(Descriptions last updated: March 2, 1999)
497/498 A (W)
Theory of Genre: Romance and Realism. An exploration of the interplay in the English novel of two seemingly antithetical representational modalities: romance and social/domestic realism. As an introduction to the genre of romance, we will begin with a work by the most famous writer of medieval romances, Chrétien de Troyes, followed by the book generally considered the first Gothic romance, The Castle of Otranto. We will then read Jane Austen's Emma as an example of domestic (or domesticized) realism, and Jane Eyre as an instance of the mixture of romance and domestic realism. We will also read a number of theoretical texts, both historical and modern, in which critics struggle with the definitions of romance and realism. Senior English majors only. Texts: Chretien de Troyes, Yvain, or The Knight With the Lion; Walpole, Castle of Otranto; Austen, Emma; E. Bronte, Wuthering Heights; C. Bronte, Jane Eyre.
497/498 B (W)
Coleridge and Wordsworth: Literary Rivalry and the Problem of Identity. In this seminar we will study the literary relationship of Coleridge and Wordsworth who, as one critic remarked, "Not only pervasively influenced one another, they did so in a way that challenges ordinary methods of assessment." We will proceed chronologically, focusing on works in which Coleridge and Wordsworth, while desiring to imitate each other, find themselves subverting each other's beliefs and appropriating each other's subjects. Such moments of merging and separation are particularly instructive, showing the extent to which Coleridge's and Wordsworth's literary careers were shaped by what each took to be the identity of the other, often misconceived through the distorting lens of self-projections. In addition to major works such as the Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude and Biographia Literaria, we will study the multiple versions of early poems such as Wordsworth's "Salisbury Plain," which are an important source of understanding the origins of their literary collaboration. We will also read a few texts on gift exchange and sacrifice and test the possibility of deriving from them a new model of literary influence that would address the nature of this altogether unusual relationship. Assignments: two papers (subject to revisions); a final; biographical reports; and occasional take-home comments (1-2 pages) on assigned readings. Senior English majors only. Texts:The Oxford Authors: S. T. Coleridge; The Oxford Authors: William Wordsworth; Marcel Mauss, The Gift; Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred; Paul Magnuson, Wordsworth and Coleridge: A Lyrical Dialogue.
Work and Meaning. In this seminar we will focus our reading on the relationship between work and meaning, beginning with Melville's anticipation of major alienations and dispossessions of the 20th century wrought by the changing nature of work. Taking this reading list itself as a narrative, we'll employ intertextual echoes--for example, between Miller and Melville, Snyder and Steinbeck--to consider how the nature of work and its relationship to meaning both change and persist over time, and imagine possible futures in this narrative of the nature of work and its relationship to meaning. Texts: Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener; Robertson, The Orchard; Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; Miller, Death of a Salesman; Snyder, The Cliff Walk. Plus one additional work of the student's choosing.
Interested in helping to design this seminar? Contact me to talk about your ideas and the possibility of an independent study for Summer. (Kim Johnson Bogart, Box 353760, 543-2618, firstname.lastname@example.org)
497/498 D (W)
Constitutional Fictions: The Cultural Jurisprudence of Race, Rights, and Citizenship in Late 19th- and early 20th-Century American Law and Literature. In this class we're going to read some literature, watch a film, and study some law. In these diverse materials, we'll examine the figuration of race, politics, and notions of equity. We'll consider what the different discourses have to say to each other and what role these particular texts have had in shaping our sense of justice and civic virtue. The texts include Plessy v. Ferguson, D. W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation," Pauline Hopkins's Contending Forces, and Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, among others. Senior English majors only. Texts: Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery.
497/498 E (W)
497/498 F (W)
Blood. This class will explore literary representations of blood in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British texts. We will supplement this reading with scientific and scientistic approaches to this peculiar substance. Our focus will be on what blood carries-pathology, gender, evidence, nationality-and how such distinctions come to be made. We will engage in a mixture of close reading and genealogical interpretation: what characteristics does one text inherit from another in its depiction of blood? This is a discussion course, so if blood makes you squeamish and squeamish makes you silent, this is not the class for you. Readings will include Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors; Bram Stoker, Dracula; Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet; Weininger, Sex and Character; Sander Gilman, Difference and Pathology; D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness; H. G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau; and Blast (a journal)..
