Winter Quarter 2008 — Undergraduate Course Descriptions


With the goal of enhancing our critical reading and writing skills—while, most importantly, cultivating a greater appreciation for literature—this course will focus on the highly influential movement of Anglo-American Modernism. Roughly covering the first half of the twentieth century, this movement raised many important questions and doubts about rationality, language, and even the future of humankind. In the face of Modernism’s seemingly dire pessimism, some important question we will consider include: what can (still) be done? and where can we go from here? Close readings of poetry, prose, and drama will, in part, allow us to explore the causes and consequences of an age’s loss of values and belief in human progress. But beyond simply diagnosing this pervasive sense of disillusion, we will also seek out the ways in which such seminal high modernists as Barnes, Beckett, Conrad, Eliot, Yeats, Faulkner, Ford, Woolf, and Stevens struggled to make grief, failure, boredom, and human insufficiency the material with which to (attempt to) begin again.

Assignments will include two 5-7 page papers, several short responses, and a group presentation


There will also be a required course reader


The overall goal of this course is to equip you with techniques for and practice in reading and responding critically to a variety of forms of literature. We will read a wide variety of literary texts, ranging from poetry to prose to drama, and from the 18th to the 20 th century. With each text we read, the focus will be on developing close-reading practices that help us engage in and hopefully enjoy the reading process. We will begin in perhaps more familiar territory with the short story, reading short fiction by Hawthorne, Poe, Chopin, Joyce, Kafka, O'Connor (x2), and Silko. From fiction we will move to a selection of poetry by Coleridge, Keats, Dickinson, Blake, Yeats, Eliot, Pound, Auden, and Hughes, among others. We will finish the quarter with a play by Wilde, looking for commonalities between the three genres under investigation as they converge at this moment at the turn of the century. In all the literature we read together, we will focus on the social, political, and philosophical implications of each genre, considering the possibilities of literature as representative of human experience. Along the way, we will read accompanying works of literary criticism in order to better situate our critical responses within existing critical conversations – how do claims other readers of literature have made compare to our own findings and interests? Course requirements include a demanding reading schedule, short reading responses, active in-class participation, an annotated bibliography of critical sources, a midterm paper, and a final paper.


photocopied course packet.


his course will adopt the most fundamental approach to the matter of “reading literature”: we will read a number of works that have been called “literary” and see what it is they do, why they have been made, and what might be the reason one would spend time reading them. We will take it for granted that everyone has certain preconceived notions about the what, why, and wherefore of literature. Instead of simply reinforcing those assumptions, we’ll try to test them against the texts themselves. In other words, our reading will be an experiment in which we study not only “literature” but also our own thinking.
To conduct this experiment, we will examine a broad sample pool of works that have been called “literary,” looking for constants and variables. We will begin with readings in one of the oldest textual traditions, namely the lyric poem, considering verses by Sappho, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning, Charles Baudelaire, e.e. cummings, T.S. Eliot, Charles Olson, and Bernadette Mayer. In other words, we’ll be going from Ancient Greece to late 20th-century America. As we read, we’ll examine poetic devices such as metaphor, voice, rhyme, and meter, as well as poetic tropes and genres, for their conceptual, aesthetic, and emotional consequences. For the second half of the quarter, the attention will shift to prose, as well as to the last 200 years (for reasons we’ll discuss), beginning with short fiction by Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, moving to Nathaniel West’s novella Miss Lonelyhearts, and ending with an extended examination of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. We will pay close attention to the strategies of narration, the function of character, and the role of plot, as well as the social, ethical, and philosophical implications of fiction. To aid our inquiry, throughout the quarter we will also examine some key theoretical literature (!) on these topics, testing the claims others have made against our own discoveries.
Students will be asked to participate actively in daily class discussion, prepare an annotated bibliography of secondary material, and give a brief presentation on their final paper. The writing will be divided up into three 2-page critical response essays; students will chose one of these essays to expand into a final 6-8 page paper.



As the critic Tim Corrigan has written, "the history of the relationship between film and literature is a history of ambivalence, confrontation, and mutual dependence." In order to explore some of the best works of English and American literature while aiming to examine the human experience, this course will look at major canonical texts of the 19th and 20th century in relation to their film adaptations. With an emphasis on learning to read literature critically and gaining an appreciation of genre, we will scrutinize conventions of literature that may be altered, shaped, and redefined by film.

We will inspect a range of literary genres including the novesl, novellas, short stories and plays. Students will be reading texts by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forester, Samuel Beckett, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jonathan Nolan and a few theoretical texts that will be used to generate critical analysis and discussion so that students can attain a better understanding of the ways in which literature influences, rewrites, examines, and contradicts film. Course evaluation requirements include a rigorous reading schedule, weekly writing responses, student presentations, in-class participation responsibilities, and a midterm and final paper.


By the end of this course, you ought to have developed something like a method for “reading literature,” and had some good practice engaging literary works (and, by association, other kinds of texts) on a complex, thoughtful, critical level. Much of this practice will come through simply reading a variety of texts, much will come through generating articulate questions about literature and its place in contemporary life (both human and other), and much will come through working out responses (not necessarily answers) to those questions. We will be considering various texts from a rather wide span of two centuries, an ocean, and a continent. As a way to solidify our object in a course that could otherwise be completely amorphous, we’ll attempt to locate and read texts that are on the “strand,” a clever word (adapted from poet Susan Howe) that suggests s space between, neither wholly here nor there, this nor that. In other words, we’ll read texts whose literary interest emerges from the way they present problems (or values) of being “stranded,” whether between traditions, genres, forms, histories, etc.—a characteristic of the term “literature” itself. We’ll read such poets as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hopkins, Dickinson, Creely, Howe, and some others, a play by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and fiction by Leslie Marmon Silko, Ursula Le Guin, and others, as well as Jim Jarmusch’s film Dead Man.
Assignments will include group presentations and/or performance, an annotated bibliography, a few short responses, and a larger 6.5 to 8 page paper. The reading schedule will be demanding, but enjoyable, so active, continual participation is crucial


photocopied course packet

200 F READING LITERATURE (Reading Literature, Reading Reality) Welsh M-Th 1:30- 12840

The intention of this course is to offer techniques and practice reading and enjoying literature. Specifically, we will explore approaches to literature that emphasize what is said in the text itself rather than what it "symbolizes" or its "deeper meaning." To help us, we will read a selection of texts that, just like we will, grapple with the task of interpretation and the stakes of reading as they bear on our experience of reality.

Texts will likely include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, H.D., T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, James Agee, Mark Danielewski, and Paul Auster.

Requirements will include 2, 5-7 page papers, occasional short writing tasks, and active participation in class and in online discussion groups. This class fulfills both VLPA and W credits.


Course Pack with essays, excerpts, poetry, etc.

205 A MTHD, IMAGNTN, INQURY (Method, Imagination, and Inquiry) Searle M-F 1:30- 12848

This course is offered as both an English and Comparative History of Ideas course. It 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. Selections include literary, philosophical and scientific texts. The reading for the course is demanding, but coherent: each text provides a basis for better understanding the next. Selections include works by 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 to go over reading and writing assignments. There is a take-home mid-term examination, a number of short papers, and a final paper.

207 A INTRO CULTURE ST (Introduction to Cultural Studies) Clark M-Th 12:30- 12849

"Cultural Studies and the Archive" In this course we will approach cultural studies as a methodology, one that enables a specific kind of reading attentive to the contexts in which a variety of forms of representation are shaped, distributed, and received.

We will begin with a brief historical survey of the field and its key terms, before moving on to consider its intersections with other interdisciplinary methodologies (in particular those of visual studies, textual studies, and cultural history).

In the latter part of the quarter we will put this into practice, performing our own cultural studies readings. Our focus will be a consideration of the idea of the archive, or what we might term archival thinking, in contemporary culture, particularly as it relates to the emergent field of memory studies.

Readings will include a photocopied course pack and selections from The Archive, edited by Charles Merewether. Assessment is likely to include regular response papers, class presentations and a longer final paper, in addition to thoughtful and engaged reading and class participation.

207 B INTRO CULTURE ST (Introduction to Cultural Studies) Gillis-Bridges TTh 1:30-3:20 12850

n this course, we will analyze how the Internet, new media and computer technologies have altered the contemporary cultural landscape. To do so, we will employ the methodologies of cultural studies, focusing on the social, cultural, and political interactions that occur in online settings, the ways in which electronic media convey and contest particular ideologies, the possibilities and limitations of virtual communities, and the economics of participation in cyberculture. Course readings include literary and cinematic representations of cyberspace as well as theoretical writings. Students will also examine a range of digital texts, including social networking platforms, virtual reality environments, blogs, and online gaming sites.

Texts Please note that list is still tentative at this point.


Photocopied course packet

211 A MID/REN LIT (Linguistic Hybridity and the Development of Vernacular Literatures in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods) Rygh M-Th 1:30- 12851

Delving into the tension between Latin as a shared language and the expressive capabilities of the vernacular, this course will trace the development of the transnational and polyglot culture that emerged in Europe during the medieval period and largely dissolved in the aftermath of the reformation. Exploring issues of language and identity, we will ask what advantages are afforded and problems faced by communities that have recourse to more than one language.

We will begin the course by reading selections of two influential texts from late antiquity: Augustine's Confessions, and Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. In the next section of the course we will read a wide assortment of medieval texts: first, selections from Petrarch (especially "The Ascent of Mount Ventoux";) second, examples of macaronic texts that playfully combined languages (notably, selections from The Carmina Burana;) and finally, texts that were deliberately composed in the vernacular (Dante's Vita Nuova and Chaucer's "Miller's Tale.") In the final weeks of the course we will explore works from the early modern period: Erasmus' In Praise of Folly, the macaronic play-cycle The Christmas Prince, and Descartes' Meditations on a First Philosophy.

