Course Descriptions (as
of 1 October 2004)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific sections than that found in the General Catalog. When individual descriptions are not available, the General Catalog descriptions [in brackets] are used. (Although we try to have as accurate and complete information as possible, this schedule remains subject to change.)
Registration in 200-level English classes is entirely through MyUW. Instructors will have add codes beginning the first day of classes for overloads only. If the instructor chooses not to give overloads, the only way students can enroll in a 200-level English class during the first week will be through MyUW if space is available.
First Week Attendance
Because of heavy demand for many English classes, students who do not attend all reguarly-scheduled meetings during the first week of the quarter may be dropped from their classes by the department. If students are unable to attend at any point during the first week, they should contact their instructors ahead of time. The Department requests that instructors make reasonable accommodations for students with legitimate reasons for being absent; HOWEVER, THE FINAL DECISION RESTS WITH THE INSTRUCTOR AND SPACE IS NOT GUARANTEED FOR ABSENT STUDENTS EVEN IF THEY CONTACT THE INSTRUCTOR IN ADVANCE. (Instructors' phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be obtained by calling the Main English Office, (206) 543-2690 or the Undergraduate Advising Office, (206) 543-2634.)
200 A (Reading Literature)
Signifying Progress in 20th Century U.S. Literatures. In this course we will read a range of literary texts that investigate notions of progress as they have been imagined and enacted in the 20th century U.S. As such, these texts raise questions about our relationships to the past and to the future, and the hopes and fears with which we invest them. Ideas about politics, culture, knowledge, and technology are at the heart of these relationships, and thus are the subjects of vigorous debates. But what is this “we” that can be imagined to move continuously through history? Who is included within it? Hence problems of race and gender, class and nationality—among others—are inevitably already at stake. As an introduction to techniques and practices of reading in the study of literature, this course requires a willingness both to engage closely with the features of specific literary texts and to inquire after the social, political, and historical conditions in which they are produced and circulated. In other words, to study literature is also to ask questions about history, about politics, and about the forms and functions of knowledge. Additionally, this course requires a commitment to collaborative effort; throughout the quarter, students will be asked to share their ideas, in oral discussion and in written work, with the entire class, and to respond thoughtfully and respectfully to the ideas of others. Texts: Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man; Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Cynthia Kadohata, In the Heart of the Valley of Love.
200 B (Reading Literature)
In this course, we will consider the ways in which literary works make use of established beliefs and myths, along with scientific knowledge, in order to construct new stories, new ways of imagining who we are, what we are, and how we ought to treat each other and the world around us. In this way, literature serves two important functions: first, it is one vehicle by which scientific discoveries and technological developments make their way into the popular cultural imaginary (with varying degrees of accuracy or “faithfulness” to both science and myth, of course). Second, literature initiates and provokes discourse about the various philosophical and political issues that surround scientific investigation and technological innovation, among scientists and non-scientists alike. This quarter, we will explore both of these literary functions by closely examining and discussing several texts that employ a techno-scientific theme, thereby posing questions and possibly some answers about the philosophical and political implications of scientific knowledge and technological change. These texts invite us to think about modernity, the “event horizon” in which we live, and its relationship to human progress and innovation. Some questions we will consider as the quarter progresses: How do these texts deal with the concepts of modernity, progress, and knowledge? Do they present an optimistic or a pessimistic picture? What ethical, material, or supernatural limits on human knowledge and innovation are posited by these texts? How does the literary medium contribute to the plausibility of each text’s apparent position on a particular issue? That is, what does the literary medium allow each text to “get away with” that it might not, in another medium (science or history, for example)? While exploring these questions, we will also be developing some basic skills necessary for literary analysis: Close reading: examining the language and structure of a literary text in order to reach an understanding of the world view it presents, the questions it poses, and the provisional answers and implications it suggests. Analysis: making connections among several different literary and theoretical texts, and your own knowledge and experience, in order to draw out the larger implications. Writing: presenting your close readings and analysis in a persuasive and engaging written form. I assume that you have a familiarity with basic academic writing: making and supporting claims, using correct grammar, and citing sources using MLA guidelines. Assignments to include: daily reading assignments, short response papers, midterm exam, and final paper. Texts: Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Aldous Huxley, Brave New World; William Gibson, Neuromancer; China Mieville, King Rat; photocopied course packet.
200 C (Reading Literature)
[Techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature. Examines some of the best works in English and American literature and considers such features of literary meaning as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Emphasis on literature as a source of pleasure and knowledge about human experience.] Texts: Joyce, Dubliners; Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Eliot, The Waste Land.
