Graduate Courses, Fall 2000

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
AML 6017 T 9-11 The New Woman in American Literature, 1860–1912 Leverenz
AML 6027 T E1-E3 American Science Fiction Gordon
CRW 6130 W 9-11 Fiction Writing Reisman
CRW 6166 W E1-E3 Studies in Literary Form Russell
CRW 6166 M E1-E3 Verse Forms: Love Poetry Wade
CRW 6331 T E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Greger
ENG 6075 W 6-8 Theory: Issues: Technics (& Identities) Leavey
ENG 6137 T7 R 7-8
T E1-E3
Montage Turim
ENG 6138 MW 6-8 Hypervideo:  Theorizing Video Production Nygren
ENL 6206 MWF 4 Old English Nelson
ENL 6236 M 6-8 World of London Theater Craddock
ENL 6246 MWF 5 Romantic Poetry Ault
ENL 6256 W E1-E3 Popular Sensations: British Women’s Novels of the 1860s Gilbert
LAE 6947 M 9-11
Theories & Practices of Writing Dobrin
LIT 5335 T E1-E3 Studies in Children’s and Adolescent Literature Kidd
LIT 6037 F 6-8 Women’s Poetry & 20th-Century Culture Bryant
LIT 6047 T4 R 4-5 The Modern Theatre: Doing It  Homan
LIT 6357 W 6-8 19th-Century African American Women: Their Lives & Literature King
LIT 6855 R E1-E3 Gender and Modernity Hegeman
LIT 6855 W 9-11 Sexuality in Medieval Literature Shoaf
LIT 6856 T 6-8 Nineteenth Century Racial Formations Schueller

AML 6017

The New Woman in American Literature, 1860-1912

David Leverenz
Tuesdays, per. 9-11 (4:05–7:05 p.m.)

This course will consider various narrations of the “New Woman” in American literature from 1860 to 1912. We will start by reading substantial excerpts from Hawthorne’s Marble Faun, along with a few chapters from Alcott’s Little Women, to establish some narrative and cultural frames. We will then discuss MarkTwain’s Laura Hawkins in his co-authored The Gilded Age, Twain’s unfinished fragment about “Hellfire Hotchkiss,” Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady (1881 version, in Signet edition), Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (not Pennsylvania ed. but Signet ed.), Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Jack London’s Sea-Wolf, Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country, Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, and (probably) Henry James’s The Golden Bowl.

We will use various critical texts about realism and naturalism to situate these narratives, particularly Amy Kaplan’s The Social Construction of American Realism and James Livingston’s Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution, 1850-1940. I will also be developing my own arguments about the narrative functions of “Daddy’s Girls” in an era of corporate paternalism. The course will emphasize close readings as well as historical contexts.

Writing required: one short introductory essay in close reading, one 15–18 page. research essay. Students will also be expected to attend class and to present a 10–15 minute oral report on representations of the New Woman in popular culture, whether in magazines, advertisements, newspapers, or films.

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AML 6027

American Science Fiction

Andrew Gordon
Tuesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

Objectives: An introduction to American science-fiction literature and film in the twentieth century, especially since 1945: the “Golden Age,” the New Wave, the New Women, Cyberpunk, and beyond 2000. We will consider science fiction as the literature of science, technolgy, and change, and as perhaps the most characteristic American literature since 1945, a genre affecting all areas of our popular culture. We will also consider the intersections of science fiction with postmodernism and feminism.




  1. Response papers on the reading and viewing
  2. Oral report
  3. Attendance and participation
  4. Term paper



Fiction Writing

Nancy Reisman
Wednesdays, per. 9-11 (4:05–7:05 p.m.)

The graduate fiction workshop is a studio course, the central goal of which is to help graduate writers further develop their art and refine their aesthetics. As students present fiction-in-progress, we’ll discuss issues of form – the slippery and changing shapes of fiction, what is formally possible in a given work? and the linked questions of narrative stance, point of view, language, voice, etc. What role does lyricism play? How do we represent various experiences of time? To what extent is secular epiphany central, marginal, false? In what ways can we talk about conflicting and/or rhyming currents within a given piece? Conceptualize character? Which “rules” are most interesting to explore the limits of, and which to break? Finally, how might we think about the relationships between fiction writing and the other arts? Between our experiences of culture/cultural moments, the ways in which we tell stories, and the stories we tell? Throughout the semester, graduate writers will be required to produce and present new fiction, to read and respond to published writing and fiction by workshop members, and to complete brief assigned exercises/projects.


