Autumn Quarter 1998
 English Graduate Studies  | University of Washington Graduate School English Department 

Degree Programs

Course Schedules


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Individualism: Engl Lit Culture: 1800-1900


TTh 9:30-11:20

     Utilitarian "self-interest," the Romantic "egotistical sublime," Victorian "self-help" in an era that ends with Oscar Wilde's advice to "multiply our personalities." What is the powerful 19th C. cultural mandate for individual selfhood that sets the conditions for the decentering of the subject by century's end? The course offers less specialist research depth than field introduction or consolidation. It is suitable for first-year students or more advanced students who are seeking to frame a big picture of a period, whether as a secondary or primary area for Ph.D. exams, ongoing scholarship, or teaching. Readings reach back to Romanticism from a Victorian emphasis (Romanticists welcome, to establish that important basis). For most, a least some of the readings will be rereadings.
     Texts drawn from: keynotes of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, sel. short poems of William Wordsworth and S.T. Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus, J.S. Mill's "On Liberty" (and sel. from "Subjection of Women"), Elizabeth Gaskell's novella Cranford, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations with a sampling of current critical approaches (and possible video viewing of the recent film), Part I of Olive Schreiner's The Story of An African Farm, short poems of Matthew Arnold with his literary criticism and sel. from Culture and Anarchy, Rudyard Kipling's story "The Man Who Would Be King," Oscar Wilde's essay "The Critic As Artist," and (with hope there's time!) Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Historical context in recommended works by Gilmour and Pool.
     Requirements: seminar contribution and 1 presentation; a more narrowly focused "response" paper; and a longer paper (@10-12 pp., building on the shorter one) that is more synthesizing.


America Everyday: A Theory of American Literature and Culture


MW 9:30-11:20

     Theories of American Literature, often gives a kind of overview of current and past approaches to American literature. To be honest, this course will not be a survey of this kind. Instead, I want to focus on a specific topic--the figures of the "everyday" in different theoretical and literary discourses--and use this topic to explore the often contradictory logics that constitute the "everyday." This course isn't about a definition, but rather about the assumptions we make about the common, the ubiquitous , the mundane, and about the ways theorists (Freud, Foucault, Marxists like Henri Lefebvre, and poststructuralists), artists, and writers have used the everyday. In this sense, the course will be "about" theory but will also attempt to theorize the figure of the everyday in American literature and culture. While the purpose of the course is to map out a particular theoretical territory, I ultimately want to look at the pedagogical consequences of the work, seeing how we can incorporate these issues in a variety of classrooms. The course will be divided into three sections. The first, "Keeping Record," will be devoted to journals and diaries, including Thoreau's journal, Patricia Meyer Sapck's essay on boredom, and Sue Hubbell's book on bee keeping, "A Country Year." The second section, "Objects," will look at how artists and theorists-like Roland Barthes, Susan Willis, and others-focus our attention on everyday things. The final section, "Experiencing the Everyday," will look at fictional and visual representations of everyday existence. Included will be Nicholson Baker, Ben Catchor's Julius Knipl, the films, Groundhog Day and Smoke, and a section on illness and the everyday. Requirements will include shorter writing assignments rather than the standard final essay.


Critical Approaches to Literary Texts

M. Griffith

MW 11:30-1:20

     This is an advanced introduction to Literary Theory, ideal for graduate students who have never studied the subject or who feel that previous study has not prepared them for the language of Theory and/or for other seminars here. We will begin by reading a number of central papers in the field in order to get a sense of its range and concerns, and then at the end devote some concentrated time to a collection of Derrida's essays on literary texts and subjects. There will be a lot of short papers assigned on the grounds that students can't learn Theory just by watching others do it, and I also expect active, open, humane discussion on the part of all those enrolled. For the first class meeting discussion students should read carefully pp. 809-916 of David Richter (ed.), The Critical Tradition (2nd edition). For more details, contact me: (1) A-11F Padelford, (2) 543-2190, (3)


