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2011—2012 Graduate Course Archive

Fall 2011

ENGL 5001     Pro.Seminar: Research Methods
Lawrence Kramer
A professional skills course, introducing students to issues in bibliography, textual criticism, editing, and the sociology of book production, from Gutenberg to the e-book.

ENGL 5175    Master Class: Poetry
William Perdomo
This workshop will explore poetry as an act of communication through the exploration of the poet’s craft.  How do we understand poetry in a world where one can Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube a poem overnight?  We will use text and other forms of media to develop our view of poetry as a communicative art. There will be a syllabus, but the students will contribute to the syllabus via individual presentations.   Any discipline requires practice, but it should also make room for error and improvisation.  In this workshop, students will utilize assignments, writing exercises, models, and journals to develop their understanding of craft.  Poets will also present their work on a weekly basis and can expect to have their work discussed every week of the semester. Each student is also expected to respond in written memos to their peers, as well as guiding discussions in the classroom.  Text:  Poems of New York edited by Elizabeth Schmidt (Everyman's Library Pocket Books).

ENGL 5312    Spenser - The Faerie Queene
Mark Caldwell
British 2
A close reading and critical study of Spenser’s major work, The Faerie Queene, with reference to Spenser’s other work and to relevant areas of early modern culture.

ENGL 5324    Shakespeare: 5 Plays, 6 Centuries
Stuart Sherman
British 2
A study of the changing performance and interpretation of Shakespeare's plays over six centuries, combining close reading with stage and film history.

ENGL 5635    The Brontes in Context
Eva Badowska
British 3
A study of the novels by the three Bronte sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - in the context of literary, cultural, and social developments in 19th Century England. 

ENGL 5883    Body & Self in American Lit
Maria Farland
American 1
This course will explore the work of canonical 19th Century writers in relation to contemporary theories of the body and of embodiment.

ENGL 5916    Afro-Am/Afro-Brit 1900-1960
Anne Fernald
American 2 or British 3
Anglophone literature of the African diaspora including canonical and less-well known of the Harlem Renaissance, the pre-civil rights era, and Britain’s Windrush generation. Authors include: Toomer, Hurston, Ellison, Selvon, Marson, Baldwin.

ENGL 5959    Writing A Life: A Workshop
Kim Kupperman
“I shall try to tell the truth, but the result will be fiction,” Katherine Anne Porter famously said.  In this workshop we will explore the complicated and sometimes gossamer lines between fiction and memoir.  Students will write and critique works of fiction and nonfiction, exploring the contingencies of form, the changing shape of memory, the specific demands of genre, and the choices writers make as they work.  We will read such authors as Ann Patchett, Dave Eggers, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Junot Diaz, Zadie Smith, and Mary Gordon, as well as selected critical essays.  Students will come away from this seminar with 40 pages of good writing and a new understanding of how and why they want to write.

Instructor: Kim Dana Kupperman is the author of a critically acclaimed collection of essays, I Just Lately Started Buying Wings. Missives from the Other Side of Silence (Graywolf, 2010), which received the 2009 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize in Nonfiction from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and was recently long listed for the Indie Booksellers Association Choice Award. She is the founder of Welcome Table Press, dedicated to publishing and celebrating the essay in all its forms. Ms. Kupperman currently works as  managing editor of the award-winning quarterly literary journal, The Gettysburg Review, where she also coordinates an annual summer conference.  Her writing has appeared in AGNI online, Alaska Quarterly Review, Alimentum, Best American Essays 2006, Baltimore Review, Brevity, Cimarron Review, Eclectic Literary Forum, Fourth Genre, Hotel Amerika, ISLE, Louisville Review, Maine Scholar, Nightsun, Ninth Letter, the Normal School, River Teeth, and elsewhere. Her honors include notable mentions in the Pushcart Prize anthology (2007; 2010) and Best American Essays (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010); the 2003 Robert J. DeMott Prose Prize from Quarter after Eight; and first place in the 1996 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. Ms. Kupperman is the recipient of fellowships in 2010 from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Kenyon Review Writer's Workshop, a 2009 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship, a 2008 Center for Book Arts scholarship, and a 2008 fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a member of the Author’s Guild, the Center for Book Arts, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

ENGL 6004    Colloquium: Pedagogy Theory/Practicum
Moshe Gold
Required 10th Course - English Doctorate Students  

ENGL 6209    Themes in Pre-Conquest Lit
Martin Chase
British 1
This course is a graduate-level seminar on the language and literature of Anglo-Saxon England. We will read (in Old English) a variety of texts from the period, including poetry, homilies, saints' lives, and chronicles. Texts will be selected according to student interest. Prior knowledge of Old English is presumed.

