English

Professors: Frank Bergonb, Beth Darlington, Robert DeMariaab, Donald Foster, Gretchen Gerzina, Eamon Grennan, Ann E. Imbrie (Chair), Colton Johnson (and Dean of the College), Paul Kane, Barbara Page (and Associate Dean of the Faculty), H. Daniel Peck, Paul Russell, Patricia B. Wallace; Associate Professors: Mark C. Amodio, Peter Antelyes, Susan H. Brismana, Heesok Chang, Leslie Dunn (and Dean of Freshmen), Wendy Graham, Michael Joyce, E.K. Weedin, Jr., Susan ZlotnickaAssistant Professors: Tomo Hattori, Jean Kane, Katherine Little, James Saeger; Adjunct Professor: Beverly CoyleabAdjunct Associate Professor: Karen RobertsonbAdjunct Assistant Professors: Dean Crawford, Joanne Long, Judith Nichols, Ralph Sassone, Lecturer: Nancy Willard.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units, including 11 graded units and an ungraded senior tutorial; 4 units, including the senior tutorial, elected at the 300level. At least 6 units, including the senior tutorial, must be taken at Vassar; all requirements for distribution must be satisfied. These requirements are in effect beginning with the class of 2003.

Requirements for Distribution: The curriculum in English offers opportunities to study literature in its historical and cultural contexts; major authors, literary movements and literary forms; literary theory and such categories of analysis as gender, race, ethnicity, and class. The department also offers courses in creative writing. Working closely with their advisors, students choose courses to meet the distribution requirements and are encouraged to supplement those courses with electives which match their interests, creating concentrations within the major in such areas as literary history and theory, cultural or performance studies, or creative writing. The particular emphasis of individual courses will vary, but practice in writing and oral discussion are essential parts of all work in English. In order to ensure both breadth and depth in the major, students must distribute their courses as follows:

3 units in literature written before 1800 distributed over at least two of the following areas: medieval; renaissance and seventeenth century; restoration and eighteenth century

1 unit in British or American literature of the nineteenth century

1 unit in literature of the twentieth century

1 unit in American literature

Students may satisfy the American literature requirement with either a nineteenth or a twentiethcentury course. No course may be used to satisfy more than two requirements. Students planning to spend all or part of their junior year studying abroad should attempt to make significant progress towards satisfying these requirements during the sophomore year.

Requirements for the senior year: English 300a or b (Senior Tutorial). Students must submit a written proposal for English 300 in April of the junior year. The senior tutorial represents the culmination of the student's work in the major and, as such, should develop a topic or method for which the student has been prepared by earlier course work.

Recommendations: English 101 and 170 are strongly recommended as foundational courses, and students are also strongly encouraged to work from the 200 to the 300level in at least one field of study. Acquaintance with a classical language (Latin or Greek) or with one or more of the languages especially useful for an understanding of the history of English (Old English, German, French) is useful, as are appropriate courses in philosophy, history, and other literatures in translation.

Further information: Applicants for English 208209, English 210211 (which is offered every second year), and English 305306 must submit samples of their writing after spring break. Details about these deadlines, departmental procedures, and current information on course offerings may be found on the world wide web at: http://departments.vassar.edu/~english/, and in the Alphabet Book, available in the department office.


I. Introduction to Literary Study

101a or b. The Art of Reading and Writing (1)

Development of critical reading in various forms of literary expression, and regular practice in different kinds of writing. The content of each section varies; see Freshman Handbook for descriptions. Satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course. The department.

Open only to freshmen.

170b. Texts and Contexts (1)

An introduction to the discipline of literary analysis. Each section explores a central issue, such as "the idea of a literary period," "canons and the study of literature," "nationalism and literary form," or "gender and genre" (see department for 2001 descriptions). Assignments focus on the development of skills for research and writing in English, including the use of secondary sources and the critical vocabulary of literary study. Does not satisfy college requirement for a Freshman Course. The department.

