Graduate Expanded Course Descriptions
Note: For additional graduate courses taught by English faculty, please see the Winter 2010 schedule.
233: Problems in American Literature
Hsuan Hsu email@example.com
M 3:10-6:00, 248 Voorhies, CRN 42769
This course surveys influential scholarship that has reframed
19th-century US literature in transnational contexts. We will consider
approaches that emphasize translation, creolization, cosmopolitanism,
border studies, critical race theory, feminism, and Marxism, while
also reading several representative literary works spanning the long
19th century. This course aims to think through the construction of
archives, genealogies, concepts, and arguments that exceed (though
they may not oppose) the scope of the nation-state. We will also draw
on critical readings to deepen our engagement with a range of literary
texts by Charles Brockden Brown, Ned Buntline, Herman Melville, Victor
Sejour, Frederick Douglass, Stephen Crane, Sui Sin Far, and others.
Two presentations, weekly responses, and a seminar paper
TextsThe Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture, Amy Kaplan
American Sensations, Shelley Streeby
Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett
Ambassadors of Culture, Kirsten Silva-Gruesz
Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
The Colonizing Trick, David Kazanjian
Through Other Continents, Wai-Chee Dimock
235: Theory of Fiction
Lucy Corin firstname.lastname@example.org
W 4:10-7:00, 308 Voorhies, CRN 63842
Candidates for the MA in Creative Writing are required to take either this course or ENL 236 (Poetics), which are offered in alternating years. I approach the Theory of Fiction with the particular concerns of fiction writers; in fact, while the course is open to and appropriate for graduate students working in a variety of disciplines, each year I teach this course I structure it in a way I hope will speak to the partcular writers we have in the program. This year I want to focus on developing a practical and personal working relationship with theory, something that some fiction writers are wary of doing (and for one thing, we’ll want to address why that is.) We’ll work to understand the content of our form and the politics of the aesthetic decisions we make as writers. We’ll aim to expose our own assumptions about what fiction is for and what makes good fiction, and we’ll work to challenge those assumptions once they are discovered. In the first weeks of the course we’ll read from the assigned texts and complete a series of short creative and analytic exercises. We’ll also divide the class into research groups based on individual interests. Groups will share resources but work on individual projects, aspects of which will be presented to the group. I won’t complete the syllabus for this year’s version of the course until winter quarter, but if you’d like to know how things are shaping up in terms of particular readings and probable research group topics (there will definitely be one about writing/representing across cultures) please come by office hours.
Grades will be based on seminar participation (most of your grade will be determined bu this), a formalized writer’s notebook, and a research project (which may or may not take the form of a traditional research paper).
TextsThe Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, Peter Handke
Aristotle's Poetics, Francis Fergusson
Essentials of the Theory of Fiction 3rd Ed., Ed Hoffman and Murphy
TOPIC: Shakespeare's Plays (4 Units)
Richard Levin email@example.com
W 3:10-6:00, 248 Voorhies, CRN 63843
Designed as an introduction to Shakespeare on the graduate level, this course takes for its subject matter plays (listed below) that span a considerable part of Shakespeare's career and that are among his greatest achievements in the dramatic genres in which he worked. (We will interpret the plays in light of developments in contemporary criticism, exploring how these developments have made Shakespeare into a playwright concerned with contentious issues related to class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and social inclusion, exclusion, and marginality.
We will also attempt to explain how different ways of reading the plays result in a division among critics as whether or not the plays prompt an audience to identify with or stand apart from the power structure of early modern England. We will read our plays making use of well-annotated modern editions as well as of the original quarto and Folio texts. Representative scholarly essays will introduce various approaches to the plays.
The seminar will require several short essays and a term paper, as well as a class presentation by each student.
