Announcement of Classes: Spring 2022


English 17

Section: 1
Instructor: Arnold, Oliver
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 101 Morgan


English 17 is an introduction to the study of Shakespeare; incoming transfer students, future majors, and non-majors are especially welcome.

Shakespeare’s poems and plays are relentlessly unsettling, sublimely beautiful, deeply moving, rigorously brilliant, and compulsively meaningful: they complicate everything, they simplify nothing.  As we puzzle over the way Shakespeare represents—and complicates our understanding of—compassion, republicanism, identity, colonialism, racism, anti-Semitism, tragedy, and desire, we will keep two overarching questions percolating: how does Shakespeare conceive theater (its uses, its value)?; and what makes Shakespeare SHAKESPEARE?  That is, what makes Shakespeare distinctive and what makes him a strange colossus, a touchstone for literary artists from Milton to Goethe, from George Eliot to Proust, from Emily Dickinson to Sarah Kane, from Brecht to Toni Morrison and for philosophers and theorists such as Hegel, Marx. Freud, Derrida, Kristeva, Lacan, and Zizeck?

We will read roughly 8 plays and a few handfuls of sonnets; we will also devote some class time to films and filmed performances of the plays.

Several short assignments, some of which will include creative options, will aim emphasize close reading, attention to form, and argumentation. Both the final essay and the final exam will allow students to turn to account the skills that they have honed in the short assignments.  

Modern British and American Literature: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

English 20

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 222

Book List

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Ma, Ling: Severance; Mandel, Emily St. John: Station Eleven; McCarthy, Cormac: The Road; Whitehead, Colson: Zone One


Apocalyptic stories have been told for centuries, even millenia. But novels, movies, and other forms of media that imagine the end of the world—and what comes after that—seem to have inundated us (floods!) in recent times... and that was even before COVID-19. In this course, we will consider the post-apocalyptic narrative tradition, and look closely at several particularly elegant 20th- and 21st-century examples of this popular genre. We will ask: what does the imagined end of the world currently look like? What do the most common scenarios—pandemic (of course), ecological collapse, angry robots, alien invasion—tell us about our own world? How are these visions of the end times interwoven with ideas about race, gender, class, and other forms of identity and difference? Why do we seem to have developed such a voracious appetite (zombies!) for narratives about our own obliteration and potential for regeneration?

We will consider a diverse selection of post-apocalyptic novels and movies, with glances at other media such as television, video games, and comics. We will also consider the popular and critical reception of our texts in order to gauge their impact (asteroids!) on the planet. Written work for this class will include analytical essays; frequent bCourses posts; and less conventional types of interpretive or “creative” responses.

The book list given here is just a serving suggestion; please wait until after the first class before purchasing. In addition to these possible novels, possible films include Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road, and WALL-E.

Freshman Sophomore Seminar Program: World Art Cinema: Some Parables of Repetition

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, D.A.
Time: W 1-3
Location: Evans 262


We will watch and discuss three masterworks of world art cinema: Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (Japan, 1950), Pier-Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Italy, 1968), and Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry (Iran, 1997). Each is a kind of parable of repetition, involving the serial recurrence, over and over again, of a key plot-event. In Rashomon, a crime is recounted separately by each of the participants; in Teorema, a mysterious visitor proceeds to have sex with one after another member of a bourgeois family; and in Taste of Cherry, a man persists in asking a succession of men to bury him after his suicide. We will reflect on the different meanings of seriality and repetition in the three films. No background but your interest is required. 

Freshman Seminar: Emily Dickinson

English 24

Section: 2
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: W 2-3
Location: 301 Wheeler

Book List

Dickinson, Emily: The Poems of Emily Dickinson (RW Franklin Ed.))



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


Introduction to the Writing of Short Fiction

English 43A

Section: 1
Instructor: Rowland, Amy
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: Social Sciences Building 180


This is an introductory workshop that focuses on writing and revising short fiction. We will also read published short stories to see how writers handle 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 close 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, or write and revise one story. 

