Doane Stuart Homework In Spanish

All 500-level courses and a certain number of 200-, 300- and 400-level courses have limited enrolment and require instructors' permission. Students hoping to enroll in these courses should consult the course descriptions on the Department of English website for the procedures for applying for admission. 


ENGL 301 Earlier 18th Century Novel

Professor David Hensley
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Description:This course will canvas some of the “origins” of the English novel and trace its development (particularly as anti-romance satire and realism) up to the mid-eighteenth century. Our readings and discussion will refer to the European context of the evolution of this narrative form in England. We will consider the novel as responding to a network of interrelated problems – of the self and its imaginative politics – at the representational crossroads of medieval epic, courtly romance, spiritual autobiography, picaresque satire, colonialist adventure, gallant intrigue, baroque casuistry, bourgeois conduct book, sentimental love story, moral treatise, psychological realism, and mock-heroic “comic epic in prose.” As the emerging literary “form of forms,” the early modern novel vibrantly juxtaposes and interweaves all these different generic strands. Our work together will aim at a critical analysis of the textual ideologies articulated in this experimental process of historical combination.

Texts: The required reading for this course will include most or all of the following books, which will be available at The Word Bookstore (469 Milton Street, 514-845-5640). (The list of texts below is tentative and incomplete, to be confirmed in January 2016.)

  • Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose (Oxford)
  • Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur (Oxford)
  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Hackett)
  • Michael Alpert, ed., Two Spanish Picaresque Novels (Penguin)
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quijote (Norton)
  • Madame de Lafayette, The Princess of Clèves (Norton)
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (Norton)
  • Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (Broadview)
  • Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Norton)
  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela (Oxford)
  • Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela (Oxford)

Evaluation: Paper (50%), tests (40%), participation (10%). Regular attendance is required for a passing final grade (a maximum of two absences will be allowed except for documented medical or similar emergencies).

Format: Lectures


ENGL 303 Restoration and Eighteenth-century Literature 2

Instructor Andrew Bricker
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12.35-13.25

Full course description

Description: The focus of this course will be the Enlightenment, a philosophical and intellectual movement that emerged in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. At the heart of the Enlightenment project was a fundamental belief that reason, self-critique and empirical observation were the true foundations of knowledge, rather than religion, authority or dogma. This course in particular will trace the intersections between Enlightenment thought and the development of literary culture from the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 to the close of the eighteenth century. Our readings will draw on a range of generic forms and will be organized around a series of eighteenth-century keywords and themes, including utile et dulce (instruct and delight), satire, the public sphere, epic and mock-epic, sentimentality and politeness, empiricism, empire and slavery, the novel, the gothic, the woman question, and preromanticism. These keywords will serve as a rubric for our discussions, but they will also be categories that we’ll challenge—like the term Enlightenment itself—as we probe them for their limitations and inconsistencies. Above all, we’ll try to find links across these keywords and the texts we study. We will focus especially on questions of genre and generic development, and how those in the eighteenth-century made sense of their historical, emerging and experimental literary forms.

Texts:The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume C: The Restoration and Eighteenth Century, 8thOR 9th ed., ed. Lawrence Lipking and James Noggle (Norton, 2006 OR 2012)

- Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, ed. W.S. Lewis and E.J. Clery (Oxford: 9780199537211)

- Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings, ed. Tim Parnell and Ian Jack (Oxford: 9780199537181)

Evaluation: Attendance and Participation (15%); Discussion Moderation (10%); Short Essay (20%); Peer Review (5%); Final Essay (30%); Oral Exam (20%)

Format: Lecture and Conference Sections (or Seminar, depending on enrollment)


ENGL 305 Renaissance English Literature 1

Sixteenth-Century Nondramatic Literary Culture

Professor Ken Borris
Winter Term 2016
Monday Wednesday 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Description: A tour through the English literary Renaissance from around 1500 to 1600, apart from drama, emphasizing literary authors and texts of particularly high quality and influence, and relating them to significant or interesting cultural contexts and nonliterary discourses, including the visual arts.   Further readings sample those contexts and discourses.  Featured texts and authors will include Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, Edmund Spenser, including his Shepheardes Calender, Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots), and William Shakespeare’s nondramatic poetry. Other parts of the course will address various particular topics through study of relevant English and translated continental texts, including the gender debate enhancing the status of women; the beginnings of female authorship; contemporary erotica; the advent of printing and controls upon print; sixteenth-century literary theory; the relation of visual iconography and emblematics to literature; Neoplatonic love theory and its literary and social impacts;  and mythography.

The Course Reader and other texts will be available in paperback for purchase at the Word bookstore, 469 Milton Street, 514 845-5640. 

Texts: Sir Thomas More, Utopia; Shakespeare, Sonnets and Narrative Poems; Baldesar Castiglione, The Courtier; Spenser, Book VIone book of The Faerie Queene; Course Reader.

Evaluation: term paper, 50%; take-home final exam midterm and final test, 40%; class attendance and participation 10%.

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 311 Poetics

All sections offered in the FALL TERM 2015

Section 001 - Professor Brian Trehearne 
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:35-10:25

Section 002 - Instrcutor Mary Towers
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:35-11:25

Section 003 - Professor Eli MacLaren
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:35-9:25

Section 004 -Instructor Laura Cameron
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 4:35-5:25

Section 005 - Instructor Anna Lewton-Brain
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:35-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite or co-requisite: ENGL 202. This course is open only to English majors in the literature stream.  This course is to be taken in the Fall semester of U1 or in the first Fall semester after the student’s selection of the Literature Major program.

Description: This course introduces students to the formal and stylistic elements of poetry and prose fiction, provides them with a shared vocabulary for recognizing and analyzing different literary forms, and develops their reading, writing, and critical discussion skills.

Although many critical methods can be applied to the works in this course, Poetics focuses on teaching students how to talk and write precisely about a wide range of formal and stylistic techniques in relation to literary meaning in poetry and prose fiction. All the critical methodologies you will learn in your other English courses will benefit from your knowledge of the material of ENGL 311. You will read some works in Poetics that are also required in other courses, such as ENGL 202 and 203, the Departmental Surveys of English Literature. In Poetics, we study such works not primarily in historical context, or as engagements with literary, cultural or social history, but for the techniques of literary art with which they communicate to and move us. The course instructors assume that students enrolled as English majors will already have some facility explaining what given works of literature mean; we instead focus on understanding how literature creates meaning. Discussions and assignments will therefore involve the memorization, identification, and application of concepts and terms essential to the study of literary techniques. The English Literature program requires that ENGL 311 be taken in U1 so that all Literature students will be well prepared for their other studies with a shared terminology and training in critical writing.

Texts:

  • Abrams, M.H., and Geoffrey Galt Harpham.  A Glossary of Literary Terms.  10th edn.  Thomson-Wadsworth, 2009.
  • Bausch, Richard, and R.V. Cassill, eds.  The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.  Shorter 7th edn.  New York: Norton, 2006.
  • Ferguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter and Jon Stallworthy, eds.  The Norton Anthology of Poetry.  Shorter 5th edn.  New York: Norton, 2005.
  • Messenger, William E., et al., eds.  The Canadian Writer’s Handbook.  5th edn.  Toronto: Oxford, 2010.

Evaluation: TBA, but usually: essay 1 (4 pp.), 10%; essay 2 (4-5 pp.), 15%; essay 3 (6-7 pp.), 15%; mid-term examination 10%; formal final examination 30%; short assignments, such as quizzes, writing exercises, and recitations 10%; class participation 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 312 Victorian and Edwardian Drama 1

Professor Denis Salter
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level courses in drama and theatre, literature, or cultural studies.

Description: This course will engage in a study of a wide range of performance texts, examined not simply as dramatic literature but as works in their original manuscript form, and thence transformed by the nature of theatrical performance, and by the meanings generated for them by their popular and critical responses.  The course will also attend to the material conditions of performance, the work of actors and actresses, actor-managers and actress-managers, designers, musicians, et al, and to the semiotic and sociopolitical significances of the venues and cities, London pre-eminently, in which the productions were first performed, along with a consideration of their theatrical afterlives and the ways in which they served to create a performance repertoire. Some of the playwrights do not often appear in anthologies, if only because their works do not readily lend themselves to the dead hand of canonization or being fitted for the Procrustean bed of generic classification. The playwrights to be studied will come from a selection of works by George Colman, the Younger, Col. Ralph Hamilton, James Smith, R. B. Peake, George Henry Lewes, Dion Boucicault, T. W. Robertson, B.C. Stephenson, Alfred Cellier, Joseph Addison, Netta Syrett, with a nod to a comical satire by J.M. Barrie and the inclusion of the ‘original’ text of Paul Potter’s Trilby, based on the novel of that name by George du Maurier and two texts performed by Christy’s Minstrels / Christy Minstrels. The word “British” in the anthology of plays we shall be studying draws attention to the ways in which theatre formed--and was formed by--the constructions of nation(s) and empires, both real and imaginary. We shall also study Henry Irving’s / Leopold Lewis’s The Bells (a text in LION).

Recurrent themes and topics will include racialization / racism, ‘The Other,’ ‘Othering,’ stereotyping, classism, ethnicity, religion, blackface, ‘the scramble for Africa,’ slavery and anti-slavery movements and practices, asymmetrical power relations, white supremacy, foundational ethnography, Orientalism and Occidentalism, the exploitation of minorities, diasporas, colonialized abjection, imperialistic machinations, performances as acts of historically-, politically-, and ideologically engagements with resistance against oppression, demonization, and exploitation, the trauma of guilt and remorse, hypnosis and mesmerism, gender oppression, cross-dressing, juridical practices, the carnivalesqe, the charivari,  the “Angel in the House” and similar tropes, along with their mystifying principles and practices, the “woman question,” programmatic patriotism and its cognate, jingoism, the geopolitical construction of nineteenth-century London, the semiotics of place, engagements with cultural recuperation in the face of loss, the construction of repertoires, inter-culturalism, the phenomenon of theatrical ghosting, cultural literacy, the poetics of realism, naturalism, melodrama, and virtuosic acting, and the antinomies of “civilization,” on the one hand, and “barbarism,” on the other.

Passages from the plays will be regularly read out loud to get a visceral and palpable sense of their affective properties and to develop, as the whole course will do, a detailed understanding of the vocabulary and syntax of nineteenth-century performance practices.

Texts: 

  • Davis, Tracy C., ed., The Broadview Anthology of Nineteenth-Century British Performance (Broadview Press, 2012)
  • Indispensable for our studies are the primary source documents put together for this anthology at http://drama.at.northwestern.edu/performances

Evaluation (tentative): Active ongoing participation in the intellectual and creative life of the seminar: 15%; one seminar presentation on a theoretical, critical, or historical text or on a case-study: 15%; a distilled critical argument arising from the seminar presentation advanced in a 8-page long essay: 20%; a 16-page scholarly essay on an individually-negotiated topic: 50%

Format: Brief, mid-sized, and longer lectures; led-discussions; individual and collective presentations including interrogative Q & As; and mini-performances

Average enrollment: 10 students


ENGL 313 Canadian Drama and Theatre

The Case of Quebec

Professor Erin Hurley
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 1:05-2:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: Previous university courses in drama and theatre, literature, or cultural studies.

Description: This course will offer a selective survey of Quebecois drama, theatre, and performance from the 1960s to the present. With a focus on French-language theatre (to be read in English translation), we will trace the changing aesthetics and politics of this dynamic dramatic tradition, being careful to read them in light of the shifting performance and social contexts.  The class will be framed by an opening consideration the role institutionalization, professionalization, and nationalism played on Quebecois theatre’s efflorescence in the 1960s and 70s and by a closing unit on Quebec performance’s place on the international stage.  In between we will read (and view, where possible) plays by established as well as up-and-coming playwrights, some of whom will be invited to discuss their work with us.  Units of study may include some of the following:  the language question on the Quebec stage; the theatre of images; corporeal dramaturgies; feminist theatrics; queer drama; representations of the self and the other; popular performance.  Wherever possible, and depending on the theatrical season’s offerings, we will go to see contemporary Quebec theatre together.

Texts: In addition to a course-pack available at the McGill Bookstore, other texts may include:

Louise H. Forsyth, Anthology of Quebec Women’s Plays in English Translation. Vol 3, 2004-8
Larry Tremblay, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi
Michel Tremblay, Les belles-soeurs
Nathalie Claude, The Salon automaton
Marianne Ackerman, L’Affaire Tartuffe
Wajdi Mouawad, Incendies
Abla Farhoud, When I Was Grown Up, or The Girls from the 5-and-10
Michel-Marc Bouchard, Lilies
Normand Chaurette, Provincetown Playhouse 1919
Louisette Dussault, Mummy
Gauvreau, Claude. The Charge of the Expormidable Moose
Berthiaume, Sarah. The Flood Thereafter (Le déluge après)
Laberge, Marie. Aurelie, my sister (Aurélie, ma sœur)
Lorena Gale, Je me souviens
Stephen Orlov and Rahul Varma, Isolated Incident

Evaluation:Participation (15%); Posted class notes (10%); Group Presentation (25%); Short paper (20%); Final Research paper (30%)

Format: 

Enrollment Cap: 45


ENGL 314 20th Century Drama

Realism and its Discontents

Professor Sean Carney
Winter Term 2016
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:35-11:25 

Full course description

Description: This course will examine European and North American drama of the twentieth century.  We will begin by studying the great realists of the late nineteenth century and the philosophy underlying their dramaturgy.  This will lead us into a consideration of various positive and negative responses to the realist tradition. We will examine these plays in their original theatrical contexts, while at the same time positioning these dramas in relation to their individual social and political moments.  We will interrogate the specificity of drama as an art form, the implications raised by repetition, performance, the theatre as a collective activity, and the role of the audience in the determination of meaning on the stage.  The overall goal of the course is to impart to students a foundational understanding of the dominant trend in modern drama in the west.

