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The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses, including some without prerequisites that are open to non-majors. The department offers majors and minors in both English and Comparative Literature. The English curriculum is presently under review. Consequently, courses will be added and some current courses will be renumbered.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN ENGLISH (B.A.)
Classes of 2015 and earlier:
disciplinary, 11 courses
ENG 101; six English core courses, at least one of which must focus on a period before 1800; and four additional English courses numbered 175 or above. Up to two literature courses taught outside the department may count toward the major with the consent of the department chair. In consultation with an adviser, students will develop a plan of study that includes a three-course concentration. Starting in the fall 2012 semester, ENG 101 will no longer be offered. ENG 200 will replace ENG 101.
Concentrations may be defined by literary history, genre or field of study. A genre concentration could, for example, include three courses on poetry, while a literary history concentration might provide an overview of literary history, or focus on one particular era. Field of study concentrations in creative writing, film studies or theory are options for students with particular interest in those areas.
Classes of 2016 and later:
disciplinary, 12 courses
ENG 200; 10 courses; a capstone experience. Of the 10 electives, four should be at the 300-level or above. Up to three courses may be taken outside the department and may count towards the major and the fulfillment of requirements, with permission of the adviser. Requirements include the following areas: one Early Period course; one American Literature; one Global Literature; one UK/European Literature; two Literary History. (A single course may fulfill more than one requirement.)
Concentrations may be defined by literary history, genre or field of study. A genre concentration could, for example, include three courses on poetry, while a literary history concentration might provide an overview of literary history, or focus on one particular era. Field of study concentrations in creative writing, film studies or theory are options for students with particular interest in those areas.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR IN ENGLISH
Classes of 2015 and earlier:
disciplinary, 5 courses
ENG 101 plus four courses, and at least two core courses numbered 175 or above. ENG 101 should be taken before the others, preferably in the first or second year. One literature course taught outside the department may count toward the minor with the consent of the department chair.
Classes of 2016 and later:
disciplinary, 6 courses
Introductory Requirement (ENG 200); two courses at the 300-level or above; three additional courses, one of which may be from outside of the department with permission of the adviser.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE (B.A.)
The Comparative Literature major, which can be either disciplinary or interdisciplinary, allows students to compare literatures of different languages in the context of other artistic and cultural productions. This major is housed in the English Department and taught by faculty from English and a wide variety of other departments. A fuller description of the Comparative Literature major appears in this Catalogue listed under “Comparative Literature.”
ENG 101 Introduction to Literary Studies
Note: This course is a required introduction to both the English major and minor and may not be exempted. Students who receive a 4 or 5 on the English AP exam or who have transferred credit for an introductory course from another college may apply their credit toward a non-core elective course. As of fall 2012, ENG 101 will be replaced by ENG 200.
Creative Writing Courses
Creative writing courses do not count as core courses, but as many as four may be taken to fulfill requirements for the English major and as many as two for the minor; since creative writing courses count as “additional courses at the 175 level or above,” taking more than two creative writing classes will limit your ability to take courses for major credit outside the department. ENG 260 Creative Writing; ENG 305 Poetry Workshop; ENG 308 Screenwriting; ENG 309 The Craft of Fiction; ENG 310 Creative Non-Fiction Workshop; other courses, occasionally offered.
Students must take six core courses for the major and two for the minor. Most courses in the English department qualify as core courses. The exceptions are generally courses in creative writing. Please consult with your adviser to ensure that you will take enough courses which qualify.
Core Film Courses
Film courses which qualify as core courses include: ENG 176 Film Analysis I; ENG 229 Television Histories, Television Narratives; ENG 230 Film Analysis II; ENG 233 The Art of the Screenplay; ENG 287 Film Histories I; ENG 288 Film Histories II; ENG 289 Film Histories III; ENG 368 Film and Ideology; ENG 370 Hollywood on Hollywood; ENG 375 Science Fiction Film; ENG 376 New Waves
Literary Courses Outside the Department
The following list is a representative sample of courses, which may be approved to fulfill the requirements of the English major and minor. They will not count as core courses, and a student may take a maximum of two courses outside the department for major credit. AMST 100 History and Forms of American Culture; AMST 101 American I, Eye, Aye; AMST 201 American Attitudes toward Nature; ASN 210 Buddhism and Taoism through Chinese Literature; ASN 342 Chinese Cinema: Gender, Politics, and Social Change in Contemporary China; CLAS 108 Greek Tragedy; CLAS 112 Classical Myths; CLAS 213 Ancient Comedy and Satire; FRNE 341 Boulevard Saint-Germain; RUSE 350 Survey of 19th Century Russian Literature; RUSE 351 Other Voices in 20th Century Russian Literature: Women Writers; WRRH 250 Talk and Text: Introduction to Discourse Analysis; WRRH 310 Power and Persuasion: Readings in Rhetoric, Ancient to Medieval; WRRH 312 Power and Persuasion: Readings in Rhetoric, Renaissance to Modern; WRRH 322 Adolescent Literature; WRRH 420 Writers Guild.
101 Introduction to Literary Studies An introduction to the study of literature and narrative form, this course is devoted to detailed readings of a variety of literary works from diverse cultures, periods, and genres. The course investigates questions of framing, point of view and narrative form, and the relationship of rhetorical forms, prosody, tropes, and figures of speech to their historical and cultural contexts.
104 Literature and Social Movements Can books change the world? In the U.S., readers of slave narratives and Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin were swayed to the abolitionist cause. The counterculture went On the Road with Kerouac. Second-wave feminists clutches copies of The Bell Jar, while anti-Vietnam War protestors were fluent in Heller and Vonnegut. Ayn Rand's fiction has been a powerful force for new conservatives, while Malcolm X's autobiography helped radicalize the Civil Rights movement. And why were Occupy protestors wearing masks made famous by a graphic novel? This course considers how literature has shaped and been shaped by social movements. Weaving together contextualizing historical readings with poetry, memoir, novels, and other literary forms, students will investigate the relationships between revolution and the word.