Open to freshmen and sophomores, and to others by permission.


II. Intermediate

Prerequisite: open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors with 1 unit of 100-level work or by permission of the associate chair. Students applying for permission to elect 200level work without the prerequisite must present samples of their writing to the associate chair. Deadlines for receiving papers are published in the fall and spring terms. Freshmen with AP credit may elect 200-level work after consultation with the department. First-year students who have completed English 101 may elect 200-level work with permission of the associate chair. Intermediate writing courses are not open to freshmen.

205a or b. Composition (1)

Study and practice of various forms of prose and poetry. Reading and writing assignments may include prose fiction, journals, poetry, drama, and essays. The a-term course is open by special permission to sophomores regardless of major, in order of draw numbers, and to juniors and seniors, in order of draw numbers, with priority given to English majors. The b-term course is open by special permission to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, in order of draw numbers, with priority given to English majors.

One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.

206a or b. Composition (1)

Open to any student who has taken English 205 or an equivalent course. Registration is by draw number as in any other course.

One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.

207a or b. The Art of the Essay (1)

Study and practice of various forms of nonfiction. Reading and writing assignments may include informal and analytical essays, autobiographies, literary journals, and discursive prose.

One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.

208-209. Narrative Writing (1)

Development of the student's abilities as a writer and reader of narrative, with particular emphasis on the short story. Ms. Kane.

Deadline for submission of writing samples immediately after spring break.

One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.

210-211. Verse Writing (1)

Development of the student's abilities as a writer and reader of poetry. Mr. Kane.

Deadline for submission of writing samples immediately after spring break.

One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.

213. The English Language (1)

Study of the history of English from the fifth century to the present, with special attention to the role of literature in effecting as well as reflecting linguistic change. Treatment of peculiarly literary matters, such as poetic diction, and attention to broader linguistic matters, such as phonology, comparative philology, semantics, and the relationship between language and experience. Mr. Amodio.

[214. Forms of Poetry] (1)

Study of the way in which poets, in several historical periods, have defined their relation to tradition and reimagined the vocation of the poet, addressing such issues as style, form, and subject matter. Readings may be drawn from such poets as: Donne, Wordsworth, Dickinson, Yeats, Bishop, Walcott.

Not offered in 2000/01.

215. Forms of Drama (1)

Study of selected dramatic texts that mark important moments in the history and development of dramatic literature in English, from the mystery cycles of the middle ages to the present day. Particular attention will be paid to the evolution of specific dramatic forms as influenced by development and change in literary and cultural aesthetics, in drama's social and historical purposes, and in theories surrounding the nature and function of theatrical and literary representation. Readings may be drawn from such playwrights as the Wakefield Master, Marlowe, Jonson, Behn, Dryden, Gay, Shaw, Beckett, O'Neill, Churchill. Mr. Saeger.

[216. The Novel in English, 1730 to the present] (1)

Study of the development of the novel in Britain, Ireland, and America, through representative works. Writers vary but may include DeFoe, Richardson, Sterne, Scott, Austen, Dickens, George Eliot, Stowe, Hawthorne, James, Woolf, Joyce, Faulkner, Hurston, Nabokov, and Morrison.

Not offered in 2000/01.

217. Literary Theory and Interpretation (1)

Introductory study of the nature, function, and value of literature. Analysis of concepts and assumptions of various critical approaches, ranging from formalism to current post-structuralist practice.

218. Literary Perspectives on Women (1)

Consideration of women as writers, and the representation of women in literature. The focus varies from year to year and may include works from different historical periods. Mr. Foster.

219. Hypertext Rhetoric and Poetics (1)

An investigation of the theory and written construction of discursive, imaginative, popular, and scholarly hypertexts from a variety of perspectives including ancient and medieval rhetorics and contemporary narratology, as well as postmodernist, feminist, and cyber theory. Readings and discussion focus upon the emergence of polyvocal rhetorics, multiple narratives, exploratory and constructive hypertexts, hypertext contours, and the reconfiguration of image/text relationships in a variety of electronic forms including stand-alone hypertexts, the World Wide Web, immersive environments, and virtual reality. Mr. Joyce.