Plays: The Merchant of Venice, King Henry IV, Part 1, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, The Tempest
254: 20th-Century British Literature
TOPIC: The Break-up of Britain: Theorizing British Culture of the 1970s (4 Units)
Gregory Dobbins firstname.lastname@example.org
T 3:10-6:00, 248 Voorhies, CRN 42774
In the introduction to a book entitled The Break-up of Britain written in 1976, Tom Nairn argued "there is no doubt that the old British state is going down. But, so far at least, it has been a slow foundering rather than the Titanic-type disaster so often predicted. But in the 1970s it has begun to assume a form which practically no one foresaw...everything conspired to cause an inexorable spiral of decline. The slide would end in break-down sooner rather than later." That same year, violence in Northern Ireland reached devastating levels; the riots at that summer's Notting Hill Carnival (in which Black British youth fought back against an increasingly repressive police force) symbolized a particularly tense moment in British race relations; and the nihilism of the punks, the new subculture of choice for disaffected British youth, suggested the very real sense that there was no viable positive future. It is no wonder that Margaret Drabble, then working on a novel that would be published the following year, would title her book "The Ice Age"-- a phrase that might be extended to Britain throughout the decade of the 1970s. British culture in the 1970s has long had a bad reputation; the historian Arthur Marwick, writing not long after the close of that decade, recalled that "by the end of the 1970s books and articles were being published on different variations of the 'Is Britain Dying?' theme. In addition to the problems of the economy, race, and civil violence, some writers also pointed to Briatin's poor performance, after the excitements of the 1960s, in the realms of intellect, arts, and entertainment." Yet I have to disagree with that statement, as a number of interesting works emerged in that decade in all three of those realms. Writers like Drabble, Geoffrey Hill, and B.S. Johnson (not to mention films like Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange") offered new appraisals of what Britain and Englishness had come to mean by the 1970s. Post-colonial writers like V.S. Naipul, Buchi Emecheta and the writers included in the landmark collection of Black British poetry "Bluefoot Traveller" wrote about the diaspora produced by the dying British empire, while Northern Irish writers like Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, and Brian Friel produced literary responses to the political violence plaguing that province. Critical theory began to have a significant position in British intellectual life, as the Marxism of the New Left Review, the Structuralism and Psychoanalytic theory of Screen, and the work of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (generally known as the Birmingham School) all achieved a noteworthy prominence. And finally, the subcultures associated with roots reggae, dub, and punk produced some of the most notable popular music of the twentieth century. This course will attempt a critical recuperation of this period in British cultural history by departing from Nairn's designation of this moment as "the break-up of Britain" and mapping the connections between the sorts of phenomena noted above; along the way, we will consider closely the literature, theory, and popular culture of 1970s Britain. The texts and syllabus for this course are not yet finalized. In addition to the writers named above, I am also considering works by Angela Carter, Caryl Churchill, J.G. Ballard, Martin Amis, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Zadie Smith; potential theorists on the syallabus include Perry Anderson, Raymond Williams, Germaine Greer, Stuart Hall and other writers associated with the CCCS, Terry Eagleton, and Dick Hebdige; we will definitely spend some time listening to and discussing Jamaican dub, roots reggae, and punk. The class will also consider contemporary representations of the 1970s in Britain, ranging from the novels of Jonathan Coe and David Peace to the television show Life on Mars. I will be narrowing down the syllabus by the end of the quarter; please feel free to contact me for further information.
David Van Leer email@example.com
290F: Seminar in Creative Writing of Fiction
Lucy Corin firstname.lastname@example.org
R 12:10-3:00, 308 Voorhies
This is a fiction writing workshop. It's all workshop all the time. No outside texts this year as I expect most if not all the students in this class will be taking 235 with me concurrently, though I usually assign a story here or there along the way, anyway. Expect to have two or three workshops and to present around 40-50 pages of fiction in "ready for workshop" shape, that is: as done as you know how to make it on your own but not so done that you're finished thinking about it. Bring pieces you are willing and ready to revise. You are expected to show revision work on some but not all your pieces by the end of the quarter.
My approach privileges intensity and awareness of language textures and narrative shape, and asks each student to make each new work press the boundaries (intellectual, emotional, formal) of previous work. While making an immaculate-feeling work of art is excellent, and we will work toward making your stories as beautiful as they can be, and I expect to see significantly revised work by the end of the quarter, I am less interested in you finishing pieces than I am in you challenging yourself artistically.
Please contact me asap if you are planning to work on longer prose (novel or novella) during this course so that we can plan an appropriate method for workshop.
Grades will be based on seminar participation (most of your grade will be determined by this), a formalized writer's notebook, and a research project (which may or may not take the form of a traditional research paper).
290P: Seminar in Creative Writing of Poetry
Alan Williamson email@example.com
T 12:10-3:00, 308 Voorhies
The basic assignment is a poem a week, and a final selection of the student's four best poems from the term. We will also be looking at three of what seem to me the most interesting new books from the last two years; and students will be asked to compile a personal anthology.
TextsThe Complete Poems of Hart Crane (Centennial Edition), Hart Crane
Ariel, Sylvia Plath
Collected Poems, Philip Larkin