English Department

Requirements for Concentration: A minimum of twelve units, comprising either eleven graded units and an ungraded senior tutorial, or twelve graded units including a 300-level semiinar taken in the senior year. Four units must be elected at the 300-level. At least six units, including either the senior tutorial or the 300-level senior seminar must be taken at Vassar. No AP credit or course taken NRO may be counted toward the requirements for the major.

Distribution Requirements: Majors are required to take two units of work in literature written before 1800 and one unit of work in literature written before 1900.

They must also take one course that focuses on issues of race, gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.

These courses must be taken at either the 200- or 300-level.

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 209-210 (Narrative Writing), English 211-212 (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 in the Alphabet Book available in the department office or online at the department website.

Correlate Sequences in English: The department offers seven correlates in English. Race and Ethnicity; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies; Poetry and Poetics; Literary Forms; British Literary History; American Literary History and Creative Writing. A minimum of six units is required for the correlate sequence. Further information is in the Alphabet Book as well.

I. Introductory

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 Writing Seminar.

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

110b. Process, Prose, and Pedagogy (1)

(Same as College Course 110b)

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 2012/12 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 Writing Seminar.

English 174-179 - Special Topics

Courses listed under these numbers are designed to offer 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 the Freshman Writing Seminar requirement. These courses are ungraded and do not count toward the major. They may be repeated when the topic changes.

174. a and b. Poetry and Philosophy: What are Poets For? (1/2)

Topic for 2011/12a&b: Poetry and Philosophy: What Are Poets For? When Plato famously banished poets from his ideal Republic, he spoke of an ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy. That argument has continued, in various forms, down to the present, culminating in Heidegger's notorious question, "What are poets for?" This six-week course looks at a number of key texts in this contentious history, along with exemplary poems that illustrate the issues. Writers include Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Shelley, Wordsworth, Wilde, Eliot, Blanchot, Derrida, and others. No specialized knowledge of poetry or philosophy required. Mr. Kane.

177. a and b. Virginia Woolf (1/2)

Topic for 2011-12: Virginia Woolf.

Mr. Russell

II. Intermediate

Prerequisite: open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors with one unit of 100-level work or by permission of the associate chair. Students applying for permission to elect 200-level work 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 in 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.

Special permission is not required.

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; and memoirs. Frequent short writing assignments. Mr. Kumar,a. Ms. Mark, b.

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

208. 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 any of the other 200-level writing courses in English or by permission of the instructor.

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

209a. Narrative Writing (1)

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

Year long course 209-210.

Deadline for submission of writing samples is before spring break.

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

210b. Narrative Writing (1)

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

Year long course 209-210.

Deadline for submission of writing samples is before spring break.

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

211a. Verse Writing (1)

Development of the student's abilities as a writer and reader of poetry. Ms. Wallace.

Year long course 211-212.

Deadline for submission of writing samples is before spring break.

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

212b. Verse Writing (1)

Development of the student's abilities as a writer and reader of poetry. Ms. McGlennen.

Year long course 211-212.

Deadline for submission of writing samples is 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.

214. Process, Prose, Pedagogy (1)

(Same as College Course 214) This course introduces the theoretical and practical underpinnings of writing and teaching writing. Students interrogate writing's place in the academy, discuss writing process from inception to revision, and share their own writing and writing practices. The course offers an occasion to reflect on and strengthen the students' own analytical and imaginative writing and heighten the ability to talk with others about theirs. Students are asked to offer sustained critical attention to issues of where knowledge resides and how it is shared, to interrogate the sources of students' and teachers' authority, to explore their own education as writers, to consider the possibilities of peer-to-peer and collaborative learning, and to give and receive constructive criticism. Texts may include Roland Barthes' The Death of the Author, Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Stephen King's On Writing, as well as handbooks on peer consulting. 
Students who successfully complete this class are eligible to interview for employment as consultants in the Writing Center. Mr. Schultz. (English; Director, Writing Center) 
By special permission.

Prerequisite: Freshman Writing Seminar.

215a. Pre-modern Drama: Text and Performance before 1800(1)

(Same as Women's Studies 215) Study of selected dramatic texts and their embodiment both on the page and the stage. Authors, critical and theoretical approaches, dramatic genres, historical coverage, and themes may vary from year to year. Ms. Dunn.