220-221. British Literature through the Eighteenth Century (1)

Consideration of the whole period combined with intensive study of representative works. Mr. Saeger.

225. American Literature, Origins to 1865 (1)

Study of the main developments in American literature from its origins through the Civil War, including Native American traditions, exploration accounts, Puritan writings, captivity and slave narratives, as well as major authors from the eighteenth century (such as Edwards, Franklin, Jefferson, Rowson, Brown) up to the mid-nineteenth century (Irving, Cooper, Poe, Emerson, Hawthorne, Fuller, Stowe, Thoreau, Douglass, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson). Mr. Peck.

226. American Literature, 1865-1925 (1)

Study of the major developments in American literature and culture from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Literary movements such as realism, naturalism, regionalism, and modernism will be examined, as well as literatures of ethnicity, race, and gender. Works studied will be drawn from such authors as Twain, Howells, James, Jewett, Chestnutt, Chopin, Crane, London, Harte, DuBois, Gilman, Adams, Wharton, Dreiser, Pound, Eliot, Stein, Yezierska, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, O'Neill, Frost, H. D., and Toomer. Mr. Antelyes.

Two 50-minute lectures and one 75-minute conference per week.

227. African-American Literature, Origins to the Present (1)

An examination of African-American literature from its origins in Black folklore and slave narratives to the present. The course seeks to identify literary characteristics that have evolved out of the culture and historical experience of Black people. Its goal is to better understand how Black literature created its own aesthetic principles in its interaction with the dominant literary tradition. Some attention may be devoted to current debates involving literary theory and politics. Readings include autobiographies, nineteenth century novels and poetry, works from the Harlem Renaissance and modernist fiction including Black women novelists.

228. Asian/American Literature (1)

Such topics as memory, identity, liminality, community, and cultural and familial inheritance within Asian American literary traditions. May consider Asian American literature in relation to other ethnic literatures. Mr. Hattori.

235. Old English (1)

Introduction to Old English language and literature. Mr. Amodio.

236. Beowulf (1)

Intensive study of the early English epic in the original language. Mr. Amodio.

Prerequisite: English 235 or demonstrated knowledge of Old English, or permission of the instructor.

237. Chaucer (1)

The major poetry, including The Canterbury Tales. Ms. Little.

238. Middle English Literature (1)

Studies in late medieval literature (1250-1500), drawing on the works of the Gawain-poet, Langland, Chaucer, and others. Genres studied may include lyric, romance, drama, allegory, and vision. Ms. Little.

[239. Renaissance Drama] (1)

A study of major Renaissance works for the stage exclusive of Shakespeare's plays.

Not offered in 2000/01.

240. Shakespeare (1)

Study of some representative comedies, histories, and tragedies. Mr. Weedin.

Not open to students who have taken English 241-242.

241-242. Shakespeare (1)

Study of a substantial number of the plays, roughly in chronological order, to permit a detailed consideration of the range and variety of Shakespeare's dramatic art. Mr. Foster, Mr. Grennan.

Not open to students who have taken English 240.

245. Pride and Prejudice: British Literature from 1640-1745 (1)

Study of various authors who were influential in defining the literary culture and the meaning of authorship in the period. Authors may include Aphra Behn, John Dryden, Ann Finch, John Gay, Eliza Haywood, Mary Leapor, Katherine Philips, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Ms. Gerzina.

246. Sense and Sensibility: British Literature from 1745-1798 (1)

Study of the writers who represented the culmination of neoclassical literature in Great Britain and those who built on, critiqued, or even defined themselves against it. Authors may include Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Edmund Burke, William Beckford, William Cowper, Olaudah Equiano, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ann Radcliffe, Ann Yearsley, and Hannah More.

