Liberal Arts 133 | 32 Campus Drive | Missoula, MT | 406.243.5231

Course Descriptions

Autumn 2014

 

 

Please be advised that the Montana University System is moving toward common numbering for all courses at all public institutions in Montana. The prefixes for many courses have changed as part of this conversion. For example, all ENLT courses are now known as LIT courses. For more information, please visit New Course Numbers.

For more information, please see The Catalogue.

 

CREATIVE WRITING - CRWR (formerly ENCR) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!

CRWR 210 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction

Offered every term. An introductory writing workshop focused on the reading, discussion, and revision of students' short fiction. Students will also be introduced to models of fiction techniques. No prior experience in writing short fiction required.

Learning outcomes:

Acquire foundational skills in reading, discussing and writing short fiction

Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts that apply to fiction

Practice the art of writing and revising short fiction

Learn to critique the quality of one’s own work and that of fellow students

 

CRWR 211 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry

Offered every term. An introductory writing workshop focused on the reading, discussion, and revision of students' poems. Students also will be introduced to models of poetic techniques. No prior experience in writing poetry required.

Learning outcomes:

Acquire foundational skills in reading, discussing and writing poetry

Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts that apply to poetry

Practice the art of writing and revising poetry

Learn to critique the quality of one’s own work and that of fellow students

 

CRWR 212 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Nonfiction

Offered every semester. Study of the art of nonfiction through reading and responding to contemporary nonfiction and the writing of original nonfiction works. Focus is on creative expression, writing technique and nonfiction forms.  Students begin with writing exercises and brief essays, advancing to longer forms as the semester progresses.

Learning outcomes:

Acquire foundational skills in reading, discussing and writing essays

Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts that apply to creative nonfiction

Practice the art of writing and revising nonfiction works

Learn to critique the quality of their one’s work and that of fellow students

 

CRWR 322 - Techniques of Modern Essay - Judy Blunt

In this course, students will explore five popular approaches to essay both through reading professional examples and by writing their own essays. We will study the subtle changes in structure and craft as it applies to several types of essay: memoir essay, personal essay, lyric essay, literary profile and literary journalism. This is an energetic, fast-paced class that counts attendance and participation as a significant portion of the final grade. CRWR 322 fulfills the upper-division workshop requirement for CRWR students, but is designed to help any nonfiction writer interested in essay forms familiar to magazine markets. Prerequisites: Sophomore level or higher. Must have completed WRIT 101 and at least one 200-300 level writing-intensive course or CRWR workshop. See Maria Mangold, LA 133-C, for consent of instructor form.

 

CRWR 391 - Special Topics: Description - Joanna Klink

Open to undergraduate poets, undergraduate prose writers, and those who want to hone their use of language and dramatically improve their style.

What is an image? What is an “exactly perceived” detail? How can a phrase carry sensory information? What kind of authority do writers draw from accurate descriptive language? What is the relationship between description and action in a poem, description and narrative in a story or essay? In this class we’ll explore the power of description in capturing physical perceptions and making pictures of the world more felt, more real. You will learn specific techniques for making your language more precise, rich, and shot through with feeling.

To better understand the range of expressive possibilities and technical strategies involved in description, we will devote the semester to reading and imitating the acute sensory visions of Basho, Issa, Li Po, Tu Fu, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Lorine Niedecker, William Maxwell, Annie Dillard, John Berger, and various contemporary poets.

Pre-requisite: 200-level workshop in any genre, or special consent of the instructor.

EVST students welcome.

 

CRWR 412 - Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Magazine Writing - Amanda FortiniIn this class, we will examine the various non-fictions forms published in contemporary magazines and literary journals: the essay; the profile; the reported feature; the travel piece; the book, movie, or art review; the humor piece. Through reading assignments, class discussions, and a series of written exercises, students will learn to distinguish between - and how to write - each kind of piece. We will focus on reporting, researching, and interviewing techniques, how to spot a story, how to set a scene, and how to reveal character, as well as the basics of structure and tone. Writers read will include Joan Didion Lillian Ross, Pauline Kael, Gay Talese, Truman Capote, Hunter Thompson, Janet Malcolm, John Jeremiah Sullivan, David Foster Wallace, Leslie Jamison, Zadie Smith, Katherine Boo, Ariel Levy, Nora Ephron, Elaine Blair, Luke Mogelson, Daniel Mendelsohn, Walter Kirn, and others. Although we will focus mainly on craft, we will also discuss publication. Students will leave class with one piece ready (or nearly ready) for submission.

