition to a series of formal writing assignments that invite peer review and revision. 

(Please note the changes in the instructor and the content of this section of English R1A [as of October 17].)


Reading and Composition: Love and Its Discontents in Shakespeare’s England

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Rice, Sarah Sands
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Shakespeare, William: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Shakespeare, William: Romeo and Juliet; Shakespeare, William: Twelfth Night

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be available on bCourses.

Description

Why are star-crossed lovers so romantic? How innocent is a love potion that makes a fairy queen fall madly in lust with a man who is part donkey? Just how heteronormative is a play in which the crossdressed heroine remains in masculine garb even when she gets her man? The answers await you in the works of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Renaissance portrayals of love—particularly those by Shakespeare— remain central to Western culture, but much of the complexity, darkness, and wonderful strangeness of those portrayals has faded to the background. In this course, we will delve into that complexity by reading, analyzing, and writing about Renaissance texts that focus on love and its discontents.

We will approach that topic through three guiding themes or units. In our first unit, “The Petrarchan Art of Love,” we will examine Shakespeare’s sonnets and Romeo and Juliet in relation to the Renaissance literary tradition of idealized love, particularly the poetry of Francis Petrarch. We will investigate how Romeo and Juliet builds on the sonnet tradition and how Shakespeare challenges that tradition in his sonnets to a beautiful young man and a sexually alluring Dark Lady. In the second unit, “Love and/or Lust,” we will work to untangle the fraught and sometimes dangerous relationship between love and lust in Renaissance England by venturing into the poetry of John Donne and the nighttime forests of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In our final unit, “Love and Gender,” we will investigate the role of gender flexibility, normativity, transgression, delight, and (dis)empowerment in the relationship between gender and romance in Twelfth Night and the sonnets of Lady Mary Wroth.

In addition to cultivating your critical thinking and literary analysis skills, this course will help to strengthen your academic writing. Becoming a better writer requires practice; as such, you will be required to write several essays of increasing length as the semester progresses.

Required texts (please get these specific editions):  WIlliam Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Edited by René Weis. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. ISBN: 978-1903436912; William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night. Edited by Kier Elam. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. ISBN: 978-1903436998; William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Edited by Sukanta Chaudhury. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. ISBN: 978-1408133491


Reading and Composition: Identity as Performance

English R1A

Section: 8
Instructor: Ghosh, Srijani
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Akhtar, Ayad: Disgraced; Ibsen, Henrik: A Doll's House; Nottage, Lynn: Ruined; Reza, Yasmina: The God of Carnage

Description

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”

—As You Like It, Act II Sc. VII

We often hear people say that actions speak louder than words. We express our identities, who we are, through our actions, our performances, our lived experiences amidst the context and structures within which we operate. We connect with our immediate socio-political circumstances, and these relations, in turn, determine our performances of our identities. Personal identity is thus not a concrete unchangeable idea, but its performance is constantly in flux depending on the context. This will be a reading- and writing-intensive course where we will examine four plays focusing on the construction of identity through performance.

Together with our critical inquiry into modes of reading, we will practice our writing skills. We will devote plenty of time to critical thinking and essay-writing skills, paying particular attention to argumentation, analysis, and the fundamentals of writing at the college level.


Reading and Composition: (Un)Belonging Bodies and Citizenship

English R1A

Section: 9
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 174 Barrows


Book List

Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Okada, John: No-No Boy; Vuong, Ocean: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Other Readings and Media

Film: Jordan Peele's Get Out

Course reader (working list): select poems by Walt Whitman, excerpts from Walden Pond, by Henry Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, Betty Friedan's The Femininine Mystique, Gloria Anzaldua's La Mestiza/The Borderlands, Claudia Rankine's Citizen

Description

Our bodies—even if we might claim them as our own—are far from neutral, as they carry embedded signals, texts, and even silences that reflect our multiple social positionings. This course explores narratives of embodiment, considering how bodies can reflect certain ideals of the nation, whether through self-desire, discipline, or forced submission. In particular, we will untangle the normative paradigms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion that feed into the American imagination, while finding openings for resistance, alternate expressons of identity, and community.

In addition to exploring these questions, students will set out to accomplish a wide range of writing objectives with the intent of reaching different audiences. We will examine how and why we value effective writing, while practicing rhetorical appeals, close (re)reading of written and visual narratives, critical analysis of primary sources, and original argumentation supported by textual evidence. Writing assignments will include regular short responses to readings in addition to a series of formal writing assignments that invite peer review and revision. 


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Bloom, Arthur: Takin' it to the Streets: A Sixties Reader

Description

This Reading and Composition course will focus on selected speeches, poetry, fiction, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. In addition to providing a set of broad critical, aesthetic and historical issues to engage over the course of the semester, selected materials place considerable emphasis on the student movements of the decade, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating-Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, the Third World Liberation Front, and the Free Speech and Anti-Vietnam War Movements.

Over the course of the semester, students will strengthen their capacities to make historically informed arguments, formulate compelling questions to guide their own research, and explore creative approaches to academic writing. Writing assignments emphasize critical engagement with historical and literary texts. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two formal essays focused on rhetorical and literary analysis (3-5 pages), frequent response posts to discussion board, and complete a final research project.


Reading and Composition: Plain Girls

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: Eisenberg, Emma C.
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 31 Evans


Book List

Brontë, Charlotte: Jane Eyre; Rooney, Sally: Conversations with Friends

Other Readings and Media

Course reader with theoretical and critical readings TBD

Description

"But I couldn't explain that to her. I certainly couldn't tell her what I found most endearing about him, which was that he was attracted to plain and emotionally cold women like me."

In Conversations with Friends (2017), Sally Rooney's protagonist, Frances, engages in many fraught conversations. Often, what is most important goes unsaid. In narration, we have access to her trauma, desire, fear—in short, to her intense embodiment—but when she speaks, Frances works hard to be as emotionally inexpressive as she is physically plain. In this class, we will pair Frances's story with the original plain girl novel: Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847). Like Frances, Jane is an adolescent woman grappling with desires that she doesn't believe the world will let her satisfy. Like Frances, Jane identifies her (alleged) plainness as the most obvious sign that other people find her disappointingYet both women are gripping, seductive narrators, as well as characters who turn out to have more power (sexual and otherwise) than they expect.

In this class, we will approach such deceptive plainness through secondary readings on both female desire and theories of communication. That is, we will investigate how Rooney and Brontë’s various female characters relate to sex and their own appearances, but we will seek answers in narration and dialogue that are far from plain. How does language enable and disable women from expressing their desire? What’s sexy about talking and what’s violent about certain intimate conversations? Is the plain girl an ideal narrator because, on the outside, she can choose to give nothing away?

These themes, methods, and questions will inform this course’s broader purpose: to develop analytical and argumentative skills introduced in R1A, while teaching students to identify and work effectively with pertinent secondary materials. Work will consist of a series of short assignments building up to a final research paper (with mandatory revision).


Reading and Composition: Narrative in Poetry, Poetry in Narrative

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: Nathan, Jesse
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Bollas, Christopher: Meaning and Melancholia; Brooks, Gwendolyn: Maud Martha; Riley, Atsuro: Romey's Order; Scott, Peter Dale: Coming to Jakarta;

Recommended: Bishop, Elizabeth: The Complete Poems, 1927-1979

Other Readings and Media

Some additional readings will be distributed as PDFs or handouts.

Description

Poetry is among the oldest technologies humans have for preserving and distributing stories. While other media—film, prose fiction, gaming—seem to deliver many of our tales now, narrative in poetry persists and thrives in our time as a powerful element of the poetic imagination. But what is a narrative, and what does it matter if it's told in lines of poetry, as opposed to any other medium? How do poets use the singular possibilities of verse to set up, unfold, devastate, and define us with brilliant storytelling? What is the source and nature—and meaning—of the pleasure such poems may induce? In this course, we'll explore the roots of narrative poetry in English and discuss how old and new narrative approaches work in contemporary poems, studying the ways they use theme, plot, timing, history, evasion, exposition, argument, and description to generate power and make discoveries. And, we'll think about the ways in which the poetic imagination's capacity to help us tell our stories plays a possibly essential role in our species' functionality.

The broader purpose of this course is to develop your critical reading and writing skills, whatever your major might be. Over the semester, you'll write and revise three papers of increasing length. We'll study the summary and synthesis of materials we read, the construction of logical and persuasive arguments, the conveying of attitudes and information. You'll learn by practicing these skills, by thinking about and talking about your own efforts and those of your fellow students, and by analyzing the work of other writers.


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

English R1B

Section: 4
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 31 Evans


Book List

Bloom, Arthur: Takin' it to the Streets: A Sixties Reader

Description

This Reading and Composition course will focus on selected speeches, poetry, fiction, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. In addition to providing a set of broad critical, aesthetic and historical issues to engage over the course of the semester, selected materials place considerable emphasis on the student movements of the decade, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating-Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, the Third World Liberation Front, and the Free Speech and Anti-Vietnam War Movements.

Over the course of the semester, students will strengthen their capacities to make historically informed arguments, formulate compelling questions to guide their own research, and explore creative approaches to academic writing. Writing assignments emphasize critical engagement with historical and literary texts. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two formal essays focused on rhetorical and literary analysis (3-5 pages), frequent response posts to discussion board, and complete a final research project.


Reading and Composition: From Islands to Images, Thinking-Objects in the Sea of History

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Robinson, Jared
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Bishop, Elizabeth: Geography III; Césaire, Aimé: Notebook of a Return to My Native Land; Hurston , Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God; James, C.L.R.: Black Jacobins; Melville, Herman: Benito Cereno; Morrison , Toni: Tar Baby; Shakespeare , William: The Tempest

Other Readings and Media

The philosophy and critical writing required for this course will be either made into a course reader or posted on bBcourses, depending on length and availability. 

Description

Beginning with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and passing through other works of literature from Elizabeth Bishop’s Geography III and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno to Aimé Césaire’s Notebook on a Return to My Native Land and C.L.R. James’s Black Jacobins, this course will ask its students to engage deeply with a single literary text by thinking it together with a piece of criticism or critical philosophy—here ranging from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Édouard Glissant, Walter Benjamin and W.E.B. Du Bois to Denis Diderot and Friedrich Nietzsche. It will attempt through this intense attention to teach the strange collage that is the research paper while attempting a thinking through of the question that seems to hold all of these works together: What makes a workable literary figure for the subject of history in the West, or, how has the West produced this subject through the technology of literature? This course organizes itself around a best guess: the Island, and witnesses how this figure transforms over the course of the strung-out Enlightenment’s gasping and collapsing its shipwrecked way into the presents of some of our authors, breaking over local phenomena like the American Civil War and the Haitian Revolution, and more global upheavals like the World Wars and Decolonization, until it is thinned and flattened into the Image. Charting a course from Islands to Images, we will try to discover how critical writing, slow reading, and research allow us to elaborate or resist the ravages of whatever time tosses our way next.


Reading and Composition: Narrative in Poetry, Poetry in Narrative

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: Nathan, Jesse
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 54 Barrows


Book List

Bollas, Christopher: Meaning and Melancholia; Brooks, Gwendolyn: Maud Martha; Riley, Atsuro: Romey's Order; Scott, Peter Dale: Coming to Jakarta;

Recommended: Bishop, Elizabeth: The Complete Poems, 1927-1979

Other Readings and Media

Some additional readings will be distributed as PDFs or handouts.

Description

Poetry is among the oldest technologies humans have for preserving and distributing stories. While other media—film, prose fiction, gaming—seem to deliver many of our tales now, narrative in poetry persists and thrives in our time as a powerful element of the poetic imagination. But what is a narrative, and what does it matter if it's told in lines of poetry, as opposed to any other medium? How do poets use the singular possibilities of verse to set up, unfold, devastate, and define us with brilliant storytelling? What is the source and nature—and meaning—of the pleasure such poems may induce? In this course, we'll explore the roots of narrative poetry in English and discuss how old and new narrative approaches work in contemporary poems, studying the ways they use theme, plot, timing, history, evasion, exposition, argument, and description to generate power and make discoveries. And, we'll think about the ways in which the poetic imagination's capacity to help us tell our stories plays a possibly essential role in our species' functionality.

The broader purpose of this course is to develop your critical reading and writing skills, whatever your major might be. Over the semester, you'll write and revise three papers of increasing length. We'll study the summary and synthesis of materials we read, the construction of logical and persuasive arguments, the conveying of attitudes and information. You'll learn by practicing these skills, by thinking about and talking about your own efforts and those of your fellow students, and by analyzing the work of other writers.


Reading and Composition: Reading and Writing the Digital

English R1B

Section: 7
Instructor: Zeavin, Hannah
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Description

In this course, we will survey the production, consumption, and study of literary texts in the digital age. Starting with a unit on writers’ relations to their writing technologies, we will explore the moral panics and forms of resistance prompted by digital literature from the 1960s through to the present. Across time, cultures, and technologies we will trace anxieties surrounding labor, freedom, control, information, attention, industry, and surveillance.

We will explore digital culture in social and networked practices of writing and reading, new theories of reading in the digital moment (distance reading, surface reading), popular moral and media panics (such as the notion that Microsoft Word is ruining writing), and debates within the digital humanities, media and literary studies. Moving from Internet 1.0 to Internet 2.0, we will engage many “born-digital” and online texts, such as Michael Joyce’s afternoon, William Gibson’s Aggripa, and Claudio Pinhanez’s “Open Diary,” as well as digital literary platforms and websites. In order to better understand these texts and technologies, and their social and historical contexts, we will also look at documentary films, critiques, and histories. We will conclude the semester by looking at digital writing and its reception now, including viral literature, the Instagram poetry of Rupi Kaur, and Warsan Shire’s poetry in Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

The semester will feature a reoccurring peer-to-peer writing workshop as well as individual meetings with the instructor to work on writing and research skills, including digital research. Across the whole of the semester, students will write and revise essays in three dominant Internet genres: the personal essay, “the hot take,” and the long form critique. 

All readings will be hosted on bCourses.


