Graduate Courses, Spring 2001

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
downAML 6017 W 5-7 Labor & the American 19th-Century American Novel S. Smith
downCRW 6130 W E1-3 Fiction Writing Leavitt
downCRW 6130 T 9-11 Fiction Writing Powell
downCRW 6331 M E1-3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Logan
downCRW 6166 T E1-3 Studies in Literary Form Hofmann
downENC 6428 W 9-11 Digital English Ulmer
downENG 6016 W 9-11 The Brain & Literary Questions Holland
downENG 6075 W 9-11 Queer Theory Cultural Politics Emery
downENG 6075 T 6-8 Theory and History of the Novel  Wegner
downENG 6077/WST 6508 W 8-10 Forms: Feminist Theory/Advanced Feminist Theory  Hedrick
downENG 6138 M E1-3
T 9-11
What Counts as Film Studies? Ray
downENL 6226 T E1-3 Tudor-Stuart Drama Clark
downENL 6256 T E1-3 Text and Image in Late-Victorian Sexual Politics Snodgrass
downENL 6276 W E1-3 Twentieth Century British Literature Kershner
downLAE 6947 R 9-11 Theories & Practices of Writing Scott
downLAE 6947 M 9-11 Theories & Practices of Writing: Professing Digital Harpold
downLIT 6357 W E1-3 Theoretical Approaches to Black Cultural Studies Reid
downLIT 6855 R 6-8 Writing London Wolfreys
downLIT 6855 T 2-3, R3 Sexuality in Medieval Literature Shoaf
downLIT 6934 T 4, R 4-5 The Poetry of Emily Dickinson Brantley 
downLIT 6934 T 9-11 Narrative & Interactivity Douglas
downLIT 6934 W 3-5 The Literature of Adventure/Domesticity Seelye

AML 6017

Labor and the American 19th-Century Novel

Stephanie. A. Smith
Wednesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50 p.m.)

Although most Americans will spend most of their adult lives working, fictional representations of work – the conditions of employment, the kinds of labor Americans perform, which jobs are available to whom, what those jobs entail – are relatively rare. Or so it might seem. And yet, many novels written in the United States during the 19th century were, in fact, dedicated to the representation, and to the investigation, of the conditions of labor. This course will be dedicated to rendering the multiple manifestations of “labor” – broadly conceived – visible in the 19th century American novel. Engaging a variety of critical perspectives, the course will both explore and raise questions about the rapidly changing nature of work, the public sphere, politics and the economy, with a specific focus on ante-bellum confict that erupted into the Civil War, the post-bellum years of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age.

The course will be organized into thematic units, such as: the economic conditions of writing and publication; the ideology of the progress and the work ethic; the representation of the division of labor in the 19th century; household management; public work/private work; scientific management and the mechanization of the labor force; the urbanization of an agrarian nation-state.

Readings will include works by:

...and more. See also the course website.


CRW 6130

Fiction Writing

David Leavitt
Wednesdays, per. E1-3 (7:20-10:20 p.m.)

This workshop will provide students with an opportunity to pursue individual writing projects in the context of a supportive critical community. Our goal will be twofold: to give you the sort of response that will help you to make your work as strong as possible; second, to use your writing as a springboard for a discussion of the ethical and aesthetic questions that underlie the process of writing fiction. Reading will consist chiefly of essays by fiction writers on the art of fiction writing. Attendance is mandatory.


CRW 6130

Fiction Writing

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

This workshop will incorporate the essence of my course in forms, Verisimilitudeness v. VVerisimilitudelessness, an awkwardness of nomenclature not indeliberate. We will read passages from Turgenev and Diderot, Kleist and Kafka--pairs that rather clearly illustrate fiction to be believed and fiction not to be believed--and then from authors (Stein, Flan O’Brien, Barthelme, Beckett) who play with blending the s.o.d., a phrase I have just coined. We will write after these authors and we will also pursue the student’s “own” work, or that work which might be said to be done independently of the class reading and writing. Thus the course will be a workshop with some odd reading and writing thrown in.