CRW 6166

Studies in Literary Form: Forms of the Novel

Josh Russell
Wednesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

This seminar is intended for MFA students who are either in the process of writing or planning to write a novel-length work of fiction.

The seminar will offer an overview of traditional and not-so-traditional forms of the novel – historical, biographical, “road novel” or quest, Bildungsroman, et cetera. With an eye to what makes a book a “novel,” we will read and discuss a number of representative contemporary works, most written in English, a few offered in translation. (Some of these books are short enough to be called novellas or even long stories, one is a collection of stories, and one is “a novel in 165 woodcuts.”) Each student will choose one of the novels, lead the class discussion of the book, prepare a critical paper about the book and its form, and compile an annotated bibliography of other works in the form.

During the last weeks of the seminar, we will turn to practical considerations of novel-writing. Building on what we’ve learned from our overview of form, we will discuss various strategies to utilize when planning a book-length project, and the issues – pace, detail, complexity, character – that make writing a novel different from writing a short story or a poem. Each student will then create a foundation or map for a book-length work.

Possible texts for consideration:

Requirements: One critical paper, one annotated bibliography, one book proposal.


CRW 6166

Writing Love Poetry

Sidney Wade
Mondays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

Love Poetry is the hardest kind of poetry to write. The sentiment-saturated subject requires a deft, imaginative, and skillful approach to effectively handle the heavy baggage. Fortunately, there are many many wonderful successes in print. We will study and imitate poems of jealousy, disappointment, anticipation, desire, despair, passion, flirting, joy, revenge, and other dimensions of Eros, from the ancient Greeks, the classical Tamils, the Bible, contemporary and modern western periods, Renaissance European, classical Latin, and other traditions. Students will be asked to carefully examine and discuss a poem or group of poems a week, focussing on rhetoric, language, form and content, in order to discover how it works. They will be expected to imitate the poems under discussion. Amor Vincit Omnia.


CRW 6331

Poetry Writing

Debora Greger
Tuesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)


Admission: by manuscript

Next to his mother, Pushkin was probably the most important person in Baryshnikov’s early life. Pushkin had begun his own ballet training in the studio of Nikolai Legat, who had helped train Nijinsky. Later he studied with other famous teachers. When Baryshnikov joined his class, Pushkin was fifty-seven, and past dancing, but he had performed with the Kirov for almost thirty years, mostly in secondary roles. “Pas de deux, pas de trois,” Baryshnikov says. “Sometimes substitute for a principal, but he was not principal type . . . . Usually, it’s those kind of people, people who dance twenty-five years the same parts, who know more about technique than people who are advancing and trying out other sort of areas. Twenty-five years you come back after summer vacation and tune your body into same routine, you figure out timing, you figure out method.” Pushkin had begun teaching early, at the age of twenty-five . . . . His classroom manner was famously laconic. He rarely offered corrections, and when he did they were of the most elementary sort. (It was said at the school that he had two: “Don’t fall” and “Get up.”) – Joan Acocella

Dennis Klein, a screenwriter . . . says he has worked as an unofficial ghostwriter – that is, secretly contracted himself to a screenwriter – at least a dozen times, including a stint on a film that is one of the top-ten money-makers of all time. “I come in when the writer of record is burned out, blocked, or confused,” Klein said. “But the writer can’t tell that to the studio – for the same reason that if you’re wandering around lost in the desert you don’t tie a piece of fried chicken to your head.”


ENG 6075

Theory: Issues: Technics (and Identities)

John Leavey
Wednesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50)

Imagine certain books not read or assumed as defining the field. Imagine then working in the midst of things, perhaps at their foundations. That will be the task of this seminar that concerns itself with technology and the technology of identity.




ENG 6137


Maureen Turim
Tuesdays and Thursdays, per. 7-8 (1:55–3:50 p.m.)
Tuesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m., for screenings)

One might define the term as an art or technique of introducing contrast, conflict, dynamism, extention into whatever linear flow of images and sound a film or video portends. Contrasting shots and/or linked shots are joined in sequence. In English the terminology is motion-picture editing or cutting but even Hollywood developed the “montage sequence,” those dazzling bracket sequences that marked the passage of time, the rise to fame, the fall from glory. So we will look at theories and uses of montage with special attention to Soviet Montage, and to the differences within that “school” in theory and in practice (Sergei Eisenstein, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Dziga Vertov, Vsevolod Pudovkin).

