Graduate Courses, Spring 2005

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 6-8 American Literature to 1900 Leverenz
downAML 6027 R 6-8 The Limits of Modernism: Modernity’s Failures Smith
downCRW 6130 W 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Leavitt
downCRW 6130 T 6-8 Graduate Fiction Workshop Powell
downCRW 6331 M E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Hofmann
downCRW 6331 T E1-E3 Graduate Poetry Workshop Logan
downENC 6428 W 9-11 Digital English Ulmer
downENG 6016 T E1-E3 Literature & Psychology: Against Adaptation (Re-reading Lacan) Harpold
downENG 6077 M 9-11 Forms: Notebooks Wegner
downENG 6137 T 6-8
R E1-E3
History & Theory of French Film Turim
downENG 6137 M 6-8
screenings W 9-11
Film Theory: Deleuze Nygren
downENG 6138 W E1-E3
screenings M E1-E3
Studies in the Movies Beebe
downENL 6226 T 9-11 Studies in the Renaissance: Tudor/Stuart Drama Clark
downENL 6236 W 3-5
The Age of Johnson Craddock
downENL 6256 R E1-E3 Theorizing Decadence: Images of Late Victorian Mythologies Snodgrass
downLIT 6037 F 6-8 Modern British & Irish Poetry at Millennium Bryant
downLIT 6856 T 6-8 Issues of Gender & Sexuality in African Literature Amoko
downLIT 6934 W 9-11 Faust Tradition Gaier
downLIT 6934 T 3-5 The Poetry of Emily Dickinson Brantley
downLIT 6934 R 3-5 Speech/Acts/Contexts Emery
downLIT 6934 F 3-5 Shakespeare & the Craft of the Theatre Homan
downLIT 6934 R 9-11
Explorations in Children’s Culture Cech

AML 6017

American Literature to 1900

David Leverenz

In this course we’ll focus on antebellum American texts and genres: slave narratives, short stories and novels, essays and poems. My emphasis will be on close readings, with some attention to ideological contexts both then and now. We’ll explore how constructions of authorship and constructions of blackness and whiteness intersect with gendered norms, and how those intersections affect the emergence of “sensational” and “sentimental” fiction. We’ll also discuss the strengths and limits of close reading, with some attention to the history of criticism.

We’ll begin with close readings of Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, his rewriting of those chapters ten years later in My Bondage and My Freedom, and Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (Texts will be Classic Slave Narratives, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Bondage, ed. William Andrews.) Next we’ll take several weeks to discuss a wide variety of short narratives by Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, in their Library of America editions, in part to see how white writers handle blackness in their themes and imagery. We’ll examine the interplay of sensational and sentimental modes, and we’ll try to figure out what Poe is doing with all those fragmented body parts in his satires. We’ll also discuss why several of Hawthorne’s sketches were so much more popular than the stories that have since been canonized. Note: you should read Douglass’s Narrative for our first meeting.

We’ll then turn to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harper Classics ed. or Norton critical ed., depending on class preference for cheapness vs. criticism) and either Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (Penguin ed.) or some shorter texts by Melville, depending on class interest. We’ll conclude with some essays by Emerson, perhaps with excerpts from his journals, and some poems by Whitman. The class may add or substitute other texts and authors, e.g., Olaudah Equiano, Margaret Fuller, Dickinson, Longfellow, Walden, The House of the Seven Gables, The Last of the Mohicans, Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall. Everyone should already have read Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

Class format will be informal, featuring what I hope will be vigorous discussion, usually introduced with brief student presentations highlighting aspects of the texts and/or reporting on relevant criticism. We’ll explore some current critical tensions, e.g., between “race, class, and gender” critics and those who want to resurrect the possibility of aesthetic appreciation. We’ll also consider the vexed politics and aesthetics of antebellum sentimentalism. I’ll try to situate these texts and issues within and against capitalist dynamics.

