English Department

Professors: Mark C. Amodio, Frank Bergonab , Beth Darlington, Robert DeMaria, Jr. (Chair), Donald Fostera, Ann E. Imbriea, Colton Johnson, Michael Joyce (Associate Chair), Paul Kane, Amitava Kumar, Barbara Page, H. Daniel Peck, Paul Russell, Patricia Wallace; Associate Professors: Peter Antelyes, Susan Brisman, Heesok Changa, Leslie Dunn, Wendy Graham, E. K. Weedin, Jr., Susan Zlotnick; Assistant Professors: Eve Dunbar, Priscilla Gilmana, Tomo Hattori, Jean Kane, Kiese Laymon, Zoltan Markus, Laura Yowa, Samantha ZacherbAdjunct Associate Professors: Dean Crawford, Marsha Mark, Judith Nichols, Karen Robertson; Adjunct Assistant Professors: Joanne Long, David Means, Julie Rose, Instructor: Tyrone Simpson; Adjunct Instructors: Joshua Harmon, Richard Prud’homme; Writing Specialist: Natalie Friedman.

ab Absent on leave for the year.

a Absent on leave, first semester.

b Absent on leave, second semester.

Requirements for Concentration (for class of 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 within the major must be satisfied.

Requirements for Concentration (for classes 2007, 2008, and 2009): 12 units, comprising either 11 graded units and an ungraded senior tutorial, or 12 graded units including a senior seminar in the 380 range of course offerings taken in the senior year. 4 units, including either the tutorial or the English 380 seminar, must be elected at the 300-level. At least 6 units, including either the senior tutorial or the English 380 seminar, must be taken at Vassar. All requirements for distribution within the major must be satisfied.

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 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:

(For Class of 2006):

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.

(For Classes 2007, 2008, and 2009):

Majors are required to take English 220/221. Prospective majors are strongly advised to take this foundational course in their sophomore year. Majors are also required to take 2 additional units of work in literature written before 1800 and 1 additional unit of work in literature written before 1900. Students planning to spend all or part of their junior year 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 the senior year (class of 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, or 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 department office.

Correlate Sequences in English: The department offers six correlates in English. Race and Ethnicity; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies; Poetry and Poetics; Literary Forms; British Literary History, and American Literary History. 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.

While the content of each section varies, this course may not be repeated for credit; see the Freshman Handbook for descriptions.

170a or b. Approaches to Literary Studies (1)

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” (contact the department office for 2005/06 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.

172-178. 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.

177b. Major Author: Tom Stoppard (1)

This seven-week course introduces students to the drama of Tom Stoppard, and to the texts and contexts that inform each play. The syllabus may include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (cf. Hamlet); Travesties (along with Dadaism, Modernism, Leninism, and The Importance of Being Ernest); The Real Thing (with Ford’s ‘Tis Pity, Strindberg’s Miss Julie); Arcadia (chaos theory); and The Invention of Love (with the poetry of Propertius, Catullus, A.E. Housman, and Victorian textual scholarship). Mr. Foster.

[178a or b. Contexts for an Asian American Future] (1)

What is the future of Asian American culture? We look at four written texts and four films to help us think about what Asian American culture has been, what it is now, and where it is going. The materials keep changing because the contexts of our future keep changing. Yet this course is neither a high-concept performance event nor a stand-up angry comic routine. Come prepared to write, think, share, and howl. Mr. Hattori.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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 200‑level work without the prerequisite must present samples of their writing to the associate chair. Freshmen with AP credit may elect 200-level work after consultation with the department and with the permission of the instructor. First-year students who have completed English 101 may elect 200-level work with permission of the instructor. 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. To gain special permission, students must fill out a form at the English department office during pre-registration.

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. Literary Nonfiction (1)

Study and practice of literary nonfiction in various formats. Reading and writing assignments may include personal, informal, and lyric essays, travel and nature writing, memoirs. Frequent short writing assignments.

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

208a or b. Literary Nonfiction (1)

Development of the student’s abilities as a reader and writer of literary nonfiction, with emphasis on longer forms.

Prerequisite: open to students who have taken English 207 or by permission of the instructor.

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

209-210. Narrative Writing (1)

Development of the student’s abilities as a writer and reader of narrative, with particular emphasis on the short story. Mr. Laymon.

Deadline for submission of writing samples before spring break.

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

211-212. 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. 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.

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. Markus.

[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 2005/06.

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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

220/221. British and American Literature Origins to the (1)

Early Twentieth Century

Study of British and American literatures in their historical and cultural contexts, from the medieval to the modern era. Multiple sections with lectures shared among the seminar leaders.

Two 50-minute lectures.

One 75-minue seminar.

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. Prud’homme.

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. Mr. Simpson.

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, modernist fiction, and works by black women novelists. Ms. Dunbar.

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. Ms. Zacher.

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. Mr. Amodio.

[239. Renaissance Drama] (1)

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

Not offered in 2005/06.

240 Shakespeare (1)

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

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. Markus.

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 2005/06.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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. Ms. Darlington.

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. Graham.

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)

252 Writing the Diaspora (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 252)

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. Johnson.