497/498 G (W)
William Blake and the Bible. This is a course with two subjects: (1) reading the Bible, especially biblical narratives (like Genesis and the Gospels) and biblical poetry (like Job and Isaiah), and (2) reading William Blake. We'll be reading a number of works by Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience, Marriage of Heaven and Hell, some short prophetic works, The Everlasting Gospel, Cain and Abel, his illustrated Book of Job, and parts of Jerusalem. What brings these two subjects together are Blake's view that the Bible is "the great code of art," his magnificent illustrations of the Bible, his use and revision of biblical stories, and his stance as biblical prophet. There will be papers, in-class reports, and discussions. Senior English majors only. Texts: John and Grand, eds., Blake's Poetry and Designs; Blake, The Book of Urizen; Songs of Innocence; Songs of Experience; Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Blake's Illustrations for the Book of Job; The Bible (Old and New Testament; any good translation, e.g., New Revised Standard Version or King James (Authorized) Version).
497/498 H (W)
Race and American Life and Literature. This is a seminar in which we will explore race as a central fact of American life through some of the many ways it is expressed in literature. We will begin with Huckleberry Finn, a text central to the tradition, and the running controversy that has dogged it for the more than a century since its first publication, and then move on to some further texts: DuBois, Souls of Black Folks, Larsen, Passing; Bulosan, America is in the Heart; and Fenkl, Memories of My Ghost Brother. Against these literary worlds we will examine, text and evaluate our own lives and believes. Out of your experience, most notably the past several years of academic life, and your reading, you will, through class presentation and discussion, develop an essay based upon your personal experience (being) as that has been, in some larger part at least, defined for you by a specific "work of literature or philosophy, of imagination or doctrine." Texts: Twain, Mississippi Writings (ed. Cardwell); DuBois, Writings (ed. Huggins); Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Frankl, Memories of my Ghost Brother; optional: Lang, Writing and the Moral Self.
Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Joy and Other Emotions I Have Known While Reading and Living. This is a course about emotional responses to literature (and some film). Its point is to explore the intense reactions we have to some things we read and view, and to try to understand exactly what they are, and why we have them. We'll read fiction and poetry (mostly from modern and contemporary writers) together with essays about emotions, feelings, and affects from other disciplines including psychology, communications, and anthropology. We'll take up some provocative questions: What does it mean to "identify" with a character, really? How much of our own lives do we read into a character's life? What does it mean to "escape" into a book? Why would someone want to do that, anyway? What does "being moved" by something we read/view involve? How do we account for the bodily responses that sometimes accompany intense emotional responses? Students will choose between writing two shorter or one longer paper, and will give a class presentation. Participation in discussion is required. So are lively opinions, and an interest in this topic. Texts: Jeanette Winterson, The Passion; Oni Morrison, Sula; Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods.
497/498 YA (W)
MW 7-8:50 pm
Literary Alternatives to Mainstream America in the Nineteenth Century. We'll begin by studying efforts to create mainstream, middle-class models of nineteenth-century American life: safely stereotypic visions of national culture and experience promoted through popular "fireside poetry," Currier and Ives engravings, and other art forms. Then we'll explore, in dramatic contrast, a series of literary texts in which the meaning of America is hazarded into an agitated interplay of perspectives, in which voices excluded from the official cultural mainstream are attended to, and in which otherwise neglected aspects of the historical moment are granted visibility We'll be studying the battle between stereotype and underlying social complexity, between the official cultural mainstream and what it would exile to its margins, as this battle is fought in novels and biographies, poems, and tales. Readings in Douglass, Fuller, Whittier, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, Hawthorne, Rebecca Harding Davis, Chopin, and Crane. Texts: Fuller, The Essential Margaret Fuller; Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave; Thoreau, The Portable Thoreau; Davis, Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories; Chopin, The Awakening and Selected Stories; Crane, The Portable Stephen Crane; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Portable Hawthorne.