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

William Logan
Mondays, per. E 1-3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

“Poorly depicted clouds – which most people would not notice as wrong – are so disturbing to Dr. Thornes that they almost spoil visits to museums. For a meteorologist, the distraction is as great as the ordinary viewer being confronted by a figure with three arms... [He added that] too many artists had painted [clouds] as they would a backcloth in a theatre.”– The Guardian (London), 9 August 2000

This poetry workshop will feature altocumulus, cumulus, cirrus, and nimbus. In addition to discussing student work, we shall read a broad selection of twentieth- and twenty-first century poets, both British and American (including Frost, Auden, Lowell, Bishop, Hill, Hecht, Schnackenberg, and Fenton).

Likely texts:


CRW 6166

Studies in Literary Form

Michael Hofmann
Tuesdays, per. E 1-3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

For this year’s poetry forms class, I am pleased to announce my long-projected series of readings in 20th century European poetry. It is my contention that, shortly after 1900, poetry stopped being monolingual: Eliot processed Laforgue, Pound the poets of Rome and Provence, Wallace Stevens opined that English and French were one language. Since that time, it has no longer been enough to read only the poetry of one’s own language for sustenance. If one is influenced within it, all one does is to extend the imaginative demesne of those one is influenced by (liable to be better known and more established in any case); the only way of extending one’s frontiers, and of finding oneself, to boot, is to read abroad.

This course will range both widely and deeply over the great European poets: Rilke and Brecht from the German; Herbert, Szymborska and Zagajewski from the Polish; Akhmatova and Brodsky from the Russian; Montale from the Italian, Cavafy from the Greek. We will also study Pound’s Personae – the early poems, containing many of the great translations including Cathay – and Robert Lowell’s karaoke anthology, Imitations, to see what happens to English when it comes into proximity with poems in other languages.

Students taking the course will encounter many great voices they will not have heard previously; they will (I hope) lose their fear and suspicion of the translated word; they will get a sense of the pliancy and expressiveness of English, as it goes about some unfamiliar tasks. Necessarily, the bulk of our time will go on reading and discussing; in addition, I will expect a small amount of rather piquant writing, in the form of parodies (or homages), translations, and adaptations (English-English, if nothing else is possible).


ENC 6428

Digital English

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

The history and theory of writing (grammatology) show that language and memory technologies are one part of an apparatus that includes also institutional practices and human identity formations (collective and individual). Approaching digital media in general, and the internet and world wide web in particular, as the technologies of a new apparatus, this course is an introduction to the grammatology of the internet. Taught in the College’s Networked Writing Environment (NWE), it uses the web as the medium of learning (no previous experience with HTML or graphics software is required). Assignments include making three websites, organized around an experiment – the development of a new consultancy (the emerAgency) intended to deliver Arts and Letters knowledge to the community. For previous work related to this experiment visit, Electronic Learning Forum.

Possible readings include:


ENG 6016

The Brain and Literary Questions

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

In the last two decades we have seen an explosion of knowledge about the brain. In this seminar, we shall explore ways in which these new discoveries bear on our understanding of literature and the literary processes of creation and response. I plan to open up these topics: personal styles; what goes on when we read; Chomskyan and post-Chomskyan ideas of language; cognitive theories of metaphor; the mammalian and neo-mammalian brain; kinds of memory; whether language ability evolved; culture and the child’s growing brain. We shall be reading such people as:

In addition, we will read some psychologists of reading and some people who have begun to apply these ideas to literary questions: Richard Ohmann, Mark Turner, Ellen Winner, and myself.

