Course Offerings: Spring 2009
Below is a list of Current Upper-Division Undergraduate Course Offerings and our Current Graduate-Seminar Offerings.
CURRENT UPPER-DIVISION UNDERGRADUATE COURSE OFFERINGS:
T TH 9:30-10:45
CREATIVE WRITING: SCREENWRITING
ENG 205D, an introductory course, will cover the basics of screenwriting from professional formatting to the proper use of elements such as scene headings, action, parentheticals, dialogue, and transitions among others. Through a workshop atmosphere, the class will also examine narrative structure, character development, pacing, tone, and plot points, as well as the use of index cards and script notes, log-lines, treatments, copyright protection, and the evolution of the modern screenplay.
Prof. Stephen Barber
INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY GENRES: NOVEL
This course offers an in-depth exploration of the genre of the novel, both in terms of its historical development in Britain and its evolution in the hands of an early twentieth-century novelist, Virginia Woolf, who sought to intervene critically in its formal possibilities. Accordingly, the first part of the course traces the dominant characteristics of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British novel, and the second part of the course examines Woolf's formal experiments with the novel. Though we will read novels from Woolf's early and mid career, special attention will be given to the novels of her final phase, when she attempted, in response to the intensification of forms of fascism across Europe and the political atrocities of the 1930s, to fashion an aesthetic that was to include at one and the same time political critique and an ethics. In our study of the kinds of knowledges, powers, and subjectivities the novel both portrarys and makes possible, we will also read works by a number of philosophers and psychologists with and against whose thought Woolf worked, namely, Plato, the Roman philosophers of virtue, Kant, Freud, and Klein. Finally, in order to understand the ethical and aesthetic accomplishment of Woolf's final phase, we will read alongside her last two novels the late work of Foucault on ethics and Deleuze on aesthetics.
FILM THEORY: THE NEW WAVE, THE NEW NEW WAVE AND THE POST NEW-WAVE
The French New Wave as a movement that lasted from 1958-1973 and emphasized not only a new low-budget, do-it-yourself filmmaking ethos, but also a vibrant and critical reflection and development of theories about film. The journal, Cahiers du cinema, became a place where New Wave filmmakers discussed and debated new ideas about the past and future of film. Heavily influenced by American cinema, the directors and critics of the New Wave, including André Bazin, formulated auteur theory ("La politique des auteurs"). In our examination of the New Wave, we will view films by many of the prominent French New Wave directors including François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, and Jacques Rivette, as well as those of the American directors who influenced the movement (Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray, and John Ford). We will also look ahead at the New Hollywood movement inspired by the French New Wave, including works by Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese. Finally, we will examine the global resurgence of the post-New Wave in the late 20th and 21st century with filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Todd Haynes, Alfonso Cuaron and Fernando Mereilles.
Prof. Ryan Trimm
FILM GENRES: THE RETRO FILM
Film has long been associated with modernity, but it has also been a medium that explores the relation between the present and ideas of the past. In fact, it seems as if films which stress "pastness" have become ever more prevalent: there has been a revival of the costume drama, an explosion of literary adaptations, a resurrection of past film styles and genres, etc. The class will consider a wide range of films and essays that will help us examine a number of different "unmastered pasts," legacies that ask us to consider the relations between imperial Britain and a contemporary, multicultural nation; between Nazi Germany and a reviving, conflicted postwar country; between precolonial societies and nations freshly independent. Films screened will include directors such as Mira Nair, Julie Dash, Derek Jarman, Jane Campion, Werner Herzog, Claude Chabrol, Ousmane Sembene, Sally Potter, and the Merchant/Ivory team. We will examine the different relations struck with the past and explore the politics of utilizing the past as a way of addressing historical legacies and present concerns.
Prof. Peter Covino
T TH 11:00-12:15
ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY
This intensive writing and reading course will help you become more comfortable yet critical of your writing practice, with a goal of making poems that are sophisticated, imaginative, and significant to a larger literary community. We will explore some of the most innovative and exciting poems ever written both in English and many in translation, beginning with some Ancient and Medieval work while focusing on avant-garde and contemporary poetry. Instead of a broad review of literary periods, we will spend concentrated time on a few specific authors from varying eras while paying special attention to issues of generative practice—how the poem is made. In addition to writing/revising your own poems (10 pages per semester), students are required to complete short response papers in which they will respond to changing poetic traditions with a keen understanding of how these trends still influence contemporary practitioners of the art. By the end of the semester, each student is required to complete a small, chapbook size collection/portfolio of poems that should be fully revised. This class is offered in conjunction with the Read/Write series and students are required to attend as many events as possible in order to experience literary performances firsthand.