Work required: one comparative close reading, probably in the fourth week (30%), an ungraded oral report on textual, critical, or theoretical issues, a brief prospectus for the research essay, and a 15-20 pp. research essay (70%). Grading will be based entirely on your writing, with one exception: missing more than one class without a valid excuse will lower borderline grades, and missing more than two will lower any grade. An A means I think your writing shows dissertation potential by sustaining a complex and original argument with sophistication. A B+ means strong writing at the Masters level, usually offering original arguments and textual insights, though needing more sustained development and complexity. A B means competent writing at the Masters level. Lower than that means some relatively basic problems with either your writing or your commitment to academic work. E-mail me at <> if you have any questions, or come by my office (4362 Turlington); I’m there Monday – Thursday.


AML 6027

The Limits of Modernism: Modernity’s Failures

Stephanie A. Smith

What is truly an American “voice” or “vision”? Ezra Pound’s modernist injunction, “Make it new,” situates the whole so-called modernist project as a response/rejection of the past, and yet, of course, that past is a condition of novelty – and sets limits to the modernist project. In fact, the question of whether or not a distinctly American literature could arise – an anxious question of anticipated failure – has haunted American writings. To lack an “American” voice would be to fail, but without transcending popular American standards, one also fails to be properly literary. In this course, we will re-examine the so-called modernist project as one deeply implicated in the construction of a nationalist identity, and so limited by its own imperatives.

Requirements will include a mid-term project and a final, seminar paper, as well as presentations.

Required readings will include works by


CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

David Leavitt

This is an intensive fiction writing workshop for graduate students in the MFA program in Creative Writing. Reading varies, according to the whim of the instructor. Last year I asked the students to select their own reading, with each member of the workshop presenting a work of fiction that he or she loved. This semester, I plan to put together a reading list consisting of novels that center on the lives of historical figures. The reading may include Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, James Hamilton-Paterson’s Gerontius, Frederick Prokosch’s The Missolonghi Manuscript, Susan Sontag’s The Volcano Lover, Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower, W. G. Sebald’s Vertigo, and possibly stories by Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, and yours truly.

The workshop itself operates on the principle that prose fiction is made of words, punctuation marks and white space. Craft is the name of the game, with the result that we spend more time talking about point of view and voice than we do about subject matter, “theme,” or “plot.” The class is rigorous. Members are expected to submit their work at least three times during the semester, and to emerge at the end better writers than they were at the beginning. They are also expected to amaze the instructor on a weekly basis by exhibiting great critical acuity and by feats of insight.

Although most of the writers who take this workshop focus on the short story, I will be making a concerted effort this term to create an atmosphere that will be equally comfortable for those working on novels or longer works.


CRW 6130

Graduate Fiction Workshop

Padgett Powell

This course is open to MFA candidates in fiction only.

Your job is to write with force and surprise and to tender your efforts regularly and cleanly. My job is to induce criticism which will cure whatever ills are at hand without making the writer ill.

It is difficult to say what is wrong with a piece of fiction in a way that will be at once corrective and palatable to its author. A good professional editor may manage it with a piece not much flawed. I fear, after nearly twenty years trying, that it is rarely possible to do this in a direct way to a more troubled piece of writing for the forming writer then and there. I believe, though, that it is possible, in speaking ostensibly about this or that piece of writing by this or that writer, to speak prescriptively and salubriously toward the bettering of later writing, both that done by an author and by witnesses to his or her ordeal. A general sense of what constitutes good writing is supposed to obtain in the course of our piecemeal daily assaults upon the specific faults and merits of a particular piece of writing.

Objective of course clearly stated at outset: that you leave it writing better than when you entered it. That you put to paper things not said before that surprise us.


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

Michael Hofmann

MFA workshop, following on the side the line in English poetry from Whitman, to D.H. Lawrence, to Ted Hughes (particularly, I suspect, Lawrence).