Because this will be an exploratory seminar, I want to do a good deal of improvising as we find this or that author or topic fruitful. I hope to cover a wide range of material by having students write reports of books for the other members of the seminar. Term papers will be optional, but there will be a final examination. Grades will be based on reading reports and the final. The seminar is open to qualified undergraduates, but they should contact the instructor at


ENG 6075

Queer Theory and Cultural Politics

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

This course provides a graduate-level introduction to major concerns, methodologies, and texts in queer theory. The first part of the semester will be devoted to discussion of field-defining texts, including Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Volume 1, and works by Gayle Rubin, Judith Butler, David Halperin, Eve Sedgwick, and John D’Emilio, among others. In the second part of the course, we will situate queer theoretical approaches in relation to specific sites of cultural engagement, seeking to illuminate both the cultural implications of queer theories and the theoretical insights of queer cultural work (including community organizing, activism, and institution-building, as well as writing, films, and other forms of artistic production). In class discussions and formal assignments, students will be encouraged to explore the applicability of various theoretical paradigms (Marxist, feminist, deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, Foucauldian) to various concerns of queer politics (visibility, sexual liberation, civil rights legislation, AIDS activism) and to examine the usefulness of queer theoretical frames to the analysis of cultural politics more generally, with a focus on the contemporary United States. Additional readings may be drawn from among the following:

Course requirements

(Advanced graduate students may propose and write an article-length seminar paper in place of the short papers and midterm.)


ENG 6075

Literary History and the Novel

Phillip E. Wegner
Tuesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50-3:50 p.m.)

The aims of this course are two-fold: to introduce you to some of the rich critical and theoretical traditions surrounding one of the truly great modern literary forms, and indeed one of the most significant inventions of modernity, the novel; and to explore a variety of different approaches to the fundamental problem of narrating literary and generic history. During the course of the semester our discussions will move between crucial works of European and English literatures and a group of monumental and influential theoretical texts. Some of the questions we will be exploring include:



ENG 6077

Forms: Feminist Theory

Tace Hedrick
Wednesdays, per. 8-10 (3:00–6:00 p.m.)

Since feminist theory is by its very nature interdisciplinary, this course is designed to acquaint students with some foundational feminist theory – in primary texts – across the disciplines: philosophy, art history, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, and the sciences. By “foundational” I mean feminist thought which has been influential in shaping academic feminist scholarship since the so-called “second wave” of United States and European feminism, beginning (roughly) in the late 1940s and moving up to the present. Although we cannot cover everyone, some of the names you may see on the syllabus include:

Course requirements include one 25-30 page final paper, 8 response papers, and one short presentation.

Note: This course is cross-listed with Women’s Studies, so space for English Department Graduate students is limited.


ENG 6138

What Counts as Film Studies?

Robert Ray
Mondays, per. E1-3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.), Tuesdays, per. 9-11 (4:05–7:05 p.m.)

Around the time of the cinema’s 100th birthday in 1995, a widespread feeling began to develop that something had happened to Film Studies. With more movies available in more different formats than ever before, with the cinema itself dissolving into the larger world of “image culture,” Film Studies became the target of a kind of mergers-and-acquisitions war, with larger, more rapacious disciplines like English and Cultural Studies bidding for the apparently depreciated prize. Ironically, this moment of the cinema’s decline coincided with an explosion of academic film jobs, especially in elite liberal arts colleges, an event perhaps confirming that such institutions prefer subjects apparently consigned to history. In the meantime, the field limps along. As the recent anthology Reinventing Film Studies demonstrates, what seems to be happening, in Brian Doan’s words, is tinkering with Film Studies, as academics pick away at previous work without really breaking with it, like a child who quarrels with his parents but still lives at home. In his recent PMLA article, “The ‘Three Ages’ of Cinema Studies and the Age to Come,” Dudley Andrew proposes a three-act treatment of Film Studies’ history:

  1. The Stone Age of pre-academic cinephilia,
  2. The Imperial Age of post-1968 semiotic critique, and
  3. The Present Age of what-remains-to-be-seen.

Each of these Film Studies moments arose in connection with specific practices of movie-watching. If cinephilia depended on the spell of the movie palace, then VHS-aided critique emerged in opposition to it, advocating the explicit goals of demystification and exposure. If semiotic critics seemed obsessed by their predecessors’ apparent enchantment, The Present Age of Beavis and Butthead and DVDs seems to wonder what all the fuss was about.