212 A LIT ENLTMT & REVOLN (Literature of Enlightenment and Revolution) Grant M-Th 12:30- 12852

In this class, we will begin to track the development of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century British novel. Our orienting point of analysis will be the role of women, both as authors and protagonists, in the rise of the novel. While most of our time will be devoted to close readings of the primary texts, we will also discuss each novel in relationship to an excerpt from a representational critical work that attempts to establish the novel’s significance and location in the history of the British novel. We will attempt to tease out each critical work’s successes and shortcomings in defining the British novel.
This is a lecture and (mostly) discussion course requiring extensive student participation. Assignments may include the following: discussion leadership responsibilities, a seminar paper, weekly reading quizzes if necessary, and a final.
Primary authors will include: Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Bronte. Secondary authors may include: Jane Spencer, Ian Watt, John Richetti, Michael McKeon, Edward Said, and Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar


Primary texts will be available in the University Bookstore; secondary texts will be available on library E-Reserve.
Possible Secondary Criticism
• Jane Spencer, The Rise of the Woman Novelist: From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen
• Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel
• John Richetti, The English Novel in History
• Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel
• Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
• Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic

212 A LIT ENLTMT & REVOLN (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution) James M-Th 8:30- 12852

This course will focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In daily discussion, we'll focus on close-reading texts, while looking for clues about social and cultural context in this time period. As we follow chronological shifts in literary form and content, we'll consider parallel developments in music and the visual arts. Authors will likely include Eliza Haywood, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, R.L. Stevenson, and George Gissing. We'll focus on several novels, with a supplemental Course Reader containing poetry, stories, and essays. In addition to a heavy reading load, this course requires active discussion, presentations, exams, and essays. Before you register, consider your ability to attend class each morning at 8:30am with enthusiasm – this course is not for the chronically late or absent.

Textbook list for the UW Bookstore:
Eliza Haywood, Fantomina (1724)
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1798)
Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854)
R.L. Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
George Gissing, The Odd Women (1893)
Course Reader

213 A MODERN/POST MOD LITERATURE (Not Merely “Transitional”: Literature Between Modernism and Postmodernism) Vechinski M-Th 11:30- 12853

This course is designed as a survey of British literature from roughly 1920 to 1970 that will pay special attention to how aesthetic aspirations of that time reflect social and historical circumstances. We will begin by reading two seminal texts of the 1920s, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Eliot’s The Waste Land, in conjunction with critical pieces that seek to define modernism as a period or literary movement. From there we will move directly to theories of postmodernity written later in the twentieth-century and pair them with Angela Carter’s 1972 novel The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman. Then we will return to the 1930s and work our way back up the 1970s, considering the place of various works of British literature written between the easier-to-distinguish touchstones of modernism and postmodernism. We will look at how and why these poems and fictions exhibit aesthetic inclinations from either end of the spectrum. Our investigations will attempt to specify their value in their contemporary moment and today—not as mere “transitional texts” ahead of or behind the times, but as literary works meriting attention in their own right. Authors from the 1930s to the 1970s that we may read include Christopher Isherwood, Henry Green, Elizabeth Bowen, Basil Bunting, Samuel Beckett, W.H. Auden, Muriel Spark, Iris Murdoch, and Anthony Burgess.


213 B MODERN/POST MOD LITERATURE ('Whose (post)modernism?') Kae M-Th 1:30- 12854

Whose (post)modernism? This section of ENGL213 will focus on novels, short stories and poetry to ask how the aesthetic and intellectual claims of modernism and postmodernism have affected U.S. literary production. In equal measure, we will ask how these examples of literary production affect our understanding of modernism and postmodernism as codifying reading practices. Put differently, as we explore how these texts engage with, calcify, and/or challenge modernist and postmodernist concerns, we will also ask how these texts read ‘modernity’ and/or ‘postmodernity’. While we think about the formal and thematic aspects of these works, be prepared to delve into some challenging discussions about how these texts articulate perspectives of capitalism, nation, citizenship, race, class and sex. By the conclusion, we will posit the question that announces this course in order to think about the possibilities and limitations of these “ –isms” and whom claims of modernity and postmodernity benefit and ignore. Other questions we may consider include: Is ‘modernisms’ a more apt term to describe the different literary strands that have emerged over the last century? What are the stakes of adopting such a term? Is the ‘post’ a dubious or salient qualifier? What does one gain by focusing on this literature in relation to other examples of cultural production?
In addition to the novels listed below, a require course packet will include selections by Walt Whitman, John dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Robert Creeley, Norman Mailer, Donald Barthelme, Toni Morrison, Jessica Hagedorn and Paul Beatty


Course Packet including short stories, poetry and supplementary articles (will be available for purchase at Ave Copy)

225 A SHAKESPEARE (Shakespeare) Mukherjee M-Th 8:30- 12855

This course is an introduction to the study of Shakespeare by looking at a selection of his plays and their reception around the world in the twentieth century. In the heyday of British imperialism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Shakespeare was frequently touted as an essentially British author whose works expressed a distinctive British concept of civilization and cultural superiority. With the decline of Britain's imperial legacy in the twentieth century, Shakespeare's Britishness has now become less pronounced; instead, in an increasingly globalized cultural market, his dominant image is of a world author. In this course, beginning with a close study of the art and craft of a number of Shakespeare's plays, we will examine the various ways in which they have been appropriated for the screen both within and outside Anglophone cultures.Students will be invited to form critically informed views as to whether Shakespeare has become a universalizing force through which the values of Western dominant cultures might be imposed on peripheral ones, or whether his reception around the world marks a truly creative and radical encounter between different cultural traditions. Students will be asked to view videotapes of film
adaptations of each play outside class, and class meetings will include analysis and discussion of clips from them. Requirements: participation in class discussions, group presentations, a series of quizzes, one short paper (3-4 pages) and one longer paper (8-10 pages).


A Course Pack.

229 A ENGL LIT: 1600-1800 (Satire & Sentiment In British Literature 1600-1800) Borlik M-Th 9:30- 12856

Science, satire, sentiment, and the sublime: With these four terms as cardinal points on our compass, we’ll journey through some of the great works of seventeenth and eighteenth century British literature. Our voyage begins with a visit to Eden, followed by a trip to two utopias, The New Atlantis and The Blazing Worlds. Afterwards we’ll embark on a quixotic adventure with The Knight of the Burning Pestle, join Lemuel Gulliver on his globe-trotting odyssey, then undertake a “sentimental” excursion through Europe and the twisted mind of Laurence Sterne. Next we will enroll in Sheridan’s School for Scandal, then explore The Castle of Otranto, a Gothic spine-chiller, before finally concluding with a look at Jane Austen’s delightful spoof of the genre, Northanger Abbey.

Our readings will provide a springboard to a number of critical talking points: the emergence of modern selfhood, low culture vs. high culture, the regulation of the passions, religious and scientific attitudes towards nature, the travel narrative as a vehicle for cross-cultural analysis. We will grapple with Enlightenment critiques of religion and nationalism, as well as spiritual and aesthetic critiques of Enlightenment. Rather than treat satire and sentiment as mutually exclusive the course investigates the social function of humor in fostering certain beliefs and emotions and discouraging others. But most of all we will savor the comic sensibility of the era, observing the barbed repartee writers fling at their society and at one other. Course website:


Coursepack @ Ave. Copy

230 A ENGL LIT: AFTER 1800 (English Literary Culture, 1800 - present) James M-Th 8:30- 12857

This course is technically meant to be a survey of over 200 years of literature, so we’ll narrow our field by focusing on British literature, mainly novels, emerging in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This abbreviated time range highlights some of the literary trends of each century but also allows us to focus in on several important works from the period. We’ll divide our time between close-reading and investigating cultural and historical context. Even in the midst of dramatic changes like industrialization, imperialism, and war, we can also read these novels for clues about how the home and the countryside adapted to the 20th century. In addition to some poetry, short stories, and background material in a Course Pack, we will likely read novels/novellas by Elizabeth Gaskell, Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf. This course requires regular attendance and participation, a group presentation, essays, and exams.


Course Pack: some Dickens, two stories by Katherine Mansfield, some poetry

230 A ENGL LIT: AFTER 1800 (English Literary Culture: After 1800) Kelly M-Th 8:30- 12857

In How Novels Think, Nancy Armstrong writes that “wherever novels are written and read they are, in all likelihood, reproducing the modern individual in both fiction and fact” (9). The claim that novels not only describe, but help construct, the subject, necessarily leads to more questions about the work of the novel and the nature of individuality itself. In this class, we’ll limit the scope of our inquiry to British literature written between the mid 19th and early 20th centuries, a time-period in which the novel became the dominant form of literary representation. We’ll further refine our focus by considering the role emotions play in the novel’s articulation of the subject. Different representations of how emotions work – from, say, depictions of deep psychological interiority to instinctual, animalistic responses – create radically different claims to subjectivity. To contextualize the work that novels did in defining and creating the feeling subject in this time period, we’ll turn to contemporary works from other disciplines that also significantly contributed to this conversation, such as the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin and the psychological work of Sigmund Freud. Literary texts will include: Villette, A Christmas Carol, Dracula, and What Maisie Knew. Additional reading selections, including critical texts and literature from other genres such as poetry, will be in a course packet. Course requirements will include short response papers, a class presentation, and mid-term and final exams.