[247. Eighteenth-Century British Novels] (1)

Readings vary but include works by such novelists as Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, and Austen.

Not offered in 2000/01.

248. The Age of Romanticism, 1789-1832 (1)

Study of British literature in a time of revolution. Authors may include such poets as Blake, Wordsworth, and Keats; essayists such as Burke, Wollstonecraft, Hazlitt, Lamb, and DeQuincey; and novelists such as Edgeworth, Austen, Mary Shelley, and Scott. Mrs. Brisman.

249. Victorian Literature: Culture and Anarchy (1)

Study of Victorian culture through the prose writers of the period. This course explores the strategies of nineteenth-century writers who struggled to find meaning and order in a changing world. It focuses on such issues as industrialization, the woman question, imperialism, aestheticism, and decadence, paying particular attention to the relationship between literary and social discourses. Authors may include nonfiction prose writers such as Carlyle, Ruskin, Arnold, Pater, and Wilde as well as fiction writers such as Disraeli, Gaskell, Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, George Eliot, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Ms. Zlotnick.

250. Victorian Poets: Eminent, Decadent, and Obscure (1)

A study of Romantic impulses and Victorian compromises as expressed in the major poems of Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Swinburne. The second half of the course turns from economies of the aesthetic to material conditions of the literary marketplace and to challenges met and posed by women writers such as Felicia Hemans, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Michael Field (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper), and Alice Meynell. Some preliminary study of romantic poetry is strongly recommended. Mr. Kane.

255. Nineteenth-Century British Novels (1)

Readings vary but include works by such novelists as Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, the Brontës, Trollope, George Eliot, and Hardy. Ms. Zlotnick.

256. Modern British and Irish Novels (1)

Significant twentieth-century novels from Great Britain and Ireland. Mr. Russell.

[257. The Novel in English after 1945] (1)

The novel in English as it has developed in Africa, America, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, India, Ireland and elsewhere.

Not offered in 2000/01.

260. Modern British Literature, 1901-1945 (1)

Study of representative modern works of literature in relation to literary modernism. Consideration of cultural crisis and political engagement, with attention to the Great War as a subject of memoir, fiction, and poetry, and to the new voices of the thirties and early forties. Authors may include Hardy, Yeats, Eliot, Lawrence, Woolf, Conrad, Graves, Vera Brittain, Rebecca West, Orwell, and Auden. Ms. Gerzina.

261. The Literary Revival in Ireland, 1885-1922 (1)

Study of the background and growth of national expression in Ireland between 1885 and 1922, with emphasis on Yeats, A. E., Synge, Lady Gregory, and Sean O'Casey. Mr. Grennan.

262. Post-Colonial Literatures (1)

Study of contemporary literature written in English from Africa, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere. Readings in various genres by such writers as Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Janet Frame, Nadine Gordimer, V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Derek Walcott, Patrick White. Some consideration of post-colonial literary theory. Ms. Kane.

290. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite: 2 units of 200-level work in English, and by permission of the associate chair. 1 unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.

298a or b. Independent Study (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite: 2 units of 200-1evel work in English, and by permission of the associate chair. 1 unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.


III. Advanced

Prerequisite: Open to juniors and seniors with 2 units of 200-level work in English; or, for juniors and seniors without this prerequisite, 2 units of work in allied subjects and permission from the associate chair.

300a or b. Senior Tutorial (1)

305-306. Composition (1)

Advanced study and practice of various forms of prose and poetry. Open in the senior year to students concentrating in English. Deadline for submission of writing samples immediately after spring break. Mr. Russell.

315. Studies in Poetry (1)

Advanced study of selected topics in the history and theory of poetry, exploring a range of interpretive contexts for understanding individual poems. Discussions may consider such issues as the poetic canon, attacks on the defenses of poetry, and the boundaries of what constitutes poetry itself. The course includes both poetry and criticism, and may focus upon a particular period, genre, poet, or poetic tradition. Enrollment limited. Mr. Chang.

