English (En) Graduate Courses (2017-18)
En 102. Origins of Science Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Most histories of science fiction leave out medieval literature entirely, and often much of the early modern era - and some even skip straight forward to begin in the 20th century. But many of the fundamental characteristics of modern science fiction in fact have their origins in much earlier literature. In this course, we will read several classics of modern science fiction alongside medieval and early modern texts, considering how and why science fiction has remained such a powerful imaginative form for so long. Modern readings may include Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, or Octavia Butler's "The Book of Martha." Medieval and early modern readings may include Mandeville's Travels; More's Utopia; medieval bestiaries, lapidaries, and herbiaries; alchemical texts; Kepler's Somnium; or Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World. Instructor: Klement.
En 103. Introduction to Medieval British Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course offers a tour of major (as well as some minor) genres and works written in Britain prior to 1500. Far from a literary "dark age," the Middle Ages fostered dramatic experiments in narrative form, bequeathing to modern literature some of its best-loved genres and texts. We will practice reading in Middle English-the language of Chaucer and his contemporaries-while we concentrate on the following questions: how did these texts circulate among readers? How do they establish their authority? What kinds of historical and cultural currents to they engage? Texts may include the lives of saints, the confessions of sinners, drama, lyrics, romances, selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and Malory's Morte Darthur. Readings will be in Middle and modern English. Not offered 2017-18.
En 104. Imagining the Medieval in the Nineteenth Century. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Following the Enlightenment and amidst the Industrial Revolution, the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a surging interest in the literature, lives, art, and architecture of the Middle Ages. In this course, we will explore how authors represented, invoked, and often idealized the medieval past-with its knights, peasants, saints, and monsters-as a way to think through the challenges-social, literary, political, aesthetic-of their own time. We will read several novels, poems, and treatises, including Henry David Thoreau's essay, "Walking;" Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King; and others. Requirements for the course will include weekly response papers and two essays. Not offered 2017-18.
En 105. Old English Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. "Moððe word fræt." Want to learn how to read the riddle that begins with these words? This course will introduce students to Old English: the earliest form of the English language, spoken in England from roughly the years 450 to 1100. In studying the language, we will turn to its diverse and exciting body of literature, including one poem commemorating the brutal defeat by a Viking army and another based on the biblical story of Judith, who tricks the evil king Holofernes into sleeping with her-but not before slicing off his drunken head. We will also read a variety of shorter texts: laws, medical recipes, humorously obscene riddles. Successful completion of the course will give students a richer sense not only of the earliest period of English literature, but also of the English language as it is written and spoken today. No prior experience with Old or Middle English is necessary for this course. Not offered 2017-18.
En 106. Poetic Justice: Histories of Literature and Law. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. How does literature help us to frame questions of equity and fairness? How do writers represent broad concepts like the "common good" or the "body politic," and what does poetry do in the world to shape political action and ideas? This course takes the long historical view on these questions, exploring the overlapping histories of law and literary representation within premodern and contemporary contexts. We will ask how literature thinks about problems of justice, violence, and mercy, and how the courtroom becomes a key site for representing the dramas of social inclusion and exclusion. Possible authors and texts include Dante, Chaucer, Langland, Shakespeare, and Behn. Instructor: Jahner.
En 107. Medieval Romance. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The medieval term romanz designated both a language, French, and a genre, romance, dedicated to the adventures of knights and ladies and the villains, monsters, magic, and miles that stood in their way. This course explores key examples from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, while also examining evolutions in the form. We will consider how romances figured love and desire as well as negotiated questions of law, territory, and cultural difference. Authors and texts may include Chretien de Troyes, Marie de France, Gawain and the Green Knight, Arthurian legends, outlaw tales, and hagiography. Not offered 2017-18.
En 108. Witnessing Evil in Early Medieval Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Traveling to hell and back, watching the torture of a saint, looking at illustrations of sins: these are profoundly terrible experiences that shaped the way medieval readers took in the world around them. What is at stake when literature allows readers to witness such horrors? While exploring this question, this course will examine the didactic, religious, and epistemological functions of observation and awe in a variety of early medieval texts (in translation), such as Prudentius's Psychomachia, the Apocalypse of Paul, Anglo-Saxon laws, the Life of St. Margaret, the Old English Genesis, the heroic poem Judith, and Boniface's riddles about the vices. Not offered 2017-18.