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)

275 Caribbean Discourse (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 275)

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. Ms. Brisman.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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. Ms. Graham.

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? The focus of the course varies from year to year. Ms. Dunbar.

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. Peck.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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. Ms. Nichols.

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. Ms. Graham.

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. Mr. Antelyes.

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.

Topic for 2005/06: Vladimer Nabokov. Mr. Russell.

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.

Topic for 2005/06: The Gawain-Poet and His Contemporaries. Mr. Amodio.

341 Studies in the Renaissance (1)

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

The focus of the course varies from year to year.

Topic for 2005/06: Renaissance Genres: Body and Soul. Mr. Nalencz.

[342. Women in the Renaissance] (1)

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

Not offered in 2005/06.

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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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).

Topic for 2005/06: Deals With The Devil. Ms. Darlington.

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. Mrs. Brisman.

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. 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. Ms. Page.

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. Kumar.

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 12. The department.

380 The Chalice and the Blade (1)

This course studies the legends of King Arthur, beginning with accounts of the historic king written in the twelfth century and proceeding to explore the ways in which he and his court were transformed into images of mythic stature that embodied qualities from both pagan and Christian traditions during the centuries that followed. We examine the archetypes of the feminine Grail and the masculine Sword that give the course its title, and others such as the Waste Land, the Immortal King, the Magician, the Questioning Hero, the May Queen, the Fool, the Sorceress and the Lovers. We discuss the enduring power of myth and its continuing transformation through time, trying to understand why these tales of the Middle Ages still hold such a strong sway in the popular imagination. Authors may include Geoffrey of Monmouth, Chretien de Troyes, Gottfried von Strassburg, Sir Thomas Malory, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, T.H. White, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Dan Brown. Ms Darlington.

381 Critical Race Theory in American Literature and Culture (1)

Our first task in this course is to convince ourselves, truly, that racial identity is a social fiction that deceives us into believing that we can predict the propensities and acumen of a person by the mere evidence of her body’s epidermal hue. Toward this end we review Enlightenment philosophers and physicians such as Francois Bernier, Johan Blumenbach, and Charles Caldwell who canonized this mythology in Western thought. Once we explore how race as an idea emerged and was then discredited, we analyze various aspects of American cultural production that demonstrate the unfortunate recalcitrance, if not, recrudescence of racial ideology. Race has become and remains a social fact. After considering critical race theorists like Richard Dyer, Ghassan Hage, and Kimberle Crenshaw and novelists such as, Anzia Yezierska, Chester Himes, and Chang Rae Lee, there are no limits to the places students may go to ferret out the distinguished legacy of racialist thought. Mr. Simpson.

382 Richard Powers (1)

Close consideration of the novels of American novelist Richard Powers, author of Galatea 2.2, The Gold Bug Variations, The Time of Our Singing, and five others, all of which we read for the course. Mr. Joyce.

383 Black Paris (1)

This course examines the cultural productions of black writers and artists in the City of Light. Long considered a haven for African American artists, Paris also attracted (and repelled) African and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals as the metropolitan center of the French empire. Through an exploration of literature, music and film, we think about what Paris has represented in the transnational cultural and political circuits of the African diaspora. The site of the first Conference of Negro-African writers and Artists in 1956, the city provided a space for the development and negotiation of a diasporic consciousness. For James Baldwin, Paris was where he discovered “what it means to be an American.” Throughout the semester, we interrogate how the experiences of expatriation and exile complicate understandings of racial, national and transnational identities. Topics for discussion include modernism, jazz, Negritude, Pan-Africanism, and the Présence Africaine group. We consider the work of Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Sidney Bechet, Bricktop, Aime Cesaire, Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, Andrea Lee, Claude McKay, Paulette Nardal, William Gardner Smith, Richard Wright and Shay Youngblood. Films may include Zouzou and La Permission. Ms Yow.

384 Approaching and Resisting the Modern: American Visions of (1)

Landscape at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

The seminar focuses, through the prism of landscape, on a series of works of literary and visual art that mark the transition into American twentieth-century modernism and modernity. Writers may include Mary Austin, John Muir, Henry James, and John C. Van Dyke, and visual artists include painters such as George Inness, Georgia O’Keeffe, and John Marin and photographers such as Herbert Gleason and Alfred Stieglitz. There is also attention to critics and educators such as Ernest Fenollosa and Arthur Wesley Dow. Mr. Peck.

[385 Primitivism and Its Discontents] (1)

This seminar examines primitivism as a Western master narrative and an arena of subaltern disruption and generation. We begin with Renaissance works to establish key ideas and metaphors that underwrite the primitive as a source of modern European knowledge and identity formation. The exotic, a kissing cousin of this discourse, also figures into our analysis of its sexual, racial, and spatial inflections. Focusing on the imperial British and French epochs, the course draws from disciplines such as psychology and anthropology, treats high cultural representations in literature and visual art, and explores popular productions and practices through new visual technologies and cultural institutions: the postcard, the commodity spectacle, and the museum diorama exemplify the artifacts we study. The final section of the class investigates some of the ways in which subaltern subjects of this discourse have created new forms of agency and expression out of it, in literature, performance, visual media, and theory. Ms Kane.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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.