The project of this course is to fill-in the blank left by Andrew after The Present Age. We will begin by looking at the most representative work associated with each of the first two Ages: cinephilia’s Impressionist critics and André Bazin, semiotics’ Noël Burch and Laura Mulvey. In the course’s second half, we will look at possible models for a different approach to Film Studies, while concentrating our attention on four Classic Hollywood movies, Grand Hotel, The Philadelphia Story, The Maltese Falcon, and Meet Me in St. Louis.

Assignments: one mid-term, one final paper.



ENL 6226

Studies in the Renaissance: Tudor/Stuart Drama

Ira Clark
Tudesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

In this course we will concentrate on reading about 25 plays from Elizabeth’s reign to the closing of the theatres in 1642. Our primary focus will be on reading these within various historical contexts and from wide-ranging critical perspectives that have proved persuasive and valuable to scholars past and present: from production and casting through genre and rhetorical studies to dramatic and metadramatic approaches to new historical and feminist interpretations, to name only a few. The class will read along lines of historical development first tragedies, then comedies, and finally tragicomedies. And we will progress from lectures based on the readings through students’ oral and written reports on important scholarly and critical contributions and through brief papers to independent discussions and more involved papers based on whatever approaches and contexts you deem valuable.

Grades will be based on two 20-minute class reports with attendant two-page analyses-outlines on an assigned critical approach (20% each) and three papers of increasing complexity and scope, beginning with a detailed interpretation of some technical consideration, possibly one inside a single scene or act within an assigned tragedy and concluding with a presentation of some non-Shakespearean play of the era not assigned to the class (15%, 20%, & 25%).


ENL 6256

Text and Image in Late-Victorian Sexual Politics

Chris Snodgrass
Tuesdays, per. E1-3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

This course will have two central focuses:

It is by now a commonplace that traditional Victorian gender definitions – such as the presumed natural transition of males from Public-School athleticism to roles as managers of Empire and exemplars of nationhood; and the “proper” role of females as “Angels of the House” and exemplars of the Feminine Ideal – were problematized by, on the one hand, equally traditional homosexual “dalliances,” Gentleman’s-Club refuges, and the institution of prostitution, and, on the other hand, the increasing focus on the New Woman and the Woman Question. Since it is generally agreed that Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley were the two most iconic figures of the Victorian fin de siècle, Wilde’s texts and Beardsley’s images will constitute the core sources for text-image comparisons, although we will also examine the works of many other figures. The reading includes Victorian articles about the pressing social and cultural issues of the time, contemporary (Victorian) aesthetic criticism on art and aesthetics, influential paintings, short fiction by Victoria Cross, George Egerton [Mary Chavelita Dunne], and Ella D’Arcy, Beardsley’s pictures, Beardsley’s unfinished semi-pornographic novella, Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray and his major plays (Salome, Lady Windermeres Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest), as well as some twentieth-century scholarship.

The course will try specifically to organize your efforts toward producing a publishable professional article. Approximately 50% of the final grade will depend on the term paper and the supporting bibliographical work and scholarship. The other 50% will be based on the quality of weekly reading notes, as well as the degree of preparation for and participation in the discussions of the scheduled course material. While the explicit assignments do not include twentieth-century critical theory, and a sophisticated knowledge of literary theory is not a prerequisite, you will be strongly encouraged to employ whatever theoretical perspectives you know to help illuminate the issues under study.


ENL 6276

Twentieth Century British Literature

R. Brandon Kershner
Wednesdays, per. E1-3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

This course will survey the twentieth-century British (and Irish) novel through the present day. In the first half of the course we will stress the emergence of modernism in the novel, with particular emphasis on formal concerns of the novelists, the effects of literary impressionism, and Joyce’s Ulysses as a central text in the modernist canon. The second part of the course will be addressed particularly to works by women and to the exploration of an alternative canon. Thus we will miss some works conventionally taught in a course like this (by Greene, Waugh, Orwell, Huxley, or Carey, for instance) in favor of works by writers like Murdoch, Rhys, and Barnes. At the same time, we will investigate the vexed question of the relations of modernism and postmodernism in the British novel.