T TH 2:00-3:15
ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: FICTION
ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY
In this class students will both broaden and deepen the ways they write and think about their writing. We'll do this through a number of in-class writing exercises and a number of larger take-home projects,
including a sound project, a collaborative project, and more. We'll read works by Amiri Baraka, Kate Colby, John Cage, C.D Wright, Guillermo Parra and many others.Students will also read critical writing about poetry and poetics, exploring the demands they make of poetry and their reasons for writing it.
T TH 11:00-12:15
WRITERS OF THE AMERICAS
In this course we will concentrate on the work of nine contemporary women writers from North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Our exploration of their works will lead us to discussions of a variety of topics, including, but not limited to: voice, history, identity, experience, politics, imagination, and craft.
Prof. Naomi Mandel
INTERDISCINPLINARY APPROACHES TO COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
This course will examine the Holocaust as both the object of representation and as a challenge to representation itself. While commonly described as "unspeakable," "unrepresentable," or "incomprehensible," the Holocaust has nonetheless been the subject of countless novels, short stories, poems, works of music, and films, andhas inspired a tradition of philosophical investigation into the nature of evil, the implications of art, and the limits of the human.
We will read texts from a range of disciplines: from novels, comic-books, films, and memoirs to works of philosophy and history, all of which situate the Holocaust at the limits, or beyond the limits, of representation. In the course of these investigations we will ask: what is at stake in calling a certain event "unspeakable"? what does it mean to "represent the unrepresentable"?
Note: This is an Honors course. You must have a GPA of 3.2 or higherto enroll in this course.
Prof. Paul Arakelian
T TH 11:00-12:15
THE LANGUAGE OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
Children's literature has been dismissed as mere fluff and vilified as cultural indoctrination. In this course we will attempt to determine whether children's literature is just harmless fun or dangerous propaganda by developing a method of analyze the language of literary texts. We will review those linguistic tools with which critics describe style, and then we will apply those tools to children's texts and ask whether style reveals or reinforces cultural values. Students will consider in particular books by Dr. Seuss by analyzing their sound patterns, word choice, and sentence structure.
Prof. Paul Arakelian
T TH 12:30-1:45
VARIETIES OF AMERICAN ENGLISH
In this course we will study the evolution of American English from its beginnings as a colonial DIALECT of British English to its current status as a world-wide LANGUAGE. In particular, we will consider regional and social varieties (New England English, Black English) as well as historical varieties (Colonial English). The majority of class time will be devoted to individual or group exercises and projects which will enable you to study the varieties of American English in film and in person. Your grade will depend on both exams and projects. The projects will send you out into the field to interview people, record the way they speak, and analyze their dialects. This course contains language that may be offensive to some students.
HISTORY OF LITERATY THEORY AND CRITICISM
“It’s not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present casts its light on what is past; rather, image is that wherein what has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation” (Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project). In this course, we will look at a constellation of thinkers, from Plato to Derrida, charting the legacies of and relationships between them. The larger goal of the course will be to consider the role of literary criticism as an interdisciplinary venture, as we explore the problematization of representation in works selected from classical to contemporary thought.
Prof. F.E. Okeke-Ezigbo
T TH 9:30-10:45
AFRICANA FOLK LIFE AND CULTURE
One systemic defect exposed by the current economic turmoil - a crisis practically global in scope but accentuated in the United States - is that the West, in the name of civilization, has given so full a rein to Capitalism, that Restraint is sacrificed on the predatory altar of Social Darwinism, that crude instinct to subdue or inveigle the unwary and gobble them up. This mindset is a far cry from Wisdom, without the which, humans become reduced to mere homo erectus, or at best, graceless hominoids without the sapientia tag! What has gone awry and why has the West gone so widely astray? Is this grim situation reversible and is there a possibility of redemption through reorientation? Is rehabilitation and re-humanization yet achievable by re-infusing the “milk of humankindness?” We shall attempt in this course to resolve these nagging issues and answer the collateral questions, by spiriting to Africa, the original source, and in so doing, hopefully exorcizing our demons through the process of ceremonial re-birth. In exultation, we shall interface the folk life of Africa and immerse ourselves in African folklore, that amazing repository of wisdom, as well as relish proverbs, myths, chants, legends, songs and apothegms, all this with a view to appreciating Africa’s traditional pattern of humane living, and learning that true Wisdom resides only in righteousness and the cheerful pursuit of the common good, which, incidentally, is conterminous with democracy, a term more abused by the elite than pursued as an ideal social and political principle.