CRW 6331

Graduate Poetry Workshop

William Logan

“Whoo oop! bow your neck and spread, for the kingdom of sorrow’s a coming! Hold me down to the earth, for I feel my powers a working! whoo oop! I’m a child of sin, don’t let me get a start! Smoked glass, here, for all! Don’t attempt to look at me with the naked eye, gentlemen! When I’m playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales! I scratch my head with the lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder! When I’m cold, I bile the Gulf of Mexico and bathe in it. . . . I’m the man with a petrified heart and biler iron bowels! The massacre of isolated communities is the pastime of my idle moments, the destruction of nationalities the serious business of my life! The boundless vastness of the great American desert is my enclosed property, and I bury my dead on my own premises! . . . Whoo oop!”

– Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

This workshop will take issue with certain habits of imagination, make you read until your eyes hurt, and give you brighter teeth and softer, more manageable hair. Readings in contemporary and modern American, British, and Irish poetry, and finicky and deranged discussion of your own durable work.

Required reading:


ENC 6428

Digital English

Greg Ulmer

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. In general, grammatology draws on historical inventions (e.g. Aristotle’s invention of topics; the use of memory palaces to support learning in manuscript culture) as the basis for inventing hypermedia rhetoric and logic. Taught in the Networked Writing Environment, this course uses the Web as the medium of learning. The fact that the forms and practices of the apparatus have to be invented and do not happen automatically is sometimes forgotten in the excitement about the capabilities of the technology. The focus of this course is on exploring the relationship among the three parts of the apparatus – to test the possibility that hypermedia is especially suited to support and augment creative thinking. In particular, projects will address the mode of reasoning supported by visual images and word-image hybrids.

Assignments: two websites; two in-class presentations; regular participation in email discussion.

Readings (tentative):


ENG 6016

Literature and Psychology: Re-Reading Lacan (Against Adaptation)

Terry Harpold

This course is occasioned by the publication in late 2002 of Bruce Fink’s English (re)translation of Jacques Lacan’s Écrits: A Selection. For more than a quarter century, Alan Sheridan’s 1977 translation of selected essays from Lacan’s most important published work has been among the most widely-read texts of twentieth-century critical thought, despite its obvious and often consequential misrepresentations of Lacan’s original texts. We will devote this semester to close and programmatic re-readings of Fink’s new renderings of classic essays collected in Écrits: A Selection.

The course title is taken from that of Philippe Van Haute’s masterful close reading of the final essay of Écrits: A Selection, “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious.” “Subversion” is one of most dense and challenging of Lacan’s shorter written texts. It is also one of the most significant. Based on Lacan’s Seminar V (“Les Formations de l’inconscient,” 1957–58), “Subversion” marks a turn in Lacan’s teaching, from his emphasis in the 1950s on orders of the imaginary, the symbolic, and the dependence of psychic structure on operations of language, to his development in the 1960s of the concepts of the objet petit a, the real, and the fantasy. At the centers of the Seminar and the essay are the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) Graphs of Desire. These strange, compelling loops and sigles represent the most elaborate of Lacan’s early attempts to codify and transmit his teachings via graphic and para-mathematical objects. “Subversion” is arguably the culmination of the theoretical trajectories sketched out in Écrits: A Selection. We will rely on Van Haute’s lucid and insightful book to guide our way through the fascinating, sometimes baffling defiles of this evocative, essential essay.

Readings for the course will include most of Fink’s translation of Écrits: A Selection (Norton, 2002) and his companion study Lacan to the Letter: Reading Écrits Closely (Minnesota, 2004); Van Haute’s Against Adaptation (Other Press, 2002); and selections from Peter Gay’s edited collection of the writings of Freud, The Freud Reader (Norton, 1995). Graded assignments include two in-class presentations and two 8-10–page précis/commentaries on essays from Écrits: A Selection.