216b. Modern Drama: Text and Performance after 1800 (1)

Study of modern dramatic texts and their embodiment both on the page and the stage. Authors, critical and theoretical approaches, dramatic genres, historical coverage, and themes may vary from year to year.

Topic for 2011/12b: 20th Century American Drama: Dysfunctional Families. This course explores modern plays that present debacles in the private sphere and its most widely accepted, codified, and institutionalized social manifestation: the family. As a site of incessant conflicts and negotiations between the individual and the other and between the intimate and the public, the family offers an ideal framework and subject matter for commentary on a variety of issues. Through an overview of 20th century American drama, this course pays particular attention to the vestiges of the American Dream in a range of dramatic representations of dysfunctional families. As a survey with a special focus, the course may include plays by Thornton Wilder, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, August Wilson, David Mamet, Wendy Wasserstein, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, and Suzan-Lori Park. Mr. Márkus.

Two 75-minute meetings.

217. Literary Theory and Interpretation (1)

A study of various critical theories and practices ranging from antiquity to the present day, including Plato, Aristotle, Dr. Johnson, Matthew Arnold, formalism, psychoanalytic criticism, Marxist criticism, feminist criticism, deconstruction, new historicism, and cultural studies.

218b. Literature, Gender, and Sexuality (1)

This course considers matters of gender and sexuality in literary texts, criticism, and theory. The focus varies from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre; constructions of masculinity and femininity; sexual identities; or representations of gender in relation to race and class. Topic for 2011/12b: Gay Male Fiction in America after 1945. Mr. Russell.

222a. Founding of English Literature (1)

These courses, English 222 and 223, offer an introduction to British literary history through an exploration of texts from the eighth through the seventeenth centuries in their literary and cultural contexts. English 222 begins with Old English literature and continues through the death of Queen Elizabeth I (1603). English 223 begins with the establishment of Great Britain and continues through the British Civil War and Puritan Interregnum to the Restoration. Critical issues may include discourses of difference (race, religion, gender, social class); tribal, ethnic, and national identities; exploration and colonization; textual transmission and the rise of print culture; authorship and authority. Both courses address the formation and evolution of the British literary canon, and its significance for contemporary English studies. Ms. Kim.

223b. TheFounding of English Literature (1)

These courses, English 222 and 223, offer an introduction to British literary history through an exploration of texts from the eighth through the seventeenth centuries in their literary and cultural contexts. English 222 begins with Old English literature and continues through the death of Queen Elizabeth I (1603). English 223 begins with the establishment of Great Britain and continues through the British Civil War and Puritan Interregnum to the Restoration. Critical issues may include discourses of difference (race, religion, gender, social class); tribal, ethnic, and national identities; exploration and colonization; textual transmission and the rise of print culture; authorship and authority. Both courses address the formation and evolution of the British literary canon, and its significance for contemporary English studies. Mr. Márkus.

225a. 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, and Brown) up to the mid-nineteenth century (Irving, Cooper, Poe, Emerson, Hawthorne, Fuller, Stowe, Thoreau, Douglass, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson). Mr. Antelyes.

226b. 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.

227a. The Harlem Renaissance and its Precursors (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 227a.) This course places the Harlem Renaissance in literary historical perspective as it seeks to answer the following questions: In what ways was "The New Negro" new? How did African American writers of the Harlem Renaissance rework earlier literary forms from the sorrow songs to the sermon and the slave narrative? How do the debates that raged during this period over the contours of a black aesthetic trace their origins to the concerns that attended the entry of African Americans into the literary public sphere in the eighteenth century? Ms. Dunbar.

228. African American Literature, "Vicious Modernism" and Beyond (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 228b) In the famous phrase of Amiri Baraka, "Harlem is vicious/ Modernism." Beginning with the modernist innovations of African American writers after the Harlem Renaissance, this course ranges from the social protest fiction of the 1940s through the Black Arts Movement to the postmodernist experiments of contemporary African American writers.

229a. Asian-American Literature, 1946-present (1)

This course considers 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. Hsu.