ENGL 6223    Medieval English Monasteries
Thomas O'Donnell
British 1
An introduction to the literary culture of English religious communities between 1000 and 1300, working with texts (in translation) in the principal languages of English monasticism.

ENGL 6234    Medieval and the Monstrous
Suzanne Yeager
British 1
The medieval taste for the exotic has introduced many audiences to a range of monstrous beings, from ferocious giants and dog-headed men to the peace-loving sciapod. Medieval studies of monstrosity have often been linked solely to theorize the different human "races" found there. Yet the medieval language of monstrosity was not always limited to travel narrative, nor to the pejorative, for it was used to describe heroes, saints, even the Christian deity in far more familiar contexts than many would imagine. In this course we will examine the discourse of monstrosity as a complex critical lens through which pre-modern writers asked important questions of race, religion, civic virtue, human morality. We will read from Pliny, Augustine, the Beowulf Manuscript, medieval romance, and Mandeville's account.

ENGL 6579    Benjamin Franklin's America
Ed Cahill
American 1
Combining the focus of a seminar with the range of a survey, this course will read the writings of Benjamin Franklin within the broader contexts of eighteenth-century American literary culture. We will discover in Franklin's diverse body of work illuminating windows into upward-mobility, print culture, satire and belles lettres, science and commerce, and race, class, and gender politics, as well as paradigmatic expressions of public sphere rhetoric and literary self-representation. But we will also test Franklin's representativeness by reading him against some of his American contemporaries (Brown, Crevecoeur, Edwards, Equiano, Foster, Freneau, Hammon, Jefferson, Madison, Paine, and Wheatley) and major critics and biographers.

ENGL 6757    Turn of the Century Studies
Christopher GoGwilt
British 3
This course considers topics in the study of literature and culture around the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries. The seminar is designed to introduce recent developments in cultural studies that are transforming Victorian and Modernist literary studies.  Primarily devoted to theories of "culture" and "popular culture" and to their implications for studying literary form in the age of mass media, the seminar will also consider recent debates in colonial and postcolonial studies.

ENGL 6977    Arc of A Novel
John Reed
The writing workshop presents an opportunity for students of writing, through criticism, to speed their creative and technical maturation.  Workshop time will be dedicated primarily to student work; assignments will look towards and initiate tasks encountered by aspiring writers.  Through workshop discussion and discussion directed by our readings, we'll be examining characterization, detail, POV, style, pacing, and the drafting process.  The intention of the course is to help students prepare themselves for the next phase of their writing, be it approaching editors, agents, literary journals or embarking on a challenging project.  These subjects will be realistically and reasonably addressed, always keeping the quality of the writing foremost on the agenda.

ENGL 7940    Post-War American Lit 1945-1975
Daniel Contreras
American 2
This course considers novels from the postwar period that focus on national themes. With the end of WWII, these novels examine the rise of the military industrial state and the consolidation of a perpetual state of war. Novels include Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow" and writers such as Philip K. Dick, Ishmael Reed, and Don DeLillo.

ENGL 7979    From Scientia to Science
Eve Keller, Frank Boyle
British 2
This course will introduce students to the relationships among early modern descriptions of the natural world and the human body and will familiarize students with the ways in which the academic discipline of "literature and science" has been constructed over the past half century. Among the writers we will read are Paracelsus, Donne, Crooke, Bacon, Hobbes, Harvey, Boyle, Browne, Hooke, Cavendish, Locke, Newton, Defoe, and Swift.

ENGL 8935    Dissertation Writing Seminar
Julie Kim
Prerequisite: Post PhD Comps
Open to all English doctorate students who have successfully taken and passed their comprehensive exam. Students will present work in progress. In addition, the seminar will focus on bibliographic research, and writing techniques and exercises specific to large projects. Some attention will also be given to the process of getting published.

ENGL 8936    Issues in Scholarship and Academe
Eve Keller
Prerequisite: Doctoral Students Only
This 0-credit seminar, open to all doctoral students, will provide a forum in which to discuss the issues that shape the pursuit of a career professing literature as well as the pursuit of a career outside of the academy. Each semester’s combination of guest-presentations and brief, selected readings will vary according to participants’ desires, but typical topics might include the following: General Education and the English Department; Journal Editing and the Intellectual Life; Humanities Education and Globalism; and The PhD in English and the World Outside. Selected readings might include excerpts from Louis Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas (2010); Stanley Fish, Save the World on Your Own Time (2008); Frank Donoghue, The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities; and Katherine N. Hayles’ Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary.