242 A READING FICTION (READING FICTION) Kelly M-Th 1:30-2:20 12858

This course will seek to help students develop a critical approach to fiction. Students will learn to place literary texts within a certain line of inquiry, and articulate their contribution through close reading and analysis. Towards this end, the course will focus on a specific set of texts produced during a certain historical moment: the long 19th century. We will be particularly concerned with those texts that make moral and social arguments. From tyrannical abuses of power to anti-Semitism, literature produced over the 19th century in Britain targeted a range of social and political ills, and writers often sought to produce in their readers some sort of moral change through an affective representation of these wrongs. A specific point of departure within the broad theme of social critique will therefore be the role emotions play in this regard. We’ll be looking not only at how these problems were represented in literature, but at the way such emotions as anger, fear, shame and sympathy were deployed in these texts’ arguments. This course proposes to examine the way a variety of texts – poetry, fiction, essays and philosophical treatises – engaged in this discourse. Students will also learn to work with secondary criticism and current critical theory in order to place their ideas within a larger scholarly framework


Course Pack


The novel is a literary form that assumes a comfortable place in the history of writing; the vast domain of fiction itself is often equated with novel genres: romance novels, mystery novels, bestselling novels, classic novels. This course will begin with a set of questions that seeks to explore and complicate our understanding of the novel as the natural form of fiction. The purpose of this inquiry is not to arrive at a definition of the novel, but on the contrary, to demonstrate that it is a form that resists definition at all, even as "fictional;" its themes, politics, techniques, and concerns are always appropriating and being appropriated by historical and cultural pressures.

Fiction is a particularly vexed genre because historically, it was often defined in opposition to "fact" or "history," and many of the modern assumptions we hold about fiction today stem from these eighteenth- and nineteenth- century attitudes. But *is* fiction particularly opposed to fact or history? In the case of the novel, this popular form came to be explicitly equated with fiction, but we will see that its function was not so easily categorized. Was it aesthetic or didactic? Would it educate or make idle the character of its readers? Would it critique or affirm imperialist practices and domestic policies? Looking critically at the novel now, is it a vehicle of liberal thought or a form of discipline? Or does it undertake all these functions? And how do these issues get taken up in narratives themselves?

We will sample several novels, chosen from different types of nineteenth-century fiction that will help us explore these questions: the domestic novel, the industrial novel, sensation novel, and the imperial romance. Examining these varying novelistic genres, we will pay attention to how they each take up and address issues of economy, industry, and labor, race and imperialism, gender and class, trying to track how each genre uses its narrative to fashion or marginalize representations of these prominent social and political concerns. These texts will be paired with historical and theoretical texts, available in a course pack. The overall goal for these readings and the course is to develop a critical approach to fiction, and to articulate your contribution to these conversations through close reading and analysis.

Because the course is primarily discussion-based, a significant portion of your grade is based on class participation. Students will also write two short response papers (3-4 pages each), and one longer essay (5-7 pages), all with required revisions. The workload also includes a presentation, discussion-leading, and a heavy reading schedule.

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. (978-0393975420 )
Dickens, Charles. Hard Times. 1854. (978-0393959000)
Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone. 1868. (978-0140434088)
Haggard, Rider H. King Solomon's Mines. 1885. (978-0812966299)
Course Reader, available at Ave Copy (4141 University Way)

242 B READING FICTION (Introduction to Law and Literature) Van Rijswijk M-Th 9:30- 12859

This class seeks to provide students with techniques and practice in reading and critically interpreting fiction. To that end, students will read literary texts with a mind to developing their own close-reading practices. Students will also read works of literary criticism and learn to orient their own critical responses within wider critical conversations. Thematically, we will think about the different ways in which the law regulates relationships between individuals and communities. We will also examine the nature of processes that function within and outside the law, (eg “norms”), to discipline individuals and communities.
Course work will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in class discussion, short writing assignments, a mid-term exam and a final paper.


242 C READING FICTION (READING FICTION) Bryant M-Th 11:30- 12860

Catalog Description: Critical interpretation and meaning in fiction. Different examples of fiction representing a variety of types from the medieval to modern periods.

242 D READING FICTION (READING FICTION) Mahmoud M-Th 12:30- 12861

Much has been written about the “exotic” Orient. From travelogues, to works of fiction, to films, to travel brochures, most texts invite us to read about the “mysterious” Orient and to experience its magic. For many of us, these sources shape our idea of the Orient. However, few of us ask: How did the “Orient” become exotic? Has it always been magical? Is this a natural state or is it actually a “constructed” image? This course seeks to help students develop a critical approach to fiction, travel writing, and film. Students will learn to place literary texts within a certain line of inquiry, and articulate their contribution through close reading and analysis. To this end, we will be looking at the discourse of Orientalism that continues to shape our perception of the “other” in our contemporary world. More specifically, we will be looking at British and French travel literature and fiction on 19th and 20th century Egypt. We will examine how knowledge was produced about Egypt under the French and British occupations, in order to construct a specifically different racial identity for Egyptians and, therefore, to justify French and British colonial projects. As a counterbalance, we will also read pieces written by Egyptians recounting their perceptions of the West and of Europeans. Texts include Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love (1999); Gustave Flaubert, Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour; H. Rider Haggard, Cleopatra (1889), Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile (1937), Edward William Lane, The Manners and Customs of Modern Egyptians (1836), a course pack, and two films. Course requirements include regular attendance, a demanding reading schedule, quizzes, active in-class participation as well as participation on Go-post, team presentations, response papers, and a final paper.


A course pack

242 E READING FICTION ("Reading Intersections: Literature as World-Making") Chang M-Th 2:30- 12862

Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote, “First sentences are doors to worlds.” With this in mind, what might literature, in our case fiction, reveal to us, reveal about us, and reveal about our culture? We will engage the techniques and practices of reading and enjoying literature in order to explore and articulate how literature *makes* the world we live in. In other words, our understandings of peoples and places, as well as the intersections of cultural and social markers like race, gender, class, nation, sexuality, and power can be excavated through the analysis of the fictions we create and consume. This class will spend the quarter reading, thinking, writing about various literatures and how and what these texts argue, reveal, narrate, hide, perpetuate, and complicate the culture and the world around us. Texts may include in whole or in excerpt Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, C.S. Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Don Delillo, Toni Morrison, David Gerrold, and J.K. Rowling.

242 F READING FICTION (READING FICTION) Goodhead MW 12:30-2:20 18682

In this course, we will critically examine—through close reading—four texts that span the beginnings of written literature in English and contemporary writing. The four texts are Beowulf, “Eveline,” Half of a Yellow Sun, and Sunset in Biafra. Beowulf is the best extant long poem in Old English. It, therefore, marks the transition from orality and folklore to written English. From Beowulf, we will take a big leap to “Eveline,” a short story. “Eveline” highlights not just the sophisticated modern sensibility, but also the subtler and wider array of techniques that the modern writer brings to his/her craft. From the short story, we will move to the novel, and to the impressive tome Half of a Yellow Sun, winner of the Orange Prize. In studying Half of a Yellow Sun, we will not only be taking a trans-Atlantic leap; we will also be underscoring the rise of English from its modest beginnings in the British Isles to the status of global language. It will be interesting to see whether there are any marked differences in the English of “Eveline” and the English of Half of a Yellow Sun. Half of a Yellow Sun and Sunset in Biafra share the same subject matter: the Nigerian Civil War. A key difference between the two though is that the latter is an autobiographical account. How is the autobiography different from fiction? In what ways might we put the two into a productive dialogue that will enhance our readings of both?

Writing Requirements

1. A two-page summary of Beowulf
2. A one-page summary of “Eveline”
3. A two-page summary of Half of a Yellow Sun
4. A two-page summary of Sunset in Biafra
5. A ten-page term paper, to be submitted first as a draft, and then as a final paper after revision at the end of the quarter.

The term paper will be a scholarly essay. In other words, you will be asked to formulate a thesis/claim about the work, and provide a convincing argument for the thesis/claim. As part of the assignment, and to challenge, expand, and refine your thinking about the work, I will ask you to use at least two peer-reviewed, scholarly essays taken from reputable journals. I will discuss the peer-reviewed essays with you, and help to clarify concepts and meaning where necessary.

Furthermore, even though I will be working with the assumption that your 100-level writing classes have introduced you to the argumentative essay, I will still spend a little time to familiarize you with it.


243 A READING POETRY ("Music, Modern Poetry, and The Performed Word.") DeBlois M-Th 12:30- 12863

his course will investigate the relationship between works of poetry and music, focusing on certain experiments in poetry of the 20th c. which clarified the intersection of the two arts occuring in instances of both theory and practice. We will consider whether the relationship sustained accelerated development with the advent of modern technological advancements, particularly innovations in the field of recorded sound, and debate whether the expectations and role of the lyric in society have been radically altered. We will locate underpinnings for our study in Plato and Shakespeare, consider poetry of modernism's more immediate precursors, and extend a thorough discussion of modern practitioners up through the present day. As a result, tracing a line (in close reading) from T.S. Eliot to Bob Dylan, or from the French Symbolists to the Beats to freestyle hip-hop, are both critical maneuvers we might pursue.