We will explore montage in the Amercan Avant-garde (Maya Deren, Abby Child), and also Photomontage and Collage in Art (Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield), as well as:

We will also explore montage and collage, placing together and pasting, with regard to the heterogeneous, combinatory, and associative properties inherent in joining any two on-identical frames, and even “identical” frames. As Werner Nekes asked, “What goes on between the pictures?” And as we might ask, how does the digital affect montage?

Books in the course may include:


Seminar meetings including lecture, discussion and workshop group projects, plus film screenings. This course welcomes the participation of students in various areas, including literature, poetry, cultural studies and film. Students will have their choice of doing papers or web projects; experimentation with montage and format in both instances will be encouraged.


ENG 6138

Hyper/Video Production

Scott Nygren
Mondays and Wednesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50 p.m.)

This seminar will address problems in cultural theory through the making of video images and tapes, as a specific approach to the larger field of Media and Cultural Studies. Video will be conceived as a mode of embodied writing and knowledge production parallel to other more familiar modes of textual construction. Prior experience with video or computers might be helpful but is not required; all technologies will be introduced at a basic level prior to initiating your own work.

The seminar derives from three significant events in recent years, all characterized by a convergence of elements previously assumed to be categorically separate. Theoretical work and artistic practice have converged so that work in either area now freely borrows from the other. A similar convergence has occurred between computers and video, now fused in a new hybrid medium. Last, intercultural concerns and avant-garde strategies of representation have likewise merged to produce some of the most exciting video work of the 1990s.

The convergence of theoretical writing and artistic practice characterizes such critical texts as Derrida’s Glas, Blanchot’s The Step Not Beyond, Barthes’ Roland Barthes and Ronell’s The Telephone Book, and such videotapes as Yun-ah Hong’s Memory/All Echo, Woody Vasulka’s Art of Memory and Marlon Riggs’Tongues Untied. We will read theoretical texts as possible models for video work, and view films and tapes that have previously attempted an intersection of cultural theory and moving image media. In both cases, established literary and filmic texts will act as points of departure for the generation of new models. At the same time, participants in the seminar will regularly produce and screen their own video work in response to class discussion and to each other’s video texts.

The imminent practicality of hypermedia marks the merging of computers and video, once video parallels alphabetic text as a primary organizing tool of interactive multimedia. This shift from hypertext to hypermedia remains in the not-quite-yet stage for individual artists and scholars, despite hyperbolic claims that it has already arrived, due to limitations of speed, memory and compression. As training for this newly determining context, we will look at works by avant-garde artists who have been conceptually interactive for a long time. Accordingly, the seminar’s video work will be produced and discussed in the context of such digital imaging developments as Hypermedia, Video CD-ROM’s, HDTV and a video-capable Internet. However, this discussion will be oriented not towards the technology as such, but towards its implications for the reconfiguration of knowledge, power and desire in a social context.

Last, a contemporary renewal of avant-garde strategies of representation has burst forth to articulate problems of identity, race, gender and history in a multidiasporic world culture. We will look at videos generated from such culturally hybrid situations as Korea/US, Britain/Nigeria, Uganda/US, Iran/Britain and aborigine/Australia, as a currently active and dispersed media project by which we can set bearings for new work.

We will be working with Media 100 and Mac G4 Final Cut Pro editing systems, which are user-friendly desktop computers designed for video production. The seminar will also include a Videonics editing system, and will address the advantages and limitations of digital vs. tape-based production strategies. The department will provide digital and/or Hi-8 camcorders for shooting high quality footage; VHS and S-VHS formats are also available. Attention may also be given to problems of institutional design and innovation, as a social basis for work in video.


ENL 6206

Studies in Old English

Marie Nelson
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, per. 4 (10:40–11:30 a.m.)

Studies in Old English will develop a “Heroes in Transformation” theme this Fall term. We will begin by giving attention to basic grammar – the cases of nouns, strong and weak verbs, basic sentence structure, and so forth, with the intention of getting enough reading skill to be able to relate translations of Old English poems to their sources. We will, for example, see what Ezra Pound did with the language of “The Seafarer” by reading his poem and the Old English poem side by side, and, taking advantage of Jackman’s edition of “Beowulf,” with its right-on-the-page glossary, we will attempt also to understand the decisions Seamus Heaney made as he wrote his widely acclaimed and just-published new “Beowulf.” The ENL 6206 course to be taught Fall 2000, then, will be as much a study of how Modern English can work as an introduction to the language of the Old English poets.