200 D (Reading Literature)
novels written after World War II that concern the various movements of peoples and social conditions of displacement that generate them. This literature richly provokes its readers to think critically about migration and ask some important questions: How are different migrations prompted by particular, often violent, historical changes? How do these texts, in tern, invite readers to understand relevant issues as the change from rural to city life, the ongoing histories of different social groups, and the role of the U.S. nation in controlling migrations for diverse purposes? This class will teach us to think epistemologically: we will learn to identify dominant ways of knowing and understanding, to analyze how power inheres in these knowledges, and to read literature for its challenges and/or alternative knowledges about the issues of race, gender, class and sexuality that are at stake in narratives about migration. Texts: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Jack Kerouac, On the Road; Toni Morrison, Sula; Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior; Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters; Le Thi Diem Thuy, The Gangster We Are All Looking For.
200 E (Reading Literature)
Symbols and Themes in Ethnic American Literature. This course will engage in close readings of ethnic American short stories and novel, focusing on comparative approaches to evaluating symbols and themes in the narratives. In particular, we will survey concerns to immigrants and ethnic groups in these works that surface in the wake of immigration, race, gender, nationality, sexuality, language, and more. Students are expected to attend all classes, will be responsible for leading class discussions and doing group work, and will be graded on this plus written essays. Texts: Julia Alvarex, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents; James Baldwin, Another Country; Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters; Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker; Salman Rushdie, Fury; Hisaye Yamamoto, 17 Syllables.
205 A (Method, Imagination, and Inquiry)
This course offers a rigorous introduction to intellectual history by examining the rich relations between method and imagination, by treating Western intellectual history as overwhelmingly motivated by the idea of inquiry. The reading for the course is demanding, but coherent: each text provides a basis for better understanding the next. Considers literary, philosophical and scientific texts, including works by such authors as Plato, Aristotle, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, Descartes, Kant, Coleridge, C. S. Peirce, Thomas Kuhn, and William Faulkner. The course meets daily; one meeting each week will be in smaller sections ot go over reading and writing assignments. There is a take-home mid-term examination, a number of short papers, and a final paper. (Offered jointly with CHID 205) Texts: Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Arkrill, New Aristotle Reader; Plato, Phaedo; Descartes, Discourse on Method; Shakespeare, The Tempest; Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
Cultural Detritus: America’s Wastes. This course is structured as an interactive discussion seminar in which we will develop skills in cultural studies analysis with a focus on recent and contemporary U.S. culture. But instead of taking “culture” itself – or even what we typically label “products” of culture – as our starting point, we will look at cultural byproducts. As we examine cultural representations and analyses of “detritus” or “waste” in a variety of texts (fiction, essays, cultural theory, poetry, visual art, advertisements, architecture, and landscapes), we will look for the multitude of ways in which this detritus, though often denied the status of “culture itself” or “cultural product,” is inseparable from, and indeed helps to constitute, these categories.
Examining the topic of detritus is a useful way to analyze a culture that has often been deemed excessive and wasteful. Fifty years ago, Americans celebrated “throwaway living”; what – and who – are today’s throwaways, and what are their places in American culture? When we examine the byproducts of industrial production and everyday consumption, what do we learn about culture? If American culture has historically been associated with the American landscape, what do “wastelands” and polluted landscapes mean to and indicated about Americans? How has the American landscape accommodated or not accommodated waste? How do we read spaces that have been deemed “outside” of the everyday life of American culture, like deserts or landfills or brownfields? As we address these and other questions, our conversations will be situated in critical discourse about cultural studies, objects and commodities, landscape and environment, art and aesthetics, and social and environmental justice. Texts: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Don DeLillo, Underworld; William Rathje & Cullen Murphy, Rubbish: The Archaeology of Garbage; photocopied course packet.
207 B (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
To help us “study culture,” we will start with some definitions. We will define culture as a space of struggles and contradictions which reflect the lived lives of individuals as well as a space in which identities – national, racial, sexual, etc. – are forged. As such, “culture” is always fraught with tensions as it’s a site of both resistance to and reinstatement of existing social relations and hierarchies. Taking novels as products of such culture, we will focus on developing critical reading practices that can stretch our thinking for possibilities for change within the realm of culture. More specifically, we will examine how “race” functions in the novels as a grounds for political struggle for social meaning by focusing on one particular racialized group whose significations of “social meaning” have gone through various shifts, such as those of “coolie,” “Asiatic,” “non-white,” “Oriental,” and “Asian American.” Because we are proposing to engage with culture through critical reading practices, expect a heavy reading load. Texts: Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Cha, Dictee; Chua, Gold by the Inch.