Topic for 2000/01: Poetic Matter/s: Leaves of Grass.

317. Studies in Literary Theory (1)

Advanced study of problems and schools of literary criticism and theory, principally in the twentieth century. May include discussion of new criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, reader-response theory, new historicism, and Marxist, psychoanalytic, phenomenological, and feminist analysis. Mr. Chang.

Topic of 2000/01: Ideology and Criticism: From Althusser to Zizek.

319. Race and Its Metaphors (1)

Re-examination of canonical literature in order to discover how race is either explicitly addressed or implicitly enabling to the texts. Does racial difference, whether or not overtly expressed, prove a useful literary tool?

The focus of the course varies from year to year.

320. Traditions in the Literature of England and America (1)

The course studies varied attempts by writers to imagine human conduct and speech that is heroic and yet not ridiculous in the time and landscape of the writer and the reader. The writers read may include Homer, Vergil, Chaucer, Spencer, Shakespeare, Milton, Radcliffe, Austen, Twain, Faulkner, Cheever, and Angelou.

325. American Genres (1)

Intensive study of specific forms and types of American literature, such as the American short story, women's fiction, the Black novel, the ethnic novel, the romance and the Gothic, autobiography, drama, and the American poetic tradition. Each year, one or more of these genres is investigated in depth. The course may be repeated for credit if the subject has changed. Ms. Graham.

Topic for 2000/01: Exemplary and Dysfunctional American Autobiography in the Twentieth Century.

326. Studies in Ethnic American Literature (1)

Exploration of literature by members of American ethnic groups, such as Asian-American, Latina/o, Jewish-American, and other literatures. The content may vary from year to year, from works by writers of one particular group to a comparison of works from two or more groups. Readings cover a number of different genres, as well as historical, critical and theoretical writings which place the works in the contexts of the ethnic experience and discussions about the nature of American ethnicity. Mr. Hattori. Alternates with English 327 (Native American Literature).

[327. Native-American Literature] (1)

Study of Native-American storytelling in its mythic and literary forms. Attention is given to the ways in which recent American Indian scholars and artists have reshaped our understanding of Native-American literature. Texts include transcriptions and videos of oral storytelling, autobiographies of Plenty Coups, Pretty Shield, Chona, and Sun Chief; novels by N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, James Welch, and Louise Erdrich; and poetry by Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz, and Nila NorthSun. Alternates with English 326 (American Ethnic Literature).

Not offered in 2000/01.

328. Literature of the American Renaissance (1)

Intensive study of major works by American writers of the mid-nineteenth century. Authors may include: Cooper, Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Fuller, Stowe, Delany, Wilson, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson. In addition to placing the works in historical and cultural context, focusing on the role of such institutions as slavery and such social movements as transcendentalism, the course also examines the notion of the American Renaissance itself. Mr. Kane.

329. American Literary Realism (1)

Exploration of the literary concepts of realism and naturalism focusing on the theory and practice of fiction between 1870 and 1910, the first period in American literary history to be called modern. The course may examine past critical debates as well as the current controversy over realism in fiction. Attention is given to such questions as what constitutes reality in fiction, as well as the relationship of realism to other literary traditions. Authors may include Henry James, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Charles Chestnutt, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, and Willa Cather. Ms. Graham.

330. American Modernism (1)

Intensive study of modern American literature and culture in the first half of the twentieth century, with special attention to the concept of "modernism" and its relation to other cultural movements during this period. Authors may include Dreiser, Wharton, Cather, Frost, Anderson, Millay, Pound, Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, O'Neill, H. D., Faulkner, Wright, Eliot, Williams, Moore, Stevens, Crane, Yezierska, Toomer, Hughes, Cullen, Brown, Hurston, McKay, Steinbeck, and Dos Passos. Ms. Wallace.