ENL 6236

The World of London Theatre, 1660-1800

Patricia Craddock
Mondays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:30 p.m.)

Study of plays, players, audience, play production, censorship, economics of the theatre, and public and private life as an interactive network, taking the form of collective development of my existing website on “The World of London Theatre.”


ENL 6246

Romantic Poetry

Donald Ault
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, per. 5 (11:45 a.m.–12:35 p.m.)

Required texts (available at Goerings):

This seminar will focus on Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Byron (with some readings in Blake, primarily in The [First] Book of Urizen) and should ideally provide an atmosphere for experiencing and understanding this poetry in an original, creative, and at times perverse way that engages all the power and uncertainty these works can inspire. We will use as one point of departure Jerome McGann’s “Rethinking Romanticism,” which calls into question Rene Wellek’s famous definition of Romanticism as “Imagination for the view of poetry, nature for the view of the world, and symbol and myth for poetic style.” The work in the course will emphasize close reading of texts that present interpretive difficulties at the level of their material production (including variant editions, revisions, different versions, problematic punctuation, spatial layout of syntax, etc.), taking into account the tendency of Romantic texts to resist being “finished.” We will attempt to read these texts against the grain in order to explore interferences within their ideological and textual fields. Emphasis will be on Wordsworth’s The Prelude (1799, 1805, and 1850 versions), Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan” (in relation to “The Picture”), and “Christabel,” and Byron’s The Giaour.


ENL 6256

Popular Sensations: British Women’s Novels of the 1860s

Pamela Gilbert
Wednesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

We will focus on women’s popular novels of the 1860s, with a special emphasis on the phenomenon of the sensation novel. What was “sensation” and why was it so bad (or so good)? How was the popular constructed? Etc. We will be taking a close look at the historical context of the 1860s and examining possible connections. Since “sensation” is, by definition, a term invoking the body, we will pay particular attention to the construction of the body itself. Other key terms will include genre, gender, class, domesticity, the “popular” – and I invite you to propose others.

Readings may include the following:

Selections from:

Requirements include regular attendance and participation, eight short (1–2-page) responses to the reading, one full length paper (21–25 pages), one formal oral presentation (which may be based on the paper topic), and may include one turn as discussion leader.


LAE 6947

Theories and Practices of Writing

Sidney Dobrin
Mondays, per. 9-11 (4:05–7:05 p.m.)

In this course, we will examine and critique the important theoretical issues and problems that concern contemporary scholars and teachers of rhetoric and composition. We will examine the evolution of composition as a formal area of study, review some of the major projects that have shaped or reshaped thinking in the field, and evaluate various theoretical and pedagogical trends. In addition, we will study how scholarship in related fields – literary criticism, philosophy, and cognitive psychology, to name a few – affects studies in rhetoric and composition. These discussions will be tied to discussions of how we, as teachers of writing, engage students, develop assignments, and fulfill institutional and personal goals of the composition classroom. In other words, we will work to bridge the gap between composition theory and our own pedagogies.


LIT 5335

The Newbery Books

Kenneth Kidd
Tuesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

On June 21, 1921, publisher Frederic G. Melcher proposed to the American Library Association that a medal be given for the most distinguished children’s book of the year, suggesting that it be named in honor of the eighteenth-century bookseller, John Newbery. Since 1922, the Newbery Medal has been awarded to 78 books of ssorted themes, genres, narrative complexities, and ideological orientations (with several hundred titles selected as runner-ups or Honor Books). The first such award in the world, the Medal has had a profound impact on the field of children’s literature and on children’s publishing. The winners constitute a canon of classics; they stay in print for decades, and influence as well as document our social values and national priorities. For instance, in the 1920s and 1930s, when America was ostensibly less “imperialist” and more domestically inclined, eight of the first eighteen Medal books addressed foreign cultures or indigenous groups in the Americas. In the 1940s, the winning books often were patriotic and militaristic in theme; both Daniel Boone (1940) and Johnny Tremain (1944) share a fascination with the frontier and manifest destiny. From the 1950s onward, utopian/dystopian fantasy and science fiction became more popular, and since the late 1960s and the rise of “New Realism” in young adult writing, family drama and dysfunction have taken center stage.

There has been almost no research, however, on the Newbery canon and its influence and significance in our culture, and that larger issue will be our primary concern in this class. We’ll read as many of the books as possible, some collectively, and some individually, and make use of a range of theoretical and critical works that address canonical and more “popular” writing. We’ll borrow most heavily from Janice Radway’s recent study of the Book-of-the-Month Club, A Feeling for Books, and from essays on children’s material culture (collected in Girls, Boys, Books, Toys and other such readers). We’ll also do some research on the place of the Newbery Medal and Honor Books in the K-12 curriculum, since many of these books are regularly taught and/or recommended as supplemental reading.

