Course Descriptions (as of updated: 9 August 2002)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific section sthan 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.)
304 U (History of Literary Criticism & Theory II)
TTh 4:30-6:20 pm
This class is an introduction to recent (post-structuralist) literary theory. We start with a look at some important precursors (Nietzsche, Freud, Saussure) against the background of the traditional assumptions of modern Western philosophy (Descartes). We then take a look at some of the major poststructuralist theorists of the 1960s and 1970s (Barthes, Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Irigarey, and Baudrillard) and end with a consideration of the legacy that these thinkers have left us today. Books ordered with be supplemented by a course packet of additional readings from Saussure, Derrida, Lacan, Irigaray, Deleuze & Guattari, and Baudrillard. Texts: René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (tr. Cress); Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (tr. Large); Sigmund Freud, Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (tr. Strachey); Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (tr. Miller); Michel Foucault, The Foucault Reader.
311 A (Modern Jewish Literature in Translation)
This course deals with the literary interpretation of modern Jewish experience, which includes the break-up of a cohesive religious culture, mass migrations of unprecedented magnitude, the destruction of European Jewry by National Socialism during World War II, and the effort to reestablish a national existence in the Jewish homeland of Israel. Readings include such classic Yiddish authors as Sholom Aleichem and I. L. Peretz, and more recent Yiddish writers, among them I. B. Singer and Jacob Glatstein. At least two writers who did not write in Jewish languages, the Czech Franz Kafka and the Italian Primo Levi, will also be studied. Among the Israeli authors in the syllabus are Agnon, Hazaz, and Appelfeld. Considerable attention will also be given to the play of competing ideas that form the background of the imaginative literature. Texts: Howe & Greenberg, eds., Treasury of Yiddish Stories; Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939; Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, Heller, ed., The Basic Kafka.
313 A (Modern European Literature in Translation)
This class is devoted to continental European writers and celebrated works of literature, music and philosophy which defined modernity between 1850 and 1914 (Flaubert, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Wagner, Ibsen, Nietzsche, and others). There will be nine short assignments (one on each writer) and a final. Texts: Baudelaire, Baudelaire in English; Flaubert, Bouvard and Pécuchet; Gide, The Immoralist; Huysmans, Against Nature; Ibsen, Four Major Plays; Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and the Case of Wagner; Zola, Thérèse Raquin.
315 A (Literary Modernism)
If modernism was not exactly a movement, but a confluence of movements (including those of the avant-garde), it was with whatever reactionary contradictions—a form of radical energy, out of conflict, upheaval, and the most devastating social critique. Or, as Karl Marx put it, breaking the ground for modern thought: “I am speaking of a ruthless criticism of everything existing....” As some of what was existing has receded into the past, one of the ironies of our time is that modernism itself has become subject to critique, which “with more or less ruthlessness” sees it as inseparable from formalism, elitism, patriarchy, and other forms of regression, politically incorrect. There are also recurring pronouncements about the end of modernism or its imminent death, though in the era of the postmodern that seems like wish-fulfillment, for it somehow always returns, or some engaging aspect of it—all the more now as the postmodern seems (with an ironic post-post) to be coming to an end.
In any case, the duration of modernism has been such that, like the Enlightenment or Romanticism, it may be thought of as a historical period whose exact parameters (or dates) may be debatable, but whose outlines are there like a magnetic field. It is a field, however, frustrating to any compass, which would spin in all directions without anything like true north, through contradiction, paradox, fracture, and a crisis of continuity. These symptoms of the modern are in a sense its definition, which is always subject to change. As for the contestations in modernism, it may have grown out of the “ethos of suspicion” developed by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, whom we shall be reading in this course, along with certain major literary figures, from Baudelaire to Yeats or Rilke, who didn’t have to go out and look for trouble. That was already on the scene when unlimited progress seemed assured through the end of the nineteenth century until the first World War, which as a moral and cultural disaster situated T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land or Kafka’s Penal Colony or brought an edge of madness to the prose of Virginia Wolfe.