210 A (Literature of the Ancient World)
[Introduction to literature from a broadly cultural point of view, focusing on major works that have shaped the development of literary and intellectual traditions to the Middle Ages.] (210B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1.
211 A (Medieval & Renaissance Literature)
Magic and the Supernatural in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. In this class we will read literature from the Middle Ages through the early Renaissance. Our focus will be the magical and the supernatural as it appears in a variety of texts from across Europe. We will examine how magical elements are used in a fictional narrative, as well as how the magical and the mystical function in more autobiographical works. This class is focused on reading and discussion, not on long boring lectures. Each student should bring to class a curiosity about literature and its use of the supernatural. Required work: There will be weekly reading quizzes as well as two exams and a final paper. There will also be one group presentation. (211B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
This course takes up what is generally regarded as the movement from Enlightenment to Romanticism. Quite literally, we will look at the play of 'light' and 'darkness' in this movement, or what was able to be lit up by the Enlightenment and what was left in shadows. Throughout, we will focus a good deal of our attention on notions of the self - the rational and irrational - and how such ideas come to bear upon the representative myths, struggles, and aesthetic pursuits of the period. The course will also attempt to deal with some of the broader cultural and political implications - especially as they concern the major event of the late 18th century, the French Revolution of 1789. Selected Readings (which include some philosophical background sources, but are mostly 'literary') from: Plato, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Burke, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Byron, DeQuincey, Ruskin, Mill, ending a little out of the period with Dostoevsky's 'Notes.' We will also look briefly to the artwork of: Piranesi, Fuseli, Blake, Turner, and perhaps a few others. In addition to the two required shorter novels, we will have a course pack of readings. (212B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground; photocopied course packet.
213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
Space, Time & Memory in Literary and Visual Culture. The goal of this class is to introduce students to the concepts and practices of modernism and postmodernism. To do so, we will examine artistic responses to the historical conditions of modernity and postmodernity as expressed in works of literature, art, and architecture. We will consider the differences and continuities of these responses and analyze, in particular, the way that space, time, and memory are conceptualized within particular works. Utilizing critical essays to ground our discussion, we will address the following questions: Do modernism and postmodernism mean the same in literature, art, and architecture? How do artistic responses change in the shift from (industrial) modernity to (post-industrial) postmodernity? How can the concepts of space, time, and memory be used to map this shift? The primary texts for this class will be novels and poetry, supplemented by art, architecture, and critical essays. The following authors will be included in our reading: Charles Baudelaire (Les Fleurs du Mal), Franz Kafka (The Trial), Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), Michael Cunningham (The Hours). Requirements: This is a discussion course, so daily participation is required. Assignments will include a midterm exam and paper, a longer final essay, several short papers, reading quizzes, and a class presentation. (213B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1.
In this course, we will investigate how modern and postmodern literature explores issues of identity. As we discuss three print novels and a hypertext work, we will consider the connection between notions of identity and the cultural contexts of the 20th-century United States. We will also discuss two major literary movements: modernism and postmodernism. By the end of the course, students will have acquired an understanding of the relationship between texts and context and what it means for 20th-century fiction to be deemed modern or postmodern.
Students in the course work toward several goals: learning to analyze literary works and their contexts and developing as critical thinkers and writers. Course activities promote active learning, with most class sessions including a mix of mini-lectures, discussion, short writing exercises, and group work. My role is to provide the tools and resources you will need to advance your own thinking and writing. I will pose questions, design activities to help you think through these questions, and respond to your ideas. Your role is to do the hard work—the critical reading, discussion, and writing. You will analyze texts, generate ideas in electronic and face-to-face discussions, develop presentations with your peers, construct written arguments, and use feedback to revise those arguments.
Requirements: Class Participation. Class discussion
constitutes one key method of developing your analytical skills. Thus, I expect
prompt, regular attendance
and active participation in discussions of novels and supplemental readings.
You should come prepared for each class session, with assigned reading completed.
You should also plan to ask questions, make comments, summarize critics’ arguments,
paraphrase your electronic postings, or contribute to small-group discussions.
