English Department

Professors: Mark C. Amodio, Frank Bergon, Beth Darlington, Robert DeMaria, Jr. (Chair), Donald Foster, Gretchen Gerzina (and Director of Africana Studies), Eamon Grennan, Ann E. Imbrie, Colton Johnson (and Dean of the College), Michael Joyce, Paul Kane, Barbara Pageab, H. Daniel Peckb , Paul Russellb, Patricia Wallace; Associate Professors: Peter Antelyes, Susan Brisman, Heesok Chang, Leslie Dunn, Wendy Graham, E. K. Weedin, Jr., Susan Zlotnick; Assistant Professors: Margo Crawford, Priscilla Gilman, Tomo Hattori, Jean M. Kane, James Saeger, Samantha Zacker; Adjunct Associate Professors: Dean Crawford b, Judith Nichols, Ralph Sassone, Karen Robertson; Visiting Assistant Professors: Joanne Longa, Kiese Laymon; Adjunct Instructor: Richard Prud’homme.

Requirements for Concentration (for classes 2004, 2005, 2006): 12 units, including 11 graded units and an ungraded senior tutorial; 4 units, including the senior tutorial, elected at the 300‑level. At least 6 units, including the senior tutorial, must be taken at Vassar; all requirements for distribution must be satisfied.

Requirements for Concentration (for class of 2007): 12 graded units; 4 units elected at the 300-level; in a 300-level course taken in the senior year students must write a paper of at least 25 pages, which constitutes the final exercise in the major. English 399, Senior Independent Work is an eligible course in which to complete the long paper. At least 6 units, including the long paper, must be taken at Vassar; all requirements for distribution must be satisfied.

Requirements for Distribution (for classes 2004, 2005,2006): 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 a coherent group of courses to meet the distribution requirements; they 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 twentieth‑century 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. No course taken NRO may be counted toward the requirements for the major.

Requirements for Distribution (for class of 2007): Majors are required to take English 220-221 in their sophomore year; 2 additional units of work in literature written before 1800; and 1 additional unit of work in literature written before 1900.

Requirements for the senior year (for classes 2004, 2005, 2006): 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 300‑level 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.

Further information: Applicants for English 208‑209 (Narrative Writing), English 210‑211 (Verse Writing), and English 305‑306 (Senior Composition), must submit samples of their writing before spring break. Details about these deadlines, departmental procedures, and current information on course offerings may be found on the department website and in the Alphabet Book, available in the department office.

Correlate Sequences in English: The department offers correlate sequences in English. Each of the six correlates focuses on a different area of literary investigation. Further information is available in the department office.


I. Introductory Courses

 
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 the Freshman Handbook for descriptions. The department.
       Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course.
 
170a or b. Approaches to Literary Studies
(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 the Alphabet Book for 2003/04 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. The department.
       Open to freshmen and sophomores, and to others by permission; does not satisfy college requirement for a Freshman Course.
 
172-177. Special Topics
(1/2)
Courses listed under these numbers are designed to offer to a wide audience a variety of literary subjects that are seldom taught in regularly offered courses. The courses are six weeks in length, held during the second half of the semester, and the subjects they cover vary from year to year. Enrollment is unlimited and open to all students. Instructors lecture when the classes are too large for the regular seminar format favored in the English department. Does not satisfy Freshman Course requirement. These courses are ungraded and do not count toward the major. May be repeated.
 
177a or b. James Baldwin
(1/2)
(Same as Africana Studies 177) this course is an interactive lecture and discussion of the life, meaningful death, and nonfictive work of James Baldwin. Students are expected to actively critique and contextualize Baldwin’s nonfiction, while attempting to apply much of Baldwin’s work to contemporary American/World culture. Texts include, but are not limited to: The Fire Next Time, Nobody Knows My Name, Notes of a Native Son, Conversations with James Baldwin, and The Devil Finds Work. Mr. Laymon.
 
178a or b. Chinatown Stories
(1/2)
“I’m gonna take you down—I’m gonna take you down to Chinatown,” says Robert De Niro to Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents. What does that mean and why? We explore Chinatown as presence and absence in the imagination of four works of Asian American literature and four films. The literary works are Eat a Bowl of Tea (1961) by Louis Chu, The Year of the Dragon (1974) by Frank Chin, Bone (1993) by Fae Myenne Ng, and Oriental Girls Desire Romance (1997) by Catherine Liu. The films are Flower Drum Song (1961), Chan is Missing (1982), The Year of the Dragon (1985), and possibly The Corrupter (1999). We also read or view some contextual material. Mr. Hattori.
 