The course will combine social and formal concerns: we will begin by emphasizing an evolution in the form of the novel and otherwise generally reprise the New Critical approach to modernist texts (while simultaneously putting it into question). Then, mostly through the idea of dialogism, we will attempt a bridge into questions of social context and ideology. Contemporary critical modes will be invoked, especially those in which poststructuralist insights are embedded in a social analysis: Bakhtin, Jameson, and Barthes should be especially useful, and we will pay particular attention to the possibilities of “New Historicism.”

Books may include:

Requirements include three essays. Two of these should be around eight typed pages, while one, of your choice, should be a more ambitious effort of fifteen to twenty pages, designed for submission to a professional journal. You will also give a fifteen-minute presentation on some aspect of one of the books assigned; this may be on the same topic as one of your papers. In your presentation you should speak from notes but should not simply read aloud. There will also be a final exam, including both objective and essay sections, which means that you will be responsible for literary and biographical facts presented in class, as well as for the material in each of the books. The grades will all count about equally, except for the larger paper, which counts double; in addition, you will receive a grade for your class participation.


LAE 6947

Theories and Practices of Writing

Blake Scott
Thursdays, per. 9-11 (4:05–7:05 p.m.)

In this seminar we will examine the major theoretical and pedagogical movements (including their ideological underpinnings) that have shaped composition studies. In addition to studying the evolution of composition as a field, we will relate theories of writing to our own pedagogical practices, from selecting textbooks to designing assignments to structuring a course. Of special concern will be theories and strategies for teaching composition in computer environments, such as the Networked Writing Environment (NWE).

The first several weeks will be spent becoming familiar with the NWE and interrogating the dominant paradigms of composition instruction, especially rhetoric, current-traditional rhetoric, writing about literature, writing as a process, and social constructionism. In the second part of the course we will evaluate more recent composition projects that draw on liberatory pedagogy, feminist theory, cultural studies, and literacy-technology studies.


LAE 6947

Theories & Practices of Writing: Professing Digital

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

This course will serve as graduate-level introduction to problems of research, teaching, and critical practice in the digital field. A lesser emphasis of the course will be on developing students’ familiarity with the tools and methods available to them through UF’s Networked Writing Environment (NWE). The primary aim of the course will be to situate problems of digital critical praxis for the scholar, critic, and teacher – producing historical, political-economic, and philosophical critiques of contemporary cybercultural discourse, with a special emphasis on investigation of the narrative and visual forms of interactive digital media. The format of the class will lean heavily toward the seminar- studio model, emphasizing collaborative work and discussion. Some prior experience with the WWW and other forms of interactive digital media is recommended, but is not required.

Detailed syllabus for LAE 6947, Spring 2001



Theoretical Approaches to Black Cultural Studies

Mark A. Reid
Wednesdays, per. E1-E3 (7:20–10:20 p.m.)

Readings of theoretical work written by people of African ancestry will be used to study Black literary and visual cultures as found in such creative mediums as the novel, play, photography, painting, film and video art. Writings by Houston Baker, Hazel Carby, Barbara Christian, Anne duCille, Henry Louis Gates, Stuart Hall, Mae Henderson, bell hooks, Cheryl Wall and others will help us discuss how literary and visual works engage issues and debates concerning the social and psychological construction of race, class, sexuality and/or gender identity as reflected in a particular creative work and intellectual idea. Students write short response papers on assigned readings and submit a fifteen- to twenty-page comparative analysis that contrasts selected course readings with other similar works by theorists as Mikhail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Homi Bhabha, Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and others.



LIT 6855

Writing London

Julian Wolfreys
Tuesdays, per. 6-8 (12:50–3:50 p.m.)