 

CRWR 491 - The Least You Should Know - David Gates

This is a reading course for fiction writers, designed to acquaint, or to re-acquaint, you with some basic works, in a variety of fictional genres - from realism to fabulism to so-called metafiction. (That’s what The Tempest, which isn’t fiction at all, is doing here.) You’ve read some of them before: old warhorses of the Western Canon, and stuff every creative writing teacher trots out. (“Hills Like White Elephants” again?) You can still learn from them - and anyway, would you listen to your favorite song only once? And some of them you may feel guilty for not having read. These works aren’t all of the least you need to know - where’s Anna Karenina? where’s Hamlet? where’s Infinite Jest? - but most serious fiction writers know most of them. They’re fundamental points of reference. Fair warning: coming at you week after week, all this Greatness might grind you down - we’ll intersperse the longer works with shorter pieces to give you time to keep up - so come prepared to read hard. But you won’t be bored. All authors guaranteed dead. Short response papers every two weeks and a ten page paper at semester’s end.

Longer works: Shakespeare, The Tempest; Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Shelley, Frankenstein; Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Beckett, Molloy, Nabokov, Lolita

Stories by: Hawthorne, Melville, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Mansfield, Joyce, Kafka, Hemingway, Cheever, O’Connor, Welty, Baldwin, Barthelme, Carver

 

CRWR 491 - Insiders and Outsiders: Canonical and Community Writing and Engagement - Prageeta Sharma

This course will focus on 20th and 21st century poets and writers who write inside and outside of certain kinds of institutions, establishments, and communities. What will be interesting to explore is how their role and/or position has changed through the years, and what we mean when we define a writer as “inside” or “outside” the canon - or are there multiple meanings when we talk about it in terms of publication (big press/small press), race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism, eco vs. urban, academic, anti-academic, language, narrative, or lyric, etc.? What does poetic and creative writing experimentation, nontraditional writing, activism or its opposite (dominant, mainstream publishing requirements - which may be shifting their meanings) look like today? In class we will work towards developing our unique voices while we respond to others who have created their own. Poets and writers discussed: Thomas Sayers Ellis, Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones),Tisa Bryant, Raymond Carver, Lucy Corin, Robert Creeley, Lydia Davis, Debra Earling, kari edwards, Allen Ginsberg, Renee Gladman, Brenda Hillman, Cathy Park Hong, Stephen Graham Jones, Bhanu Kapil, Myung Mi Kim, Bernadette Mayer, Heather McGowan, Eileen Myles, Vanessa Place, Claudia Rankine, Laura Riding (Jackson), Ed Sanders, Lehua Taitano, John Wieners, Ofelia Zepeda and others. We will also discuss contemporary poetic theory and the book MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction by Chad Harbach. [This list may be modified. A PDF reader of stories, poems, and excerpts will be provided by Professor Sharma.]

 

CRWR 513 - Techniques of Nonfiction: Revision - Deirdre McNamer

Correcting, cutting, reframing, condensing, augmenting, revoicing, repacing, reimagining, cutting again - each is an aspect of the craft and the art of revision, without which most prose would fail, ever, to achieve liftoff.

In this course, we will begin with the units: words and sentences. Issues related to grammar, tedium, rhythm, and bloat will be raised. You will learn to say in a single sentence what you had tried to say in twenty; to describe with a gesture what you had tried to describe with a speech. You will practice precision and speed and good sounds. You will read aloud to the class.

From there, we will move into the more unsettling realm of identifying and filling gaps. Issues related to construction of compelling realities will be raised. You will practice noticing. You will practice killing your children.

And, finally, we will consider what revision requires in the way of temperament. Issues of patience, waiting, loss and breakthrough will be raised. You will learn how long it takes.

You will do a substantive exercise each week, all of which will be evaluated by the instructor, some of which will be evaluated by your classmates. You will also write “editor’s notes” on 10-20 pages of your own nonfiction or fiction, and then rewrite the pieces accordingly. Twice.

The course is open to both nonfiction and fiction MFA students, with nonfiction students given preference up to the enrollment cap of 15. You will need consent of the instructor and a signed override to enroll.