182a. Writing Medicine
(1)
This course is designed to complement the science courses in the fall 2003 Learning Community, "Pills, Potions, and Poisons," through readings, discussion, and individual and group writing projects. We explore the literature of medicine, focusing on stories by and about physicians, as well as texts that describe the patient's experience of illness: authors may include Anton Chekhov, William Carlos Williams, Anne Fadiman, Rafael Campo, Jane Kenyon, Lauren Slater and Perri Klass. We also consider how writers have articulated parallels between literature and medical science as modes of understanding and representation: for example, by using the process of medical diagnosis as a model for narrative (Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories), or by constructing autobiography as a meditation on the structures of chemistry (Primo Levi's The Periodic Table). Ms. Dunn.
       Enrollment in Learning Community program required.
       One 2-hour period.
 

II. Intermediate

 
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. To gain special permission, students must fill out a form at the English department office.
       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.
 
207b. 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. Ms. Long.
       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 before 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. Ms. Wallace.
       Deadline for submission of writing samples before 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. Ms. Zacher.
 
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. Mr. DeMaria.
 
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 2003/04.
 
217. Literary Theory and Interpretation
(1)
A study of various critical theories and practices ranging from antiquity to the present day. Mr. Hattori.
 
218. Literary Perspectives on Women
(1)
(Same as Women’s Studies 218) 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. Ms. Robertson, Ms. Zlotnick.
 
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 post-modernist, 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. Amodio.
 
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. Antelyes.
 
226. American Literature, 1865-1925
(1)
Study of the major developments in American literature and culture from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Literary movements such as realism, naturalism, regionalism, and modernism are examined, as well as literatures of ethnicity, race, and gender. Works studied are 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. Ms. Graham.
       Two 50-minute lectures and one 75-minute conference per week.
 
227. African-American Literature, Origins to the Present
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 227) 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. Ms. Crawford.
 
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. Zacher.
 
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. Zacher.
 
239. Renaissance Drama
(1)
A study of major Renaissance works for the stage exclusive of Shakespeare’s plays. Mr. Saeger.
 
240. Shakespeare
(1)
Study of some representative comedies, histories, and tragedies. Mr. Grennan, Mr. Weedin, Mr. Saeger.
       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.
       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, Anne Finch, John Gay, Eliza Haywood, Mary Leapor, Katherine Philips, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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, Anne Yearsley, and Hannah More. Ms. Gilman.
 
247. Eighteenth-Century British Novels
(1)
Readings vary but include works by such novelists as Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, and Austen. Ms. Gilman.
 
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. Mrs. Brisman.
 
251. The Black Woman as Novelist
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 251)
 
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. Long.
 
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. Mr. Crawford.
 
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. Mr. Chang.
 
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.
 
270. Harlem Renaissance
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 270)
 
280. City of Text
(1)
(Same as Urban Studies 280) In Invisible Cities Italo Calvino writes that “The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins.” 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 may include 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.
 
281. The Medium of Print and the History of Books
(1)
(Same as Media Studies Development Program 281) A study of the rise of print technology in the West and its impact on the development of the book. Insofar as possible, the method of the class is empirical; class meets in the special collections seminar room where printed books of all sorts are available for inspection. There are also field trips to other rare books libraries. In addition to studying the book as object, the course treats questions concerning the sociology of texts, the influence of books on the nature of reading, the relations between form and content in printed books, and the effects of publishers and of printers on the construction of literature. Mr. DeMaria, Mr. Patkus.
 
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-level 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 before spring break. Mr. Kane.
 
[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. Grennan.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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. Foster.
 
319. Race and Its Metaphors
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 319) 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? Ms. Crawford.
       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. Mr. Weedin.
 
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. Mr. Kane.
 
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 2003/04.
 
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. Peck.
 
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. Mr. Antelyes.
 
[331. Post-modern 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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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. Mr. Weedin.
       Topic for 2003/04: Wallace Stevens.
 
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 2003/04: The Gawain-Poet and His Contemporaries.
 
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 2003/04: The Renaissance Self: Identity, Sex, Soul, Power.
 
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. Dunn.
 
345. Milton
(1)
Study of John Milton’s career as a poet and polemicist, with particular attention to Paradise Lost. Ms. Imbrie.
 
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. Gilman.
       Topic for 2003/04: Text and Paratext: Authorship and Audience in Eighteenth-Century British Literature.
 
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). Ms. Darlington.
       Topic for 2003/04: Deals with the Devil: The Faust Theme.
 
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. Mrs. Brisman.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
357. Studies in Twentieth-century Literature
(1)
Intensive study of literatures of the twentieth century, with primary focus on British and postcolonial (Irish, Indian, Pakistani, South African, Caribbean, Australian, Canadian, etc.) texts. Selections may focus on an author or group of authors, a genre (e.g., modern verse epic, drama, satiric novel, travelogue), or a topic (e.g., the economics of modernism, black Atlantic, Englishes and Englishness, themes of exile and migration). Mr. Chang.
 