Students will write two short papers of around 5 pages each, one of which will accompany an in-class presentation, and the usual seminar paper of around 25 pages. There will be no exams. Please check with me as the semester approaches if you want more specific information. The course is a graduate-level seminar in literature, but I welcome students in other disciplines who have an interest in this important literary/cultural tradition.


LIT 6037

Women’s Poetry and Twentieth-Century Culture

Marsha Bryant
Fridays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50 p.m.)

The very term “woman poet” continues to be both necessary and problematic as we enter a new century. On the one hand, it marks a necessary emergence from the nineteenth-century idea of the “poetess,” which confined women’s poetry to the realms of sentimental verse and domesticity. On the other hand, it has fostered a problematic model of competing literary traditions in which gender attaches only the feminine side; thus “women’s poetry” becomes a marginal supplement to poetic tradition. Grounded in this vexed history, the course seeks to move discussions of women’s poetry beyond the impasse of canonical hierarchies by framing it within a larger cultural matrix – one which includes modernism, advertising, literary genres, musicology, archaeology, and child care manuals. Our explorations will be informed by the feminist-psychoanalytic approaches that have dominated recent work in women’s poetry studies (especially those drawn from Julia Kristeva). But we will build on Betsy Erkkila’s critique that such theories of “woman’s subjectivity” can render women’s poetry as “universal” and ahistorical, erasing crucial differences between women of different cultures, races, nations, and sexualities. We will also employ perspectives from cultural studies which, as Patrick Brantlinger has asserted, locates meaning “in social relations, communication, cultural politics” instead of “individual reason or subjectivity.” Women are positioned differently in culture than men, so feminist frameworks will remain crucial for our discussions. Yet women’s poetry replicates as well as revises culture; it does not always aim to create what Cynthia Hogue calls “strategies of resistance.”

Our course readings will combine critical and theoretical essays with volumes of poetry. We will also read histories of the American and British women’s poetry movements. For the weeks on Plath and Brooks, we will examine 1950s issues of Ebony and Good Housekeeping. Here are proposed units for the course; we’ll do 6-7 of them.

Assignments will include an oral report, an analysis of a magazine advertisement, a paper proposal, and a term paper.

This course intersects with the following Graduate Tracks: Twentieth-Century Studies, American Literature/Studies, Feminisms/Genders/Sexualities, MFA, Cultural Studies.


LIT 6047

The Modern Theatre: Doing It

Sid Homan
Tuesdays, per. 4 (10:40–11:30 a.m.) and Thursdays, per. 4-5 (10:40 a.m.–12:35 p.m.)

We will study representative plays of the modern theatre by “doing” them. That is, members of the seminar work with a scene partner, rehearsing scenes from the play in question, performing those scenes, then interacting with me as director and the audience of fellow students. The assumption behind the course is that plays are meant for performance, that the text is not just the words or dialogue but the subtext (what the character is thinking and feeling), blocking, gesture, movement, all the spatial, temporal, and physical dimensions that, together with the verbal text, are the “real” text of performance. No experience in the theatre or with acting is required; assessment of your work is based on intention, not polish. We will “do” Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Come and Go, Pinter’s The Lover and Old Times, Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Shepard’s True West and The Curse of the Starving Class. Students will also be involved with a production of an original play, Letters to the Editor, that I will direct at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre. Papers are based on the experience of rehearsing, performing, and working with the director on a scene. The plays considered will be placed with the context of their critical and theatrical histories.


LIT 6357

19th-Century African American Women: Their Lives and Literature

Debra Walker King
Wednesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50 p.m.)

Description: During most of the nineteenth-century, Victorian values and ideologies were the rule. With the downfall of slavery and the rise of industrialization and urbanization many of these standards changed and new codes of living surfaced. This course is designed to give students an understanding of how the African-American woman, her views and her goals fit into the changing system, what her means of survival were, and how her identity was constructed within the age of genteel America. Students will learn what roles black women played in feminist pursuits and what voices clamored to he heard. These and other topics will be addressed through the use of novels, autobiography, slave narratives, prose, poetry and art.