William Blake. This seminar will examine the poetry and visual art of William Blake. Our core concern will be to develop reading and viewing strategies that enable us to draw both meaning and pleasure from these verbal and visual texts. We will foreground in these efforts Blake's complex and peculiar notion of apocalypse and see what questions it raises, and might help us answer, in a variety of conceptual contexts: psychology, politics, epistemology, ethics, eschatology, logic, Christian theology, and literary criticism. We will also consider in what sense our own reading practices might be "apocalyptic." The course will emphasize close reading and discussion. There will be class presentations, occasional short writing assignments and exercises, and students will have the option of writing two short papers or one long paper. Texts: Erdman, ed., The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake; Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & Hell: A Facsimile in Full Color; Blake's America, A Prophecy and Europe, A Prophesy: A Facsimile; The Book of Urizen; optional: Blake's Illustrations for the Book of Job; Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience.
The Literary Self-Portrait. In this seminar we will explore the existence of a literary type whose unusual "hybrid" nature has left it languishing in the margins of literary study yet whose texts are among the most prominent and canonical in literature. The "literary self-portrait" is one name for these narratives which purport-in one way or another-to tell the story of their authors' selfhood yet refuse to neatly fit into any literary category, least of all autobiography Yet is it autobiography? Is it fiction? Is it poetry? Is it reverie? Is it argument? Something of each? These texts will ask us to consider such questions, as well as whether or not gender matters in the narrative construction of identity. We will also consider how the forms and practices of story-telling itself figure in this context using excerpts from several critical sources. Texts: Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey with Journal to Eliza; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of the Solitary Walker; Wollstonecraft and Godwin, A Short Residence in Sweden and Memoirs of the Author; William Wordsworth, The Prelude; Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse.
Black Politics and Aesthetics. This course will analyze the relationship between aesthetic representation and political struggle in the civil rights and post-civil rights eras. We will focus our discussions primarily around a few central works of cultural criticism by black writers, written between 1940 and the mid-1970s. We will read these works in an effort to understand the major debates and controversies that have helped to shape black artistic and intellectual production in our own time. Major issues that we will consider include: (1) racially focused art as social protest; (2) the relationship of black artists to an "American" national identity; (3) the politics of inter-racial influence and cultural "theft"; (4) the impact of black nationalism and racial integration on aesthetic strategy; (5) the question of the existence of a "black aesthetic"; (6) intra-racial conflicts of class, sexuality and gender in representations of black "community"; (7) music as a model for a black cultural production; (8) the emergence of the black artist as a public intellectual. Primary readings for the course include works by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Harold Cruse, Eldridge Cleaver, Alice Walker, Ishmael Reed, and Toni Morrison. Senior English majors only. Texts: Wright, Black Boy; Hurston, Zora Neale Hurston Reader; Ellison, Shadow and Act; Jones/Baraka, Blues People; Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name; Cleaver, Soul on Ice; Walker, Living by the Word.
Shakespeare and Hypocrisy. I never have the heart to penalize people who offer the common misspelling "hypocracy" (for "hypocrisy"). What they are doing (consciously or not) is claiming that hypocrisy is a form of government-and who could argue with that? Not Shakespeare, who is both interested in and interesting about the role of hypocrisy in politics, the disasters that necessarily befall both unconscious hypocrities and those who think they can function without hypocrisy, etc. As we shall see. Texts: Shakespeare, Julius Caesar; Richard II; 1 Henry IV; 2 Henry IV; Henry V; Coriolanus.
Fictions of Whiteness. This class takes its cue from Toni Morrison's book Playing in the Dark: Whiteness in the Literary Imagination, in which she asks: What is Literary Whiteness?; What is it for?; And, what role does whiteness play in what is described as American? We will begin by reading some work in the growing field of critical whiteness studies to consider what is meant by "whiteness." We will then read some works of fiction by Toni Morrison, Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Alice Walker and others to see what these texts can tell us about whiteness, Americanness and race. There will be three short response papers and one seminar paper.
