Class Numbers are included in parentheses following the course number.
ENGL 6313-001 (2678). RHETORICAL THEORY. 12:30 TTh. Dallas Hall 138. Weisenburger.
This survey of narrative theory is intended to serve graduate students’ research and teaching efforts. The subject matter is foundational. For narrative while it pleases and teaches is also an elemental means for composing human experience, for structuring memory and knowledge of what has been or could be, in usages both imaginative and instrumental, across multiple media. And what are its elements? When theorist Tzvetan Todorov coined the term “narratology” in 1969 he aimed to mark a significant, optimistic shift. The sense was that studies in fiction were being re-theorized around a new set of analytically rigorous terms and theoretically guided approaches enabling one to more usefully understand what schoolbooks had named “the elements of fiction.” That certainly did occur, though the field has continued to refocus itself. Our work will concentrate on the turn away from Anglo-American formalist & New Critical approaches into the work of Russian formalists, European structuralists and semioticians and post-structuralists who shaped the field narratology, circa 1970 – 95. We will work from a narrative theory reader and a selection of classic studies (by Barthes, Bakhtin, Genette etc), while applying and testing that knowledge on exemplary stories drawn from a widely used anthology. One aim is to energize and inform our teaching of narrative art. This proseminar should also do the same for students’ research, whatever their subfield of English studies or interdisciplinary emphases may be.
ENGL 6360-001 (2390). MODERN & CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LITERATURE. 2 Th. Dallas Hall 106. Siraganian.
This proseminar begins with the idea that a range of twentieth-century American poets took seriously the “problems of painters,” as Wallace Stevens puts it. Many poets and painters alike asked similar questions: what counts as a poem or a work of art? Is it a thing in the world or a creation of the spectator’s (or the artist’s) mind? Does a poem do more or less than capture a view of the world or a piece of the reality? How do these aesthetic or formal questions relate to social or political concerns? By examining influential American poets from the first half of the twentieth century (Eliot, Stein, Williams, Stevens, Moore), through the second half of the century (Hughes, Bishop, Olson), and onto the present (Ashbery, Cruz), we will study poets’ answers to these questions and formulate our own responses too. In addition to reading literary criticism and theoretical writing on aesthetics, we will pay close attention to the relationship between poetics and literary theory in the period. We will also examine these poets in relation to the artists (such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Robert Rauschenberg, etc.) who sometimes influenced them. Requirements: four (4) 5-page papers handed in approximately every other week throughout the semester and one 8-10-page conference-length paper due at the end (this paper will most likely be a substantial revision, incorporating additional research, of one of your shorter papers).
ENGL 6375-001 (4748). FEMINIST, GENDER, AND QUEER CRITICISM: RE-READING THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. 2 T. Dallas Hall 120. Newman.
Loosely based in nineteenth-century literature, this course will use literary texts to anchor a survey of feminist, gender, and queer literary criticism and theory. It will assume the historical priority of feminist criticism and theory as the origin from which masculinity studies and “queer” theory emerged; however, in order to avoid setting up white feminism as the norm, it will not seek to provide a chronological history. Instead, it will cover (and likely be organized by) topics that mark persistent or important preoccupations, such as the canon; identities and their construction; intersectional vs. monist models of feminist theory; marginality, power, and agency. Literary texts will include some or all of the following: C. Brontë, Jane Eyre or E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Harriet Jacobs,Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Wilde, The Importance of Being Ernest and/or The Picture of Dorian Gray;Woolf, A Room of One’s Own or Three Guineas; Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy; miscellaneous nineteenth-century poems. Critics will likely include Gilbert and Gubar and other American feminist critics of the late 70s-mid-80s; Nancy Armstrong, Eve Sedgwick, Terry Castle, James Eli Adams, Jonathan Dollimore.
ENGL 7340-001 (2307). EARLY MODERN THEOLOGY AND LITERATURE. 2 W. Dallas Hall 137. Rosendale.
This is a course on early modern literary and intellectual history, which will examine the relationship of Renaissance English literature to some of the central ideas and conflicts of the Reformation. Its central premise is that since early modern culture took religion very seriously, and conceived most of its most important questions in religious terms, attending to those issues (and their importance and implications) will make us better readers and help us understand more fully and deeply what’s going on, and what’s at stake, in the literary texts.
Our inquiry will be structured around three fundamental issues of contemporary theology—the problem of authority, the problem of agency, and the problem of representation and interpretation—and will involve extensive reading of literary, theological, and critical texts. We will consider the ways in which the literature both continues and questions the problematics of the earlier movement, reworks them in literary form, struggles with their implications. And in the process, we will think in broader ways about how ideas and questions develop, both over time and in different forms of discourse.
Readings: TBA, but will likely include works by Shakespeare, Sidney (both Phil and Mary), Milton, Donne, Herbert, Bunyan, Marlowe, Hobbes, Spenser, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Hooker, Foxe, Augustine.
Requirements and Evaluation: seminar paper (25-30 pg), formal presentations and responses, participation.
ENGL 7350-001 (2391). DISABILITY STUDIES AND CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE. 2 M. Dallas Hall 137. Satz.
This course melds an exploration of the emerging field of disability studies with an examination of how that theory may be applied to life writing and works of modern and contemporary fiction. Disability theory will be explored from such earlier works as Goffman’s Stigma and Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic, through works such as Thomson’s Extraordinary Bodies and Scarry’s The Body in Pain and recent post-modernist and feminist writings in disability theory. The course will delve into definitional quandaries concerning disability in a cultural context and ethical dilemmas particularly emerging from new reproductive technologies and the exploding field of genetics. Life Writings will be chosen from such work as Mairs, Waist-High in the World, Kuusisto, Planet of the Blind, Greely, Autobiography of a Face, Patchett, Truth and Beauty, Berube, Life as We Know It, Cohen, Dirty Details, Skloot, In the Shadow of Memory, Lorde, Cancer Journals, and Johnson, Too Late to Die Young. Fictional works will be chosen from such works as Castillo, Peel My Love Like an Onion, Eugenides, Middlesex,Alexie, The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Lessing, The Fifth Child and stories of Flannery O’Connor. Requirements: Weekly response papers, role as seminar leader, seminar paper.