105 Global English Literature What comprises English literature? From the first, this question may be complicated. American literature is taught in English departments, as is Canadian and Australian, yet the legal place of English in each of these places varies. The official status of a language has power, and plays itself out in a nation's writing. Works in translation from the two hundred-or-so non-English speaking countries of our world may teach us about other cultures and literatures, but we stand to learn something about English itself by examining another category of literature that thrives in the gap between translation and native English. The authors of this literature come from countries (South Africa, India, China, Nigeria, Chile, Japan among others) where English is not the assumed language of communication, and yet they choose to write in English. These works are both outside of and in relationship with the more familiar works of traditional English literature. This literature, and the way it reveals things about the more familiar canon of English literature will be the focus of this course. This question will lead us to considerations of language, identity—personal and national—and literary form: In what ways do these "Engl-ish" authors' use of language both reflect, and depart from, the rhythms or mechanics of their own culture and that of the West? Concerning identity, we will ask what it means to consider something or someone "foreign;" to consider someone, or ourselves, an insider or an outsider. We will think about how these stories have been influenced by western aesthetic values and literary forms, and how they might in fact be transforming and reinventing this form, in turn possibly influencing the West. As we explore the historical and cultural contexts that are important to understand the perspectives and ideas presented in the texts, we will also consider how these novels and stories reveal the experiences of a particular time and place. How do they speak to our ways of knowing? What does each historical movement reveal about our own time? And ultimately, what do we have to learn from literature?
106 Love, Dreams, and Madness This course is an introduction to themes of love, dreams, and madness in European literature from the 14th to the 20th centuries. This course belongs to a new series of courses that the English Department proposes to design for first-year students and non-majors interested in taking an English class. However, English majors will be allowed to count one of these 100-level courses towards their major. This course will strive to complement the students' First Year Seminars by offering new opportunities to read and write. At the same time, it could awaken the students' interests in English studies. (Berry)
107 From Novel to Film Film today is in a position in our culture analogous to the position the novel once held in literary tradition. It is still largely a medium that belongs to popular culture, and its sense of emotional immediacy, the persuasive power of visual storytelling, and filmmakers'' ability to respond to current ideas and trends of thought often means that modern film is a useful window on the age in which a film is made. We will address narrative technique, ask how filmmakers use the visual medium to transform difficult but profoundly arresting narratives into engaging and comprehensible films, while also asking what makes an adaptation effective? Why bother if the book is satisfying? Can an adaptation ever be as good as the book? There is another focus here as well; we also want to raise important questions about how and by whom meaning is made in both novels and films and about the role of the imagination of the reader and viewer in completing the picture. We will be reading Ivanhoe, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Defense, Dangerous Liaisons, and Jurassic Park.
120 Partial Magic In the second half of Don Quixote, Don Quixote meets characters who have read the first half of the novel. That would include us. Lewis Carol describes a map of England which represents everything in England, which would include the map, and on that map, a map of the map, and so on into infinity. In this course we will explore these disconcerting examples of what we are calling “partial magic,” in both literature and the visual arts, in an effort to see that they are not unusual, but are in fact, fundamental to the way art endeavors to immerse us in its world. We will also consider the consequences of this immersion. In what sense is what Coleridge called "the willing suspension of disbelief," a loss of our critical faculties? In what sense is art related to propaganda and advertising? (Holly)
121 Medieval Genres This course is an introduction to the medieval world through some examples of its literature. This course belongs to a new series of courses that the English Department proposes to design for first-year students and for non-majors interested in taking an English class. However, English majors will be allowed to count one of these 100-level courses towards their major. This course will strive to complement the students' First Year Seminars by offering new opportunities to read and write. At the same time, it could awaken the students' interests in English and/or curiosity for this historical and literary period. (Erussard)
160 Creative Writing for First-years and Sophomores This course offers introductory techniques in the writing of both fiction and poetry. The workshop format emphasizes group discussion of the writings of class members. Some exercises are assigned, some individual invention is expected. Readings of modern authors supplement discussions of form and technique. This course is normally required as a prerequisite for fiction and poetry workshops. (Cowles, Conroy-Goldman, Staff, offered each semester)
176 Film Analysis I This course focuses on specific aspects of the filmic system and how they work. Attention is paid to detailed analyses of images and sounds and their dynamic relation to the film’s narrative. The goal of the course is a keener understanding not only of the world of film, but of the increasingly visual world in which we live. The primary emphasis is on what is called the Classical Hollywood Model, the dominant (culturally, economically, ideologically) mode of filmmaking in the world today (although not the only mode). As such it is crucial for students of film and, arguably, for us all to be actively aware of its structures and assumptions. Open to first-year students only. (Lyon)
200 Critical Methods This course is required of all majors and minors to prepare students for upper-level study in the department. This course will train students in the concepts, vocabulary and research methods required for advanced textual analysis and writing in the discipline. Required books include core reference texts in the discipline and will be supplemented by individual professors.
