(*) Indicates permission from graduate deputy required
English 7010: Children’s & Adolescents’ Literature* (1407)
Prof. McKay, Thursday 4:30-6:10
This class attempts to address a number of very complicated questions. First, what do we really mean when we say that we are teaching students “to read”? Secondly, why does the acquisition of this skill involve “literature”? Thirdly, what is “literature” in the first place, and what does it mean when attached to the descriptive phrase “Children’s and Adolescents’”? And lastly, how do the answers to these questions impact the style and content of works written specifically for children and adolescents? This course will survey “Children’s and Adolescents’ Literature” in its broadest sense, from picture books through to writing appropriate for high school students. (I am omitting all but a mention of early, developmental picture books intended for pre-schoolers in consideration of time.) Using picture books by Seuss, Sendak, and others, we will begin by attempting: to identify what the purpose of “reading” and “language arts” instruction is or claims to be; and to propose criteria for judging the success of a work of children’s/YA literature. A very short survey of traditional and modern folk and fairy tales will follow, including works by Anderson and Wilde; of more importance, we will look at some recent “translations” from the genre. Following a developmental model, we will look at a variety of works that begin to transition from picture book to middle reader. Finally, we will look at recent developments in YA literature. While we will always and primarily be looking at these texts from a literary-critical perspective, we will not overlook the more pragmatic and practical aspects of using these works as tools in real classrooms, especially as these relate to the idea of multiculturalism in a pluralist society. All picture books assigned will be on reserve in the library. Other primary readings will include: A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh; Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8; E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web; Gene Leun Yang’s American Born Chinese; and S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. Additional titles will be added in early January. Students will be expected to regularly attend class, actively engage with the material under discussion, and complete all short homework assignments; to regularly participate in a class blogging assignment; to complete a quiz development and assessment project with an assigned partner or group; and to submit a 10-page research paper.
English 7011: Literary Texts & Critical Methods* (1868)
Prof. Steel, Tuesday 6:30-8:10
Open to MA English Education students
Literary Texts and Critical Methods will cover major developments in the study of literature from the twentieth century to the present day. Questions to be explored include: what makes a text literary? What relationship, if any, does literature have to its historical context? How does literature reproduce (or trouble, or reinvent) certain supposedly foundational categories: gender, sexuality, race, species, space, life, time? Categories of criticism to be studied will include traditionalist and postcolonial, historical and psychoanalytic, feminist and queer, structuralist and poststructuralist, and postmodern and new materialist. Alongside the literary and cultural theory, we will read several literary works, concentrating on poems and short stories, culminating in recent fiction by Maureen F. McHugh and Adam Roberts. Requirements include two short papers, an oral presentation, a research paper, and an exam.
English 7120: Seminar: Medieval Mystical Lit. (2677)
Prof. Masciandaro, Thursday 6:30-8:10 [Area 1]
“Now it is called mystical, that is to say, closed or hidden, because whatever is said in it is left as it were without explanation, completely closed and hidden” (Thomas Gallus, Exposition on the Mystical Theology). This course offers an exploration of medieval mysticism across a variety of contexts and genres, with special attention to principles of hiddenness (e.g. unrepresentability, non-knowledge, darkness, secrecy). Readings will cover classic works in the mystical tradition (Pseudo-Dionysius, Divine Names and Mystical Theology; Augustine, On Genesis (Book XII) and Confessions; John Scottus Eriugena, Periphyseon; Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs; Bonaventure, Journey of the Mind into God; Richard of St. Victor, The Mystical Ark (Benjamin Major), The Cloud of Unknowing; Julian of Norwich, Shewings; Angela of Foligno, Memorial; Marguerite Porete, Mirror of Simple Souls; Meister Eckhart, Sermons), select texts of a more ‘literary’ nature (Dante, Paradiso; Jacopone da Todi, Lauds; Ramon Llull, Blanquerna), and a few post-medieval works that extend or re-visit this tradition (John of Cross, Dark Night of the Soul; Georges Bataille, Inner Experience; H.P. Lovecraft, Ex Oblivione; François Laruelle, On Black Universe). Requirements: Final Exam, Research Paper, Class Presentation.
English 7220: Seminar: Early Modern Comedy & Classical Models (3504)
Prof. Pollard, Thursday 4:30-6:10 [Area 2]
Long condemned as a second-class literary genre, both aesthetically and morally inferior to tragedy, comedy has consistently annoyed its critics by proving strikingly popular with audiences. As early modern playwrights experimented with the genre’s possibilities, and explored strategies for legitimating its status without sacrificing its marketable pleasures, they turned to the authority and cultural prestige of classical models. This course will explore the question of what made comedy so appealing to audiences in both the classical and early modern periods. We will consider comedy’s relationship to tragedy, tragicomedy, satire, and parody, alongside topics such as disguise, deceit, confusion, recognition, reversal, master-servant relations, money, marriage, appetite, and pleasure. Readings will include Aristophanes’ Plutus, Plautus’s Menaechmi and Amphitryo, Terence’s The Eunuch, Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night, Jonson’s Volpone and The Alchemist, and Middleton’s A Trick to Catch the Old One. Requirements will include regular short written responses to the plays, and one final paper.