Like all skills, speaking in class becomes easier with practice. I do not
expect fully polished analyses in class discussion; rather, your contributions
ideas for further development. Electronic Postings. Students will
use the class discussion board to post responses to each novel. To facilitate
I will post questions to which I want you to respond. Your posting should
provide a 200- to 250-word answer to a selected question; you may also address
classmates’ ideas as you respond to the question. The electronic posting
area allows us to extend class discussion and raise issues to address in
class. Your postings receive points on a credit/no credit basis, with full
granted to on-time postings that meet the length requirement and demonstrate
serious engagement with the discussion questions. Over the course of the
quarter, you may do three optional postings in which you respond to your
or develop an idea only partially explicated in class. These postings will
also receive full points for length and genuine engagement. On the course
schedule, I have indicated the dates when I will accept optional postings. Essays. You
will complete two five-page essays on assigned topics. I require at two drafts
of all essays; only the final draft receives a grade. Take-Home Final. During
the last week of class, you will compose an exam with two three- to four-page
essays on Auster’s City of Glass and Jackson’s Patchwork
You will have five days to finish the exam. Grades will
be computed by points, with 400 points equaling a 4.0, 300 points a 3.0,
and so on. If your total
falls between grades, I will round up if you score one to five points below
the higher grade and round down if you score one to four points above the
lower grade. For example, 274 points equals a 2.7 and 275 points a 2.8. Each
is worth the following number of points: Class Participation: 60 points;
Electronic Postings: 80 points; Essays: 180 points; Take-Home Final: 80 points.
only, Registration Period 1.
225 A (Shakespeare)
This course is designed as an introduction to the works of Shakespeare and the culture in which he lived and wrote. We will be covering tragedy, comedy, romance, and history plays. The course will focus on close readings of texts, with a particular emphasis on decoding the language of asrguably one of the most important figures in the canon of Western literature. To this end, the main goal is to make you more confident readers of Shakespeare. In addition, we will negotiate the difference between the works as they perhaps might have been understood in Shakespeare’s own culture and how they have been understood since. We will read and discuss criticism ranging form the Romantic period to more modern approaches. Because these works were meant for the stage, we will also be discussing aspects of performance and if possible, we will attend one of the plays we will be reading. We will read five to six plays and of course, some sonnets. You can expect lively interactions in discussion and as this is a “W” course, you will be expected to write. Text: Bevington, ed., The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 5th ed.
225 B (Shakespeare)
When we study Shakespeare, are we studying literature or theater? Shakespeare, like most playwrights, never intended for his works to be read and studied as words on a page but rather to be received as scripts for performance. However, by emphasizing factors of performance over the written word, one can easily lose sight of the carefully constructed subtexts, historical and literary references and allusions, and narrative twists. In this class, we will consider Shakespeare's plays as both literary gems and scripts meant for live performance, and we will attempt to negotiate the issue of textuality (when is a text a text?). We will read, analyze, write about and perform 5 to 6 plays representative of the Shakespearean canon. We will practice close reading and explications, as well as discuss literary and historical contexts, modern critical approaches, and, perhaps most importantly, the performative possibilities (or rather, the power of performance as interpretation) of each work. In addition to reading film adaptations as critical interpretations, we will also go see some live productions of the plays at various theaters around town (tickets will cost additional money, details should be worked out this August). This is a "W" course, so you should be prepared to write. Readings will be announced once the live performances are determined.
228 A (English Literary Culture: to 1600)
In this course we will examine aspects of literary culture in medieval and early modern England. The period we must cover spans close to a millennium, so our approach to its literature will be representative, in the sense that we will study select texts from a vastly larger body of work and consider them within the context of the broader literary traditions and social, political, and intellectual movements in English history. To impress some continuity on our selected material and to provide an overarching though not exclusionary theme for this course, we will examine representations of the body in the medieval corpus of English literature through to the early modern period. We will study the human body as an organizing metaphor behind articulations of social, religious, and political structures as well as the site for constructing national, cultural, and gendered identities. Some of the questions I hope to consider in the course include: What are modern and medieval conceptions of the body? What are its defining features and limits? What wondrous feats (and fearsome horrors) is the body capable of, and subject to, in life and literature? What legacies can we identify in modern times that our Western culture has inherited from these earlier conceptions of, and writings about, the body? Course requirements: Class presentation w/ paper, midterm and final, class participation. Readings will include: Old English and Middle English poetry, didactic prose writing, medieval drama, as well as selected works from "major" authors (Chaucer, the Pearl-poet, Shakespeare). A note on the religious content of the course material: In this course we will be viewing the texts we read— including articles of faith—as literary and cultural artifacts. If anyone is not comfortable with this approach, you may wish to consider another course. (228B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Baswell & Schotter, eds., The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volume1A: The Middle Ages; Shakespeare, The Tempest; photocopied course packet (available at Ave. Copy Center, 4141 University Way NE)..