Spring 2012

ENGL 5002    Introduction to Critical Theory
Keri Walsh
A broad sampling of recent critical approaches (from structuralism to queer theory), ground in selected “classic” readings from Plato to New Criticism.

MVST 5077    Editing Medieval Texts
Erick Kelemen
British 1
This is a course in the theory and practice of editing, especially as it relates to medieval texts, with most of the examples coming from Middle English. The course will put a roughly equal emphasis on understanding the history of editing, on analyzing theoretical statements, and on developing practical methods. We'll give attention to documentary, historical, and aesthetic approaches, and we will spend some time exploring digital methods and concerns. Final projects will draw on archival material.

ENGL 5210    Intro to Old Norse Language and Literature
Martin Chase
British 1
The course will involve both an introduction to Old Norse language and the study of representative works from a variety of genres: historical prose, saga prose, and hagiography, as well as eddic poetry (wisdom, myth, legend) and the encomiastic poetry of the skalds. Readings will be partly in Old Norse, partly in translation. We will attempt to situate the texts in their medieval cultural context (analogues in English, French, German, and Latin literature), and we will spend some time on Old Norse palaeography and codicology so that students can better appreciate their material context. Thereis no prerequisite for the course and no prior knowledge is assumed, but students should be aware that the course will involve language study.

ENGL 5760    War and Literature
Leonard Cassuto
American 1 or 2
A study of representations of armed conflict in literature.

ENGL 5775    Master Class: Luminous Details
Elizabeth Frost
We take for granted that poetry relies on imagery.  But how exactly do we engage with, and reflect on, the information and the ‘facts’ of the material world?  Using exercises, experiments, and readings from contemporary poetry, we will write new work, and revise it, with a focus on transformation and the 'luminous detail.' NOTE: This course is open to five undergraduate students with the instructor's permission and five graduate students for a total of ten students. For more information on undergraduate application to the class, please click here:

ENGL 5843    Early Women Novelists
Susan Greenfield
British 2
This course will survey Early Modern novels by British women. Our goal is not to identify some kind of essentially female style. Rather, we will think about the novels in terms of their particular contexts and focus on their individual concerns. The course will include at least some of the following authors: Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Charlotte Lennox, Frances Burney, Elizabeth Inchbald, Anne Radcliffe, Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgeworth, Amelia Opie, and Jane Austen.

ENGL 5849    Approaches to American Literature Before 1900
Glenn Hendler
American 1
An introduction to recent Americanist literary scholarship, comparing and contrasting methodologies that have been brought to bear on three or four important works of U.S. literature published before 1900.

ENGL 5956    Short Story Writing
Meera Nair
In this workshop our aim will be to get to the heart of fiction by looking at its scaffolding. We will study concepts important to effective story-telling such as character and plot; meaningful scenes; interiority v/s external action and gesture; exposition, time and pace; narrative stance; dialogue and its uses; conflict and resolution and so on. Structured exercises, published texts and your own writing will be points of departure for our enquiries into the internal workings of fiction. Expect to workshop two stories this semester.

ENGL 5960    Memoir/Personal Essay
Elizabeth Stone
This class will function as a writing workshop where we will spend at least half of class time critiquing your works in progress. Since the techniques of memoir are indistinguishable from the techniques of fiction, we will concentrate on dialogue, exposition, scene, character, managing narrative time (past, present, future) and, most of all, the development of a persona. The course will include trends in autobiographical theory as well as analysis of major texts by writers such as Didion, Hampl, Orwell and Sedaris.

ENGL 5961    Totem and Taboo: The Idea of the Primitive
Leonard Kramer
British 3 or American 2
A study of the idea and image of the primitive from the late nineteenth through the twentieth centuries.  Authors to be read include Frazer, Freud, Conrad, Lawrence, Hart Crane, Bishop, Levi-Strauss, Kristeva, and Morrison.  Some attention will be given to music and film.

ENGL 5980    Reevaluating Genre
Heather Dubrow
British 2
Focusing mainly on early modern (Renaissance) texts but including others as well, we will analyze the workings of genre. Approaches will range from close readings to new formalisms and materialism.