En 110. Sinners, Saints, and Sexuality in Premodern Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. What made the difference between saint and sinner in medieval and Renaissance literature? This class takes up this question by focusing on the unruly problems of embodiment. We will read across a wide range of literatures, including early medical texts, saints' lives, poetry and romance, as we examine how earlier periods understood gender and sexual difference. Questions we may consider include the following: how did writers construct the "naturalness" or "unnaturalness" of particular bodies and bodily acts? How did individuals assert control over their own bodies and those of others? In what ways did writing authorize, scrutinize, or police the boundaries of the licit and illicit? Finally, how have modern critics framed these questions? Possible readings include Aristotle, Freud, Chaucer, Margery Kempe, Christine de Pizan, Sidney, Shakespeare. Not offered 2017-18.
En 113 ab. Shakespeare's Career. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. A survey of Shakespeare's career as a dramatist. The first term will study his comedies and histories; the second, his tragedies and tragicomedies. Students will need to read one play per week. Instructor: Pigman.
En 118. Classical Mythology. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Why did the Greeks and Romans remain fascinated with the same stories of gods and demigods for more than a thousand years? On the other hand, how did they adapt those stories to fit new times and places? Starting with the earliest Greek poems and advancing through classical Athens, Hellenistic Alexandria, and Augustan Rome, we consider the history of writing poetry as a history of reading the past; the course also serves as an excellent introduction to ancient literary history at large. Readings may include Homer's 'Odyssey,' Hesiod, Aeschylus, Euripides, Apollonius Rhodius, Ovid, and Seneca. Not offered 2017-18.
En 119. Displacement. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. The literary fascination with people who change places, temporarily or permanently, over a short distance or across the globe, in works dating from our lifetimes and from the recent and the remote past. How readily can such stories be compared, how easy is it to apply traditional categories of literary evaluation, and, in the contemporary world, how have poetry and prose fictions about migration survived alongside other media? 21st-century works will receive considerable attention; other readings may include Virgil, Swift, Flaubert, Mann, Achebe, Nabokov, Didion, Morrison. Not offered 2017-18.
En 121. Literature and Its Readers. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. The course will investigate readers who have made adventurous uses of their favorite works of literature, from Greek antiquity through the 20th century. Sometimes those readers count, at least temporarily, as literary critics, as when the philosopher Aristotle made Sophocles' Oedipus the King the central model in his wildly successful essay on the literary form of tragedy. Other readers have been even more experimental, as when Sigmund Freud, studying the same play, made the "Oedipus complex" a meeting point for his theory of psychology, his vision of human societies, and his fascination with literary narrative. It will discuss some basic questions about the phenomenon of literary reading. Does a book have a single meaning? Can it be used rightly or wrongly? Not offered 2017-18.
En 122. Early History of the Novel. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The realistic novel is a surprising, even experimental moment in the history of fiction. How and why did daily life become a legitimate topic for narrative in the 18th century? The realistic turn clearly attracted new classes of readers, but did it also make the novel a better vehicle for commenting on society at large? Why were the formal conventions of realistic writing so tightly circumscribed? Authors may include Cervantes, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Walpole, Boswell, and Austen. Not offered 2017-18.
En 123. The 19th-Century English Novel. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. A survey of the 19th-century novel from Austen through Conrad, with special emphasis upon the Victorians. Major authors may include Austen, Shelley, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray, Gaskell, Brontë, Collins, Trollope, Stoker, Hardy. Not offered 2017-18.
En 124. 20th-Century British Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. A survey of the 20th-century British and Irish novel, from the modernist novel to the postcolonial novel. Major authors may include Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Forster, Lawrence, Orwell, Amis, Lessing, Rushdie. Not offered 2017-18.
En 125. British Romantic Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. A selective survey of English writing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Major authors may include Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Austen. Particular attention will be paid to intellectual and historical contexts and to new understandings of the role of literature in society. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 126. Gothic Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. The literature of horror, fantasy, and the supernatural, from the late 18th century to the present day. Particular attention will be paid to gothic's shifting cultural imperative, from its origins as a qualified reaction to Enlightenment rationalism, to the contemporary ghost story as an instrument of social and psychological exploration. Issues will include atmosphere and the gothic sense of space; gothic as a popular pathology; and the gendering of gothic narrative. Fiction by Walpole, Shelley, Brontë, Stoker, Poe, Wilde, Angela Carter, and Toni Morrison. Film versions of the gothic may be included. Not offered 2017-18.
En 127. Jane Austen. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course will focus on the major novels of Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Film and television adaptations will also be considered, and students may have the opportunity to read Austen's unfinished works, as well as related eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British fiction and non-fiction. Instructor: Gilmartin.