While we shall be considering the origins of modernism, we shall also be dealing with the mandate to be modern by making it new, which for Arthur Rimbaud or Ezra Pound was an aesthetic and moral necessity. The specific literary texts have not yet been selected, but those we’ll be studying will have been instrumental in adding a new dimension to newness, a dimension of shock, fracture, decreation, “the destructive element” in which Joseph Conrad insisted we must – in order to be creative at all – be immersed. In trying to understand it, we shall have to immerse ourselves in what, canonical now, can still destabilize thought.
320 A (English Literature: The Middle Ages)
The first half of this course will focus on the literature of Anglo-Saxon England, the second on the golden age of Middle English, the fourteenth century. Students should expect to attend all meetings and to engage in discussion. Frequent short papers, two main papers, midterm and final. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts:Byock, tr., Volsunga Saga; Hamer, ed., A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse; Heaney, tr., Beowulf; Chaucer, Canterbury Tales.
321 A (Chaucer).
Our reading of Chaucer will begin with his translation of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, and focus on Troilus and Criseyde and selections from The Canterbury Tales. The aims of the course will be, among other things, to develop our competence in the reading and understanding of Chaucer’s Middle English. In order to go beyond the linguistic to the literary and cultural, we will compare some of the sources he drew from (and altered) for his narratives; we’ll consider a variety of critical approaches to his poetry; and we’ll examine aspects of medieval culture which contribute to a full appreciation of his complex art. My preference is for discussion, but in the absence of it (or in attempts to stimulate it) I will resort to (more or less informal) lecturing. Requirements for the course will include – in addition to attendance and participation in class discussions – weekly response papers, a few longer (3-5 pp.) critical papers, some translation exercises and quizzes, and a final exam. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: Nine Tales and a General Prologue (ed. Kolve & Olson); Troilus and Criseyde (ed. Shoaf); Bisson, Chaucer and the Late Medieval World.
322 TS (English Literature: The Age of Queen Elizabeth I)
MW 4:30-6:20 pm
A tour of love, sex, and death in the sixteenth century--lots of Spenser’s knights and dragons, lots of plays by Shakespeare’s friends, and love poetry to conjure by. (Evening Degree students only, Registration Periods 1 & 2.) Texts: More, Utopia; Spenser, The Faerie Queene; Shakespeare, Sonnets; Fraser & Rabkin, Drama of the English Renaissance, Vol. 2; Rice & Grafton, Foundations of Early Modern Europe.
323 A (Shakespeare: to 1603)
Shakespeare's career as dramatis before 1603 (including Hamlet). Study of history plays, comedies, and tragedies. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV; Richard II; Julius Caesar; Midsummer Night's Dream; Romeo and Juliet; As You Like It; Hamlet; Twelfth Night.
324 A (Shakespeare: after 1603)
[Shakespeare's career as dramatist after 1603. Study of comedies, tragedies, and romances.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.
324 TS (Shakespeare: after 1603)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
Shakespeare's career as dramatist after 1603. Study of comedies, tragedies, and romances. Evening Degree students only, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Text: Bevington, ed., The Necessary Shakespeare.
325 A (English Literature: The Late Renaissance)
[A period of skepticism for some, fiath for others, but intellectual upheaval generally. Poems by John Donne and the "metaphysical" school; poems and plays by Ben Jonson and other late rivals to Shakespeare; prose by Sir Francis Bacon and other writers.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.
329 A (Rise of the English Novel)
331 A (Romantic Poetry I)
The course will offer a broad overview of the literary and intellectual history of the Romantic period, focusing on the works of William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Dorothy Wordsworth and William Wordsworth. We will begin with an investigation of the impact of the French Revolution on the Romantics and of radical developments in religion (the opposition to Christianity), philosophy (the revolt against empiricism and the emergence of transcendental philosophy), aesthetics (the popularity of the aesthetics of the picturesque, the beautiful and the sublime, science (the attack on Newtonic science), and art (the prevalence of landscape painting). After two weeks on the general topics specified above, we will study Blake’s poetry and illustrations and move on to the literary collaboration between Coleridge and Wordsworth and their unusual dependence on each other, personal as well as literary, beneficial as well as disabling. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Blake, Blake’s Poetry and Designs; Songs of Innocence and Experience; America: A Prophecy & Europe: A Prophecy; Coleridge, Selected Poems; Wordsworth, Selected Poetry; Butler, ed., Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy; photocopied course packet.
