English N1B

Reading & Composition: Literary Festivity

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2015 Mangin, Sarah
TTh 12-2 7 Evans

Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Shakespeare, William : Twelfth Night; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

Course reader: Robert Herrick, “The Hock Cart, or Harvest Home”; F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Ice Palace”; critical selections from Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World; Leah S. Marcus, The Politics of Mirth


What can a party mean? In this course we will ponder the significance of festivals and merry-making across diverse literary traditions. We’ll first explore the legacy of medieval Church feast-days and folk festivals as an inversion and reinforcement of social hierarchies; throughout the course we will continue to test this notion of festivity as a mechanism both of radical freedom and total social control.  Our texts will cross genres and time periods, from Shakespeare’s comic, gender-bending romance to the phantasmagoric horror of Fitzgerald’s frozen fairground. We’ll read scenes of raucous gatherings juxtaposed with the astonishing revelations of Emma Woodhouse’s picnic and Clarissa Dalloway’s soiree.  As we consider each work in both its historical particularity and unique interpretive richness, we will discuss matters of sentence-craft alongside those of argument, organization, and critical reflection. After writing several short essays, each student will produce a longer research paper (8-10 pages) that develops a thematic strand of the course in an original direction while responding to a broader scholarly conversation. 

This course is open only to students who have already passed the Entry-Level Writing Requirement/Subject A test (or course equivalent), whch is administered several months before summer classes start.

Note to international students:  This is not a course in English as a Second Language. Please see the College Writing Program for the ESL courses that program offers.

This course will be taught in Session C, from June 23 to August 13.


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