 

CRWR 516 - Topics in Creative Writing: Description - Joanna Klink

In this course we will examine topics in the history of poetics related to description. What is an image? What is an “exactly perceived” detail? How can a phrase carry sensory information? What kind of authority do writers draw from accurate descriptive language? What is the relationship between description and ritual action in a poem, description and narrative in a story or essay? The class will explore the power of description in capturing physical perceptions and making pictures of the world more felt, more real. You will learn specific techniques for making your language more precise, rich, and shot through with feeling.

To better understand the range of expressive possibilities and technical strategies involved in description, we will devote the semester to reading and imitating the acute sensory visions of Basho, Issa, Li Po, Tu Fu, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Lorine Niedecker, William Maxwell, Annie Dillard, John Berger, and various contemporary poets.

 

Consent of Instructor required.

 

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ENGLISH TEACHING - ENT – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!

 

 

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EXPOSITORY WRITING – WRIT (formerly ENEX)
SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!

COMPOSITION: During autumn semester, WRIT 101 is restricted to students whose last names begin with the letters A-L. During spring semester, WRIT 101 is restricted to students whose last names begin with the letters M-Z.

WRIT 101 - College Writing I (Prereq: ENEX 100/WTS 100/WTS 100D/WRIT 095D completion, proof of appropriate SAT/ACT essay, combined English/writing, writing section scores, appropriate MUSWA scores, or proof of passing scores on Writing Placement Exam)

Expository prose and research paper; emphasis on structure, argument, development of ideas, clarity, style, and diction. Students expected to write without major faults in grammar or usage.

 

WRIT 201 - College Writing II (Prereq: WRIT 101, Lower-Division Writing Course)

In this course, we will be studying the essay as the truly ubiquitous genre it is. It could be argued that the essay is the most prevalent genre of writing present in contemporary American culture since this broad category includes things like academic essays, editorials, blogs, travel journals, and sports writing, to name a few. Our study this semester will focus on the way arguments are made, and you will have the opportunity to study arguments as a reader and enact those practices as a writer.

Much of your work in this class will involve different kinds of collaboration, including small group workshops and discussions that will take place in class. Because writing development is an important process that takes place over time an across different writing situations, all WRIT 201 classes use portfolio evaluation as a primary means of evaluation. By the end of the semester you should be able to accurately and subtly assess a given rhetorical situation and make effective rhetorical choices based your assessment. And you should be able to write a graceful, convincing, beautifully written argument.

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FILM STUDIES – FILM (Formerly ENFM) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!

FILM 191 - Crossing Boundaries: Film, Literature, and Adaptation (GLI) - John Glendening and Sean O’Brien
(same as LIT 191)

This course focuses on a variety of films and works of literature from various parts of the world that explore how crossing national, ethnic, or psychological boundaries gives shape to fundamental philosophical questions and their possible answers. The goals of LIT 191 are two-fold: (1) thinking and writing clearly about core questions raised by the course and prompted by works of literature, and (2) learning what is involved in adapting literature to film. The course should deepen students' philosophic sophistication and leave them with a valuable set of academic and practical skills. During the first part of the course students will read philosophically rich works of literature, watch their film adaptations, learn what is involved in adapting literature to film, and write, with the guidance of instructors, about the core questions raised by the course. In the second half of the semester students will read a number of short stories that have not been adapted to film and study the art of adaptation.  After learning basic video production skills (shooting and editing) they will be assigned to production groups, each of which will produce a video of a particular scene they have adapted from one of the assigned short stories. Students will work in groups of three, deciding collectively what scene most effectively asks (and perhaps answers) one of the “big questions” foundational to the course.

Literary texts, some of which will be on ERes, may include the following: Schroeppel, The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video; Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Akutagawa, “Rashomon,” Achebe, “Civil Peace”; Hemingway, “In Another Country”; Jen, “Who’s Irish?”; Carver, “Cathedral”; Alexie, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven”; Lahiri, “The Interpreter of Maladies,” Mukherjee, “The Management of Grief.” Films: Babel, Heart of Darkness, Roshomon

 

FILM 484 - The Coen Brothers Reshooting America:  Genre, Regionalism, and the Cinematography of Detail - Katie Kane

“When Joel and Ethan Coen were growing up, they used to make Super 8 films, including remakes of Hollywood movies that they had watched on TV. Since then, the Coens have continued to let their imagination loose while ranging wide across cinematic and literary genres, drawing on pulp literature (“Blood Simple,” “Miller’s Crossing”), screwball cinema (“The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Intolerable Cruelty”), Homer’s Odyssey (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”), the Bible and their own suburban Minneapolis childhood (“A Serious Man”) to make movies that, increasingly, have the quality of an evolving, distinctly American mythopoeia.”