228 C (English Literary Culture: to 1600)
This course surveys important genres, languages and themes of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period through the late fifteenth century. Class time will be devoted to close analysis of works as well as considerations of the social, political, and cultural forces impacting their production and reception. Readings will include Anglo-Saxon verse, the Lais of Marie de France, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; and Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. Regular participation in discussion is a requirement. Other course work will likely include presentation, paper, and exam. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1A: The Middle Ages; The Lais of Marie de France; Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances
229 A (English Literary Culture: 1600-1800)
Morality and the Literary Tradition. In the early modern era, as texts began circulating to ever wider audiences, writers felt the need to position their works as being somehow useful, purposeful and instructive. Didacticism – that is, communicating for the purpose of teaching – was considered a selling point, as well as an attempt by the text to escape censure for being a waste of time or a corrupting influence. Such a tradition is longstanding, and dates from a time when the vast majority of printed texts were related to religious scripture. We might say that a secular text needed to explain itself, to offer justification for how it was still useful even when no longer dealing directly with scripture. Writers working in different genres at different times share in this tradition, even while varying greatly in the types of claims made to situate a poem, play or prose narrative as either an exemplum (behavior one should emulate) or a cautionary tale (what not to do). These claims would appear in the form of a prologue, preface, dedication or introduction, or could arise at different moments in the body of text as a direct or implied address to the reader or audience. What is most interesting about this phenomenon, and what will be our main concern in this course, are the ways such texts could be quite contradictory in that the on-the-surface moral, which preached conformity to norms, was often subverted by a below-the-surface moral which called these norms into question, when not negating them outright. For example, in Milton’s Paradise Lost morality is synonymous with a faithful obedience to God’s commands – all else is mere vanity. Yet this endorsement of the sanctity of hierarchy is compromised by the simple question Eve poses before eating the fruit: “For inferior, who is free?” Even more complicated mixed messages are conveyed in the comic plays of the restoration period, where men and women criticize the stifling strictures of society and its hypocritical practices regarding marriage, money and class, monogamy and sexuality, but rather than purpose an alternative moral scheme, characters take their revenge merely by hiding their identities, pulling pranks on one another and cheating on their spouses. Later, in the development of the novel, class became a central issue as there was an explosion in printed guides on manners, the development of magazines, and fictional novels claiming to be “true accounts” or “histories” of actual persons whose experiences would teach the reader how to make choices in an increasingly mercenary and class-competitive free market economy. As we make our way through this period we will consider how socio-historical events affected the moral landscape: the English civil war; the influence of politics, court life and religion on literary practice; colonization and slavery; gender roles and the appearance of female actors onstage; the ongoing theme of prostitution and the creation of a middle class sensibility. (220B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: John Milton, Paradise Lost; Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Or Virtue Rewarded; photocopied course packet (available first week of quarter from Ave Copy Center, 4141 Univ. Wy.)
229 C (English Literary Culture: 1600-1800)
We will discover the ways in which British poetry, drama, and prose comment upon the expanding British nation and also upon individuals’ experiences therein. In the process, we will explore how reading literature of an earlier time provides ground for examining our own positions in language, culture, and society. Because we survey a lot of territory in a course like this, the material is frustratingly selective, and whizzes by frustratingly fast, but you should acquire a good appreciation of several important texts and authors of the period, including Donne, Milton, Defoe, and Pope. In addition, we’ll look at some more bizarre and more minor texts and authors in order to get a better sense of the scope and the “fringes” of the period’s literature. The readings demand intense close attention to detail and nuance, playfulness with language, and the willingness to step outside of your own historical circumstances. Requirements (subject to slight change): Fairly heavy reading load, weekly response papers, one longer essay, midterm exam, final exam, and presentation. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Clare Caroll & David Damrosche, eds., Othello and the Tragedy of Mariam; Greenblatt, ed., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1; Defoe, Moll Flanders.
230 A (English Literary Culture: after 1800)
It is probably safe to say that more of what we commonly call “literature” has been produced, published and distributed in England from 1800 to the present day than in all periods and places before it. We will approach this enormous treasury by reducing it to two revealing moments separated by a century: round about 1860 and round about 1960. In 1860 England possessed a vast empire on the edge of enormous expansion into Africa; England was the premier industrial power with competition brewing on the Continent and in America. That Continent had not seen significant warfare since Waterloo in 1815. Reverse all that by 1960: the Empire almost gone, industrial power damaged and dissipated by global war (and the threat of nuclear devastation) while former enemies and allies seemed to be in control. And yet we will find that certain themes, indeed obsessions, persist from one period to the next. We will see all the anxieties and many of the amusements that we associate with modern times emergent in 1860, equally urgent in 1960 with fascinating variations. Consider the movies… The readings and viewings from the two periods will divide down the middle of the course around a midterm essay followed later by a final essay. Lecture and discussion, writing and talking in class. (230B represents 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students only.) Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: 1860: Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860-61); John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1860, published 1869); Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market” (1869, published 1862); 1960: John Osborne, Look Back in Anger (1956) and the movie (dir. Tony Richardson, 1969); Alan Sillitoe The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959) and the movie (dir. Tony Richardson, 1963); John Osborne and Lindsay Anderson, essays from Declarations (1958).