230b. Latina and Latino Literature (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 230b) This literature engages a history of conflict, resistance, and mestizaje. For some understanding of this embattled context, we examine transnational migration, exile, assimilation, bilingualism, and political and economic oppression as these variously affect the means and modes of the texts under consideration. At the same time, we emphasize the invented and hybrid nature of Latina and Latino literary and cultural traditions, and investigate the place of those inventions in the larger framework of American intellectual and literary traditions, on the one hand, and pan-Latinidad, on the other. Authors studied may include Americo Paredes, Piri Thomas, Cherrie Moraga, Richard Rodriguez, Michelle Serros, Cristina Garcia, Ana Castillo, and Junot Diaz. Mr. Perez.

231a. Native American Literature (1)

Drawing from a wide range of traditions, this course explores the rich heritage of Native American literature. Material for study may comprise oral traditions (myths, legends, place naming and story telling) as well as contemporary fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Authors may include Zitkala Sa, Black Elk, N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, Louise Erdrich, Simon Ortiz, Sherman Alexie, and Joy Harjo. Ms. McGlennen.

235. Old English (1)

Introduction to Old English language and literature.

236. Beowulf (1)

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

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

237b. Chaucer (1)

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

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.

240a or b. Shakespeare (1)

Study of some representative comedies, histories, and tragedies. Ms. Dunn, Ms. Robertson.

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

241a. Shakespeare (1)

(Same as Drama 241-242) 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.

Year long course 241-242.

Not open to students who have taken English 240.

242b. Shakespeare (1)

(Same as Drama 241-242) 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.

Year long course 241-242.

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.

246b. 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. Mr. DeMaria.

247b. Eighteenth-Century British Novels (1)

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

248a. 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. Mr. Sharp.

249a. 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.

251a. Topics in Black Literatures (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 251) This course considers Black literatures in all their richness and diversity. The focus changes from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre. The course may take a comparative, diasporic approach or may examine a single national or regional literature. Topic for 2011/12a. and b.: Shawn Carter: Autobiography of an Autobiographer. Mr. Laymon.

252. Writing the Diaspora: Verses/Versus (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 252b.)

255a. 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.

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.

260a. 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. Russell.

261a. Literatures of Ireland (1)

Authors, genres, themes and historical coverage may vary from year to year. Readings may range from the Táin Bó Cuailnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) and other sagas; to Anglo-Irish authors of various periods, including Swift, Goldsmith, Thomas Moore, Maria Edgeworth, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde; to the writers of the Irish literary revival, including Roger Casement, Lady Gregory, Padraic O'Conaire, Pádraig Mac Piarais, Synge, and Yeats; to modernists Joyce, Beckett, Flann O'Brien, and Elizabeth Bowen; to contemporary Irish poets, novelists, dramatists, and musicians. Ms. Kane.

262. Postcolonial 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.

Topic for 2011-12b: Australian Literature. Includes works by Henry Lawson, David Malouf, Judith Wright, Les Murray, Patrick White, Alex Miller, Gwen Harwood, Alex Miller, Helen Garner, Richard Flanagan, Oodgeroo Noonucca, Peter Carey, and Alice Pung.

Two 75-minute meetings.

265a or b. Selected Author (1)

Study of the work of a single author. The work may be read in relation to literary predecessors and descendants as well as in relation to the history of the writer's critical and popular reception. This course alternates from year to year with English 365.

275. Caribbean Discourse (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 275) Study of the work of artists and intellectuals from the Caribbean. Analysis of fiction, non-fiction, and popular cultural forms such as calypso and reggae within their historical contexts. Attention to cultural strategies of resistance to colonial domination and to questions of community formation in the post-colonial era. May include some discussion of post-colonial literary theory and cultural studies.

277b. Sea-Changes: Caribbean Rewritings of the British Canon(1)

(Same as Africana Studies 277b.) From William Shakespeare's The Tempest to James Joyce's Ulysses, the classic texts of the British literary canon have served as points of departure for Caribbean writers seeking to establish a dialogue between a colonial literary tradition and post-colonial national literatures. This course addresses the many re-writings of British texts by Caribbean authors from Roberto Fernandez Retamar's Caliban to Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography of My Mother. Texts may include Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, V.S. Naipaul's Guerillas, Micelle Cliff's Abengand No Telephone to Heaven, Maryse Conde's Windward Heights, and Riosario Ferre'sSweet Diamond Dust. Ms. Yow.