Reading and Composition: Literature, Media, and Technology

English R1B

Section: 8
Instructor: Wilson, Mary
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 39 Evans


Book List

Forster, E.M.: The Machine Stops; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen; Rooney, Sally: Conversations with Friends

Other Readings and Media

Course reader and online texts

Description

The evolution of what is broadly termed “new media” is fraught with contradictions. Between the lingering utopianism of John Perry Barlow’s 1996 “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” and the present state of Twitter wars, 4Chan, and Facebook privacy violations, our conception of what the internet is and does has evolved with the rapidity of the news cycle. In this class we will consider how works of literature have responded to this evolution. We’ll consider texts that imagine, lament, celebrate, and reproduce mediated forms of life, and we will learn how to analyze “texts” that have abandoned print in favor of Twitter, html, and streaming video. Supplementary readings and media will include work by Jorge Louis Borges, Teju Cole, Jon Bois, Wendy Chun, Hasan Elahi, and others. 

The primary aim of this course is to develop students' critical thinking, writing, and research skills. To this end, students will complete weekly writing assignments and draft two research papers during the course of the semester.


Reading and Composition: Hollywood Babylon—The Art of the Episodic in TV and Lit

English R1B

Section: 9
Instructor: Walter, David
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Description

In this course we pull out the guts of stories to try and understand how storytellers craft works that grip us. In the process we examine classic attempts to say what makes good storytelling and put to the test the idea that any story has certain “rules” that make it successful. 

With an emphasis on understanding the structures that underpin the TV drama, we will study writers' drafts of The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad, learning to interpret screenplay conventions on our way to understanding the complex move from script to screen. We will also read works of fiction, journalism, and memoir whose episodic structuring is suggestive of the arc of the TV season. Such works may include Perez-Reverte’s Queen of the South, Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Saviano’s Gomorrah, and Atwood’s Alias Grace.

In order to prepare students for the writing typically required in college-level courses and in civic discourse, this class teaches the composition of thesis-driven argumentative essays. Students will gain practice in composing brief to medium-length arguments that are focused, clearly organized, well supported and based on accurate critical reading of assigned materials. Students will turn in three formal essays, which they will develop out of written reflections and drafts, In addition, they will make class presentations, and collaborate on final group projects designed to creatively tie together the themes of the class.


Reading and Composition: Reading and Writing the Digital

English R1B

Section: 10
Instructor: Zeavin, Hannah
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 39 Evans


Description

In this course, we will survey the production, consumption, and study of literary texts in the digital age. Starting with a unit on writers' relations to their writing technologies, we will explore the moral panics and forms of resistance prompted by digital literature from the 1960s through to the present. Across time, cultures, and technologies we will trace anxieties surrounding labor, freedom, control, information, attention, industry, and surveillance.

We will explore digital culture in social and networked practices of writing and reading, new theories of reading in the digital moment (distance reading, surface reading), popular moral and media panics (such as the notion that Microsoft Word is ruining writing), and debates within the digital humanities, media and literary studies. Moving from Internet 1.0 to Internet 2.0, we will engage many "born-digital" and online texts, such as Michael Joyce's afternoon, William Gibson's Aggripa, and Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary," as well as digital literary platforms and websites. In order to better understand these texts and technologies, and their social and historical contexts, we will also look at documentary films, critiques, and histories. We will conclude the semester by looking at digital writing and its reception now, including viral literature, the instagram poetry of Rupi Kaur, and Warsan Shire's poetry in Beyoncé's Lemonade.

The semester will feaure a reoccurring peer-to-peer writing workshop as well as individual meetings with the instructor to work on writing and research skills, including digital research. Across the whole of the semester, students will write and revise essays in three dominant Internet genres: the personal essay, "the hot take," and the long form critique.

All readings will be hosted on bCourses.

(Please note the changes in the instructor and course content of this section of English R1B [as of October 21].)


Reading and Composition: Renaissance Revenge Tragedy

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Drawdy, Miles
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 31 Evans


Book List

Heywood, Thomas: A Woman Killed With Kindness; Maus, Katharine Eisaman: Four Revenge Tragedies; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet; Shakespeare, William: The Tempest

Other Readings and Media

Additional material will be made available on bCourses. 

Description

The War of the Roses (1455 - 85) inaugurated the Tudor dynasty as it dramatically demonstrated that internal violence posed an existential threat to the English nation. As the sixteenth century became increasingly marked by religious and political warfare, the English became increasingly fearful of revenge as a particularly insidious form of violence. Yet, as the Tudor dynasty approached its natural end, the genre of revenge tragedy became the characteristic offering of the English commercial theatre. This course will examine a number of revenge tragedies from this period as they reflect on a century of violence and look forward to a future of political uncertainty. Alongside these contextual considerations, we will investigate how the performance of revenge exposes weak points in the religious, political, and social structures of Renaissance England. We will also examine how these plays inherit and adapt an evolving set of recognizable conventions in order to meditate both on the formal features of tragedy and on the institution of theatre.

This course is intended to refine your critical thinking and writing skills. In pursuit of this end, students will be asked to write and revise one short analytical paper and a longer research paper.  


Reading and Composition: Hollywood Babylon—The Art of the Episodic in TV and Lit

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Walter, David
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Description

In this course we pull out the guts of stories to try and understand how storytellers craft works that grip us. In the process we examine classic attempts to say what makes good storytelling and put to the test the idea that any story has certain “rules” that make it successful. 

With an emphasis on understanding the structures that underpin the TV drama, we will study writers' drafts of The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad, learning to interpret screenplay conventions on our way to understanding the complex move from script to screen. We will also read works of fiction, journalism, and memoir whose episodic structuring is suggestive of the arc of the TV season. Such works may include Perez-Reverte’s Queen of the South, Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Saviano’s Gomorrah, and Atwood’s Alias Grace.

In order to prepare students for the writing typically required in college-level courses and in civic discourse, this class teaches the composition of thesis-driven argumentative essays. Students will gain practice in composing brief to medium-length arguments that are focused, clearly organized, well supported and based on accurate critical reading of assigned materials. Students will turn in three formal essays, which they will develop out of written reflections and drafts. In addition, they will make class presentations, and collaborate on final group projects designed to creatively tie together the themes of the class.


Reading and Composition: Final Frontiers: America and Beyond

English R1B

Section: 13
Instructor: Ramm, Gerard
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 89 Dwinelle


Book List

Abel, Jordan: Un/inhabited; Le Guin, Ursula: The Left Hand of Darkness; McNickle, D'Arcy: The Surrounded; Ridge, John Rollin: The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta

Description

Who said it better—American newspaper magnate Horace Greeley ("go west, young man") or Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise ("space...the final frontier")? Both appeals are iconic, but which more effectively coaxes us to think of expansion as the satisfaction of an urge, the natural will to explore the unknown? It's no secret that science fiction draws on scenes of earthly frontiers to construct an imagined future within and beyond our solar system. This course will offer a series of comparisons between Sci-Fi and Amercian frontier fiction to explore the relationships of settlers and indigenous peoples in each, as we consider how the representation of the "west" and "space" converge and veer apart. We'll be reading Native American novels, short stories, and poems in alternation with some seminal works of science fiction (and yes, we'll watch some Star Trek). By putting these two literary traditions in conversation with critical texts, anthropological sites, and U.S. policy papers, we'll create fertile conditions for the formation of research questions.

This course will teach analytical writing through a range of different assignments. We will be engaging one another in critical conversations on literature, film, and media to distill our arguments from different works, themes, and issues. Through shorter writing reflections and a 10-page final research paper, students will hone their rhetorical skills and learn to express new insights on art, entertainment, and the material/conceptual constellations of exploration and expansion.


Reading and Composition: Early American Technology

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: de Stefano, Jason
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 134 Dwinelle


Book List

Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Paine, Thomas: The Thomas Paine Reader

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be provided in a course reader.

Description

The era of the American Revolution and Early Republic was also a time of rapid innovation in science and industry. It was arguably America’s first technology boom. This course explores the place of technology in early American culture, specifically its role in constructing individual and national identity in and for the new United States. The definition of technology that we know today originated in this period, a time when inventions in the “applied sciences” and “practical arts” were classed among the arts in general; the things one designed and made in turn defined one’s place in society and sense of self. We will build an interdisciplinary account of how these definitions helped Americans distinguish their new national culture (in terms of ingenuity and industriousness, for instance, and with ideas of providence and manifest destiny), emerging political philosophies (from the Federalists’ investments in manufacturing and trade to Agrarianism’s faith in farming), and some of their most prominent compatriots (such as the inventor Benjamin Franklin and the amateur naturalist Thomas Jefferson). How were the visual cultures and vocabularies of emerging technologies employed as metaphors for the revolution and construction of the nation? In what ways did Americans find in the materials of their trades a set of conceptual resources for imagining their role as citizens? We will investigate some of the problems posed by technology, specifically those arising from its unchecked growth and uneven distribution. How did advancements in agriculture and transportation materially aid and ideologically justify arguments for territorial expansion, indigenous displacement, and hemispheric control? What kinds of relation to technology were possible, or proscribed, for African Americans in a society of chattel slavery? Throughout, we will consider literature and print as technologies of communication that fostered the emergence of the American republic within a transatlantic republic of letters.

R1B is designed to engage students in extensive writing and scholarly research. To that end, we will use questions about the history of technology in early America to pursue our own inquiries through primary and secondary sources. Students will learn to make use of digital technologies that aid research in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: online manuscript archives from institutions like the Library Company of Philadelphia, founded by Franklin in 1763; and digitized newspapers and periodicals like the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, early America’s preeminent scientific journal. Class meetings will often involve looking at visual materials such as paintings, broadsheet etchings, scientific diagrams, and pictures of historical objects that will enrich our discussions of the texts and topics under consideration. Writing assignments in this course will allow students to experiment with different research methodologies. The goal is to create an open and engaged conversation about writing well and how to use research to help make our writing better.


Reading and Composition: Collectives

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Bernes, Jasper
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Ferris, Joshua: Then We Came to the End; McKay, Claude: Banjo

Other Readings and Media

There will also be a course reader.

Description

Literary writing often presents us with profound forms of individual, subjective life—the "I" of the lyric poet, the well-developed character of the realist novel. What opportunities are there, however, for the writer who wants instead to focus on the life of a group, a neighborhood, a workplace, an organization, or a collective? In pursuing answers to this question by way of an examination of American literature, we will pay special attention to the relationship between literary form and the forms into which humans organize themselves.

This is a writing-intensive course with a research component. Students will write two shorter essays and a longer research paper. A portion of our class time each week will be devoted to research skills: students will learn how to locate secondary materials, evaluate them, and, finally, incorporate them into their essays, following proper rules of citation and attribution.


Reading and Composition: Speculative (Non)Humans: Science Fiction and Its Lively (Im)Possibilities

English R1B

Section: 16
Instructor: Tomasula y Garcia, Alba
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Joy Fowler, Karen: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; LaValle, Victor: Destroyer; Okorafor, Nnedi: Lagoon; VanderMeer, Jeff: Annihilation; Wells, H.G. : The Island of Dr. Moreau

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be posted to bCourses. 

Description

As the sometimes all-too-plastic forms that influence and are influenced by the social and technological systems around them, living beings—in their human, animal, plant, and other manifestations—remain a source of great fascination, celebration, and frustration for both administrations of power and for each other. This course will critically examine but a few of literature’s fleshy, speculative progeny—in pieces from Victorian novels to American comic books, and starring every being from suffering human-animal hybrids to marine biologists with alien-granted superpowers to signing chimpanzees—to not only provide a few prime examples of how the potentials of (non)human life have been utilized in literature, but to also analyze how science fiction concerned with life’s potentials has had an important hand in making clear—and even in influencing—what we find intriguing, alarming, and even possible within the living world. As we read, we will consider multiple aspects of how speculative life has been utilized in science fiction: what literary and rhetorical devices are used to represent the possible outcomes of mediation between the technological and the living; how the social/material constructions of class, race, and gender get embedded into the technology and therefore the flesh of science fiction’s protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters; what sorts of social pressures may be at work when it comes to determining what may be imagined, or permitted, as possible for a living being. In addition to our main texts, we will also broaden our understandings of speculative (non)humans and the writings that influence them by reading materials from a range of disciplines, including material feminism, critical race studies, history of science, and biopolitics.

With the goal of developing your critical reading, research, and writing skills, we will primarily devote class time to discussing the course reading through a combination of lecture material, question and answer, and group discussion. Students will also be given writing assignments throughout the semester that will break down the process of writing a final research paper into a series of steps, including topic proposals, drafting, revision, and peer feedback.


Reading and Composition: Radical Berkeley

English R1B

Section: 17
Instructor: Sutton, Emily
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Cline, Emma: The Girls (ISBN: 0812988027); Dick, Philip K.: Dr. Bloodmoney (ISBN: 0547572522)

Other Readings and Media

All other material will be available on bCourses.

Description

This course will focus first and foremost on developing the skills necessary to research, plan, draft and revise writing at a college level. You will hone these skills through an exploration of the extraordinary history of Berkeley itself. Berkeley has long been a locus for the radical re-imagining of political and social life in America, and together we will chart Berkeley’s radical tradition from the 1960s onward. This class will be particularly focused on how we can put literary and non-literary texts into conversation with one another to create a nuanced and vibrant sense of place. Readings will include key texts from the New Left and liberation movements (including the Free Speech Movement, the Black Panther party, the Third World Liberation Front, the Disability Rights movement, and local queer and feminist groups), the science fiction of Philip K. Dick and Ursula Le Guin, poetry by Thom Gunn, zines from the East Bay punk scene, the creative journalism of Rebecca Solnit, and Emma Cline’s contemporary fictionalization of the Manson Family. We will consider how we grapple with our radical forebears and what it means to be in Berkeley now. Throughout the semester you will be introduced to some of the myriad, unique resources in our university and community that are available for your research both in this class and beyond.

The primary writing assignments for this course will be a shorter analytic essay that will build on your existing skills and a longer research essay that will focus on integrating secondary sources into your own writing. Both of these papers will be the developed through a series of shorter exercises and revisions. You will be encouraged to think carefully not only about your own writing and the texts on our syllabus, but also the work of your classmates.


Reading and Composition: Searching for Answers: Coming-of-Age Novels into the 21st Century

English R1B

Section: 18
Instructor: Baker-Gibbs, Ariel
Time: MW 9-10:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf (1927); Oreo, Fran Ross (1974); Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006); Long Division, Kiese Laymon (2013)

Short critical theory excerpts will be distributed by the instructor.