ENGL 5999     Colloquium: Pedagogy Theo/Pra 1
Moshe Gold, Anne Fernald
Required 10th Course (Part 1) for PhD Students
The required 10th course for English PhD students consists of sequenced pedagogy training spanning two semesters. ENGL 5999 is the first part of the Teaching Practicum, which is to be taken in the spring of English PhD Student's 2nd Year. This part of the course is taken in the Spring (before teaching), and includes individual interviews, assignment of written work and practice teaching. Each student will have a mentor, complete a portfolio of materials, and create multiple assignments. This part of the course is graded as pass or fail. Once students pass the first part of the course in the Spring semester, they will be approved to take the second part of the course in the Fall semester--when English PhD students begin to teach. This part the "Colloquium" introduces students to different pedagogical approaches and methods. The second part of the course is registered as ENGL 6004 Colloquium: PED Theory:Pr.

ENGL 6212    Medieval to Early Modern Drama
Mary Erler
British 1 or 2
Connections among the cycle plays (in Middle English), late medieval and Tudor drama preceding Shakespeare.

ENGL 6237    The French of England II
Jocelyn Wogan-Browne
British 1
Studies the rich, under-researched corpus (c. 1000 texts) in the Frenches of medieval England; includes projects of translation/editing (for acquiring techniques of presenting and interpreting medieval texts). ENGL 6227 French of England is not necessarily required.

ENGL 6349    Shakespeare and the Blackfriars
Mary Bly
British 2
This course will take a close look at one of London’s most famous theaters, the Blackfriars, mediating between cultural, literary, and topographic viewpoints.  We’ll examine the theater over time, beginning with the productions of the resident boys’ company, the King’s Revels, and continuing to those productions staged by Shakespeare’s company, the King’s Men. The syllabus will include (among others) plays by Shakespeare, Middleton, Jonson, Beaumont & Fletcher.

ENGL 6418    Caribbean Enlightenment
Julie Kim
British 2
This course will examine eighteenth-century Caribbean writing and its relationship to European Enlightenment traditions, including English empiricism, Scottish moral and aesthetic philosophy, botany and natural history, and theories of revolution. As such, it will serve as an introduction both to early Caribbean literature and to key works of Enlightenment thought. At the same time, it will ask the very specific question, Was there an eighteenth-century Caribbean Enlightenment? Although the emergence of multiple Enlightenments in France, Scotland, Spain, North America, and other locations has been amply documented, intellectual developments in the West Indies still have yet to be fully explored. Clearly, however, the radically new phenomena of plantation agriculture and the slave trade prompted philosophers from Adam Smith to Voltaire to revise their theories of economy and humanity. What ideas, then, were forming in the Caribbean itself? Moreover, to what extent did the unique contours of Caribbean society lead its residents to dissent from the opinions of metropolitan thinkers, especially on the topics of race and equality? What roles did Africans and Amerindians play in these spaces, and how did dynamics of oppression fundamentally change the politics of experiment and philosophical enquiry? We will think about these and other issues by charting various intellectual and political currents and deciding if they add up to a coherent movement that can be called the ‘Caribbean Enlightenment.’

ENGL 6769    Finnegans Wake
Moshe Gold
British 3
As the ballad of Tim Finnegan says, there'll be “lots of fun at Finnegans Wake.” We will read Joyce’s text and engage its historical reception and theoretical treatments. You'll “wipe your glosses with what you know.”

ENGL 7525    Biopower and Identity
Lennard Davis
British 3
This course looks at the concept of identity through the lens of bio-power.  We will consider the way that identity is conceptualized by theorists like Michel Foucault, Georgio Agamben, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Roberto Esposito, Sigmund Freud, Peter Singer, among others.  Notions of normal, perverse, diverse, abject, subaltern and so on are considered along with narratives that highlight identity, passing, and embodiment in the realm of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, ability and sexuality.

ENGL 7616    Victorian Poetic Innovation
Constance Hassett
British 3
“Victorian Innovation” examines poetic modernity before the advent of modernism and postmodernism.  Avant-garde projects as varied as Ezra Pound’s Ripostes (1912) and Christian Bök's Eunoia (2002) permit us to see what prompted earlier instances of literary daring. In the nineteenth century itself, Robert Browning’s replication of found materials, Tennyson's disrupted meters and free verse, and Christina Rossetti's cultural interventions show us that experimental strategies have been part of the poet’s tool kit for centuries.

ENGL 8935    Dissertation Writing Seminar
Eve Keller
Prerequisite: Post PhD Comps
Open to all graduate students whose proposals have been approved. Students will present work in progress. In addition, the seminar will focus on bibliographic research, and writing techniques and exercises specific to large projects. Some attention will also be given to the process of getting published.