En 128. Modern and Contemporary Irish Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The development of Irish fiction, poetry, and drama from the early 20th-century Irish literary renaissance, through the impact of modernism, to the Field Day movement and other contemporary developments. Topics may include the impact of political violence and national division upon the literary imagination; the use of folk and fairy-tale traditions; patterns of emigration and literary exile; the challenge of the English language and the relation of Irish writing to British literary tradition; and recent treatments of Irish literature in regional, postcolonial, and global terms. Works by Joyce, Yeats, Synge, Friel, O'Brien, Heaney, Boland, and others. Not offered 2017-18.
En 131. Poe's Afterlife. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course focuses on Edgar Allan Poe and the considerable influence his works have had on other writers. Authors as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, Jules Verne, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, John Barth, and Philip Roth have used Poe's stories as departure points for their own work. We shall begin by reading some of Poe's s classic short stories, including "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," "The Purloined Letter," and others. We shall then explore how and why Poe's stories have been so important for authors, despite the fact that his reputation as a great American writer, unlike Hawthorne's and Melville's, for example, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Not offered 2017-18.
En 133. 19th-Century American Women Writers. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course will analyze many of the most popular novels written in the 19th century. How might we account for their success in the 19th century and their marginalization (until recently) in the 20th century? Why were so many of these texts "sentimental"? How might we understand the appeal of "sentimental" literature? What are the ideological implications of sentimentalism? Authors may include Stowe, Warner, Cummins, Alcott, Phelps, Fern, etc. Instructor: Hunter.
En 134. The Career of Herman Melville. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. The course will focus on Melville's works from Typee through Billy Budd. Special emphasis will be placed on Melville's relations to 19th-century American culture. Instructor: Hunter.
En 135. Dickens's London. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Charles Dickens and London have perhaps the most famous relationship of any writer and city in English. In this course, we will investigate both the London Dickens knew, and the portrait of the city that he painted, by reading some of Dickens's great mid-career novels alongside a selection of primary and secondary historical sources. We will think about the gap-or overlap- between history and fiction, the idea of the novelist as alternative historian, and the idea of the novel as historical document. Historical topics covered may include: the development of the Victorian police force; plague and public health; Victorian poverty; colonialism and imperialism; Dickens and his illustrators; Victorian exhibition culture; and marriage and the cult of domesticity, among others. In addition to written work, students should expect to be responsible for making a short research presentation at some point in the term. Not offered 2017-18.
En 136. The Fiction of Charles Dickens. 9 units (3-0-6): . An overview of the Great Inimitable's fiction, concentrating on four texts representative of different phases of his novel-writing career and their relationship to the changing world of Victorian Britain: Oliver Twist, Dombey and Son, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend. Not offered 2017-18.
En 137. African American Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course analyzes some of the great works of American literature written by African Americans. This body of writing gives rise to two crucial questions: How does African American literature constitute a literary tradition of its own? How is that tradition inextricable from American literary history? From slave narratives to Toni Morrison's Beloved, from the Harlem Renaissance to Alice Walker, from Ralph Ellison to Walter Mosley, African American literature has examined topics as diverse and important as race relations, class identification, and family life. We shall analyze these texts not only in relation to these cultural issues, but also in terms of their aesthetic and formal contributions. Not offered 2017-18.
En 138. Twain and His Contemporaries. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course will study the divergent theories of realism that arose in the period after the Civil War and before World War I. Authors covered may include Howells, James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Jacob Riis, Stephen Crane, and W. E. B. DuBois. Not offered 2017-18.
En 139. Reading Resistance in Cold War American Literature. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course will examine the complexities and contradictions of US Cold War culture. Through literary texts featuring a diverse range of protagonists, we will engage characters who question the status quo, often by exploring the limits and exclusions of national belonging in this period. Though the 1950s saw the rise of McCarthyism and the threat of nuclear war, landmark events in these years also galvanized the civil rights movement and demands for social justice. Course readings in Cold War fiction, drama, and poetry will demonstrate how mainstream social identities conditioned by racial, class, gender and sexual norms, were being challenged and subverted in ways that would intensify and take on collective expression in the 1960s. Authors studied may include: Gwendolyn Brooks, William Demby, Lorraine Hansberry, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Carson McCullers, Mitsuye Yamada, Sylvia Plath, and John Okada. Instructor: Sherazi.