Who are you? What are you looking for? The coming-of-age novel, or the Bildungsroman, professes to be an explanation of how a character or a person comes to be, but really marks the constant search for ourselves, our vision, and more often than not, our art. We will be reading four novels from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that play with and break this form in several ways. We will be dealing with creative and dynamic presentations of subjectivity, gender, queerness, race, time, history, literature, form, and identity.

This is a writing-intensive course that teaches critical analysis and college-level writing skills. We will focus on close reading, argument structure, and effective expression, with the goal of producing appropriately contextualized arguments that engage with existing critical conversation. Students will be doing regular writing exercises, and expected to write, revise, and workshop together three papers of increasing length over the course of the semester.

(Please note the changes in the instructor and the course content of this section of English R1B [as of October 21].)


Freshman Seminar: Emily Dickinson

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: W 4-5
Location: 189 Dwinelle


Book List

Dickinson, Emily : The Poems of Emily Dickinson (Johnson, ed.)

Description

We will be reading and discussing extraordinary poems by Emily Dickinson.

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


Literature In English: Introduction to Poetry

English 26

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 106 Dwinelle


Book List

Recommended: Ferguson, Margaret : The Norton Anthology of Poetry; Greene, Roland: The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

Description

What is poetry and why should we care? This course offers an introduction into poetry by discussing a wide range of poems written or translated into English as well as definitions and theories of poetry from Aristotle to the present. We will attend to verse forms from the sonnet to the ghazal; to poetic devices from the line to simile and metaphor; and to poetic functions such as voice and speaker. We will be reading works of poets from John Donne to Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery, from William Shakespeare to Mina Loy and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as a range of poems in translation, including psalms and troubadour lyrics. No familiarity with poetry is necessary, only the will to think about particular poems and poetry in general.

Recommended books are the Norton Anthology of Poetry (ed. Margaret Ferguson) and the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (eds. Roland Greene and Stephen Cushman). However, I will also provide links for the poems we read in the course.

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


Introduction to the Study of Fiction

English 27

Section: 1
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 2038 VLSB


Book List

Hayes, Kevin J.: The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe; Lovecraft, H. P.: At the Mountains of Madness; Poe, Edgar Allan.: Poe, Edgar Allan: The Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe; Poe, Edgar Allan.: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied Reader

Description

We will immerse ourselves in the extraordinary and influential literary career of Edgar Allan Poe: poetry, tales, satires, and essays. We will examine Poe’s work in relation to mid-nineteenth-century short fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Harriet Prescott Spofford and to the circle of women poets with whom Poe associated (Frances Sargent Osgood, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and Sarah Helen Whitman). And we will examine Poe’s impact on the genres of detective fiction (Arthur Conan Doyle, Jorge Luis Borges) and supernatural horror (H. P. Lovecraft). We also will examine responses to Poe’s fiction and poetry by 20th- and 21st-century artists and filmmakers. Across the course we will consider issues of narrative technique, genre, aesthetics, verbal style, politics, humor, gender, sexuality, and race. Requirements include two five-page essays and one seven-page essay and regular attendance and participation in discussion. Time will be reserved in class for discussing how to formulate theses and develop arguments in the required essays.


Introduction to the Study of Drama

English 28

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 106 Wheeler


Book List

Norton Anthology of Drama, Shorter Third Edition; Brook, Peter: The Empty Space; Frisch, Max: The Arsonists; Jacobs-Jenkins, Branden: Gloria; Kirkwood, Lucy: The Children; Orton, Joe: Loot

Description

The work of this class will be to understand the drama as literature in company. Lots of other literary forms make claims about what social life is like, and strive to act upon the social life of their readers beyond the reading experience. But the drama is itself sociable. It assembles a company of actors and stage hands to make itself happen, and enfolds with them a whole new company, the audience, as it happens. Even if we read a playscript in solitude, even if it's the script of a play that has never been acted, the form of the text reminds us that it is written against solitude—it calls us to invest the speeches we read in human bodies, charting with their words and movements a space in which the play is happening.

We'll move back and forth between active reading of playtexts and play-going at local theaters as the semester progresses. Our reading will focus on a few crucial concepts for the analysis of drama—the tragic choice, the workings of space and illusion, spectacle, character, prop—using both primary dramatic texts and some classic literary studies. About half of the primary texts will be important prototypes from earlier periods—ancient Greece and Renaissance England—and the rest will come from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We'll do a bit of tragedy as a point of reference, but most of the plays will be comedies, in keeping with the coming of spring.


Introduction to the Writing of Verse

English 43B

Section: 1
Instructor: Ritland, Laura
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 180 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be issued with a selection of poems written in English, ranging from Renaissance sonneteers (John Donne, William Shakespeare), to 20th- and 21st-century poetry from Elizabeth Bishop, Lisa Robertson, Ross Gay, Lyn Hejinian, Matthew Zapruder, Solmaz Sharif, Dionne Brand, Don McKay and others. This reader will also include short critical essays on poetics.

Description

This course serves an introductory creative writing workshop where participants will write, revise, and discuss their original works of poetry in a collaborative group setting. Through a series of writing prompts, technical exercises in form and meter, and a wide-ranging survey of poetry from this and past centuries, we will reflect on, explore, and experiment with our own poetic work and creative acts, as they exist in our contemporary moment. What is poetry—and how should a poet be? How does our poetic practice orient us toward our lived realities, political lives, natural and cultural environments, and our sense of who we are, here and now?

Each student will submit one poem per week for feedback and class discussion, respond to other students’ work, give a class presentation on a contemporary book of poetry, attend a poetry reading, and complete short reflection assignments on poetic craft. The final project will be the creation of a poetry chapbook.

Since this is an introduction to the writing of verse, all space in the class will be saved for sophomores and freshmen (at least initially). Interested students should enroll directly into this course, and no application or writing sample is required.


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: Lectures MW 2-3 in 3 LeConte + one hour of discussion section per week in 301 Wheeler (sec. 101: F 2-3; sec. 102: F 3-4; sec. 103: Thurs. 10-11; sec. 104: Thurs. 11-12)
Location:


Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey : The Canterbury Tales (original spelling edition, ed. Jill Mann) ; Greenblatt, Stephen: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 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 reading works of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton.

(If you already own an original-spelling edition of The Canterbury Tales, you may use it for this course.) 


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

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Tamarkin, Elisa
Time: Lectures MW 12-1 in 60 Evans + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 1-2; sec. 103: Thurs. 9-10; sec. 104: Thurs. 10-11)
Location:


Book List

Austen, Jane: Persuasion; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Franklin, Benjamin: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Melville, Herman: Benito Cereno; Olaudah, Equiano: The Interesting Narrative of the Life; Pope, Alexander: Essay on Man and Other Poems; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Wordsworth, William: Selected Poems

Description

This course is a survey of British and American literature from the late-seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth century.  We will look at how literary genres evolve alongside new forms of knowledge, understanding, and experience, with particular attention to the changing place of literature in the social lives of its readers.  We especially will consider the literary responses to an "age of revolution" on both sides of the Atlantic.


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

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Lavery, Grace
Time: Lectures MW 10-11 in 159 Mulford + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: W 12-1; sec. 102: W 1-2; sec. 103: Thurs. 1-2; sec. 104: Thurs. 2-3; sec. 105: F 10-11; sec. 106: F 11-12);
Location:


Book List

Brooks, Gwendolyn: Annie Allen; Eliot, George: Middlemarch; Gaiman, Neil: The Sandman: A Game of You; Loy, Mina: Lunar Baedeker; Miller, Frank: The Dark Knight Returns; Moore, Alan: Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?; Moore, Marianne: The Pangolin and Other Poems; Morrison, Grant: New X-Men: Riot at Xaviers; Stein, Gertrude: Tender Buttons

Description

This class aims to introduce students to a wide range of literary writing composed in English since 1850, providing introductory-level access to the historical and formal problems that literature has raised. Rather than aim for anything like coverage, however, this survey will focus on one realist novel, and then multiple works in a further two genres, modernist poetry by women, and superhero comics. This will hopefully allow us to experience a wide range of types of literature in English, without requiring each individual text to stand in for an entire genre. It will also help us to understand the value of literary analysis of texts across time, medium, register, and readership.


Children's Literature: The Bad Seed: Monstrosity, Horror, and the Inhuman in Children’s Literature

English 80K

Section: 1
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 50 Birge


Description

From cannibalistic witches in the tales of the Grimm Brothers to sadistic parents in Roald Dahl, children's literature is riff with terrifying and troubling figures. This class will look at the forms of monstrosity, deviance, and horror that appear in a variety of texts and films oriented towards children to ask why it is that there is such pleasure in the perversion. We will think about the psychological, political, and cultural work of representations of violence, inhumanity, and the grotesque in a genre so often figured as cute, sweet, or safe. Authors may include Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, V.C. Andrews, and Hans Christian Andersen.


Sophomore Seminar: Film Noir and Neo-Noir

English 84

Section: 1
Instructor: Bader, Julia
Time: Tuesdays 9-12
Location: 300 Wheeler


Description

An analysis of some classic American crime films and some recent examples of the genre.

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


Introduction to Old English

English 104

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 2032 VLSB


Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

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

For more information about this course, please contact Professor Miller at j_miller@berkeley.edu.

 


English Drama from 1603 to 1700

English 114B

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 140 Barrows


Book List

Congreve, William: Love for Love; Fletcher, John: The Island Princess; Ford, John: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore; Jonson, Ben: Bartholmew Fair; Jonson, Ben: Masques; Jonson et al.: Eastward Ho!; Marston, John: The Malcontent; Middleton and Dekker: The Roaring Girl; Middleton and Rowley: The Changeling; Milton, John: Samson Agonistes; Shakespeare, William: The Tempest; Webster, John: The Duchess of Malfi; Wycherley, William: The Country Wife

Description

Reaching across the upheavals of the seventeenth century, this class studies the triumphant age of drama after Shakespeare, the Jacobean period; the reactions against the drama that led to the closing of London's theaters during the English Civil War and the Commonwealth; and the renewal of drama in the Restoration of the monarchy. We'll consider the relations between staged action and the chaotic urban environment of London; the growth of consumer culture, international trade, and global consciousness; the defiant frivolity of wit; and the darker delights of... revenge.

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


The English Renaissance (17th Century)

English 115B

Section: 1
Instructor: Kahn, Victoria
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 206 Dwinelle


Book List

Rudrum, Alan: Broadview Anthology of Seventtent-Century Verse and Prose: VOL 1 only: VERSE

Description

An introduction to one of the great ages of English literature, focusing on works by John Donne, Ben Jonson, George Herbert, Thomas Hobbes, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Robert Herrick, Margaret Cavendish, Katharine Phillips. We will discuss the relationship between literature and the court of James I, the explosion of pamphlet literature during the English civil war, the controversy over gender roles, the texts surrounding the regicide of Charles I, and the political, religious, and sexual radicalism of dissenting literary culture.

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


Shakespeare

English 117S

Section: 1
Instructor: Knapp, Jeffrey
Time: Lectures TTh 4-5 in 141 McCone + one hour of discussion section per week in 300 Wheeler (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Shakespeare, William: Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays (3rd ed.); Shakespeare, William: The Comedy of Errors (Signet ed.);

Recommended: Greenblatt, Stephen: Will in the World

Description

What makes Shakespeare Shakespeare?  We’ll search for answers to that question through the astonishing variety of Shakespeare’s plays.  We’ll explore the ways that Shakespeare develops plot and character in his drama, as well as the literary, social, sexual, religious, political, and philosophical issues that he conceptualizes through plot and character.  Finally, we’ll trace how Shakespeare’s dramaturgy is shaped by his evolving sense of pride and shame in his work as a mass entertainer.


Milton

English 118

Section: 1
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: Lectures MW 2-3 in 56 Barrows + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec.101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 2-3)
Location:


Description

We'll explore John Milton's career, a lifelong effort to unite intellectual, political, and artistic experimentation.

Required Text: John Milton, The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen Fallon (Modern Library). NOT THE KINDLE VERSION.

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


The English Novel (Defoe through Scott)

English 125A

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 229 Dwinelle


Description

The period from which our reading draws has been credited with the “rise of the novel”—the emergence of the then new genre, the “novel,” so familiar to us today. While critics have qualified and revised that claim, the texts we’ll read do experiment with new forms of prose fiction and new ideas about what is worth representing. As we read these works and track their innovations, we shall be especially interested in considering what it was that some found dangerous about them. Like surfing the internet, novel reading wasn’t something you wanted the “impressionable”—from teenagers to women—to do alone, or maybe at all. Might the perceived threat have had something to do with early novels’ connection to romance and the erotic? Might it have to do with what one critic calls the “narrative transvestitism” of the early novel—in which men write books featuring female heroines who will describe, in an innovative, frank prose style, how a woman really feels? Highly conscious of these debates, eighteenth-century writers responded to them in their generic experiments, deploying rhetorical and thematic means to legitimate their writing, appealing to (and sometimes transforming) moral discourse, and creating hybrids of new and classical writing, all offering complex new forms of writing and, some would argue, consciousness.

Course Requirements will include quizzes, participation, including a group presentation, two papers, a mid-term exam, and a final. 

Course texts will likely include: Eliza Haywood: Love in Excess; Daniel Defoe: Roxana; Samuel Richardson: Pamela; Henry Fielding: Shamela and Joseph Andrews, Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto; Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey.

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


The European Novel

English 125C

Section: 1
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 2038 VLSB


Book List

Balzac, Honore de: Pere Goriot; Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary; Goethe, Johann Wolfgang: Wilhelm Meister's Years of Apprenticeship; Grimmelhausen, Hans Jakob: The Adventures of Simplicious Simplicissimus; Smith, Zadie: White Teeth; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Description

In The Theory of the Novel, Georg Lukacs writes, “The novel form is, like no other, an expression of transcendental homelessness.”  This course will survey the history of the European novel in the context of “rootlessness” and “estrangement”—“rootlessness” vis-a-vis class, nation and gender, and “estrangement” vis-a-vis the self.


The European Novel: The Many Faces of the 19th-Century European Novel

English 125C

Section: 2
Instructor: Golburt, Lyubov
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 182 Dwinelle


Description

The novel emerged as the principal literary genre in 19th-century Europe and has continued to dominate the literary market in Europe and North America ever since. What were the constitutive formal elements as well as social and psychological concerns of novelistic narrative in the period of its greatest ascendancy? Focusing on a selection of novels from the German, English, French, and Russian traditions, this course examines the many guises the novel assumed in the process of its becoming, over the course of the 19th century, the central genre within which key social, political, and aesthetic issues of its time could be deliberated.