333 A (English Novel: Early & Middle 19th-C.)
[Studies in the novel in one of its classic phases. Authors include Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Thackeray.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.
334 A (English Novel: Later 19th-C.)
This course investigates novels and short stories written in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain, as well as social history that contextualizes this time period and its ideological concerns. In reading these texts, we will pay close attention to the ways that imperialism and colonial relations structured social and political relations between countries, peoples, races, and politics. Students who enroll in this course must be willing to fundamentally engage with issues of race, sexuality, colonialism, world politics, analyses of power, gender, and class relations. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Cowasjee, ed., Oxford Anthology of Raj Stories; Kipling, Kim; Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts.
335 TS (English Literature: The Age of Victoria)
MW 7-8:50 pm
From romantic love to spiritual angst, from goblins and governesses to factory workers and leisured gentlemen, the Victorian period has truly got a bit of everything. Few eras of British history have encompassed such sweeping changes on all levels of society as the Victorian Era, and this quarter we’ll be exploring those changes and both the excitement and anxiety they caused through the poetry and drama of the time, as well as the novels Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Evening Degree students only, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Texts: Brontë, Jane Eyre; Dickens, Hard Times; Abrams, et al.,. eds., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2B (The Victorian Age), 7th ed.
336 A (English Literature: The Early Modern Period)
The Modernist Body. This class at once introduces the student to British modernism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and engages the complexities of the period. While we build a context for understanding the emergence of literary works at this time, we will focus on two skills: that of “close reading” (techniques for analyzing a literary text on its own terms) and of comparative thematic analysis (bringing texts together in order to make a convincing argument based on proof provided by disparate materials. The student, therefore, will at once become familiar with the historical time period and intimate with the means by which not only arguments are constructed, but what it means to immerse one’s self in a novel, poem, or avant-garde manifesto. Our specific way into this will be to focus on the trope of embodiment: what constitutes a body, a “self,” or a psyche for these various authors. Can you have a body without having a mind (or vice versa) and if so, which is preferable? Do the characters bleed, or do they crackle with electricity? What is at stake in such distinctions? In addition to paying attention to individual bodies, we will focus on depictions of groups of bodies, especially the themes of crowds and violence. We will read both fiction, emphasizing narrative technique, and poetry, with an ear toward the peculiarities of syntax. By the end of this class, you will know what syntax means, and perhaps even have one of your own. The emphasis will be on historical interpretation, grounded in formal analysis. Active participation is mandatory: subsequent to introductory lectures, we will use discussion as a means of exploring the material. Therefore as we explore the stakes of embodiment, your own body (and hopefully your mind) must be in the classroom. Readings will include Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and lesser known writers like the cruel and funny novelist Wyndham Lewis, and the eminently peculiar and wonderful poet Mina Loy. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; James Joyce, Dubliners; Ezra Pound, Selected Poems; Wyndham Lewis, Tarr: The 1918 Version; Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room; Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker; D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Katherine Mansfield, Stories; Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier.
337 A (The Modern Novel)
Portraits of the Artist in Modern Fiction. The typical image of the modern artist is that of an isolated hero, alienated from his community, but able to redeem the chaos of modern life by inventing new literary forms that express his (or her) unique creative vision. In this course, we’ll read a variety of British and American novels from the early twentieth century, and explore how their representations of artist figures compare with that definition. In the process, we will familiarize ourselves with some of the defining formal characteristics and thematic concerns of modern fiction. Questions we’ll consider include: What makes a novel “modern”? Does a modern artist have to be alienated, and if so, why? How do geographical location and the social relations of gender, race, and class shape the relationships between artists and their communities? How and why do modern writers use experimental forms to communicate their understanding of the world? Note: These are challenging texts, and reading them will require time and effort on your part. Students are expected to attend class regularly, to participate actively in discussions, and to approach the texts with lively curiosity and an open mind. Expect lots of discussion and a substantial amount of writing. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts:James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio; Willa Cather, O Pioneers! ; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.
342 A (Contemporary Novel).
This course explores the contemporary novel through two main frameworks: postcolonialism and postmodernism. While postcoloniaism alludes to a politico-historical context and/or content, postmodernism evokes a set of formal features and a relationship to an artistic or intellectual tradition. We will ask to what extent these paradigms mutually inform each other or, conversely, to what extent they are mutually incompatible. Some questions to be pursued include: what drives each novel? How does it affect our reading experience when a novel is driven by a political project? By an aesthetic project? What characterizes a postcolonial subject, and what modes of narration are used to represent (or to decolonize) him or her? What distinguishes a postmodern text, and how does postmodernism challenge our concepts of subjectivity, representation, knowledge and history? Do postcolonial texts more often avoid, or employ, postmodern strategies? To what effect? Do postmodern texts typically construct subjectivities that are privileged, or marginalized, according to axes of domination that include nation, race, class, gender, and sexuality? Why? What use do contemporary texts make of myth or of sub-genres such as the detective novel, the Western, or the romance? The reading list includes a range of novels from North America, Africa and England and a course packet of theoretical essays and literary criticism. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Dangaremba, Nervous Conditions; Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter; Gunnars, The Prowler; Silko, Ceremony; Bowering, Burning Water; King, Green Grass, Running Water; Winterson, The Passion.
345 A (Studies in Film)
M 1:30-4:20/W 1:30-3:20
Women Filmmakers. An overview of the films of women film directors from the early 1900s to the present, with particular attention to the work of U.S. filmmakers. The featured directors represent mainstream Hollywood as well as independent filmmaking traditions. They include lesbian and heterosexual women, white women and women of color. Our goal is to examine women’s films from formal, critical, and historical perspectives. Text: photocopied course packet.
350 TS (Traditions in American Fiction)
MW 7-8:50 pm
A sampling of significant American fiction, with attention to extreme and dramatic differences in literary voice, and featuring as comprehensive a look as possible at the ranges of theme and technique that have engaged American authors over the years. Students should come prepared to read texts closely and to deliberate on the reciprocity between fiction and the socio-political context it both derives from and helps to form. Evening Degree students only, Registration Periods 1 & 2. Texts: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Portable Hawthorne; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories; Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Stephen Crane, The Portable Crane; Kate Chopin, The Awakening and Selected Stories; Henry James, The Portable Henry James.
353 A (American Literature: Later 19th-C.)
We’ll read and discuss an assortment of novels, short stories and sketches written by American authors in the decades following the Civil War. Students will be expected to attend class regularly, keep up with reading assignments, and take part in open discussions. Written work will consist entirely of a series of brief in-class essays done in response to study questions handed out in advance. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Judith Fetterly, ed., American Women Regionalists 1850-1910; William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham; Kate Chopin, The Awakening and Selected Short Stories; Stephen Crane, Great Short Works; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; Mark Twain, Roughing It.
354 A (American Literature: The Early Modern Period)
We’ll read and discuss an assortment of novels and short stories by American authors writing in the first half of the twentieth century. Students will be expected to attend class regularly, keep up with reading assignments, and take part in open discussions. Written work will consist of a number of brief in-class essays, done in response to study questions handed out in advance. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls; Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio; Eudora Welty, Thirteen Stories; John Steinbeck, The Long Valley; Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt; Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children.
355A (American Literature: Contemporary America)
Domestic Haunting: Memory and History in Postmodern U.S. Fiction. In 1989 when Francis Fukuyama declared the “end of history,” he meant to suggest that the end of the Cold War marked the end of the twentieth century’s grand narratives of world-historical conflict between liberalism, fascism, and communism. A similar end of history has also been pronounced over the American literary canon of this period. In place of a unifying canon based in the grand narratives of shared national experience, many critics claim we have turned to a more pluralist canon based in diverse, localized narratives of time and place. In this class, we look at several writers from the post WWII era to examine how such an alleged loss of grand historical narratives has shaped what counts as American literature. In particular, we will look at the ways authors have used the twin concepts of “history” and “memory” to contest this account of the changing social, political, and economic relations of American identity. What do stories about characters haunted by a past that will not leave them alone tell us about contemporary problems in U.S. citizenship? Our readings for this class will explore the relationship between memory and history, loss and desire, and home and nation in the works of authors struggling to come to terms with transformations in the “time” of post-modern U.S. Society. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Fae Myenne Ng, Bone; Sandra Cisneros, The Hosue on Mango Street; Dorothy Allison, Two or Three Things I Know For Sure; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee.