En 140. African American Expatriate Culture in Postwar Europe. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. In the years following World War II, an unprecedented number of African American writers and artists moved to Paris and Rome, many seeking greater personal liberties and a refuge from racial discrimination at home. As we explore literature, nonfiction, and visual culture created by African Americans in postwar Europe, we will consider: how and why does the postwar creative scene in Paris differ from that of Rome? We will analyze postwar African American expatriate writing's unique and often critical perspectives regarding American society and culture and identify the literary strategies that writers used to address the changing times, promote social justice, and advance new narrative forms, often by crossing traditional boundaries of genre and nation. Authors and artists studied may include: James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Barbara Chase-Riboud, William Demby, Maya Angelou, and Ralph Ellison. Instructor: Sherazi.
En/F 160 ab. Classical Hollywood Cinema. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course introduces students to Hollywood films and filmmaking during the classical period, from the coming of sound through the '50s. Students will develop the techniques and vocabulary appropriate to the distinct formal properties of film. Topics include the rise and collapse of the studio system, technical transformations (sound, color, deep focus), genre (the musical, the melodrama), cultural contexts (the Depression, World War II, the Cold War), audience responses, and the economic history of the film corporations. Terms may be taken independently. Part a covers the period 1927-1940. Part b covers 1941-1960. Instructor: Jurca.
En/F 161. The New Hollywood. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course examines the post-classical era of Hollywood filmmaking with a focus on the late 1960s through the 1970s, a period of significant formal and thematic experimentation especially in the representation of violence and sexuality. We will study American culture and politics as well as film in this era, as we consider the relation between broader social transformations and the development of new narrative conventions and cinematic techniques. We will pay particular attention to the changing film industry and its influence on this body of work. Films covered may include Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, The Last Picture Show, Jaws, and Taxi Driver. Not offered 2017-18.
En 178. Medieval Subjectivities. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. In the seventeenth century, Descartes penned his famous expression "I think therefore I am!" and thus the modern subject was born-or so the simplified story goes. But long before the age of Descartes, the Middle Ages produced an astonishing range of theories and ideas about human selfhood, subjectivity, and interiority. For instance, writing from prison more than one thousand years earlier, Boethius came to realize that what distinguishes a human being from all other creatures is his capacity to "know himself." The meaning of this opaque statement and others like it will command our attention throughout this course, as we explore the diverse, distinctive, and often highly sophisticated notions of subjectivity that developed in the literatures of the Middle Ages. We will take up questions of human agency, free will, identity, self-consciousness, confession, and secrecy as we encounter them in some of the most exciting texts written during the period, including among others) Augustine's Confessions, Prudentius's Psychomachia, the Old English poem The Wanderer, the mystical writings of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Not offered 2017-18.
En 179. Constituting Citizenship before the Fourteenth Amendment. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. What can a slave's narrative teach us about citizenship? How did the new nation identify citizens when its Constitution seemed so silent on the matter? And how did one tailor's pamphlet result in one of most massive restrictions of free speech in U.S. history? Our goal over the semester will be to sketch a story of African American literary production from the latter half of the eighteenth century to the Civil War and to tease out, through this literature, developing understandings of citizenship in the United States. We will read letters, poems, sermons, songs, constitutions and bylaws, short stories, and texts that simply defy easy categorization. We will also spend several sessions becoming familiar with key newspapers and magazines-Freedom's Journal, Frederick Douglass's Paper, The Anglo-African Magazine, Christian Recorder, and The Crisis-to deepen our understanding of the kinds of things people were reading and writing on a regular basis and the kinds of arguments they were making. Writers up for discussion may include: Frederick Douglass, James Madison, Harriet Jacobs, Henry David Thoreau, Sojourner Truth, and David Walker. Not offered 2017-18.
En 180. Special Topics in English. 9 units (3-0-6): . See registrar's announcement for details. Instructor: Staff.
En 181. Hardy: The Wessex Novels. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course will examine the body of work that the late Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy published under the general title The Wessex Novels, that is, the sequence of works from Far from the Madding Crowd to Jude the Obscure. The six main novels will be read critically to give a sense of the totality of this greatest British regional novelist's achievement. Not offered 2017-18.
En 182. Literature and the First Amendment. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. "Freedom of speech," writes Benjamin Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut (1937), "is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom." We will go inside the matrix, focusing on how it has affected the books we read. This is not a course in constitutional law or political philosophy, but an opportunity to examine how American literary culture has intersected with law and politics. We will investigate the ways in which the meanings of "freedom," what it entails, and who is entitled to it have changed over time. Possible topics include the obscenity trials surrounding Allen Ginsberg's Howl and James Joyce's Ulysses, crackdowns on anti-war propagandists, and the legal battle between Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and televangelist and Moral Majority cofounder Jerry Falwell. Not offered 2017-18.