242 A (Reading Fiction)
Reading Fiction: Fiction and Truth. What responsibility do fiction writers have to the truth? By definition, fiction is the opposite of truth, giving writers free range of expression. Yet readers expect stories that are satisfying, believable and captivating—something which requires a fine balance of realism and invention. Raymond Carver, famous for his stark realism, once said: Just telling it like it is bores me. It really does. People couldn’t possibly read pages of description about the way people really talk, about what really happens in their lives. They’d just snore away, of course, If you look carefully at my stories, I don’t think you’ll find people talking the way people do in real life. While real life may be a snore, if truth is really stranger than fiction, formulaic plot structures and overused dramatic effects can be just as dull and tired. In this class, we’ll explore how writers use the craft of fiction to tell stories that seem both strange and true, exploring elements of form, structure and language as they influence the reader’s perception of described events. The balance of verity and fiction affects more than just the reader’s level of involvement and engagement with the text, however. Stories provide a neatness and logic that is rarely present in our experience in the moment, and yet it is this insight and hindsight that allows us to make sense of our experiences, such that stories often guide us in our understanding of reality. If fiction has any purpose, then the way that authors present reality matters, because they are laying out the maps that guide us in exploring the vast territory of human experience. How do writers cope with experiences that seem inexpressible, unbelievable, or too horrible or delicate to mold into the neat rise and fall of a traditional plot? Writers are often advised to write what they know, and in this sense the issue of truth in fiction becomes a question of what and how we know. At the deepest level, the readings for this class explore these questions, witnessing the power of that fuzzy area in-between the truth and how we tell it, and illustrating that what we know is both more and less than the simple truth. Class work will involve writing two papers and a short story, a midterm and a final exam, along with shorter writing assignments and significant class discussion and participation. Texts: Tim O’Brian, The Things They Carried; Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Slaughterhouse Five; Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Mario Vargas Llose, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter; photocopied course pack, including selections from Ursula K. LeGuin’s Changing Planes, Donald Barthelme “Me and Miss Mandible,” “Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowning.” “The Dolt.” “Eugenie Grandet.” “The School."
242 B (Reading Fiction)
With the rise of democratic movements in the late 18th century began the large-scale cultural productions, political and literary, that began to reconfigure the meanings of human nature as well as humankind’s relationship with and conceptions of nature itself. In this course we will probe 19th-century American literature -- with a focus on the writings of Poe, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau – in order to better understand 19th-century concepts of self and the natural world and how these inform political and social realities well into the present. Texts: Melville, Typee; Hawthorne, Scarlet Letter; Thoreau, Cape Cod.
242 C (Reading Fiction)
This course introduces post-World War II fiction with an aim to produce thoughtful arguments through close, critical reading. We will examine several imaginative literary texts by considering the cultural dimensions in the representations of history, social antagonism, territory, and the individuals that negotiate these forces. While common thematic interests will help to provide a vocabulary for our exploration of these books, we will also be fostering an appreciation of how the elements of fiction and narrative style work. Our discussions will demand active, engaged participation and in-class presentations. Though the discussions about the pleasures of reading fiction and methods for interpretation will be a sustained focus of the course, we will also engage various approaches for articulating your responses in writing. As a “W” course, there will be a number of short response papers, a longer paper, and a final exam. Texts: Samuel Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable; E. L. Doctorow,The Book of Daniel; Octavia Butler, Kindred; Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; Thomas Pynchon, Vineland; Alexie Sherman, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
242 D (Reading Fiction)
“How Do I Love Thee? Relationships in Modern and Postmodern Literature.” In this course, we’ll be reading and writing about relationships: primarily romantic ones, but other interpersonal bonds as well. We’ll consider the underlying notions of subjectivity that shape the relationships described, and how that notion changes between the modern and postmodern eras. Texts: D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly’s Lover; Ford Maddox Ford, The Good Soldier; Djuna Barnes, Nightwood; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Barry Gifford, The Wild Life of Sailor and Lula; photocopied course packet with short stories and theoretical readings.