Texts (tentative):

  • Ibsen, Henrik. Hedda Gabler in Four Major Plays vol 1(Signet)
  • Pollock, Sharon.  Blood Relations (Newest)
  • Strindberg, August.  Miss Julie (Dover)
  • Chekhov, Anton: Three Sisters, in Eight Modern Plays (Norton)
  • Pirandello, Luigi.  Six Characters in Search of an Author in Eight Modern Plays (Norton)
  • Brecht, Bertolt.  The Good Person of Setzuan (Minnesota)
  • Williams, Tennessee.  A Streetcar Named Desire (New Directions)
  • O’Neill, Eugene.  Long Day’s Journey into Night, in Eight Modern Plays (Norton)
  • Beckett, Samuel.  Happy Days, in Eight Modern Plays (Norton)
  • Hansberry, Lorraine.  A Raisin in the Sun (Vintage)
  • Pinter, Harold.  The Caretaker (Faber)
  • Ryga, George.  The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Talonbooks)
  • Tremblay, Michel.  Forever Yours, Marie-Lou (Talonbooks)

Evaluation:

  • First essay : 25%
  • Conference Participation: 15%
  • Major Essay: 30%
  • Final Exam: 30%

Format: Lectures and conferences


ENGL 315 Shakespeare

Shakespearean Conversions  

Instructor Anna Lewton-Brain
Winter Term 2016
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 2:35-3:25

Full course description

Description: 

The early modern period in which Shakespeare lived and worked was an era of conversions, and no playwright was then, or is now, more adaptable and powerfully conversional than Shakespeare himself. In this course, we examine how Shakespeare engages with the aesthetic, social, political, and confessional conversions of his world. From internal and personal conversions of faith (e.g., Catholicism to Protestantism), to political conversions in a quickly-changing society (shifting from feudalism to capitalism), to conversions of ancient artistic forms (myth, tragedy, epic, etc.) into newly conceived forms (e.g., Elizabethan Romance), Shakespeare’s world was—and consequently his works are—full of change, evolution, and conversions. We will investigate what constitutes a conversion and what happens when individuals fail to convert in Shakespeare’s plays. We will study Shakespeare’s plays and narrative poems first in their historical and cultural contexts, and more broadly, we will consider how modern performances of his art, on film, stage, and even in the classroom, offer living opportunities for new forms of conversion.

The course aims to give students a grasp of the range and depth of Shakespeare’s oeuvre. To this end, we will begin with Shakespeare’s two Ovidian epyllia, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, considering early modern conceptions of the conversional powers of poetry and language before turning to examine six plays, organized into three units—Ovidian, Political, and Religious Conversions—in the genres of comedy, tragedy, history, and romance from the very start through to the end of Shakespeare’s career: Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The First Part of Henry IV, Anthony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and The Tempest

Texts (available at the Word bookstore, 469 Milton Street, 514 845-5640):

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ed. Peter Holland (Oxford Shakespeare, 2008).
  • Anthony and Cleopatra, ed. Michael Neill (Oxford Shakespeare, 2008).
  • Hamlet, ed. G. R. Hibbard (Oxford Shakespeare, 2008).
  • Henry IV, Part I, ed. David Bevington, (Oxford Shakespeare, 2008).
  • The Tempest, ed. Stephen Orgel (Oxford Shakespeare, 2008).
  • Titus Andronicus, ed. Eugene M. Waith (Oxford Shakespeare, 2008).
  • Shakespeare: The Sonnets and Narrative Poems: The Complete Nondramatic Poetry, ed. William Burto (Signet Classics, 2008).

Evaluation (tentative): creative assignment (5%), term paper (40%), final exam (45%), conference participation (10%)

Format: Lectures and conferences


ENGL 316 Milton

Professor Maggie Kilgour
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30–12:30

Full course description

Prerequisite: : None, though some knowledge of Renaissance literature or culture is highly useful.

Description: A study of the poetry and selected prose of one of England’s most important, influential, and still controversial writers. While to many people today Milton seems the epitome of literary and political orthodoxy, in his own time he was known as a radical thinker, and advocate of regicide and divorce. His writing is complex and challenging, asking close and active engagement from his readers. In this course we will take up his challenge to see especially how he speaks to current concerns. In the first few weeks, we look at Milton's early poetry and some of his political writings, tracing his development as a poet in relation to his social, political, and literary context. The centre of the course will focus on a close reading of Paradise Lost. In conclusion, we will look briefly at his last works, Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes, and discuss Milton’s later reputation and his continuing role in the Western literary tradition. 

Texts: (required texts are available at McGill Bookstore)

  • Stella Revard ed, John Milton: Complete Shorter Poems (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
  • Barbara Lewalski, ed. John Milton: Paradise Lost (Blackwell, 2007).
  • Selections from the prose: on Mycourses
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (recommended)
  • King James Bible (recommended)

Evaluation: 25% mid-term; 40% term paper on Paradise Lost; 25% take-home exam; 10%  class participation

Format: Lecture and discussion; conference (depending on enrollment)

Average Enrollment: 45 students


ENGL 317 Theory of English Studies 1

Philosophical Approaches

Professor David Hensley
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 2:35-3:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: : Limited to students in English programs.

Description:This course will survey the emergence of theories and methodologies in philosophy and scholarship, especially in literary criticism, both from ancient intellectual models and in modern thought since the seventeenth century. As a basis for understanding and evaluating the role of “philosophical approaches” in literary and cultural studies, we will compare and contrast several kinds of critical thinking with the distinctive claims of philosophical formalism articulated influentially by Immanuel Kant. The Kantian legacy – not only its principles of moral and aesthetic autonomy and disinterestedness but also its emphasis on the conditions of knowledge and criteria of judgment – provides a powerful and continuing alternative to the nineteenth-century revival of dialectical thinking in Hegel, hermeneutics, and Marx. Our readings will reflect the far-reaching impact of the ideological opposition between the Enlightenment and Romanticism as exemplified by Kant and Hegel. We will examine the history of this opposition as a pattern of methodological assumptions and institutional practices. We will also review the claim that one literary genre in particular – the novel – embodies or expresses the characteristic philosophical problems of modernity.

Texts: The books for this course will be available at The Word Bookstore (469 Milton Street, 514-845-5640). The following texts will be among those required (please note that Pluhar's translation of Kant is the only acceptable edition!):

  • Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle, eds., Critical Theory Since Plato, third edition (Thomas Wadsworth)
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar (Hackett)
  • Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel (MIT)
  • Gerald Graff, Professing Literature (University of Chicago)

Evaluation: Papers (40%), tests (50%), participation (10%). Regular attendance is required for a passing final grade (a maximum of two absences will be allowed except for documented medical or similar emergencies).

Format: Lectures


ENGL 319 Theory of English Studies 3 

Issues in Interpretation: Authorship, Performance, and Reception

Professor Trevor Ponech
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 2:35-3:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Limited to U2 and U3 students in English programmes

Description: This course will introduce students to a pair of concepts absolutely fundamental to the study of literature, cinema, theatre, and artistic culture in general.  The two concepts are, of course, authorship and interpretation.  We’ll survey the on-going debates over what an author is, and what unique contribution, if any, this agent makes to the artwork’s meaning as well as other culturally relevant features and effects.  Likewise, we will inquire into what one is doing when one interprets a work of art.  In trying to answer this question, the first step shall be to say what an interpretation is, i.e., what differentiates interpretive from other kinds of statements about art.  Subsequently, we’ll revisit several long-standing puzzles about interpretation: Is a good interpretation necessarily one that tries to grasp the author’s intentions?  Can an interpretation ever be true or false?  When two interpretations of the same artwork conflict, is there ever any good reason to prefer one to the other?  Does interpretation itself in some sense produce the work’s meaning?  Is there any possible justification for blurring the distinction between the author’s achievements in making an artwork and the interpreter’s achievements in engaging with that work?  Throughout our discussions, attention will be paid to the relation of authorship to interpretation within performing arts, such as theatrical and musical presentations, where performers’ interpretive activities might arguably be said to bring new works into existence.

Texts: A representative selection of recent essays within the fields of aesthetic philosophy, literary theory, and cinema studies.

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 320 Postcolonial Literature and the State

Instructor: Carolyn Ownbey
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 1:05-2:25

Full course description

Description:This course will introduce students to a range of postcolonial, diaspora, and migrant literatures from the 1970s to the present, in conversation with contemporary theories of the state. We will examine literary work from India, Nigeria, South Africa, Palestine, and Canada, among others. Joseph Slaughter has claimed that human rights are always already a matter of narrative. In this course, we will follow the logic of this claim further: as the guarantor (or, as often happens, the executioner) of human rights, the state too is always already connected to storytelling. The nature of that connection will be a primary focus of this course. Concentrating especially on state narratives (or, narratives of the state) as figured in literary texts, we will focus especially on how relationships are drawn in literature between citizens and states in postcolonial spaces. This course will bring together contemporary criticism and theory on literature and the state by critics such as Sara Suleri, John Marx, Rita Barnard, and Rebecca Walkowitz, with postcolonial texts written primarily by women and people of colour – in other words, by figures that the state always has difficulty recognizing. The course will address women’s issues, human rights, nationalisms, and state formation and failure in literature from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. This is not just a course on postcolonialism or human rights; by focusing on citizens’ relations with the state as they surface in literature, we will investigate the usually concealed maneuvers of the state underlying human rights violations and protections.

Texts: 

  • Emile Habibi, The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist (1974)
  • Anton Shammas, Arabesques (1986)
  • Bapsi Sidhwa, Cracking India (1991)
  • Nadine Gordimer, Jump and Other Stories (1991)    
  • Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost (2000)
  • Caryl Phillips, Foreigners (2007)
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009)
  • Leanne Simpson, Islands of Decolonial Love (2013)
  • Ivan Vladislavić, Double Negative (2013)

Evaluation:

  • Attendance and Participation: 20%
  • Short Writing Assignment: 10%
  • Midterm: 30%
  • Final Paper: 40%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 323 Twentieth-Century American Poetry

The “Metic” in Modern American Poetry, 1900-1950

Professor Miranda Hickman
Winter Term 2016
Wednesday and Friday 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level course work in American Literature, preferably before 1900, or permission of instructor

Description: In a 1919 letter, written from Oxford, American poet T.S. Eliot refers to himself as a “metic.” As Jean-Michel Rabaté glosses this word, referring to Eliot’s “in-between” status, “designates not a total foreigner, but a stranger who is admitted to the city (originally Athens) because of his utility: he pays certain taxes … and is granted rights and franchises although rarely admitted fully into the communal mysteries.” Eliot, like many of the modern poets of the pathfinding early 20C, would come to inhabit this liminal identity long term: like expatriate American poets Ezra Pound, H.D., Gertrude Stein, and even British-born poet often regarded as an American poet, Mina Loy, Eliot would spend most of his adult life deliberately away from home in a form of intentional exile. This course will suggest that many American poets of this generation, even those who resided in the U.S. for their careers such as Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens, occupied such a “metic” status, an in between condition of being neither strangers nor quite at home where they were, and sometimes cultivated such on principle, out of disenchantment with the norms of their surrounding cultures—and moreover, that this status importantly informed their thought, poetic projects, aesthetic choices, and the avant-gardist commentary and critiques they conveyed by way of their verse. Cued by Helen Vendler’s work, we will consider how this status importantly shaped their responses to received coming-of-age narratives, forms of initiation, ideas about citizenship and kinship, received gender roles, and forms of “admission” into the “communal mysteries”: these in turn importantly shaped work such as Eliot’s The Waste Land, H.D.’s  Sea Garden and Trilogy, Pound’s Cathay and The Cantos, Loy’s Lunar Baedeker, Moore’s Observations, and Stevens’s Harmonium. The standpoint of the American metic, in other words, would prove importantly generative of the watershed experimental modern poetry that significantly influenced generations of poets in years afterward. Through this topic, we will explore the work of range of poets associated with what is now thought of as “modern” poetry of the first half of the twentieth century. 

Texts: Readings will include both poetry and some prose by T.S. Eliot, H.D., Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Wallace Stevens, E.E. Cummings, Langston Hughes, Louis Zukofsky, Hart Crane, Muriel Rukeyser, and Elizabeth Bishop. 

Evaluation: Two brief response papers, brief essay (5 pp.), final essay (7-8 pp.)

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 324 20th Century American Prose

Genealogies of the New

Instructor Curtis Brown
Fall Term 2015
Monday and Wednesday 1:05-2:25

Full course description

Description: This course presents a survey of seminal works of twentieth-century American fiction, with equal attention to disruptive formal innovations and vectors of continuing influence. The approach is loosely chronological, occasionally flashing forward to track the handling of this or that technique, aesthetic insight, or advance in subject matter by subsequent literary generations. Topics to be covered include modernism and its after-effects; the pressure of lyric poetry and the short story (as well as other media such as film, radio, television, and the internet) on the forms and idioms of the novel; the formal tension between novels of culture and novels of consciousness; and the ideological tension between universal claims and particular identities.

Texts: 

  • Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • Edith Wharton, House of Mirth
  • Ernest Hemingway, Farewell to Arms
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Eudora Welty, A Curtain of Green
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
  • Saul Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift
  • Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
  • Don DeLillo, White Noise

These books, along with the coursepack, will be available at the McGill bookstore.

Evaluation: 

  • In-class participation: 10%
  • Response paper (1 p. single-spaced): 5%
  • Essay 1 (4 pp. double-spaced): 20%
  • Essay 2 (8 pp.double-spaced): 35%
  • Final Exam: 30%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 326 Nineteenth-Century American Prose

Fiction After the Civil War: Regionalism, Urbanism, Internationalism

Professor Peter Gibian
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday Thursday 11:35–12:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level course work in American Literature, preferably before 1900, or permission of instructor

Description: A mid-level survey of later-19th-century prose fiction forms representing a wide range of literary movements and modes. The course will be organized to trace ever-widening geographical, literary, and cultural horizons. A first unit will explore “regionalist” or “local color” writings (by authors such as Harris, Harte, Twain, Chopin, Stowe, Jewett, Cable, Chestnutt, and Alcott) rooted in the specificity of a unique geographical place that is seen to define a unique cultural or psychological identity. The second course unit will survey classic writerly responses to the late-19th-century city—seen (in authors such as Crane, Dreiser, James, and Wharton) as a new sort of hybrid place in which diverse strangers from a variety of homes and backgrounds are brought together to work out forms of coexistence. The final unit will then follow another group of turn-of-the-century writers as they expand American horizons even further, reflecting the nation’s move into the international arena with new fictional treatments of the International Theme. Authors such as James and Wharton (and, in a different way, Du Bois) ground their writing in the ever-shifting experience of cross-cultural travel and meditate anxiously on the situation of the writer as “cosmopolite”--perfectly placed (or dis-placed) to explore the problems and possibilities of inter-national interchange in a modern, globalizing world.