Requirements: TBA


LIT 6855

Gender and Modernity

Susan Hegeman
Thursdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

“Modernity” is an enormously complex concept, focusing our attention both on a set of fascinating historical, historiographical, and theoretical issues and on a profoundly unsettling lived experience of newness, rupture, and change. In this course we will read some of the canonical works in the theorization of “modernity” (including works by Marx, Engels, Weber, Simmel, and Benjamin) in order to develop a better understanding of this concept. Focusing our inquiry into modernity will be the issue of gender and, to a lesser extent, sexuality. The preliminary argument of the course will be that it was often through various questions related to gender and sexuality that the upheavals and anxieties of modernity were registered. The scope of the course will be broadly international; indeed, the readings are designed to some extent to take us out of the Anglo-American context and into an exploration of continental European and global considerations of these issues. Specific topics will likely include the “origins” of patriarchy, consumerism, women’s labor, sexual modernity, modernity and gender in the context of postcolonial theory. Readings will be extensive, and also include works from Freud, Levi-Strauss, M.Berman, W. Benjamin, M. Weber, G. Simmel, P. Petro, J. Walkowitz, K. Peiss, and others. Some literary works and some films will also be assigned.

This course is intended for students working in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American literature and culture who wish to explore a broader historical and theoretical framework for thinking about issues of gender. It should also be of particular use to students with theoretical interests in materialist feminism.


LIT 6855

Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Literature: Boccaccio and Chaucer

R. Allen Shoaf
Wednesdays, per. 9-11 (4:05–7:05 p.m.)


In this course, we will test the following hypothesis: European literatures of the period 1250-1400 emerge as the vernacular flourish of numerous cultures (English, French, Italian, especially) because the fin’ amors tradition that precedes and grounds them constitutes a new paradigm for understanding human sexuality.

Except for the last word, this hypothesis is actually an old one, of course; previous generations of medievalists and early modernists would have written the sentence verbatim except “love” would have appeared as the last word. “Sexuality” as the last word makes a world of difference, however. And it is that world, that difference, which we will study in order to analyze and explain the discovery, through discourses of sexuation, of the non-self-coincidence of the individual subject in the writings of Boccaccio and Chaucer. “It is precisely because desire is articulated that it is not articulable,” is a principle of poetics in these writers, we will see, long before it becomes a creed of psychoanalysis (Lacan’s, in Écrits).


Each student will be responsible for two in-class reports (20 minutes each) and for a 25-page term paper on some aspect of sexuality in the two authors: medieval and early modern physiology, marriage, divorce, prostitution, child-bearing, abortion, child-rearing, dowries, canon and secular laws governing sexual relations, homosexuality, celibacy, STDs, cross-dressing, fetishism, erotic punning, pornography, scatology, voyeurism, etc.


In addition to works by the two writers, chiefly the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales, we will read extensively in some of the very many recent studies of human sexuality in the early modern period. The array of studies is vast and challenging; part of our work will be to try to find order in it and perhaps even emergent paradigms. Still, our main focus will be the writings of Boccaccio and Chaucer (for the first meeting of the seminar, re-read the opening of the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales and study the entry in the OED II for the word “category”). Our representative Provençal poet will be Arnaut Daniel, “il miglior fabbro del parlar materno,” from whom we will turn first to Alan of Lille, then to Jean de Meun, then to Dante (spending three to four weeks on these precursors), then to Boccaccio and Chaucer. All texts (except Chaucer’s) will be read in translation, but I will be happy to consult with students who want to pursue any particular work in French, Italian, Latin, or Provençal.

Final Note

For those students considering a track in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, this course can serve as a prerequisite for the graduate course in Middle English and/or Chaucer (ENL 6216); it can also serve as relevant background for several other courses taught in the Department in the area of MEMS.


LIT 6856

Race in the Nineteenth Century

Malini Johar Schueller
Tuesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50 p.m.)

This course will focus on race as a signifier in nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture. Taking race to be an ever-changing and adaptive social construct, we will focus both on the fluidity and mobility of racial categories, as well as their disciplinary powers. We will also examine the intersections between the discourses of race and sexuality and see how the two are mutually constitutive. Throughout the course, we will deal with some of the questions raised by the concept of race:

By drawing on the diverse deployments of race in legal, literary, anthropological, and critical texts, this course will emphasize the importance of race in the reading of cultural texts as well as map some of the racial formations in the nineteenth century cultural imaginary. The course will focus on four aspects of race: racial mobilities, whiteness, race and sexuality, and blackface.

Possible Texts:

Course Requirements: regular attendance; reading responses; one long or two short papers.