All novels considered in this course are markedly experimental. Each showcases a different dimension of the novel genre: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) is a sentimental epistolary novel; Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), an epistolary Gothic horror novel that also lays the groundwork for the emergence of science fiction; Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (1823-1831), an ironic and fragmentary novel in verse; Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1856), a novel that establishes the model of modern realist narration; and finally, Leo Tolstoy's magisterial War and Peace (1865-1869), a text that can be loosely termed a historical novel while raising crucial questions about the very premises of what it means to be historical and novelistic.

Book List (specified editions are highly recommended; print versions preferred to digital):  Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, trans. David Constantine, Oxford World Classics, 978-0199583027; Shelley, Frankenstein, ed. J. Paul Hunter, Norton Critical Editions, 978-0393927931; Pushkin, Eugene Onegin, trans. James Falen, Oxford University Press, 978-0199538645; Flaubert, Madame Bovary, ed. Margaret Cohen, Norton Critical Editions, 978-0393979176; Tolstoy, War and Peace, trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude, Norton Critical Editions, 978-0393966473

This section of English 125C is cross-listed with Slavic 133.


The Contemporary Novel

English 125E

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: Lectures MW 9-10 in 141 McCone + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 9-10; sec. 103: F 10-11; sec. 104: F 10-11)
Location:


Book List

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Egan, Jennifer: A Visit from the Goon Squad; Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go; Lerner, Ben: 10:04; McCarthy, Cormac: The Road; Watkins, Claire Vay: Gold Fame Citrus; Whitehead, Colson: The Underground Railroad

Description

While the novel has a rich and storied past, its newness—its NOVEL-ty—is built into its very name. In this course, we will consider the innovations, formal and otherwise, through which the novel continues to surprise and engage us in the 21st century. How does this literary form represent our contemporary world? What does the novel have to say about our very recent past, about our present moment . . . and about our future? Let's find out.

The readings for the course will include some but not all of the listed novels, so don’t buy any of them until you get the syllabus on the first day of class. We will also read some book reviews as well as some popular and scholarly essays. Written assignments for the course will include frequent bCourses posts, several short essays, and a final exam.


British Literature, 1900-1945

English 126

Section: 1
Instructor: Falci, Eric
Time: Lectures TTh 2-3 in 20 Barrows + one hour of discussion section per week in 305 Wheeler (sec. 101: F 2-3; sec. 102: F 3-4)
Location:


Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Lord Jim; Joyce, James: Ulysses; Rhys, Jean: Good Morning, Midnight; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Description

In this course, we will examine British and Irish literature from the turn of the twentieth century through the aftermath of World War II. This was a period of tremendous turmoil and thoroughgoing change in Britain, Ireland, and the world. Looking at a handful of the most significant texts from this period, we will investigate how they register and refract those massive political and cultural shifts, how we might characterize British and Irish literature within the larger rubrics of literary and artistic modernism, and how writers reckoned with such large-scale changes by locating new ways to pressurize, reroute, scramble, and evade inherited forms, modes, and genres. Along with the novels by Conrad, Joyce, Rhys, and Woolf listed above, we will also read poems and essays by Thomas Hardy, W.B. Yeats, Mina Loy, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, W.H. Auden, Stevie Smith, Derek Walcott, and Philip Larkin. These shorter texts will be available electronically and in a reader.


Modern Poetry

English 127

Section: 1
Instructor: Altieri, Charles F.
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 223 Dwinelle


Book List

Rahmazani et al, Jahan: Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Description

This course will be a general survey studying the major writers and stylistic experiments that have shaped contemporary poets' understanding of their heritage.  We will go into depth on particular poems but will not be very attentive to the shape of overall careers.  Poets will include Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Loy, Moore, Williams, Stevens, Crane, then the most important post-WW II poets, Lowell, Plath, Ashbery, O'Hara, and probably Creeley.  There will be a decent amount of writing early in the semester, then a mid-term, term paper of about 10 pages, and final. The emphasis will be on how poetry can generate considerable imaginative force because of the authorial choices it exhibits.


American Literature: Before 1800

English 130A

Section: 1
Instructor: Donegan, Kathleen
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 140 Barrows


Book List

Bradford, W.: Of Plimouth Plantation; Brown, C.B.: Wieland, or The Transformation; Crevecoeur, H.: Letters from an American Farmer; Equiano, O.: An Interesting Narrative; Franklin, B.: The Autobiography; Jefferson, T.: Notes on the State of Virginia; Rowlandson, M.: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Williams, R.: A Key into the Language of America

Description

This course surveys the literatures of early America, from the tracts that envisioned the impact of British colonization to the novels that measured the after-shock of the American Revolution.  Throughout, we will consider colonial America as a place of encounter—a place where diversity was a given, negotiation was a necessity, and transformation was inescapable. We will read broadly in the many genres of writing produced in the colonial and early national era, keeping our eyes trained both to literary form and to the world beyond the page.  Our topics will include contact and settlement, “translations” of Native American culture, religious and social formations, captivity narratives, natural history, print culture, the Atlantic slave trade, the writing of revolution, and the contested ideals of the new republic.  Throughout, we will pay special attention to how writing operated to forge new models of the self that could withstand and absorb the tumult of colonial life.

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

This course also satisfies the university's Historical Studies breadth requirement.


American Novel

English 132

Section: 1
Instructor: McWilliams, Ryan
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 54 Barrows


Book List

Brown, Charles Brockden: Edgar Huntly; Chopin, Kate: The Awakening; Cole, Teju: Open City; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale; Morrison, Toni: Beloved

Description

This survey of the American novel begins with a somnambulist whose surprisingly violent rambles in the summer of 1787 raise questions about responsibility for the land theft that undergirded the emergent nation. It ends with a twenty-first-century Nigerian-American flaneur whose urban peregrinations call into question the coherence of borders in a globalized world. In response to these de-territorializing, non-linear journeys, this course begins by interrogating the deceptively simple terms “novel” and “American,” asking how they have shaped one another over time.               

As we saunter through the centuries separating somnambulist and flaneur, we will pay special attention to the peculiarly haunted dimensions of American psychic life. We will consider how the uncanny centrality of phantoms, ghosts, reveries, and nightmarish apparitions has allowed authors to complicate matters of inclusion and exclusion, of representation (both political and artistic) and the unrepresentable. In turn, how have thematic entanglements of historical memory and the return of the repressed inflected authors' uses of voice and perspective, narration and description, fragmentation and organicism? By treating the novel as a form emerging from a particular social and ideological history, we will consider how its development has alternately enabled and resisted broader national narratives about where the nation came from, where it is going, and what it means.


African American Literature and Culture Before 1917

English 133A

Section: 1
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: MW 5-6:30 PM
Location: 179 Dwinelle


Book List

Brown, William Wells: Clotel; Chesnutt, Charles: The Marrow of Tradition; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life; Du Bois, W. E. B.: The Souls of Black Folk; Equiano, Olaudah: Interesting Narrative; Harper, Frances: Iola Leroy; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Wells-Barnett, Ida B.: Lynch Law in Georgia; Wheatley, Phillis: Complete Writings

Other Readings and Media

Other materials will be available in PDF format on the course website.

Description

This course explores African American literary history from its beginning in the eighteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century, interpreting major works in the context of slavery and its aftermath. We will reflect on the complex relationship between literature and political activism by examining the genres and formal devices through which African Americans responded to the demand for individual and collective self-representation. Course themes include authorship and authenticity, captivity and deliverance, law and violence, memory and imagination, kinship and miscegenation, passing and racial impersonation, dialect and double consciousness. Works by authors such as Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, and W. E. B. Du Bois are supplemented by readings in history, theory, and criticism. Two essays, two exams, and weekly writing.

This course satisfies the university's Historical Studies breadth requirement.


Literature of American Cultures: American Hustle

English 135AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: Lectures TTh 4-5 in 140 Barrows + one hour of discussion section per week in 305 Wheeler (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 1-2)
Location:


Description

This course, which constitutes a survey of ethnic American literature, asks about the desires, imagination, and labor that go into the American dream. What is the relationship between immigration and dreams of upward mobility in America? This course will examine films, novels, and short stories in which the American dream comes apart at the seams to think about the fantasies of belonging and prosperity that fuel immigration and its effect on how we think about race, ethnicity, class, and citizenship.

We will examine the ways in which people negotiate relationships to the state and to a sense of Americanness through fantasies of economic prosperity and increased possibility—how do some communities come to be figured as “model minorities” and others burdens on the state? In this class, we are going to do and to talk about work: getting work, making it work, working the system. We will study narratives of struggle, belonging, becoming, and coming undone across a variety of immigrant and ethnic American communities. There is no singular America that we will seek to depict in this class: its fractures, failures, and violences are of as much interest to us as its bounty, promise, and welcome. For this reason, we will engage a range of historical, sociological, and theoretical material to understand how ethnic and racial categories have been formed and produced in America. Students will develop a critical vocabulary for race, gender, and class in contemporary America and an understanding of their historical antecedents.

Texts may include: W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; and Jish Gen, Mona in the Promise Land.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.


Topics in American Studies: American Culture in the Age of Obama

English C136

Section: 1
Instructor: Saul, Scott
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 20 Wheeler


Book List

Lim, Eugene: Dear Cyborgs; Obama, Barack: Dreams from My Father; Ward, Jessmyn: Salvage the Bones; Whitehead, Colson: The Underground Railroad

Other Readings and Media

Janelle Monáe, “Many Moons” (2008); The ArchAndroid, Suites II & III (2010); Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical (2015); George Saunders, “Escape from Spiderhead” (2010); Key & Peele (2012-2015), selected sketches; Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins, 2016); Kendrick Lamar, “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” (2012); To Pimp a Butterfly (2015); Flying Lotus with Kendrick Lamar, “Never Catch Me”; Beyoncé, Lemonade (album and film) (2016); John Keene, “Rivers” and “Cold” from Counternarratives (2015); Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)

Description

This course traces, across many forms of American culture, what might be called “the Obama effect.” Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has suggested that the election of Obama prompted a renaissance of black writing, in part by stimulating “curiosity about the community he had so consciously made his home and all the old, fitfully slumbering questions he’d awakened about American identity.”

In this course, we’ll examine how a wide range of imaginative writers, in a wide spectrum of genres, took on those questions, often offering “counternarratives” to conventional myths of American innocence, achievement, and glory. We’ll also explore works of music, film, and theater that, like Obama’s autobiography, rewrote the romance of America—whether, say, by adding hip-hop accents to the story of the country’s founding (Hamilton), turning a story of interracial romance into a horror tale (Get Out), or creating an Afro-futurist, queer-inflected story of slave revolt (Janelle Monáe’s Metropolis saga).

Along the way, we’ll consider two of the social movements that coalesced and gathered force during Obama’s presidency: Occupy and Black Lives Matter. We’ll investigate how these movements challenged the limits—political, economic, moral—of the “age of Obama” through art and political action, and looked to create new forms of radical community while protesting inequality and state violence.

This course is cross-listed with American Studies C111E.


Topics in Chicanx Literature and Culture: Chicanx Novels

English 137T

Section: 1
Instructor: Gonzalez, Marcial
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 140 Barrows


Book List

Castillo, Ana: Sapogonia; Gonzalez, Rigoberto: Crossing Vines; Islas, Arturo: The Rain God; Pineda, Cecile: Face; Rechy, John: City of Night; Rivera-Garza, Cristina: No One Will See Me Cry; Ruiz, Ronald: Happy Birthday Jesus; Vea, Alfredo: Gods Go Begging; Viramontes, Helena Maria: Their Dogs Came with Them

Description

This course will focus exclusively on the study of Chicanx novels. The themes and formal features in these novels have been influenced to a large degree by a broad range of social experiences: living in the borderlands of nationality, language, politics, and culture; growing up female in a male-centered environment; standing up against racism; engaging in class struggles; encountering various forms of organized state repression; migrating and immigrating; getting involved in political movements; sometimes becoming complicit with the forces of domination; and expressing these experiences in art and literature. Because this is a reading-intensive course, we will spend considerable time in class discussing the novels and conducting collective close readings of selected passages. Class participation is required and will be factored into the course grade. We'll be attentive to the manner in which the act of storytelling in Chicanx novels contributes to the formation of complex and sometimes contradictory cultural identities. We'll also read and discuss works of literary criticism and history to facilitate our analysis of the social issues and aesthetic qualities that inform the writing of these novels and to understand how Chicanx novels expand and enrich the American literary tradition generally.


Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.)

English 141

Section: 1
Instructor: Giscombe, Cecil S.
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 140 Barrows


Description

We'll study some of the ways that fiction writers, essayists, story-tellers, and poets have responded to the worlds that their cultures have built.  We'll read published work by our predecessors and by contemporary writers (including Maxine Hong Kingston, Audre Lorde, Angela Carter, and William Kennedy); we'll look at "high" forms and "low" forms and write in both and consider the distinctions.  We'll read and think about and write urban legends and short fictions, family histories, hybrid texts, ghost stories, and sonnets.  Students will work on individual projects and will also be asked to collaborate on group performances of creative work.  Projects incorporating material from non-written sources (graphic art, for example) will be encouraged;' projects incorporating material from unpublished sources (folklore, family stories, etc.) will also be encouraged.

Discussion, workshopping, writing prompts.

Texts TBA.


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Melanie Abrams
Time: MW 9-10:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Burroway, Janet: Writing Fiction

Other Readings and Media

Reader available at Instant Copying and Laser Printing, 2138 University Ave. (between Shattuck Ave. & Walnut St.), (510) 704-9700

Description

The aim of this course is to explore the genre of short fiction—to discuss the elements that make up the short story, to talk critically about short stories, and to become comfortable and confident with the writing of them.  Students will write two short stories, a number of shorter exercises, weekly critiques of their peers’ work, and be required to attend and review two fiction readings.  The course will be organized as a workshop and attendance is mandatory. All student stories will be edited and critiqued by the instructor and by other students in the class.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 10-15 double-spaced pages of your fiction, 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 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 2
Instructor: Rowland, Amy
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 180 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available from Instant Copying & Laser Printing (510) 704-9700; 2138 University Ave., Berkeley.