280b. The American Novel Since 2000 (1)

Study of the contemporary American novel. Authors may include Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Philip Roth, Marilynne Robinson, Colson Whitehead, Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Diaz, Don DeLillo and Colum McCann. Ms. Moynihan.

Prerequisite: One unit of 100-level work or permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. 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 by permission of the instructor.

300a or b. Senior Tutorial (1)

Preparation of a long essay (40 pages) or other independently designed critical project. Each essay is directed by an individual member of the department.

Special permission.

302. Adaptations (1)

(Same as College Course and Media Studies 302)

305a. 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. Ms. Kane.

Year long course 305-306.

306b. 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. Ms. Kane.

Year long course 305-306.

307b. Senior Writing Seminar (1)

An advanced writing course in parallel with the long-established senior composition sequence, accommodating the multiple approaches, genres, forms and interests that represent the diversity of a contemporary writing life. Ms. McGlennen.

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.

317b. 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. Park.

Topic for 2011/12b: Theories of the Novel.

319a. Race and Its Metaphors (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 319a.) Re-examinations of canonical literature in order to discover how race is either explicitly addressed by 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.

Topic for 2011/12a: Fictions of Black Urbanism in the Post-War United States (Bodies and Belonging; Borders and Mobility) “If you’re born black in America you must quickly teach yourself to recognize the invisible barriers disciplining the space in which you may move.” -John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers. Cultural history encourages that we start thinking about blackness and the American city after the Great War had ended. By 1945, the second migration of African Americans from the agrarian rural south and the challenges present therein—exploitative sharecropping contracts, failing agribusiness, and Klan violence—had reached tsunamic proportions. Their journeys landed them in cities such as New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Indianapolis, Newark; cities whose residents and industrial infrastructure made blacks optimistic about their social and economic prospects. Many African Americans were able to take advantage of this “urban hospitality” and found American promise in the decades after the war. Unfortunately, these migrants did not suspect that this period of prosperity came with an expiration date. By the time Wideman issues the existential caveat for African Americans in 1984 (above), many of these metropolitan spaces have lost the capability to accommodate black needs. Shifts in the global economy—among them, corporations realizing that advances in transportation and technology made space and distance less encumbering in producing and delivering goods—divested these cities of their productive responsibilities. With less of a need to produce, these urban centers had less of a need to employ the blacks that relied on them for wages upon which they could build their American dreams and hopes. What was once an urban refuge for blacks became in a short time a space of desperation and repression. In fact, one could say that cities became carceral. This phenomenon most definitely inspired the stark warning that John Wideman felt he needed to submit to his readers in the mid-1980s. This course aims to explore how African American creative artists have staged black encounter with the American city. None of the fictionists we will study this semester conceives of the metropolis in the same way and this diversity of urban visions will greatly enrich our discussion. Allow the following inquiries, however, to tame and shape your study of what may appear to be seemingly disparate voices and perspectives. To what extent do these fictional blacks feel at home in their cities? Does the city—through its public places (bars, salons) and private spaces (apartments, churches) appear so inhospitable that it hinders these characters from making a claim on the place they (must) live? How is the black body read and understood in the urban environment? How are black characters read by those who perceive them? How do they perceive themselves? Finally, if we understand black urban spaces as carceral constructs, what factors allow characters movement and transport? Do these characters ever transcend the immobility that the metropolis seeks to impose upon them? Mr. Simpson

One 2 hour meeting.

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, Virgil, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Radcliffe, Austen, Twain, Faulkner, Cheever, and Angelou.

One 2-hour seminar.

325a or b. Studies in Genre (1)

An intensive study of specific forms or types of literature, such as satire, humor, gothic fiction, realism, slave narratives, science fiction, crime, romance, adventure, short story, epic, autobiography, hypertext, and screenplay. Each year, one or more of these genres is investigated in depth. The course may cross national borders and historical periods or adhere to boundaries of time and place.

Topic for 2011/12a: Green Writing: Literature and the Environment. (Same as Environmental Studies 325) This course examines the development of environmental literature, from the "nature writing" of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the emergence of contemporary ecocriticism. Readings will feature a wide range of writers from various disciplines, with a special emphasis on the literature of the Hudson River Valley. Some field trips included. Mr. Kane.