359 A (Contemporary American Indian Literature)
[Creative writings -- novels, short stories, poems -- of contemporary Indian authors; traditions out of which they evolved. Differences between Indian writers and writers of the dominant European/American mainstream.] Majors only, Registration Period 1 (Offered jointly with AIS 377A.)
367 A (Women and the Literary Imagination).
Feminist Domesticity: Women’s Revisions and Myths of the Home. So, talking about feminism, what’s home got to do with it? A whole lot. Domestic interiors have shaped women’s identities—as Virginia Woolf wrote, “Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force.” The domestic sphere is also the cradle of feminism, for by making the home an issue of public debate (and by claiming the authority to speak in public about the home), women, raised as homemakers, have turned a private matter into a matter of public concern. In the process, women intellectuals themselves have emerged from the shadows of the household into the light of the public sphere. Moving by key texts in 19th and 20th-century women’s fiction and scholarship, we will study the diverse ways in which women writers have reconceptualized the social (and sometimes also the material) structures of the home. The course uses a multicultural approach to establish a dialogue between Anglo American, Mexican American, and African American feminisms and texts. Texts: Stepford Wives (film); Jovita González, Caballero; Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own; Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; photocopied course packet with readings by Catharine Beecher, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Betty Friedan, bell hooks, and others.
368 A (Women Writers)
Women/Writing/Bondage. This course focuses on 19th- and 20th- century US women's representations of diverse forms of bondage, ranging from the chains of chattel slavery to the "ties" of marriage to the strictures of material poverty. Texts: Harriet Jacobs (Jean F. Yellin, ed.), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Kate Chopin, The Awakening and Other Stories; Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), Mrs. Spring Fragrance; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; Gayl Jones, Corregidora; Susan Glaspell, Plays; Anita Diamant, The Red Tent; Ann Sexton, To Bedlam and Partway Back.
370 A (English Language Study)
[Wide-range introduction to the study of written and spoken English. The nature of language; ways of describing language; the use of language study as an approach to English literature and the teaching of English,] Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Language Files (Ohio State University) (latest ed.). Clark & Eschholz, Language: Introductory Readings.
381 A (Advanced Expository Writing)
In this class we will use the personal essay as a means to improve our writing. In addition to reading some of the best practitioners of this wonderful genre, we explore how imitation and parody can help us in matters of style, tone, and sentence structure. The course requirements will include writing a book or arts review, a personal essay, a memoir, as well as a number of smaller practice assignments. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
381 B (Advanced Expository Writing).
Everyone can write better. This course will provide a workshop for your academic writing, specifically for the academic essay. Published essays in a variety of fields will be considered to help expand your writing tools. Assignments will include rhetorical imitations and translations of the idea of essay from one form to another (as painting to text). Be prepared to essay everyday and share your writing with peers for feedback. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Optional text: Andrea A. Lunsford, The Everyday Writer (w. 2001 APA Update.
381 C (Advanced Expository Writing)
[Concentration on the development of prose style for experienced witers.] Majors only, Registration Period 1. No texts.
383 A (Intermediate Verse Writing)
[Intensive study of the ways and means of making a poem. Further development of fundamental skills. Emphasis on revision. Prerequisite: ENGL 283.] No texts.
383 B (Intermediate Verse Writing)
[Intensive study of the ways and means of making a poem. Further development of fundamental skills. Emphasis on revision. Prerequisite: ENGL 283.]
384 A (Intermediate Short Story Writing)
[Exploring and developing continuity in the elements of fiction writing. Methods of extending and sustaining plot, setting, character, point of view, and tone. Prerequisite: ENGL 284.] Text: Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.
384 B (Intermediate Short Story Writing)
[Exploring and developing continuity in the elements of fiction writing. Methods of extending and sustaining plot, setting, character, point of view, and tone. Prerequisite: ENGL 284.] Text: Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.