Texts (Tentative; editions TBA):  To be selected from authors noted in description above. Readings will include not only short stories but also several longer novels; the amount of assigned reading will be fairly intensive. Editions TBA. 

  • Coursepack of photocopied short stories.
  • Alcott, Little Women
  • Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • Wharton, The Age of Innocence
  • James, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Baym, ed., The Norton Anthology of American Literature (8th ed., Vol. C).

Evaluation (Tentative): 20% mid-term exam; 25% essay; 15% conference participation; 40% formal, 3-hour final exam. (NB: All forms of evaluation in this course—on exams as well as essays—test abilities in literary-critical writing and analysis; there will be no short-answer or multiple-choice exams graded by computer.)

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 327 Canadian Prose Fiction 1

Professor Brian Trehearne
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Expected student preparation: There is no formal pre-requisite, but students will be expected to have the skills of close reading and command of critical terms developed in ENGL 311 (Poetics).  ENGL 228 (Introduction to Canadian Literature 1) provides appropriate background knowledge for this course.

Description: A survey of the emergence and development of Canadian prose fiction in English from the later nineteenth century to the centennial of Confeder¬ation in 1967.  We will seek to grasp the developing poetics and shifting generic boundaries of the Canadian novel to 1967, including but not limited to works of political romance, prairie pastoral, modern prairie and urban realism, and experimental modernism.  A substantial portion of our studies will involve the situation of Canadian fiction within the context of the novel’s development from realism to modernism.

This course satisfies Literature program requirements in: Canadian literature; Modernism; additional credits in the Literature option

Texts:

TBA, including 6-8 of the following:

  • Richardson, Wacousta (1832)
  • Moodie, Roughing It in the Bush (1852)
  • DeMille, Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder (1888)
  • Duncan, The Imperialist (1904)
  • Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  • Leacock, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912)
  • Ostenso, Wild Geese (1925)
  • Knister, White Narcissus (1929)
  • Grove, Fruits of the Earth (1933)
  • ---,  Settlers of the Marsh (1925)
  • Callaghan, They Shall Inherit the Earth (1935)
  • Ross, As For Me and My House (1941)
  • MacLennan, Two Solitudes (1945)
  • ---,  The Watch that Ends the Night (1956)
  • Richler, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1956)
  • Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (1945)
  • Klein, The Second Scroll (1951)
  • Buckler, The Mountain and the Valley (1952)
  • Wilson, The Equations of Love (1952)
  • ---, Swamp Angel (1956)
  • Watson, The Double Hook (1959)
  • Laurence, The Stone Angel (1964)
  • Cohen, Beautiful Losers (1966)

Evaluation: 50% term paper, 12 pages; 40% formal final examination; 10% par¬tic¬ipa¬t¬ion in class dis¬cussions. Students  may choose to complete any or all of three preliminary assignments in preparation for the term paper (two-page sample of writing, outline, draft first paragraph); each completed assignment reduces the weight of the term paper by 5%.

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 329 English Novel of the Nineteenth-Century I

Professor Tabitha Sparks
Winter Term 2015
Wednesday, Friday 1:05-1:55 (Plus 3 conference sections TBA)

Full course description

Description: This course uses five wide-ranging British novels to study a foundational relationship in nineteenth-century fiction: the romantic relationship as a synecdoche of social organization.  Perhaps more precisely, the relationships we will analyze in the course novels reveal anxieties and realities of social disorganization – with broken engagements, and failed or fractured marriages operating as signs of the century’s disruptive transformations in class structure and geopolitical identity.   With this topic in mind, we will better understand how the dominantly private settings in the nineteenth-century British novel and intimate plots yield commentary on industrial, economic, and political change.  

Texts:

  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility 1811
  • Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 1838
  • Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 1848
  • George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss 1859
  • Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady 1875
  • 329 Course pack

Evaluation:

  • Participation: 25% (includes attendance and conf section assignments)
  • Midterm: 25%
  • Reading quizzes (2): 10%
  • Final paper: 40% 

Format: Lectures and weekly conferences


ENGL 331 Literature of the Romantic Period 1

Instructor Danielle Barkley
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:35 -11:25

Full course description

Description: This course expands upon and enriches students’ knowledge of literature from the earlier Romantic period. This class will engage not only with poetry and fiction of this era, but also grapple with the reactions and reception that Romantic literature provoked. These reactions will include contemporary responses, subsequent critical interpretations, and the cultural legacy of Romanticism. Questions animating the course will include the following: what does it mean to call a text or an author Romantic? How has the Romantic canon shifted over time and how has it shaped or been shaped by critical and theoretical practices? To what extent does a Romantic perspective still inform cultural and artistic production today? Students enrolled in this class should expect to be exposed to close reading and formal analysis, consideration of cultural and historical context, and engagement with critical sources. Previous study of literature at the university level will be an asset.

Texts: 

  • Coursepack containing poems, excerpts and selected primary and secondary material
  • Matthew Lewis, The Monk (Broadview Edition)
  • Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Broadview Edition)

Evaluation: 

  • 10% In-Class Participation
  • 20% In-Class Essay  
  • 25% Take Home Essay    
  • 20% Oral Presentation   
  • 25% Final Exam

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 333 Development of Canadian Poetry 2

Professor Nathalie Cooke
Fall Term 2015
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This is a course about really reading poetry, in this case, Canadian poetry. It focuses on a group of approximately ten Canadian poets who have formed and responded to the Canadian literary landscape since World War II. Most of the poets covered in the course are writers who confront modern and contemporary ideas about the nature of self, society, gender, and art, but we also look at the ways in which these writers are trying to deal with the existential implications of new views about science, God, and the poet’s place in his or her rapidly changing world. Since part of the reading involves thinking about aesthetic and theoretical issues, the course will deal with these issues, just as it will pay close attention to the resonance of particular poems and the way they create meaning. At the same time, it will consider the ways in which these poets (and we, as readers) construct the place called Canada as a metaphor that’s central to our daily lives. Students are encouraged to explore multi-media material related to each poet. 

The writing component of the course (frequent short essays but no term papers or exams) is designed to improve interpretive abilities and encourage creative forms of critical expression. Students enrolling in this course should be prepared to write short essays on a weekly basis, and to participate actively in class discussion.

Texts: Lecker, Robert, ed. Open Country: Canadian Poetry in English. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2007

Also one full-length poetry collection (likely Anne Carson's Short Talks, Brick Books)

Evaluation: A series of short essays on each of the poets studied in the course, 80%; attendance, 10%; participation, 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 335 20th Century Novel 1

British Fiction

Professor Allan Hepburn
Winter Term 2016
Monday Wednesday Friday 8:35-9:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: Students should have 2 or 3 prior courses in English literature, preferably Departmental Survey 1 and 2 (ENGL 202 and 203) and Poetics (ENGL 311).

Description: This course provides a survey of twentieth-century British fiction. In addition to a discussion of modernist innovations of time and consciousness, we will take into consideration ethical stances of twentieth-century British writers, whether those stances are specifically political or, more generally, moral. Recurring novelistic tropes—first love, country houses, the Great War, the place of the avant-garde, snobbery, class consciousness, labour, money, industrialization, money—will be investigated. We will also consider generic conventions of comedy and tragedy as they get mixed with novelistic representation. Gender and its permutations in terms of sexuality will inform discussions of novels by men and women.

Texts: Approximately six novels will be chosen from the list below. The final decision about texts will be made in Autumn 2015.

  • Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
    E. M. Forster, Howards End
    Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
    Lawrence Durrell, Justine
    Barbara Pym, A Glass of Blessings
    Jim Crace, Being Dead
    Muriel Spark, Symposium
    Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Evaluation: essays, midterms, final exams

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 342 Introduction to Old English

Professor Dorothy Bray
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday, Thursday 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This course aims to be an intensive introduction to the study of Old English, beginning with the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language (necessary but not necessarily painful), and advancing to the reading of selected texts in prose and poetry. The aim is to give students a basic grounding in the language to enable them to read works in the original. Along the way, we will look at some of the history of the English language, how it works as a language and how it has changed and developed, which will offer several insights into the structure and workings of present-day English. Classes will be devoted at first to grammar and translation, but we will also be examining representations and interpretations of Anglo-Saxon literature through reading and translating the texts. Throughout the course, we will be doing translation exercises and tests. The course culminates in a translation project, which will be a translation and analytical commentary of a selected text.

Texts: An Introduction to Old English, by Peter Baker. 3rd. edition. Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2003; 2011. Also available as e-book.

Evaluation: Class tests 35%; homework and exercises 35%; final project 20%; attendance and participation 10%.

Format: Lectures, workshops, discussions


ENGL 346 Materiality and Sociology of Texts

Professor Michael Van Dussen
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Limited to English Majors.

Description: This course examines the material circumstances and human mediations which condition the ways in which texts are produced and used. In addition to examining the materiality of print and digital texts, students will gain first-hand experience working with manuscripts in McGill’s rare book collections. We will attend to the production, circulation, and use of texts broadly conceived—as objects that are crafted, transacted, read, seen, and so on. One primary concern of the course will be to come to a nuanced understanding of the transition from manuscript to print, and from print to digital media. In what ways are manuscripts and printed texts produced, circulated and read differently? How does the physicality of a text condition interpretation and the making of meaning? How does regard for the material circumstances of textual production complicate notions of authorship and intentionality? Readings will include modern theories of bibliography and editing, as well as theories of the book by medieval and early modern commentators.

Texts: course pack

Evaluation (provisional): Mid-term exam, 20%; Rare books workshops and responses, 10%; Final research project, 30%; Final exam, 30%; Participation and attendance, 10%

Format: lecture, discussion and workshop


ENGL 347 Great Writings of Europe I

Virgil and Ovid 

Professor Maggie Kilgour
Winter Term 2016 
Monday, Wednesday 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: Previous university courses in English or classical literature, or permission of the instructor. A basic knowledge of Homeric epic will be assumed in lectures. Students therefore should read the Iliad and the Odysseybefore taking this course. 

Description: This course will focus on the writings of Virgil and Ovid, two of the most important and influential writers in the Western literary tradition. While near contemporaries, living in Augustan Rome, they appear to be very different kinds of writers: Virgil the poet of nationalism, duty, and self-sacrifice, Ovid the poet of individualism, love and personal gratification. Their contrasting poetics and career paths leading to distinct epic visions offer alternative models for later writers.  Yet the two writers need to be read together as part of a dialogue on the purpose of poetry and the place of the poet in society. While we will spend most time looking at their epics, The Aeneid and Metamorphoses, we will also study the development of both authors through their various works, and discuss the significance of their decisions to use different poetic genres. Focusing primarily on the works themselves and the significance of literary forms, we will necessarily relate them to larger cultural questions, considering the choice of genre, and in particular the use of epic, as a comment on Roman culture and society.

Texts: (required texts are available at the McGill Bookstore):

  • Virgil, Eclogues (Penguin); Georgics (Penguin); Aeneid (Vintage)
  • Ovid, The Erotic Poems (Penguin); Heroides (selections); Metamorphoses (Harcourt and Brace)
  • Augustus, Res Gestae, and other secondary materials will be posted on WebCT

Evaluation: Mid-term, 20%; term paper, 40%; final exam, 30%; class participation, 10%.

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 348 Great Writings of Europe 2

The Twentieth-Century European Novel

Professor Allan Hepburn
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday Thursday 2:35-3:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: preferably students should have 2 or 3 prior university courses in literature.

Description: This course provides a survey of twentieth-century European novels. For reasons of equitable distribution, only one novel per country will be considered. Through lectures and discussion, we will discuss the generic principles of the novel: historical, contemporary, realist, fabulist, and so forth. Attention will be paid to technical matters, such as chronotopes, dialogue, focalization, diegesis, parable, reliability, temporality, and narrative disposition. Emphasis, however, will fall on the content of novels. Themes to be approached in this course will include friendship, war, justice, jokes, genealogy, mobility, childhood, religion, innocence, mysticism, and maturity.

Texts: Approximately six novels will be chosen from the list below. The final decision about texts will be made in July 2015.

  • Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks (Germany, 1900)
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial (Czechoslovakia, 1925)
  • Elizabeth Bowen, The House in Paris (Ireland & Britain, 1935)
  • Sándor Márai, Embers (Hungary, 1942)
  • Albert Camus, The Outsider (France, 1942)
  • Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa, The Leopard (Italy, 1958)
  • Witold Gombrowicz, Pornografia (Poland, 1960)
  • José Saramago, Blindness (Portugal, 1995)

Evaluation: essays, midterm, final exam

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 349 English Literature and Folklore

Professor Dorothy Bray
Winter Term 2016
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 11:35-12:25

Full course description

Description: This course will examine selected texts from the medieval and early modern literature of Britain (English, Scottish, and Welsh) and of Ireland (mostly in translation), which embody the folklore and popular traditions of the British Isles, including Arthurian tradition and the Robin Hood legends. The main topic will be the study of the folktale in narrative, but we will also consider heroic tradition and the types of the hero, folk motifs, fairy lore, oral tradition, mythology, witchcraft, superstitions and folk beliefs. The aim of the course is to explore what ‘folklore’ means, how folk tradition was incorporated into written narratives, and how to interpret such narratives. The goal is not the study of folklore per se, nor of international folktales. Rather, we will look at what is considered ‘folk tradition’ in British and Irish literature, how certain authors drew upon traditional material in their invention, and how that affects both the composition and the reading of these works.

Texts:

  • The Táin. Trans. Thomas Kinsella. Oxford UP, 1969: Selected tales and chapters.
  • The Mabinogion. Trans. Sioned Davies. Oxford UP, 2007 (also available as an e-book): the Four Branches, ‘How Culhwch Won Olwen.’
  • Beowulf, trans. R.M. Liuzza. Broadview, 2000, or other translation.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, edition TBA
  • King Horn. www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/hornfrm.htm
  • A Gest of Robyn Hode. www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/gest.htm
  • Sir Orfeo. www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/orfeofrm.htm
  • Geoffrey Chaucer. ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/wbt-par.htm
  • Robert Henryson, ‘The Cock and the Fox’
  • William Shakespeare, Macbeth

These selections may change. Other works may be made available on MyCourses.

Evaluation: Essays and other to be determined 60%; term paper 30%; attendance and participation 10%.