Topic for 2011/12b: Comedy- Then and Now. Mr. Márkus.

One 2-hour period.

326. Challenging Ethnicity (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 326b) An exploration of literary and artistic engagements with ethnicity. Contents and approaches vary from year to year.

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.

329a. 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.

Topic for 2011/12a: American Literary Realism and Naturalism: A Reading of Major American Novels Written Primarily Between 1870 and 1910. Authors include Henry James, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, William Dean Howells, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison. American Literary Realism and Naturalism pays particular attention to the historical currents of post-Civil War America (war, slavery, reconstruction), the closing of the frontier, rapid industrialization, new monetary instruments and technologies, the rise of the professional class, labor, demographic shifts (rural/urban; South/North), issues of race, class, gender, and the dominant ideologies that supported America's maturation into a super-power: Social Darwinism, the Gospel of Efficiency (new Protestant work ethic), Imperialism (new Manifest Destiny), pecuniary emulation, conspicuous consumption as well as the concomitant social costs of prosperity and progress: poverty, racism, neurasthenia. The period literature is itself a primary source for an overview of the relevant historical context. In Sister Carrie, Dreiser offers a general introduction to the new phenomenon, the department store, in case this innovation in one stop shopping should become obsolete by 1940. It is Dreiser's self-consciousness as a 'historian of the present' or Twain's revisionist, backward glance at slavery or Wharton's anxious account of the imminent extinction of the leisure class that forges the peculiar bond of form/content in such works. While the course focuses on genre, it reflects the diversity of 19th-century literature flying under the banners: Naturalism & Realism. Ms. Graham.

330b. 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, and Dos Passos. Ms. Graham.

331b. Post-modern American Literature (1)

Advanced study of American literature from the second half of the twentieth century to the present date. 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.

339. Shakespeare in Production (1)

(Same as Drama 339 and Medieval and Renaissance Studies 339)

Students in the course study the physical circumstances of Elizabethan public and private theaters at the beginning of the semester. The remainder of the semester is spent in critical examination of the plays of Shakespeare and several of his contemporaries using original staging practices of the early modern theater. The course emphasizes the conditions under which the plays were written and performed and uses practice as an experiential tool to critically analyze the texts as performance scripts.

Enrollment limited to Juniors and Seniors

One 3-hour period.

340a. 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 2011a: The Figure of the Jew in Medieval England. Historically, the Jews migrated into England with William the Conqueror and the Anglo-Normans as royal bankers in 1066. By the twelfth century, they lived in most of the major urban centers throughout the British Isle and eventually in Ireland. They were officially expelled in 1290, and though we have evidence of conversion houses in the 14th and 15th centuries, their presence in Britain only began to increase during the Renaissance. This seminar will consider the anti-Jewish polemic in medieval England and the real and imagined figure of the Jew in legal, debate, play, miracle, romance, history, and bestiary discourse. We will think about Latin debate and sermon materials Contra Iudeos as well as blood-libel legends, miracles of the virgin, and the Croxton Play of the Sacrament. We will not only examine the anti-Semitic materials circulating in England, but also the philosemitic documents and practices also in evidence during the period.

This will include the production of Hebrew manuscripts for Christian readers and the linguistic interaction and evidence of Christian readers of Hebrew. We will read some of the following texts: The Life of Thomas of NorwichThe Life of Hugh of LincolnThe Croxton Play of the SacramentThe Siege of Jerusalem, Chaucer’sPrioress’s Tale; Gower’s Confessio Amantis; works of John Lydgate; Arma Christirolls; and the Vernon Manuscript. Ms. Kim.

341a. Studies in the Renaissance (1)

Intensive study of selected Renaissance texts and the questions they raise about their context and interpretation. Topic for 2011/12a: Nothing Sacred.