ENG 6077

Forms: Notebooks

Phillip Wegner

In this course, we will undertake an examination of three of the most influential statements in contemporary cultural and political theory: Karl Marx’s Grundrisse, Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, and Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau’s S, M, L, XL. What unifies these otherwise quite disparate texts – composed, respectively, by the most important political and economic thinker of the nineteenth century, an early twentieth century literary and cultural critic who toiled in relative obscurity throughout his own lifetime, and one of the most celebrated architects of the last decade – is the fact that all are “notebooks.” They come to us in the form of drafts, fragments, and the raw materials – not published in the first two cases until many years after the authors’ deaths – of a project that finally appears in a very different form (Marx’s three volumes of Capital), or remains unfinished as a result of the author’s premature death (Benjamin’s work). Only Koolhaas and Mau’s massive “accumulation of words and images” organized simply “according to size” represents the final form of the text “intended” by the authors. Along with these three primary texts, we will refer to a select group of commentaries or related works, such as Antonio Negri’s Marx Beyond Marx, Susan Buck-Morss’s The Dialectics of Seeing, and Koolhaas’s Delirious New York. In addition to raising the question of the notebook as a generic form—one whose fragmentary, unfinished nature and sheer massive extent throw into disarray conventional reading strategies and notions of authorial intent (a large part of the attraction, as Koolhaas and Mau write, is that these books “can be read in any way”), and which thereby becomes especially attractive to our postmodern sensibilities – these works also open up onto issues of special interest in our moment, including modernization, urbanism, globalization, the nature of the image, and cultural revolution.

Approximately one-third of the semester will be devoted to each text, and as this course is meant to be an experiment in reading, the form of our approach will be determined by the energy, interest, and motivation of the seminar’s participants. However, everyone will be expected to take part in our discussions, lead at least two class meetings as part of a “discussion group,” and produce a formal seminar paper.


ENG 6137

History and Theory of French Film

Maureen Turim

This course will examine the history and historiography of film in France, tracing the country’s preeminence in silent cinema, the growth of the French film industry, including its problems during two disastrous world wars, the vitality of French cinema of the thirties, the new wave innovations and the present moment. We will look at various movements such as the avant-garde, Poetic-Realism, cinema verité. Our approach to these films will be multifaceted, including close analysis, social historical readings, and critical theoretical work.

We will simultaneously place this study in a theoretical perspective reading both French film theory, (Delluc, Clair, Bazin, ) and French critical theory, such as Kristeva, Irigarey, Lacan, Deleuze, and Derrida.

Historical Readings may include:

Seminar participants will devise a research project on a given period in French Film History and its relationship to contemporary theory. Grades will be based on both the design of the project in its outline and prospectus development, and on a seminar paper.


ENG 6137

Film Theory: Deleuze

Scott Nygren

This seminar will consider film in relation to the theoretical project of Gilles Deleuze, who is best known in film studies for his books Cinema I and II. However, the seminar will proceed from the premise that his books on cinema cannot be effectively understood in isolation from his other writings, both in collaboration with Felix Guattari and alone, and that conversely his other texts also work to theorize cinema.

Deleuze’s fluid and prolific project enables us to think of film through an open series of models, from anti-Oedipal critique, schizo-capital, rhizome and plateau to nomadic thought, experiment, machine and crystals of time. Through his texts, we will engage with fundamental issues in the current theorization of film and video, from gender theory and postcoloniality to historiography and media politics.

The seminar will work through available works in English to navigate Deleuze’s process of thought. Readings will extend from his earliest book on Empiricism and Subjectivity to his last Essays Critical and Clinical, with special attention to both his collaborative texts with Felix Guattari – Anti-Oedipus, Kafka: For a Minor Literature, A Thousand Plateaus, and What is Philosophy? – and to Cinema I: The Movement-Image and Cinema II: The Time-Image.

Theoretical work will be mobilized ‘next to’ a series of filmic texts, to paraphrase Deleuze. In other words, theory will operate as neither hierarchically superior to film as explanatory narrative nor secondary to the text as if a passive interpretation of it, but as a parallel project in different terms. Accordingly, we will proceed by viewing films in relation to texts, to consider how each may inform a reading of the other. Grigori Chukhrai’s film, Ballad of a Soldier, will be considered next to Deleuze’s problematization of Empiricism and Subjectivity, and von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel next to Masochism: An Interpretation of Coldness and Cruelty. Other films, from Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad to Ann Hui’s Song of the Exile, will be similarly mobilized in relation to texts from Difference and Repetition to The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque.