Course packet

250 A INTRO TO AM LIT (Introduction to American Literature) Kimmey M-Th 8:30- 12864

This course offers an introduction to the study of U.S. literature and culture for non-majors. It takes as its premise that defining "American" literature or determining what gets included in an "American" canon is a tenuous, fraught enterprise. Starting with
the problem of a nationalist literature, we will gloss the history of canon debates and the political stakes at work in which texts get taught within classrooms, collected in anthologies, and cited in research. We will then carry this over to literature of the "long nineteenth century" as one productive site for thinking through nationalist claims to literary or cultural representation and,
consequently, history. The particular texts we will read follow two trajectories: (1) the expansion of U.S. state territory through the violent conquest, annexation, and expropriation of Native-Americans and Spanish-Americans, and (2) the "peculiar institution" of slavery and the contradictions embedded within what one well-known historian has called "the traffic in human souls." Throughout the quarter, our objective will be to not only realign our conceptions of U.S. literature, but also to radically revise our ways of reading. Thus, this course not only asks: what constitutes "American" literature? It also poses the questions: How has "American" literature been read? And how does expanding "American" literature to more diverse cultures
within the U.S. call for new reading practices, even and perhaps most insistently for perennially-taught texts of American literature?
Our primary texts may include: Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's The Squatter and the Don, Lydia Maria Child's Hobomok, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables, Herman Melville's Benito Cereno, Frederick Douglass's The Heroic Slave, and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative. Course reserves will be made available of secondary/critical essays and historical texts.

Method of Instruction: Class discussion and some lecturing for
historic background and framing. Evaluation will be based upon
participation, weekly quizzes, group presentations, a midterm and a
final exam/paper.

250 B INTRO TO AM LIT (American Literature and Madness) Lewis M-Th 12:30- 12865

“Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule”- Friedrich Nietzsche

In this course we will examine madness as a symbol for the American condition. We will begin with the precept that madness is often an allegory for other outcast conditions, and we will study how American writers have used the allegory of madness to tease out non-normative subjects’ relations to the state. In particular, we will track the making of representative Americans in literature from the late-18th century to the present; we will notice that rationality with which these citizens are credited depends on a series of foils (eg., women, people of color and sexual minorities) who are variously coded as mad. We will devote equal time to literature which challenges this definition of Americanness, paying particular attention to writers who represent the pain of dispossession as an experience akin to madness.

Documents written by the founding fathers (eg., The Constitution and Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia) lay the groundwork for our investigation. We will pursue the theme of madness in close readings of short stories, novels, poetry and film from the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, we will supplement these literary texts with readings in psychoanalysis, literary, and cultural theory.

This class functions through a student-centered pedagogy. This means that active in-class participation is required and will comprise a substantial portion of your final grade. Lectures will be rare occurrences, and class time will mostly be comprised of focused discussions and classroom activities. Expect hearty, and sometimes dense, readings and weekly 2 page response papers. Your in-class participation, weekly responses, and a 5-7 page paper will determine your final grade.


A course reader will contain texts by Thomas Jefferson, David Walker, Nathanial Hawthorne, Charlotte Perkins-Gillman, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and others.

250 C INTRO TO AM LIT (Introduction to American Literature) Miller M-Th 2:30- 12866

This course will focus on American travel writing—that is, the work of writers exploring the U.S. and beyond. We will read some fiction and poetry, but most of our readings will be literary nonfiction (often just as fanciful as the fiction and poetry). We will begin with William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida…, which recounts the author’s survey of the landscape and natural history of the Southeastern colonies in the 1770s. We will read a few nineteenth-century texts that travel beyond national borders, including Herman Melville’s “The Encantadas” and John Lloyd Stephens’s Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and the Yucatan (1841), to examine how American writers imagined their own national history in relation to the landscapes and people of Central America and the South Pacific. Our other nineteenth-century texts will include Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad (1869), which takes a humorous look at American tourists, and W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903), an ostensible railroad journey that documents the racial and economic terrain of the American South. Our twentieth century texts will include poems by Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, and John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts’ Logbook from the Sea of Cortez, an account of their trip to Baja California on the eve of WWII. (The purpose of the trip was to collect specimens of marine life, but the logbook also recounts plenty of beer-drinking and armchair-philosophizing.) All of this is to say that we will read a wide variety of travel narratives, and discuss their bearing on American literature in a number of ways.

The discussions and assignments will be designed to help you improve your ability to think critically and write analytically about the texts that we read. More generally, the course is meant to give you a broad sense of how a cross-section of American writers have imagined their relationship to (their) contemporary culture, the national past, and the North American continent.
There will be two midterms and a final essay, and daily participation will be a crucial part of your grade in the course.


plus a photocopied course pack

251 A INTRO AM POL CULT ( The Politics of Representing “The City” in 20th Century America) Mirpuri MW 12:30-2:20 12867

This course will introduce a variety of methodological approaches to American culture and literature, derived from literary and cultural studies, history, sociology, and political theory. Taking up these different disciplinary perspectives, we will ask what “American culture” has to do with politics and policy making. Our task will be to investigate this presumed relation between “culture” and “politics” by examining a specific concern of both American culture and political regulation in the 20th century: the American city. In other words, we will start with three specific questions: how has “the city” been represented in literary and scholarly work? What role have these different representations played in the formation of American politics? Finally, what theoretical and methodological perspectives provide us with useful ways of responding to these questions?

In the process, we will investigate a canonical selection of literary and theoretical representations of the city which have been central to conceptualizing the experience of urban life in America. The course will start with a historical look at the anxieties and promises of new urban life in the early 20th century and its relation to political struggles and arguments over immigration restriction and racial segregation. Towards the latter part of the quarter, we will take up some of the methods and historical perspectives we’ve studied in order to examine how new “neoliberal” models of urban governance have attained policy-making legitimacy by relying on a variety of narratives prominent today in American culture, and how these narratives have been contested by alternative representations of the city. Our goal will be to engage in critical debates about how key policy “issues” affecting us today, such as crime, welfare, globalization, gentrification, prisons, and residential segregation, are related to, struggled over, and made sense of within what we have come to call “American culture.”


281 A INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Intermediat Expository Writing) Fuentes MW 9:30-11:20 12869

This course examines how people who share similar thoughts, ideas, and goals—i.e. discourse communities—use particular texts as a means of intercommunication and influencing individuals’ thoughts, actions, and writing. Along the way, we will address several questions: What is the relationship between certain discourse communities and their texts? How are certain genres employed or shaped by discourse communities? What role do these genres play in individuals’ daily lives? How is discourse community membership accessed through writing? What is gained or lost when you align yourself with certain forms of writing? How do discourse communities and their discursive practices affect people’s ways of being and doing? To inquire and respond to these questions we will first examine genre and discourse analysis approaches in order to understand the social, cultural, and ideological processes of discourse communities and their texts. We will then apply genre and discourse analysis models and examples to examine and better understand various discipline-specific texts. The aim of this class is to develop your awareness of the rhetorical strategies of particular genres used by discourse communities and to recognize that certain writing situations require specific rhetorical moves. As writers you need to become familiar with the conventions appropriate to a particular rhetorical situation or discipline. In other words, I want you to investigate, analyze, and ultimately learn to write the way people do in your major, discipline, and (potential) field of interest.
In framing and studying discourse and texts within their institutional and social contexts, you will be able to unravel the practices that influence individuals’ rhetorical actions in various settings. Course readings, writings, and discussion will focus on issues of power, identity, race, and gender and how language is used to construct, transmit, and perpetuate particular ideologies, values, and practices. This class is intended to prepare you to think critically about the ideas and language of others and how to articulate your own meaningful responses to those ideas and language through expository writing.

Text: photocopied course packet


While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

281 B INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Rhetorics of the UW) Rounsaville MW 1:30-3:20 12870

English 281 course begins with the assumption that all texts – and here I mean language-based, visual, and spatial – work to organize community activity, circulate commonplace assumptions, and normalize some ways of thinking and composing while rejecting others. With this premise in mind, we will spend the quarter working to answer three broad questions: What does writing do? How exactly does it produce those effects? How can you be a strategic and effective actor in making writing matter in the context of your choosing? In order to answer these questions, we will look closely at how writing circulates within and between both formal and informal communities that make-up the University of Washington and the surrounding neighborhood. As we investigate the various spaces and places were compositions happen, we will repeatedly be guided by the following questions: What are the assumptions and expectations that determine what is and what is not acceptable in a given situation? How are we socialized over time to view some forms of communication as “natural” and others as either strange, or just plan wrong? How do we gain some control over that socialization process so that we know where, when, and how we want to participate through writing?

The goal of this class is to help students write more effectively, strategically, and critically for a variety of purposes and audiences. Be prepared to do work inside and outside of the classroom as we will be devoting time to both primary and secondary forms of research. The course writings will include several short reflective and critical essays, which will lead to a larger research paper on a community of your choice. In addition, students will develop a group project in which they document their community in the form of a webzine, a magazine, a brochure, or another genre of the group’s choosing. This course will culminate in a final project where students individually author an academic essay arguing for what your group’s genre does, how it produces those effects, and why it matters. English 281 B is computer-integrated. The computer lab setting allows students to participate in inclusive electronic discussions, offer feedback on their peers' work, complete multi-media assignments, and incorporate visuals into their papers. However, technical savvy is not a course prerequisite; students will receive instruction in all technical tools used in the classroom.

Text: photocopied course packet


While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

281 C INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Intermediat Expository Writing) Mondor TTh 8:30-10:20 12871

English 281C is computer-integrated, with students moving between a wired seminar room and a computer lab each week. The lab setting allows students to participate in electronic discussions, collaborate on group activities, offer feedback on their peers’ writing, complete multi-media assignments, and conduct research. However, technical savvy is not a course prerequisite; students will receive instruction in all technical tools used in the classroom.

In this course, we will examine and write about how culture connects to food in our everyday lives, on both individual and social levels. We will look at food cultures (and language about food) in the contemporary US as highly complex, multilayered, and rhetorical activity systems constantly involving their participants in choices with very real material consequences. Our inquiry will be guided with careful analysis and creative unpacking of a frequently invoked cultural commonplace: you are what you eat.