Between the death of Henry VIII (by obesity) in 1547 and the beheading of King Charles (by religious extremists) in 1649, English language, and culture, and naval power, were in the ascendancy. But the British Renaissance was not all sweetness and light; nor was it just about William Shakespeare. Protestant and Catholics honed their prose style, and their swords, on one another. The allure of acquired wealth through trade with the East, and through conquest of the Americas, was coupled with a xenophobic contempt for resident aliens (Muslims and Jews, in particular). State torture was justified in the name of national security; capital punishment was made a daily public spectacle. Though literacy was on the rise, higher education remained a privilege for the wealthy few. In short: the cultural milieu that produced Shakespeare was one very like our own. In this seminar we shall study literary representations of atheism, child abuse, cross-dressing, homosexuality, incest, STDs, misogyny, murder, prostitution, racial difference, rape, physical deformity, witchcraft, and state violence. Emphasis on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. Corollary readings from feminist, psychoanalytic, and materialist criticism. Mr. Foster.

342b. Studies in Shakespeare (1)

Advanced study of Shakespeare's work and its cultural significance in various contexts from his time to today.

Topic for 2011/12b: After Shakespeare. Adaptation—the imitation, revision, and appropriation of texts—is one of the primary processes through which literary meanings migrate and change. This course explores the theory and practice of Shakespearean adaptation in literature, music, theatre, film, and popular culture, from the 17th century to the present. We’ll address issues of authenticity and authority, representations of difference, postcolonial displacement, and cross-cultural translation. We will also reflect critically on our own positions as contemporary readers, viewers, interpreters and consumers of Shakespeare. Each seminar member will complete an original research or creative project. Prior study of Shakespeare’s plays is strongly recommended. Ms. Dunn.

345a. Milton (1)

Study of John Milton's career as a poet and polemicist, with particular attention toParadise Lost. Mr. DeMaria.

350b. Studies in Eighteenth-century British Literature (1)

Focuses on a broad literary topic, with special attention to works of the Restoration and eighteenth century: 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. Park.

351a. 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 2011/12b: The Brontë Sisters. The aim of this course is two-fold: a detailed study of the major works of Anne, Emily and Charlotte Brontë as well as an examination of the criticism that has been written about the sisters' novels and poems. We will acquaint ourselves with the different critical lenses through which the Brontë's have been viewed (e.g., biographical, feminist, historicist, postcolonial) in order to explore the ways in which the "meaning" of the Brontë sisters and their writing has changed over time. Primary texts include Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall the Brontës' poetry and Elizabeth Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë. Ms. Zlotnick

One 2-hr meeting.

352a. Romantic Poets: Rebels with a Cause (1)

Intensive study of the major poetry and critical prose of Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge (English 352), and Byron, Shelley, and Keats (English 353) 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.

353b. Romantic Poets: Rebels with a Cause (1)

Intensive study of the major poetry and critical prose of Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge (English 352), and Byron, Shelley, and Keats (English 353) 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.

355b. 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. Mr. Kane.

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.

357b. 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).

Topic for 2011/2012b: James Joyce's Ulysses.

Mr. Russell.

362a. and b. Text and Image (1)

Explores intersections and interrelationships between literary and visual forms such as the graphic novel, illustrated manuscripts, tapestry, the world-wide web, immersive environments, the history and medium of book design, literature and film, literature and visual art. Topics vary from year to year.

Topic for 2011/12a: Cartoons, Comics, and Graphic Novels. This course examines major forms of comic art from 1900 to the present, including newspaper comics, wordless woodcut novels, comic books, panel cartoons, minicomics, and graphic novels. It is organized both historically and thematically, with classes exploring such topics as: the roles played by gender, sexuality, race, and class in the creation and marketing of comic art; the debates over the morality of comics, and the effects of the “Comics Code”; the relation of the comics to various subcultures, such as the “underground” movement of the 1960s; the representation of politics and the politics of representation; the positioning of “graphic novels” in the academy and the literary world more generally. Among the artists/works we might consider: McCay (Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo in Slumberland), Herriman (Krazy Kat), Masereel (The City), Siegel and Shuster (Superman), Schulz (Peanuts), Siegelman (Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers), Trudeau (Doonesbury), DiMassa (Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist), Barry (The Greatest of Marlys), McGruder (Boondocks), Ware (Jimmy Corrigan), Porcellino (King-Cat Comics), Doucet (365 Days), and Bechdel (Fun Home), not to mention panels and pages by such artists as Jules Feiffer, William Steig, Roz Chast, and Marc Bell, and magazines from Mad to Raw, as well as a sampling of current web comics. We will also be looking at criticism and theory in the areas of media and cultural studies. Mr. Antelyes.