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 352 Theories of Difference

Professor Monica Popescu
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday, Thursday 4:05-5:25

Full course description

Description: 

The nineteenth century juxtaposition of industrialization, urbanization, and colonial expansion has invited numerous theoretical questions. How did the process of industrialization relate to European expansionism? What differences were set up by colonial regimes and how did they operate? How did these differences multiply themselves into other dichotomies structured in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class, location, or age group? What lingering legacies do we encounter today? We will use critical theory as a springboard for questions that arise from contemporary literature and current socio-political debates. Each theoretical module will be accompanied by a text—be it a short story, a film, or a group of paintings—that will offer the grounding for overarching questions raised by the articles. Starting from nineteenth-century authors like Hegel and Marx, we will work our way into the latter half of the twentieth century to engage with Frantz Fanon, Gayatri Spivak, Benedict Anderson, Aimé Césaire, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Gloria Anzaldua, and Trinh T. Minh-ha. 

Texts:

  • Course pack
  • Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks
  • Benedict Anderson. Imagined Communities
  • Jamaica Kincaid. A Small Place
  • Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin: Post-colonial Studies—The Key Concepts

Evaluation (tentative): Participation and myCourses discussion (15%); Short paper (20%); Term Paper (30%); Final Exam (35%).

Format: Lectures and group discussions


ENGL 355 Poetics of Performance

Professor Katherine Zien
Winter Term 2016
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 8:35-9:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This course engages meaningful issues and debates that have structured theatre and performance practice and scholarship from ancient Greece to the present. Beginning with an analysis of mimesis and representation in Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics, we will examine a chronological progression of scholarship on theatrical performance, supplementing course lectures with readings in theatre theory, artists’ manifestos, historiography, plays, and performance footage.

We will address the following topics:

  • Historical debates about the dangers, pleasures, and purposes of theatrical representation
  • Changing acting theories and methods
  • Approaches to the construction and study of theatrical space
  • Theories of reception
  • The body onstage: materiality and semiotics
  • ‘Positioning performance:’ disciplinary relationships between theatre and performance studies

Texts:

  • Daniel Gerould, Theatre/Theory/Theatre: The Major Critical Texts from Aristotle and Zeami to Soyinka and Havel. NY: Applause, 2000
  • Samuel Beckett, Act Without Words I
  • A course packet of primary texts (possibly including Marina Abramović, Antonin Artaud, Augusto Boal, Anne Bogart, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Brook, Edward Gordon Craig, Denis Diderot, Jerzy Grotowski, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Femi Osofisan, Sophocles, Wole Soyinka, Konstantin Stanislavski, Zeami) and secondary sources (Rhonda Blair, Dwight Conquergood, Colin Counsell, Mark Fortier, Helen Gilbert, Gay McAuley, Joseph Roach, Richard Schechner, Diana Taylor, Philip Zarilli)

Evaluation: In-class participation: 10%; critical theatre review: 10%; short response essay: 20%; midterm: 30%; final take-home exam: 30%

Format: Lectures and group discussions


ENGL 356 Middle English

Literature of the 15th Century: From Medieval to Early Modern

Professor Michael Van Dussen
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Note: Students who have taken ENGL 356 under a different course topic are free to take this version of the course. Although the course number is the same, the content is entirely different; therefore, these will count as two different courses toward university and program requirements. Course texts are all written in the original Middle English, but no prior experience with Middle English is required. Some introduction to the language will be provided and a portion of several classes will be devoted to reading, translating, and transcribing.

Description: The fifteenth century in England was a dynamic time during which concepts of authorship, communication, textual production and literate activity were undergoing tremendous change. English was developing quickly as England’s official language, overtaking French and Latin. Heresy and its suppression met with a burgeoning humanist movement, and mainstream religious practice was enormously vibrant and varied. Further, at the end of the fifteenth century, print technology coexisted with a lively manuscript culture in England. Yet despite all of these developments, literature of the fifteenth century has often been characterized as derivative and cautious, with far more scholarly emphasis being placed on the poets of previous generations like Chaucer, Langland, Gower, and the Gawain-poet. This course situates fifteenth-century English literature in its dynamic cultural contexts, examining how late-medieval literature in England intersected with developments in politics, religious controversy, historiography, literacy and technology.

Texts:

  • Henryson, Orpheus and Euridice
  • Hoccleve, My Compleinte and Other Poems
  • Lydgate, The Temple of Glass
  • Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur
  • The Book of Margery Kempe
  • The Paston Letters
  • Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales
  • Selections from the Towneley Plays, the N-Town Plays, and the Chester Mystery Cycle

Evaluation (provisional): Mid-term exam, 25%; Final exam, 35%; Final essay, 30%; Participation and attendance, 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 357 Canterbury Tales

Instructor Michael Raby
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00-11:30

Full course description

Description: Two chickens debate the meaning of dreams; a lord and a lady wrack their brains about how to divide a fart into twelve equal portions; a pair of knights fight to the death for the love of a woman who does not even know they exist; a university student concocts an elaborate prank to sleep with his landlord’s wife; a tyrannical husband tests how far he can push his wife before she says “enough.” The Canterbury Tales is a collection of narratives that range from the pious to the blasphemous, from the solemn to the absurd; it functions both to instruct and amuse, to unsettle and reaffirm, to provoke and console. The genres of the tales are similarly various, including courtly romance, comic fabliau, saint’s life, and beast fable. Unfinished at the time of Chaucer’s death, The Canterbury Tales has developed a vibrant afterlife, spurring numerous translations, additions, and adaptations. This course is devoted to a close reading of Chaucer’s experimental masterpiece. We will situate The Canterbury Tales in the turmoil and unrest of late fourteenth-century England in order to examine how Chaucer responds to pressing contemporary debates about the cultural status of the English language, the threat of religious heresy, the emergence of capitalism, and the social position of women. By looking at sources and analogues of the tales, we will observe how Chaucer follows and departs from generic conventions, as well as how he works to position himself in the literary canon of Western Europe. The course will pay special attention to Chaucer’s engagement with the rhetorical tradition. In the Middle Ages, “rhetoric” meant more than the art of persuasion; it was a systematic way to train memory and thought. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify and analyze a number of formal techniques and rhetorical patterns in Chaucer’s work.

Please note: We will be reading The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English. No previous experience with Middle English is required or expected. There will be language instruction provided.

Texts: The Canterbury Tales (edition TBA)

Evaluation (subject to revision): close reading exercises (15%); midterm test (15%); short essay (15%); long essay (30%); final exam (25%)

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 359 The Poetics of the Image

Professor Alanna Thain
Winter Term 2016 
Monday, Wednesday 11:30-1:00 | Weekly Screenings: TBA

Full course description

Description: This course is a required component of the concentration in cultural studies, designed to provide students with multiple analytical strategies for critically engaging audio-visual images from a variety of still and moving image media. Students will read widely in the history of approaches to analyzing the components of audio-visual images and will be asked to engage with these approaches on a regular basis, through class discussion and assignments. We will also explore examples drawn from world cinema and media, as well as experimental, avant-garde, non-fiction and narrative media, through in-class examples and a weekly required screening.

Texts: Coursepack

Evaluation: TBD

Format: Lecture and discussion


ENGL 360 Literary Criticism

Professor Sandeep Banerjee
Winter Term 2016
Monday, Wednesday 8:35–9:55 

Full course description

Description: This course will explore several topics that are central to modern and contemporary literary criticism and critical theory. These include among others: interpretation; culture; ideology; class, race, and gender; discourse; hegemony; signification; and performativity. While we engage with these complex and contested issues of interpretation and criticism, we will read key texts from a range of critical schools and practices, including New Criticism, Marxism, Structuralism, and Post-Structuralism. We will also read selections from, among others, the writings of Karl Marx, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler. These texts will help us articulate and interrogate some of the most fundamental questions pertaining to the practice of literary studies: What constitutes literature? Who determines what texts mean, and how? How do texts relate to broader social structures? Considering these questions and texts will necessitate careful and patient reading and sustained engagement with lecture and discussion during class. The reading for this course will be at times difficult and dense. Thorough preparation for each class meeting is essential. This course is required for, but not restricted to, Honours students in English.

Texts: Terry Eagleton: Literary Theory: An Introduction. All other texts will be available on MyCourses.

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 364 CREATIVE WRITING

Fiction 2

Instructor Sean Michaels
Winter Term 2016
TBA

Full course description

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor required. Enrolment is limited to 15 students.

To apply, please submit the following items no later than Friday, October 23, at 4:30 pm via e-mail attachment (PDF preferred), to dus.english [at] mcgill.ca.

• A work of original prose fiction or creative non-fiction or a fragment of a longer piece. (1500-2000 words.)
• A different work of original prose fiction or creative non-fiction or a fragment of a longer piece. (500-2000 words.)
• A completed copy of the application questionnaire (Download as Word Document)

Description: This weekly workshop offers an intensive look at the art and craft of writing fiction in 2016, primarily through the lens of the short story. Students will read assigned stories by published authors, essays by writers on writing, as well as original work by classmates. Discussions will form an important part of the class: conversations about language, plot, sentence structure, style, and what goes into the practice of being a working writer. There will also be an important emphasis on workshopping student work: all students will submit stories for constructive feedback and participate in respectful, thoughtful examination of their peers' work. Participants will be challenged to consider their own unique voice, to cultivate their writing on a line-by-line level, and to produce new work on deadline. Over the course of the semester you will be expected to attend every class plus two additional literary readings outside of workshop hours. Grades will be assessed based on attendance, participation in the course, assignments, and a final portfolio of edited work.

Texts: 

  • John Gardner, The Art of Fiction (Vintage)
  • Assigned readings compiled by the instructor

Evaluation:

  • Participation and engagement in class discussions and editing work of self and others: 30%
  • Assignments: 35%
  • Attendance at outside literary events: 10%
  • Final Portfolio: 25%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 365 Costuming for the Theatre I

Instructor Catherine Bradley
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisites: None. Permission of the instructor required for registration.  

Expected student preparation: Sewing kit in the costume shop at all times.  Minimum sewing kits consists of thimble, fabric scissors, a stitch ripper, one package of needles, one box of dressmaking pins, and a pencil.  Each item must be labeled with the student’s name, stored in a container.

Description: Costuming I focuses on skills acquisition.  The process of designing and coordinating costumes for a main stage theatre production is the practical project that fuels this class.  Skills that will be covered include use of industrial sewing machines, hand sewing techniques, taking actor measurements, and an introduction to costume design and construction.

Costume design is rooted in the play script, which is where the production work begins. Reading the script is the first order of business, followed by charting the characters.

The English Department Main Stage theatre production provides an opportunity for students to practice their costuming skills in the atelier and backstage.  The class will be in charge of the costumes for each actor from head to toe, and will be in charge of the costumes backstage. Each student will have a specific production duty as well as a hands-on production project. Once we are in full production mode, the atelier will be open for hands on projects and production hours.  Students will commit to a production schedule that works with their class schedules and general availability.

Character analysis and research inform our design choices.   The director will provide students with an initial directorial concept and vision for the show, emphasizing clear character delineation. Our discussion will focus on color palette, mood and the individual characters. The students each present rough sketches and finished renderings to the director.  The design for the production will be chosen using the students’ sketches.

Opening night of the production will find some of the costume team working backstage as costume crew. The dressing shifts will be divided among the class, along with day time maintenance of the costumes. The final night of the production all students will be required to attend strike, which is dismantling of the show.  Expect a very late night, with strike lasting until 2:00am.  Students will be expected to strike the set as well as the costumes. 

Texts: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

Format: lectures, hands on projects, demonstrations, team work and practical work.  Additional production hours outside of class time are required, and are often substantial.  Expect a minimum of 9 hours per week.  There is no maximum.

Average enrollment: 10 students, by permission of the instructor


ENGL 366 The Horror Film

Professor Ned Schantz
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday, Thursday 4:00-5:30

Full course description

Prerequisites: None.

Description: Divided into a range of concerns and subgenres (the question of sound, the slasher film, the gothic) that ultimately converge on the problem of vulnerable bodies in space, this course will introduce students to the versatility of horror and pose the question of its ongoing adaptability. Central to our approach will be the complication of affect. In other words, no longer will we be content to judge simply whether a horror film is “scary;” instead, we will explore the genre’s production of a broad palette of feeling, including key cousins of fear such as disgust, humour, and shame. Indeed, even fear itself might be usefully divided into slow dread and fast panic (which is one reason why the speed of zombies matters). It is ultimately this rich interplay of response that will help us articulate the genre’s corresponding socio-political work, including its special importance for feminism and queer theory. Possible films include Halloween, Suspiria, The Haunting, Freaks, Funny Games, and Cure.

Texts: Coursepack

Evaluation:

  • two short assignments 25%
  • posted class notes 5%
  • term paper 40%
  • participation 20%
  • quiz 10%

Format: lecture/discussions and weekly conferences.


ENGL 368 Stage Scenery and Lighting 1

Instructor Keith Roche
Fall Term 2015
Tuesday, Thursday 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Limited enrolment. Permission of instructor required. Not open to students enrolled in ENGL 365.

Description:An introduction to Basic Technical Theatre skills e.g. safety procedures, knots, climbing ladders, rigging, etc. Students will be part of the Production Team for the English Department’s Production.

  • Basics of operating and maintaining a Fly system
  • Basics of focusing and maintaining various types of lighting instruments
  • Dimmers and Circuits
  • Architecture of different theatres and their properties
  • Basics of designing a lighting plot including assessing a scene and its needs, elements of drafting and reading a lighting plot, hanging and focusing lighting instruments, evaluation of the final product.
  • Basic carpentry. Learning to read and draft technical drawings for a set design
  • Definitions of theatre job positions and the structure of a production team. Basics of each position.

Format: Workshop demonstrations, practical assignments, lectures and up to 100 hours of production work.

All 500-level courses and a certain number of 200-, 300- and 400-level courses have limited enrolment and require instructors' permission. Students hoping to enroll in these courses should consult the course descriptions on the Department of English website for the procedures for applying for admission. 