Literature of the Fragment. In this seminar, we'll focus on the idea of the fragment in the late 18th century and the Romantic period. This was a time when the wealthy actually built ruins on their property, and the trend extended to literature! We'll read the fraudulent 'ancient' fragments of James Macpherson and Thomas Chatterton, novels by Sterne, Walpole, Goethe, Wollstonecraft, and Hazlitt, as well as poetry by Wordsworth, Coleridge, and others. We'll also look at some contemporary critical essays about the fragment. Expect to do a lot of thinking, a lot of talking, and a fair amount of writing. Texts: Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey; Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary and the Wrongs of Woman; Goethe, Sorrows of Young Werther; William Hazlitt, Selected Writings; Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto; Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling; photocopied course packet.
Tourists, Settlers, Explorers: American Travel Literature. Mary B. Campbell has written that the travel book is "a kind of witness: it is generically aimed at the truth. Neither power nor talent gives the travel writer his or her authority, which comes only from experience." This seminar grows out of the professor's fascination with traveling and scholarly interest in autobiography. It will concentrate on what truths travelers tell about their travel experiences and how they construct those truths in prose. So, we will study authenticity in travel literature-in the reconstruction of vistas and events that are observed and experienced, in the portrayal of encounters with "strangers" and strangeness, and in the articulation of the subjective yardstick by which travelers assess "other" cultures. The course will also enable students to develop a variety of travel experiences in the Seattle area and to translate those experiences into insightful critical prose. We will study travel narratives by exemplary American authors, write our own travel narratives, and research the critical scholarship available on travel literature. In this course students will be asked to make several geographical and psychic journeys on their own as well as to make several journeys together with the rest of the class. In addition to the required texts, students will need a camera (disposable will suffice) and a U-Pass. Texts: Carolyn Leighton, West Coast Journeys; Elaine Lee, ed., Go, Girl! The Black Woman's Guide to Travel; S. B. Wright, ed., Edith Wharton Abroad: Selected Travel Writings, 1888-1920; Mark Twain, Following the Equator; James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late 20th Century; recommended: Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation; Emory & Ruth Strong, Seeking Western Waters: The Lewis and Clark Trail.
Introduction to Greek Tragedy. We will start with Aristotle's Poetics, the first systematic account of the features of tragic drama: tragic hero, tragic flaw, catharsis, etc. Then we will read and discuss Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy (the murderous house of Atreus: Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes); Sophocles' Theban plays (the tragedies of Oedipus and Antigone); and the domestic killings by Medea and Electra in Euripides' plays. Texts: Aeschylus, The Oresteia (tr. Fagles); Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays (tr. Fagles); Euripides, Medea and Other Plays (tr. Morwood).
The 1950's. This seminar will take a cultural studies approach to the 1950's. We will focus on representative literary works, and we will read them in relation to "nonfictional" 1950's documents and events with two cultural studies precepts in mind. One is that context is everything. Implicit in this precept is the recognition that the meaning and force of any work depends on its context; reading contextually requires looking not only at how messages are expressed in one work but also how they are reinforced, amended, or contested elsewhere. The second cultural studies precept is that discourses matter because-and only insofar as-they move people to think, feel, and do certain things; in practice, this principle demands reading literature and other texts in terms of their effects. During the quarter we'll look critically at definitions of 1950's "America" and "American," taking up such topics as McCarthyism, the cold war, conformity, momism, rebellious youth (e.g., beats, rock 'n roll, juvenile delinquency), civil rights, and homosexuality. These definitions of nation and national subjectivity are taken from literature, law, (social)science, politics, cinema and popular media. The course objectives are: to hone cultural studies reading and writing skills; to cultivate a deeper understanding of 1950's America; and to evaluate the decade's definition of "America" and "American" on the level of their effects. Senior English majors only. Texts: Robert Coover, Public Burning; Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones; Jack Kerouac, On the Road; in-class films; photocopied course packet.