Topic for 2011/12b: Illuminating the Medieval Bible. This class will examine the iconographic tradition of biblical illumination in England during the Middle Ages. We will evaluate some of the following books: Lindisfarne Gospels, Eadwine Psalter, Holkham Picture Bible, Windmill Psalter, Wycliffite Bible, etc. We will think about biblical iconography in relation to Latin, Old English, Middle English, and other vernacular translations. How does the text of the Bible (canonical and apocryphal) interplay with visual programs that follow or diverge from the main textual passages? Ms. Kim.

Topic for 2011/12b: (Same as Africana Studies 362) Because Dave Chappelle Said So. From Hip Hop to Paul Beatty's White Boy Shuffle to Spike Lee’s Bamboozled to Dave Chappelle to Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character, black masculinity seems to be a contemporary site of massive satire. This course explores the history, style, content and movement of black, mostly male, satirical comic narratives and characters. Using postmodernism as our critical lens, we explore what black satirical characters and narratives are saying through “tragicomedy” to the mediums of literature, film, television and comics, and to the ideals of morality, democracy, sexuality, femininity and masculinity. Are these narratives and characters, while asserting some sort of critical citizenship, actually writing black women’s subjectivity, narratives and experience out of popular American textual history? Does satire have masculinist underpinnings? How are these texts and characters communicating with each other and is there a shared language? Is there a difference between a black comic text and a black satirical text? These are some of the questions explored in Because Dave Chappelle Said So. Mr. Laymon.

365a or b. Selected Author (1)

Study of the work of a single author. The work may be read in relation to literary predecessors and descendants as well as in relation to the history of the writers's critical and popular reception. This course alternates from year to year with English 265.

Topic for 2011/12a: William Faulkner. Ms. Yow.

369. Major Third World Author: Fanon (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 369)

One 2-hour meeting.

370a or b. Transnational Literature (1)

This course focuses on literary works and cultural networks that cross the borders of the nation-state. Such border-crossings raise questions concerning vexed phenomena such as globalization, exile, diaspora, and migration—forced and voluntary. Collectively, these phenomena deeply influence the development of transnational cultural identities and practices. Specific topics studied in the course vary from year to year and may include global cities and cosmopolitanisms; the black Atlantic; border theory; the discourses of travel and tourism; global economy and trade; or international terrorism and war.

Topic for 2011/12b: Black Paris. (Same as Africana Studies 370) 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.

380b. English Seminar (1)

Not offered in 2011/12.

381. English Seminar (1)

Not offered in 2011/12.

382. English Seminar (1)

Not offered in 2011/12.

383a. Morning in America: American Literature and Art in the 1980s (1)

(Same as American Culture 383a) This seminar considers the literature and art of the 1980s in light of the decade’s most striking ideas: postmodernism and the blurring of tastes high and low; political correctness and multiculturalism; evolving notions of the public and the private; the digital revolution and its ontology; AIDS and gay liberation; the end of the cold war and the dawn of a newly global, post-1989 sensibility. Authors and artists may include: DeLillo, Baker, Barthelme, Kingston, Pynchon, Mamet, Doctorow, Alan Moore (The Watchmen), Didion, Mailer, Christopher Lasch, Greil Marcus, Greg Tate, Spike Lee, Richard Serra, Jeff Koons, Warhol, Haring and Basquiat. Mr. Hsu.

One 2-hour meeting.

384b. Writing for Performance (1)

This seminar will examine a range of culturally significant entertainments from Homer to Homer Simpson; Euripides to YouTube; Beowulf to Snoop Dogg; and Shakespeare to Shakira—but it is designed chiefly as a workshop for theatrical writers who already know, and value, the Western dramatic tradition. Coursework will include theater visits and the rehearsal of one another's original writing (monologues, song lyrics, scenes, a one-act play). Our emphasis will be insistently dramaturgical, though not without a dose of criticism, and performance theory. Prerequisites: an original writing sample; evidence of successfully completed coursework in dramatic literature; and permission of the instructor. Mr. Foster

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

Open by permission of the Chair.

One unit of credit given only in exceptional cases.