(If the students showed good signs of mending - and the Feds wouldn’t erupt on us - they could be let into the simple secret of seeing spirits with the naked eye.)
GREEK AND ROMAN DRAMA
This course is designed for reading and interpreting the Greek and Roman Drama and their implication and affect on the neo-classic and modern theater. We will read and discuss the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, the three major Greek tragedians, and the Roman playwright Seneca rendition of the classical drama. We will watch videos to see full impact of stage dramatization of these plays.
Prof. Peter Covino
T TH 12:30-1:45
We will explore the thematic and stylistic interrelationships and the historical legacy of some of the most important literary epics ever written, including Homer’s The Iliad, Virgil’s The Aeneid; Dante’s Inferno, sections of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the Modernist epic William Carlos Williams’ Paterson. The course will offer an in-depth exploration of various innovations and conventions of the epic—such as epic similes, digressions, catalogues, the use of prayer and invocation, the role of God(s)—and will focus on how and why this originally oral tradition continues to impact us as one of the most sophisticated and challenging literary genres. Students will routinely be asked to offer close readings of key passages in order to explicate moments of textual complexity and interpretive interest. Responses will be supplemented by consideration of important critical theories related to the study of the epic as suggested by Aristotle, Walter Benjamin, Gyorgy Lukacs, Mikhail Bakhtin, Northrop Frye, John Freccero, and Albert Ascoli, among others. When applicable, the enduring influence of the epic in art, film, and in contemporary culture will also be considered. We will devote focused attention to how issues of integrating history, cultural myths, and imaginative discourses are enhanced by poetic strategies and, when appropriate, divergent theories of translation.
T TH 9:30-10:45
This blended WebCT course on the Bible as Literature—as opposed to Literature of the Bible—investigates uses of biblical texts by Mark Twain and by contemporary author Robert Coover, who in his fictions makes ample use of passages from both the Old and the New Testament. Among the questions this course asks will be the relation between the nature of "revelation" and the diversity of its interpretation and recording, i.e., myth-making.
We will explore the richness and diversity of literature through in-depth reading, discussion, and writing about these texts. Through close reading, you will gain an understanding and appreciation of fiction in general, and of our writers' use of material from the Bible in particular. Focus will be on authorial strategies and themes explored. History, geography, and ancient myths will be introduced as they impact on the texts at hand. Furthermore, you will learn the appropriate terminology as tools for textual and critical analysis. Finally, through this experience you can develop or refine the capacity for self-expression and communication.
TH 7:00-9:45 PM
BRITISH LITERATURE OF THE RENAISSANCE
Sex! Unrequited love, lustful appetites, and frustrated desires stand as the recurring topics of several English sonnet sequences. Money! In Ben Jonson’s Volpone, an old miser is hilariously duped into giving away all his riches. Politics and Revenge! In Shakespeare’s Othello, a woman dies at the hands of her husband who cannot separate fact from fiction. Religious Conflict! Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus stages an ambitious scholar who sells his soul to the devil in order to have knowledge of all things. The very topics ripped from today’s headlines are not unique to our time but can be traced back to the literary culture of Renaissance England, a period that produced some of history’s greatest writers and its most influential works of poetry, drama, and prose. We will explore together how debates over politics, spirituality and belief, commerce and trade, and gender and sexuality were influenced, if not also initiated by, the writing of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
British Literature 1660-1800: "Gods and Monsters"
In this course we will look at doctors, religious figures, and other characters whose desire for god-like power renders them in some way monstrous. “Monstrosities,” writes Paul Youngquist, “haunt the human.” “To be called abnormal,” he continues,” is to become subject to normality—a curiosity, perhaps a freak. Abnormality breeds interest, the kind of interest that circulates power.” Over the semester, we will explore what is meant by normality, how normality is related to power, and how power produces abnormality in order to control or reject it; that is, how it creates gods and monsters. Texts will include Godwin’s Caleb Williams, Lewis’ The Monk, Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and Holman’s The Dress Lodger (a contemporary look at the period). We will also be reading theoretical texts by such thinkers as Kant and Foucault in order to better understand the critical work of the period.