Medieval Literature and Sacred Art (w/CLit 507/French 577)


TTh 1:30-3:20

     This seminar will deal with a selection of medieval writings that illustrate the complex relationships between medieval "literature" and sacred art. How do literary texts emulate -- or call into question -- the powers of art (sculpture, mosaics, frescos, paintings) to mediate the presence of the sacred? What does literature tell us about the response of medieval audiences to the semiotic processes of sacred art that surrounded them? How can literature participate in the representation of the sacred without itself incurring the charge of idolatry?
     The materials in this course will include the following: 1) St. Augustine's Confessions in relationship to Early Christian funerary art; 2) Selected letters and poems of Paulinus of Nola and the Peristephanon, by Prudentius, and the birth of the martyrial shrine in the 4th century; 3) The Song of Roland, the Voyage de Charlemagne a Jerusalem et a Constantinople, the cult of relics, and Western medieval iconoclasm; 4) Dante's Paradiso and the cult of images in Byzantium and the Latin West. Materials will be available in English translation, but students will be encouraged to work as much as possible in the original languages and with specific artifacts.
     Students will be invited to present one oral report and to write one research paper, due at the end of classes.


History of Literary Criticism - Kojeve's Legacy (w/CLit 510)


TTh 3:30-5:20

     Kojeve's Legacy -- During the years 1933-1939, the French philosopher Alexandre Kojeve gave a series of lectures on Hegel that were to exert a deep influence on the French intellectual elite of the time. Although Kojeve's anthropological interpretation of the Phenomenology of Spirit has often been decried (especially by Jacques Derrida), it can be argued that it provides the philosophical key to modern French thought. This course will put special emphasis on Kojeve's influence on Sartre (the "for-itself" and the "in-itself"), Bataille ("sovereignty" and "useless negativity"), Blanchot (literature and death), Lacan (the "desire of the desire of the Other") and Girard ("mimetic desire"). -- The following texts will be read and discussed in class: Alexandre Kojeve, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel ; Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness ; Rene Girard, Deceit, Desire and the Novel ; Georges Bataille, "Hegel, Death and Sacrifice" and "Letter to X, lecturer on Hegel"; Maurice Blanchot, "Literature and the Right to death" ; selections from Jacques Lacan's writings; Jacques Derrida, "The Ends of Man". -- Students will be asked to write a substantial paper at the end of the quarter.
     Required texts: Alexandre Kojeve, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (Cornell University Press, 1980); Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (Washington Square Press/Pocket Books, 1966); Rene Girard, Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965). -- The other texts will be photocopied.


Introductory Reading in Old English


Daily 8:30

     This is a beginning course which addresses the earliest written forms of the English language (up to c. 1000). Knowledge of Old English is indispensable for the study of literary (and other) texts from all phases of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, especially the study of poetry and early narrative texts. The principles introduced in this course will also help students acquire an understanding of the special features of modern English, and will provide tools that are useful for learning other languages. Moreover, knowledge of Old English is fundamental to the study of the History of the English Language, the Cultural History of the British Isles (including early Gender Studies), and many areas of Textual Studies, including manuscript study and the study of word origins.
     Required Texts: (1) Bright's Old English Grammar and Reader, ed. Cassidy and Ringler; (2) Robert Stevick, A First Book of Old English.




TTh 11:30-1:20

     This course will explore Chaucer's early poetry (The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls) and then the Canterbury Tales, with particular scrutiny to the first five tales and later associated groups of tales. We will be looking at Chaucer's work as a kind of continuous meditation on contemporary themes and issues, on the role and power of poetry, and as a culturally bound artifact that shatters historical confinement.


Benson, Larry D., ed. The Riverside Chaucer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Boitani, Piero and Jill Mann, eds. The Cambridge Chaucer Companion. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Miller, Robert. Chaucer Sources and Backgrounds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Cooper, Helen. Reader's Guide to the Canterbury Tales. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991.
Dinshaw, Carolyn Chaucer's Sexual Poetics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.
Kolve, V.A. Chaucer and the Imagery of Narrative. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1984.



van den Berg

MW 11:30-1:20

     This course is designed to introduce students to the poetry and prose of John Milton, to the cultural and political struggles of 17th century England, and to the variety of theoretical and critical methods that are useful to those who teach and write about this material. There will be close reading of the English texts in The Poems of Mr. John Milton (1645), of the great prose tracts on liberty composed at the time of the Civil War and the Commonwealth (1640-1660), and the epics of the Restoration (Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes). We'll consider the ways Milton marshals the Hebraic, Classical, Christian, and native English traditions to help him address the major issues of his own day: politics and personal freedom, gender relations, the new science, individualism, exploration and empire, reading and writing. There will also be special attention to significant contextual materials: political tracts of the 1640s (by men and women); study of English witchcraft cases; etc. We will also pay attention to the influence of Milton (e.g., on the Romantics) and to contemporary critical approaches to his works. Students will do a class presentation that addresses an issue and surveys available bibliographical resources, and will write a substantial essay (20 pages). This seminar is suitable for beginning students who want a solid introduction to Milton and his era and to more advanced graduate students who find this material important for their own research.


18C Lit: Pope & Women


TTh 1:30-3:20

     A course on Pope, poetry, and feminism in the early eighteenth century. Pope created an overpowering poetical language to which every writer and reader for the next hundred years felt compelled to respond--some happily, many unhappily. The responses of women writers and readers--friends, enemies, and other contemporaries, as well as latter-day critics and scholars--put this poetry into an important context which we will try to reconstruct and interpret. Reading will include poems such as The Rape of the Lock, Eliosa to Abelard, and the Epistle to a Lady, set against works by contemporaries like Anne Finch, Susanna Centlivre, Mary Barber, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and others: all (I hope) without shortcoming the non-Popean interest of this latter body of work, or turning the course into Pope Trashes Women, Women Trash Pope. We will look at primary material illustrating the social and intellectual history of early eighteenth-century feminism, and consider representative feminist readings of Pope then and now. You do NOT need previous work in this period, and in fact I will be treating these subjects in part at least as introductory windows onto the period culture as a whole. Please feel free to see me for more information about the course.


Henry James, W.E.B. Du Bois and Pragmatist Aesthetics


TTh 9:30-11:20

     Our primary focus will be on reading a number of works by James and Du Bois in the context of a lineage that conceives the aesthetic not as idealist contemplation and inwardness but rather as experimental action, and as a mode of being in the world. This lineage begins with Emerson and is renewed by William James, John Dewey, Kenneth Burke and Richard Poirier. Texts include: The American Scene (James), The Portrait of a Lady, Princess Cassamasima, Souls of Black Folk, Dark Princess, Dusk of Dawn, Pragmatism, and selections from Emerson, W. James, Dewey, Burke, and Poirier.


Radical Writers: Whitman, Williams, Ginsberg, Le Sueur


TTh 3:30-5:20

     Whitman opened up poetic and political territory his successors continued to explore, each in his or her unique way. In what sense is it fair to regard Whitman and "radical"? I would like to test the meaning of this concept rather than assume it as fixed. In the process we will place Whitman in the context of the 1850s, we will recover the Left Whitman of the 1930s (through Samuel Sillen, F.O. Mathiessen, and Newton Arvin), and the 1990s political/cultural Whitman of Betsy Erkilla, Michael Moon, and David Reynolds. They should help us define our own Whitman and illuminate the process of critical/cultural/political change. As part of the same project we will read the 1920s experimental William Carlos Williams of Imaginations and In the American Grain and the early (1950-1960) Ginsberg, centering on "Sunflower Sutra," "Howl," and "Kaddish." Meridel Le Sueur's theory and practice of circling feminist prose-poetry and her engaged Left politics develop the political voice of the Thirties critics in a convincing radical accent. Cumulatively the dialogue Whitman initiates will help us understand the Americas that compelled each of our writers. This line of descent--and dissent--will also help us think about such issues as the American avant-garde, modernism, and postmodernism--and the relation between cultural politics and politics politics.


The Gender of Modernism


TTh 1:30-3:20

     In this seminar, we will consider some of the attempts to define and describe "modernism" and investigate how such attempts get entangled in the net of gender politics. We will consider such topics as the history of the construction of the canon of modernism, women's problematic relation to modernism, the question of "female modernism," and masculine responses to women's new roles as writers and critics. We will use Astradur Eysteinsson's The Concept of Modernism for an overview of the theoretical problems inherent in defining "modernism" and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own for its now classic investigation of the relationship between gender and literary productivity. The seminar will also read Woolf's To the Lighthouse and short fiction and nonfiction by D.H. Lawrence. Oral reports on particular issues in modernism as expressed by some of the other modernists collected in the anthology The Gender of Modernism (ed. Bonnie Kime Scott), should allow seminar members the opportunity to explore topics of individual interest.
     Although this course is appropriate for first year graduate students, it should not be taken as an introductory course in the modernist period. Some familiarity with the general intellectual background of modernism and its major texts will be assumed.


Racial, Ethnic, and National Identities (w/ Comp. Lit. 530)


TTh 1:30-3:20

     An inquiry into the most general questions of group identities in quest of a general theory of identity. Underlying the concepts of race, ethnicity, and nation are concepts of family, clan, and tribe: we will poke and probe at all these and other concepts of group identity. We will use a hodgepodge of texts, both literary and theoretical, that focus on a variety of different cultures. Literary texts will include La Farge, Laughing Boy; Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, and Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory. Theoretical readings will include, among much else, Clifford, "Identity in Mashpee," Appiah, "The Uncompleted Argument," and Michaels, "Race into Culture."
     8 English spots / 7 Comparative Literature spots


Nature of Language


TTh 3:30-5:20

     By the end of this course, you will have answers to how can we, and why we should, talk about language as arbitrary and systematic at the same time. English 560 is designed as an introduction to the study of language, focusing on both how language is organized in the human mind and how it is shaped by language users for their own purposes. We will cover the fundamentals of language structure (specifically of English), as well as theoretical approaches to describing language structure and use, from the structuralist models of Saussure, to the generative models popularized by Chomsky, to the sociolinguistic models introduced by Labov. The course aims to provide the necessary tools for close textual analysis at the level of the word, sentence, and larger discourse structure, in order to study the creation of meaning. We will also discuss language-related social issues, such as attitudes towards language varieties and change, problems in language teaching, prescriptivism and descriptivism. No background in linguistics is required, just a serious interest in language and how it works. Written work will include exercises in parsing and textual analysis, as well as a longer seminar paper on a language-related topic. In preparation for the writing of the seminar paper, we will devote time to an exploration of methodological models and available resources--both in the library and electronic--for language study.


Approaches to Teaching Composition

Stygall / Dillon

MW 3:30-5:20

     Descripton not available.


Markup Languages and Hypertext (w/C Lit 596)


TTh 10:30-12:20

     Texts: Gunter Kress and Theo van Leeuwen, Reading Images: the Grammar of Visual Design (Routledge: 1996), George Landow, Hypertext 2.0 (John Hopkins, 1997)
     SCOPE: The course will examine the markup languages (esp. TEI and HTML) that have been developed in the last fifteen years for coding online e-text and hypertext. We will look principally at their uses for artistic creation, scholarly exchange, and teaching. We will also examine the strengths and limitations of hypertext as a medium.
     TOPICS: We assume that the initial phase of describing, advocating, and celebrating hypertext (a la Jay David Bolter, George Landow, Michael Joyce, and Stuart Moulthrop) with its political metaphors of freedom/oppression and its proclamations of the End of the Age is over, done, finished, deceased, an ex-trope. We can move on to describing and assessing options in this new medium--a stylistics and rhetoric of hypertext. Issues will include the movement of the reader (controlled/wandering) through a document, text and/versus image as a mode of knowledge, and ways of representing structure in sites. Special attention will be given to visual design and the semiotics of the visual (Edward Tufte, Kress and Van Leeuwen).
     BACKGROUND AND EXPECTATIONS: The seminar will work from the point of view of the writer/maker/developer of sites rather than the consumer/reader. So you will need to become writers of HTML and taggers of TEILITE. HTML is very simple and gives results quickly, so that a working grasp can be developed in a few weeks (at the start of the course). No other computer languages are required.
     I will expect you to give reports and mount a final project on line, preferably a TEILITE edition of a text. We will meet at least half the time in a new A&S lab with Win95 on the machines. We will also cover some "power" techniques for writing and editing in SGML. It would be good if seminar members come knowing a little HTML.


Practicum in TESL



     English 570 is a credit/no credit course in which students sharpen their understanding of the technical, interpersonal, and practical elements involved in effective ESL teaching through regular observations of ESL classes, daily ESL teaching or assistance and observation in an ESL classroom, and seminar discussion of issues and problems related to ESL teaching. There are no required textbooks for the course.


Theory & Practice in TESOL


MW 1:30-3:20

     This course is an introduction to theory, research, and practical aspects of teaching English to speakers of other languages. The course provides an overview of major issues in second language acquisition, teaching methodology, and classroom practice, as well as closely related topics in linguistics, psychology, sociology, and education. Topics include: the relationship between first and second language acquisition; age as a factor in language learning; contrastive analysis, error analysis, and interlanguage; discourse analysis in language acquisition; and current theories of second language acquisition.
     Required Texts: 1) An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Research by Diana Larsen-Freeman and Michael H. Long. 2) Reading packet.


Pedagogical Grammar in TESL


TTh 1:30-3:20

     Descripton not available.


Creative Writer as Critical Reader


TTh 11:30-1:20

     Poetic form


Advanced Fiction Workshop


MW 1:30-3:20

     MFA status in fiction, or permission of professor.


Advanced Poetry Workshop


MW 11:30-1:20

     A close analysis of students' poetry with emphasis on sound and rhythm and effective revision, using examples from English and American poetry, old and new.


English Graduate Studies



     By arrangement of instructor.


New Directions in Teaching a Basic Undergraduate Course: "Introduction to Literature"


MW 1:30-3:20

     This course assumes that many of our graduate students may someday find themselves asked to teach a version of "Introduction to Literature." In addition to familiar objective, subjective, historical, and pluralistic approaches (each of which implicates many modes of theory and teaching and none of which is free-standing), there are less familiar approaches which, arguably, deserve consideration. I am interested, particularly, in helping students think about kinds of literary "meaning" (lexical, discursive, semantic, non-semantic), relations of meanings and emotions (as variously defined), and possible non-meaning functions of literature (for example, to disrupt culturally constructed meanings, to evoke somatic or physiological responses in breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, crying, laughing, and subvocalization, and to produce "altered states" of trance, preconceptual sensing, and the like). This course draws upon recent research in aesthetics and psychobiology, reader response, the nature of emotion, physiological responses to rhythm and ritual, nonvisual imagination, and non-semantic functions of literature. We will use as our text the most widely-employed anthology introduction to literature, The Norton Introduction to Literature, supplemented by secondary readings on reserve (for example, Berlyne's Aesthetics and Psychobiology; D'Aquili's The Spectrum of Ritual: a Biogenetic Structural Analysis; Abdulla's Catharsis in Literature; Berman's Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West; Dissanayke's Homo Aestheticus; Elias's The Civilizing Process; Goldenberg's Returning Words to Flesh; Johnson's The Body in the Mind; Pliner's Perception of Emotion in Self and Others; Snyder's Hypnotic Poetry; Stewart's Reading Voices; Rorty's Explaining Emotions, and Turner's Body, Brain, and Culture. Short papers, group presentations, a substantial paper, and possibly an exam.

English Graduate Studies

Graduate Study in English at the University of Washington