331. Postmodern American Literature (1)

Advanced study of American literature in the second half of the twentieth century. Authors may include Welty, Ellison, Warren, O'Connor, Olson, Momaday, Mailer, Lowell, Bellow, Percy, Nabokov, Bishop, Rich, Roth, Pynchon, Ashbery, Merrill, Reed, Silko, Walker, Morrison, Gass, and Kingston. Mr. Russell.

[332. Major American Author] (1)

Study of a major American author. The seminar addresses issues of what makes an author "major" and how a body of work becomes canonical. The work may be read in relation to that of significant literary predecessors and descendants as well as in relation to the history of the writer's critical and popular reception.

Not offered in 2000/01.

340. Studies in Medieval Literature (1)

Intensive study of selected medieval texts and the questions they raise about their context and interpretation. Issues addressed may include the social and political dynamics, literary traditions, symbolic discourses, and individual authorial voices shaping literary works in this era. Discussion of these issues may draw on both historical and aesthetic approaches, and both medieval and modern theories of rhetoric, reference, and text-formation. Mr. Amodio.

Topic for 2000/01: The Middle English Romance.

341. Studies in the Renaissance (1)

Intensive study of selected Renaissance texts and the questions they raise about their context and interpretation. Mr. Saeger.

The focus of the course varies from year to year.

Topic for 2000/01: Identity, Sex, Soul, Power: Renaissance Subjectivities.

342. Women in the Renaissance (1)

Study of writings by women, and the representation of women in literary and polemical texts of the period. Ms. Roberston.

345. Milton (1)

Study of John Milton's career as a poet and polemicist, with particular attention to Paradise Lost. Mr. Weedin.

350. Studies in Eighteenth Century British Literature (1)

Focuses on a broad literary topic such as satire, with special attention to works of the Restoration and eighteenth century, and a consideration of the genre of satire as a way of understanding the world; or sensibility and the Gothic, a study of the origins of these literary trends and of their relationship to each other, with some attention to their later development. Ms. Gerzina.

Topic for 2000/01: The Eighteenth Century Woman.

351. Studies in Nineteenth Century British Literature (1)

Study of a major author (e.g., Coleridge, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde) or a group of authors (the Brontës, the Pre-Raphaelite poets and painters) or a topical issue (representations of poverty; literary decadence; domestic angels and fallen women; transformations of myth in Romantic and Victorian literature) or a major genre (elegy, epic, autobiography). Mrs. Brisman.

Topic for 2000/01: Becoming George Eliot.

352, 353. Romantic Poets (1)

Intensive study of the major poetry and critical prose of Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge (first semester), and Byron, Shelley, and Keats (second semester) in the context of Enlightenment thought, the French Revolution, and the post-Napoleonic era. Readings may include biographies, letters, and a few philosophical texts central to the period. Some preliminary study of Milton is strongly recommended. Ms. Darlington.

355. Modern Poets (1)

Intensive study of selected modern poets, focusing on the period 1900-1945, with attention to longer poems and poetic sequences. Consideration of the development of the poetic career and of poetic movements. May include such poets as Auden, Bishop, Eliot, Frost, Hopkins, Moore, Pound, Stein, Stevens, Williams, and Yeats. Ms. Wallace.

356. Contemporary Poets (1)

Intensive study of selected contemporary poets, with attention to questions of influence, interrelations, and diverse poetic practices. May include such poets as Ashbery, Bernstein, Brooks, Graham, Harjo, Heaney, Hill, Merrill, Rich, and Walcott. Mr. Grennan.

Seminar 380-389a or b. (1)

Advanced literary study, open to juniors and seniors. The focus of each section varies from year to year. Permission of the instructor required. Enrollment is limited to 15. The department.