Introduction to the Writing of Verse

English 43B

Section: 1
Instructor: Laser, Jessica
Time: MW 12:30-2
Location: 301 Wheeler


"There is no greater fallacy going than that art is expression" (Robert Frost)

This introductory workshop will ask: what is poetry if it is not (or not only) self-expression? We will write, workshop and revise our own poems and we will study a variety of poetry from a broader literary tradition with the goal of recognizing and evolving our implicit assumptions about what poetry is and can do. Students will be expected to participate exuberantly in workshop and discussion, to memorize and recite a poem, and to produce a poem a week, leading to a final chapbook of revised poems fronted by a brief statement of poetics. 

Interested students should enroll directly into this course. No application or writing sample is required.

Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: MW 12-1 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 10-11; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: Th 10-11)
Location: Physics Building 2


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

Texts: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (original spelling edition, ed. Jill Mann);  Stephen Greenblatt (ed.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B. Additional materials will be posted on BCourses. If you do not own an edition of the Canterbury Tales, you may use the UMichigan online edition, which is accessible at:;view=toc

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

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Time: MW 4-5 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 10-11; sec. 103, F 11-12; sec. 104: F 12-1, sec. 105: F 1-2, sec. 106: F 2-3)
Location: Barker 101


This course is an introduction to British and American literature from the eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century. We'll read works from that period (by Swift, Franklin, Equiano, Wordsworth, Austen, Brontë, Melville, Eliot, Douglass, Dickinson, Poe, and others) and think about how politics, aesthetics, race, gender, identity, and the everyday find expression in a number of different literary forms. We'll especially consider the material and symbolic roles played by the idea and practice of revolution.

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

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: MW 2-3 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 1-2; sec. 103: F 2-3; sec. 104: F 3-4; sec. 105: F 4-5; sec. 106: F 11-12)
Location: Stanley 106

Book List

Dickens, Charles: Hard Times; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Tutuola, Amos: The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available for purchase at MetroPublishing.


This course will examine different examples of British, Irish, American, and global Anglophone literature from the middle of the 19th century through the middle of the 20th. Moving across a number of genres and movements, we will focus on the ways novelists, poets, and dramatists have used literary form to represent, question, and even produce different aspects of modernity (broadly construed). Particular attention will be paid to concepts such as realism, naturalism, expressionism, and modernism, and to literature’s broader engagements with ideas of race and immigration, gender and sexuality, colonialism and empire, diaspora, literacy, mythology, economics and labor, and technological advancement. 

Readings will include fiction by Charles Dickens, Sui Sin Far/Edith Eaton, William Faulkner, James Weldon Johnson, James Joyce, Amos Tutuola, and Virginia Woolf; drama by Samuel Beckett, Adrienne Kennedy, Sophie Treadwell, and Luis Valdez; and poetry or essays by Matthew Arnold, WH Auden, Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and Virginia Woolf. 

Evaluation will be based on a combination of papers, examinations, and course participation.

Asian American Literature and Culture: Voice, Text, Image

English 53

Section: 1
Instructor: Leong, Andrew Way
Time: TTh 6:30 - 8
Location: 56 Social Sciences

Book List

Bui, Thi: The Best We Could Do; Hirahara, Naomi: Clark and Division

Other Readings and Media

Other media and course readings will be distributed via bCourses.


Professor Leong's course is listed both as English 53 and as Asian American Studies (ASAMST) 20C. It is the same course (same time, same room; slightly different title). If you cannot enroll directly in English 53, you can enroll via ASAMST 20C. All students who take the course as ASAMST 20C receive credit in the English major without petitioning.

This lower-division lecture with discussion sections provides an introductory survey of Asian American literary and cultural production. We will study a broad range of forms that have served as vehicles of Asian American political and cultural expression, including: political oratory, oral histories, folksongs, popular music, traditional and avant-garde poetry, short stories, novels, graphic memoirs, films, fashion blogs, and web videos. Our emphasis on reading for form is designed to provide a foundation for students who might be interested in taking additional (historical or special topics) courses in Asian American literature and culture. However, the course can also be taken as a stand-alone, as part of a broader program of comparative ethnic studies, or as a gateway towards further studies in English-language literature. This course is especially suitable for students who have never taken a college-level literary or cultural studies course and would like additional time to practice class discussion and essay writing skills.