ENGL 301 Earlier 18th Century Novel

Professor David C. Hensley
Fall Term 2014
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 14:35–15:25

Full course description

Description: This course will canvas some of the “origins” of the English novel and trace its development (particularly as anti-romance satire and realism) up to the mid-eighteenth century. Our readings and discussion will refer to the European context of the evolution of this narrative form in England. We will consider the novel as responding to a network of interrelated problems – of the self and its imaginative politics – at the representational crossroads of medieval epic, courtly romance, spiritual autobiography, picaresque satire, colonialist adventure, gallant intrigue, baroque casuistry, bourgeois conduct book, sentimental love story, moral treatise, psychological realism, and mock-heroic “comic epic in prose.” As the emerging literary “form of forms,” the early modern novel vibrantly juxtaposes and interweaves all these different generic strands. Our work together will aim at a critical analysis of the textual ideologies articulated in this experimental process of historical combination.

Texts: The required reading for this course will include most or all of the following books, which will be available at The Word Bookstore (469 Milton Street, 514-845-5640). (The list of texts below is tentative and incomplete, to be confirmed in September 2014.)

  • Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose (Oxford)
  • Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur (Oxford)
  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Hackett)
  • Michael Alpert, ed., Two Spanish Picaresque Novels (Penguin)
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (Norton)
  • Madame de Lafayette, The Princess of Cleves (Norton)
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (Norton)
  • Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (Broadview)
  • Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Norton)
  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela (Oxford)
  • Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela (Oxford)

Evaluation: paper (50%), tests (40%), participation (10%). Regular attendance is required for a passing final grade (a maximum of two absences will be allowed except for documented medical or similar emergencies.)

Format: Lectures

Average enrollment: 50 students


ENGL 303 Restoration and Eighteenth-century Literature 2

Instructor Andrew Bricker
Fall Term 2014
Monday and Wednesday 16:05–17:25

Full course description

Description: ENGL 303 will trace the development of literary culture from the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 to the close of the eighteenth century. Our readings will draw on a range of generic forms and will be organized around a series of eighteenth-century keywords and themes, including utile et dulce (instruct and delight), satire, epic and mock-epic, sentimentality and politeness, empiricism, slavery, the novel, the gothic, and the woman question. These keywords will serve as a rubric for our discussions, but they will also be categories that we’ll challenge, as we probe them for their limitations and inconsistencies. Above all, we’ll try to find links across these keywords and the texts we study. We will focus especially on questions of genre and generic development, and how those in the eighteenth-century made sense of their historical, emerging and experimental literary forms. 

Texts: An anthology of eighteenth-century literature (TBD), Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey, ed. Tim Parnell and Ian Jack (Oxford, 2008: 9780199537181), and Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford: 9780199537211 or 9780198704447).

Evaluation:

  • Attendance/Participation: 15%
  • Two Response Papers (500 words): 30% (15% each)
  • Section Moderation: 15%
  • Peer Review: 5%
  • Final Paper: 35%

Format: Lecture and discussion


ENGL 304 Later Eighteenth-Century Novel

Professor Peter Sabor
Winter Term 2015
Monday and Wednesday 8:35–9:55

Full course description

Description:  This coursewill study developments in the English novel from the late 1740s until the turn of the century. It will focus on six novels, grouped in three pairs. We shall beginwith two first-person narratives: John Cleland’s erotic, or pornographic, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749), followed by Sarah Fielding’s distinctly non-erotic novel, The History of Ophelia (1760). We shall then turn to two novels of the 1790s which take opposing stands in the “war of ideas” pitting Jacobin against anti-Jacobin novelists: William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1796), and Elizabeth Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (1800), which features a parody of Godwin himself. We shall conclude with Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796), the most sensational of the many Gothic novels of the 1790s, paired with Jane Austen’s witty parody of the Gothic, Northanger Abbey (1817). Attention will be paid to gender issues, as well as to genre, style, and thematic concerns. 

Texts:

  • John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Oxford)
  • Sarah Fielding, Ophelia (Broadview)
  • William Godwin, Caleb Williams (Broadview)
  • Elizabeth Hamilton, Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (Broadview)
  • M.G. Lewis, The Monk (Broadview)
  • Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (Broadview)

Evaluation:25% mid-term test; 25% final test; 50% term paper (2,000-2,500 words) 

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 305 Renaissance English Literature 1

Elizabethan Romance:  Prose Fiction, Narrative Poetry, and Drama

Professor Ken Borris
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 8:35–9:55

Full course description

Description: One of the centrally fashionable literary genres of early modern Europe, romance was the most important precursor of the novel, though in many ways different.  It was characterized by much narrative variety, multiple plots, open-ended structures, digression, coincidence, fantasy, wonder, and wish-fulfillment;  in its uniquely serendipitous version of the world, few social conventions or expectations can be taken for granted.  Its great exponents include Ariosto, Tasso, Cervantes, Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare.  From around 1575 to 1610, the writing of romance became particularly vibrant in England.  Focusing on the diverse expressions of this literary form at this time there, in prose fiction, narrative poetry, and drama, this course should especially interest those attracted to early modern studies, or to the history and development of the novel, or to the theory and history of literary forms.  Proceeding chronologically, the course will address texts that epitomize romance’s scope in this period, including the qualitatively best and most influential exemplars, as well as those most popular in sales, such as Robert Greene’s, which illustrate the genre’s cultural topicality.  So as best to define romance and its interactions with other genres in particular texts that engineer complex generic mixtures, such as Sidney’s and Spenser’s, attention will be given to the theory of literary genres.

Texts:

  • Robert Greene, Pandosto, Menaphon (both short)
  • Sir Philip Sidney, The New Arcadia
  • Edmund Spenser, Books I and VI of The Faerie Queene
  • Thomas Lodge, A Margarite of America
  • William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest

Evaluation: term paper 50%, take-home exam 40%, class attendance and participation 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 306 Theatre History

Medieval and Early Modern

Instructor Michael Raby
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 10:05 pm - 11:25 pm

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Some texts will be read in modern English translation, but most will be read in (modernized) Middle English. Previous experience with Middle English is not required. Instruction in Middle English will be provided. 

Description: This course traces the origins and development of the theatrical tradition in England by reading a selection of medieval and Tudor drama. It explores the tradition of the cycle or “mystery” plays, which stage Biblical episodes in productions that oscillate between pathos and slapstick. These plays were popular, but also controversial. We will examine medieval critiques of the cycle plays, which, besides providing insight into contemporary attitudes toward drama, furnish important evidence of how medieval drama was performed on stage. From there, we turn to the so-called morality plays, comparing Everyman with its riotous and scatological cousin Mankind. We round out our survey of early drama by reading two Tudor plays, including what is considered the first “secular” play in English. With the aid of supplemental readings, our discussions will interrogate the distinction between the secular and the religious, as well as consider key questions about genre and form. As part of the course, we will view video clips of modern productions of the plays we are reading as a way to consider both the technical aspects of their staging and as a way to think about adaptation and the afterlives of medieval drama. The postmedieval inheritance of medieval drama will be our focus at the end of the course, when we read Sarah Ruhl’s 2003 play Passion Play.

Texts:

  • Broadview Anthology of Medieval Drama. Eds. Christina M. Fitzgerald and John T. Sebastian (Broadview, 2012).
  • Ruhl, Sarah. Passion Play. (Samuel French, 2011).
  • Coursepack. 

Evaluation(tentative):

  • Participation: 10%
  • Mid-term exam: 20%
  • Two short essays: 35%
  • Take home final exam: 35%

Format: Lecture and discussion


ENGL 307 Renaissance English Literature 2

Professor Maggie Kilgour
Winter Term 2015
Tuesdays and Thursdays 16:05 - 17:25

Full course description

Description: A survey of 17th-century poetry and prose (excluding Milton). In England, the 17th century was a time of revolution: of social upheaval and Civil War, as well as radical changes in philosophy and science. The literature of this turbulent time also is marked by its vitality and its variety. In this course, we will read representative works by writers including Jonson, Donne, Herbert, Herrick, Marvell, Lanyer, Cavendish, Philips, Bacon, Burton, Browne, discussing aesthetic developments in the context of the events of the period.

Texts: 

  • The Broadview Anthology of 17th Century Verse & Prose (available at McGill Bookstore)
  • Other supplementary materials will be posted on WebCT.

Evaluation: Midterm (20%), 12-page term paper (40%), final exam (30%); participation (10%).

Format: Lecture and discussion

Average enrollment: 40


ENGL 309 English Renaissance Drama 2

Jacobean Theatre History

Professor Patrick Neilson
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 14:35–15:55

Full course description

Description: This course will study early sixteenth-century English theatre through an examination of plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Texts will range from the sublime comedies of Jonson to the dark, bloody, and melodramatic revenge tragedies for which the period is famous. Primary points of interest in our investigation will be Stuart anxieties about greed, consumption, sexual betrayal, retribution, atypical expressions of sexuality, the blurring of gender distinctions, and inter-class friction—all shared with our own era. We will look at the material conditions of performance, staging techniques, theatrical practices, and the performance spaces themselves—from the public theatres, to the private indoor spaces. 

Texts: Bevington, Engle, Eisaman Maus and Rasmussen, eds. English Renaissance Drama

Evaluation: participation (15%), class presentation (10%), midterm Paper (25%), take home exam (50%)

Format: Lecture and discussion


ENGL 310 Restoration and 18th Century Drama

Restoration Comedy

Professor Patrick Neilson
Winter Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 13:35–14:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This lecture course will investigate the evolution of English theatrical comedy through a period of a little over one hundred years. While the principal mode of investigation will involve close readings of the plays, we will also pay close attention to the material conditions of performance, as theatres grew from makeshift spaces for a social elite to vast purpose-built venues able to accommodate thousands of spectators. Central to the course, therefore, is the notion that these plays were written to be performed on stage and before a live audience. The readings will include works by Congreve, Dryden, Etherege, and Sheridan, but also comedies by some less-well-known playwrights, such as Susanna Centlivre. 

Texts: The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama (Full or Concise Edition)

Evaluation: 15% participation; 15% Secondary source précis and presentation; 30% short paper; 40% final exam

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 311 Poetics

All sections offered in the FALL TERM 2014

Section 001 - Professor Brian Trehearne 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:35-13:25

Section 002 - Professor Dorothy Bray
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:35-9:25 

Section 003 - Professor Dorothy Bray
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 14:35–15:25

Section 004 -Professor Wes Folkerth
Tuesday and Thursday 13:05–14:25

Section 005 - Instructor Anna Sigg
Tuesday and Thursday 8:30-10:00

Full course description

Prerequisite or co-requisite: ENGL 202 or ENGL 200. This course is open only to English majors in the literature stream.  This course is to be taken in the Fall semester of U1 or in the first Fall semester after the student’s selection of the Literature Major program.

Description: This course introduces students to the formal and stylistic elements of poetry and prose fiction, provides them with a shared vocabulary for recognizing and analyzing different literary forms, and develops their reading, writing, and critical discussion skills.

Texts:

  • Abrams, M.H., and Geoffrey Galt Harpham.  A Glossary of Literary Terms.  10th edn.  Thomson-Wadsworth, 2009.
  • Bausch, Richard, and R.V. Cassill, eds.  The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.  Shorter 7th edn.  New York: Norton, 2006.
  • Ferguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter and Jon Stallworthy, eds.  The Norton Anthology of Poetry.  Shorter 5th edn.  New York: Norton, 2005.
  • Messenger, William E., et al., eds.  The Canadian Writer’s Handbook.  5th edn.  Toronto: Oxford, 2010.

Evaluation: TBA, but usually: essay 1 (5 pp.), 10%; essay 2 (5 pp.), 15%; essay 3 (6-7 pp.), 15%; mid-term examination 10%; formal final examination 30%; short assignments, such as quizzes, writing exercises, and recitations 10%; class participation 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 312 Victorian and Edwardian Drama 1

Professor Denis Salter
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 8.35—9.55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level courses in drama and theatre, literature, or cultural studies.

Description: This course will engage in a study of a wide range of performance texts, examined not simply as dramatic literature but as works in their original manuscript form, and thence transformed by the nature of theatrical performance, and by the meanings generated for them by their popular and critical responses.  The course will also attend to the material conditions of performance, the work of actors and actresses, actor-managers and actress-managers, designers, musicians, et al, and to the semiotic and sociopolitical significances of the venues and cities, London pre-eminently, in which the productions were first performed, along with a consideration of their theatrical afterlife and the ways in which they served to create a performance repertoire. Some of the playwrights do not often appear in anthologies, if only because their works do not readily lend themselves to the dead hand of canonization or being fitted for the Procrustean bed of generic classification. The playwrights to be studied will come from a selection of works by George Colman, the Younger, Col. Ralph Hamilton, James Smith, R. B. Peake, George Henry Lewes, Dion Boucicault, T. W. Robertson, B.C. Stephenson, Alfred Cellier, Joseph Addison, Netta Syrett, with a nod to a comical satire by J.M. Barrie and the inclusion of the ‘original’ text of Paul Potter’s Trilby, based on the novel of that name by George du Maurier and two texts performed by Christy’s Minstrels / Christy Minstrels. The word “British” in the anthology of plays we shall be studying draws attention to the ways in which theatre formed--and was formed by--the constructions of nation(s) and empires, both real and imaginary. We shall also study Henry Irving’s / Leopold Lewis’s The Bells, a text available in LION (Literature Online).

Passages from the plays will be regularly read out loud to get a visceral and palpable sense of their affective properties and to develop, as the whole course will do, a detailed understanding of the vocabularyand syntax of nineteenth-century performance.

Texts:

  • Davis, Tracy C., ed., The Broadview Anthology of Nineteenth-Century British Performance (Broadview Press, 2012)
  • Indispensable for our studies are the primary source documents put together for this anthology at http://drama.at.northwestern.edu/performances

Evaluation (tentative): Active ongoing participation in the intellectual and creative life of the seminar: 15%; one seminar presentation on a theoretical, critical, or historical text or on a case-study: 15%; a distilled critical argument arising from the seminar presentation advanced in a 8-page long essay: 20%; a 16-page scholarly essay on an individually-negotiated topic: 50%

Format: Brief, mid-sized, and longer lectures; led-discussions; individual and collective presentations including interrogative Q & As; and mini-performances


ENGL 313 Canadian Drama and Theatre

Professor Patrick Neilson
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 11:35–12:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: A survey of Canadian and Québecois drama and theatrical institutions from colonial times to the establishment of independent professional theatre in the 20thC. The primary focus of the course will be on the importance of Montreal Anglophone Theatre in the development of Canadian theatre.  Québecois plays will be read in translation.

Texts:

  • Wasserman, Jerry. Modern Canadian Plays vol. I, 5th edition., and a course pack. Both are available at the University Bookstore. 

