Course Descriptions (as of March 19, 2007)
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.)
302 A (Critical Practice)
Poetics of the Novel. This course provides theoretical basics and practical training in the analysis of narrative form. The class will study three major novels from three different periods as well as some short fiction. Students will learn to apply key critical concepts associated with the poetics of the novel (story and plot, modes of narration, reliable and unreliable narrators, framing and embedding, point of view, methods of representing consciousness, irony, defamiliarization, metafiction, intertextuality. Please note: ENGL 302 is an introduction to advanced literary analysis. The course is designed to introduce aspiring English majors to the professional pursuits and protocols – as well as the pleasures – of English studies as a discipline. Several short assignments, midterm and final. Required Texts:: Schlomith RImmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics; George Eliot, Silas Marner; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman; recommended: Roland Barthes, The Pleasures of the Text; David Lodge, The Art of Fiction.
302 B (Critical Practice)
Theme and Narrative Form: How to Combine Cultural Criticism and Formalist Analysis.This course provides practical training in critical analyses of narrative fiction. We will be reading three novels from three distinct periods – a nineteenth-century novel (Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, 1847), a modernist novel (Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, 1925), and a contemporary postcolonial novel (Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966). These texts – all by women writers and dealing with the subject of madness – were linked thematically via gendered and racialized critiques of cultural constructs of insanity and madeness. We will analyze these narratives by placing equal emphasis on narrative form and cultural themes. Ideas and cultural materials can be transposed into different media (think about the countless film adaptations of literature, for example), but the medium is always part of the message: we must learn how novels signify (as media of communication), just as we must learn how cinema signifies differently, in order to fully understand the message. It won’t do to leap past the poetics of the novel straight to the topic. Thus, we will introduce ourselves to major elements of narrative fiction (such as the distinction between discourse [text] and story [plot], levels and voices of narration, etc.) studied by the discipline of narratology. In addition, we will also familiarize ourselves with some major paradigms of cultural criticism (such as feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, postcolonialism) that are relevant to the three assigned novels. Formalist analysis (How does fictional narrative signify?) and cultural criticism (What is the novel’s ideology of gender, race, class, etc.?) are inseparable, even though I have presented them here as distinct for the sake of clarity. As we shall see, questions of What? (themes, ideas, ideologies) impinge on and shape the How? (narrative form), and vice versa. Exploring how this happens means to embark on the adventure of critical analysis. Texts: Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics; Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; photocopied course packet.
304 A (History of Literary Criticism & Theory II)
This course addresses literary and cultural theories of the 20th century. We will explores a range of influential theories, with an emphasis on formulations of colonialism, nationalism, race and “minority” formations. We will consider different ways to apply theory to literary materials by including a small number of literary texts in class. This is an upper-division course in critical theory intended for advanced students majoring in literary study. Students hoping to take this course for general education should seek out more general courses in literature and culture, not this specialized learning experience. Students will be expected to keep up a rigorous reading schedule, and to participate consistently during class discussions. The bulk of the readings will be provided in a photocopied course packet. Literary Texts: Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song; Jackie Kay, Trumpet.
307 A (Cultural Studies: Literature & the Age)
Nuclear Culture. Just when the nuclear seems passé, a quaint concern of the Cold War, recent questions of nuclear weapons and nuclear power in Iran and North Korea put it back on the (inter)national agenda. And though cultural interest in the nuclear has waxed and waned, we have, ever since the close of World War II, lived under the shadow of the bomb. From Our Friend the Atom to The Day After; from the Evil Empire to Axes of Evil and WMDs, the nuclear has had a profound effect on American culture. This course will examine nuclear culture and its impact on literature and literary theory from 1945 to the present. We will ask: How is the nuclear represented and how does its representation intersect with issues of identity, both national and inter/intra-national? To what extent is nuclear culture necessarily “postmodern”? How has the discipline of literary studies responded to the nuclear? And what is the role of the nuclear in our culture today? Course texts will include essays, poems, at least one film, and several novels. Course requirements include active participation in discussion, group presentations, weekly response papers, and midterm and final papers. Texts: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; Don DeLillo, Underworld; Lydia Millet, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart; photocopied course packet.
321 A (Chaucer)
This course will stress critical reading and group discussion of Chaucer’s most highly regarded works (Troilus and Criseyde and The Canterbury Tales) as well as a wide selection of his “minor” compositions in both poetry and prose. We will explore the biography of Geoffrey Chaucer, the historical and cultural background of his career, recent critical work on his poetry, and the Middle English language itself. Mid-term, final, one paper. Texts: Benson, ed., The Riverside Chaucer; Stone, tr., Love Visions; Coghill, tr., Troilus and Criseyde; Beidler, ed., Canterbury Tales; Richmond, ed., The Parliament of Birds.