243 A (Reading Poetry)
In this course we will read, discuss and write about poetry, from traditional to contemporary, formal to free and back again. If you have never delighted in, understood nor fully enjoyed working with poetry, here is an opportunity to do just that. An individual poem, or a collection of them, may tell a story, revel in description, provide insight, infuriate, deliver the sudden clarity of a perfect image or sound, or hammer one over the head with meaning, but whatever the result, the potential for various kinds of goodness in poetry is unlimited. We will begin the course with individual poems by different poets as well as essays about poetry and poetics, then read book-length collections by four contemporary poets who are still writing and publishing. Finally, we will consider the newest issue in the annual Best American Poetry series, and visit notions of personal preference, publishing, and what poets say about their chosen poems. Coursework will include completion of assigned readings, participation in classroom discussions and group exercises, a class presentation, several shorter writing assignments (both in and out of class) and a longer final essay in draft and revision stages. Required texts: R.S. Gwynn, editor, Poetry: A Longman Pocket Anthology, 4th edition; Sherman Alexie, One Stick Song; Marilyn Hacker, Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons; Joanie Mackowski, The Zoo; David Wagoner, The House of Song; Lyn Hejinian and David Lehman, editors, The Best American Poetry 2004; photocopied course packet.
250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
We’ll read and discuss an assortment of prose and poetry by American writers. Students will be expected to attend class regularly, keep up with reading assignments, and take part in class discussion. Written work will consist entirely of a series of from five to ten brief in-class essays, done in response to study questions handed out in advance. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Perkins & Perkins, eds., The American Tradition in Literature (shorter, one-volume ed.; 10th ed.); Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables.
250 B (Introduction to American Literature)
Journeys in American Fiction. A fascination with exploration and discovery has been frequently noted in American literature and culture, especially at the turn in to the twentieth century. In this course we will first establish this trend and then consider its impact on writing selected from various points beginning in th 1860s and ending in the 1980s. The motif of the journey – whether outward movement in location or inward exploration of the self – will provide an important focal point for our work. The primary aim of this course is to provide an introduction to key themes and trends in American literature. In order to meet this goal we will read a wide range of literary texts – essays, short stories, poems, and novels – and discuss them actively and thoughtfully every day in class. In other words, this is a discussion-based course. Student reports will help to expand our initial responses to the literature by making connections to cultural concerns and social issues relevant to each text and author. The following authors will be included in our readings: Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Willa Cather, John Steinbeck, Richard Wright, Jack Kerouac, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Joan Didion. Expect very active participation in class, regular group work, short individual presentations, a mid-term exam, and a final paper. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Kerouac, On the Road; Silko, Ceremony; Steinbeck, Travels with Charley; photocopied course packet.
250 C (Introduction to American Literature)
This course is a survey of American literature and as such, we will take the category and the concept of American Literature itself as a theme and a problem; that is, we will examine how literary texts have produced, narrated, and (re)defined national identities and crises. What kinds of different narratives about America (or being American) are produced (or alternately, resisted or challenged) by these texts? In what ways does American literature narrate both the coherence and the instability of “America(n)” as a signifier for national identity, history, and culture? Who or what gets narrated as America(n)? Who or what falls out of this narrative? Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Chester Himes, If He Hollers Let Him Go; Graham Greene, The Quiet American; Joan Didon, Democracy.
250 D (Introduction to American Literature)
Nightmare on Main Street: Crafting an American Literary Tradition.
Violence is as American as cherry pie.
- Rap (Hubert Gerold) Brown
American literary traditions craft an image of the nation as a united, glowing state of harmony, yet underlying this shiny image, within these same bodies of literature, run thick veins of supernatural and gothic tales. The canon of American literature, itself, is one that selects the gleaming examples of American exceptionalism over all too often ignored works of horror and terror by the same authors. When we think of Louisa May Alcott, we tend to associate the author with her series of novels beginning with <i>Little Women</i>; that Alcott also wrote a top tale of psychological horror is rarely noted. This is a course about the threads of supernatural and gothic literature that constitute the backbone of American literature. We will explore the ways in which canonical American literature is dependent upon, and indeed founded on, tales of ghosts, terror, and the grotesque. To that end, we will explore the ways in which America's self-made mythology as a nation of progress and unity directly contradicts the foundations of the gothic and supernatural literatures that thrive within the American literary tradition. The range of American literature spanning from supernatural and occult tales, ghost stories, and existential novels of dread to early romantic gothic tales and psychological horror stories constitute, as Leslie Fiedler argues, "a literature of darkness and the grotesque in a land of light and affirmation."