Taking as a tentative principle the notion that the city is not a place but that which takes place, this course will explore the tensions which emerge through the development of an urban sensibility, the attempts in writing and film to represent the experience of the city, and that, in the condition of the city-as-event, which resists and ruins representation. We will approach the poetics and politics of urban experience through writings in architectural theory and other theoretically related areas.

In considering the writing of the city, we should think about the following:

Amongst other possible matters of interest, we might consider the complex relationship between the experience of the city, the pleasures of the urban text, and the often ineffable nature of that pleasure, whereby one can admit one’s pleasure, while only being able to say that one can say very little about it. This double bind is, arguably, a necessary component of the modern urban experience, so that the city might only ever be considered as a series of possibly contiguous, yet, equally, discontinuous, ‘symptoms,’ material traces referring to one another, rather than describing or representing some ultimately knowable reality.

If this is the case, then each textual encounter with the city only serves to defer absolute knowledge of the city, keeping the city’s identity at a remove. The more one knows about London, the more one comes to realise that the city can never be known. At the same time, while the city is never the same for everyone, there are possible fleeting instances of shared comprehension, particularly in textual form, of the ways in which city spaces can be put to use in writing the city as the taking place of various alternative urban voices, all of which, in expressing fragments of urban otherness, affirm the city while resisting the seamless construction of a single urban identity.

While the course will concentrate on aspects of theoretical discourse concerning architecture, spatial relations and the urban, because the focus of the course is on a specific city we will attend to exemplary urban texts of the nineteenth century and to both writing and film in the twentieth century. Rather than appear to construct a linear narrative from the Victorians to the present however, there will be two ‘streams’ within the course (details to be agreed amongst participants), wherein you can concentrate, if you choose, either on nineteenth- or twentieth-century texts (or, indeed, a combination of both, if you have the energy).



19th Century texts

20th Century texts


  1. Attendance: 10%
  2. Once 20-page paper: 50%
  3. Group Project: 40%


LIT 6855

Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Literature: Boccaccio and Chaucer

R. Allen Shoaf
Tuesdays, per. 2-3 (8:30–10:25 a.m.), Thursdays, per. 3 (9:35–10:25 a.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 6934

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

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

This course will give the student an opportunity to focus on a major author from a historical, biographical, and formalist perspective. We will employ a range of criticism. We will attend especially to scientific, philosophical, religious, and metapoetical themes. There will be a combination of shorter and longer papers and an oral report.


LIT 6934

Narrative and Interactivity

Jane Douglas
Tuesdays, per. 9-11 (4:05-7:05 p.m.)

Has entertainment ever before offered us opportunities for interactivity – and does it do so now? During this semester, we’ll consider the pleasures potentially and ideally offered by digital entertainment. We’ll examine print, cinema, hypertext fiction, and narrative-driven digital “games” to explore how we derive pleasure from books in genres that feature highly predictable plots, characters, and resolutions, how schemas can guide readers through often complex digital worlds, and how narrative cul-de-sacs can, for example, make even the most expensively produced digital narratives seem frustratingly limited. Among the hypertexts and games we’ll consider:

Readings will include:

Course requirements include several presentations, some analyses of interactive texts, and an article-length paper (25-35 pp.).


LIT 6934

The Literature of Adventure/Domesticity

John Seelye
Wednesdays, per. 3-5 (9:35-12:35 a.m.)

This a sortie in gendered genres, a wide range of texts that will carry us from ancient times to early in the 20th century. We begin with an Assyrian epic and end with a classic of popular American fiction. We will be following William Spengemann’s The Adventurous Muse, which identifies the story of adventure as essentially American, as opposed to the literature of domesticity, which he sees as British. He has long since given up such dichotomies, which are in any event specious, but Spengemann’s discussion will help us define our own categories. There will be two term papers, on novels not read for the seminar: Wyss’s Swiss Family Robinson and Ballantyne’s Coral Island (1st paper); Conrad’s Heart of Darkness compared to Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes and Dickey’s Deliverance (2nd paper).