323 A (Shakespeare to 1603)
T Th 1:30-3:20
This course studies the early part of Shakespeare’s career as a dramatist, approximately up to 1603. It was during this time that Shakespeare wrote a number of the most famous of his comedies and histories. We will focus on reading closely six of these early plays, paying careful attention to the verbal artistry of each. We will discuss and write about Shakespeare’s use of language, the sophistication of his characters’ personalities and the profound questions of identity that their actions frequently raise, the structuring of narrative, and the sources – classical, literary, historical, and contemporary – that the plays engage. We will read three comedies (The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice), two tragedies, (Hamlet, Julius Caesar), and one historical play (Henry IV, Part 1), as well as excerpts from other plays and poems of the period. Work will include three exams, short response papers, and a class presentation. I have ordered the newest edition of David Bevington’s The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Pearson-Longman: New York, 2006), though any earlier edition of the plays edited and with notes by Bevington are acceptable for the class.
324 A (Shakespeare after 1603)
Shakespeare's career as dramatist after 1603. Study of comedies, tragedies, and romances. Texts: Shakespeare, Measure for Measure; Othello; Troilus and Cressida; Macbeth; King Lear; The Winter’s Tale; The Tempest.
328 A (English Literature: Later 18th C.)
In this course we will read literature of the period known as the “Age of Johnson.” It has also been known as the “Age of Sensibility” and the “Pre-Romantic” era. All of these titles are limited and limiting, and we’ll examine the why and how of all of them by reading poetry and some prose of the period. This was a time when the idea of authorship was in flux, and undergoing changes that led to modern conceptions of creativity and literature. Authors include Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Oliver Goldsmith, Ann Yearsley, Hannah More, and others. Text: Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1C: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century.
334 B (English Novel: Later 19th C.)
Victorian Individualism and the Classic Victorian Novel. Individualism is a leading value of the Victorian age, retaining cultural currency—whether higher or lower in estimation—in our own times. The Victorian novel is the most enduring literary expression of Victorian individualism, leaving a "classic" legacy to the 20th and 21st C. But while the Victorian novel places the individual at the center of interest, it also explores the conflicts, the tests, the liabilities, the limits, and exclusions of individuality. How far does "self-interest"—important to capitalist and Darwinian theories of the period--define the individual? How does the individual enter into sympathy and love relations with others, and negotiate the social web? Who "counts" as an individual in gender and class terms? How does individualism in Britain square with rule of others in Britain's vast empire? What are the possibilities and problematics?
The course takes a short excerpt, "Of Individuality as One of the Elements of Well-Being," from J.S. Mill's well-known essay "On Liberty" as a point of departure, and concludes with Oscar Wilde's examination of what it would mean to "multiply our personalities." Primary readings are drawn from: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness"; (time permitting) Rudyard Kipling, "The Man Who Would Be King"; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. In addition to the excerpt from Mill (available by ereserves or at bookstore) are brief secondary readings (class handouts) from Adam Smith and Charles Darwin, along with historical background via lecture (keyed to the "Introduction" and several selections in the handbook The Victorian Period by Robin Gilmour--recommended but optional at the bookstore and available on reserve). Clips will be shown from film versions of several works, the most striking being Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation from Conrad, Apocalypse Now! Fictional components that enter into our primary works include: the Bildungsroman, the "marriage plot," multiplot construction, social realism, the role of the narrator, the adventure story, the gothic, the fantastic, and ethical/philosophic intent versus "art for art's sake." By scale in length (as well as reputation as perhaps the definitive Victorian novel), Eliot's text forms the centerpiece, set among other novels varying from substantial (Brontë) to short (Wilde) and short-story forms (Conrad, Kipling). Lecture/Discussion format. In-class engagement expected; standout contribution can weigh in the overall grade. Take-home essay midterm (@5-6 pp, 30%); in-class essay final (30%); longer paper (@8-9 pp., 40%). Texts: C. Bronte, Jane Eyre; George Eliot, Middlemarch; John Kucich, ed., Fictions of Empire; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; optional: Robin Gilmour, The Victorian Period: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1830-1890; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty and Other Writings.