En 183. Victorian Crime Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. In 19th-century Britain, for the first time in human history, more of a nation's citizens came to live in urban areas than in rural ones. This result of the Industrial Revolution produced many effects, but in the fiction of the period, one of the most striking was an obsession with the problem of crime. Victorian authors filled their novels with murder, prisons, poisonings, prostitution, criminals, and the new figure of the detective; in this class we will look at the social history, publishing developments, and formal dilemmas that underlay such a response. Authors studied may include Dickens, Collins, Braddon, Conan Doyle, Chesterton, and Conrad, among others. Instructor: Gilmore.
En 185. Dickens and the Dickensian. 9 units (3-0-6): . The adjective "Dickensian" makes an almost daily appearance in today's newspapers, magazines, and other media sources. It is used to describe everything from outrageous political scandals, to Bollywood musicals, to multiplot novels. But what does the word really mean? And what part of Charles Dickens's output does it refer to? This class will consider some of Dickens's most famous works alongside a series of contemporary novels, all critically described in "Dickensian" terms. The main concern will be equally with style and form, and 19th-century and present-day circumstances of production (e.g., serialization, mass production, Web publication, etc.). Authors considered (aside from Dickens) may include Richard Price, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, and Jonathan Franzen. Not offered 2017-18.
En 186. The Novel of Education. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. What does it mean to be educated? This class will consider this question via a series of novels that take us from secondary school to the university, and from the nineteenth century to the present. Concentrating on British literature, with its compelling tendency to focalize historical anxieties about class, race and social reform through depictions of formal schooling practices, we too will consider these issues as we enter classrooms and eavesdrop on faculty conversations. At the same time, there will be ample scope to engage with more abstract questions about power, pedagogy, and alienation, and we will use our reading's rich stock of schoolyard bullies, boarding school mean girls, struggling scholars and power-mad professors as the concrete anchor for such considerations. Authors read may include Dickens, Bronte, Waugh, Amis, Spark, Lodge, Ishiguro and Zadie Smith. Not offered 2017-18.
En 190. Chaucer. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course devotes itself to the writings of the diplomat, courtier, bureaucrat, and poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. Best known for the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer also authored dream visions, lyrics, and philosophical meditations. This course will introduce you to some better-known and lesser-known works in the Chaucerian corpus, while also exploring questions central to the production and circulation of literature in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. What did it mean to "invent" a literary work in late medieval England? How did Chaucer imagine himself as a writer and reader? What are the hallmarks of Chaucerian style, and how did Chaucer become the canonical author he is today? We will read Chaucer's works in their original language, Middle English, working slowly enough to give participants time to familiarize themselves with syntax and spelling. No previous experience with the language is necessary. Instructor: Jahner.
En 191. Masterworks of Contemporary Latin American Fiction. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course studies Latin America's most influential authors in the 20th and 21st centuries, with a focus on short stories and novellas produced by the region's avant-garde and "boom" generations. Authors may include Allende, Bombal, Borges, García Márquez, Quiroga, Poniatowska, and Vargas Llosa. All readings and discussions are in English. Not offered 2017-18.
En/H 193. Cervantes, Truth or Dare: Don Quixote in an Age of Empire. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Studies Cervantes's literary masterpiece, Don Quixote, with a view to the great upheavals that shaped the early modern world: Renaissance Europe's discovery of America; feudalism's demise and the rise of mass poverty; Reformation and Counter-Reformation; extermination of heretics and war against infidels; and the decline of the Hapsburg dynasty. The hapless protagonist of Don Quixote calls into question the boundaries between sanity and madness, truth and falsehood, history and fiction, objectivity and individual experience. What might be modern, perhaps even revolutionary, in Cervantes's dramatization of the moral and material dilemmas of his time? Conducted in English. Instructor: Wey-Gomez.
En/H 197. American Literature and the Technologies of Reading. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course explores the material forms of American literature from the colonial era through the nineteenth century. We will study how and by whom books and other kinds of texts were produced, and how these forms shaped and were shaped by readers' engagement with them. Possible topics include the history of such printing technologies as presses, types, paper, ink, binding, and illustration; the business of bookmaking and the development of the publishing industry; the rise of literary authorship; the career of Benjamin Franklin; print, politics, and the American Revolution; and manuscript culture. Not offered 2017-18.