English 7302: Nineteenth Century Literature II (3314)
Prof. Brownstein, Wednesday 4:30-6:10 [Area 3]
In this course we will weigh and measure the meanings of two familiar terms, “fiction” and “realism,” while reading and discussing prose narratives—mostly short ones—written in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century: Hard Times by Charles Dickens; Silas Marner and The Lifted Veil by George Eliot; Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert; “Boule de Suif” by Guy de Maupassant; “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy; Anton Chekhov’s “A Medical Case,” “The Lady with a Little Dog,” “Gooseberries,” and “Ward Six”; and “Daisy Miller” and “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. Students will write weekly response papers, do a class presentation and write a paper based on it, and write a second, final paper. There will be a final exam.
English 7406: Twentieth Century Drama (3515)
Prof. Harrison, Monday 6:30-8:10 [Area 4]
Participants will begin with the work of Georg Buechner, written in the mid-19th century but not performed until the 20th and a decisive influence on the early work of Bertolt Brecht, which we shall study. In English, 20th century dramatic literature also begins before the turn of the century, with Oscar Wilde, and continues forwards to the works of George Bernard Shaw. Time will be spent on plays by Chekhov, Pirandello, and Ionesco. We shall read O'Neill, Miller, and Williams; Beckett, Pinter, Albee, Mamet, and Brooklyn's own Will Eno - time permitting. Be warned: there will be a great deal of reading. Students will be expected to submit written work citing several of these dramatists and tracing the twin threads of absurdism and realism that create the weave of 20th century drama.
English 7420: Seminar: Myth & Regeneration in Twentieth C. Lit. (3836)
Prof. Minter, Wednesday 6:30-8:10 [Area 4]
James Frazer’s The Golden Bough was a groundbreaking comparative study of myth and religion that significantly influenced how writers of the early 20th century understood the relationship between myth and society. First appearing in 1890, The Golden Bough arrived in the same decade that saw others lamenting the current state of western civilization, people like social critic Max Nordau, the author of Degeneration: “In our days there have arisen in more highly-developed minds vague qualms about a Dusk of the Nations, in which all suns and all stars are gradually waning, and mankind with all its institutions and creations is perishing in the midst of a dying world.” World War I would do nothing to improve his mood. ••• The course will study three related phenomena: (1) how the renewed interest in myth reflected itself in different Anglo-American modernist texts; (2) how myth, folklore, and religion (Catholicism especially) were seen as offering a potential regenerative cure for an ailing western civilization perceived to be in a state of decline; and (3) how interest in myth led to new structuarlist and archetypal interpretations of literature and culture. After a brief encounter with The Golden Bough, we will read theory and criticism by Northrop Frye, Carl Jung, and Claude Lévi-Strauss, and the following literary works: The Plumed Serpent, by D.H. Lawrence; Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather; Ulysses, by James Joyce; The Waste Land, “Ash Wednesday,” the Ariel poems, and The Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot; and The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton. Students in the class must also attend a performance of Wagner's Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera. The opera begins its run in February; a list of all performance dates can be viewed here. Members of the class should purchase tickets as soon as possible, as certain dates may sell out. We will discuss the opera in class on Wednesday March 6. Course assignments will include: leading of class discussion; participation in the course's online discussion forum; a reading journal; a midterm paper; a final research-based paper; and the Parsifal performance.
English 7501: Intro to Critical Theory (1500)
Prof. Davis, Thursday 6:30-8:10 [Area 5]
What is literature? The question has a long, contentious history and subsumes several associated questions: What constitutes literary language and literary value? What is literature’s social function? What is the role of the author, reader, or critic? Although one could begin earlier, this course starts with the 19th century liberal humanism of Matthew Arnold – for whom literature was “the best which has been thought and said” – and proceeds to address key movements in 20th century critical theory. These include New Criticism, Structuralism and Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Feminism and Gender/Sexuality Studies, Marxism, New Historicism and Cultural Studies, Postcolonialism and Ethnic Studies, Reader Response, and the New Aestheticism. We will treat these approaches not as discrete “isms,” but as part of an ongoing dialogue responsive to cultural and intellectual contexts. Students will study critical theory as theory but also in practice, reading exemplary works of literary criticism and developing their skills in writing through multiple critical lenses. Requirements include several informal response papers and two formal essays.