Evaluation:15% Class participation, 15% Oral Research Presentation, 20% Term Paper, 50% Research Project.

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 314 20th Century Drama

Naturalism, Realism, Nationalism

Instructor Amanda Clark
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 14:35–15:55

Full course description

Description: This course examines thirteen key 20th Century plays with attention to formal, thematic, and historical concerns. In particular, we will consider the rise (and evolution) of naturalism as a dominant mode of writing and stagecraft in the period, and its relationship to the development of national theatre. We begin by situating our discussion in the theories of Émile Zola and August Strindberg, who are considered the founders of modern drama. Through Zola’s and Strindberg’s manifestoes we will contextualize performances of Synge’s Riders to the Sea and Strindberg’s Miss Julie, with special attention to the fundamental tenets of the genre: the effects of race (nation/heredity), milieu (environment), and moment (historical period).

Building on this understanding of Naturalism, we will analyze how the genre responded to the nation-building movements of the early 20th Century. Through Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, we will investigate how theatre creates, traffics, and contests images of the nation. Next, we move to drama that responds to national conflict. These plays represent departures from naturalism, and often seek to challenge their audiences’ theatrical and social assumptions. Pirandello’s Six Characters refracts the violence of WWI in content (a focus on the breakdown of grand narratives) and in form (a forerunner of absurdist theatre). Similarly, Brecht’s Mother Courage responds to WWII with staging techniques that forge a radically new affective relationship between audience and stage—one of alienation. And, Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire exposes the social changes at work in post-war America through an increasing use of symbolism to blur the boundaries of class and heritage. These themes are also present in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Despite their formal differences, these plays share a sense of exile and a concern with ethics and ethnicity that many critics attribute to the growing social unrest of the cold war period.

Finally, we turn to post-colonial theatres. Through Derek Walcott’s The Sea at Dauphin, Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles-Soeurs, Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold” …and the Boys, and Marie Jones’s Stones in his Pockets, we will investigate theatre’s ability to push beyond colonial, racial or national binaries to offer new avenues for cultural performance.

Texts:

  • The Norton Anthology of Drama, Volume 2: The Nineteenth Century to the Present
  • Course pack 

Evaluation:

  • Participation 10%
  • Short Essay (4 pages) 15% (September 25th)
  • In-Class Midterm 15% (October 16th)
  • Final Paper (8 pages) 30% (November 27th)
  • Final Exam 30%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 315 Shakespeare

Professor Wes Folkerth
Winter Term 2015
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8:30-9:30

Full course description

Description: In this course we will focus only on the first half of Shakespeare’s career, the Elizabethan portion, which coincided with the rise of the professional theatre as the centerpiece of an emerging entertainment industry. We will begin with a number of very early plays, including Henry VI, part 1, The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, before following Shakespeare out of the theatre and into print with the narrative poem “Venus and Adonis.” We will then join him back at the theatre, where he will write Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (world classics of history, tragedy, and comedy) all within the space of about a single year. The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, part one, and As You Like It round out the decade of the 1590s, and our course. The plan is to cover approximately one play per week. Are you Shakespearienced? After this course you will be. The pace will be fast and unrelenting, with a view to giving students in the English major and minor programs a fuller appreciation of the scope of Shakespeare’s accomplishment in the first half of his career.

Texts: The Norton Shakespeare Volume I: Early Plays and Poems. 2nd edition. ISBN 978-0-393-93144-0. Available at The Word Bookstore on Milton Street.

Evaluation:midterm essay (30%); final essay (30%); final exam (30%); conference participation (10%)

Format: Lectures and conference sections


ENGL 316 Milton

Professor Maggie Kilgour
Fall Term 2014
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30 pm – 12:30 pm

Full course description

Prerequisite: : None, though some knowledge of Renaissance literature or culture is highly useful.

Description: A study of the poetry and selected prose of one of England’s most important, influential, and still controversial writers. While to many people today Milton seems the epitome of literary and political orthodoxy, in his own time he was known as a radical thinker, and advocate of regicide and divorce. His writing is complex and challenging, asking close and active engagement from his readers. In this course we will take up his challenge to see especially how he speaks to current concerns. In the first few weeks, we look at Milton's early poetry and some of his political writings, tracing his development as a poet in relation to his social, political, and literary context. The centre of the course will focus on a close reading of Paradise Lost. In conclusion, we will look briefly at his last works, Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes, and discuss Milton’s later reputation and his continuing role in the Western literary tradition. 

Texts: (required texts are available at McGill Bookstore)

  • Stella Revard ed, John Milton: Complete Shorter Poems (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
  • Barbara Lewalski, ed. John Milton: Paradise Lost (Blackwell, 2007)
  • Selections from the prose: on WebCT
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (recommended)
  • King James Bible (recommended)

Evaluation: 25% mid-term; 40% term paper on Paradise Lost; 25% take-home exam; 10% class/conference participation

Format: Lecture and discussion; conference (depending on enrollment)

Average Enrollment: 45 students


ENGL 317 Theory of English Studies 1

Philosophical Approaches

Professor David C. Hensley
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 8:35-9:55 

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Limited to students in English programs.

Description: This course will survey the emergence of theories and methodologies in European philosophy and scholarship, especially in literary criticism, since the eighteenth century. As a basis for understanding and evaluating the role of “philosophical approaches” in literary and cultural studies, we will compare and contrast several kinds of historical thinking with the distinctive claims of philosophical formalism articulated influentially by Immanuel Kant. The Kantian legacy – not only its principles of moral and aesthetic autonomy and disinterestedness but also its emphasis on the conditions of knowledge and criteria of judgment – provides a powerful and continuing alternative to the nineteenth-century revival of dialectical thinking in Hegel, hermenutics, and Marx. Our readings in twentieth-century theory will consider the far-reaching impact of the ideological opposition between the Enlightenment and Romanticism as exemplified by Kant and Hegel. We will examine the history of this opposition as a pattern of methodological assumptions and institutional practices. In particular, we will review the claim that one literary genre – the novel – embodies or expresses the characteristic philosophical problems of modernity.

Texts: The books for this course will be available at The Word Bookstore (469 Milton Street, 514-845-5640). The following texts will be among those required (please note that Pluhar's translation of Kant is the only acceptable edition!):

  • Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle, eds., Critical Theory Since Plato, third edition (Thomas Wadsworth)
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar (Hackett)
  • Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel (MIT)
  • Gerald Graff, Professing Literature (University of Chicago)

Evaluation: Papers (40%), tests (50%), participation (10%). Regular attendance is required for a passing final grade (a maximum of two absences will be allowed except for documented medical or similar emergencies).

Format: Lectures


ENGL 319 Theory of English Studies 3 

Issues in Interpretation: Authorship, Performance, and Reception

Professor Trevor Ponech
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8:35–9:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. Limited to U2 and U3 students in English programmes

Description: This course will introduce students to a pair of concepts absolutely fundamental to the study of literature, cinema, theatre, and artistic culture in general.  The two concepts are, of course, authorship and interpretation.  We’ll survey the on-going debates over what an author is, and what unique contribution, if any, this agent makes to the artwork’s meaning as well as other culturally relevant features and effects.  Likewise, we will inquire into what one is doing when one interprets a work of art.  In trying to answer this question, the first step shall be to say what an interpretation is, i.e., what differentiates interpretive from other kinds of statements about art.  Subsequently, we’ll revisit several long-standing puzzles about interpretation: Is a good interpretation necessarily one that tries to grasp the author’s intentions?  Can an interpretation ever be true or false?  When two interpretations of the same artwork conflict, is there ever any good reason to prefer one to the other?  Does interpretation itself in some sense produce the work’s meaning?  Is there any possible justification for blurring the distinction between the author’s achievements in making an artwork and the interpreter’s achievements in engaging with that work?  Throughout our discussions, attention will be paid to the relation of authorship to interpretation within performing arts, such as theatrical and musical presentations, where performers’ interpretive activities might arguably be said to bring new works into existence

Texts: A representative selection of recent essays within the fields of aesthetic philosophy, literary theory, and cinema studies.

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 320 Postcolonial Encounters 

Professor Sandeep Banerjee
Fall Term 2014
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 16:35-17:25

Full course description

Description: This course will introduce students to the field of postcolonial literary and cultural studies as well as postcolonial theory. It will engage with literatures produced from postcolonial societies of South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean and examine how authors from these regions articulate the (postcolonial) present. Crucially, we will try and understand what is meant by the term “postcolonial” in the contexts of literature, culture, and theory; how it relates to terms such as the “anti-colonial” and the “colonial.” Further, we will investigate the central concerns of postcolonial authors and theorists, and how the various legacies of European imperialism mould the postcolonial perspective. In this course, we will also pay attention to the development of the field of postcolonial studies in the Anglo-American academy in addition to developing a clear understanding of some of the influential concepts developed by postcolonial critics and theorists. Further, we will examine in detail the relationship between postcolonial theory and post-structuralism on one hand, and Marxism on the other. Finally, we will consider the status of postcolonial studies in today’s world and try to understand if, and how, it helps us to understand the processes of contemporary globalization.  

Texts:

  • Mulk Raj Anand: Untouchable
  • Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart
  • V. S. Naipaul: Miguel Street
  • Buchi Emecheta: Second-Class Citizen
  • Salman Rushdie: Haroun and the Sea of Stories
  • Jamaica Kincaid: A Small Place
  • Satyajit Ray (dir): Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne

Evaluation: Attendance and participation (in conference section): 15%; short essay: 15%; midterm: 30%; final paper: 40%

Format: Lectures and weekly conferences


ENGL 322: Theories of the Text

“How to Read a Page” – Close Reading 1920-1960

Professor Miranda Hickman
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 14:35-15:55

Full course description

Preparation: Students are expected to have taken at least one 200- or 300-level course in any option in the Department of English

Description: Addressing literary criticism and theory of the first half of the twentieth century, this course spotlights “The New Criticism,” the mid-twentieth century American school of literary criticism that famously developed techniques of “close reading” that are still widely used today, in both “English” and neighbouring fields.  Some have regarded close reading as crucial to the formation of the discipline of English as we now know it; it has even sometimes been regarded as a defining practice of the field. The design of the course takes a cue from a wave of renewed interest in “close reading” these days from contemporary commentators as diverse as Terry Eagleton, Camille Paglia, Jane Gallop, John Guillory, and N. Katherine Hayles, who all raise questions about how techniques of close reading (often considered rather “old-fashioned”) might be revised, reinvigorated, and adapted to today’s climate and needs. One of the primary questions guiding our work will thus be how “close reading” has been theorized and practiced in the field of English over time, what it is aimed to achieve, and how we might draw upon its guiding assumptions and techniques today for work in literature, drama, and cultural studies. Thus we will often reckon with the question of what exactly it means to read texts “closely”—how, for what, to what ends? Another major vector of our work is historical: we will trace the evolution of the field we now think of as “English” as a discipline 1920-1960—exploring debates, convictions, and projects that shaped the field of study we have inherited. Our third major focus is on the concept of “criticism,” the practice which the New Critics (as their name implies) and their forerunners sought to theorize, refine, and make pivotal to the work of English. It remains central to, even dominant among, the work of departments of English.'

In part spurred by the challenges posed by “difficulty” modernist literature of the early twentieth century, the New Criticism theorized now famous concepts such as “the intentional fallacy” and “the heresy of paraphrase,” and in many respects shaped literary studies as we now know it.  Toward demystifying the work of the New Critics, as well as shedding light on the history of the field of English, we will trace a genealogy of the New Criticism, considering the work of nineteenth-century British predecessors such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, and Walter Pater; early twentieth-century precursors such as the Russian Formalists (Roman Jakobson, Viktor Shklovsky); and the British critics at the University of Cambridge who were the New Critics’ most direct predecessors (I.A. Richards, William Empson, Q.D. and F.R. Leavis). Also pivotal to our work will be essays by modernist poet T.S. Eliot, whose verse and prose inspired the work of both the New Critics and their immediate forerunners. As we go, we will consider the legacies of both the New Critics and early twentieth-century criticism more generally to more recent theoretical approaches in literary studies, drama and theatre, and cultural studies.

In decades after its ascendancy at the mid-twentieth century, the New Criticism often came to be regarded as an “ahistorical,” formalist approach to literary study that unfortunately banished social, biographical, and historical concerns from its purview. Indeed sometimes New Critical “close reading” was practiced in ways that yielded such narrow perspectives: even T.S. Eliot (whose work has often been read as foundational to the New Criticism) deplored the abuses of its methods that produced what he called a “lemon-squeezer” approach to criticism. Recent work on the New Criticism, however, reveals it to have been informed by a much richer and more diverse body of aesthetic theory, philosophical work, and social objectives than latter-day caricatures have allowed. We will follow the evolving reputation of the New Criticism, in order to test how many of the criticisms levelled against it seem to “stick” when considered against the body of theory and critical commentary the New Critics developed. 

Texts: Our reading list accents primary texts of  early- to mid-twentieth century theorists/ critics, rather than latter-day accounts of their contributions—so that we can make up our own minds about how their work looks (and might or might not be useful to us) today. We consider essays by major New Critics such as John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, René Wellek and Austin Warren; we also engage leading critics contemporary to the New Critics (often skeptical of their methods) such as Kenneth Burke, Lionel Trilling, Erich Auerbach and Northrop Frye; we consider British predecessors such as Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, Walter Pater, I.A. Richards, William Empson, and F.R. Leavis. We will query how New Critical methods stood in dialogue with the work of Russian Formalists; with that of British critic Queenie Leavis, whose pioneering work in sociological literary criticism has been linked to the beginnings of cultural studies; and that of leftist critics of the Partisan Review circle such as Philip Rahv. We will also engage the literary essays and literary-critical manifestoes of such early twentieth-century writers such as T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and Ezra Pound, whose work was often very much behind the theory and practice of much of this early- to mid-twentieth century criticism.  

