ENGL 6330-001 (3805). EARLY MODERN BRITISH LITERATURE. 2 M. 137 Dallas Hall. Moss. (P52).
In this course we will seek to overcome one of the fundamental disconnects in standard criticism of early-modern English drama: between the theater-historian’s recovery of the conditions of dramatic production on the one hand, and more open-ended interpretations developed out of practices of close-reading, intertextual analysis, and broader historicization of the early-modern period on the other. How did Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, and their contemporaries engage strategically with the evolving dramaturgical practices of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods? What roles did such phenomena as the necessity of character-doubling, the rise and decline of boy acting-companies, or the portability of dramatic productions between open-air public theaters, indoor private theaters, the royal court, and country-estates play in the construction of dramatic texts and their staging? Firmly grounding ourselves in the details of early-modern drama—everything from theater architecture to audience response—we will reassess classic 20th- and 21st-century readings of such dramas as Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Winter’s Tale, Jonson’s Volpone and Masque of Blackness, and Milton’s Comus. Beyond the anthologies, however, we will examine understudied masterpieces like Francis Beaumont’s Knight of the Burning Pestle, unproduced closet-dramas like Elizabeth Cary’s Tragedy of Mariam, and popular hack-work like Thomas Heywood’s Four Ages. We are likely to find some treasured critical and theoretical commonplaces of our own age usefully challenged and complicated—and sometimes bolstered or expanded—by meticulous research into the material, structural, and quotidian elements of early-modern English drama.
ENGL 6360-001 (6029). MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LITERATURE. 2 W. 137 Dallas Hall. Satz. (P60).
Disability Studies and Literature: 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 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, Petry, The Street, Barth, End of the Road, Bronte, Villette, Eugenides, Middlesex , Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo;’s Nest, Lessing, The Fifth Child and stories of Flannery O’Connor.
Requirements: Weekly response papers, role as seminar leader, 3 mid-length papers.
ENGL 6380-001 (6030). HISTORY OF PRINT CULTURE. 2 TH. DALLAS HALL 137. Greenspan. (P34).
This course will offer a survey of the history of written communications in the U.S. from the introduction of the first printing press in the English colonies to the present era of digital culture. In doing so, it will introduce English Ph.D. students to the sprawling multidiscipline of the history of the book in its basic theoretical, methodological, and practical dimensions. One of its core goals will be to introduce them to ways of understanding culture in its scribal, print, and digital formations.
Major topics: history of American literature; local, regional, and national formation through print; print and ethnicity; history of authorship, reading, and publishing; history of journalism, censorship v. freedom of speech; uses of literacy, and the history of archives, including libraries with and without walls.
Texts: "Perspectives on American Book History and portions of The History of the Book in America (5 vols.), to be supplemented by a wide array of scholarly and general interest readings and 3-4 works of literature.
ENGL 7340 (6031). Seminar in British Literature: Wild Thing. 2 T. 120 Dallas Hall. SUDAN. (P75).
This course investigates the importance of objects and spaces in the representation of the early modern subject. We will question what the relationship is between ontological/cultural identity and object/thing/environment, if these are mutually constitutive phenomena, and what possible implications this has to the political expansion of Britain and Britons. In what ways does a “posthuman” language inform seventeenth- and eighteenth-century representations of humanism? How has a differential “nature” been acknowledged, evaded, repressed, and displaced by different forms of the British literary tradition, for example: the pastoral, the lyric, the Gothic, the novel? We will focus on the importance of understanding ecological and climatological systems in these naturalizing texts. Finally, in a grand historical leap, we will attempt to map out problems of things and space in contemporary digital discourse and its forms: wireless technology, digital humanities, and waste. Texts will include Descartes, Bacon, Robert Boyle, Thomas Willis; John Bunyan, Alexander Pope, John Cleland, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Gray, Matthew Lewis, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen. Critical theory will include: Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Sherry Turkle, Katherine Hayles.
ENGL 7350-001 (6033). Seminar in american literature: Revolutionary Americas. 11 tth. 138 Dallas Hall. Weisenburger. (P84).
A striking thing about the American Revolution is that it appears to have inspired no imaginative literature. Thumb through the major anthologies: a few Philip Freneau poems, then the Federalist Papers sandwiched with selected polemical prose from Paine and Jefferson. Was the Founding Drama that imaginatively uninspiring? Hardly, but we will consider how it inspired. First we take up figurations of an American revolutionary and national character drawn from 18th century Indian Wars: a 1763 “pamphlet war,” when Ben Franklin took on Western Pennsylvania settlers for massacring peaceful Indians; then Crevecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer (1782); Timothy Dwight’s long-forgotten and mostly misread American epic, The Conquest of Canäan (1785); and Charles Brockden Brown’s Edgar Huntly (1799). These texts reckon the Founding and nationhood in terms of White Men and Indian Killing—a “Revolution from Above.” Second, taking a more hemispheric view, we consider “Revolution from Below,” beginning with the 1791 – 1804 slave rebellion and founding of the Haitian Republic, as narrated in Mary Hassal’s Secret History (1808). That moment, along with the Mexican War of Independence (1810 – 21), nourished a tradition of U.S. Black Nationalist writings such as David Walker’s Appeal (1829) and Martin Delany’s Blake, or The Huts of America (1861 – 62), approaches to a revolutionary America with a lasting legacy. If time permits we ought to look back on this century of literary history through Herman Melville’s ironic eyes, using Israel Potter (1854) and Benito Cereno (1855). In any case, this seminar aims to inspire participant’s scholarship by taking up some classics, some seldom-studied texts, and some recovered from (electronic) archives.