English 7502: Feminist Literary Theory (2682)
Prof. Fairey, Tuesday 4:30-6:10 [Area 5]
Feminist literary theory and criticism provide important current approaches to literature. This course aims to make students conversant with feminist literary theory and criticism as these have developed in the different waves of the feminist movement, able themselves to read and write about literature from feminist perspectives, and able to critique feminist literary theory and criticism in an informed manner. A series of questions will guide us. What are the issues raised by feminist critics? What literary texts have they been drawn to? How have they shifted and enlarged our literary and cultural consciousness. How has feminist literary study itself shifted as a critical movement throughout the last forty years? Students will read works of American, French, and global feminist critics. Among critics' (and our) concerns will be the nexus of gender, race, and class, the strong link between feminist criticism and psychoanalysis, and that between feminist literary theory and queer studies. Students will write weekly response papers, make one class presentation, and write a term paper.
English 7506: Practicum in Teaching College-Level Composition* (0828)
Prof. Brooks, Wednesday 4:30-6:10 [Area 5]
Open to MA English and MFA students
English 7506 is a consideration of how to be an effective college composition teacher. We will read essays that offer both a theoretical and practical foundation to immerse you in the professional writing pedagogy conversation and to guide you in establishing classroom practices to clarify and support students' writing processes. We will explore options for the following: what to do on the first day of class; establishing routines; teaching writing as a process and understanding how deeply writing is revision; understanding basic rhetorical principles; responding to and evaluating student work; understanding language and dialect issues; and choosing texts for students. As a teacher I try to help students reflect on their reading, writing, thinking so they can listen to their own thoughts, compose without being dominated by fear, and take seriously their roles as thinkers and writers. Please come prepared to pay attention to your thoughts and words, listen empathically to your peers, write honestly, revise patiently, read student work respectfully, and respond to each other's work with an open mind. In addition to our weekly class meeting, you will be mentored by an experienced composition teacher by attending that instructor's course one session per week in order to gain practice tutoring, learn how to choose material, create assignments, and pace lessons; you will have the opportunity to teach and respond to/evaluate student writing. For our course, you will be expected to participate in discussion as well as take a turn leading one, to design an assignment and a syllabus, evaluate samples of student writing, and write a critical analysis of an article of your choice related to teaching writing. The combination of theory and hands-on classroom experience prepares you to teach your own composition section.
English 7507: Advanced Theories & Practice of Teaching Composition* (0829)
Prof. Siegel, Thursday 6:30-8:10 [Area 5] [This course is the same as SEED 7507]
Open to MA English Education students
One of the biggest responsibilities of English teachers is the teaching of writing. How can a teacher help his/her students develop their own writing process, enable them to see their own weaknesses and work on them? How can a teacher both prepare students for the high stakes tests they have to take and at the same time, aim higher, to the level of expertise required in college? How can students learn to use writing to think and learn? How is work on grammar and conventions integrated into work on content and thinking? These are some of the questions that will be dealt with in this class. Requirements for the class include: a journal, a literacy autobiography, several other writing assignments and a Writing Teacher/Tutor Portfolio, where students will examine their own (or others’) teaching, follow several of their own students throughout the term, and critique their own teaching of writing.
English 7603: Introduction to Linguistics (3320)
Prof. Gonsalves, Tuesday 6:30-8:10 [Area 6]
This course will introduce the core areas of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. It will also introduce several other selected areas of linguistics, including historical linguistics, first and second language acquisition, and neurolinguistics. In spite of our very stringent time constraints, students will also investigate and report on other areas of linguistics covered in the text; these areas include psycholinguistics, natural sign language, sociolinguistics, writing systems, animal communication, and computational linguistics. The main focus of the course will be on the core areas. Readings from the course text will introduce the general methodology and basic ideas in each of these areas and will be accompanied in each case by appropriate exercises and problems. The readings will provide the groundwork for doing the problems and we will go over them in class. Participation in class assignments will be especially important. There will be weekly problem sets, a midterm, a final, and a short term paper.
English 7720: Seminar: Caribbean Literature (2774)
Prof. King, Wednesday 6:30-8:10 [Area 7]
English 7800: Intro to Literary Research* (0826)
Prof. Elsky, Tuesday 6:30-8:10
The aim of this course is to prepare for the writing of the MA thesis. As an introduction to several major areas of literary research and scholarly procedure, the course will focus on practical techniques of locating and citing primary and secondary sources; use of primary and secondary sources; choosing an approach to the topic of the MA thesis; arriving at a working thesis and manner of proceeding. Assignments will be directed toward a term project (a formal prospectus) on a writer, work, or topic that will be the subject of the student’s MA thesis. The procedure of the course will center around work-shopping specific projects undertaken by students in the course. We will also attend to identifying critical approaches that have dominated literary scholarship in recent decades. Forms of criticism will be illustrated with essays chosen by students for their own work.
English 7810: Thesis* (1171)
Prerequisite: English 7800 and consent of thesis advisor.
(*) indicates permission from Graduate Deputy required