200 Jacobean Revolutions The Jacobean era (1603-1625) brought a great many revolutions to England—in science, in philosophy, in medicine, in religion, in cosmology, in economics, and in politics. The new world of the seventeenth century offered staggering new possibilities, and renaissance minds boggled to make sense of it all. In this course, we will explore how poets, essayists, and dramatists from this era acted as midwives for the birth of modernity. Readings will include poetry, prose, and drama by Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Herrick, Montaigne, Bacon, Burton, Cary, Beaumont, Middleton, Webster, and Ford. (Carson)
201 Jane Austen in Film This course asks a number of questions: What is the goal of film adaptation? What is the nature of the relationship between the adaptation and the source text? What is lost and what is gained when a written narrative is presented as a visual and spoken one? Because Jane Austen’s novels are essentially her own, written creations and films based on them are collaborative and characterized by sound, motion, and visual detail, the two media approach narrative in fundamentally different ways. We will consider to what extent a film version of a Jane Austen novel is an entirely new work that is artistically independent of the original. We will also examine the consequences of viewing such films as translations of Austen’s novels both for the filmmakers who approach their projects this way and for critics who read the films from this perspective. While we will certainly take into account the techniques employed by directors and screenwriters to create a coherent and effective narrative that captures the original story—according to their notions of what this means—as they strive to keep the finished film within a reasonable running time, it is important to note that this is not a film course. The focus here is on the interplay between two methods of storytelling that results when novels written by an author who deliberately avoids description are made into films. (Minott-Ahl)
202 Modern Short Story This course includes formal analysis and explication of selected stories by masters of the genre, with some attention to its history and development. (Staff, offered alternate years)
204 Southern Fictions An introduction to fiction from the American South as well as to fictions of the American South from the mid-19th century to the present. We will analyze works by major southern authors to uncover what if anything they have in common. We will also look at “The South” itself as a kind of fiction–constructed through literature, film and popular culture. Our readings will cluster around subgenres of southern fiction and contemporary so-called “K-mart realism” and “grit lit” movements. We will work to unpack the tensions around sex, race, class and religion that have haunted southern fiction from its beginnings. (Creadick)
205 The History of the English Language Why isn’t knight spelled nayt? Why did people stop saying thee and thou? Why did they start? Why is children the plural of child or feet the plural of foot? If drove is the past tense of drive, why isn’t televose the past tense of televise? And where did English come from anyway? This course will pursue these among many other questions about the nature and origins of the English language, from its beginnings in continental Old West German dialects through Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English and the various versions of English today. This course will also provide an introduction to the concepts and methods of historical linguistics and phonology. Students will become acquainted with the main currents, theories, and standing disputes in these disciplines; they will learn to recognize, understand and analyze linguistics change; and they will also make a few anecdotal discoveries, such as the reasons why the brothers Grimm ever had the idea of recording folktales. The coursework will include regular reading assignments as well as exercises, quizzes and exams. (Erussard)
207 American Literature to Melville A study of the major American transcendentalists, this course considers literary works in terms of their textual qualities and in terms of the social contexts that produced them. Not open to first-year students. (Patterson)
208 American Literature from Crane This course surveys American literature written from the turn of the century through the first three decades of the 20th century. It examines the works as responses to America’s movement toward modernization and focuses on how gender, class, ethnicity, and race inform these novels. Not open to first-year students. (Creadick)
209 Contemporary Israeli Literature We often think of Israel as a war-torn country whose citizens' only concern is with political conflict and survival in a hostile environment. But in reality, Israel of the last three decades has become a place that encourages creativity and culture, where artists of different backgrounds, as well as different political and religious inclinations are engaged in an ongoing conversation with each other and with their surroundings. This course will focus on Israeli literature written over the last thirty years as a way of introducing students to the intricacies of contemporary Israeli culture and familiarizing them with the different ideologies and attitudes within the Israeli literary world. We will explore the manner in which important historical events such as the Holocaust, the Lebanon war, and the ongoing Palestinian conflict found their way into the work of Israeli authors. We will discuss the manner in which international artistic movements influenced Israeli literature. Finally, we will try to define a unique Israeli aesthetic and explore its relationship with contemporary Israeli reality. (Levin)
210 Modernist American Poetry This course is a study of selected major early 20th century figures, including Mina Loy, T.S. Eliot, Hilda Doolittle, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. (Staff)
216 Literature of the Gilded Age This course examines American novels, short stories, and poetry from the period between the Civil War and first World War, looking particularly at responses to industrialization, social class, and gender and race relations. (Patterson)
217 Chaucer: Topics Chaucer composed his poetry in the historical context of peasant risings, religious heresy, English imperialism, and the aftermath of the Black Death and in the literary context of both the Alliterative Renaissance and the influence of the French and Italian traditions. A first topic focuses on a careful reading of The Canterbury Tales and the second concentrates on a comparative study of Troilus and Criseyde and its main source. Boccaccio’s II Filostrato. Both courses investigate issues surrounding the authorship, language, audience, and ideologies of Chaucer’s work within the larger cultural, social, and political context of late medieval England. (Erussard)
223 Environmental Literature In this course students read essays and poems by contemporary American nature writers who concern themselves with the human experience of and relation to nature. These writers lovingly evoke the American landscape while at the same time contemplating the modern environmental crisis. They approach the question of the meaning of nature in our lives in personal, as well as philosophical and ethical, ways. Cross-listed with environmental studies. (Staff)
225 Shakespearean Comedy An introduction to Shakespeare, focusing in particular on seven of his best-known comedies. We will adopt a myriad-minded approach to our readings: in some classes we will read the plays historically, paying particular attention to the ways in which these works offer us insight into the early modern English culture that produced them (and vice versa); at other times we will focus on them theatrically, exploring their dramaturgical choices, or else poetically, examining their literary aesthetics; and in other classes still we will attend to their politics, especially with respect to their handling of questions of gender, class, race, and sexuality. (Carson)
226 Shakespearean Tragedy An introduction to Shakespeare through his five best-known tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. As with ENG 225, we will approach these plays from a wide variety of critical angles, in the hope that the course will provide not only a survey of Shakespeare’s plays but also a practical survey of contemporary critical methodologies. (Carson)
228 Comparative Medieval Literature This course surveys some of the major forms of medieval literature—the epic, the romance, and the fable—and attempts to relate these works to the earlier classical tradition. In addition, it attempts to make both cross-cultural connections and connections with the social, historical, and philosophical levels of medieval culture. (Erussard)
229 Television Histories, Television Narratives This course is a short history of television narrative: the development of family dramas and their relation to post-war shifts in the domestic space of the family; the relation between programs and advertising; daytime vs. primetime programming; and the appeal to or avoidance of issues of sexual difference, class, and race. (Lyon)
230 Film Analysis II This course focuses on specific aspects of the filmic system and how they work. Attention is paid to detailed analyses of images and sounds and their dynamic relation to the film’s narrative. The goal of the course is a keener understanding not only of the world of film, but of the increasingly visual world in which we live. The primary emphasis is on what is called the Classical Hollywood Model, the dominant (culturally, economically, ideologically) mode of filmmaking in the world today (although not the only mode). As such it is crucial for students of film and, arguably, for us all to be actively aware of its structures and assumptions. (Lyon)
231 Graphic Novels “Relax, it’s just lines of paper folks” is what the rebel cartoonist Robert Crumb had to say about comics when they were banned, burned, and boycotted in the 1950s. A lot has changed since then, and we are currently witnessing the golden age of graphic forms. This course is an introduction to a medium that has been developing for thousands of years. We will concentrate particularly on advances within the 20th century and examine how comic strips, “histoires en estampes,” collage and wordless novels, manga, graphic histories, comix journalism and memoirs have been adapted to tell stories about life, love, death, and sometimes, happiness. (Bulson)
233 The Art of the Screenplay Screenplays are the blueprints of movies. In this course students read screenplays and study the films that have been made from them. Special attention is paid to such elements as story, structure, character development, and to the figurative techniques for turning written text into moving image. Prerequisites: ENG 101. (Holly)
238 Flexing Sex: Crossing the Gender Divide in Contemporary Literature The question of whether an author’s gender defines his or her voice continues to be a hotly contested debate in contemporary letters. Computer programs exist which claim to be able to identify an author’s sex based on his or her writing style. Writers are lauded—or challenged—based on their abilities to write from the perspective of another sex. In this course, students explore this issue through a series of theoretical and literary readings by authors who challenge prevailing notions of gendered authorship. Texts may include works by authors such as Jonathan Franzen, Wally Lamb, Ann Carson, Jeffrey Eugenides, Rose Tremain and Jane Smiley. Students complete a series of analytical and creative writing assignments which respond to these works. (Conroy-Goldman)
239 Popular Fiction: The Fifties This course addresses popular fiction, popular culture, and popular memory of post-World War II America. In popular memory, The Fifties are often cast either as the “golden age” of nuclear families, domestic bliss and affluence, or as the “dark ages” of sexual and political repression, conformity and hyper-consumerism before the “enlightenment” of the Sixties. Students read popular fiction of the era, including WWII novels, noir/detective novels, romance novels, and gay and lesbian “pulp” fiction. The course incorporates the fiction with a range of primary and secondary postwar texts in order to illuminate postwar anxieties around war/violence, gender/sexuality, class/conformity, and race/ethnicity. (Creadick)
240 Style and Structure in 18th Century Literature and Art This course offers a topology of desire in the 18th century as it manifests itself in literary, architectural, and graphic productions. This course pays special attention to fantasies of power; architectural fantasies and imaginary landscapes; the oppositions of Gothicism and Classicism; the garden and the city; the sublime and the beautiful; and the relationship of the teleology of desire to narrative form. (Holly)
246 Globalism and Literature Globalism as a contemporary phenomenon has been in the ascendancy. It is, among other things, an economic, cultural, technological, and demographic phenomenon. Students examine globalism and its related metaphors of hybridity, cosmopolitanism, migrancy, exile, and so on against nationalism and its privileged metaphors of rootedness and identity. If the production of a national subject is no longer the purpose of “discipline,” what does it mean to produce a transnational subject? These are some of the concerns of the fiction students read for this course. (Basu)
249 The 18th Century Novel This course is designed to be a survey of significant themes and techniques in the novels of the period, with some attention paid to continental influences and development and metamorphoses of 18th century themes in the novels of the 19th and 20th centuries. Special attention is given to novels by and about women. (Holly)
250 English Romantic Poets This course is a comprehensive look at Romanticism and its proponents, its aesthetic context and the charged political environment in which it developed and thrived. The poets of this movement saw themselves thinkers and as agents of important change in the world. The poems they wrote were like the words of a magic spell, meant to unleash the power of imagination and speak new political and intellectual realities into being. In addition to reading the works of well known Romantics, such as Wordsworth and Byron, the course examines the provocative writings of abolitionists, visionaries, and poets whose support of Revolution in France made them distrusted at home in England. (Staff)
251 Medieval Drama This course offers a panorama of medieval dramatic genres. It surveys works from the 10th to the 15th centuries. The stylistic diversity includes the sadomasochistic plays of the Saxon canoness Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, the proto-opera form of Hildegard of Bingan, some English mystery plays from different cycles and a selection of French sexual farce. The study is based on both historicist and formalist critical analysis and on occasional classroom performance. (Erussard)
255 Victorian Literature This course investigates origins of the modern world view as anticipated and expressed in 19th century English literature: the breakdown of traditional religious beliefs; the alienation and isolation of the individual; changing attitudes toward nature; the loss of communication; the role of education; and the affirmation of art. (Staff)
256 The Gothic Novel This course will explore the Gothic novel from the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th, when Bram Stoker’s Dracula first appeared. Disparaged as sensational reading likely to corrupt young women and as something that distracted men from more important things, Gothic novels were extremely popular from the moment Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto found its way into booksellers’ shops. It achieved this success against a backdrop of tightening social strictures on the conduct of women of the upper and newly emerging middle classes. Alongside exciting, often titillating stories of abducted maidens, vampires, and demonic monks were numerous treatises enjoining young women to act sensibly, be virtuous, and eschew novel reading. We will explore how some 18th century Gothic novels actually reinforce the values and social mores they are accused of undermining, while others subvert those values they profess to uphold. We will also explore the ways in which the definition of what is horrible or terrifying changed in response to social and historical realities, i.e. after the revolutions—political, industrial, and scientific—of the 18th and 19th centuries. (Minott-Ahl)
257 Dickens and His World Some of the bitterest struggles of the Victorian era were between personal sensibilities and mass production, between the dreamer and artist and the pragmatist, between aesthete as revolutionary and the common consumer. Such figures as Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, Robert Browning, William Morris, and Oscar Wilde are studied, for each was concerned with the cost to human beings of a dehumanizing education in dehumanizing environments, yet each met the issues in a different way. (Minott-Ahl)
258 The 19th Century Novel Students read and discuss selected British examples from this second great century of the novel in English. A major focus of the course is women, both as key contributors to the novel’s evolution and as central characters in the texts. (Minott-Ahl)
260 Creative Writing This course offers introductory techniques in the writing of both fiction and poetry. The workshop format emphasizes group discussion of the writings of class members. Some exercises are assigned, some individual invention is expected. Readings of modern authors supplement discussions of form and technique. This course is normally required as a prerequisite for fiction and poetry workshops. Prerequisite: ENG 101. (Conroy-Goldman)
261 The Literature of Decadence This course offers an exploration of the phenomenon of decadence in its literary aspect: the pursuit of heightened experience, sensory or imaginative, in the face of social and ethical constraints. (Staff)
262 Introduction to Narrative What are stories made of? How does their structure and design influence what they can mean and how they are told? This course is an introduction to critical thinkers who have attempted to answer these questions: Roland Barthes, Tzetan Todorov, Walter Benjamin, Gerard Genette, Peter Brooks, and Viktor Shklovsky. In addition to working through their theories about narrative (what it is and how it works), we will also apply what we’ve learned to some representative texts, including the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, a film by Michelangelo Antonioni, and a graphic novel by David B. Students will come away knowing how point-of-view, temporality, character representation, fictionality, and closure are not only critical to the way stories are told: they radically determine what these stories mean and how we interpret them. (Bulson)
264 Post WWII American Poetry An introduction to contemporary American poetry, this course emphasizes both the close reading of poems and the placing of recent American poetry within its social and literary contexts. Prerequisite: ENG 101 or permission of the instructor. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies. (Staff)
280 Elizabethan Anxieties The English literary renaissance began in the latter half of the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), an age marked by tremendous anxieties—anxieties about religion, about politics, about gender, about class, about race, about history, and about the future. This course will explore how these various anxieties were negotiated by the remarkable literary culture that blossomed during the period. Readings will include poetry, prose, and drama by Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Daniel, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wroth, Nashe, Lyly, Kyd, and Marlowe. (Carson)
281 Literature of Sexual Minorities In a homophobic society that discourages the political organization of sexual minorities by subjecting them to discrimination and violence, one of the few ways in which lesbian and gay people have been able to articulate a consciousness of their identity has been through the publication of works of fiction, although until the 1940s even this mode of expression often was legally suppressed. In this course students read and discuss eight novels that played pivotal roles in the development of a sense of identity and political purpose among gay and lesbian people and which thus helped to define the lesbian and gay communities and movements of today. (Patterson)
287, 288, 289 Film Histories I, II, III This series of courses is conceived as a modular film histories group aimed at giving students a background in a specific historical period and/or preparation for more specialized work in a specific area of film history. Each year one module is offered, usually during the fall semester. Since it is not possible to cover all of world cinema during any of these historical periods in a single term, a selection is made to emphasize specific themes or historical events. The historical periods break down approximately as follows:
(287) Film Histories I (1895-1935) The development of film style from the origins of cinema through the early years of the transition to sound technology. (Lyon)
(288) Film Histories II (1930-1950) May include a study of the Hollywood studio system, European and American pre-World War II and wartime cinemas (including French films of the Occupation and Italian neo-realism) and postwar European and American cinemas. (Lyon)
(289) Film Histories III (1944-1980) A selection of films and topics from the post-World War II era through 1980. This course frequently examines postwar American film genres and their relation to the social, cultural, economic, ideological and technological context in which they were produced. (Lyon)
290 African American Autobiography This course examines the place and importance of autobiography in African American writing. Students read actual and fictional autobiographies and consider the history of autobiography (post-slave narratives) and the purposes to which it has been put to use. (Part of a series on African literature.) (Basu)
291 Introduction to African American Literature This course concentrates on African American narratives of the 20th century, from the Harlem Renaissance through the “protest” novel and black nationalism to black women writers. Students focus on a central concern of the African American traditions, the tension between the political and the aesthetic. Students pay attention to both the aesthetic properties of the literary text and to its political dimensions. In addition to the concerns with race, class, gender, and sexuality, students examine the intricate set of intertextual relations between different writers which constitute the tradition of African American writing. (Basu)
300 Literary Theory Since Plato This course offers a survey and analysis of major trends in the understanding of literature from Plato to the present. (Holly)
301 Modernism and Postmodernism The beginning of a new century, the 21st, marks a broad-scale shift in our conception of the written word, in literary and paraliterary texts. The traditional literary categories—Realism, Naturalism, etc.—have fallen into disrepute, to be replaced by postmodern concepts such as pastiche, quotation and appropriation. The line between literary and non-literary texts has been erased. This course investigates the influence of these new cultural conditions on the practice of producing what used to be called “literature.” (Bulson)
302 Post-Structuralist Literary Theory An examination of the techniques and significance of contemporary movements in criticism and literary theory, this course attempts to discover the world view implicit in these approaches by addressing such issues as the philosophical, political, and moral implications of contemporary theories of the text. The class chooses a target text (or texts) for practical criticism. (Holly)
303 Cultural Theory This course introduces three major strands of contemporary theory which have reshaped the way we think and write about literature: critical cultural studies, historicism, and reader-response theory. Together, these approaches have expanded understandings of literary meaning to include not just the text itself but the production and reception of those texts as well as their ideological content and consequences. Students will read theoretical essays as well as examples of scholars applying these ideas to the study of literature and other cultural forms. Students will then become the critics, applying these theories to the contemporary literary, material or popular culture “texts” that surround them — stories, poems, film, photographs, toys, fashion, sports and music. (Creadick)
304 Feminist Literary Theory This course is an introduction to feminist literary theories and critical practices. It focuses on such issues as female sexualization, representations of violence and madness, and subjectivity. Students are expected to apply feminist analyses to a variety of texts. (Staff)
305 Poetry Workshop For students highly motivated to write poetry, this course offers the opportunity to write both independently and in response to technical issues raised in class. Class time is divided between discussions of modern poetry (using an anthology and a collection of essays by contemporary poets) and workshops on student writing. Close reading and the revision process are emphasized. There are individual conferences, one critical paper, and, as a final project, a small collection of poems. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor is required based on a writing sample. ENG 260 is generally required. (Staff)
308 Screenwriting This course offers a workshop in the fundamentals of writing the motion picture. Weekly writing assignments move students through a process of script development—from brainstorming and the movie in a paragraph to the treatment/outline, beat sheet, the creation of a scene, and the first act. Students share work and engage in a variety of exercises designed to help each tell his or her stories. Prerequisites: ENG 230 and/or ENG 233. (Holly)
309 Fiction Workshop An intensive workshop devoted to the creation and critiquing of student fiction, this course is suitable for students strongly committed to fiction writing. Students are expected to produce a portfolio of polished stories. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 260 is generally required. (Conroy-Goldman)
310 Creative Nonfiction Workshop This is a writing course in creative nonfiction designed for English majors or others seriously interested in working to develop their own voices in the medium of the personal essay. Students read and discuss essays by major contemporary American essayists. They also read and discuss each others’ essays in a workshop with an eye toward revision. Participants should be prepared to write one essay a week. Prerequisite: permission of instructor, based on a writing sample. (Staff)
312 Psychoanalysis and Literature Aside from its aspirations to being medicine or a science, psychoanalysis constitutes a powerful theory of reading, which, in its emergence at the beginning of the 20th century, corresponds to the revolution in interpretation which continues into our own time. The aim of this course is to study this theory of reading in order to show how it is the foundation of such interpretive concepts and procedures as close reading, text, and the intentional fallacy, as well as being both the source and critique of the modern handling of such interpretational elements as image, myth, and meaning. (Holly)
313 Bible as Literature The Bible is a formative text of major religious, political, philosophical, and, in some cases, national significance, but the Bible is also a phenomenal literary project that has influenced generations of readers and writers. This course surveys the main books of the Old and New Testaments through a literary prism by focusing on the rhetorical, formal, narrative, and generic aspects of select biblical stories. Students will be introduced to the historical and theological contexts that allowed the formation of the Bible, but this course aims to look beyond those contexts and read the Holy Scriptures as a literary work. By exposing students to different genres within the biblical texts such as creation myths, poetry, prophecies, parables, and visions, we will try to define a “biblical aesthetic,” and explore the relationship between content and form. (Levin)
315 Fiction Workshop II Writers represent a loose theoretical camp, which addresses issues like the creative process, experimental writing, and the relationship between art and politics, in a way that other areas of literacy criticism do not. In this course, we will use writing and readings in theory and cutting edge experimental fiction in order to explore some of these issues. This course is suitable for students strongly committed to fiction writing. Fiction I and Fiction II may be taken in either order. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor, based on writing sample. ENG 260 is generally required. (Conroy-Goldman)
317 Hearts of Darkness This course explores the European encounter with the non-Western world; in the encounter with that which is alien, an exploration of Western culture and the Western psyche takes place. Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is the archetype of this encounter. In the 100 years since it was written, Western and non-Western writers have constructed versions and counter-versions of it. Colonialism, identity, love, religion, freedom, justice, the nature of the self, and the complex character of western civilization itself are all subjects. Students read each fiction by the light of its own structure and intent as well as in dialogue with Conrad. (Weiss)
318 Body, Memory, Representation Black women writers have initiated an important line of inquiry that is perhaps best represented by the publication of several reconstructions of slavery in fiction. In these texts, black women writers represent the desires of slaves, and, at a fundamental level, the course examines the relationship between power and desire and the suggestion that desire itself cannot be evacuated of power relations. Taking slave desires of the other, the course compares these desires to contemporary gendered and sexual normativity. (Staff)
320 History of American Independent Film The history of American independent film runs parallel to the origin, development and consolidation of the Hollywood study system in the 1920s and 1930s through to the contemporary “independent” production wings of major studios, such as Miramax. This course traces this history beginning with the marginalized cinema of the 1930s B-movie studies and the “race cinema” of Oscar Micheaux. In the 1950s and 1960s, independent film was a powerful challenge to the calcified studio system of the postwar period, a prelude to the recent transformation in studio production resulting from the development of contemporary independent cinema, showcases such as the Sundance Film Festival, and the availability of digital technology. (Lyon)
325 Geographies of Nowhere: Mapping the Frontier This course will examine representations of the frontier, its structure, its role in our collective imagination, and the part it played in Western colonial expansion by focusing on 20th and 21st century world literature and film. A frontier is usually imagined as a place that is far away from the "center": it is where civilization meets wilderness and humans face nature. The frontier is thus usually a contested space, a place of tension and uncertainty. In this course, we will focus on spaces that can be called global frontiers, among them the High Arctic ( Alaska and Northern Canada ), the Global South ( interior Africa), and the Mysterious East (Afghanistan). All these spaces are fantasy locations that we view as either uncharted territories where nothing goes on ( such as the Arctic) or as all-too -chaotic locations where too much goes on ( such as Afghanistan). In this course, we will explore the reasons why these places continue to fascinate us. Benjamin Disraeli, a nineteenth-century British politician, wrote, famously, that the East is not a place, "it is a career." More than a century later, frontiers still offer us the fantasy of self-reinvention, a second career, a possibility of living our life differently, perhaps more freely. We will explore the stereotypes that define representations of such places in literature and film while also exploring the potential that they present.
The course's secondary pursuit is the study of space in literature and through literature. In the last decade, space has become an important, if not the dominant critical idiom in the study of literature and culture. The course will make extensive use of old and tried tools such as maps along with new open-source digital technologies that allow visualization and mapping. The course will test whether digital mapping technologies are useful in the study of literary spaces.