A broad range of historical, international, documentary, avant-garde and early cinema will be screened as part of the seminar, to extend the parameters of how film is addressed. The complex relationship of avant-garde film with political activism will be of special interest, in order to think through the possibilities of textual agency in a postnational information economy.

Deleuze’s strategies intersect productively with the work of Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Irigaray, Jameson and Lyotard, among others, and some of those intersections will be discussed. However, students are not expected to have read any of the theoretical texts in advance. Deleuze’s work will be presented as both an introduction to theoretical work for new students, and as advanced material for those already conversant with theory.


ENG 6138

Studies in the Movies

Roger Beebe

This course is designed at one level to be a simple soup-to-nuts introduction to the techniques and technologies of video production, including the whole process from shooting to editing. However, at another level (and indeed I might well say that this is the more fundamental level), the class will be an extended exploration of a more finite number of aesthetic and theoretical issues in experimental media. Specifically, in this course we will explore the connections between experiments in different media, principally between experimental fiction and experimental film. We will be looking at the analogies between these different forms of experimentation, exploring the ways that these disparate experiments can inform each other, while equally considering the question of media-specificity and the ways that these formal experiments don’t or can’t translate. We will be reading, among others, fiction by Italo Calvino, Paul Auster, Donald Barthelme, Jorge Luis Borges, and John Barth as well as a handful of theoretical texts including work by J.L. Austin and Fredric Jameson. Screenings will be designed to introduce students to the work of the pioneers of the experimental film tradition (Hans Richter, Man Ray, Stan Brakhage, &c.) as well as more contemporary film and video innovators (e.g., Craig Baldwin, Scott Stark, David Gatten).

The focus, as with all of my production classes, will be fairly narrowly on experimental work. You don’t have to know what that means in advance, but you do have to be ready to discard everything you know about film and to open yourself to the experimentation. (And don’t expect this course to be your chance to make that narrative script that’s been sitting on your hard drive since you were an undergrad.)


ENL 6226

Studies in the Renaissance: Tudor/Stuart Drama

Ira Clark

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 6236

The Age of Johnson

Patricia Craddock

The Age of Johnson was a period of clubs, salons, and coffee houses, a time when many people recognized a distinction between mere talk and true conversation. It was also an age when intellectual specialization had yet to eliminate many subjects from general discourse, so that any intelligent reader expected to pay attention to new developments in everything from astronomy to theatre, from art to politics, from ancient bards to modern optics. By birth and upbringing, Samuel Johnson was a nobody, not even a university graduate or a person with illustrious ancestors (his doctorate was honorary and his father was a bankrupt bookseller). He wrote only a handful of poems, one novel, and one (unsuccessful) play. But he was the most influential man of letters of his age, and one of the few writers ever to have a literary period named after him.

The reason is the enormous breadth of his sympathy, understanding, and output. These same qualities made him the center of group of literary friends, the so-called “Club,” that included most of the great male writers who were alive and in London in the period 1737–1784. They also inspired him to welcome, praise, and mentor a large group of the best female writers of the same era. The writers of both genders included not only those who worked in belletristic genres, but those who wrote nonfiction – everything from history and biography to treatises on navigation, law, theology, politics, and criticism and history of art, music, and literature.