If the common saying is true, then what are you? Why? What guides the daily choices we make about food and the options we believe are available as we make those choices? What determines the significance ascribed to these choices, both individually and due to memberships in our various cultural groups? How and why might we intervene in established patterns and relationships with food, on either individual or cultural levels? Taking a critical look at something as allegedly simple as what you’re eating for dinner tonight can promote new insights into how cultural values (as related to gender, class, race and ethnicity, to name just a few) are continually reinscribed and at times challenged--both through food practices themselves and the rhetorical moves and situations giving meaning to these practices.
We will begin with localized personal glances that will likely extend to global and transnational sites as we trace how and why certain foods are on our plates, and what those foods mean to us, to society, and to the planet on their varied journeys from seed to table. Throughout the quarter, the class will examine and produce a spectrum of creative and analytical texts as we think critically about food genres and food cultures, and also celebrate their significance in our lives.

Though our theme is food and culture, ultimately, this course should help you build a wide repertoire of creative and critical rhetorical skills so you can adapt your writing strategies and style for what is appropriate to the varied rhetorical situations in which you participate, whether in your chosen academic discipline, your civic or personal life, or your various community affiliations. Assessing your intended audience and purpose for writing, as well as the appropriate genre conventions and rhetorical techniques to get your message across, form essential components of effective writing This course will approach writing as a highly recursive, interactive, and situated rhetorical process that requires experimentation and attentive practice to accomplish its intended work in the world.

Revision and reflection form the core elements of this course, since they will help deepen your insights and critical abilities with language. The course will be student centered, meaning your active and informed participation is essential to our work—lectures will be scarce, so come prepared to engage and to discuss. My goal for this course is to assist you in forming a community of supportive, engaged peers who are responsible for their own and each other’s learning, who can make astute rhetorical choices to communicate effectively in numerous rhetorical situations through multiple genres, and who are committed to improving each other’s writing and thinking.



While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

281 D INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Intermediate Expository Writing) Halpin TTh 12:30-2:20 12872

The fundamental premise of this course is that language, which we use so very casually on an everyday basis, is powerful. Charles Bazerman (2006) puts it particularly well: “[through] writing we spread the means of describing reality, evaluating what exists, exploring remedies for life’s ills, and asserting persuasive terms for new realities.” In other words, discourse – spoken and written communication – is not only the means by which we describe our realities, it is the means by which we shape them. To operate with that as our premise means accepting that language can be (is) enormously persuasive.

We think about discourse in this class in two main ways: in terms of genre (loosely, ‘text types’) and in terms of rhetoric (loosely, ‘the available means of persuasion’). If we are to use language to its fullest potential, we must balance the conventions and demands of existing genres (what people have done before) on one hand, and our understanding of the best rhetorical moves to make in a particular situation on the other. Because different fields/disciplines have different genre conventions and different rhetorical moves that are required (or have proven to be most effective), it behooves us to cultivate an awareness of how writing, rhetoric, and genre function in those different disciplines – and in various writing situations even within those disciplines. To put it more plainly, how do you begin to understand what it will take to communicate effectively in the field you choose – or in the various situations in which you might want to persuade people? How do you know which specific rhetorical moves work, and how can you put them to best use yourself?

In order to explore these issues in more concrete ways, we will be looking at arguments surrounding language diversity and non-mainstream language and discourse. If we are willing to take it as a given that people use language to shape their realities, then what are the consequences, for example, of denying people the right to speak/write in their own language varieties? Who benefits and who is harmed when standard language is used to construct, transmit, police, and perpetuate particular kinds of ideologies, values, and practices (dominant, but by no means universal or inclusive)? Readings and discussion will center on these kinds of questions, but course texts are also themselves drawn from a variety of genres and represent an incredible range of successful rhetorical moves, so for each text, we will be employing a kind of double analysis (that is, of both content and form) that should serve you well as you move onward into other fields – not inconsequentially, fields with their own ways of addressing language diversity. Naturally, as this is a composition class, you will also have numerous opportunities to practice writing in different genres for different situations and purposes – and to receive extensive feedback from me, your peers, and other campus resources (such as writing centers) so that you may best expand your repertoire of successful rhetorical moves.



While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

282 A COMP FOR THE WEB (“Representing Knowledge and Performing Identities on the Web”) Oenbring MW 8:30-10:20 12874

The primary goal of this class will be to help you develop your sense of the potentials (both good and bad) of hypertext as a mode of writing. We will devote much of the class analyzing webpages with an eye toward how they represent knowledge, spending time focusing on several of the most important and popular sites on the web (e.g., Wikipedia, Facebook, and YouTube). Beyond critiquing webpages, you will also be producing your own pages. Indeed, most of your assignments in the class will involve the development of a page. Pages will be graded based on both content and form (i.e., the content of the analysis and the deployment of the technical features of HTML). Group work required.

No knowledge of HTML/XHTML required, but we will be spending some time working directly with HTML code (i.e., you should be willing to ‘roll up your sleeves’ and work with the code).The primary goal of this class will be to help you develop your sense of the potentials (both good and bad) of hypertext as a mode of writing. We will devote much of the class analyzing webpages with an eye toward how they represent knowledge, spending time focusing on several of the most important and popular sites on the web (e.g., Wikipedia, Facebook, and YouTube). Beyond critiquing webpages, you will also be producing your own pages. Indeed, most of your assignments in the class will involve the development of a page. Pages will be graded based on both content and form (i.e., the content of the analysis and the deployment of the technical features of HTML). Group work required.


283 A BEGIN VERSE WRITING (Beginning Verse Writing) Christian MW 12:30-1:50 12875

"In this class we'll be reading poetry written in the 20th and 21st Centuries, and producing a wide variety of the latter. We'll read voraciously and put what we read under a microscope, looking at how others (critics and writers) have responded and constructing our own analysis. We'll write fervidly, under constantly varying conditions, to explore the full range of work available to us. Our approach will be like that of a prism, reversed: we'll spend each week on a single color band—a single technique, or form—scrutinizing it and wielding it—and we'll work our way towards fusing these focused investigations into a unified sense of poetry's possibility."

283 B BEGIN VERSE WRITING (Beginning Verse Writing) Jennings MW 3:30-4:50 12876

This course is about writing poetry — about falling in love with language, with sound-play and shades of meaning, sentence structures and stress-patterns. This course is about creating a deep agreement between what you say and how you say it.

This course is open to anyone who has ever felt the itch to write poems, to read poems, or to learn more about how poems are written. Along the way, we'll cover an array of basic craft elements (diction, syntax, figurative language, image, voice, sound, meter, etc.) at the same time that we ask larger questions about the writing process and poetry itself — What makes poetry different from prose? What does contemporary poetry look like? How do poems create an effect on the reader? Where do we begin when we sit down to write? Why and how do we revise?

Great poetry has a certain magic; there are some things about poetry that can't be taught. But there are also many things about poetry that can be taught. And that's where we'll begin.

283 C BEGIN VERSE WRITING (Beginning Verse Writing) Bierds TTh 10:30-11:50 18609

Catalog Description: Intensive study of the ways and means of making a poem.

284 A BEG SHORT STRY WRIT (Beginning Short Story Writing) Abood MW 1:30-2:50 12877

Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet

284 B BEG SHORT STRY WRIT (Beginning Short Story Writing) Harding TTh 9:30-10:50 12878

English 284 is an intensive introduction to the writing of literary short stories. Students will be engaged in reading critically and writing both creatively and analytically. In addition to familiarizing students with the fundamental components of fictive works (e.g. metaphor, pacing, point of view, characterization, and detail), the course explores how these elements are used to ultimately communicate theme. Students will engage in close, analytical readings of both published and peer works. Through these readings and subsequent group discussions, the course aims to sharpen awareness with regard to language and to give students an introduction to the writers' workshop format.


300 A READING MAJOR TEXTS (Toni Morrison’s Beloved) Ibrahim TTh 9:30-11:20 12879

This course will focus on the Nobel laureate’s influential novel, placing it in multiple contexts: history, Morrison’s body of fiction, literary and cultural criticism, and African American literary studies more generally. We will examine how the text responds to and reshapes historical events, and consider the intellectual interventions it makes in taking up this history. We will consider how concerns that Beloved raises—the task of “remembering” the past, and constructing cultural authority—are raised in other works by the author. Finally, we will ask how the award-winning novel, which is so often taught, written about, and included in literary curriculums, bears an impact on what is meant by “American literature.”

300 B READING MAJOR TEXTS (READING MAJOR TEXTS) Searle TTh 10:30-12:20 12880

This course will focus on the study of the poetry of William Blake and William Carlos Williams, with special attention to one of the long poems by each poet: The Four Zoas by Blake, and Williams' Paterson.


(Evening Degree Program)

This course will focus as much on selected American texts as the act of reading itself. What do we expect out of fiction in an age of declining readerships and the ascendancy of television and electronic media? We will start with the controversies surrounding Harper Lee’s To Kill and Mockingbird and Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, and then use the discussions generated from these books to frame our reading of such texts as David Shields’ Remote, the essays of David Foster Wallace, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. While class time will be devoted to exploring critical readings of these texts, we will spend much time on connecting these texts to considering the relationship of reading to a culture dominated by the sound byte and the visual. Some of the questions we will ask: what is the relationship of fiction to the “real world”? What place does reading have in envisioning social justice? Is it Oprah’s world and are we merely living in it? How (and even if!) is reading still relevant?