381. Art of Anonymity (1)

"What matter who's speaking?" asked Foucault, quoting Beckett. (Would not Hamletor Foucault's questionbe as meaningful if originally produced by the proverbial ape at a keyboard?) This course considers issues of authorship and anonymity from the Book of Genesis to the Internet. How is the anonymous text different from the attributed text in the cultural work that it performs? What happens to an unvalued or "bad" text when attached to the name of a "great" author? What happens to the author? What is an "author"? How does one's knowledge or understanding of the author affect the interpretive enterprise? How do anonymous and attributed texts differ with respect to marketability, aesthetic valuation, reader response? Are the gender, race, creed, color and ideology of the author legible in an unattributed text? Readings include the English Bible, pseudo-Chaucer, Jane Anger, Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, Samuel Clemens, Ted Kaczynski, and Joe Klein. Mr. Foster.

382. Currencies of Culture (1)

This course is a study of culture as currency both in the sense of culture as capital and as the pursuit of modern, up-to-date social practices. We explore cultural institutions and their roles within systems of gender, sexuality, class, religion, race, nation, and empire. Authors may include Benedict Anderson, Matthew Arnold, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, W.E.B. DuBois, Sigmund Freud, John Guillory, Guy Hocquenghem, Karl Marx, Bill Readings, Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, Edward Said, Eve Sedgwick, Slavoj Zizek. Previous study of literary theories (in particular Marxist, feminist, psychoanalytic and post-structuralist) will be a useful preparation for this course. Mr. Hattori.

384. The Bible as Literature (1)

This course examines what is arguably the most influential text in European literaturethe Bible. We explore both the extraordinary diversity of the Bible, whose genres include historical narratives, poetry, prophecies, and epistles, and the traditions of interpretation that the Bible has generated, particularly allegory and typology. Readings include the Bible, St. Augustine's On Christian Doctrine, selections from St. Bernard's sermons on the Song of Songs, Frank Kermode's The Genesis of Secrecy, and Robert Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative.Some background in Milton and/or medieval literature is helpful. Ms. Little.

385. Unspeakable Confessions (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 385) This course explores a paradox at the heart of much confessional and testimonial writing: How can words claim to speak about events that resist conscious knowledge? Some events of this kind are called "traumatic" insofar as they are registered rather than experienced. They are "missed encounters" that can only be inferred or reconstructed from certain symptoms, since the original "experience" (sexual abuse, trench warfare, or the Holocaust itself) proves too powerful to retrieve or communicate without distortion. To understand the workings (and undoing) of metaphor in narratives of "missed events" we acquaint ourselves with deconstruction (Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man on Rousseau) and with trauma theory (Theodor Adorno and Maurice Blanchot). Most of our discussions, however, center on poetry: Wordsworth's Prelude, Shelley's Cenci, Browning's dramatic monologues, and the so-called confessional poetry of Lowell, Plath, and Sexton. The second half of the course is devoted to Holocaust testimony, in theory and practice, with readings drawn from memoirs (Primo Levi and Charlotte Delbo) and poetry (Nelly Sachs, Paul Celan, Haim Gouri, and Dan Pagis). Mrs. Brisman.

386. American Landscapes: Changing Conceptions of (1)
Natural Beauty, 1820-1920

(Same as Environmental Studies 386) We examine changing conceptions of natural beauty, as expressed in literature and painting, from the antebellum period to World War I. Writers including Bryant, Cooper, Thoreau, Henry James, Stephen Crane, and Mary Austin will be considered in relation to landscape painters from the Hudson River School, the Luminist Movement, American Impressionism, and American Modernism. Some background in American literature and American art is useful preparation for this course. Mr. Peck.

387. City of Text (1)

The city of text is something other than the city in or as text, but rather an isomorphic and virtual space constructed of verbal and visual forms in various media. There the unseen becomes the un-scene, the space where we form transgressive and emergent discourses, communities, and embodiments out of silence or absence. Our consideration of fiction, poetry, image/text constructions, and hypermedia both in English and in translation includes works by Kathy Acker, Georgio Agamben, Djuna Barnes, Nicole Brossard, William Burroughs, Italo Calvino, Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, Clarice Lispector, and Charles Olson, as well as selections from Saint Augustine, James Joyce, John Winthrop, and other visionaries of the city of text. Mr. Joyce.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Open by permission of the associate chair. 1 unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.