Dante | ENGL 500

A close reading of Dante's 100-canto Divine Comedy, with special emphasis on the relationships between Virgil's Aeneid and Dante's poem. 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).

Classical Literature in Translation | ENGL 501

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).

Bible as Literature | ENGL 502

Introduction to both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, treating the texts, as much as possible, as literary documents open to multiple interpretations. Emphasis is on close reading of important episodes, in several translations. Supplemental readings will include representations of the Bible by major authors and artists (Credit, full course; covers Literature in Translation requirement).

Literary Criticism | ENGL 503

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).

Film Studies | ENGL 504

While closely examining several 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. Focus will be on American and particularly southern films, and the art of the screenplay (Credit, full course).

Classics of Latin American Literature | ENGL 505

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 (Credit, full course; covers Literature in Translation requirement).

Studies in Literature in Translation: Kurdish Poetry | ENGL 506

The course will introduce students to Kurdish poetry: a tradition little known in the English-speaking world until the last decade. We will focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, tracking how poetry develops alongside the drastic social changes of those time periods. We will touch on topics such as the revival of Sufi mystical practices, the Kurdish reaction to emerging Arab, Turkish, and Iranian nations, and the formation of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government. We will begin with Nali, the first poet to write in what is today the dominant literary dialect of Kurdish, and end with Abdulla Pashew, perhaps the most famous living Kurdish poet today. Students will get to discuss these translations with their translators and meet a couple of the poets behind the verse (Credit, full course; may be repeated when topic differs).

Poetry, Lyrical and Dramatic | ENGL 508

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).

Writing Pedagogy | ENGL 513

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 (Credit, full course; counts as an elective class for MA students and can count as either a workshop or literary criticism class for MFA students).

The Life and Literature of Tennessee Williams | ENGL 530

A study of the major dramatic works of Tennessee Williams, as well as his poetry and fiction. The course also examines Williams' life and his impact on 20th-century American literature and theatre (Credit, full course).

Chaucer | ENGL 552

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).

The Romance of Arthur | ENGL 553

A study of the literature surrounding the figure of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, from its origins in the early Middle Ages to the present. As we discover how each generation remakes the legend in its own image, this becomes a course in cultural transmission, with readings (in translation) from texts in Latin, Welsh, French, and German, as well as English. Among the works studied will be "The Knight of the Cart" by Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach’s "Parzival," the Middle English verse romance "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," Malory's "Morte d'Arthur," Tennyson's "Idylls of the King," Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," and Bernard Malamud's baseball novel, The Natural. We will also consider offshoots of Arthurian legend in the visual arts, opera, and such films as Excalibur, The Fisher King, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The final assignment for the course may be either a term paper or a creative project (Credit, full course; covers Literature in Translation requirement).

Spenser | ENGL 555

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).

Shakespeare | ENGL 557

Advanced study of major plays of William Shakespeare and of major critical traditions regarding Shakespeare’s work (Credit, full course, after 2021 can be repeated).

Seventeenth-Century English Poetry | ENGL 560

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).

Milton | ENGL 562

Milton's poetry, prose and drama are among English literature's most radical and most memorable texts, both for their controversial and lasting formal innovations and for their original arguments about the relationship between poetic vocation and religious, scientific, and political truth. After reading shorter poems, including "Lycidas" and the sonnets, we will immerse ourselves in Paradise Lost, followed by Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. Topics we will cover include censorship and free speech, free will, gender, and Milton's decisive impact on the course of English and American literature. Special attention will be paid both to Milton's influences as well as to the cultural climate in which he gained his fame (Credit, full course).

Hebraism and Hellenism: The Bible, Homer, and English Culture | ENGL 563

This course examines the Greek and Biblical traditions inherited by English culture and follows the transformations, adaptations, subversions, and consumptions of these texts and influence. Reading includes passages from the Old and New Testaments, the Homeric epics, and modern writers from Milton, Fielding and Keats to Langston Hughes, T.S. Eliot, and Mark Strand (Credit, full course; counts as a British literature class for MA students and as a literary criticism class for MFA students).

Dr. Johnson and the Poets | ENGL 566

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).

The Eighteenth-Century English Novel | ENGL 567

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).

British Romanticism | ENGL 570

Study of major literary works and theories of the Romantic period in Britain, including poetry by Blake, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and the Shelleys (Credit, full course).

Special Topics in British Literature: The Wilde 90's | ENGL 572

The 1890s in England was an infamous decade. And the harrowing misbehavior of Jekyll and Hyde will be our entry point. In this course, we will explore the preoccupations of this era: gender and sexuality, theater and theatricality, empire and culture, morbidity and the cult of suicide, the city and decadence, socialism and aestheticism. We will read widely in the corpus of Oscar Wilde, including The Picture of Dorian Gray and Wilde’s vexed and vexing letter from jail, De Profundis, a text that defies traditional readings. While Wilde is the course’s presiding genius (as he was for the decade), we will also read such works as Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African Farm, a scathing indictment of the era's gender and race politics, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four, a fantasy of empire gone horribly wrong. Be prepared to examine the aesthetics of camp in Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical Patience, Michael Field's (aka. Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper) queer poetics, Aubrey Beardsley’s art of the grotesque, H. G. Wells's visions of the apocalypse, and the radical journalism of The Yellow Book as we aim to reanimate the vitality and intensity of the decade’s literary and artistic culture (Credit, repeatable, full course).