This course is a survey of American literature organized around the theme
of the supernatural and gothic. We will read texts from the colonial period
to the present, considering both cultural and literary historical contexts
as well as aesthetics. Guiding questions for the course include: To what extents
do gothic and supernatural literatures form integral networks of historical
representation? How do the gothic and the supernatural register their culture's
contradictions and present a distorted, though not disengaged, version of reality?
How can we read these texts in a way that remains mindful of history's horrors
while giving due attention to reading practices that would disavow them? What
roles do gothic and supernatural tales play in the creation of American national
narratives? Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (250E represents 5 spaces
reserved for new transfer students only.) Text: Photocopied course packet.
257 A (Introduction to Asian-American Literature)
This course will examine the historical currents that necessitated the emergence of Asian American literature, in conjunction with a consideration of the difficulties and possibilities inherent to defining an “Asian Pacific American” literary sensibility. Asian American populations have been deeply impacted by restrictive immigration legislation and American foreign policy, putting its peoples in a unique position for defining Americanness. How do artists with an Asian ancestry challenge a country that ostensibly celebrates diversity yet looks with suspicion on the foreign? The course will include novels, short fiction, theory, and film, beginning in the early twentieth century with the works of Carlos Bulosan and ending with contemporary writers such as Chang-rae Lee and David Henry Hwang. (Meets with AAS 401A.) Texts: John Okada, No-No Boy; Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior; Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker; David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly; Frank Chin, Donald Duk.
281 A (Intermediate Expository Writing)
281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
ENGL 281 is an intermediate expository writing class that will give you more experience in academic writing and critical reading. In this section, we will focus on the theme of language, exploring the complex role language plays in everyday life as well as in the academic context. While for some people language is merely a tool for communication, we will complicate that notion through our readings and class discussion and investigate the ways in which language has been used to create meaning for us. We will examine the role of language from two perspectives. In the first half of the course, we will investigate the relationship between language and identity/community, and consider the extent to which our self-identities (social, cultural, ethnic, gender) shape and are shaped by language. During the second part of the course, we will examine the role of language from the discourse analytical and rhetorical perspective and look at how a keen awareness of language choices in reading and writing makes the communicative process effective and persuasive. We will read a number of academic articles that deal with these subjects, which will provide the basis for our discussion, thinking and writing. Throughout the whole quarter, we will also discuss how to write effectively in the academic context. Written work (most of which will be argumentative papers) will include several short response papers, a mid-term paper and a final research paper. In addition, each student will give two in-class presentations (instructions on the presentations will be available once the course begins). No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Text: Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar, 4th ed.
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)
281 E (Intermediate Expository Writing)
[Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.] CIC section. No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2.
281 F (Intermediate Expository Writing)
n this course, we will be investigating television, cinematic, and literary representations of women and female power in contemporary society. Using a case study approach, we will examine recent television shows, movies and/or books that are representative of the range of modern action heroines. In doing so, we will address the following:
1) How popular texts are opening up space for images of female power and physicality, female individuality and heroism, and also function as expressions of feminine discontent and/or
2) How such women are contested figures and question why they are often portrayed as weaker than their male counterparts, usurpers of hegemonic authority, are highly sexualized, can't sustain both professional and personal happiness, and are often portrayed as emasculating and deadly.
Though the use of media clips, literary sources, and corresponding media discourse, feminist, and pop culture theory, we will examine the presuppositions, dominant metaphors, structures of argument, and models of critique that underlie television, literary, and cinematic representations of female power. By the end of this course, I hope we can not only examine the messages being sent through these texts, but more importantly, the ways in which those messages reflect on women's roles in American society today. No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2.
283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
In this introduction to poetry writing workshop, students will learn and practice writing poems using the various elements of verse such as image, metaphor and simile, and personification. Students will also learn and practice writing in the major classical forms, as well as exploring free verse prosody. Student work will be critiqued in a workshop setting and in one-on-one conferences with the instructor. No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The poet knows that he speaks adequately, then, only when he speaks somewhat wildly. . . .” In order to say the unsayable, as poetry attempts to do, you must take liberties with the language and let it take liberties with you. In this class we will study a variety of poetic techniques that foster and encourage such liberty. Among other aspects of verse composition, we’ll look at imagery, metaphor, metonymy, rhythm, meter and voice, both in your own writing and in the work of traditional and contemporary poets. During the quarter you will complete a series of poems, recitations, and critiques in which you attempts to implement various techniques to express the unexpressable. No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
[Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.] No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Majors only, Registration Period 1.
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
Introduction to short fiction through reading, writing, and workshop critique. No auditors; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: Bernays & Painter, What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers; photocopied course packet.