TTh 7-8:50 pm.
van den Berg
English Women Writers: Is There a Tradition? This seminar examines poetry and fiction by women, focusing on woman as outsider--as character or narrator, exmaining issues of independence and relationship, of strength and weakness, of women's position(s) in society and in literary tradition. We'll focus on the ways women writers confront questions, from slavery to marriage to murder. Course requirements: one class presentation; one substantial research paper; class participation/discussion. Texts: Gilbert & Gubar, eds., The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women; Aphra Behn, Oronooko; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; Sara Paretsky, A Woman's Eye; Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Woods, ed., The Poems of Amelia Lanyer.
Literature of Nature: The West. This course explores a field that is just developing in English departments and is quite a new departure for me (as a Western American who loves the region and its writing but usually teaches 19th-century British literature). It offers a paradoxical capstone course. After “acculturation” in English language and literature, you will go “back to nature.” But culture is part of nature. Gary Snyder says words are wild. With an initial selection from Thoreau as a reference point in a tradition of nature writing, we turn to modern and contemporary writing of the West, specifically the West Coast and inland Northwest. Our region has produced writers worthy of Thoreau. The “Western” in story and film is a subject in itself and beyond our range. Perspectives include: romantic-sublime, pastoral, Christian, environmentalist, native american, feminine/feminist, Zen. We cover essays, history, fiction, poetry, whether as primary readings or secondary works for reports: many are slim volumes or short selections—drawn from Barry Lopez, John Muir, Mary Austin, Richard White, John McPhee, James Welch or Leslie Marmon Silko, Gretel Ehrlich, Marilynne Robinson, Gary Snyder. with videos of Cadillac Desert and Chinatown, and several critical essays. Emphasis on seminar discussion; one report or leading of discussion; a short response paper, then built on for a 8-10 pp. paper. I am open to adapt assignments to your purposes. Research, discussion, oral presentation, and critical writing are skills you can enhance and lay claim to via this course. Past seminars have proved helpful to students for writing samples and letters of recommendation. Texts: Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain; Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces; John Muir, The Yosemite; Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping; Gary Snyder, Mountains and Rivers Without End; James Welch, Winter in the Blood; Richard White, The Organic Machine; two photocopied course packets; optional: William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground; Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums; Gary Snyder, A Place in Space.
The Politics and Problems of “Standard English.” What exactly is Standard English? We employ the term as a self-explanatory entity all the time, and yet when asked, we have trouble pinpointing it, settling for “Walter Cronkite’s English” or some such unsatisfactory definition. In this seminar, we will examine the origins of “Standard English” –which are far more recent than one might suspect—as a jumping-off point for discussing the present-day ramifications of this accepted standard for the language. We will cover many of the social, political, pedagogical, and literary issues surrounding Standard English, including bilingual education, attitudes toward dialects, the Ebonics controversy, the English Only Movement (triggered by the little known fact that the U.S. has no official language), and the use of non-standard varieties of English in literature. This course will be of particular interest to students wishing to explore the relationship between language and society, politics, and power, and it will be extremely useful to students considering careers in English teaching. No background in technical language study is required. Texts: Rosina Lippi-Green, English with an Accent; Deborah Cameron, Verbal Hygiene.
Medieval to Renaissance in English Literature: From Script to Print. In this class we will be examining English literature as it evolves out of the Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and focusing on the main cultural events: the invention of printing as an important material consideration and the concomitant shift to literacy. Early English literary invention is to an extraordinary degree both a witness and a child of its own age, and as it moves from a manuscript culture to a print culture, the ground rules of textual production, dissemination, and consumption themselves change. Coursework: Three quizzes (10% each), two Summary Evaluations of critical articles or chapters from secondary reading (10% each), class discussion (10%), a class presentation (15%), and a 7-10 page paper (25%) Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: Hamer, ed, A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse; Borroff, tr., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (ed. Hieatt & Hieatt); Malory, King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales (ed. Vinaver); Gassner, ed., Medieval and Tutor Drama; Marlowe, Dr. Faustus and Other Plays; Michael Camille, Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art; Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe; Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy: The TEchnologizing of the Word.