327 The Lyric This course is about ways of defining, analyzing, thinking about, and understanding one of the highest and most concentrated forms of verbal—indeed, of any—art. Students study a number of poetic types, as well as great individual works, emphasizing forms, themes, and traditions. (Weiss)
338 Poe, Dickinson, Frost This course is a study of three American originals, eccentrics who, though wildly different from one another, reflect in common some central aspects of the American psyche. (Weiss)
339 American Tale A study of selected short fiction by some of the major authors of 19th century America, this course uses Northrop Frye’s distinction between the short realistic form he calls “story” and the short romance form he calls “tale” to illuminate readings of short fictions by Poe, Hawthorne, Stowe, Chopin, Wharton, James, and others. (Staff)
342 Reading in Multi-Ethnic Women’s Literature In this course, students read literature by women who are often classified as part of “minority” groups. They examine these visual and literary texts as they engage the problematics of exile, sexuality, language, place, and memory. They read texts by Asian, Black, Chicana, Indian, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women writers. (Basu)
343 After Huck Finn: The Literature of Initiation This course focuses on literature that deals with coming of age and the getting of—if not wisdom—then at least a bracing dose of self-knowledge. (Offered occasionally)
345 Shakespeare’s Problems An exploration of the three odd works usually classified by critics as “Shakespeare’s Problem Plays,” alongside a comedy, a tragedy, and a romance that might be seen to have some serious problems of their own. What makes these plays so problematic? How weird can Shakespeare get? (Carson)
346 Iconoclastic Women in the Middle Ages Since the last third of the 20th century, feminist literary criticism has paid attention to the realm of medieval women which, for diverse reasons, had “previously been an empty space” (Showalter, 1976). This course looks at a variety of unconventional female lives in hagiography, fiction, history and legend from Perpetua, the 3rd century saint, to Joan of Arc, the 15th century warrior. Though this is not an historical survey, we will respect the chronology in order to recognize evolutions and evaluate influences as we read the story of Silence and the writings of Hrotsvit, Hildegard, Marie de France, Eloise, Margery Kempe, Christine de Pizan and others. Most texts will focus on medieval Europe, but we will also explore the point of views of some Asian female writers. This will allow us to compare and contrast the views of educated, court women in different parts of the world, during the same historical period. (Erussard)
347 Roman Thoughts: Shakespeare and Roman History An in-depth study of Shakespeare and the Roman history play. Beginning with his long narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece, we proceed to explore the four major tragedies that Shakespeare set in Rome, paying particular attention to the ways in which these plays engage with questions of political theory, of class, and of gender. We will look in some depth at the ways other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers (especially Jonson) incorporated ideas of Rome into their work in an attempt to make sense of what was really at stake for Shakespeare’s original audiences. Depending on class interest, we may well add some screenings to the syllabus, since these plays have served as the foundations for a handful of fascinating films, each of which preserves a complex negotiation between the contemporary, the Renaissance, and the classical worlds. (Carson)
352 Shakespeare and the Play of History We begin by reading three history plays that Shakespeare used for source material and inspiration, and then move on to consider his five most important English history plays, arguably the most impressive work from the first half of his career. We will read the plays with a great deal of attention to their relationship to early modern political theory, to early modern historiography, and also to the remarkable dramaturgy Shakespeare employs to extract such compelling stories from the raw fabric of history. These plays have fared better on screen than most of Shakespeare’s plays, and so depending on class interest, we may well schedule regular screenings to accompany our readings. (Carson)
354 Forms of Memoir This course in 20th century autobiographical prose explores both novelistic and factual memoirs. It compares the forms that literary memoir takes in several different cultures. The question of fiction vs. nonfiction is addressed, as well as the relationship of the author to the speaker of her/his book, and the ways in which the linear time of a lived life is transformed into literature. Students have the opportunity to write some memoiristic prose themselves in addition to critical papers. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies. (Staff)
356 Nabokov, Borges, Calvino In this close examination of the works of these three most important modern writers, special attention is paid to parallels between their works and movements in the visual arts, and to the implications of self-conscious narrative. (Holly)
358 Experience of War in Literature This course is designed as an exploration of the literature of the Cold War (1945-1991) in terms of the major social, political, and cultural issues of the period. Our focus will be primarily North American, but we will seek contextualization of (and counterpoint to) North American texts by exploring poems, novels, stories, essays, and films from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We will encounter representations, both subtle and blatant, of a number of the major issues associated with the period, including nuclear anxiety, conformism (and rebellion), xenophobia, homogeneity, the changing nature of privacy and domesticity, "containment" culture, espionage, and paranoia in genres and forms ranging from political tracts to lyric poems, experimental novels, science fiction stories, and film noir. Authors whose writing we may address include Ralph Ellison, Thomas Pynchon, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Georges Perec, Carlos Fuentes, Ernesto Cardenal, Julio Cortázar, Luisa Valenzuela, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Adrienne Rich, William Carlos Williams, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Tim O'Brien, and Leslie Marmon Silko. Additionally, we will view a handful of representative films from the period from a list that includes Hitchcock's "North By North Northwest," Tarkovsky's "Solaris," Siegel's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," and Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly."
360 20th Century Central European Fiction: from Kafka to Kundera This course explores the modernist reinvention of the novel that occurred in those countries of Europe that until recently were part of the Soviet Bloc: Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The course begins with Franz Kafka and his harrowing dreams of the modern world, and the place of the individual in it, which anticipate many experiences of this century. The works read register the historical experiences of the first and second World Wars and of the totalitarian states that emerged after 1945. (Weiss)
368 Film and Ideology The subject of this course is a selection of mainstream studio and independent films which respond in some way to contemporary debates around political and social issues such as national identity, war, racism, sexism, class divisions, sexual identity, masculinity and femininity. Students study each film in narrative and visual detail in order to see how the film system can work not only to mask and naturalize ideological positions and assumptions but to dismantle them and make them visible. (Lyon)
370 Hollywood on Hollywood This course examines the various ways in which the Hollywood film industry reflects on and represents its own conditions of existence. Students view a variety of films from different genres and historical moments, each of which reflects in its own way on the aesthetic, ideological and economic aspects of film production, the star system and the relation between spectator and spectacle. (Lyon)
375 Science Fiction Film This course is a selective study of science fiction film, emphasizing American postwar science fiction and its complex and shifting relation to the cultural and historical context which produced it. Students consider individual films in visual and narrative detail as well as broader issues inherent in the genre of science fiction. Central to the study will be the ways in which the films visualize difference—sexual, racial, human/alien. Students also look at how science fiction films are shaped by the relation between technology and capitalism, not only on a thematic and narrative level but in the literal production of the images and effects that fascinate us. (Lyon)