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
T TH 1:00-3:45 PM
THE IDEA OF A CAREER IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE & CULTURE
What does it mean to have a career? Why do you need one, or seem to need one? Could women (or men) who stay home to raise children be said to have a career? What about people who clean houses or streets -- do they have
careers? Who controls your career, and whether you have a career? Why are you often encouraged to think about your possible career plans when you select a major (or your college, for that matter)? Does your career speak for what
kind of a person you are? Why does it matter so often to us what our partners or friends "do"?
These questions that are so pressing for so many of us today have their roots in cultural adjustments made in the nineteenth century. Faced with changing economic conditions, landscapes, scientific knowledge, consumer products, and
modes of transportation, and contending as well with imperialism, shifts in gender roles, and the breakdown of certain previous class distinctions, writers in nineteenth-century Britain imagined new and frequently conflicted
ways of being in their world. How they employed and deployed selves that could and couldn't be lived with speaks directly to some of the issues we struggle with in the twenty-first century.
M 4:00-6:45 PM
BRITISH LITERATURE OF THE 19TH CENTURY
Study of the poetry and criticism of the Romantic poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats.
CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE: APPROACHES TO THE DOUBLE IN BRITISH METAFICTION
This course will treat several works of British fiction, primarily twentieth-century novels that test permeable boundaries between reality and fiction; artifice and authenticity; fate and chance; art and life. During our investigations, I will ask us to consider not only these boundaries but also the ways in which these self-conscious novels might be theorizing new perspectives on "the double," a literary motif and/or device often conjoined with theories of decomposed identities or psyches. How might our readings be thinking "the double" as a theoretical practice rather than a simple matter of first and second selves? We will begin our investigations with early and late Modernist texts (e.g., Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" and selections from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake), considering how these works might break open "the double," laying a groundwork for the contemporary texts that follow. David Mitchell and Zadie Smith represent the most contemporary of the fiction we will read, and as such they will occupy a great deal of our time. The metafiction of Flann O'Brien, Muriel Spark, and B.S. Johnson will also serve as primary texts.
Prof. Travis Williams
T TH 2:00-3:15
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE AUTHORS: JOHN DONNE: POETRY AND PROSE
We will read widely in the poetry and prose of the early modern English poet and divine John Donne, working to characterize and understand Donne’s distinctive textual voice in areas as diverse as erotic love and Protestant piety. Other reading will include history and secondary criticism on Donne and the religion and culture of early modern England. You will develop the skills required for close reading, such as detailed dictionary research and the analysis of rhythmic prose. You will write three essays and a weekly response paper, all of which will require extremely close reading and the development of strategies to write about close reading, including the explications de texte and more evaluative forms of criticism and interpretation. You will also make a presentation to the class.
W 7:00-9:45 PM
This course will provide a survey of African American women’s literature of the twentieth century covering major authors and movements, including the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. Throughout our study, we will consider the possible parameters of a “black women’s literary tradition,” contemplating what texts written by African American women might share in common, apart from the race and gender of their authors. Are there particular artistic practices, political standpoints, or linguistic efforts which mark certain texts as “black women’s” texts? If so, what are these practices, standpoints and efforts, and how (and by whom) are they determined? We will investigate representations of black women and pay particular attention to the ways in which black womanhood is characterized through intersecting paradigms of race, gender, sexuality, and social class. We will explore how selected authors render black female
characters in ways that perpetuate and/or subvert stereotypical images of black women; expand limited constructions of black womanhood; and challenge or destabilize prevailing definitions of “woman” and “black” in American culture. To help frame substantive discussions of these novels, we will also engage a wide selection of critical scholarship. Expect primary readings from: Nella Larsen, Ann Petry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paule Marshall, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Danzy Senna, and Octavia Butler.
Prof. Martha Rojas
T TH 3:30-4:45
LITERATURE OF THE SEA:
THE VIEW FROM THE SHORE: THE ENVIORNMENTAL TURN & MARITIME LITERATURE
The coastal environment, in literary writing, is a place inhabited, however tenuously, by flora, fauna and humans alike. A point of departure as much as a destination, the shore appears in a myriad of ways: gendered female, pliant, and fecund in discovery narratives where the seaside is often the place of first contact; as wilderness to be tamed and cultivated in John Winthrop’s Journal and William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation; as corrective to the idyllic and pastoral Pennsylvania farm in the Nantucket section of Crèvecoeur’s Letters of an American Farmer; in Thoreau’s Cape Cod, as the often foreboding space wherein one must confront history as much as the sublime; as the dilapidated though not yet utterly abandoned wharf that serves as Hawthorne’s setting in the Custom House preface to The Scarlet Letter; the meditative space offered in Whitman’s Sea-Drift poems, the “Sea-Shore Memories” section of Passage to India and in Two Rivulets; and as the vehicle of escape for dreamers, common adventurers, and fugitive slaves who found their underground railroad at sea, on coastal schooners.
Ecocriticism tends to speak of land as an equivalent and shorthand for nature, a tendency that has largely excluded the sea and maritime literature from its purview. Ever eroding and expanding, lush, barren, serene, stormy, un-peopled, bustling, pristine, over-developed, provincial and cosmopolitan, writers like Crèvecoeur and Thoreau go to the shore seeking a better view of the ocean and of America (the land and its people). Rather than posit a firm dividing line between the land and the sea, constructing each as opposing binaries, each as potentially universal and timeless as the other, this course will consider the maritime environment encountered not out at sea, but at the seaside, at beaches and ports.
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
Prof. Travis Williams
T TH 3:30-4:45
Consistent with its advanced place in the catalog, this course will assume some prior experience with the works of William Shakespeare. Reading roughly ten plays, we will constantly consider the special function of poetry as a dramatic medium, as well as the following topics, variously and severally, when an appropriate opportunity arises for their discussion: life in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Shakespeare’s life (including the uses and abuses of biography), the art and technology of making books, the textual complexity of the original editions, issues of gender, rank, and racial identity, and theater practices. You will write three essays and a weekly response paper and make a presentation to the class.
AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENT AUTHORS:
AMERICAN SUBJECTIVITIES AND THE AGE OF REASON
This course will include a combination of modern and contemporary theorists on the Enlightenment (Kant and Foucault, for example) in order to discern what is specific about American literature, culture and politics of this moment. To that end, we will examine the literature of public documents as well as fiction and poetry. Readings will include Franklin, Paine, and Jefferson, Judith Sargent Murray and Phyllis Wheatley.
CONTEMPORARY U.S. AUTHORS: ROBERT COOVER
This course will introduce and exclusively deal with the works of contemporary American novelist and short-story writer Robert COOVER [1932-]. During his career, by now spanning more than 40 years of creative writing, Coover has explored ways in which a contemporary writer can and does respond to writers and forms that have come before him. We'll investigate the way Robert Coover appropriates earlier traditionsf-or instance, the way he responds to fairy tales or to canonical books such as Don Quixote-and think about how he simultaneously preserves and subverts past literary ideas. How can we both learn from the writers who precede us and still be working in an original space? We'll also think about how retelling and reinscribing earlier ideas and tales can transform them and make them our own, learn about Hegel's concept of myth, religion, and history, and determine how Coover applies these in his fictions.
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
While writers from the Western world will be included, the emphasis for this course will be on literatures from areas of the world often not regularly featured in the curriculum. All works will be in English, featuring writers from Asia, Africa, the African Diaspora, First Nations America, and the rest of the Americas. Some readings will be supplemented with film/video screenings.
INTERNSHIP IN ENGLISH
(By Override Only)
These courses offer 3 credits each for successful completion of a supervised internship experience. The courses are designed to provide practical job experience related to your English major. They are intended to help you identify career skills, explore career goals, learn job search techniques and explore a particular work environment.
The first step in this process is to fill out an application for the course(s). Applications are available in the Advising Office, INDP 139. You will be expected to find your own job placement. Lists of possible placements are available at the UYA office in Taft Hall. You may consult with the UYA Program in Taft Hall or with a member of the English Department advising staff for assistance (The UYA Program offers a 15-credit internship). You are expected to work at the placement for 120 hours over the semester (approximately 10 hours/week).
1. A journal of work experience: what you do at your job, what you are learning about office management and politics, how you fit in, what you are learning about your own capabilities and interests.
