An introductory survey of some of the foundational texts of Western literary practice and theory from the middle ages and early modern periods. Texts will not be limited to "literary theory" per se (aesthetics, philosophy, poetics, etc.), but will include a range of texts influential in political, religious and scientific spheres. Thus, this class might better be categorized under the rubric of "History of Ideas". Particular attention will be given to humanism, as a category and as a movement. Authors include Machiavelli, Erasmus, Calvin and Luther, Descartes, Sidney, Hobbes, Diderot, Hume.
Readings will all be available in a course reader. Regular and active participation is expected of all students. There will be one oral presentation, one abstract (1-2 pages), one annotated bibliography (2 pages) and one final paper (10-15 pages). Students will also bring reading questions to class.
Co-taught with Ricardo de Mambro Santos (Visiting Professor of Art History from the University of Rome, La Sapienza)
18th- and 19th-century England witnessed the unprecedented popularity of the aesthetics of the sublime (in its two primary incarnations, the Longinian and the Burkean sublime), as well as the emergence of the counter-aesthetics of the picturesque which introduced the following important changes in sensibility and cultural practices: 1) an investment in the contemplation of landscape as a complex and meaningful activity requiring expertise in art, especially Dutch and Roman landscape painters; 2) a preference for nature in its rough, varied and intricate forms that led to a change in British garden design from the formal garden to natural-looking extensive gardens that imitated the look of a wild, uncultivated stretch of land; 3) the preference for Gothic over Greco-Roman architecture and for landscape painting over the traditional genres of historical and portrait painting; 4) the paradoxical denial and assertion of the equivalence between landscape and property; and 5) the obsession with ruins and dispossessed people, such as gypsies, beggars and rural workers, who are represented as figures of narcissistic self-sufficiency. In this course we will be especially interested in studying the interaction between the aesthetics of the sublime (with its focus on transcendence, the monumental, the terrifying and the heroic) and the aesthetics of the picturesque (with its preference for aged over young people, and destitutes over heroes). These features of the picturesque are expressive of the fear of monumentality, of violence and of sacrifice in this period of vast political and social upheaval (The French Revolution) and economic change (the agrarian revolution which changed the face of the English countryside). We will explore the political implications of various aesthetic theories, wondering for example, why Richard Payne Knight ends a work advocating the new ethos of the picturesque in landscape gardening with a defense against the charge that his “system of rural embellishment resembles the Democratic tyranny of France.”
Readings for the course include selections from treatises on the picturesque (by William Gilpin, Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight) and on the sublime (Longinus, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, and Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel), as well as representative works by British Romantic writers (Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and William Wordsworth). We will close with an examination of the post-modern sublime, as defined by Slavoj iek, Philippe Lacou-Labarthe, Jean-François Lyotard and Theodor Adorno.
An important component of the course will be the study (with slide presentations) of Dutch, Italian, German and English landscape paintings of the 17th- through the 19th-century, a segment of the course which will be team-taught with Dr. Ricardo de Mambro Santos, distinguished art historian from the University of Rome, La Sapienza and author of numerous books on Italian and Dutch artists from Renaissance to Mannerism.
This course will begin with a brief study of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and go on to a reading of a bit of The Four Zoas and all of Milton. The study of these works involves the question of how Blake read Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. That will bring us to the theme of the course: Blake’s reading and his always interesting and often provocative annotations to books he owned. Among those we will consider are the annotations to Lavater’s Aphorisms, certain volumes of Swedenborg, Watson’s Apology for the Bible, Bacon’s Essays, Reynold’s Discourses on Art, Spurzheim’s Observations on the Deranged Manifestations of the Mind, Berkeley’s Siris, and Wordsworth’s Poems and The Excursion. Also, though we do not have Blake’s annotations, Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful. Each member of the class will be responsible for reporting on one of these texts and expanding the report into a paper.
The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. David V. Erdman (ed).
William Blake. Milton: A Poem. Robert N. Essick (ed).