376 New Waves The events of the late 1950s and ’60s produced significant changes in film production and viewing around the world. Reacting against American imperialism and the economic and cultural control that the Hollywood film industry held over post-war film markets, many countries, including France, Japan, Germany, and Brazil, redefined their national cinemas in the direction of a politics of cinema where both film making and film viewing were conceived as radical political tools. (Lyon)
377 Modernist Experiments Poems with footnotes, portraits in prose, characters in search of authors, manifestoes praising plastic surgery and the demolition of museums, translations from the Chinese (redacted by editors who don’t know the Chinese language): these are some of things modernism is known for. In the first half of the 20th century writers working in a variety of genres, visual artists, and musicians were convinced that the available forms of artistic expression were outmoded. Our focus: the ways they experimented with language and literary form to represent a distinctly “modern” experience, one that needed to accommodate the realities of world war, the “discovery” of the unconscious, advances in transport and communication technologies, mass production and consumption, and the rise (and fall) of empires. (Bulson)
381 Sexuality and American Literature This course focuses on the literary production of sexuality and subjectivity in America. It considers the works in light of Michel Foucault’s theory of the deployment of sexuality and feminist discussions on the politics of sexuality, and looks at the relationships between sexuality, power, and resistance both within novels and within their respective cultural contexts. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies and American Studies. (Creadick)
382 India and the Global The course typically begins with two novels by famous English writers, E. M. Forster’s “A Passage to India” (1924) and George Orwell’s “Burmese Days” (1934). We then move to several highly acclaimed award winning recent novels by Indian writers which are set in the United States, England, and India. Among them are “The Namesake” (2003; Pulitzer Prize; also a film), “The God of Small Things” (1997; Booker Prize), “Transmission” (2004), and “The White Tiger” (2008; Booker Prize). These primary readings will be supplemented by articles and essays which will help to contextualize the primary texts in a study of diaspora. We situate the earlier novels in the context of colonialism and the more recent ones in that of post colonialism and globalization. We will begin by speculating about the place of “India” in the global imagination. India has many names: Bharat, Hindustan, India, British India, the Subcontinent, the Jewel in the Crown, South Asia. Many places and peoples other than India(ns) are named after India: the East Indies, the West Indies, and of course, American Indians. Indians now inhabit Asia, Africa, Europe, America. What and who are India(ns)? (Basu)
385 History and Memory Using non-fiction and fiction films, this course examines the way different film and video practices reflect on and refract the filmmaker’s relation to history and culture. Of particular interest is the role of the film or video diary, essay, memoir or autobiography in the representation of historical and cultural subjects, the intersections of history and memory, and the importance of subjectivity in non-fiction film. Students examine a range of film and video practices, from the early experimental or subjective documentaries produced by the Soviet and European avant garde of the 1920s, through the development and availability of new image technologies (digital cameras, the Internet) and the resulting transformation of global production and reception and emergence of “new documentary” modes. (Lyon)
387 Power, Desire, Literature This course examines the relationship between power and desire as it is represented in literature. While the course will introduce some more recent writers, it will use Nietzschean, Freudian, and Marxist theories to frame our analysis of some classic literary texts by Sade and Masoch. The course questions some of the most deeply entrenched binary oppositions in Western culture such as those between subject and object, activity and passivity, domination and submission. (Basu)
394 Story and History Fiction writers have long been enchanted with the writing of historians, at times imitating, at times stealing, and even at times attempting to pass their inventions off as legitimate history. Since the 1960s, historians have also considered the role of fiction in their work. To what extent is history fiction? This course examines the evolution of the relationship between history writing and fiction, moments of cross-over such as falsified documents and hoaxes, and the way contemporary writers wrestle with the murky territory between the two. (Conroy-Goldman)
396 Joyce Joyce wrote about nothing but Ireland for his entire life, but he did it living in European cities of Trieste (1904-15; 1919-20), Zurich (1915-1919; 1940-41), and Paris (1920-40). This course situates Joyce’s life and works in the culture, history, language, and political contexts of these cities: Dubliners in Dublin, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in Trieste, Ulysses in Zurich, and Finnegans Wake in Paris. We will examine how these adopted European environments played a formative role in the way that Joyce imagined and represented Ireland in his fiction. We will complement our analysis of the individual works with history of his critical reception. In particular, we will focus on the ways that critics over decades have cast him as European cosmopolitan humanist or the politically engaged, provincial Irishman. It will be our task to figure out what can be gained from seeing Joyce as an “Irishman” or a “European” and consider whether or not these positions can, or should, be reconciled. (Bulson)
398 Religious Poetry This course will review the works of British and American poets from the sixteenth to the 20th century, and will introduce students to the long tradition of English religious poetry. We will explore the ancient association of religion and poetry, and will try to explain what makes poetry a perfect medium for religious expression. We will trace the manner in which poetic style changes alongside religious attitudes, and will look for a correlative relationship between theological and prosodic developments. Most importantly, we will try to acquire a better understanding of poets' own spiritual experiences based on their poetic treatment of those experiences.
399 Milton Central to this course is Milton’s major poem, the epic “Paradise Lost.” Milton is studied in relation to the whole of the 17th century, so that the course introduces the student to the theological, political, and aesthetic issues of the period. Students discuss epic and form, ideas about freedom, nature, human and natural; and history, biblical and temporal. (Staff)
401 Senior Seminar An intensive seminar in a special topic or single author, offered for senior majors.
403 Senior Seminar on LGBT Literature and Film The course is a weekly seminar for advanced studies with a strong interest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender issues. Each student would plan and research a project on a topic of her/his choice, with support and advice from the instructor. We would meet weekly for individual student reports and discussion, and the instructor would meet individually with students as well.
450 Independent Study
456 JR/SR Seminar: Reading Faulkner William Faulkner (1897-1962) sits comfortable atop a hierarchy of Great American Writers. Famous for his modernist prose experimentation in such classic works as The sound and The Fury or Absalom, Absalom! , Faulkner also boldly explored dark and disturbing themes of race and place in America through works like Light in August, Go Down, Moses, and Intruder in the Dust. But Faulkner also wrote Hollywood screenplays, wrote short stories for cash, and wrote other sorts of novels--works of picaresque comedy, doomed romance, and potboiler noir criminality. Faulkner himself 'read everything," from pulps to classics, and that reading, inevitably, shaped his own writing. In this course we will "read Faulkner" by investigating a broader range of his literary production, from the most canonical works to the more marginalized ones. We will situate his works by incorporating a book-length critical biography of Faulkner into our reading, as well as exploring an array of literary criticism. Our aim is not simply to read (some of) what William Faulkner wrote, but to "read" Faulkner himself, to understand how he wrote, why he wrote, to whom, and to what effect.
Reading Faulkner is a jr/sr seminar, which means it is a rigorous course intended for upper-level majors. The expectation is that you already have at a solid understanding of how to analyze, interpret, synthesize, research, and write about literary texts. The reading load is heavy (expect at least one book per week, plus articles), and the class period is entirely discussion-based and frequently student-led. It is therefore crucial that you come to class every session, well-prepared and ready to contribute. The course will culminate in a lengthy 'seminar paper," which is an opportunity for you to showcase your most advanced scholarly writing in your discipline.