Special Topics in British Literature: The Brontës | ENGL 572

This course focuses on a famous literary family. We'll explore both the myths and facts about the Brontë siblings and their lives on the moors. Fiction will be our primary concern, with excursions into poetry as well as biography, a tradition of "packaging" the Brontë's that began in 1857 with Elizabeth Gaskell's problematic Life of Charlotte Brontë. Our interests will be varied: the matter of form and genre (the Gothic, the Bildungsroman, epistolary novel, mystery fiction); the move from realism to romance; the themes of terror, love, and the sublime. Our four main texts will be C. Brontë's Jane Eyre, E. Brontë's Wuthering Heights, A. Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and C. Brontë's Villette; and we will begin with a brief look at Brontë juvenilia, the stories of Angria and Gondal. Our discussions will center around questions pertaining to female authorship, illness and creativity, embodiment and ability, and familial dynamics. The final move of our course will shift us to our present moment, to engage with what has been called "Brontëmania." Who are the NeoBrontës, and why do the Brontë siblings continue to fascinate us (in film, fiction, music, exhibitions, fashion) so utterly today? (Credit, full course). 

The Nineteenth-Century English Novel | ENGL 574

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).

The Expatriate Experience in American Literature | ENGL 575

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).

American Autobiography | ENGL 576

From the earliest period of European settlement, first-person narratives have been a hallmark of literary expression in America. This distinctive subgenre of creative nonfiction has been prominently and variously reflected in texts including Puritan conversion narratives, Ben Franklin’s Autobiography, Henry Thoreau’s Walden, and enslaved person accounts such as that of Omar Ibn Said, as well as in contemporary memoir by Kiese Laymon. Along the way, our course involves several purposes—artistic and otherwise—motivating such texts and this subgenre’s relation to fiction such as that by Elizabeth Hardwick. What contemporary writers might learn from exploring the history of practices in this form is also considered (Credit, full course; counts as an American literature class from before 1900 for MA students and as a literary criticism class for MFA students).

Nineteenth-Century American Literature | ENGL 577

Studies in the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written in the United States from the age of Washington Irving to that of Henry James, including major authors of the American Renaissance, the rise of Realism and Naturalism, and the beginnings of Modernism (Credit, full course; counts as an American literature class from before 1900 for MA students and as a literary criticism class for MFA students).

The American Novel | ENGL 579

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).

Modern British Poetry | ENGL 581

Examination of the modern period in British poetry, including close study of Hardy, Hopkins, Yeats, Lawrence, Auden and others (Credit, full course).

Literary Humor | ENGL 585

Despite E.B. White’s warning that analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog (“it tends to kill the frog”), this course examines the serious ends of funny fiction by modern British and American writers, working toward an understanding how humor functions in literature and culture. Reading will include novels by Stella Gibbons, Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis, Richard Russo, Zadie Smith, and others (Credit, full course; counts as either a British literature class or a post-1900 American literature class for MA students and as a literary criticism class for MFA students).

Joyce | ENGL 586

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).

The Russian Novel | ENGL 588

Study of classic novels of the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Pushkin, Lermontov, and Pasternak (Credit, full course).

Modern American Fiction | ENGL 589

Between 1900-1950, literary authors avidly experimented with new forms and philosophies as they depicted rapid changes in sexual, racial, social, and political identity in the US. After defining the relevance of movements such as regionalism, realism, and modernism, this course addresses the historical and social effects of two world wars, immigration, and urbanization. Authors include Henry James, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, Richard Wright, and Patricia Highsmith. Short readings may be added by Gertrude Stein, Eudora Welty, John Dos Passos, James Baldwin, and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Credit, full course; counts as a post-1900 American literature class for MA students and as a literary criticism class for MFA students).

Modern American Poetry | ENGL 590

Study of major American poets from the first half of the 20th century, including Frost, Eliot, Pound, Stevens and others (Credit, full course).

American Poetry and the Environment | ENGL 591

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).

The Contemporary Short Story | ENGL 592

Among the considerations of this discussion-oriented class will be strengths and weaknesses of stories, collections, and authors of the recent past. Along with speculating about what contemporary fiction can tell us about contemporary culture, we will address specific curriculum issues as they apply to the contemporary short story and the general topic of literary evaluation. Authors discussed may include George Saunders, Edward P. Jones, Jamie Quatro, and Rebecca Lee (Credit, full course).

Faulkner | ENGL 593

Study of the major novels of perhaps the most important American writer of the 20th century: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, and (time permitting) Go Down, Moses. Faulkner was a modernist master, with intuitions of the postmodern. Attention will be given to the complicated burdens of race, sexuality, consciousness, Southern identity, modernism, language, as well as the techniques of and insistence on 'telling' itself (Credit, full course).

Literature of the American South | ENGL 594

Advanced study of the literary tradition of the U.S. South, with emphasis on such major writers as Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren and others of the Agrarian circle, Zora Neal Hurston, and Flannery O'Connor. Attention also to antebellum and contemporary southern writing, and to writers associated with Sewanee (Credit, full course).

African American Literature | ENGL 595

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).

American Environmental Literature | ENGL 596

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).

Contemporary American Poetry | ENGL 597

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).