Description

This course is a workshop that focuses on writing and revising short fiction. We will also read published short stories and other literary work to see how writers craft effective stories. We will examine the essentials of voice, character, setting, structure, point of view, conflict, and the use of language. Students will present their own fiction, and will also be careful and empathetic readers of the work of others.

During the course, students will be responsible for constructively critiquing their classmates' work, sharing their own work, and reading closely for class discussion. Each student will write two short stories over the course of the semester.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 10-15 double-spaced pages of your fiction, 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 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Verse

English 143B

Section: 1
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location: 305 Wheeler


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; the first, second, and third person (persona, address, drama, narrative, description); prose poetry, and revision. Our emphasis will be on recent possibilities, both ethnically and poetically diverse, with an eye and ear to renovating traditions. We will also read a number of poems by graduates of my 143B sections who have gone on to publish books and win prizes. 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 five in rotation (I’ll also respond each week 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 be fun and will make you a better poet.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 pages of your poems (any combination of long or short poems or fragments of poems, the total length not exceeding five pages), 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 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Verse

English 143B

Section: 2
Instructor: Matuk, Farid
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 104 Dwinelle


Book List

Cha, Teresa Hak Kyung: Dictee; Duncan, Robert: Selected Poems; Holiday, Harmony: Hollywood Forever

Description

As some would have it, the field of verse can be organized into poems and non-poems, poets and non-poets. In this schema poets are individuals who bear responsibility for the asethetic choices that produce poems, and poems are things that instruct and delight, while non-poets are artists who train themselves to receive energies, and the texts they offer as a record of that contact care, primarily, to reveal what a person is.

To test that theory, and to see if we might develop alternative orders, this course will follow the work of three Berkeley-identified writers—Robert Duncan, Teresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Harmony Holiday. Beyond having studied at or graduated from Cal (Holiday took more than one section of English 143B), all three writers share a practice of grounding their work in relation to continually evolving archives.

With their examples in mind, this course asks you to amass and share a personal archive that includes traces of where you come from and that, perhaps, points to where you're headed. This archive can include print and digital images, video and audio recordings, personal or public texts. You can think of your archive as personal and cultural, bound to your lifetime or inclusive of ancestors. We'll explore commonly accessible digital platforms such as Google Drive and Tumblr to house and share these burgeoning archives.

Duncan, Cha, and Holiday used strategies that included fixed verse forms, performance, video art, and real-time improvisation to write with and through their archives. You'll choose from anong these approaches and hopefully devise a few of your own as you create original works that emerge from and extend your archives. Our class meetings will include reading, discussion, writing in response to prompts and critiques of work in progress. Your work will culminate in a portfolio in a form determined by your curiosities and concerns.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 pages of your poems (any combination of long or short poems or fragments of poems, the total length not exceeding five pages), 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 deadine for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Prose Nonfiction: Personal Essay

English 143N

Section: 1
Instructor: Kleege, Georgina
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 186 Barrows


Book List

Als, Hilton: Best American Essays 2018

Description

This class will be conducted as a writing workshop to explore the art and craft of the personal essay.  We will closely examine the essays in the assigned anthology, as well as students’ exercises and essays.  Writing assignments will include three short writing exercises (2 pages each) and two new essays (10-20 pages each). 

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5-10 double-spaced pages of your creative nonfiction (no poetry or academic writing), 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 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Writing Technology: Science Fiction

English 145

Section: 1
Instructor: Serpell, C. Namwali
Time: Lectures MW 11-12 in 3 Leconte + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 12-1)
Location:


Book List

Anderson: Feed ; Anthropy: Rise of the Videogame Zinesters ; Asimov: I, Robot ; Chandra: Geek Sublime ; Delany: Babel-17 ; Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ; Forster: The Machine Stops; Gibson: Neuromancer ; Hu: A Prehistory of the Cloud.

Other Readings and Media

A course reader of essays and stories.

Film/TV: Lang, Metropolis; Scott, Blade Runner; The Wachowskis, The Matrix; Villaneuve, Blade Runner 2049; Brooker, Black Mirror.

Description

This introductory course considers an overlap among the disciplines of English, Computer Science, and Data Science—British and American narratives that revolve around technology. We'll look at visual and verbal texts from the early twentieth century to now, including essays, stories, novels, films, and TV episodes. These forms of "techno-lit" speculate about current and future technologies, including machines, codes, games, and networks. We’ll explore questions about time and space, language and data, the politics of virtual and material embodiment, and the ethics of our historical and current relationship to technology. This writing-intensive course also offers exposure to and practice in different ways to "write technology," including history of science, tech journalism, and science fiction.


Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism

English 160

Section: 1
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Time: Thurs. 2-5
Location: 83 Dwinelle


Description

In this course, we will look at some major moments in and read some major works of literary criticism written in English.  Beginning with Sir Philip Sidney’s “The Defence of Poesy” and moving through writing by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, J. S. Mill, Matthew Arnold, George Eliot, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, A. C. Bradley, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, William Empson, Cleanth Brooks, James Baldwin, Kenneth Burke, Raymond Williams, Northrop Frye, C.L.R. James, Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Edward Said, Toni Morrison, Eve Sedgwick, and others, we’ll read British and American literary criticism in order to do a few related things.  First, we’ll look to these writers in order to consider some questions essential to thinking about literature and literary language: What is literature?  What is it for?  Is literature literary because it entertains, because it instructs, because it is ordered, beautiful, dangerous, or strange?  What, if anything, makes literary language different from other kinds of language?  And what analytic, descriptive, or interpretive methods are appropriate to what might be specific about literary language?  Second, we’ll look to these writers at work, looking closely at how different critics engage with their different chosen objects, how they understand the practical and maybe impractical ends of criticism, and how they write about writing.  We’ll see how Arnold reads and writes about Wordsworth, how Woolf reads and writes about Austen, how Coleridge, Bradley, and Wilde read and write about Shakespeare, how Morrison reads and writes about Melville, and how Henry James reads and writes about Henry James.  Third, we’ll look at some ways in which the more or less continuous modern history of literary criticism in Britain and America responds to other histories—to revolution, reaction, political upheaval, world wars, cold wars, empire, decolonization, social movements, social networks, as well as the economic, political, and cultural vicissitudes of the modern university.


Special Topics: Traditions of Mourning and the Representation of the Holocaust

English 165

Section: 1
Instructor: Goodman, Kevis
Time: MW 3-4:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Levi, Primo: The Drowned and the Saved; Sebald, W. G.: The Emigrants; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet; Teichman and Leder, eds.: Truth and Lamentation: Stories and Poems on the Holocaust

Other Readings and Media

A Course Reader (possibly in two volumes)

Description

After World War II, the German writer Theodor Adorno famously commented that it is “barbaric” to continue to write poetry after Auschwitz, because any attempt to convert extreme suffering into aesthetic image or form commits an injustice against the victims. Yet, as Adorno also acknowledged almost in the same breath, art forms are also necessary, because silence, or at least the failure to render or to transmit the event and its implications in some way, can constitute an injustice of another sort. As that statement can suggest, the Holocaust has posed an acute challenge to the long history of literary mourning and to the elegiac mode in particular, because the elegy, traditionally a poem that performs the work of mourning, looks for—though it does not necessarily find—consolation in language and literary form.

This seminar has two main parts. We will first establish a background and a vocabulary by reading selected elegiac texts (largely but not exclusively poetry) from different historical moments and in different traditions, from classical pastoral to the present. These will be collected in an important Course Reader.  Later in the semester, we will turn to problems in Holocaust representation, trauma, and memory. Throughout this course, we will combine attention to primary texts with consideration of relevant criticism and theory, as we ask questions about the relationships between elegy and anti-elegy, loss and language, mourning and historiography (the writing of history), personal grief and collective expression.


Special Topics: Enlightenment & Romance: Scotland in the 18th Century

English 165

Section: 2
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 124 Wheeler


Book List

Burns, Robert: Selected Poems; Hogg, James: Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; Hume, David: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; Johnson, Samuel: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland; Scott, Walter: Redgauntlet: A Tale of the Eighteenth Century; Smollett, Tobias: The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

Other Readings and Media

Selections from Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, Hugh Blair, Robert Fergusson, James Macpherson, Dorothy Wordsworth (etc.) to be made available in a course reader.

Description

Eighteenth-century Scotland was home both to the so-called Scottish Enlightenment, one of the advanced civil societies in the Atlantic world, and to the beginnings of the global movement of taste and feeling later to be called Romanticism. Here were invented signature discourses of the modern human sciences (sociological history, anthropology, political economy) as well as literary forms of ancient indigenous epic, the poetry of popular life, and the historical novel. If Scotland, on the one hand, “invented the modern world,” it also became, on the other, a haunted landscape in the symbolic geography of Romanticism—a site of lost worlds of tradition and allegiance: an imaginary role it still holds today (although debates around the 2014 referendum on Scottish Independence opted for an enlightened, civic conception of the modern nation rather than appealing to Romantic nostalgia). Our course will consider the production of Scotland and its world horizons by Scottish writers and institutions as well as its consumption in tourist itineraries and media fantasies, and its problematical legacies in neoliberal economics and nationalist ideology. We will read selections from some key works of Enlightenment moral philosophy and history alongside Scottish innovations in poetry and fiction (Macpherson's "Poems of Ossian"; Burns and the vernacular poetry revival; Romantic historical fiction).

Readings will include: David Hume, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding; Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments; Adam Ferguson, Essay on the History of Civil Society; James Macpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry and Fingal; Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns, selected poems; Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker; Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and James Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides; Dorothy Wordsworth, Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland; Walter Scott, Redgauntlet; James Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. [NB: Coursebooks will be ordered from University Press Books, on Bancroft Ave.)

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


Special Topics: On Lies, Lying, and Post-Truths--A Reading- and Writing-Intensive Investigation

English 165

Section: 3
Instructor: Nadaff, Ramona
Time: W 3-6
Location: 230 Mulford


Book List

Carrere: Adversary; Davis: The Return of Martin Guerre; Samuels: The Runner

Description

Read a newspaper, listen to the news or a podcast, scan social media—lies are everywhere. The subject of much intellectual debate, social and political anxiety, and ethical and psychological consternation, lies are hard to grasp and capture, contain and constrain, slippery speech acts that they are. Many are the voices that identify the present epoch as that of the lie, of the death of the fact, and of the advent of the reign of post-truths. Whether this be true or false, propaganda or ideology, normal or catastrophic, contemporary writing on the regime of lies forgets that lies—like truth—have a history, and a long one at that. The history of lying is at the very center of the rhetorical, political, philosophical, and literary tradition.

This course will examine the histories of lies from Plato, Augustine, Machiavelli, Nietzsche to Derrida and beyond. In-depth readings from canonical philosophical, literary, political and historical works will be interwoven with case-studies on particular (and often peculiar) liars—be they con artists, plaguerers, financiers, or artists. We will concentrate especially on how lies are distinguished—or not—from truth, error, falsehood and deception. While most writings on lies and lying tend to take seriously only the moral dimensions of lying—"Is it good or bad to lie?" "Under what conditions is a lie morally permissible?"—we will attempt to understand what is at stake for individuals when and if they choose mendacity. Guest lecturers, experts on lying from the arts, sciences, politics, and literary world, will also enlighten us about liars' rhetorical strategies and performances.

This course is not only a reading-intensive course. It is also writing-intensive, designed to teach students how to write clear, critical, and persuasive prose across a broad range of genres. While we will concentrate on the art of writing an essay, we will also experiment with other modes of writing, such as the book review, the memoir, the op-ed, the blog post, and the email. Each week, we will study readings on the essential elements of composition, analyzing the art of the sentence and the paragraph.

Students enrolling in this class should expect to write at least 2-4 pages per week. Writing exercises will be attentively reviewed and copy-edited.

This section of English 165 is cross-listed with Rhetoric 189 section 1.


Special Topics: Family Histories from the Margins

English 165

Section: 4
Instructor: Wilson, Evan
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 54 Barrows


Book List

Ball, Edward: Slaves in the Family; Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights; Butler, Octavia: Kindred; Faulkner, William: Absalom, Absalom!; Hartman, Saidiya V.: Lose Your Mother; Morrison, Toni: Beloved

Other Readings and Media

A selection of articles and excerpts introducing the history and anthropology of the family, along with a smattering of genealogical articles

Description

This seminar will explore the fraught status of families in literature and what it means to write about one’s own family. The family has generated a diverse range of literary and textual forms, from the list of “begats” in the book of Genesis to the family drama or epic that arcs across multiple generations. We’ll consider how families and their distinctive structures and problems call forth and shape narratives. As we’ll see, the discursive construction of a family depends on the social structures of class, wealth, race, and political power in which that family operates.

Each of our texts works in or from marginal spaces, including geographical margins (the Yorkshire moors), narrative margins, and the margins of the archive. A recurring theme of our readings is the problem of writing about families shaped, torn apart, or made archivally invisible by chattel slavery, which dictated that its subjects could be separated and exchanged at will—that they had no history and no public identity as members of families. Our novels and nonfiction texts may ultimately show how building a narrative can have an intimate connection to the act of finding, or claiming, a family of one’s own.

One of our goals will be to explore how our own senses of family shape the way we read and write. Accordingly, you will do some personal writing in addition to writing about our texts.


Special Topics in American Cultures: Ethnicity, Religion and Literature

English 165AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Fehrenbacher, Dena
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Book List

Anzaldua, Gloria: Borderlands/La Frontera; Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Hurston, Zora Neale: Moses, Man of the Mountain; Ozeki, Ruth: A Tale for the Time Being; Silko, Leslie Marmon: Ceremony; Yang, Gene Luen: Boxers/Saints

Other Readings and Media

In addition to the novels listed above, students will read excerpts and selected texts, a few of which will include:  Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Mary Antin, The Promised Land; Vine Deloria Jr., God is RedCuster Died for Your Sins; Richard Wright, Black Boy/American Hunger

Description

This class will explore how 20th- and 21st-century American prose fictions have imagined the relationship between religion and ethnicity. Our first questions will be formal: How do different formal choices allow these writers to render different forms of ethnic and religious belonging, and their relation? How might traditional narrative strategies be (in)compatible with representing the religious belonging, practices, beliefs and experiences of ethnic minorities in the 20th-c. U.S.?