380-389a or b. Seminar
(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.
       Topic for 2003/04: (Re)Discovering Listening. In this course, a series of recording field trips and workshops puts students in touch with their cultural and natural landscapes. It allows them to explore the world of sound and share their discoveries with fellow listeners. Students are trained in the art of field recording, interviewing, writing, editing and producing a radio piece. They are given an oral history assignment as well as a soundscape study. Mr. Metzner, Mr. Bernstein.
 
381. Chekhov and American Writers
(1)
A study of Anton Chekhov and his impact on various writers represented in John Updike’s recent selection, The Best American Short Stories of the Century. The seminar is primarily concerned with writers’ perspectives on the structural and stylistic techniques of fiction. Mr. Bergon.
 
382. Rewriting the Text: Writing New Words from Old
(1)
Save for one’s own neologisms, all of our language is received. How can one write newly in language that was devised by the past to speak in and to its time? Can one ignore a language’s literature and make a fresh start with its old words? Does one need to know the past of a language in order to write in its present? Authors studied in the course know earlier authors’ works, which they use to make new fictions. The authors may include Homer, Vergil, Milton, Pope, Malory, Twain, Radcliffe, Austen, and Cheever. Mr. Weedin.
 
383. American Jewish Literature
(1)
(Same as Jewish Studies 383) An exploration of the American Jewish literary imagination from historical, topical, and theoretical perspectives. Texts may include works by Anzia Yezierska, Celia Dropkin, Henry Roth, Charles Reznikoff, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Melanie Kaye-Kantrowitz, Adrienne Rich, Art Spiegelman, and Nathan Englander. Also included are films and music, and theoretical works by such critics as Walter Benjamin and Daniel Boyarin. Topics may include: the traditions of contemporary literary theory, the (anti-) conventions of Jewish feminist and lesbian literature, the possibilities and limitations of a diaspora poetics, and contemporary representations of the Holocaust. Mr. Antelyes.
 
384. The Lyric Note
(1)
A reading of several poets (Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Dickinson, Keats, Hopkins, Plath). We talk about what a “lyric poem” is, what it’s made of, how it works. Mr. Grennan.
 
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 language represent 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 read Wordsworth’s Prelude against the confessions of Augustine and Rousseau and consider issues of representation raised by Theodor Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, Paul de Man, Sylvia Plath, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Art Spiegelman, Bernhard Schlink, and the Wilkomirski “Fragments.” 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). Some attention paid to shifting patterns of cultural reception of the Holocaust in America, which have often skewed historical and ethical understanding of the Shoah. Opportunities for students to do original research at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale. Mrs. Brisman.
 
386. The Screenplay as Literature
(1)
This course examines various ways in which literature is morphed into film, as well as the screenplay itself as a text that invites critical exegesis. Screenplays may include Citizen Kane (1941), Casablanca (1943), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Godfather (1972), Chinatown (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), All That Jazz (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Diner (1982), Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean (1983), and Shakespeare in Love (1998). Required writing includes both criticism and fiction. Mr. Foster.
 
387. Poetry as Public Speech: Yeats’s later Poems, Essays and Broadcasts
(1)
Writing on ‘Public Speech and Private Speech in Poetry’ in 1938, the American poet Archibald MacLeish praised W. B. Yeats as the supremely ‘modern’ poet in English, declaring Yeats’s poetry ‘the first poetry in English in more than a century in which the poem is again an act upon the world...the first poetry in generations which can cast a shadow in the sun of actual things.’ Yeats had been concerned with the public role of poetry at least since his essays of the 1890’s on ‘popular poetry,’ and he had been presenting programs of his poetry and his thoughts about ‘modem poetry’ since 1935 in radio broadcasts for the BBC. Through close study of the poetry, beginning generally with the volume of 1916 called Responsibilities, later essays, and manuscripts, typescripts, and reading scripts of his broadcasts, this seminar explores the evolution of Yeats’s public voice and the roles of public speech and personal experience in English poetry in the first half of the twentieth century. Mr. Johnson.
 
389. Writing Black Lives: Biography, Autobiography and the
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NarrativeVoice
       (Same as Africana Studies 389) How does the biographer know the “truth” of someone’s life, and how can that truth be eased into a literary form that has structure, tension, and is told with a compelling voice? Where does one find the necessary materials such as letters, conversations, journals, published materials and, once they are assembled, how does the biographer make judgments about their appropriateness or reliability? This course examines the particular demands (historical, social, psychological and political) of writing biographies and memoirs of black people, as well as the ways that questions of audience affect narrative structure and voice. Readings include Alex Haley’s Roots and the controversy surrounding it, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Audre Lord’s Zami; Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; as well as critical and theoretical materials on black biography. In addition, students submit a well-researched proposal for a biography they might like to write. Ms. Gerzina.
 
399 a or b. Senior Independent Work
(1/2 or 1)
Open by permission of the Chair.
       One unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.