It is this quality of a distinctly American mythopoesis that the course will track from the stripped down noir work of Blood Simple to the dark critique of America lodged in the Coen’s most recent film, Inside Llewyn Davis. The Coen’s work is remarkable in a number of ways but perhaps most significantly for the way that it captures and batters America as the nation-state and its various histories, aesthetics, and ideologies incarnate in distinct regions of the country.   Texas is utterly evoked in No Country for Old Men and becomes the site of America’s moral and economic apocalypse; Minnesota is limned and parodied in Fargo in ways that reveal the rot, racial and otherwise, behind the facade of “Minnesota Nice, while the film somehow maintains a stance of affection for the region; California becomes the agora where the Dude teaches his particular brand of philosophy.

In addition to the thematics of the Coen Brothers film, the course will engage with technical matters: the camera work used to evoke, parody, and retool classic cinematic genres; the use of the sonic - ambient and scored - to evoke emotion; the reliance on ensemble casts, and etc.

 

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IRISH STUDIES PROGRAM – IRSH (formerly ENIR) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!

 

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LITERATURE – LIT (formerly ENLT) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!

LIT 191 - Crossing Boundaries: Film, Literature, and Adaptation (GLI) - John Glendening and Sean O’Brien
(same as FILM 191)

This course focuses on a variety of films and works of literature from various parts of the world that explore how crossing national, ethnic, or psychological boundaries gives shape to fundamental philosophical questions and their possible answers. The goals of LIT 191 are two-fold: (1) thinking and writing clearly about core questions raised by the course and prompted by works of literature, and (2) learning what is involved in adapting literature to film. The course should deepen students' philosophic sophistication and leave them with a valuable set of academic and practical skills. During the first part of the course students will read philosophically rich works of literature, watch their film adaptations, learn what is involved in adapting literature to film, and write, with the guidance of instructors, about the core questions raised by the course. In the second half of the semester students will read a number of short stories that have not been adapted to film and study the art of adaptation.  After learning basic video production skills (shooting and editing) they will be assigned to production groups, each of which will produce a video of a particular scene they have adapted from one of the assigned short stories. Students will work in groups of three, deciding collectively what scene most effectively asks (and perhaps answers) one of the “big questions” foundational to the course.

Literary texts, some of which will be on ERes, may include the following: Schroeppel, The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video; Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Akutagawa, “Rashomon,” Achebe, “Civil Peace”; Hemingway, “In Another Country”; Jen, “Who’s Irish?”; Carver, “Cathedral”; Alexie, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven”; Lahiri, “The Interpreter of Maladies,” Mukherjee, “The Management of Grief.” Films: Babel, Heart of Darkness, Roshomon

 

LIT 120L - Introduction to Poetry - David Gilcrest

LIT 120 Introduction to Poetry introduces students to the techniques of reading, thinking, and writing about poetry. The course addresses elements of poetic production and form grounded in physical being and the play of language and consciousness. Our inquiry will focus on lyric poetry with special emphasis on the poetics of haiku and the sonnet.

LIT 120 satisfies the Group V: Literary and Artistic Studies [L] General Education requirement.

 

LIT 201 - Introduction to Literary Studies - David Gilcrest

LIT 201 is an introduction to the English major and the discipline of literary studies. The central aim of this course is for each student to develop and extend the skills associated with very careful reading of all texts, including those we sometimes call “literature.” Moreover, LIT 201 is an introduction to literary scholarship, foregrounding as it does genuine inquiry, disciplinary conventions, research, and effective and well-reasoned communication.

