Course offerings in the School of Letters vary from summer to summer. All these courses have been offered in the past, some of them several times, and most are likely to reappear in future summers.
Study of American poetry since World War II, from the generation of Theodore Roethke and Elizabeth Bishop to contemporaries like Robert Pinsky and Susan Stewart, with special emphasis on the relationship between these poets and the high moderns who preceded them. (Credit, full course.)
This course explores the "green theme" and the emerging cross-disciplinary character of "ecocriticism" as reflected in writings selected from the full span of American cultural history. Readings include both traditional literary texts and seminal nonfiction by figures such as William Bartram, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, and Wendell Berry. (Credit, full course.)
Advanced study of the major traditions of African American writing from the nineteenth century to the present, including Frederick Douglass, Linda Brent, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, and Rita Dove. (Credit, full course.)
Study of the celebrated novels of Faulkner's major phase-including Sanctuary, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and The Hamlet-as well as the author's significant but often overlooked work in poetry and short fiction. (Credit, full course.)
A broad survey of poetry in English from the Renaissance to the present, with a special focus on two poetic modes, lyrical and dramatic. Reading will include one or two plays of Shakespeare (with a focus on the use of verse therein) and lyric poems by Sidney, Jonson, Marvell, Wordsworth, Keats, Dickinson, Whitman, Yeats, Frost, Bishop, Plath, Strand, and Heaney, among others. (Credit, full course.) Allen Reddick.
Starting from topics raised in Angus Fletcher's book A New Theory for American Poetry, the course examines the development of what might be called "environment poems," poems that are themselves environments. Commences with Walt Whitman and includes Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Laura Riding, Hart Crane, James Agee, May Swenson, and others. (Credit, full course.)
Study of major American poets from the first half of the 20th century, including Frost, Eliot, Pound, Stevens and others. (Credit, full course.)
Study of classic novels of the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Pushkin, Lermontov, and Pasternak. (Credit, full course.)
The course will examine major works of James Joyce, including his short-fiction experiments in Dubliners and the Künstlerroman of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but dwelling primarily on Ulysses, his vastly ambitious comic novel, testing the writer’s claim that it would “keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.” (Credit, full course.) Lauryl Tucker.
Examination of the modern period in British poetry, including close study of Hardy, Hopkins, Yeats, Lawrence, Auden and others. (Credit, full course.)
A study of the development of the American novel during the 19th and 20th centuries. Authors treated will vary from year to year but may include Mark Twain, Henry James, Edith Wharton, William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. (Credit, full course.)
Studies in the poetry, prose and nonfiction of the remarkable period from 1836 to 1865, when such writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman revolutionized American writing. (Credit, full course.)
A course focused on the American experience of Europe. Reading will include major texts by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Henry Adams, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Mina Loy, and Gertrude Stein. (Credit, full course.) Jennifer Lewin.
This course traces the history of the classic nineteenth-century novel. Authors include Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy. With supplementary readings to be drawn from literary theory and recent criticism, the course will analyze such topics as fictional character, prose style, and narration, as well as issues of material culture and philosophy. (Credit, full course.)
Study of major literary works and theories of the Romantic period in Britain, including poetry by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats. (Credit, full course.)
Study of the development of the English novel during the "long" 18th century, including works by such writers as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Lawrence Sterne, and Jane Austen. (Credit, full course.)
Close study of several major English poets (Shakespeare, Donne, Cowley, Milton, Dryden, Pope, Swift, Gray), through the lens provided by the great critic Samuel Johnson, who wrote about them all. The course also looks ahead to such modern writers as Robert Lowell and Samuel Beckett, who read Johnson as a model and inspiration. (Credit, full course.)
A study of Milton's poetry and prose considered in relation to the political, ecclesiastical, intellectual and literary life of 17th-century England. Primary attention is to Paradise Lost. (Credit, full course.)
A study of major English poetry of the 17th century, from the Metaphysicals to Milton. Authors covered include George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and several Cavalier poets, including Robert Herrick and Richard Lovelace. (Credit, full course.)
Advanced study of major plays and lyric poems of William Shakespeare, and of major critical traditions regarding Shakespeare’s work. The course places special emphasis on issues of performance. (Credit, full course.) Ann Jennalie Cook.
Close study of Edmund Spenser's major poem, The Faerie Queene, with some attention to such lesser works as The Shepherd's Calendar and Amoretti. (Credit, full course.)
A close study of all of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, with special emphasis on Chaucer's language (including the pleasures of reading his poetry aloud in Middle English) and on the critical reception of his work up to the present day. (Credit, full course.)
This course will focus on imaginative and innovative ways to teach writing. The course will offer a variety of creative writing techniques and exercises that participants can incorporate into their own English courses, as well as into other courses across the curriculum. It will address various concerns of writing pedagogy, including constructive criticism, motivation, and the balance of reading, analysis, exercise, and workshop. Students will read some pedagogical theory, but much of the course time will be practice-oriented. Students will have the opportunity to develop, refine, and modify (for different levels) their own exercises to present to the group. Each participant will also lead a workshop of at least one piece of writing. The course will be useful to participants' own creative ventures, as well as provide a wealth of valuable ideas to carry to the classroom. This course may be taken by students in either the MA or MFA track; MFA students may count it as either a literature class or a workshop. (Credit, full course.)
Study of the literature of Spanish America, with special emphasis on major prose writers of the 20th century, including Borges, Vargas Llosa, and Garcia-Marquez. Covers literature in translation requirement. (Credit, full course; covers Literature in Translation requirement.)
While closely examining several classic films, the course will introduce students to the major components of film style, essential techniques of film analysis and the critical vocabulary required for it, and some film theory. (Credit, full course.)
This course considers some of the great questions about the nature and value of literature addressed by literary theorists from Plato to the present, engaging such critical approaches as the New Criticism, reader response theory, Marxist criticism, feminist criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, new historicism, and cultural studies. The course has two aims: first, to help us become more aware of what we do, and why we do it, when we study literature; and, second, to help us write better literary criticism ourselves, as we apply a range of methods to the works we study. (Credit, full course.)
The Classical Literature course this summer will focus exclusively on Greek literature (read in English translation), including Homer’s epics, drama by Aeschylus and Sophocles, didactic verse by Hesiod, lyrics by Sappho and others, and philosophical texts by Plato and Aristotle. These diverse texts, composed over the course of several centuries, are united by several common concerns (the nature of justice, the relationship of the individual to society, the dictates of conscience in the face of authority, e.g.) and by their participation in a literary tradition that was keenly aware of itself as such. (Credit, full course; covers Literature in Translation requirement.) Chris McDonough.
Dante's Divine Comedy: The Poetry of Transformation. A close reading of Dante's 100-canto epic, with special emphasis on the relationships between Virgil's Aeneid and Dante's Comedy. We will consider both how Virgil's epic serves as Dante's poetic model and how Virgil's vision of history is corrected, revised, and fulfilled in Dante's own poem. (Credit, full course; covers Literature in Translation requirement.)