Evaluation: 2 critical essays (5-6 pp., 20%  and 25%), bi-weekly brief responses (2 pp., 15%), final examination (30%), participation (10%)

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 326 Nineteenth-Century American Prose

Trials of American Innocence

Professor Peter Gibian
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 14:35–15:25 am

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university-level course work in American Literature, preferably before 1900, or permission of instructor

Description: This course will survey, and also critically interrogate, a long line of foundational works in American literature and thought that develop the conception of an “American innocence”—and introduce a new literary character: the “innocent American.” Where does this widely shared notion come from? What does this national self-image imply? What possibilities does it open up? What are its limitations and dangers? A challenging reading list—including selected Emerson essays, Whitman poems, Harte and Twain short stories, Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, James’ “Daisy Miller” and The Bostonians (or “What Maisie Knew”), Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Melville’s “Benito Cereno” and “Billy Budd,” Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, and Graham Greene’s The Quiet American—will ground analysis of a variety of distinct versions of this national myth. After first tracing the development of paradigmatic plots, images, and characters associated with this complex of ideas, we will conclude with close readings of several classic literary works that are structured as tests or trials of this “American innocence.” 

Texts (Tentative; editions TBA):

  • Coursepack—including critical essays and short works such as: Emerson, selected essays; Whitman, “Song of Myself”; Harte, “The Luck of Roaring Camp” and "The Outcasts of Poker Flats"; Hawthorne, “Rappaccini’s Daughter”; James, “Daisy Miller”;
  • Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn;
  • Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin;
  • Melville, Billy Budd and Other Stories;
  • Wharton, The Age of Innocence;
  • Greene, The Quiet American.

Evaluation (Tentative): 20% mid-term exam; 25% essay; 15% conference participation; 40% final exam. (All evaluation—on exams as well as essays—tests abilities in literary-critical writing and analysis; none involves short-answer or multiple-choice exams graded by computer.)

Format: Lectures and discussions

Average Enrollment: 80 students.


ENGL 328 The Development of Canadian Poetry 1

Professor Brian Trehearne
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 8:25–9:55 am 

Full course description

Expected student preparation: No formal pre-requisite, but students will be expected to have the skills of close reading and command of critical terms developed in ENGL 311 (Poetics).  ENGL 228 (Introduction to Canadian Literature 1) provides appropriate background knowledge for this course

Description: A survey of the development of Canadian poetry from the nineteenth century through the Second World War.  Our discussion of substantial selections from major authors will explicate the historical and cultural contexts of their works and consider their relation to competing poetic traditions in England and America.  We will attempt to articulate each poet’s idea of the Canadian poet’s special task: among them, skilful imitation; mimesis; cultural nationalism and autonomy; originality; psychological realism; and contemporaneity.  We will also, necessar­ily, clarify such period concepts as “Romanticism,” “Victorianism,” “Aestheticism” and “Modern­ism,” and their distinctive Canadian manifesta­tions, as we proceed.

Texts: 

  • Gerson, Carole, and Gwendolyn Davies, eds.  Canadian Poetry: From the Beginnings through the First World War.  Toronto: McClelland and Stewart [New Canadian Library], 1994.
  • Trehearne, Brian, ed.  Canadian Poetry 1920 to 1960.  Toronto: McClelland and Stewart [New Canadian Library], 2010.

Evaluation: 2 essays, 5 and 8 pp., 20% and 30%; final examination, 40%; Partici­pation in class discussion, 10% (Please note before registering for this course: I assess active participation in discussion and not attendance.  Full attendance through the semester without speaking will earn 0/10 in this category and substantially affect your final grade.)  Evaluation may change depending on class size; if necessary, changes will be announced before the end of the course change period.

Format: Lectures and discussions

Average Enrollment: 25


ENGL 329 English Novel of the Nineteenth-Century I

Professor Tabitha Sparks
Fall Term 2014
Monday and Wednesday 11:35-12:55

Full course description

Description: This course uses five wide-ranging British novels to study a foundational relationship in nineteenth-century fiction: the romantic relationship as a synecdoche of social organization.  Perhaps more precisely, the relationships we will analyze in the course novels reveal anxieties and realities of social disorganization – with broken engagements, and failed or fractured marriages operating as signs of the century’s disruptive transformations in class structure and geopolitical identity.   With this topic in mind, we will better understand how the dominantly private settings in the nineteenth-century British novel and intimate plots yield commentary on industrial, economic, and political change.  

Texts: (available at the University Bookstore):

  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility 1811
  • Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 1838
  • Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 1848
  • George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss 1859
  • Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady 1875
  • 329 Course pack

Evaluation: Attendance and participation (includes reading quizzes in conference section): 25%; midterm: 20%; essay: 25%; final exam: 30%

Format: Lectures and weekly conferences


ENGL 330 English Novel of the 19th Century 2

The Search for Vocation

Professor Yael Halevi-Wise
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Description: The primary goal of this course is to acquaint students with English masterpieces from the second half of the Nineteenth Century and a German bildungsroman influential at this time. While keenly engaged with the spirit of ‘progress’ and ‘reform’ sweeping through their country, writers in this period tended to set the action of their novels a few decades back from their time of composition and publication. Keeping this historical perspective in mind, we will focus on how influential novelists such as Goethe and Dickens portrayed their protagonists’ struggle for meaningful employment in an increasingly secular and professionalized society that was still hedged in, however, by barriers of gender, class, and religious affiliation. 

Texts:

  • The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • David Copperfield  by Charles Dickens
  • Villette by Charlotte Brontë
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Evaluation: 15% attendance and participation; 60% four ongoing exploratory papers; 25% final essay due a week from last class

Format: Lectures and discussions

Average enrollment: 70 students


ENGL 332 Literature of the Romantic Period 2

Instructor Emily Kopley
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 8:35–9:55

Full course description

Description: Following a roughly chronological route, this course focuses on British literature of the later Romantic period, emphasizing its various prose and verse genres. The period’s rich prose will be represented by the essays of William Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, Charles Lamb, and Thomas De Quincey, and by the fiction of Mary Shelley. We will devote substantial time to Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats, the three poets historically central to studying the period. We will read as well the poetry of Robert Burns, John Clare, and anonymous bards. Our lectures and discussions will focus on the meaning of “romanticism,” craftsmanship and inspiration, historical and biographical context, the figure of the poet, and the relation of genre and gender.

Texts:

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Period (Vol. D), 9th edition
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, ed. J. Paul Hunter (Norton)

Evaluation:  

  • Participation in class, including one 500-word response to a day’s reading, posted at MyCourses in discussion forum: 15%
  • Paper 1 (1000 page close reading): 25%
  • Paper 2 (1500 study of one work's influence on another): 35%
  • Final exam (identification and brief analysis of short passages): 25%

ENGL 333 Development of Canadian Poetry 2

Professor Robert Lecker
Fall Term 2014 
Tuesday and Thursday 13:05– 14:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This is a course about really reading poetry, in this case, Canadian poetry. It focuses on a group of approximately ten Canadian poets who have formed and responded to the Canadian literary landscape since World War II. Most of the poets covered in the course are writers who confront modern and contemporary ideas about the nature of self, society, gender, and art, but we also look at the ways in which these writers are trying to deal with the existential implications of new views about science, God, and the poet’s place in his or her rapidly changing world. Since part of the reading involves thinking about aesthetic and theoretical issues, the course will deal with these issues, just as it will pay close attention to the meaning and resonance of particular poems. At the same time, it will consider the ways in which these poets (and us, as readers) construct the place called Canada as a metaphor that’s central to our daily lives. Students are encouraged to explore multi-media material related to each poet in question. The writing component of the course (frequent short essays but no term papers or exams) is designed to improve interpretive abilities and to encourage creative forms of critical expression. Students enrolling in this course should be prepared to write short essays on a weekly basis, and to participate actively in class discussion.

Texts: Lecker, Robert, ed. Open Country: Canadian Poetry in English. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2007

Evaluation: A series of short essays on each of the poets studied in the course, 80%; attendance, 10%; participation, 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions

Average Enrollment: 25 students


ENGL 335 20th Century Novel 1

Britishness and the Novel

Instructor Ariel Buckley
Winter Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 13:35-14:25

Full course description

Description: This course introduces students to the major formal, thematic, and historical concerns of British fiction through a central question: how did notions of Britishness and the role of the British writer change over the course of the twentieth century? Our aim will be to explore ways in which the political and artistic aims of British novelists altered in response to contemporary crises and cultural developments. We will begin with Howards End, E.M. Forster’s depiction of relationships and social conventions in Edwardian England. Works by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce will allow us to map out the key themes and stylistic features of high modernism; we will explore how both “The Dead” and Mrs Dalloway link the literary representation of subjectivity, alienation, and fragmentation with wider social and political concerns in the wake of the First World War. Next, we will ask how two British estate novels, P.G. Wodehouse’s Code of the Woosters and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited,reflect the prewar and wartime conditions in which they were written, and how Muriel Spark’s comic novel reflects on Britishness and identity in the postwar world. Finally, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, with its reimagining of Howards End, will allow us to reflect on changing notions of nationalism and narrative at the close of the century.

Lectures and discussions will blend close reading and thematic analysis with reflections on the social and historical conditions of literary production, with particular attention to the First and Second World Wars, the decline of the British Empire, the rise and fall of the Welfare State, postcolonial immigration, class distinctions, “middlebrow” culture, and attitudes toward gender, sexuality, and race. Short stories and essays, as well as excerpts from films, radio broadcasts, and government publications, will supplement our focus on the novel, and allow us to chart its development in relation to wider issues and ideas in the twentieth century.

Texts: (tentative)

  • E.M. Forster, Howards End (1910)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
  • P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters (1938)
  • Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (1945)
  • Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)
  • Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000)
  • Coursepack with critical readings

Evaluation: 

  • 15% Participation
  • 15% Short Writing Assignment
  • 40% Research Paper
  • 30% Final Exam

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 336 Twentieth-Century Novel 2

The Twentieth Century Writes Back

Professor Monica Popescu
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 13:05-14:25

Full course description

Description: What would you do if a novel otherwise well-written ends on the wrong note or refuses to disclose enough information about a minor character that piqued your interest? The solution, as some contemporary writers discovered, is to redesign the work. “Writing back” is a literary practice established in the latter half of the twentieth century. It is often associated with postmodern and postcolonial writers, but it is not restricted to them. It entails revisiting, modifying, and sometimes radically transforming a canonical work in order to expose its ideological biases, update its plot, or rework its ethics. The targets are almost always eighteenth and nineteenth century novels, works written at a time of economic transformations, technological innovations, the expansion of empires, and changes in social roles and hierarchies. How do twentieth century writers illuminate, transform, interpret and misinterpret the concerns of earlier authors? And what do these rewritings tell us about issues of authorship, canonicity, and literary influence? Aside from the clusters of novels, short stories, paintings, and films to be considered, we will read essays by Marx, Hegel, Cixous, Freud, Spivak, and Achebe.

Texts: N.B. The final reading list will be available in late October 2014.

Coursepack

Novels:

  • Daniel Defoe—Robinson Crusoe
  • J.M. Coetzee—Foe
  • Charlotte Bronte—Jane Eyre
  • Jean Rhys—Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Bram Stoker—Dracula
  • Joseph Conrad—Heart of Darkness

Films:

  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
  • Nosferatu. Dir. Werner Herzog
  • Apocalypse Now. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola

Evaluation (tentative): Short paper 20%; Midterm 30%; Final paper 35%; Participation (including webct assignments) 15%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 337 Underworlds and Otherworlds

Professor Michael Van Dussen
Fall Term 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 10:05-11:25

Full course description

Description: A rich body of literature developed in the European Middle Ages that explored “worlds” or “realities” that stood somehow apart from the world of everyday experience. Yet these other (or “under”) worlds were never entirely separable from what medieval Europeans regarded as the world of their day-to-day lives; by exploring these worlds, authors and readers were simultaneously cultivating a renewed understanding of their own experience of time, geographical space, and the ways in which their belief systems infused both with meaning. In this course, students will analyze several literary accounts of worlds or landscapes that stand in some way apart from what their authors and audiences regarded as ordinary. We will read dream visions, including visions of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory; we’ll encounter underworlds that are geographically continuous with specific places in Europe; we’ll read narratives in which travelers encounter “the exotic” or “the marvellous”; and we’ll study narratives of fairy otherworlds. This course will introduce students to texts written in England, Ireland, Iceland, and on the European continent during the period c. 900-1500.

Texts: (provisional)

  • The Book of John Mandeville
  • The Voyage of St. Brendan
  • The Vision of Tundale
  • St. Patrick’s Purgatory
  • The Vision of St. Paul
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Pearl
  • Chaucer, The House of Fame
  • Sir Orfeo
  • Sir Launfal
  • Other required readings (incl. Icelandic sagas) available via MyCourses

Evaluation

a) Mid-term exam: 25%
b) Final exam: 35%
c) Final essay: 30%
d) Participation and attendance: 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 342 Introduction to Old English

Professor Dorothy Bray
Fall Term 2014
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 11:35–12:35

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This course aims to be an intensive introduction to the study of Old English, the earliest form of the English language. We will begin with the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language (necessary but not necessarily painful), and advancing to the reading of selected texts in prose and poetry. The aim is to give students a basic grounding in the language to enable them to read works (like Beowulf) in the original. Classes will be devoted at first to grammar and translation, but we will also be examining representations of Anglo-Saxon literature through reading and translating the texts, some features of Anglo-Saxon culture, and certain aspects of the history of the English language, particularly the origins of words and their semantic evolution. The course culminates in a translation project, which will be a translation and analytical commentary of a selected text.

Texts: An Introduction to Old English, by Peter Baker. 3rd. edition. Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2003; 2011. Also available as e-book.

Evaluation: Class tests 35%; homework 30%; final project 25%; attendance and participation 10%

Format: Lectures, workshops, discussions


ENGL 345 Literature and Society

How Shakespeare Created Modern Society

Professor Paul Yachnin
Winter Term 2015
Thursday 14:35-15:55

Full course description

Description: In this course, we consider how Shakespeare, his fellow playwrights, the actors, and the playgoers of early modern London rewrote the rules about who could be a public person and about who could take part in discussions about politics and social policy. Before Shakespeare, commoners (the vast majority of the population) were excluded from debates about matters of political concern. From the 1580s to the closing of the playhouses in the middle of the seventeenth century, the commercial theatre invited people of all social ranks to take an active role in thinking about and talking about a great range of social and political questions. Together, the theatrical practitioners and their customers laid the groundwork for the political culture of modernity.

We will read works by a number of Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights, a handful of other works from the period, and several modern historical studies and readings in political philosophy. But the focus of our attention will a selection of plays by Shakespeare himself.

Texts: (all texts available at Paragraph Books)

  • Other readings will be posted on the course website.
  • Taming of the Shrew, ed. Callaghan (WW Norton)
  • Hamlet, ed. Braunmuller (Pelican) 
  • Merchant of Venice, ed. Halio (Oxford)
  • Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, ed Sylvan Barnett (Signet Classics)
  • Ben Jonson, Volpone and Other Plays (Penguin)
  • Tempest, ed. Orgel (Oxford)
  • Othello, ed. Neill (Oxford)

Evaluation: 

  • Reading responses, 5% each 20%
  • Short essays, 15% each 30%
  • Participation 15%
  • Final Exam 35%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 346 Materiality and Sociology of Texts

Professor Eli MacLaren
Fall Term 2014
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:35–11:25 

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: The material forms and circumstances of texts fundamentally affect their meaning. This premise underlies the history of the book, a field of advanced study aimed at understanding the circulation of ideas in connection with technology, sociology, and economics. If the book is not only a vessel of ideas but also a thing of industrial manufacture that is marketed and consumed, then knowledge of the book industry and of the forces that influence it becomes important to literary and historical interpretation. In this course we will survey defining contributions to the history and theory of the book, reading canonical authors such as Shakespeare and Byron in light of new studies on the socioeconomic factors behind their creativity and reputation. Topics will include: the editing of Shakespeare, l’histoire du livre, copyright and piracy, the history of the book in Canada, and print culture. Students will learn the basics of analytical bibliography and scholarly editing, produce a book-history case study, and become familiar with defining contributions to the field.

Texts: 

  • Levy and Mole, ed. The Broadview Reader in Book History
  • Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Thompson and Taylor (Arden, 2006)
  • George Gordon, Lord Byron. Selected Poetry. Ed. Jerome McGann (Oxford, 1998)

Evaluation: response (2 pp.): 20%; short essay (5 pp.): 30%; long essay (10 pp.): 40%; participation in workshops: 10%

Format: lecture and discussion


ENGL 347 Great Writings of Europe I

Foundations of Western Epic and Mythology: Homer, Virgil, Ovid

Professor Kenneth Borris
Fall Term 2014 
Monday and Wednesday 8:35-9:55

Full course description

Prerequisite: None. 

Expected Student Preparation: Previous university courses in English or classical literature. A basic knowledge of Homeric epic will be assumed in lectures. Students therefore should read the Iliad and the Odyssey before taking this course. Previous work on poetry is also strongly advised.

Description: While concentrating on the major texts of Homer, Virgil, and Ovid in attractive modern translations, we will consider their role in the literary history of western Europe, especially England, up to and including the eighteenth century.  The course will thus survey the development of classical myth, mythography, allegory, epic, and literary theory from Homer to Addison.  It will provide an effective base of knowledge for reading literature that draws on such contexts, and for appreciating corresponding shifts in literary history and in the roles of myth in western culture.
If you have already taken ENGL 347 (Great Writings of Europe I) as a different course under that number, you may still take this course, but will need to see me in the first or second week of classes so I can arrange your enrollment.
The Course Reader and other texts will be available in paperback for purchase at the Word bookstore, 469 Milton Street, 845-5640. 

Texts: 

  • Homer, Iliad, Fagles translation
  • Homer, Odyssey, Lattimore translation
  • Virgil, Aeneid, Fitzgerald translation
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Mandelbaum translation
  • Supplementary Course Reader

Evaluation: term paper, 50%;  take-home final exam, 40%;  10% class attendance and participation.

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 348 Great Writings of Europe 2

Early European Literature

Professor Michael Van Dussen
Winter Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday & Fridays 09:35-10:25AM

Full course description

Prerequisite: No formal prerequisite, but previous (or concurrent) university-level work in literary studies and a familiarity with the basics of literary analysis are expected. 

Description: This course examines several major works of European literature that significantly influenced Western conceptions of literate practice, authorship, religion, and the place of the individual human in society and in the universe. Course texts include examples of literature spanning from Late Antiquity to the Italian Renaissance. The course has two main objectives: to introduce students to early literature as an object of study in its own right; and to explore this literature as an important background for the study of subsequent Western literature and culture, including in England. We will also discuss the problematics of periodization (e.g., what do we mean by “Late Antiquity”, “the Middle Ages” and “the Renaissance”?). The course will emphasize the following categories in particular: Language and Signification; Autobiography and Conversion; and Sacred and Secular. All course texts were written on the European continent, and will be read in modern English translation.

Texts: (provisional) 

  • Augustine, Confessions
  • Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy
  • Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances
  • Dante, The Divine Comedy
  • Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose
  • Petrarch, Selections from the Canzoniere and Other Works
  • Other required readings available via MyCourses

Evaluation: 

a) Mid-term exam: 25%
b) Final exam: 35%
c) Final essay: 30%
d) Participation and attendance: 10%

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 355 Poetics of Performance

Professor Katherine Zien
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 4:35-5:55PM

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This course engages meaningful issues and debates that have structured theatre and performance practice and scholarship from ancient Greece to the present. Beginning with an analysis of mimesis and representation in Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics, we will examine a chronological progression of scholarship on theatrical performance, supplementing course lectures with readings in theatre theory, artists’ manifestos, historiography, plays, and performance footage.

We will engage topics including the following:

  • Historical debates about the dangers, pleasures, and purposes of theatrical representation
  • Changing acting theories and methods
  • Approaches to the construction and study of theatrical space
  • Theories of reception
  • The body onstage: materiality and semiotics
  • ‘Positioning performance:’ disciplinary relationships between theatre and performance studies

Texts:

  • Daniel Gerould, Theatre/Theory/Theatre: The Major Critical Texts from Aristotle and Zeami to Soyinka and Havel. NY: Applause, 2000
  • Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play and Other Works. NY: Theatre Communications Group, 1995
  • A course packet including primary texts (Marina Abramović, Antonin Artaud, Samuel Beckett, Augusto Boal, Anne Bogart, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Brook, Edward Gordon Craig, Denis Diderot, Jerzy Grotowski, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Femi Osofisan, Sophocles, Wole Soyinka, Konstantin Stanislavski, Zeami) and secondary sources (Rhonda Blair, Dwight Conquergood, Colin Counsell, Mark Fortier, Helen Gilbert, Gay McAuley, Jacques Rancière, Joseph Roach, Richard Schechner, Diana Taylor, Philip Zarilli)

Evaluation: In-class participation: 20%; critical theatre review: 20%; short response essay: 20%; midterm exam: 20%; final take-home exam: 20%

Format: Lectures and group discussions


ENGL 357 Chaucer

Canterbury Tales

Instructor Michael Raby
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 13:05-14:25

Full course description

Prerequisites: None. We will read Chaucer in the original Middle English. Previous experience with Middle English is not required. Instruction in Middle English will be provided.

Description: Chaucer is one of the most formally inventive poets in English literature. His innovations include establishing iambic pentameter as a dominant poetic meterand introducing the sonnet into English. This course reads a selection of Chaucer’s most important works with a focus on their formal complexity and engagement with the classical and medieval rhetorical tradition. We begin by looking at several of Chaucer’s lyrics, which we will use to help familiarize ourselves with Middle English syntax and prosody. Then we turn to Troilus and Criseyde, a poem that persistently calls attention to its own rhetorical strategies. The second half of the course focuses on the Canterbury Tales, including the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, a brilliant parody of rhetoricians. Alongside Chaucer’s works, we will read some of the classical and medieval rhetorical manuals with which Chaucer would have been familiar.

By the end of the course, students will be able to identify a variety of rhetorical devices and formal structures that are used in Chaucer’s works. This training will be useful both for those who wish to continue their study of medieval literature beyond Chaucer and those studying the ars poetria of later periods. A sampling of secondary criticism will help to contextualize Chaucer’s poetry, as well as provide a sense of how questions of form have been treated by critical paradigms ranging from the New Criticism of the mid-twentieth century through to the recent emergence of New Formalism.

Texts:

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Troilus and Criseyde. Ed. Stephen Barney (Norton, 2006).
--. The Canterbury Tales. 2nd ed. Ed. V. A. Kolve and Glending Olson (Norton, 2005).
[Instead of these two editions, students can use the Riverside Chaucer, but, in order for everybody to be on the same page, so to speak, please do not use editions other than the Norton or Riverside.]
Geoffrey of Vinsauf. Poetria Nova. Revised ed. Trans. Margaret F. Nims (PIMS, 2010).
Coursepack.

Evaluation(tentative):

  • Participation – 10%
  • Mid-term exam – 20%
  • Close reading exercises – 15%
  • Essay (7-8 pgs) – 30%
  • Final exam – 25% 

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 359 The Poetics of the Image

Professor Ara Osterweil
Winter Term 2015
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 16:35 pm – 17:25 pm | Mandatory Screening: Wednesday 17:35 pm – 19:55 pm

Full course description

Description: This course is designed to teach students how to meaningfully close read image-based cultural texts. Using multiple strategies of visual analysis, students will learn how to perform perceptive, informed and medium-specific interpretations of both still and moving images. Focusing our critical lens on some of the most innovative photography and film texts of the last century, we will study the nuances of composition, color, mise-en-scène, framing, camera movement, editing and sound. Paying close attention to the ways in which visual style creates meaning, students will learn to look beyond narrative and dialogue in order to understand both the semiotics and poetics of the image.  In addition to numerous close-reading exercises, we will be supplementing our investigation of images by reading several classical texts by theorists such as John Berger, Roland Barthes, Laura Mulvey, André Bazin, Tom Gunning, Sergei Eisenstein, Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, Christian Metz, Kaja Silverman, Mary Ann Doane, and others.  Students must come to class prepared with all of the assigned reading, and will be expected to participate verbally in class on a weekly basis. 

Lectures will be illustrated by copious visual examples.  In addition to lectures, there is a mandatory screening every week. There are also mandatory conference sections that will meet throughout the term (but not always regularly) instructed by the Teaching Assistant. 

Texts: Selections from

  • Roland Barthes
  • John Berger
  • André Bazin
  • Laura Mulvey
  • Kaja Silverman
  • Mary Ann Doane
  • Christian Metz
  • Bela Balazs
  • Jacques Lacan
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Tom Gunning
  • Sergei Eisenstein
  • Laura Marks

Films to be Screened:

  • (nostalgia) (Hollis Frampton, 1971)
  • La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)
  • The Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
  • The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
  • Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
  • ThePassion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
  • Vivre sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)
  • Daisies (Vera Chytilova, 1966)
  • Window Water Baby Moving (Stan Brakhage, 1959)
  • Sanctus (Barbara Hammer, 1990)
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943)
  • Fly (Yoko Ono, 1971)

Evaluation: Attendance and Participation: 15%; 2 page mini-paper: 20%; two small papers (first worth 30%, second worth 35%): 65%

Format: Lecture, Discussion, mandatory screening, and conference


ENGL 360 Literary Criticism

Professor Sandeep Banerjee
Winter Term 2015
Tuesday and Thursday 16:05 am – 17:25 pm

Full course description

Description: This course will explore several topics that are central to modern and contemporary literary criticism and critical theory. These include among others: interpretation; culture; ideology; class, race, gender, and sexuality; discourse; hegemony; signification; and performativity. While we engage with these complex and contested issues of interpretation and criticism, we will read key texts from a range of critical schools and practices, including New Criticism, Marxism, Structuralism, and Post-Structuralism. We will also read selections from, among others, the writings of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler. These texts will help us articulate and interrogate some of the most fundamental questions pertaining to the practice of literary studies: What constitutes literature? Who determines what texts mean, and how? How do texts relate to broader social structures? Considering these questions and texts will necessitate careful and patient reading and sustained engagement with lecture and discussion during class. The reading for this course will be at times difficult and dense. Thorough preparation for each class meeting is essential. This course is required for, but not restricted to, Honours students in English.

Texts: 

  • Terry Eagleton: Literary Theory: An Introduction
  • Frank Lentricchia & Thomas McLaughlin (eds.): Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2nd ed. 

Evaluation: Attendance and participation: 15%; short essay: 25%; Analytical Papers (x6): 60%     

Format: Lectures and discussions


ENGL 363 Studies in the History of Film 3

1980s American Cinema

Professor Derek Nystrom
Winter Term 2015
Monday and Wednesday 11:35-12:55

Full course description

PrerequisitesNone

Expected Student Preparation: Familiarity with concepts and terminology from film studies and cultural studies will be very useful.

Description: This course will survey U.S. cinema during what we might call the decade of Reagan. Indeed, critic Andrew Britton diagnosed the special effects-laden blockbusters that had displaced the more politically and aesthetically adventurous American filmmaking of the 1970s as examples of “Reaganite entertainment,” which acclimated its audience to the military adventurism and “authoritarian populism” of the Reagan administration. But the 1980s also saw the birth of a series of “new” independent cinemas (New Queer Cinema, New Black Cinema, etc.), which generated innovative filmic vocabularies of race, gender, sexuality and class to dissent from Reagan’s political hegemony, as well as the cultural hegemony of Hollywood’s testosterone-fueled, action-adventure fantasies. Meanwhile, older Hollywood genres (the teenpic, the horror film) were being revamped for a new generation of filmgoers. And of course, the 1980s was the decade in which “postmodernism” became a household word. This class will examine all of these developments to trace the ways in which the cinema of this period worked through the political and cultural dilemmas of the period. We will do so while keeping in mind that, as Stephen Prince has observed, the 1980s was the decade in which “film ceased to be primarily a theatrical medium, based in celluloid. … Movies took their place as one ‘software’ stream among others … merchandised by global media companies who viewed their marketplace as the planet itself.” In other words, the decade also marks a moment in which the definitions of “cinema” and even the “national audience” underwent dramatic changes.

Texts: Essays by such critics as Robin Wood, Andrew Britton, Pam Cook, Thomas Schatz, Geoff King, Fredric Jameson, Jon Lewis, Justin Wyatt, Carol Clover, Fred Pfeil, Nicholas Rombes, William Warner, Warren Buckland, Peter Biskind, Janet Staiger, Thomas Waugh, Sharon Willis, and others.

Films:

  • Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)                                           
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
  • Friday the 13th, Part 2 (Steve Miner, 1981)
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982)
  • Sixteen Candles (John Hughes, 1984)
  • Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos, 1985)
  • Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
  • Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
  • Down By Law (Jim Jarmusch, 1986)
  • Parting Glances (Bill Sherwood, 1986)
  • Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)

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