This class will ask social, cultural and historical questions too. American ethnic experiences have long been articulated through religious concepts, and Puritan and Anglo-Protestant traditions have particularly influenced discursive articulation of religious and ethnic experience, identity and belonging in the U.S. Bearing this in mind, we will interrogate what “religion,” “race,” “ethnicity,” and “culture” are as conceptual categories; how do the texts in this class relate, conflate, challenge or put these categories at odds? We will also examine how literary form has been used to confront the religious legacies of social oppression (including slavery, missionary imperialism, and colonialism). And, as importantly, we will discuss how religion and its literary articulation has also been a source of creativity and a means of “opting out” of American society, cultural assimilation, compulsory sexualities and romantic racialization.

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


Special Topics: The Literature & Art of Incarceration

English 166

Section: 2
Instructor: Padilla, Genaro M.
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 140 Barrows


Description

This is a course on the literature of incarceration variously defined and experienced across a range of control systems that attempt to stunt the entire human being. I want to think about the forms of suppression, confinement, and the humiliations of control systems imposed not only on the body but on the mind and heart by the "new" prison system. We will want to concentrate on the ways human beings find the strength to survive conditions of subjection to voice their intellectual, emotional, and spiritual presence.

We will open with theorizations of incarceration: chapters from Foucault's Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison; perhaps chapters from Reiman and Leighton's The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison; letters from George Jackson's Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters. We will study documentary film on the steep, orchestrated rise in incarceration and the politics of prison as a racial, ethnic, gendered, class control system (13th; Babies Behind Bars; Broken on All Sides). We will read prison narrative/poetry—Jimmy Santiago Baca's memoir/poetry (A Place to Stand), Kenneth Hartman's autobiography (Mother California)—and women's prison poetry and memoir (Wall Tappings), but we will also consider other forms of incarceration: Latinas incarcerated in the "domestic sphere" in Cisneros' House on Mango Street or the tale of an affluent white woman driven to insanity, or perhaps an alternate sanity, in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. We will consider the forms of incarceration entire communities have been subjected to en masse: Native Americans dispossessed of their tribal homes, imprisoned for resisting or writing about their confinement in U.S. society; tens of thousands of Japanese Americans (loyal Americans) sent to detention centers during WWII (Wakatsuki's Farewell to Manzanar); thousands of Chinese immigrants who, often detained for long periods at Angel Island (in San Francisco Bay), carved poems of rage, loneliness, imagined retribution on the wood barrack walls of their "prison" in the early 20th century. In addition to textual forms of expression, I  hope also to survey some of the films, art, and photography of/on incarceration.

Course assignments: You will write two papers of 6-8 pages, and you will also work in discussion groups offering in-class presentations. There will be brief, unannounced quizzes on the material of the day. These cannot be made up. When class meets, I will provide more specific instructions for course assignments, essay grading rubrics, small group project work, and presentations.


Special Topics: Moby-Dick

English 166

Section: 3
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 2070 VLSB


Book List

Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick

Description

Baroque, intense, and demanding, Moby-Dick richly rewards all the attention a reader can muster. We will delve in as slowly as we can in order to cultivate the intellectual receptivity that Melville hoped for in his readers, becoming attuned to the subtle implications that he used to build his fictional universe. We will emphasize how the book's form is caught up in the philosophical, political, and spiritual issues that moved Melville to write, but class discussion will be open to any pertinent issue.

Students should purchase the Penguin Classics edition of the novel, not the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition.


Special Topics: Pomo: Exploring the Landscape of Postmodernism

English 166

Section: 4
Instructor: Danner, Mark
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 240 Mulford


Description

Postmodernism is one of those peculiar words, like "nonfiction," that struggles to define something by what it is not. Or rather, in this case, by what it comes after: Postmodernism was what came after modernism. In this seminar we'll attempt to go beyond that rather empty surmise to the self-regarding, fragmented, multiform, satyric, parodic, pastichey works themselves. That means readings from Borges to Burroughs to Barth and Barthelme, from Nabokov to DeLillo to Acker and Carter and Zadie Smith. Probably others besides, all in the service of answering the nagging questions: What did come after Modernism? How exactly should we think about it? And where oh where did it go?


Special Topics: American Humor: Books & Movies

English 166

Section: 5
Instructor: Starr, George A.
Time: Tues. 5-8:30 PM
Location: 300 Wheeler


Description

In this course short 19th- and 20th-century writings available electronically, by such authors as G. W. Harris, J. J. Hooper, Mark Twain, F. P. Dunne, G. Ade, R. Lardner, J. Thurber and the like, will be read and discussed, with the aim not of constructing a history but of exploring the roles of psychology, society, politics and language in American humor. Much of the course will follow the shift from live stage and printed word to radio and movie as the chief vehicles of American humor by focusing first on Chaplin, Keaton and other masters of the silent era, then on the range of comic styles and genres of the 30’s and 40’s. Developments since W. W. II, including the advent of television and new generations of humorists, will also be considered.

Writing will consist of one  essay of 10-12 pages. There will be no quizzes or exams, but the course will be conducted as a seminar: attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.


Special Topics: Art of Writing: Grant Writing, Food Writing, Food Justice

English 166

Section: 6
Instructor: Schweik, Susan
Time: Lectures MW 12-1 in 122 Barrows + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 12-1)
Location:


Other Readings and Media

An online course reader and reading from online UCB library books.

Description

This course will help students develop writing skills through intensive focus on the demands of two very different modes: popular and creative food writing (essay, poetry, travel, memoir, manifesto), and grant-writing. Reading and thinking together about good food, slow food, food memory, food access, sustainability, health, hunger, student food insecurity and food justice, we will alternate between 1) writing creatively, meditatively, politically and playfully about food, and 3) collaborating on drafting an actual grant application in partnership with a local community organization. This last will be at the heart of this service-learning course.

Nadine Cruz has written: “Service is a process of integrating intention with action in a context of movement toward a just relationship…an intentionally designed program, a process of learning through reflection on the experience of doing service.” Writing is necessary for a great deal of action in the world, and it is a critical tool for reflection. Students in this class will hone argumentative and creative writing skills, learn the basics of the grant-writing process, gain valuable real-world writing experience, and explore ways of using writing as a tool for integrating action, intention and reflection. Plus we'll eat well and maybe cook together.

 


Special Topics: Arthurian Romance

English 166

Section: 7
Instructor: Nolan, Maura
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 310 Hearst Mining


Description

King Arthur and his Round Table together constitute one of the most enduring imaginative inventions in the European literary tradition. In the modern era, writers and artists have created Arthurian plays, films, poems, novels, cartoons, paintings, and more, all rooted in the medieval traditions that we will encounter in this class. Starting with the earliest depictions of Arthur, we will follow the tradition as it emerges in French and English (all texts will be in English translation). 

Texts include: The Arthurian Handbook; Chrétien de Troyes' romances; the Vulgate Quest for the Holy GrailSir Gawain and the Green Knight; the Alliterative Morte Arthure; and Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

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


Literature and Psychology: Literature and Therapy

English 172

Section: 1
Instructor: Lavery, Grace
Time: Lectures MW 1-2 in 2060 Valley LSB + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 2-3; sec. 103: W 3-4; sec. 104: W 4-5)
Location:


Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Are You My Mother?; Kane, Sarah: Plays; Laing, R. D. : Knots; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Stein, Gertrude: Everybody's Autobiography

Description

The originator of the “talking cure,” Sigmund Freud, placed a great deal of faith in the capacities of literature: both to depict and figure psychic problematics for a reader, and to transform an author’s own neurotic condition into art. One credible explanation for such faith in literature is that therapy, as we understand it, is already literary to the core: both take place in and through language, and both seek to transform us and lead us to deeper understandings of ourselves and the world. Yet this view has been challenged, especially by therapists who have sought to downgrade the privileged role that Freud and his followers accorded to language and examined the important role that other aspects of embodied experience play in psychic life, and by writers who in different ways have sought not to eradicate, but to intensify or mobilize the neurotic condition towards other aesthetic, psychic, and political ends. Some of these have, moreover, articulated critiques of the cultural project of therapy as such, portraying shrinks and analysts as closeted serial killers, and therapy patients as mindwiped dittos. This course will examine literature and therapy, then, from a number of different angles: therapy in literature, literature as therapy, therapy as literature, and literary critiques of therapy. The readings include works by Alison Bechdel, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Sarah Kane, R. D. Laing, Toni Morrison, and Gertrude Stein, theoretical works by Aristotle, Sigmund Freud, Irvine Goffman, and Melanie Klein, and a handful of movies: Silence of the LambsMidsommar, and Blade Runner.

This course satisfies the university's Philosophy and Values breadth requirement.


Literature and Philosophy: Reading Capital

English 177

Section: 1
Instructor: Lye, Colleen
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Federici, Silvia: Caliban and the Witch; Heinrich, Michael: An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital; Marx, Karl: Capital, Vol. 1

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be made available on bCourses.

Description

Marx's Capital stands as one of the foundational texts of modern critical theory. Some acknowledge openly the debts owed to Marx's critique of political economy and of the capitalist mode of production; others consider the obligations odious. Between Marxist critics and Marx's critics, Capital casts a lengthy shadow.

Never more relevant than today—in our epoch characterized by ever-intensifying crisis, variously manifesting as the imminent collapse of financial, political, ecological systems, indeed of the very notion of society or the social itself—Capital, Volume 1 (in its entirety) will serve as the primary text for this course. In contrast to the more typical wide-ranging syllabus (my own usual ones included), this course will assume a slower, more meticulous pace with a single work; we will devote the majority of the semester to a careful, critical reading of this difficult but infinitely rewarding text. To supplement our primary reading of Marx we will devote the final quarter of our semester to consider the legacy of Capital on Marxist Feminism, studying both classic texts by authors such as Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James, Lise Vogel, and Silvia Federici, along with more recent writings in Social Reproduction Theory, and Value Form theory.

Note: Please be sure to purchase the Penguin edition of Marx's Capital

This course satisfies the university's Philosophy and Values breadth requirement.


Autobiography: Disability Memoir

English 180A

Section: 1
Instructor: Kleege, Georgina
Time: Lectures TTh 3:30-4:30 in 300 Wheeler + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Connoly, Kevin: Double Take; Danquah, M.: Willow Weep for Me; Forney, Ellen: Marbles; Galloway, Terry: Mean little Deaf Queer; Guest, Paul: One More Theory about Happiness; Keller, Helen: The World I Live In; Kingsley & Levitz, J. & M.: Count Us In; Laborit, E.: The Cry of the Gull; Simon , Rachel: Riding the Bus with my Sister

Description

This course will examine autobiography as a literary genre. We will survey the history of the genre and consider such questions as: How is reading autobiography like/unlike reading fiction? How do the truth claims made by autobiographies shape readers’ expectations? What are the forms and techniques autobiographers use to tell their stories?  The texts we are reading are all written by people with disabilities, so we will also discuss the impact that disability has on life-writing. Autobiographies written by people with disabilities offer readers a glimpse into lives at the margins of mainstream culture, and thus can make disability seem less alien and frightening. Disability rights activists, however, have criticized these texts because they tend to reinforce the notion that disability is a personal tragedy that must be overcome through superhuman effort, rather than a set of cultural conditions that could be changed to accommodate a wide range of individuals with similar impairments. Are these texts agents for social change or merely another form of freak show?


The Short Story

English 180H

Section: 1
Instructor: McFarlane, Fiona
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 182 Dwinelle


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be made available for purchase, with additional reading accessible on bCourses. 

Description

This course will be a survey of the short story from the 19th century to the present: its historical and cultural contexts, its formal and stylistic properties. We’ll consider the short story’s predecessors, the work of its major practitioners, and the role of the literary magazine and the university in its development. We’ll read stories in a variety of genres and from a variety of cultures as we explore the particularities and pleasures of the form. Our approach will be both creative and critical: students will write and workshop a short story, as well as writing two analytic papers.


Lyric Verse

English 180L

Section: 1
Instructor: Altieri, Charles F.
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 2062 VLSB


Book List

Norton Anthology of Poetry

Description

This course will survey lyric poetry in English from the Renaissance to the present, with an emphasis on pre-modern work. I am mostly interested in two aspects of the work. The first is understanding how lyric can define different complete modes of sensibility that I think we have to enter in order fully to appreciate the poetry. I want you to get a sense of how the rhetorical sensibility of the Renaissance produces a distinctive sense of what matters about the powers of mind in the making and the desired attitudes of responders to that making. I will also stress what is involved in two dimensions of romantic sensibility—its triumphant cult of genius and its ironic dissatisfactions with sensibilities who could trust in lyric genius. This second stage covers most of the later nineteenth century. Then I want the class to see how Modernists have to invent ways of escaping romantic sensibility and trusting in powers of art that do not seem based on the personal presence of the author. We will see that this too has its ironic side. Second, I want to stress recent scholarly arguments about whether there are significant virtually timeless aspects of lyric that persist through these and other historical changes. In order to address this concern we have to find ways to appreciate what makers of art want from their audiences. For me the key to what makers want is their ways of structuring feelings and elaborating relations among sensuous details, which include how poems construct and vary patterns of sound.

There will be several short writing exercises early in the class and then a ten-page term paper as well as mid-term and final exams. Regular attendance will be required.


The Novel: Intimates and Strangers: Henry James, J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Otherness

English 180N

Section: 1
Instructor: Hale, Dorothy J.
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 182 Dwinelle


Book List

Coetzee, J.M.: Age of Iron; Coetzee, J.M.: Disgrace; Coetzee, J.M.: Waiting for the Barbarians; James, Henry: The Ambassadors; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw; James, Henry: What Maisie Knew

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader from Copy Central.

Description

Henry James (1843-1916) and J.M. Coetzee (b.1940), born just about a century apart, share a view of novel writing as an inquiry into the ethics of inter-personal relations.  Both fiction writers favor plots that initiate an ethical crisis by throwing the protagonist into an exceptional social situation.  More particularly, both novelists stage this ethical dilemma as the protagonist’s encounter with a stranger or a foreign social world, whose difference poses a powerful challenge to normative belief.  James and Coetzee (the latter a 2003 Nobel Prize winner) have won critical accolades for the intelligence and complexity each brings to the depiction of ethical decision-making and ethical action.  But interestingly and importantly, their novels also raise ethical problems for some readers.  For example, in independent lines of critical reception, each novelist has been accused of treating his characters with cold-bloodedness and even sadism.  A different line of critical reception faults James for class bias and Coetzee for colonialist complicity. 