 

LIT 280 - The Ecology of Literature - David Gilcrest
(open only to Wilderness and Civilization students)

LIT 280 The Ecology of Literature examines literary representations of human and more-than-human relationships under the sign of ecology. Drawing on relevant ecocritical theory, we will explore a wide range of Anglophone literary texts that offer models of “identity” grounded in interanimating and interdependent affiliations. Our inquiry into the literature of the “ecological self” will focus on concepts of Nature, the Wild, and Wilderness--and their political and ethical implications. Texts include The Epic of Gilgamesh and work by Wordsworth, Emerson, Thoreau, Sarah Orne Jewett, Jeffers, Snyder, Wendell Berry, Jack Turner, Evelyn White, Terry Tempest Williams, Leslie Silko, and Margaret Atwood.

LIT 280 is an Honors course offered through the Wilderness and Civilization Program. LIT 280 satisfies the Group V: Literary and Artistic Studies [L] General Education requirement.

 

LIT 300 - Applied Literary Criticism - Katie Kane

"In our era, criticism is not merely a library of secondary aids to the understanding and appreciation of literary texts, but also a rapidly expanding body of knowledge in its own right."

-David Lodge

“The unexamined life is not worth living”-Socrates

In this introductory course in literary and cultural theory, we will attempt to explore representative schools of and issues in contemporary criticism (formalism, postmodernism, eco-criticism, postcolonial/colonial criticism/psychoanalytic criticism). We will be working, therefore, to build an analytic and critical vocabulary for the activity of reading select number of texts from the canons of literary criticism and from the canons of Anglo-phone culture.

In addition to this “first-principles” objective, however, we will also attempt to engage with such complexities of the current theoretical debate as “the question of the author,” the reconciliation of form and content, the agon of canon formation and canon busting, and, finally, with the crucial issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Throughout the course we will be moving toward our current early twenty-first century moment in which the range and scope of the labor of the literary critic seems - in light of the rise of a host of non-traditional representational and narrative forms - to be both expanding and contracting.  Film, video games, the world of the digital, social media, all require the decoding and demystifying work of the engaged critic.

 

LIT 301 - THE ANATOMY, Or, A Shaggy Dog and A Whale - Brady Harrison

LIT 301 studies two - just two! - astonishing hybrids that fuse the literary tradition of the anatomy (which arose in the ancient world and reached its apotheosis in the West with Robert Burton’s masterpiece, The Anatomy of Melancholy [1621-51]) and the novel (which had its beginnings in English either with the publication of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe [1719] or Richardson’s Pamela [1740], depending upon whom you ask). The first half of the course will be devoted to the close reading of Laurence Sterne’s comic tale, Tristram Shandy (1759-67), a masterpiece of digression, hobby horses, people stuck on staircases, and falling casements. At work during the emergence of the novel in English, Sterne, building upon some of the greatest traditions in world literature, tells stories within stories, mixes genres, parodies storytelling, and seemingly loses control of both his characters and his point (if he had one to begin with). Intent upon seeing just how far he can push (or break?) the bounds of setting, plot, character, point of view, and more, he mocks and divagates (and delights in a certain sort of dirty joke), even as he wages a perfectly serious war against the oldest of enemies: time. The second half of the course will focus on Herman Melville’s epic, Moby-Dick (1851). Like Sterne, Melville models his greatest work at least in part on Burton’s Anatomy, and he dives as deeply as he can into the deepest of moral and philosophical questions even as he takes us on a rousing adventure in search of a seemingly preternatural white whale (who has dined, in days past, on the flesh and bones of one Captain Ahab). Like Sterne, Melville dissects and digresses, mocks and ponders, and he tests the limits of knowledge, narrative, and the novel form. The course, then, reads two of the greatest books ever written, and studies a much under-appreciated form, the hybrid anatomy-novel (the novatomy? anatovel? anatonovelmy?). As the course proceeds, we’ll also have opportunities to apply different critical theories to the primary texts.

TEXTS (Not subject to revision!)

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. (Norton Critical Edition, 2nd Ed.)

Sterne, Laurence. Tristram Shandy. (Norton Critical Edition.)

