English R1B

Reading and Composition: Literary Festivity

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
13 Spring 2016 Mangin, Sarah
TTh 9:30-11 225 Wheeler

Book List

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

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader (required) 


In this class we will look at many dimensions of a deceptively simple question: what can a party mean? We’ll study celebrations as mechanisms both of radical freedom and total social control, including the legacy of medieval Church feast-days and folk-festivals as inversions and enforcers of social hierarchies.  We’ll read scenes of raucous gatherings juxtaposed with quieter revelations: the gender-bending romance of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the social choreography of Jane Austen’s Emma, and the fraught provisions of a soirée in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.  As the class examines each work in its historical particularity and unique interpretive richness, students will learn strategies for effective academic writing. We will consider matters of sentence-craft alongside those of argumentation, organization, and critical reflection. In the final portion of the term, each student will complete a research paper (8-10 pages long) that develops a thematic strand of the course in an original direction while responding to a broader scholarly conversation.

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