337 A (Modern Novel)
How do modern novels establish ideas about modern life? In the course of reading a number of transatlantic novels of literary modernism, we will consider how literary form shapes a vision of what it means to be modern -- and what the characteristics and conditions of the so-called modern or modernist novel are in the first place. Within this framework, we’ll entertain such questions as: what modern consciousness is, and how it can be accessed or understood; how history, politics and economics are incorporated into literary depictions (and critiques) of modern life; narrative form and strategy, and the interfaces between author, narrator, text and reader; how modern fiction poses questions of gender, race, ethnicity and imperial relations; and (given the transatlanticism of our reading list) the status of the nation and national cultural identity. Those unfamiliar with modern malaise will be acquainted with it by the end of the course. The diverse and often technically experimental styles of these texts require careful close reading, so be prepared for lots of that. Texts: Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, The Waves; Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark; Djuna Barnes, Nightwood; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
338 A (Modern Poetry)
MW 7-8:50 pm
This course will explore the forms and values of modern poetry – its ambitions and anxieties, its daring innovations, difficulty, and sheer beauty. In the first half, we’ll trace the emergence of a distinctly modern poetic sensibility and style, from Baudelaire and the French symbolists through the heyday of Anglo-American modernism n the 1920s (Pound and Eliot). The second half is dedicated to the work of W. B. Yeats. Requirements: commit to memory two poems of at least 20 lines each, participation, midterm, and final examination. (Evening Degree students only) Required Text: W. B. Yeats, The Collected Works, Vol. I (The Poems); photocopied course packet; recommended: Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil (tr. Howard); T. S. Eliot, Selected Poems; Ezra Pound, Selected Poems. There will also be some materials on reserve.
343 A (Contemporary Poetry)
U.S. Poetry Since WW II. This course provides an overview of the kinds of poetry published in the United States since World War II. We will be looking at many of the genre’s superstars – John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Adrienne Rich – but we will be spending as much or more time with lesser known but no less fascinating figures – Charles Bernstein, Jucy Grahn, Lyn Hejinian, and Etheridge Knight. We will be discussing the period’s principal movements – the likes of the Beats, the Black Arts Movement, and Language Poetry – as well as concentrating on thematic topics, such as the flurry of anti-Vietnam War verse from the later 1960s. Text: Paul Hoover, ed., Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology.
349 A (Science Fiction & Fantasy)
Back to the Past and “Black to the Future”: This course reads African American science fiction in collaboration with Critical Race and Postcolonial theory. Examines how “black” science fiction draws equally on the importance of historical revision, the need for social critique, and the imperative of imagining viable futures no longer predicated on scenarios of doom. The course hopes to illuminate how contemporary African American speculative fiction writers inhabit the genre – which has historically been the domain of white European male writers – to enunciate and link past, present, and future identities. As black science-fiction writer Samuel Delany put it, “We need images of tomorrow, and our people need them more than most.” No prior knowledge of the genre is required. Texts: Andrea Hairston, Mindscape; Octavia Butler, Dawn; Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber; Samuel Delany, Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand; Sherre Thomas, ed., Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora.
352 A (American Literature: The Early Nation)
We’ll read and discuss an assortment of novels, stories, poems and memoirs by American authors in the period preceding the Civil War. Students will be expected to attend class regularly, keep up with reading assignments, and take part in open discussion. Written work will consist entirely of a series of brief in-class essays written in response to study questions handed out in advance. Texts: Baym, et al, eds., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 6th ed., Vol. B; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; James Fenimore Cooper, The Prairie.
355 A (American Literature: Contemporary America)
MW 4:30-6:20 pm
“Living in a nation of people who decided that their world view would combine agendas for individual freedom and mechanisms for devastating racial oppression presents a singular landscape for a writer.” Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark
This course will be loosely based around how various contemporary American
authors have tested the possibility of human agency against the confines
of the body (one’s perceived biological, raced, or mortal limits) in
a consumer-saturated society. We will start the quarter with Toni Morrison’s
The Bluest Eye, John Updike’s Terrorist, and Brian
Son to explore how race and class inflect the American promise of self-creation
within materially abundant, yet unequal, societies. The rest of the quarter
will examine the co-existence of individual freedom and systematic oppression
as manifested in less expected ways, such as in the context of genetic
modification and environmental disasters. We’ll read Don Delillo’s
Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain, and Katherine Dunn’s Geek
Love. (Evening Degree students only)
355 B (American Literature: Contemporary America)
Living in Place: Literature and the Environment. Our focus for this course will be upon how literature deals with the environment, i.e., how literary texts represent environmental issues and why it matters that they be represented in this form. How, that is, does where we live and, even more importantly, how we imagine the place in which we live, affect who we are? How do our relationships to nature and our relationships with other people intersect? We will be considering a range of prose texts, including fictional narratives, non-fictional essays and journalism, primarily texts written or set in the Americas, but with one African novel included for comparative purposes. Course goals include: 1) developing the analytical reading skills appropriate to different kinds of literary texts, 2) working on how to formulate and sustain critical arguments in writing, 3) learning how to uncover the logic and stakes of specific attitudes toward the natural world, 4) understanding how environmental issues are linked to other social and cultural concerns, 5) seeing how those linkages are affected by particular historical and political conditions. The course will contain a significant writing component, both regular informal writing assignments and several medium-length analytical papers; it can count for W-credit. (Meets w. C LIT 396A; ENVIR 450A) Texts: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses; John McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid; Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire; Philip Appleman, Darwin; Octavia Butler, Wild Seed; Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams; Bessie Head, When Rain Clouds Gather.