2. Evaluation by your supervisor at the job site.
3. Your final report.
4. Other class assignments.
CURRENT GRADUATE-SEMINAR OFFERINGS:
Prof. Jennifer Jones
INTRODUCTION TO PROFESSIONAL STUDIES II
Prof. Naomi Mandel
STUDIES IN CRITICAL THEORIES
This is a survey course that traces theories of representation from ancient times to the present day. Its primary goal is to give you a solid grounding in basic texts and to provide you with tools with which to identify the conceptual threads that inform the field. Taking as our main text The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, we will read foundational and canonical works from Plato to the present, paying specific attention to how early critiques of and concerns about
representation (in Plato's Republic) inform later writings up to the 21st century. The general assumption of this course is that critical theorists read critical theory: the difference between Plato and Aristotle can help us understand Marx's critique of value; if you want to understand Lacan's reworking of Freud you need to know your Hegel; if you want to argue with Foucault it helps to see how his work comes out of Nietzsche's (which was an angry response to Kant's). Most of
the course will be spent on contemporary critical theories of structuralism, post structuralism, deconstruction as well as writings about gender, ideology, and history. Finally, we will take a critical look at the Norton itself, examining how these very theories we have mastered are the product of codification, canonization, and the industry of contemporary scholarship.
Prof. Stephen Barber
STUDIES IN EUROPEAN TEXTS:
LITERATURE BETWEEN POLITICS AND ETHICS: DELEUZE WOOLF, FOUCAULT
This seminar begins with Sartre's What is Literature? and is to unfold as a meditation on that question. Those thinkers with whom we will work most closely are Virginia Woolf, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Foucault. As we trace how each of these thinkers, whom we will read with and against one another, respond to the ontological question of the literary, we will examine their respective original conceptions of subjectivity, politics, ethics, critique, and philosophy.
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
SEMINAR IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
An exploration of the works of Ralph Ellison,Toni Morrison, and Charles R. Johnson as representatives of
the African American literary tradition in the period mid-twentieth century to the present. Emphasis will
be on the way the writings of this trio constitute representations of the manifold of the nation as construct, citizenship, and epistemology. The course leans towards research and critical theory.
Prof. Peter Covino
SEMINAR IN CREATIVE WRITING
Poetry as prophetic utterance, as communication of otherness, as sacred fragment and (re-) constituted song…poetry as humorous disjunction, and psychic displacement, as a turning away from the known or quantifiable—as artistic expression that rejects any type of mediation and chronicles, through its sounding, its syllables, and even the silences that which challenges, provokes, and produces available joy and/or haunts us, often simultaneously, or all at once…. Students will work arduously to write publishable poems and establish a personal theory of poetics by considering principles of thematic and stylistic unity and/or disunity, audience response, and even anti-and ultra-artistic principles. We will consider work written in English and in translation, selected from specific collections of poetry from such canonical writers as Sappho, Dante, Rimbaud, D.H. Lawrence, Frank O’Hara, and contemporary writers such as DA Powell, Jan Clausen, and from the recently published New European Poets anthology. New and revised poems and frequent short writing assignments required. Students not interested in writing creatively may substitute a longer critical essay, instead of a manuscript of poems.
Prof. Ryan Trimm
SEMINAR IN HISTORICAL PERIODS: HERITAGE AND POST MODERNITY
The 1980s witnessed the highwater mark of postmodernism in Britain, a period that also witnessed the "heritage wars." The latter encompassed not only the rise of heritage culture (an explosion in cinematic costume dramas of the Merchant-Ivory ilk, a vast rise in museums and catalogues trafficking in the past) but also the heritage politics of Margaret Thatcher (who strive to return the "Great" to Great Britain through a revival of Victorian values). These retrievals of the past came at a time when Britain was grappling with becoming a multicultural nation. Consequently, appeals to the past took on a political charge, for texts set in pre-Windrush Britain appeared to operate a type of cultural gatekeeping. The course will examine a range of novels and films to help chart the culture politics of heritage, texts such as Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, Caryl Phillips' Cambridge, Julian Barnes' England, England, Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books, Peter Ackroyd's English Music, and Zadie Smith's White Teeth. In addition, the course conversation will be informed by critical and theoretical readings from Homi Bhabha, Hamid Naficy, Fredric Jameson, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Gayatri Spivak.