Focused on major works of fiction by James and Coetzee, this course will explore the nature of ethical choice as depicted in each novel, the ethical problems that motivate and structure plot, and the way each novel establishes an ethical relation between storyworld events and narrative method.  To help guide our investigation, we will read nonfictional essays by each author as well as key philosophical and literary critical works.  This body of thought will allow us to characterize with complexity and precision the notion of ethical value most relevant to James’s and Coetzee’s respective novelistic practice and critical reception.  These readings will also help locate James and Coetzee in a larger “ethical” novelistic tradition and guide our meta-consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of competing ethical paradigms.

Written work for the course includes two short essays (7-9 pages) and required weekly posts to b-courses.


Tragedy

English 180T

Section: 1
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 106 Wheeler


Book List

Aeschylus / Sophocles / Euripides: The Greek Plays: Sixteen Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides ; Racine, Jean: Phedre / Phaedra; Rameau, Jean-Philippe: Hippolyte et Aricie; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet; Shakespeare, William: King Lear; Wagner, Richard: Die Walkure

Other Readings and Media

Video recordings / DVD of the operas (by Rameau, Wagner) and selected performances of some of our dramas will be available via b-Courses. A course reader will include readings in the theory of tragedy, from Aristotle to the present day.

Description

An ancient (if not foundational) genre in the western literary tradition, tragedy is the one most closely linked with key religious and philosophical questions, due to its concern with catastrophic misfortune, suffering and fatality in human life. The persistence of the tragic has been accompanied by persistent debates about its essence or definition (downfall of a prince, collision of ethical imperatives, clash of anthropological orders, necessity—nature or the gods—versus free agency, etc.) and announcements of its demise (as irreconcilable with Christianity, modernity, bourgeois society, individualism, and so on). We will focus on some of the historical high points of tragic drama: classical Greek tragedy (Aeschylus, The Oresteia; Sophocles, the Theban cycle; Euripides, The Bacchae); Shakespeare (Hamlet and King Lear); French neoclassical and baroque tragedy (Racine’s Phèdre and Rameau’s operatic adaptation Hippolyte et Aricie); Wagnerian music drama (Die Walküre and, if we have time, Die Götterdämmerung). In the last couple of weeks of the course we will consider where tragedy can be found now, preferably outside the classical European tradition, and what forms it has taken: students will be tasked with nominating and selecting our case studies. Alongside tragic drama we will be considering major theories of the tragic (Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche, Benjamin, etc.), included in a course reader.


Science Fiction

English 180Z

Section: 1
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: note new location: 141 McCone


Book List

Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Jemison, N.K.: The Fifth Season; LaValle, Victor: Ballad of Black Tom; LeGuin, Ursula: The Dispossessed; Machado, Carmen: Her Bodies and Other Parties; Saadawi, Ahmed: Frankenstein in Baghdad; Wells, H.G.: The Island of Doctor Moreau; Whitehead, Colson: Zone One

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 lies 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. You may, of course, bring others.


Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

English 190

Section: 1
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

Ecopoetry – nature poetry that is environmental and environmentalist – is an international twenty-first century movement.  But in the nature poetry and poetics of the United States it has deep and wide-spread roots.  This seminar will explore this movement in U.S. nature and environmental(ist) poetry from the nineteenth to the contemporary poetry and poetics; romantics and post-romantics (including Bryant, Whitman, Dickinson, Emerson and Thoreau), modernists (including Frost, Stevens, Jeffers, Moore, Eliot, Brown) post-modernists (including Snyder, Merwin, Bishop, Berry) and contemporaries (including Graham, Hass, Baker, Gander, Dungy, Hillman and Hirshfield).  We will also read relevant theories of nature and its representation in poetry; and also ecopoetics, essays about the natures and uses of ecopoetry.  While focusing on U.S. poetry and poetics, we will also consider parallel and influentual poetry and poetics from English and Anglophone poets and essayists, and some ecopoetry in translation (from China, Europe, and elsewhere). (Our seminar readings will come from our course reader and website.) While our exploration will be primarily historical, our focus will also be theoretical, involving a number of recurrent topics, including anthropocentrism (and ecocentrism), anthropomorphism (the pathetic fallacy), animals (plants, forests, oceans), place, disaster and pollution, environmental justice, and global warming.  You will learn how to read a poem ecocritically.  You will be asked to write a 5-page paper on a nature poem, and a 15-page research paper on an ecopoet or a grouping of related ecopoems.  You will also keep a journal of ecological musings in prose and/or verse.  Each of you will read a 5-minute selection in May during our public reading and (zero-waste) Green Party.   

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: William Faulkner’s Temporalities

English 190

Section: 2
Instructor: Hale, Dorothy J.
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

Jean-Paul Sartre has famously compared Faulkner’s sense of time to “a man sitting in a convertible and looking back.”  From this perspective, Sartre contends, the only view is that of the past, made “hard, clear and immutable” in its isolation. Yet if Faulkner writes with a gaze fixed on the Southern past, his historical consciousness has been shaped by the experience of time in the modern moment—an idea Sartre nicely conveys through the figure of the convertible ride.

This seminar explores the complex registers of time in three Faulkner novels: The Sound and the Fury; Light in August; and Absalom, Absalom! Special attention will be given to the relationship between the social experience of time represented in Faulkner’s storyworlds and the narrative temporality of each novel. To gain a better sense of the literary models that influenced Faulkner, we will situate Faulkner’s work in relation to Jean Toomer’s Cane and the Overture from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Fiction and essays by Toni Morrison will allow us to chart Faulkner’s legacy.

A course reader available at Copy Central includes essays by thinkers who helped to shape the modernist understanding of time as well as literary critical and theoretical works that will help us understand Faulkner’s narrative practice. 

Students will be guided through the planning and execution of a fifteen-page research paper, due at the end of the term.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: American Romanticism

English 190

Section: 3
Instructor: Tamarkin, Elisa
Time: MW 3-4:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

The course offers a close engagement with major U.S. authors before the Civil War.  We will work across literary genres—poetry, essays, novels, and autobiographies—while asking questions about the conditions in which these genres appeared, their readership, their manner of circulation, and their strange efforts to bring British and European Romanticism to an American context.  These are books that ask readers to think carefully about the meaning and value of literature in democratic practice; we’ll try to understand what seemed new about their forms of expression and to take Thoreau up on his challenge to read them “as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.”   Our authors include Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Alcott, Douglass, and Whitman.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Poetry and the Virtues

English 190

Section: 4
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Description

Arguments for the moral value of literary study often focus on how narrative forms like the novel offer opportunities for the cultivation of empathy. But in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, literary style itself was treated as an extension of social conduct. The close study of style through the reading and writing of verse was part of a student’s habituation into the virtues. We will experiment with this approach to the study of poetry and test some of its assumptions—for example, the assumption that to become acquainted with a poet’s style is to become conversant with a way of being in the world. We’ll focus on poetry from the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, primarily by Andrew Marvell and John Ashbery. There will also be some brief readings in moral philosophy and aesthetics. 

We will use a course reader.

Writing requirements: Short biweekly writing (200 words) and a final paper (10-15 pages).

If you take this course to meet the pre-1800 requirement, your final paper should focus on seventeenth-century material.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: British Fiction Since 1945

English 190

Section: 5
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 89 Dwinelle


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: How It Is; Deane, Seamus: Reading in the Dark; Greene, Graham: The End of the Affair; Hollinghurst, Alan: The Swimming-Pool Library; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Remains of the Day; Johnson, B.S.: Christie Malry's Own Double Entry; Murdoch, Iris: Under the Net; Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; Rushdie, Salman: Midnight's Children; Selvon, Samuel: The Lonely Londoners; Smith, Ali: Autumn; Spark, Muriel: The Driver's Seat

Description

This research seminar will survey the British novel (broadly construed) since 1945. Topics of discussion will likely include: realism and alternatives to realism; formal experimentation and novel psychology; race, immigration, and empire; feminism; Angry Young people; class, Thatcherism, and New Labour; the decriminalization of homosexuality and the legacy of AIDS; the Troubles and Northern Ireland; the legacies of WWI and WWII; nationalism, the EU, and Brexit. Authors will likely include: Graham Greene, Samuel Beckett, Iris Murdoch, Samuel Selvon, Muriel Spark, B.S. Johnson, Salman Rushdie, Seamus Deane, Kazuo Ishiguro, Alan Hollinghurst, Ali Smith, and J.K. Rowling. 

Evaluation will be based on a short critical paper (5pp), a research paper (12-15pp), a presentation, and participation. Readings will be available for purchase through the University bookstore and Metro Publishing (2440 Bancroft).

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Hollywood in the Thirties

English 190

Section: 6
Instructor: Knapp, Jeffrey
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Description

Our subject will be Hollywood cinema from the birth of talking pictures to the start of World War II.  We'll sample the extraordinary range of films that Golden-Age Hollywood offered its consumers: from gangster pictures and screwball comedies to melodramas, westerns, feature-length animation, musicals, and horror.  We’ll analyze these films in the light of contemporary criticism by such major figures as Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, but our primary focus will be the accounts of mass entertainment articulated by the films themselves.

The movies will be made available through the library's streaming service.  The only required text will be a Course Reader, which will gather relevant theory, criticism, reviews, and cultural commentaries.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Jane Austen

English 190

Section: 7
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Description

Close readings of several of Jane Austen's major works.

Two essays (seven pages and thirteen pages) will be required, along with regular attendance and participation in discussion.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: James Joyce

English 190

Section: 8
Instructor: Flynn, Catherine
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 263 Dwinelle


Book List

Homer: The Odyssey; Joyce, James: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Joyce, James: Ulysses

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be available through bCourses.

Description

This seminar will focus on James Joyce’s landmark modernist novel, Ulysses. In preparing to tackle the text, we will read Homer’s Odyssey, some of Joyce’s early writings, and parts of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The majority of the semester, however, will be spent reading Ulysses at a measured pace. We will consider Joyce’s use of innovative narrative techniques and his invention of new forms. As we work through the novel one episode at a time, we’ll also pay attention to historical and literary contexts and to 20th- and 21st-century literary criticism. Course requirements include oral presentations, reading responses, and two research papers.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Victorian Versification

English 190

Section: 9
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Houghton, Walter E. and G. Robert Stange: Victorian Poetry and Poetics

Description

The Victorian period (1837-1901) is striking for its social, political, economic, technical and scientific developments that seem at once old-fashioned and recognizably modern.  Its formal poetic achievements are no exception to this characterization.  From Tennyson's renowned mastery through Browning's dramatic innovations and the "dangerously sensual" practice of Swinburne to Hopkins' influential invention of "Sprung Rhythm", the period saw tradition and experiment in constant interaction.  It saw interest in dialect poetry, discovery of the early English poetic heritage, reconstruction of Classical meters in English, recognition of women poets, encounters with verse traditions of other languages throughout the world, parodies of verse forms, and a flourishing if eccentric subculture of commentary on versification, most entertainingly in the works of George Saintsbury.  This course will offer an introduction to meter and other formal elements of versification as developed by Victorian poets, and an opportunity to connect these to broader interests of these poets.  As a research seminar, the goal will be to support students in researching and writing a long (20 pp.) paper that explores such a connection in the work of a Victorian (or related) poet of their own choosing.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Film

English 190

Section: 10
Instructor: Starr, George A.
Time: Thurs. 5-8:30 PM
Location: 300 Wheeler


Description

Besides reading and discussing fiction and essays that attempt to identify or explain distinctive regional characteristics, this course will include consideration of various movies shaped by and shaping conceptions of California. Writing will consist of a term paper of 16-20 pages. There will be no quizzes or exams, but seminar attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Honors Course

English H195B

Section: 1
Instructor: Goble, Mark
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 263 Dwinelle


Description

This course is a continuation of English H195A, taught by Mark Goble in Fall 2019. No new students will be admitted, and no new application needs to be submitted. Prof. Goble will give out permissions codes in class in November. 

No new texts are required for this class.


Honors Course

English H195B

Section: 2
Instructor: Abel, Elizabeth
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Description

This course is a continuation of English H195A, taught by Elizabeth Abel in Fall 2019. No new students will be admitted, and no new application needs to be submitted. Prof. Abel will give out permission codes in class in November.

No new texts are required for this class.


Graduate Courses

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

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


Graduate Readings: Contemporary Fiction

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi: Americanah; Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Egan, Jennifer: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Lerner, Ben: 10:04; McCarthy, Cormac: The Road; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer; Watkins, Claire Vaye: Gold Fame Citrus; Whitehead, Colson: The Underground Railroad

Other Readings and Media

A packet of additional theoretical and critical readings by Amy Hungerford, Gordon Hutner, Mark McGurl, Pedro Erber, Giorgio Agamben, Fredric Jameson, Imre Szeman, Bruce Robbins, Andrew Hoberek, Kate Marshall, Ramón Saldívar, Marianne Hirsch, and Caren Irr, among others.

Description

In reading contemporary fiction, we might do worse than to begin by asking "what is the contemporary?" This is partly a question about time: what is the scale, duration, and position in history of the contemporary? Is the contemporary best understood as a discrete historical moment, an ever-receding temporal horizon, or a cultural worldview, condition, or style? The "when" of the contemporary is inextricably bound up with the "where" of it: how do space and place (private and public, regional and national, global and planetary) determine what counts, or doesn't count, as contemporary?

In addition to considering how questions of the contemporary inform our seminar's slate of 21st-century U.S. novels, we will also consider some of the generic subtypes—climate change fiction; post-apocalyptic fiction, autofiction, post-9/11 fiction, the campus novel, the neo-historical novel, the "post-theory theory novel," etc.—that critics (and booksellers!) have used to impose order on the inchoate field of contemporary fiction. Do these categories confirm or collapse the long-standing hierarchical distinction between literary fiction and genre fiction? What do these critical lenses offer us? What do they obscure?

While taking on these open questions of periodization and genre, we will read broadly in criticism and theory to provide additional contexts for our fictional texts, addressing such issues as digital technologies and information networks; postmodernism, post-postmodernism, and meta-modernism; and lyrical realism and national allegory. Rather than attempting to develop a unified field theory of the contemporary, we will draw from many critical frameworks to see what they can do for us as contemporary readers of contemporary fiction.