“Humor,” E. B. White tells us, “can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.” We’ll test White’s tongue-in-cheek observation, as we track the development of comic theory (or theories, really) in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schopenhauer, Santayana, and Freud. We’ll then apply these theories to the works of Lewis Carroll, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Parker, Wendy Cope, William McGonogall, and others. In the spirit of John Morreall’s study of the field, we’ll take laughter seriously. And we’ll aim to keep the frog on life support.


302 B CRITICAL PRACTICE (Green Cultural Studies & Ecocritical Practice) Gatlin TTh 9:30-11:20 12882

hat is cultural studies, as a critical practice? What is "green," or
environmental, cultural studies? What is ecocriticism, or environmental
literary criticism? What kinds of inquiries do these critical practices open
and foreclose?



(Evening Degree Program)

The broad aim of this course is to enhance the way you can study and interpret language, literature, and culture: to introduce you to the exploration of these subjects in a disciplined, informed way, with a firm understanding of what is at stake when specific critical practices are selected as your interpretative lens. Toward that larger end, this particular course will focus, in the interest of intellectual intensity, on one particular way in which this can all play out. In other words, rather than sampling a multitude of critical practices in a necessarily hasty way, we will explore, much more intensely, related theories of literary ambiguity and how they result in specific critical procedures for illuminating literary works. To further enable us to work selectively and intensely, the works chosen are all American. But the larger aim is to develop your appetite for and skill in the deliberative, theoretically informed deployment of recognizable critical practices in your study of literary, cultural, and linguistic subject matter. The assumption is that the specific skills and habits cultivated in this course close reading of complex theory, and elaborate study, critique, and employment of specific critical practices endorsed by such theory will be transferable to other courses, and to other theoretical and critical contexts. Let me add that theories and practices of literary ambiguity selected for this course are in fact quite fascinating, and enable us to explore, in our practical criticism and scholarship, such issues as how poems operate on multiple levels of understanding, or how novels can exist at the intersection of different cultures, several different verbal styles, and antagonistic points of view. During the course, you will be asked to keep elaborate journals recording your reading of a wide range of theoretical, critical, and literary readings, and to write essays that specifically explore literary texts according to deliberately adopted critical practices. Secondary readings will include such texts as Susan Stewart=s NONSENSE, Geoffrey Harpham=s ON THE GROTESQUE, and Mikhail Bakhtin=s RABELAIS AND HIS WORD. Primary literary readings will include writings by Whitman, Melville, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Henry James, Ralph Ellison and a host of other American authors. The great majority of these readings will be available in the course pack which you will purchase at the University of Washington Bookstore. A few larger texts for the course will also be available at the University of Washington Bookstore

The great majority of these readings will be available in the course pack which you will purchase at the University of Washington Bookstore. A few larger texts for the course will also be available at the University of Washington Bookstore

307 A CLTR STDIES: LIT/AGE (Auto/biographies of Environmental Justice!) Barlow TTh 12:30-2:20 12884

In this course, we will read recent autobiographical and biographical writing in relation to the call to ““mandate[] awareness within the mainstream environmental movement to issues of race, class, and gender. . .as well as within social justice movements to the foundational importance of ecological integrity to a community’s sense of well-being” from the field of environmental justice studies (Adamson, et. al. 5).

We will chart the extent to which narrative depictions of experience within particular environments answer this call to action. Several key questions will guide us:

*How is environmental literature and experience connected to social justice issues and activism?

*To what extent does environmental literature promote well-being and equity across social differences of race, gender, class, sexuality, and region?

*Which debates are central to environmental literary theory and criticism, and how has the field changed over time?

*How are human-environment relationships depicted in personal writing, and with which effects on contemporary literature, environments, and communities?

Readings from recent theoretical and critical work will aid us in responding to these questions as well as with expanding our initial responses to a range of texts: personal monographs, essays, and poems. While this course is not a survey of environmental justice studies, the scope of our work will be broad, including the following topics: pollution and industrial development, the wilderness movement, prison writing and activism, indigenous land rights, and post-industrial agriculture. This course will ask you to think about environments and environmentalism in potentially new ways as well as to engage in active discussion and debate during each class meeting.

311 A MOD JEWISH LIT TRNS (Modern Jewish Literature in Translation) Butwin TTh 10:30-12:20 12885

The course requires the words “in translation” in order to accommodate the many languages adopted by Jewish writers after 1880—Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, German… But as I look to the content and not simply the language of these stories I am reminded that the Latin verb that stands behind “translation”—translatum, past participle of transferre—always implies a journey and a crossing of rivers, borders, and oceans, to transport oneself or to carry baggage from one domain to another. Language and literature is an important part of that baggage. In this course we will trace the migration of Jewish literature between 1880 and 1940 from the shtetl and the ghetto of Eastern Europe to its re-emergence in various languages from Tel Aviv to Western Europe and New York. Our readings include the Yiddish of Sholom Aleichem, I. L. Peretz, and I. B. Singer, the Hebrew of Dvora Baron, the Russian of Isaac Babel and the German of Joseph Roth and the first phase of a Jewish-American literature written in English with a heavy inflection of Yiddish by Abraham Cahan, Anzia Yezierska and Henry Roth. Lecture, discussion and short essays.


313 A MOD EUROPE LIT TRNS (Classics of German Literature and Thought) Prutti MWF 9:30-10:20 18880

his course introduces students to major writers in the German cultural tradition and it makes a case for their significance to an American readership today. We will read mostly canonical texts that were written over a span of two hundred years, focusing on shorter prose fiction along with some plays and poetry. Ranging from 18th century sentimental literature to postmodern fiction, the texts on the reading list include a wide range of themes, styles, and artistic concerns. They include such famous novellas as Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Georg Büchner’s Lenz, and the first internationally successful German novel, Goethe’s acclaimed Sorrows of Young Werther. We will also discuss texts by Bertolt Brecht, Heinrich von Kleist, Veza Canetti, Judith Hermann, Franz Kafka, Thomas Bernhard, Ingeborg Bachmann and W.G. Sebald. Students can expect to sharpen their critical skills and to gain a basic historical understanding of German literature in the broader European context. Course requirements include regular attendance, active participation, several brief homework assignments, a midterm and a take-home final.

316 A POSTCLNIAL LIT & CLTR (“Post-colonial Literatures of South Asia”) Holzer TTh 11:30-1:20 12886

English 316 “Post-colonial Literatures of South Asia” offers a basic introduction to some of the key concepts and debates in post-colonial studies with a focus on writing from the South Asian subcontinent and its diaspora. We’ll read novels, stories, and essays in English and in translation by authors such as Rabindranath Tagore, Salman Rushdie, Khushwant Singh, Sara Suleri, Mahasweta Devi, and Shyam Selvadurai spanning the 20th century from/about pre-independence, partition of the subcontinent, and post-independence India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Issues covered include anti-colonialism and nationalisms, gender and sexuality, communal violence, colonial and contemporary Orientalism, and migration.

322 A ELIZABETHAN LIT (The Elizabethan Age) Webster TTh 7:00-8:50p 18723

(Evening Degree Program)

So, OK. You start off this period with a bunch of guys (yep, guys) writing in Latin, trying to figure out how to teach reading and writing to the boys (and even some girls) of England. Not all that many kids read or write—it’s a pretty backwards place. Big yawn.

But somehow, by the end of the century there emerges from all this a writer many believe the greatest England has ever known, William Shakespeare. Moreover, he is surrounded by a crowd of other writers, all trying new things—plays, sonnets, romances, lyrics. It’s the Elizabethan age, a place of paradox and literary experiment. It’s an age dominated by men, yet ruled by a woman whom many would still say was the most successful monarch England has ever had. In 1588 Elizabeth’s tiny navy defeated the Spanish Armada, the most powerful fleet ever to have sailed the renaissance seas—a sign of a place that was going somewhere, you might think. Yet back in London the most successful theatre movement of all time had been chased out of the city by its drama-fearing rulers and forced to set up shop across the river among the prostitutes and pickpockets and bear-baiters! What a place of contrasts!

Everybody knows something about Shakespeare, the single most powerful literary figure of this or perhaps any age. This course will introduce you to the rest of Elizabeth’s amazing courtiers and subjects: Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene and Sir Philip Sidney to begin with, but others as well. We’ll also spend a good chunk of time on Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, one of the most remarkable poems ever written, and we’ll submerge ourselves for another chunk of time in the bizarre world of Elizabethan love poetry: “When my love tells me she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies….” So writes Shakespeare in one of his sonnets, and captures in a single line the paradox, the humor and the pathos of being in love. And that’s just the beginning.


and a packet.

323 A SHAKESPEARE TO 1603 (Shakespeare to 1603) Streitberger TTh 1:30-3:20 12887

Shakespeare's career as dramatist before 1603 (including Hamlet). Study of history plays, comedies, and tragedies.


324 A SHAKESPEARE AFT 1603 (Shakespeare after 1603) LaGuardia TTh 10:30-12:20 12888

Shakespeare's career as dramatist after 1603. Study of comedies, tragedies, and romances.

328 A LATER 18TH C LIT (English Literature: later 18th Century) Tobias MW 8:30-10:20 12889

This course approaches British literature from a perspective informed by “cultural studies” and stresses the transnational circulation of peoples, ideas, and commodities in the so-called “Atlantic world” of the late eighteenth century. The era was powerfully affected by a number of dramatic and far-reaching cultural, economic and, political changes, including the global expansion of trade/exploration; unsettling and frequently violent political revolutions in France, North America, and the Caribbean; a spreading faith in what was supposed to be humankind’s inherent capacity for reason; and the increasing sense that men made their own secular histories. The course traces these developments through the study of texts by Johnson, Equiano, Burke, Blake, and Austen, among others.