358 A (Literature of Black Americans)
This course is an introduction to some of the theoretical, cultural and political contexts of twentieth-century African American literary production. Spanning from the “New Negro” era of the 1920s, to the “postmodern” period of the 1980s and 90s, our goal will be to examine how various authors respond to the paradigms of an African American literary tradition. In part, we will trace concerns over aesthetics, defining black identity and the meaning of community. We will also be attentive to how questions of race intersect with concerns over gender, sexuality, class and nationality. (Offered jointly with AFRAM 358) Texts: Winston Napier, ed., African American Literary Theory: A Reader; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room; Toni Morrison, Sula; Andrea Lee, Sarah Phillips; Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle; Danzy Senna, Caucasia.
368 A (Women Writers)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
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 and Film: Stepford Wives; 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. A Course Reader with readings by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Betty Friedan, bell hooks, and others. (Evening Degree students only)
371 A (English Syntax)
The course provides the understanding necessary to teach English, and writing, in the schools. It focuses on the basic grammatical forms and structures of English and several approaches to describing and representing them. We will cover
* lexical categories (Parts of Speech),
* syntactic categories (such as phrases, clauses, tense, and aspect),
* semantic roles,
* grammatical relations,
* dependency relations, and
* constituent structure of the sentence.
By the end of the course, students will be able to describe most of the
syntactic structures of English in several ways. In addition, students will
be able analyze the cohesion of sentences in connected text. Several on-line
resources will be used. Course will consist of lectures, discussion of
readings, and some computer lab work. Written work will consist of two 3-4
page papers, a midterm, and final. Selected exercises from the
of the class preparation and participation grade. Each of these will make
up about 1/5 of the final grade. Prerequisite: ENGL 370 or LING 200. Website: http://courses.washington.edu/englhtml/engl371 Text: Huddleston & Pullum,
A Student’s Introduction to English
382 A (Writing for the Web)
In this class students can expect to learn 1) how to design a web page (or set of pages) using DIVs and style sheets for layout; 2) how to analyze and evaluate a page/site for design, navigation, and content; 3) how to write
multimedia documents in HTML using images and sound; 4) how to use secondary windows; 5) how to use several of the new features of Internet Explorer 7. This is a studio course in computer lab. All work is electronic, posted to student's web site at dante. Some familiarity with Cascading Style Sheets and HTML markup is recommended. Assignments will include exercises and design problems, a group project, web site evaluation, and final project. Prerequisite: ENGL 282 (If you have not taken the prerequisite course, but you feel that you have adequate preparation (see course description above), you may make contact Professor Dillon directly for a prerequisite waiver). Contact Professor Dillon at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information at http://courses.washington.edu/englhtml/engl382/.
383 A (Craft of Verse)
This class will consist of intensive study of various aspects of the craft of verse, including but not limited to image, narrative, syntax, sentence, line and sound. Readings in contemporary verse will be studied closely with a view toward student writing that uses emulation and imitation. Although student response will be primarily creative, a large component of the class will focus on reading as a writer. Prerequisite: ENGL 283 and 284; majors following the pre-2005 major requirements who have not taken both prerequisites should see an English adviser in A-2-B PDL for assistance in registration. Text: photocopied course packet plus two contemporary poetry books.
383 B (Craft of Verse)
Intensive study of various aspects of the craft of verse. Readings in contemporary verse and writing using emulation and imitation. ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1. Prerequisite: ENGL 283 and 284; majors following the pre-2005 major requirements who have not taken both prerequisites should see an English adviser in A-2-B PDL for assistance in registration. Texts: Parini, ed., The Wadsworth Anthology of Poetry; Ezra Pound, The ABC of Reading; Strunk & White, The Elements of Style.
384 A (Craft of Prose)
Intensive study of various aspects of the craft of fiction or creative nonfiction. Readings in contemporary prose and writing using emulation and imitation. ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1. Prerequisite: ENGL 283 and 284; majors following the pre-2005 major requirements who have not taken both prerequisites should see an English adviser in A-2-B PDL for assistance in registration. Text: Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer.