2015-16 Graduate Courses

Fall 2015

Core course: English 501A / Comp Lit 551A – Textual Theory, Prof. Raimonda Modiano, MW 1:30-3:20

The goal of this course is to challenge the assumption that textual theory and practice occupy a domain separate from literary theory and criticism, and from other disciplines such as art history, architecture, music or film studies. Confronting this territorial fallacy, the course will show that developments in contemporary theory have influenced, and at times radically altered, the direction of textual studies; and conversely, that textual scholars have often anticipated and conceptualized the speculations of theorists in intellectually provocative ways. The first part of the course will familiarize students with major theories of textual criticism and editorial traditions that address the concepts of authorship and authorial intention; the distinction between document, text, work and the physical book; “ideal” texts and transcendental hermeneutics; the relationship of biographical and sociological contexts to texts, and of creators to producers of literature; and the functions of readerships. It will also document contemporary controversies in textual editing (such as the challenge posed by Jerome McGann to established canons of editing), as well as debates about the editing of particular texts in Renaissance (especially Shakespeare), romantic (especially Keats and Mary Shelley) and modern literature (especially Joyce’s Ulysses). Students completing this course will learn to scrutinize the texts they are using and develop awareness of the editorial and cultural ideologies that inform them.

The second part of the course will explore the relevance of textual theory to the study of paintings and film adaptations of literary works (including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). The course will involve the participation of librarians and visiting faculty who will offer seminars and lectures on various topics concerned with textual studies. We will also have the privilege of a one week visit by the prestigious art historian Ricardo de Mambro Santos, the author of numerous books and essays on the art of the Italian and Northern Renaissance, translator of art books from Flemish into Italian and from Italian into Portuguese and curator of 16 art exhibits, including one for the University of Washington on Federico Fellini’s drawings in 2003.


Spring 2016

Core course: English 502A / Comp Lit 552A – Manuscript Studies: Oral Tradition to Scribal Texts, Prof. Paul Remley, MW 3:30-5:20

Course description forthcoming winter 2015.