The course is divided into three parts: Voice, Text, and Image. In Part I, “Voice” we will focus on Asian American speeches, oral histories, and songs. We will work through a series of assignments oriented towards preparation for class discussion and a short, low-stakes oral exam. In Part II, “Text,” we will focus on skills and techniques for close reading and analysis of printed texts, culminating in a take-home midterm that will allow you to demonstrate the development of these skills. In Part III, “Image,” we will focus on the analysis of images of, or images produced by, Asian Americans in comics, film, and digital media. The assignments in Part III will turn to visual outlining and organization strategies for drafting and completing a final paper project.

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

English 80K

Section: 1
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Latimer 120


From cannibalistic witches to sadistic parents to dystopian hellscapes, children's literature is rife with terrifying figures and dark themes. 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 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. We will also read a wide selection of theory and philosophy which includes SIgmund Freud, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Louis Althusser among others. 

Sophomore Seminar: Film Noir and Neo-Noir

English 84

Section: 1
Instructor: Bader, Julia
Time: F 12-2
Location: Online


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


Practices of Literary Study

English 90

Section: 1
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 300


How do poems use language differently than other forms of oral or written expression? We'll explore how people have answered this question, and try to come up with some answers of our own. Readings will be made available on the coursesite and in a reader.


Practices of Literary Study: Where Did the Realist Novel Come From?

English 90

Section: 2
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: Dwinelle 279


Before the literary form we now think of as the realist novel took critical shape as an aesthetic entity in the nineteenth century, a wide range of very interesting and new forms of prose fiction in eighteenth-century Britain (works we now call novels) aimed to represent the real, sometimes at the expense of aesthetics. These works represented everyday and even “low” life (thieves and prostitutes) as well as probable as opposed to clearly imaginary scenarios—and they sometimes claimed to be “true stories.”  


Suggestively, this new attention to the particulars of quotidian, local life took place in the midst of an expanding British maritime empire. In this introductory course on the practices of literary study, we shall think about how we might analyze formal innovations in prose fiction alongside such social and historical changes. How did relations of empire impact and even give rise to representations of local life in Britain? What aspects of this society might have made it matter that stories be empirically true—or seem as if they could be? How did new technologies—both scientific and narrative—invite attention not only to what was represented but how it was represented? To think through these questions, we’ll read novels alongside a range of other writings—keeping in mind that at this moment “literature” named all writing, not simply imaginative “literary” works. As we read philosophical writing of the period, voyage narratives, “spy” stories, and science writing, we’ll discuss how to integrate different genres of writing and fields of knowledge into our literary analyses. We’ll pay special attention to writing in class, from passage analysis to thesis development to argument structure. Two 5-page and one 7-page paper are required, and occasional quizzes will help you keep up with the reading.  


Readings will likely include Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Daniel Defoe, Roxana, Tobias Smollett, Roderick Random, Transactions of the Royal Society, William Dampier, Voyages, John Locke, Essay Concerning  Human Understanding, Ned Ward, The London Spy

Practices of Literary Study: Shakespeare

English 90

Section: 4
Instructor: Altman, Joel B.
Time: MW 9:30-11
Location: 305 Wheeler


“‘A sad tale’s best for winter,’ but for spring a comedy is better.”  Focusing on three of Shakespeare’s most engaging plays—The Comedy of ErrorsThe Tragedy of King Lear, and The Winter’s Tale—which all concern divisions in a family (sometimes hilarious, often violent, always deeply moving)—we’ll study how genre informs the way stories are represented on the stage.  We’ll be looking at the shape of plot, character development through actions and words—especially words so vivid that the listener seems to be seeing what is described--how private thoughts are conveyed to the audience, and how Shakespeare’s work relates to its predecessors.  We’ll attend to staging, the mingling of verse and prose, verbal meaning, such themes as patriarchy and misogyny, friendship, and parent-child relations.  The title of the course refers to the last of our dramatic trio, in which the two traditional genres are associated with seasonal change, creating the hybrid “tragicomedy.”  I expect we’ll have some lively discussions and read passages aloud to one another, for analysis and enjoyment.  You’ll be expected to participate actively in class and to write three short papers.