 

LIT 331 - THE BRONTES - Brady Harrison

LIT 331 explores a handful of the finest novels ever written in the English language, novels produced, rather surprisingly, within the span of a few years by three siblings (and a fourth was no slouch, either): Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte. Perhaps almost equally famous for the story of their lives (they were raised in relative isolation in the north of England; they variously collaborated on poems and tales from a young age; each worked as a governess or teacher; they all died before the age of 40) as for their novels, they were not only deeply attuned to the social, cultural, economic, and political dilemmas of their era - especially the plight of women and children - but also possessed an almost uncanny grasp of (extreme) emotional and psychological states and of narrative technique. In order to get some sense of the writers and genres that influenced and helped to shape their work, the course begins with a reading of some of the English Romantic poets, especially Lord Byron. From there, we will read Jane Eyre (1847), Wuthering Heights (1847), Agnes Grey (1847), and Villette (1853). The course closes with Jean Rhys’ famous reply to Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). As the course proceeds, we’ll also have opportunities to apply different critical theories to the primary texts.

TEXTS (Subject to revision!)

The Bronte Sisters. Three Novels: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey. (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition.)

Bronte, Charlotte. Villette. (Modern Library Classics.)

Gordon, George (Lord Byron). Byron’s Poetry and Prose. (Norton Critical Edition.)

Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. (Norton Critical Edition.)

 

LIT 343 - African American Literature: The Black Arts Movement and the Second Renaissance (Late 1950s-2000) - Quan Ha

LIT 343 will focus on the art and politics of race & gender in African American literature since the Civil Rights Movement. We will examine these primary topics and issues: (1) defining a new black aesthetic, (2) writing as a form of resistance, (3) the black vernacular, (4) the relationship between Marxism/socialism and black nationalism, (5) a commitment to revolutionary struggle, (6) the latent sexism and oppression of black women, (7) racial and sexual identity, (8) the psychosocial consequences of racism and the search for truth in contemporary African American fiction, (9) memory and myth, etc. Besides the major literary texts listed below, you will read selected short readings (mostly short stories, poems, and essays) written by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Malcolm X, June Jordan, Sonia Sanchez, Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Thylias Moss, Harryette Mullen, etc.

NOVELS

James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room, 1956

Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones, 1959

Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1983

Ismael Reed, Reckless Eyeballing, 1986

Trey Ellis, Platitudes, 1988

Ernest Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying, 1993

DRAMA

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, 1959

Ed Bullins, Goin’ a Buffalo, 1968

August Wilson, Seven Guitars, 1995

SELECTED POEMS & SHORT STORIES (Coursepack)

 

LIT 353 - Milton - Rob Browning

In this course we will study how Milton works within and beyond the cultural traditions he inherited to engage with the theological, philosophical, and political controversies of his time. Because of its complexity and historical importance, Paradise Lost will be our focus for approximately half the semester. Along side the poem itself, we will read supplementary materials from the seventeenth century and from literary criticism that provide glimpses into the cultural worlds out of which Milton fashions the imaginative landscapes of Heaven, Hell, the Garden of Eden, and Chaos. Before reading the epic, we will study Areopagitica (Milton’s nationalist rally for free speech and “promiscuous” reading), L’Allegro and Il’Penseroso, Lycidas, A Mask Performed at Ludlow Castle, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Eikonoklastes, and several of the poet’s sonnets and other shorter works. We’ll conclude the semester by surveying Milton’s legacy and influence and reading the second of C. S. Lewis’s space trilogy novels, Perelandra (1943), which Lewis wrote in concert with his classic A Preface to Paradise Lost (1941).

Assignments: biweekly response papers, a term paper, and a class presentation.

Required Texts: The Riverside Milton, edited by Roy Flannagan (Houghton Mifflin, 1998.  ISBN: 0-395-80999-1); C. S. Lewis, Perelandra (Scribner, 2003.  ISBN: 978-0-7432-3491-7)

 

LIT 421 - History of Criticism and Theory - Rob Browning

In this class we will study the rich variety of ideas in the Western tradition about what literature is and how we might variously understand and appreciate it. Our readings, spanning over two millennia, will challenge us to think more precisely and flexibly about the natures of mimesis, fiction, inspiration, imagination, literature and education, canonicity, poets and the political, beauty, sublimity, wonder, and relationships between literature and the other arts. Our authors will include: Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Horace, Tacitus, Pseudo-Longinus, Plotinus, Aquinas, Boccaccio, Sidney, Hobbes, Davenant, Addison, Pope, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, P. Shelley, Whitman, Nietzsche, Wilde, Freud, T.S. Eliot, R. P. Blackmur, W. C .Williams, and John Guillory.

Assignments: biweekly response papers, a term paper, and a class presentation.

Required text: Critical Theory Since Plato, 3rd ed., eds. Adams and Searle (Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005).