Samuel Beckett: Studies in Form and Medium. Relentlessly probing the grounds of being human, Samuel Beckett transformed the economy of the literary arts. This seminar will provide a comprehensive account of Beckett as the last classic: we'll read/see/hear a representative selection of works for the page (prose fiction and poems), stage, screen, and radio. Several short assignments and a term paper. Texts and materials: Murphy; Watt; Collected Shorter Plays; Complete Short Prose; Video: Waiting for Godot; Krapp's Last Tape; Film. Audio: The Samuel Beckett Festival of Radio Plays.
American Literature of Immigration. The New York Times tells us that “the percentage of the country’s population that is foreign born is at its highest level since World War II and is accelerating at a record pace . . . and is fueling an already intense debate over immigration in American life.” The debate described by the Times is largely a political discussion conducted by people who are not themselves immigrant. In this course we will read the literature of a largely pre-War immigration written by the immigrants themselves. We will read our way into the moment of transition when the old world is still vivid in the new, when the most “intense debate over immigration” is happening within immigrant families and communities. Our texts come from a wide variety of sources, from the Czar’s Russia to the Philippines. While all students will read and respond to all texts, individuals will be invited to specialize in particular nations for reports and longer essays. Texts: Abraham Cahan, The Imported Bridegroom; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Antonio Villarreal, Pocho; Frank McCort, Angela’s Ashes; Jerre Mangione, Mount Allegro; Ole Rolvaag, Giants in the Earth.
The Beat Generation. This course examines three crucial writers of the Beat Generation: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs. Our first concern will be the experimental means by which they wrote their books: spontaneous prose, prophecy, and collage. Next, we will examine the reality these radical practices reveal, what Kerouac once called "the unspeakable visions of the individual." Possible topics for discussion include mysticism, addiction, murder, music, the power of the state, black magic, sexuality, madness, and intergalactic viruses.
Robin Hood. We will trace the development of the literature of Robin Hood from the time of King John (12/13C) into modern times. This will not be primarily a “medieval” course, but it will be largely so. We will be getting into quite a bit of history. And since the literature of Robin Hood comes down to us in several genres, we will be doing quite a bit of “generic studies” as well. Since the literature of Robin Hood participates in a larger intellectual/cultural context than is usually supposed, we will be looking at pastoral traditions, the Wild Man/Green Man figures, the economic “realities” of folk life, and a bit of the “literature of protest.” There will be a lot of areas, in other words, to find a research topic in. You must write a substantial research paper for this seminar. You will also be expected to participate on a daily basis in the discussion as well as make a group presentation on some significant aspect of our material. There will be neither midterm nor final. We should have a lot of fun doing some really serious library work (computers and all!). Texts: Stephen Knight & Thomas Ohlgren, Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales; Stephen Knight, Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw.
Troping Turner: Thesis, Confession, Diary. In this course we will discuss the relationship between violence and liberal space. Using two affirmative actions from the Johnson Administration--the Wilderness Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964—as a frame, we’ll trace out the implications of “frontier” as it shifts from a rhetoric of wilderness closure to that of preservative enclosure. We’ll discuss the symbiotic relationship between fantasies of demographic purity and ecological salvation and the subsequent collapse of democratic space. Throughout the quarter we’ll discuss the often confictual relationship between giving consent and taking exception. Students will be required to read William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner, Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia; Andrew Macdonald’s The Turner Diaries; Frederick Jackson Turner’s “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” along with Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and Rebecca Solnit’s Savage Dreams. Students will also be required to supplement these readings with a journal in which they write down their experiences of various types of space—from managed urban parkways to improvised weekend “wilderness” getaways to excursions into spaces and times in which they “feel” more raced or gendered than at others. Be forewarned, some of our course readings will be extremely repugnant; but a willingness to saunter intellectually within these repugnancies may provide an ongoing and necessarily provisional answer to the primary Emersonian critical query, “where do we find ourselves?” Requirements: participation, research/reading journal, 12-15 page seminar paper.