This course will offer an introduction to some major texts in the study of law and literature. The course is a Critical Theory offering, so the major focus of the readings will be in philosophy, Marxism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis and theories of literary and cultural study. We will also read three novels to explore theoretical questions in relation to literary practice. Students may choose to write on a text from outside the class but must demonstrate its relevance to the course objectives.
This course will be broken down into three sections: the first section will explore continental traditions in the philosophy of law, including basic readings in social contract theory and its post-structuralist, psychoanalytic, Marxist and post-colonial critiques. The second section will turn to literary and cultural studies of the law, in which the domain of literary practice is situated in relation to both the abstract idea of law and the historical formation of legal institutions. The third section will provide case studies in law and literature -- and this is where we get to have a little fun. If we have a good conversation together, this final section of the course is likely to challenge everything we have read before. The breach between critical approaches to law and critical approaches to literature is a fascinating product of “modern” institutionalizations of intellectual labor. In this final section, we will have the chance to ask how “law” and “literature” become specific domains of institutional and intellectual practice, looking at how these domains produce both hegemonic and radically heterogeneous logics of race, nation, and empire. Case studies will be taken from novels, critical legal studies, critical race studies, cultural studies, and post-colonial, feminist, and queer critique. The case studies will primarily focus on the cultural formations and institutional legacies of the United States, but we will situate them in relation to transnational and neo-imperial studies of modern power.
Critical readings will include selections from the following authors: Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes; Marx, Nietzche, Fanon; Arendt, Benjamin, Derrida; Freud, Lacan, Butler; Franke, Haney Lopez, Crenshaw, Brown, Asad, Halley; Dimmock, Best, Foucault, Gilmore, Thomas, Patricia Williams, Raymond Williams, Hall. We will also read a few of the following (haven’t decided yet): Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”; Charles Chesnutt, “The Wife of His Youth”; Mark Twain, "Puddnhead Wilson"; Pauline Hopkins, "Contending Forces"; Franz Kafka, "The Trial"; Rabih Alameddine, "KoolAids"; Lawrence Chua, "Gold By the Inch".
This course examines contemporary and historical works by U.S. Latino authors and the critical debates that their emergence within American literature has spurred since the 1960s. We will consider the key issues and themes, critical methods and approaches, and historical and cultural conditions through which Latino literature has asserted its difference within U.S. literature, transforming the overall structure of American literary history. Americans have historically been oblivious to the fact that the U.S. is part of an entire hemisphere also named “America.” The advent of Latino Literature has undone this imperial appropriation of “America” by the U.S. by re-situating “America” within the Americas. If we view the U.S. as part of the Americas, the result is 1) an alternative set of historical landmarks and periodization of 19th-century American literature: 1823, 1846-48, 1898, and 2) alternative cultural geographies of “Am(é)rican” literature: for example, the circum-Caribbean network of migrations and transmissions between New Orleans-Havana-San Juan-Florida, and the reconfiguration of “the Southwest” as el norte, the northward destination of Mexican migrations.
In addition to mapping alternative geographies and periodizations (such as rewritings of 19th century and modernist literary history), we will pose a number of critical questions:
What is an appropriate critical methodology for framing U.S. Latino literature? What are the stakes of using the ethnic studies and minority literature models underlying, for example, the “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage” project, a vast archival effort to recover and publish the literary voices of historical Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban-American communities? What, on the other hand, are the advantages and limits of truly transnational methods of analysis, such as comparative literature? (Some works published in the U.S. by Latin American exiles cannot be read as “precursors” of contemporary Latino literature.) Is there an American literature written in Spanish? (Bilingual poetry makes the case in favor.) How does Latino literature relate to other U.S. minority and working class literatures, via genres such as ethnic autobiography, the Chicano folk corrido, Chicano teatro campesino and the migrant worker novel? How has Latino literature reconfigured the literary types of native, immigrant, and exile literature? What new genres (i.e. the modernist chronicle, magical realism) have been introduced by Latino writers? How does the geopolitical resistance of Chicano border writing contest U.S. imperialism?