332 A ROMANTIC POETRY II (Romantic Poetry II) Modiano MW 12:30-2:20 12890

The course will offer a broad overview of the political, philosophical and literary history of the Romantic period (1789--1850), focusing on the works of the second generation of Romantic writers. We will begin with an investigation of the impact of the French Revolution on the Romantics and of radical developments during this period in religion (the opposition to Christianity), philosophy (the revolt against empiricism), aesthetics (the prevailing interest in the sublime and the picturesque) and art (the change from the tradition of portrait to landscape painting). We will then turn to an in-depth study of the works of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and George Gordon Byron, focusing on their different representations of transcendence, the sublime, narcissism, transgression and the Promethean hero.


336 A EARLY MOD ENG LIT (English Literature: The Early Modern Period) Davis MW 4:30-6:20p 18722

(Evening Degree Program)

Early modern writers were a self-reflexive lot. Many of their novels, stories, and poems deal with the making of art (“art” here being a term that certainly includes literature). Across creative genres, these authors explored questions concerning the identity of the artist, the conditions necessary for artistic production, and the significance of art in society. Do social conditions suppress some kinds of artistic production and encourage others? Is art an escapist repudiation of society, or can it serve as a vehicle for personal transformation? If the latter is possible, is it enough? Does art have—did it ever have—the potential to effect social change?

In this course we’ll consider Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, Mansfield’s short stories, Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and poems by Eliot and Yeats. We’ll read essays (supplied in a course pack) in which Modernist authors propound their beliefs about the role of literary art and artists, and compare these with essays by contemporary critics such as Astradur Eysteinsson and Peter Nicholls on the motivation and meaning of Modernist work. While the focus of the course will be on the early Modern period, it will also afford the opportunity to discuss the role of art and literature in our own society.

350 A TRAD AM FICTION (Traditions in American Fiction) Tobias MW 1:30-3:20 12896

This course approaches the U.S. literatures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in terms of a series of related problems. Students will work collaboratively to describe, contextualize, and understand these problems, rather than trying to solve them definitively. In the process, they will generate a list of keywords (some possible examples include “culture,” “imperialism,” “man,” “modern,” “revolution,” and “sensibility”), which will help to organize the course and also serve as the basis for major assignments. The class will read both canonical works of “American literature,” such as Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple (1791), as well as lesser-known, harder to locate texts, such as The Narrative of Robert Adams (1816).

352 B EARLY AMER LIT (American Literature: The Early Nation) Griffith M-Th 8:30- 12897

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.


355 A CONTEMP AM LIT (Contemporary American Literature of Nature: The West) Blake TTh 9:30-11:20 12898

This course explores a field that is developing in English departments: literature of nature and the environment, here with emphasis on the Contemporary American West. While English classes offer acculturation in language and literature, in this class you will go "back to nature." At the same time, nature, or human experience of it, is influenced by culture—and you will explore a range of frames or perspectives for experiencing, thinking, writing, and reading about nature. Following initial short readings from the Bible, Edmund Burke, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir that set historical reference points, the course directs main focus to American Literature of Nature in the West from the mid 20th C. to the present, drawn from: Barry Lopez, “A Presentation of Whales,” Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, sel. poems of Gary Snyder, Marc Reisner, video segment from Cadillac Desert, The American West and Its Disappearing Water, John McPhee, “Los Angeles Against the Mountains,” James Welch, Winter in the Blood, Gretel Ehrlich, sel. from The Solace of Open Spaces, Annie Proulx, "Brokeback Mountain," (with reference to the recent film), Richard White, sel. from The Organic Machine, The Remaking of the Columbia River, Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping, sel. from William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground, Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. The West here means the West Coast and inland Northwest. Our region has produced writers worthy of the tradition of American writers on nature and the environment since Thoreau. Please be aware of the focus on Contemporary Western Literature of Nature rather than expecting general coverage of Contemporary American Literature. And be aware that the "Western" of story and the silver screen is a subject in itself and beyond our range. Conceptual frames or perspectives include: Christian, pastoral, sublime, Zen, environmentalist, Native American, work-oriented, gender/sexuality-oriented. We cover essays, fiction, and poetry, making for quite a number of works, but many are in slim volumes and short selections, and some are available via coursepak, class handouts, or video.
Lecture-discussion. Class participation is expected (standout participation can count up to +/- .3 on course grade). In-class Essay Midterm (30%); Final (30%); Paper (@8-9pp. 40%). All required work must be completed according to the schedule.

We cover essays, fiction, and poetry, making for quite a number of works, but many are in slim volumes and short selections, and some are available via coursepak, class handouts, or video.

358 A LITOF BLACK AMER (Reading Twentieth-Century African American Literature) Ibrahim TTh 1:30-3:20 12899

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. In addition to a course packet, texts tentatively include: Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room; Octavia Butler, Kindred; Andrea Lee, Sarah Phillips; Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle; Danzy Senna, Caucasia.

371 A ENGLISH SYNTAX (ENGLISH SYNTAX) Dillon TTh 9:30-11:20 12900

For WINTER 2008: 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. We will use some of the on-line tools for automated POS tagging and graphing ("diagramming").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.


ENGL 370

381 A ADV EXPOSITORY WRIT (Advanced Expository Writing) Hunstperger TTh 8:30-10:20 12901

“Political manifestos,” Martin Puchner writes, “are texts singularly invested in doing things with words, in changing the world.” Though not all expository writing seeks to change the world, much of it, like the manifesto form, attempts to do things with words—to influence a political debate, to defend a social or cultural position, to memorialize an event or a person, and so forth. In this class, we’ll study strategies that nonfiction writers use to get their points across. Students will read a wide variety of prose forms, from personal narrative to cultural critique; they’ll complete weekly writing assignments; and they’ll have multiple opportunities to workshop their own writing. Beyond a few generic constraints, the subject matter of student writing will be wide open. Students are encouraged to develop their writing and thinking on topics of their own choosing.


383 B CRAFT OF VERSE (was Intermediate Verse Writing) Triplett W 3:30-6:20p 12903

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. Text: photocopied course packet plus two contemporary poetry books.


ENGL 283 & ENGL 284

384 A CRAFT OF PROSE (Intermediate prose writing) Shields MW 1:30-2:50 12904

14 ways of looking at a piece of paper. A variety of prose gestures: short-short, fable, collage, found document, list, comedy, tableau, speech, etc. Many short assignments (500-1000 words), 1-2 pages, single-spaced. Goal: open up possibilities.

course packets


ENGL 283 & ENGL 284

384 B CRAFT OF PROSE (was Intermediate Short Story Writing) Bosworth T 4:30-7:20p 12905

This course will aim to foster the discipline necessary to write regularly, to elaborate on the elementary skills of fiction writing (with a special emphasis on metaphor, parable, and allegory) and on the techniques necessary to design a completed story. We will practice as well, through the reading of exemplary stories and fellow students' work, the critical reading skills necessary for any aspiring writer. If you can't read carefully, you can't write carefully; if you can't help solve another author's fictional problems, you're unlikely to be capable of solving your own. Fiction writing is a serious way of knowing the world, and no time will be spent on analyzing the strictly commercial marketplace, or on how one might reduplicate fiction whose only function is the passing of time or the making of money. An intensive course, for committed students only.


ENGL 283 & ENGL 284

422 A ARTHURIAN LEGENDS (Arthurian Literature) Remley MW 12:30-2:20 12906

The figure of King Arthur continues to emblematize the world of the Middle Ages despite the fact that most contemporary portrayals directly reference texts originating in the modern period . The past twenty years, however, have seen a revolution in the study of genuine early medieval witnesses to the Arthurian myth. Predating Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century invention of our most enduring Arthurian narrative, ancient Celtic accounts of a non-aristocratic Arthur, legendary women such as the visionary Morrigan, the bestial Merlinus Rusticus, among other figures, have been edited and translated, while neglected manuscripts documenting the circulation of the legends in previously unsuspected social contexts have come to light. With an eye toward class members’ preferred theoretical approaches to premodern texts, the primary goal of the course will be to reenvision the Arthurian canon by providing a key to the latest advances in the study of the medieval sources.

440 A SPEC STUDIES IN LIT (The Object(s) of Literature (CAPSTONE)) Patterson MW 1:30-3:20 12907

What does literature have to do with things? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, which is one reason I want to teach this course. I do know, however, that literature necessarily makes use of objects. There’s a famous scarlet letter, a golden bowl, a lighthouse, a cookie (well, a French madeleine) and many other objects (famous or not) that populate poems, novels, and appear as props in plays. Understanding how literature re-presents (that is, makes figuratively present what is literally absent) the world of things is to understand the trickiness of texts and the profound claims that literature makes on us as readers. When we read, “He pulled out a gun,” we believe in some mysterious way that there really is a gun somewhere, rather than just a bunch of words on a page. How literature makes use of objects, that is, what the objectives of literature are or can be, will be a continual source of discussion and controversy for us. This course will consider the ways in which literature constructs, represents, and produces the facsimile of our world of objects. We have a number of ways to think of the things that surround us—as commodities, as gifts, or treasures, or as fetishes, and writers are always faced the problem of how to translate the material world into the verbal marks on the page (like what you’re reading right now) that stand in for that materiality. Sometimes literature has itself strived to reach the status of a “thing” or “object” (and certainly a commodity!). Throughout the quarter we will put a number of literary texts (Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Nicholson Baker’s Room Temperature, Lisa See’s Snow Lotus and the Secret Fan, etc.) into conversation with several theoretical takes on objects (Marx on the commodity form, Freud on the fetish, Lewis Hyde on the gift, Bill Brown on the thing). Assignments will include short writing assignments and a longer final project.