Reproduction in Modern Thought and Literature. How has human reproduction been represented in modern literature, social theory, and scientific thought? In addressing this question this course will examine how reproduction has been variously cast as a natural, technological, and scientifically rational process. We will pay especially close attention to the construction of the relationships that exist among ideas about the reproduction of human populations, racial formations, and national formations. A number of interrelated questions will guide our inquiry: How has science intervened into human reproduction? How have theorists and writers responded? Can human reproduction be considered a natural process in these representations? How has women’s reproductive labor been pathologized and/or celebrated? How has the idea of racial identity been linked to the idea of reproduction? And, how are various forms of reproductive politics and modern nationalism connected? Theorists whom we will consider may include: Sarah Franklin, Michele Stanworth, Dorothy Roberts, Donna Haraway, Catherine Gallagher, and Emily Martin. Texts: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland; Emily Martin, The Woman in the Body; Aldous Huxley, Brave New World; Jeremy Rifkin, The Biotech Century; Octavia Butler, Wildseed; Jane Lazarre, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness; photocopied course packet.
British Writing in the 1920s. This seminar will explore British writing during the 1920s. The class will read a variety of works from this decade, ranging from its most famous (and difficult) poem: The Waste Land, to one of its favorite examples of popular fiction, The Inimitable Jeeves. We’ll read fiction by Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, and Aldous Huxley, as well as two notorious novels (both of them banned by the censors): D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Radcliffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness. In addition, each student will be assigned a “lost” or neglected book written during this decade as the focus for individual research and writing. Course requirements include active participation in class discussion, library research assignments, oral reports, short and longer papers, and a final examination. Senior English majors only; Add codes for 497 available in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: P. G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves; Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Radcliffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness; Aldous Huxley, Pount Counter Point.
MW 7-8:50 pm
Shakespeare, Spenser, Freud. The goal of a senior seminar is to provide a “capstone” course to an English degree, a place where you can bring to bear on a special topic all the skills you’ve accumulated over the course of your degree work. Ideally, you have taken at least one course dealing with the material the seminar covers; the seminar thus can work at a somewhat more advanced level than would a standard upper division class. This class will try to honor that goal. Most of you will have taken at least one Shakespeare class, and I will assume you are not entirely new to Shakespeare’s language; few of you, however, will have read much (if any) Spenser; that will be a new and (with a little luck) exciting experience. Because you already know at least something about Shakespeare, we will begin with him, and use our reading of his work as a bridge to the much less known Spenser. Over the quarter, however, we will acutally spend more time with Spenser than with Shakespeare, both because his poetry is less obviously available to modern readers than is Shakespeare’s, and because this class will very likely be your only chance to read his work carefully. And though The Faerie Queene isn’t--at least to begin with—as unfriendly as Much Ado About Nothing (for example), I’m betting that its themes of love, sex, religion and war will involve you more and more deeply. Once you’ve learned how to read Spenser’s allegory, you are likely to find that the world it offers you becomes very compelling. Beyond the general goal described above for a senior seminar, then, this class will aim to make you more informed and more confident readers of Shakespeare and Spenser. We will be doing close reading and discussing of texts in order that you become more familiar with Renaissance literary language. Some of our work will be in full-class settings; some in small groups. And finally, a word about Freud. We won’t be doing a lot—just Civilization and Its Discontents. I’m not a Freudian, nor were Spenser or Shakespeare. On the other hand, the issues that arise in works we’ll be reading do sharpen when put against Freud’s very interesting pre-World War II analysis of psyche and culture. (Evening Degree Students only, Registration Periods 1 & 2.) Texts: Spenser, The Faerie Queene; Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida; Much Ado About Nothing; 1 Henry IV; Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents; Rice & Grafton, Foundations of Early Modern Europe.