Note: Spanish texts will be available in English translation. Course Readings will come from: Herencia: Anthology of Hispanic Literature in the United States (2002) and a course reader with criticism. In addition, we’ll read three novels, likely María Amparo Ruíz de Burton, The Squatter and the Don; Jovita González, Caballero; and Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima.
Narratives of Affect/Affective Narratives: Emotion in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture
After years of scholarship in twentieth-century studies featuring "waning of affect" (in Jameson's famous phrase about postmodernism), study of emotion, affect, and "feelings" in modern and contemporary literary and cultural texts is now, again, a topic of theoretical and critical attention, with a growing number of conferences, fellowships, books, and journal articles devoted to it. This course will read theories of emotion from a variety of disciplines, and think about their interarticulation with the shaping of story in texts from Mrs. Dalloway through recent election politics.
Since emotions have histories, and since various nations, classes, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexualities produce different affective narratives, students will be free to select a specific emotion/affect/site/visual or verbal text on which to write, and to situate this writing in a modern/contemporary historical moment and particular culture of their choice.
We'll think especially about literary fiction and narrative shape, the production of readerly affect, and the novel as a site for theorizing emotion. Writers we'll read will probably include Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, William Faulkner, Sigmund Freud, and Toni Morrison among others.
For the most part, the poetry we shall be reading spans the period from the 1940s to the present, with dead poets among the living. To speak of it as poetry after modernism may suggest historical sequence, but not necessarily a stylistic or conceptual break from the traditions defined earlier in the century by Pound and Eliot, Stevens and Williams, who were in various ways divided among themselves, not to mention divisions within that, as with Williams and Pound, and the later Stevens, gave sustenance to the postmodern. There were departures, to be sure, but also continuity, with a second meaning to after, in the sense of emulation, with modernist “technique” as second nature, including the ethos of paradox and ambiguity, or what Allen Tate defined as “tension” in poetry. As articulated by the New Criticism—which sponsored a sacramental or moral view of language, while institutionalizing the heroic figures of high modernism—this ethos inspirited the poetry that was also burdened by it, resisting it, contending with it, or with various degrees of subtlety, directness, cunning, making its peace or declaring independence.
Of the various movements after modernism, some came with manifestos and there were, indeed, claims of a decisive break or breakthrough, with one or another narrative of the death of modernism or summary judgment of its repressive formalism — reducing thus to one dimension (as often in theory and cultural studies) the modernist narrative itself. There were, all told, various modernisms, shading over — even in a single poet, such as the vorticist Pound — to the avant-garde. We’ll not be rehearsing the variants, though we shall perceive them now and then through more contemporary practices, indebted to modernist poetry but passing as oppositional. Keeping track of every movement since the end of World War II is not quite on the agenda, but some will be considered in passing, from the confessional poetry of the fifties through projective verse and open field to, maybe, the syntactical extremities of l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poetry.
The reading will be done not in an anthology but in a series of single volumes, selected or collected poems, with a probable emphasis on early and middle periods, which first suggested that something distinguished was happening. We’ll be reading, then, about eight poets, and among those being considered (also subject to change) are Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, George Oppen, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and Susan Howe.
This course will introduce students to several key works by Marx and to the debates that have grown up around them. The course will be organized into three units that treat several of the problematics that have been repeatedly returned to by readers of Marx and Marxist theorists, historians, and cultural critics: 1) History and Class; 2) Capital and Labor; and 3) Culture and Ideology. In addition to Marx, thinkers whose writings we will consider include: Balibar, Wallerstein, Chakrabarty, Lukacs, Fraad, Pietz, Althusser, Williams, Eagleton, Benjamin, Spivak, Butler, Denning, Hardt and Negri. Emphasis will be placed on close reading of texts and on animation, elaboration, and analysis of the dialogue emergent amongst them. Previous work in philosophy or critical theory will be helpful, but is not required as a prerequisite.
First we will have the naming of the parts, using Suzanne Eggins' Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics to get an overview and terminology for everything from genre and register to transitivity and clause. We will then take an introductory look at three areas of current research and excitement: corpus linguistics (focusing on word/phrase meaning and collocation), cognitive poetics (focusing on genre and figurative language), and "visual language" (how is it like/unlike verbal language?).
Written work will consist of several short pieces applying certain concepts and a final paper critically evaluating one of the concepts we have discussed (more practical than meta-theoretical).
In this course, we will examine contemporary rhetorical theory by way of genre theory, which will enable us to examine rhetoric not only as a dimension of all discourse, but also as "the condition of our existence"—as integral to complex forms of social participation and organization. As typified rhetorical formations, we will study how genres work to organize and generate social practices, relations, and identities within systems of activity. We will begin the course by briefly reviewing contemporary rhetorical theory and then, out of this rhetorical framework, embark on an intensive introduction to genre theory and explore its claims that genres are not just ways we define and organize kinds of texts (genres as classification systems), but also ways we rhetorically define and organize kinds of social actions (genres as sites of action). Along the way, we will grapple with such questions as: What is/are rhetoric(s)? What is a rhetorical situation (and can there be such a thing as a non-rhetorical situation)? What is the relationship between social and rhetorical action, and to what extent does genre shape both? Where do genres exist and how do they relate to one another within genre systems? How do individuals resist genres, and how and why do genres change? We will examine how genre analysis enables us to inquire into and grapple with the above questions, which ultimately have to do with questions of power and cultural production, to which genres seems integral. Coursework will include presentations, a mid-term short essay, and a final research paper or its equivalent.
This course provides an overview of language testing with an emphasis on teacher-developed assessment tools. The major goals of the course are to provide practice in developing and critiquing tests; to introduce major concepts and issues in language testing; to provide experience with major standardized tests; and to familiarize students with very basic quantitative concepts.
Graduate students in the MFA program will share and consider work--both that of the class participants and examples from the literature beyond the classroom. One poem (newly written or revised) will be expected each week. Class discussion will address rhetorical, grammatical, syntactical, and various other formal and structural relations among words in poems. One
substantial individual conference per student is an important component of the class. Total portfolio of approximately 10 new or newly revised pieces per student, to be submitted at the end of the quarter.
This is one of the four required core seminars in the graduate Textual Studies Program (the others are Oral and Manuscript Texts, Hypertext, and Textual Theory). The seminar gives an introduction to the history of printing as an art and a means of textual transmission, as well as a practical view of hand and machine press printing. Also included: introductory surveys of such topics as descriptive and analytical bibliography, the production, transmission, and editing of printed texts, the history of the book, and current textual and editorial theory. Students will also get practical experience in the editing of printed texts. Some seminar sessions will be held in Suzzallo Special Collections in order to provide first-hand access to examples of early modern print and book history. Visiting lecturers and specialists on the course topics will also be scheduled into the seminar. The professor himself is in the middle of a massive three-volume editorial project on Henry Fielding for the Oxford Press, part already published and part forthcoming, and the seminar students will also get a possibly frightening inside view of the messy workings of such a project.
There will be two group projects and a critical paper. We will also take a field trip to the Thorniley Collection of early printing press technology at the West Coast Paper Company, where everybody gets a shot at operating a hand press (watch your fingers).
No previous work in this subject is assumed for the seminar. If you have questions or would like more detail about the seminar and what it will involve, please feel free to get in touch with Tom Lockwood (email@example.com).
This is a seminar on the implications of reading practices and critical models with specific reference to the problem of political judgment and practical reasoning more generally. The central issue for seminar will be the problem of practical reasoning, as it is foregrounded in and through the reading of imaginative texts.
There will be a course reader including selections from Plato's Republic, Homer's Odyssey, The Book of Job, The Book of Jonah, and most of Jonathan Edwards' The Nature of True Virtue.
Reserve reading will include essays from What's Left of Theory (2000), and selections from Gayatri Spivak's The Death of a Discipline (2003)
The principal literary texts are: William Shakespeare, The Tempest; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Henry James, The Wings of the Dove.
Each student will need a fairly current large anthology of works in critical theory; Critical Theory since Plato, 3rd edition is recommended, but not required; alternatives are The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism or Richter, The Critical Tradition.
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