Graduate Readings: Modernist Fiction and Affect

English 203

Section: 2
Instructor: Zhang, Dora
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 180 Barrows


Description

This course is designed to function as an introduction to two fields, one literary-historical, and one critical: Anglo-American modernist fiction, and affect theory. We’ll read a selection of both “high modernist” and lesser-known novels of the early twentieth century (possible authors include James, Joyce, Woolf, Hurston, Larsen, Barnes, Sylvia Townsend Warner) alongside a selection of recent affect theory (possible authors include Sedgwick, Tomkins, Berlant, Ahmed, Ngai, Cvetokovich, Muñoz, Cheng). Questions we’ll consider include: what does it mean to read for affect and how do we do it? Are there affects that are particular to modernism? What is the relationship between affect and aesthetic form? Can we historicize particular affects, and if so, how? What is the relationship between affect and race, gender, sexuality, and class? What sorts of attachments (e.g. to individuals, fantasies, nations, empires) can we discern in modernist novels, and what are their effects?


Graduate Readings: Comedy and Violence

English 203

Section: 3
Instructor: Flynn, Catherine
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 180 Barrows


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Complete Dramatic Works; Breton, André: Anthology of Black Humor ; Jarry, Alfred: The Ubu Plays; Lewis, Wyndham, et al.: BLAST; O'Brien, Flann: The Poor Mouth: A Bad Story about the Hard Life; Rabelais, Francois: Gargantua and Pantagruel; Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels; Synge, J. M.: The Playboy of the Western World; Voltaire: Candide

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be available on bCourses.

Description

What relation does comedy have to violence? Can humor be a gauge of political freedom? This transhistorical seminar will examine the relation between comedy and violence in Irish, English and French texts from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. As we read novels, plays, poems, and theoretical works, we will consider comedy as both a literary category and an aesthetic mode. Reflecting on these works with, and against, theories of humor from Aristotle through Freud to Deleuze, we will also situate them in their political and historical contexts. Over the course of the semester, we will also reflect on various styles of humor—wit, buffoonery, satire, parody, nonsense, absurdity, and humour noir—and consider their connection to force.


Graduate Readings

English 203

Section: 4
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: Thurs. 3:30-6:30
Location: 186 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

For more details about this course, please contact Professor Miller at j_miller@berkeley.edu.


Shakespeare: Tragedy, etc.

English 217

Section: 1
Instructor: Arnold, Oliver
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 180 Barrows


Description

We will focus on Shakespeare's peculiar approach to tragedy (he broke every rule in the book), but we won't focus obsessively: we will also give sustained attention to Shakespere's representation of citizenship, compassion, artificial persons, poverty, the Roman Republic, false consciousness, and slavery; and I expect that other participants will bring many other interests and concerns to the table.  Secondary readings will include a healthy dose of writings about tragedy (from Aristotle to the present), but we will also take advantage of Shakespeare's unique importance to the evolution of literary criticism and to the philosophy of art. If Shakespeare studies have in recent decades been most closely associated with the new historicism, the plays and sonnets have been a touchstone for almost every kind of literary criticism (Marxist, psychoanalytic, deconstructionist, postcolonial, feminist, and on and on). We will read seminal articles by Cixous, Derrida, Lacan, Greenblatt, C.L.R. James, Pat Parker, and others. 

Book List:  Shakespeare, W.: Titus Andronicus, Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, Othello, Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest


Fiction Writing Workshop

English 243A

Section: 1
Instructor: Serpell, C. Namwali
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Alison: Meander, Spiral, Explode ; Forster: Aspects of the Novel ; Gioa & Gwynn, Eds.: The Art of the Short Story

Description

The purpose of this workshop is to begin to write a novel or a story collection. It is unlikely that you will finish writing either in the three months we spend together. Fiction takes time. There are some reported exceptions to this, but given that the work is in the revision, we will keep our goal this semester to: “a start.” We’ll read some short stories, one novel, and one story collection in order to explore the shapes and sizes fiction can take. We will determine these together based on the interests and needs of the participants in the course. We’ll also read E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel (1927) and some essays on the short story form.

Only continuing UC Berkeley graduate students (and upper-division students with considerable writing experience) are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit a five-page, double-spaced excerpt of your fiction, 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 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Poetry Writing Workshop

English 243B

Section: 1
Instructor: O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
Time: W 3-6
Location: 106 Mulford


Description

Studies in contemporary poetic cases will focus our discussions of each other's poems.

Only continuing UC Berkeley graduate students (and upper-division students with considerable writing experience) are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 pages of your poems (any combination of long or short poems or fragments of poems, the total length not exceeding five pages), 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 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

(To read about when and where the results of the applications will be posted, click here.)


Romantic Period

English 246G

Section: 1
Instructor: Langan, Celeste
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 186 Barrows


Description

This course on the Romantic “period” will consider periods of time as they are imagined, experienced, or enacted in some characteristic genres: song, prophecy, lyrical ballad, romance, letter, fragment, travel journal, periodical review, historical novel, science fiction. At once naming an interval and its end, the concept of the period seems broad enough to allow attention to any number of issues that may be of interest, from verbal forms of repetition (rhyme, refrain, parody, citation) to the “period” of the working day or of fossil capitalism.  How do Romantic writers understand time’s periodicity—crisis, recurrence, afterwardsness, ephemerality, revolution, wartime, deep time?  Reading origin stories and accounts of last minstrels and last men, we’ll also consider the temporality of reading.  Depending on time and interest, we may also take the many references of Romantic writers to time as judge as a remit to consider the temporality of the trial in its relation to action and decision.  (Since April 7 will be the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, we’ll pay some attention to The Prelude as well.)

Students will be responsible for one short paper (3-4 pages) to be circulated for discussion and a final paper (15 pages).

Book List:  Austen, J., Persuasion or Emma; Blake, W. Complete Poetry and Prose; Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France;  Byron, Lord Byron: The Major Works; Coleridge, S.T., Major Works; Godwin, W., Caleb Williams; Enquiry Concerning Political Justice;  Keats, J. Major Works; Scott, W., Waverley; Shelley, M., The Last Man; Shelley, P.B., Shelley's Poetry and Prose; Williams, H.M., Letters from France; Wordsworth, D., Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals; Wordsworth, W., The Prelude.

Other Readings and Media:  H. v. Kleist, “On the Gradual Production of Thoughts While Speaking”; J.J. Rousseau, Essay on the Origin of Languages; W. Hone [?] Don Juan  Canto the Third;  possibly essays by H. Arendt, W. Benjamin, P. de Man, F. Kittler, J. Lacan, P. Lacoue-Labarthe, J.-L. Nancy, M. Postone, and others. 


Victorian Period

English 246H

Section: 1
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Time: F 9-12
Location: 301 Wheeler


Description

In this course we will approach the literature and culture of the Victorian period through its poetry and poetics. We'll read a lot of both in order to do three related things. First, we'll consider the idea of the literary as it was embodied in the figure of the poem in nineteenth-century British culture and society. What, we'll ask alongside Victorian poets and critics, is poetry? Who and what is it for? Why bother writing it instead of something else (a novel, a speech, an essay, a song)? Second, we'll work to understand how a self-consciousness about history, subjectivity, and the relation between the two that characterizes much of this poetry finds various forms in lyrics, ballads, dramatic monologues, verse novels, etc. Third, we'll take our reading of specifically Victorian poetry and poetics as an opportunity to think about more recent developments in poetics; how has thinking about poetry changed because of, in spite of, or very decidedly against the Victorians and their poetry? To what degree has an idea (whether right or wrong) about the Victorians shaped how we read and value poetry today?


Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction

English 250

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: M 3-6
Location: 186 Barrows


Description

In this course we will read the early English fiction once associated with "the rise of the novel" with a view to the strategies this writing deployed to address new epistemological challenges. An expanding empire, an urbanizing nation (recently transformed by the Union of Scotland and England), the abstractions of a credit economy and financial markets, new optical technologies, and an exploding print market—all posed and demanded new ways of knowing. How did the generic experiments of early fiction and its rhetorical figures (including ramblers, letter writers, talking things, omniscient narrators) explore and represent these new ways of knowing? How did they render visible some sense of social organization and cohesion? How did early fiction deploy and develop empiricism and moral philosophy as ways of knowing? How did radical empiricism and gothic writing extend and revise the understanding of those ways of knowing? We shall be especially interested in questioning why it was that in a society imagined to be increasingly more complex, its members (and economic relations) spread more remotely, representation, nonetheless, often focused on local and everyday, usually domestic, objects and practices, on familiar elements that had heretofore gone unregarded. How did the objects and strategies involved in representing the particular (a specifc character, a quality of light) invoke something more general, and the local, something more distant? What bearing might Britain's status as a maritime empire have had on its technologies and dynamics of fictional representation? While our focus will be on emerging forms of prose fiction, we will supplement this reading with some poetry and new popular genres such as the periodical essay, voyage writing, and the vernacular dictionary, and even some painting (Golden Age still life painting of the Netherlands, works of William Hogarth). NB: those new to eighteenth-century writing are welcome.

We will likely read works by John Locke, Aphra Behn, Alexander Pope, Daniel Defoe, David Hume, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Horace Walpole, Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, Jane Austen.


Research Seminar: Black Cultures of Gender and Sexuality

English 250

Section: 2
Instructor: Ellis, Nadia
Time: Tues. 3:30-6:30
Location: 650 Barrows


Book List

Emezi, Akwaeke: Freshwater; Fanon, Frantz: Black Skin, White Masks; Hemphill, Essex: Ceremonies; Kay, Jackie: Trumpet; Larsen, Nella: Passing; Miller, Kei: The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion; Salkey, Andrew: Escape to an Autumn Pavement; Selvon, Sam: The Lonely Londoners

Other Readings and Media

Films & Television: Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust; Shirley Jackson, Portrait of Jason; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight; Isaac Julien, The Attendant; Jennie Livingston, Paris is Burning; Janet Mock, Steve Canals, et al, prod., Pose.

Course Reader will include essays and excerpts of critical work from writers including M. Jacqui Alexander, Judith Butler, Cathy Cohen, Rey Chow, Roderick Ferguson, Stuart Hall, Saidiya Hartman, Audre Lorde, José Esteban Muñoz, Robert Reid-Pharr, Christina Sharpe, C. Riley Snorton, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley, and Gloria Wekker.

*Please consult course instructors before purchasing texts.

Description

This seminar, offered in collaboration with the Department of African American Studies and co-taught with Professor Darieck Scott, explores theories and cultures of gender and sexuality from the perspective of black diasporic people. We will focus on the modern and contemporary eras, moving from the 1920s to the present day, but inevitably our texts will ask us to think critically about history and about time—about how the specific fragmentation and lineages of black cultures inform ideas about modernity. The course emphasizes articulations of sexuality and ideas of gender that move beyond those presented as normative. And we will think with critics who have learned from the experiences and practices of black diasporic people about how to articulate subjectivities within and between historical and theoretical traditions—critics such as Hortense Spillers, Cathy Cohen, Roderick Ferguson, Omise'eke Tinsley, Tavia Nyong'o, C. Riley Snorton, and Gloria Wekker, among many others. We'll traverse genres—fiction, poetry, film, television—and we'll think along with the artists and scholars we study about how questions of blackness, sexuality, and gender inform other epistemological categories drawn from such fields as religion, psychology, and geography. Students will write regular short pieces, make in-class presentations, engage with class visitors, and write a final research paper.

This section of English 250 is cross-listed with African American Studies 240 section 1.


Research Seminar: Critique of Capitalism, or Reading Marx Now

English 250

Section: 3
Instructor: Lye, Colleen
Time: W 3-6
Location: 107 Mulford


Book List

Banaji, Jairus: Theory as History; Boggs, James: The American Revolution; Cooper, Melinda: Family Values; Dubois, W.E.B.: Black Reconstruction; Federici, Sylvia: Caliban and the Witch; Marx, Karl: Capital Vol i; Postone, Moishe: Time, Labor and Social Domination;

Recommended: Heinrich, Michael: An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Capital

Other Readings and Media

In addition to the books listed there will also be readings made available on bCourses by Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James, Nancy Fraser, Roswitha Scholz, Kevin Floyd, the Endnotes Collective, Lise Vogel, Stuart Hall, Robin D.G. Kelley, Angela Davis, Noel Ignatiev and Theodore Allen, Kevin Anderson, Gavin Walker, Kozo Uno, Au Loong Yu, and others.

Description

Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a marked revival of interest in Marx and his thought, one that compares to the late 60s and early 70s return to Marx. How is the present day return to Marx a different one from that of global 1968? Today’s rereading of Capital by theorists and critics retrieves the political-economic and dialectical-historical Marx. But for so long now has Marxist cultural criticism defended itself by insisting on the relative autonomy of culture from economy—leaving us with an antinomy between liberation and transformation, art and society—that the payoff of the attention to value production is by no means self-evident. If it is telling that we should be seeing a renewed interest in Marxism among constituencies seeking feminist, antiracist, anticolonial and environmental critiques of capitalism, it’s because a value-theoretical Marxism allows us to ask fundamental questions as to how capital reproduces itself both through and beyond the wage relation—thus, how capital both makes and unmakes classes across modes of production, creates surplus and disposable populations that are racialized and gendered, and requires both unexploited and waste spaces, in its quest to produce value. The first six weeks of this course will be spent reading Capital Vol 1. Then we will acquaint ourselves with some key readings in value form theory (e.g. Michael Heinrich, Moishe Postone, the essays in the collection edited by Neil Larsen et. al., Marxism and the Critique of Value), as a way of transitioning to three points of contemporary focus: social reproduction feminism, racial capitalism, and primitive accumulation and formal subsumption/combined and uneven development as they pertain to theories of imperialism and colonialism. This course is open to beginning and advanced readers of Marx alike. If you’ve wanted a chance to read Capital in a group setting, this is your opportunity, though note that we will be moving fairly quickly through it in order to accommodate its more recent reverberations. (If you would like to spend most of the semester slow-reading Capital, you may want to consider taking my English 177 instead or as a complement). The last three sets of readings (on gender/sexuality, race, imperialism/colonialism) will select for a mix of 20th century thinkers who have demonstrated staying power or more recent thinkers who are opening up new pathways of approach to longstanding concerns.

Note: Please be sure to buy the Penguin edition of Marx’s Capital. 

This course is cross-listed as Critical Theory 240.