 

LIT 494 - Capstone: City, Country, and the Uses of Nature - John Glendening

This course engages a binary opposition deeply implicated in how we think about our world - city vs. country - and how these concepts interact with an even more fundamental dualism - culture and nature. We will read British and American novels and poems that, as they involve themselves in these seeming contraries, also express or shed light on such matters as the pastoral tradition, Romanticism, ecological thinking, agricultural traditions, urban planning, urban crime, and much more - texts ranging from Shakespeare (As You Like It) to science fiction. The course will confront such questions as what is a city, how does it differ from a town or village, what components make it different from country, is country primarily agricultural or does it incorporate wilderness, what constitutes suburbia, and what does culture do with and to nature?

Apart from doing assigned readings, the main task of students will be to write a capstone paper, due at the end of the semester, that incorporates both research and original thinking concerning one or more of the assigned texts in relation to an idea raised in class.

Like other capstone courses, this class will be set up as a seminar encouraging student interaction. The chief function of a capstone is to bring together knowledge and areas of expertise students have developed in their careers as English majors focusing on literature.

Possible readings:

From Genesis; Theocritus and Virgil, a selection of Greek and Roman pastoral poems; anon., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Shakespeare, As You Like It; Wordsworth, from The Prelude; Thoreau, from Walden; Dickens, Oliver Twist; Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Hardy, The Woodlanders; Stoppard, Arcadia; Morrison, Jazz; Wells, The Time Machine; Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep; Clarke, The City and the Stars; a selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century poems.

 

LIT 521 - Scribbling Women - Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Novel - Jill Bergman

In their introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing, Dale Bauer and Philip Gould claim that “contemporary reappraisals of nineteenth-century American women’s writing have changed both the shape of the American literary canon and the discipline of American literary history.” In “Scribbling Women,” we will explore a sampling of this influential body of novels - most of which were tremendously popular in their day - along with some of the critical “reappraisals” of the last thirty years. We’ll begin the semester with a number of novels written by American women from the early national and antebellum periods, periods when domesticity flourished and sentimentalism - the art of promoting social change by appealing to readers’ emotions - enjoyed considerable cultural sanction. Women writers of this period created - and supplied - a seemingly insatiable demand for sentimental novels among the middle-class reading public, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famed (and rather petulant) criticism of this “d--d mob of scribbling women” gives some insight into the cultural force women writers represented at this time. We’ll then turn our attention to novels written after the Civil War, when a “Victorian” ideology began to lose ground in the U.S. and literary realism took hold as the dominant fictional form. Throughout the semester we’ll consider the ways in which novelists grapple with such issues as national identity, sentimentalism, Romantic individualism, consumerism, poverty relief and reform, the economics of writing and publishing, race, class, and - of course - gender. In conjunction with the novels, we’ll read a number of critical essays (“reappraisals”) as a means of becoming familiar with and engaging in current academic conversations on this body of literature.

 

LIT 522 - Seminar: Contemporary Poetry - Robert Baker

English-language poetry is written and read in many different places around the world. This is especially so, and especially felt, in our time. In our time, too, poets are often cosmopolitan travellers, living or working for extended periods in places far from home, and they are usually familiar with diverse literary traditions. In this course we will study six poets belonging to an arc, as it were, of the larger space of contemporary Anglophone poetry: John Ashbery and C. D. Wright (two American poets), Seamus Heaney (an Irish poet), Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite (two Caribbean poets, the former from St. Lucia, the latter from Barbados), and Alice Oswald (an English poet). Four of these poets - Ashbery, Heaney, Walcott, and Brathwaite - are giants who began to publish their major work in the sixties and seventies. Heaney died last year, and Ashbery, Walcott, and Brathwaite are quite old. Wright, born in 1949, and Oswald, born in 1966, are of a different era, are of two later generations. Our primary concern in the course will be to see what is there in the adventures of these six very different poets.

 

Provisional Reading List: John Ashbery, Three Poems, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, Houseboat Days; C. D. Wright, Deepstep Come Shining, One Big Self; Seamus Heaney, Opened Ground, Seeing Things; Derek Walcott, Collected Poems, Omeros, Tiepolo’s Hound; Kamau Brathwaite, The Arrivants; Alice Oswald, Dart, Memorial.

 

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