443 A POETRY-SPEC STUDIES (American Poetry as Cultural History: From Walt Whitman to Susan Howe (CAPSTONE)) Hunstperger TTh 12:30-2:20 12908

Literary critics often discuss poetry as though it existed in some transcendental aesthetic realm far from the vagaries of everyday life. That is, we too often study poetry as a relatively ahistorical, intertextual tradition while ignoring its importance as a collection of primary historical sources. In this course, we’ll try to keep history front and center. As we explore the work of five major American poets—Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Robert Lowell and Susan Howe—we’ll attempt to draw some conclusions about modern American poetry and, more generally, about American culture since the Civil War. We’ll treat poems as cultural artifacts that register not only formal developments but also the material and social conditions within which they were produced.

A few questions we’ll consider in this course: What themes and ideas recur from one poet to the next? What aspirations and anxieties do these poets share? How do these poets respond to the changing face of American democracy? How do race, class, gender and sexual identity affect the poet’s role in society? Does the shift from an industrial to an information-based economy impact the form of American verse? Students will explore these and other issues in class discussion, presentations, short writing assignments, and a 10-12 page final essay


483 A ADV VERSE WORKSHOP (Advanced Verse Workshop) Triplett T 3:30-6:20p 12909

Intensive verse workshop. Emphasis on the production and discussion of student poets, with some discussion and critical analysis of works by professional writers.


ENGL 383, 384

484 A ADV PROSE WORKSHOP (Advanced Prose Workshop) Johnson W 4:30-7:20p 12910

[Intensive prose workshop. Emphasis on the production and discussion of student fiction and/or creative nonfiction. Prerequisite: ENGL 383; ENGL 384.] Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL.


ENGL 383, 384

485 A NOVEL WRITING (NOVEL WRITING) Shields MW 3:30-4:50 12911

Not a course in novel-writing per se but rather a course in how to write a much longer work—novella, novel, linked stories, autobiography, long personal essay, literary nonfiction, etc. Any prose work 50 pages or longer.

course packets


ENGL 383 or 484

494 A HONORS SEMINAR (The Search for Modernity) Popov MW 1:30-3:20 12915

“Modernity is a word in search of its meaning” says Nobel-Prize winner Octavio Paz. This seminar will search for the meanings of “the modern” and “modernity” across literature, art, and philosophy. First, we’ll focus on the emergence of a distinctly modern poetic sensibility in Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, modern narrative technique in Flaubert (Madame Bovary), and modern painterly style in Manet. Next we’ll explore the sense of crisis informing the vision of modernity in Wagner (Tristan und Isolde), Nietzsche (The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner), and Ibsen (Ghosts). Finally, we’ll study two modernist classics, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Eliot’s The Waste Land.

The goal is (i) to develop a good sense of how major modern writers, artists, and thinkers perceived themselves, their art, and the changing world around them, and (ii) to gain insights into the origins, aspirations, and conflicted progress of “the modern,” from the mid-nineteenth century through the aftermath of World War I. The key works mentioned above as well as a packet of essays on the topic of modernity will be discussed by the whole class. Students will be expected to do additional research around those works and write two papers.


494 B HONORS SEMINAR ("Reading: Pleasures, Doubts and Theories") Allen TTh 1:30-3:20 12916

This is a course in the problematics of reading, by which I mean attention to the fascinations, affects, processes, identifications, and mysteries that happen when we read. We'll ask such questions as: What forms do the weird pleasures, wild emotions, and secret seductions of reading fiction take as texts and as psychic structures? How, exactly, do we "take in" fiction? How much control does the author have over how the reader feels while reading? Do we read differently when we're reading across gender or sexuality or ethnicity? Why do some readers choose puzzle novels while others prefer love stories? Can we love novels if they are about things we hate? How do films "read" stories differently from books? Do we identify with characters who seem in many ways to be our opposites? We'll read modern and contemporary fictions and essays to try to get some tentative answers to these questions. Discussion will be at the heart of what we do, so come expecting lots of talk and lively differences of opinion.

Authors whose essays or fictions we'll read will probably include Roland Barthes, Ian McEwan, Virginia Woolf, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Cunningham, Toni Morrison and Jeanette Winterson.


Additional essays in theories of reading.

498 A SENIOR SEMINAR (Hardboiled, Noir and the Politics of Style) Cherniavsky MW 10:30-12:20 12917

This course will address two cross-pollinated products of literary and visual culture – the hardboiled detective novel and film noir – that have been proven both remarkably durable, spanning as they do the better part of the 20th century, and remarkably hard to specify: not exactly a genre, certainly not a form, hardboiled and noir seem rather, and more elusively, to describe a look, an attitude, a feel – a style. Rather than pursue the problem of definition, however, our aim in this course is to take up the question of what these (related) styles of fiction and film do – What kinds of readers and spectators do they array? What kinds of investments and aspirations do they sustain or suspend? Notably, both hardboiled and noir have been aligned with critical perspectives on capitalism and commodity culture, as well as with expressly misogynist views of women and a vexed racial and sexual politics. Course materials will revisit this conversation on hardboiled/noir, alongside some of the fiction and film on which it turns. We well focus, too, on (re)appropriations of hardboiled and noir by feminist, lesbian, Asian, and African-American writers/filmmakers. Along the way, we will keep our eye on the paired questions: How do we read for the politics of style? What is the place of style in the politics of culture?

The syllabus remains under construction, but primary course materials will likely include work by Dashiell Hammet, Gertrude Stein, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, Sara Paretsky, William Gibson, Walter Mosley, and Nicola Griffith. Films may include Double Indemnity, Gilda, The Big Sleep, Touch of Evil, Chinatown, Boyz in the Hood, Strange Days, Pulp Fiction, and Hard Target.

498 B SENIOR SEMINAR (The Politics of Humor: Satire and Irony and Mockery (oh my!)) Harkins MW 12:30-2:20 12918

This senior seminar asks how “humor” structures diverse literary forms and styles, from satire and parody to irony, panegyric, caricature, and mockery. While this course might sound like fun – and hopefully will be—we will undertake our study in a rather serious way, reading theorists such as Marx and Freud alongside critical studies of race, gender, sexuality, and power. Our time together will be spent reading and viewing materials that use various representational strategies to draw attention to, expose, critique, and sometimes affirm existing relations of power. In our class discussions, we will pay close attention to how “humor” combines rhetorical style and material context to either constitute or interrupt social norms. Our primary material will range across short fiction, novels, comics, on-line animation, film, and television programs. Historical background might include pieces by Jonathon Swift, John Dryden, Thomas Carlisle, Mark Twain, and Ambrose Bierce. Contemporary literature might include novels by Zadie Smith (White Teeth), Ruth L. Ozeki (My Year of Meats), and Jonathon Safran Foer (Everything Is Illuminated), and short fiction by Jamaica Kincaid, Junot Diaz, and others. I will guarantee some episodes of contemporary situation comedy or sketch programming as well as a range of YouTube offerings and other public domain experiments. A fifteen page research paper will be required.

498 C SENIOR SEMINAR (“The Perils of Presence: Time and Timelessness in British Modernism") Davis MW 1:30-3:20 12919

Like our own age, early Twentieth-Century Britain was both infatuated with and alarmed by the notion of immediate experience—the state of pure presence without a sense of past or future. In this course we will look at several canonical texts through the lens of that period’s preoccupation with the pleasures—and dangers—of pure presence. Even as some writers depicted the blissful sense of oneness accompanying such a state, others were asking, what becomes of history and tradition if too great an emphasis is given to presence? What becomes of the other and the objective world? Readings will include
Ford’s The Good Soldier, Richardson’s Pointed Roofs, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, excerpts from Joyce’s Ulysses, short stories by Katherine Mansfield and DH Lawrence, and poetry by Eliot and Yeats. In addition, we will read contemporaneous critical writing that dealt with the problem of time: Bergson’s account of the concept of duration, Lewis’ critique of duration in Time and Western Man, Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” and more (to be supplied in a course pack). Finally, we will consider the Modernist debate about pure presence in light of work by more contemporary theorists such as Frederick Jameson and Emmanuel Levinas.

Class members will have the opportunity to prepare a presentation on the Modernist author of their choice, and to write a substantial term paper tailored to their individual interests.

498 E SENIOR SEMINAR (Piers Plowman: Getting from A to B) Vaughan TTh 11:30-1:20 12921

The main focus of the seminar will be the earlier A Version of the 14th century poem Piers Plowman, which we’ll be reading in the new, electronic classroom edition that I am developing. The relationships between the A Version and its continuation and revision in the B Version provide lively matters for literary dispute and critical reading, and some of our discussion will focus on the work of the B-Reviser of the text of A. (We’ll also look, more briefly, at the substantial Continuation that constitutes the major contribution of B.)
The seminar will examine a number of (related) issues: textual variants; authorship; whether the A Version is unfinished or incomplete; the status of the controversial ‘John But Passus’; and the relations of the poem(s) to the social and political turmoil of the latter fourteenth century.
The poem is in a ‘foreign’ language (Middle English), and my edition will be looking for ways to help beginning (and more advanced) readers to become comfortable with reading a text contemporary with Chaucer but in a rather different linguistic and literary style.
Students will make oral and written presentations to the seminar and will submit a term paper related to topics in the seminar.
For reading, I will provide a CD of the ‘beta’ version of my edition of A to the class, and ask the Bookstore to order a paperback edition of the B Version:


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