Spring 2015 Graduate Courses


ENGL 6340-001 (3820) – Victorian Fiction

2:00 PM W – 137 DH – Murfin

A reading-intensive survey of works by Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, Geroge Eliot, George Meredith, and Thomas Hardy.  The recurring theme of the course will be representation--within the novel, of the novel and its role, of a changing political reality by the novel, and of history via narrative strategies and techniques that are unavailable to historians.  The goal of the course is to ensure that every student taking it emerges from our Ph.D. program with a mastery of--and hence the ability to teach--six or seven works generally deemed to represent the best of Victorian fiction.  Because a significant amount of reading will be required, writing assingments will be limited to one short and one medium-length paper.  Each student will also make an oral presentation and take an essay final.




ENGL 6360-001 (3464) – Historical, Critical, and Ethical Issues in Children’s Literature

2:00 M – 137 DH – Satz

This course will explore children’s literature and the critical issues that have arisen within the field.  It will begin with children’s picture books, such as those of Maurice Sendak, confronting the psychoanalytic and ethical controversies advanced regarding his work and The Giving Tree and Love You Forever, engaging the philosophical and theological debates concerning the ideals of these works.  We will then proceed to the canonical body of children’s literature of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty first century reading, considering such writers as E.B. White, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, E Nesbitt, Madeline L’Engle, Philip Pullman, and J.K. Rowling. We will explore how girls, ethnic and racial minority groups, minorities of sexual orientation, and the disabled have historically been portrayed in picture books  and books for older children.  Requirements:  Weekly response papers, role as seminar leader, 3 mid-length papers. 



ENGL 6370-001 (3821) – Migration Narratives: Urban Exodus, Ancestral Return, and Global Souths

2:00 T – 120 DH – Ards

An exploration of the migration narrative in the African American literary tradition from the turn of the twentieth century through the millennium with a special emphasis on the evolving field of New Southern studies. The course places the work of a range of cultural theorists (Farah Jasmine Griffin, Houston Baker, Paul Gilroy, Thadious Davis, Leigh Anne Duck, Jay Watson, Riché Richardson, Zandria Robinson, Keith Cartwright) in conversation with primary texts that may include Cane, Jean Toomer; 12 Million Black Voices, Richard Wright; If He Hollers, Let Him Go, Chester Himes; Thomas and Beulah, Rita Dove; Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed; Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison; Pym, Mat Johnson; Long Division, Kiese Laymon; The Men We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward; and Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Natasha Tretheway.

ENGL 7340-001 (3465) – The Art of Losing in the English Renaissance

2:00 Th – 137 DH – Moss

When Shakespeare’s Antony complains that he has been “beguiled… to the very heart of loss,” he gives Cleopatra more credit than we realize, for the poets and philosophers of English Renaissance had long since mastered the art. It takes the heroes of Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Sidney’s Arcadia only a few pages to lose their ways and identities, for instance, while the flourishing genres of elegy and complaint were predicated on loss. The greatest political and religious writers of the period, meanwhile, never ceased to imagine lost islands and worlds, until Milton revisited the origin of loss itself.

What kinds of loss do early modern English poems and fictions describe? How does loss figure into questions of theology and politics, national or personal calamity, memory and forgetting? How does the rhetoric of loss change across different modes and genres: utopia, pastoral, translation, allegorical romance, elegy, stage-drama, music? Who loses farthest and fastest in these texts? What does it mean to find one’s way or find oneself amid so much loss?

Primary texts: More, Utopia; Philip Sidney, Arcadia; Mary Sidney, Triumph of Death; Spenser, Complaints; Faerie Queene, Books 1, 3, and 4; Shakespeare, King LearCymbeline; Bacon, New Atlantis; Donne, Anniversaries; Milton, Paradise Lost, Books 9 and 10; Paradise Regained; Purcell, Dido and Aeneas


ENGL 7350-001 (3466) – Violent Subjects

9:30 AM TTH – 143 DH – Weisenburger

This seminar addresses violence in late-modern US novels (mainly) during the age of bipolar global Cold War rivalry and its aftermaths. This literature does pose important and wider questions.  Is violence opposite to or an aspect of discourse?  Is it the other of logos, thought, and philosophy? Is it law’s other, a mere anarchy loosed upon the world?  If not then how is violence embedded in representation, in the formation of subjects and identities?  As seminar mates are interested, dialogues will likely take up questions of violence and trauma, as well as violence and affect.  Yet the mainline of our studies, alongside the narratives, will involve 20th and 21st century critiques of violence from Benjamin, Arendt, Girard, Bourdieu, Agamben, Zizek, and Butler.  Our narrative texts:  Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer; Don DeLillo, White Noise: John Hawkes, The Cannibal; Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian; N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn; Toni Morrison, A Mercy; Nathanael West, Day of the Locust; and Richard Wright, Black Boy.  This seminar will alot as much time as possible to our own scholarly writings, taken up in workshop format as we move through, and particularly at the end of, the semester.