In this course, then, we will read samples of the writings of Johnson and his friends – and a few enemies – in a wide variety of modes, including many not conventionally considered “literary.” Each member of the class will undertake primary responsibility for one writer from Johnson’s “circle,” though we will all sample each of the chosen writers, and everyone will read a variety of Johnson’s own works. We will then try to emulate the Club, to talk about the issues raised by the writings assigned for each work with attention to the variety of perspectives the different authors we have chosen would have on the different works read. Perhaps we can revive the art of intelligent, informed, and energetic conversation, “literary” in the broadest sense. We will not, however, leave the ladies to the salon and the gentleman to the clubs. Authors considered may include Barbauld, Boswell, Burke, Burney, Crabbe, Sarah Fielding, Garrick, Gibbon, Goldsmith, Piozzi, Reynolds, Savage, Seward, Charlotte Smith, the Wartons, and many others TBA. Indeed, interested participants should suggest other names of writers of the period that they would like to see added to this list. A few people excluded themselves from Johnson’s circle – Chesterfield and Walpole come to mind. Pope and Thomson died too soon to participate. We should avoid the “major” novelists for practical reasons (that is, Sterne, Smollett, Fielding, and Richardson; Defoe, of course, is too early). But otherwise, I am open to suggestions.

Each person will write two 20–25 minute “conference papers” for the course, one that focuses on Johnson in some way, and one that focuses on another writer of the period.


ENL 6256

Theorizing Decadence: Images of Late Victorian Mythologies

Chris Snodgrass

For a long time now, literary/cultural criticism has accepted the proposition that cultural paradigms and the social “narratives” supporting them are constructions of a particular historical moment, not natural laws. It is therefore intriguing whenever modern criticism clings to ideological “mythologies” of distant historical periods. Some of the more striking examples of this kind of blind spot involve several of the cultural paradigms of the Victorian Period, not least the tenacious idea of a fin de siècle decadence. This course will investigate the cultural assumptions underlying a few late nineteenth century mythologies, especially those founded on carefully coded representations of gender identity and invoking images of the grotesque. It will not be our focus to explain why certain prejudices about the late Victorian era have resisted normal revisionism, but along the way you may be able to draw some conclusions about that.

We will begin by reading a few twentieth century critical discussions of Victorian ideas about the fin de siècle and its fears of degeneration, including the period of the 1890s routinely referred to as the Decadence, as well as some of the most famous criticism about certain supporting elements, such as the Woman Question, the Feminine Ideal, homosocial culture, and the Empire. We will also read key Victorian commentaries touching on concepts of the grotesque and examine how the cultural paradigms they reference were embedded in a large number of Victorian poems, short fiction, plays, and visual images. The visual images that bombarded the late Victorian period will be considered as texts equal in interest to written texts.

We’ll be studying works by both familiar and relatively unfamiliar (“non-canonical”) figures. Among the specific figures we’ll study are John Ruskin; Walter Pater; the melodrama playwright Arthur Wing Pinero; the “sex crazed” poet, fiction writer, and premier critic Arthur Symons; poet Michael Field (pseudonym for lesbian aunt and niece collaborators); the iconic lyric poet Ernest Dowson; the New Woman fiction writers George Egerton (Mary Chavelita Dunne), Ella D’Arcy, and Victoria Cross; fiction writer Henry Harland (literary editor of The Yellow Book); acclaimed poets John Gray and Lionel Johnson; poet and critic Richard Le Gallienne; women poets Mathilda Blind, Graham R. Tomson, Edith Nesbit, May Kendall, and Mary Elizabeth Coleridge; and, of course, considerable material by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.

While most of the weekly assignments do not explicitly include twentieth century critical theory – and a sophisticated knowledge of literary theory is in no way a prerequisite – you will be strongly encouraged to employ whatever theoretical perspectives you know to help illuminate the issues under study. 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.


LIT 6037

Modern British & Irish Poetry at Millennium

Marsha Bryant

At the end of the 20th century, poet Poet Jo Shapcott observed: “The wars of this century, the end of empire, the aeroplane, the channel tunnel, the World Wide Web, the role of women, the power of multi-national conglomerates, the preponderance of great literature in English from elsewhere, our many changed viewpoints as we enter the new century, all these unite to tell us that the island story of England, little England, is finished..” One way to assess shifting cultural narratives of “Britishness” is through 20th century poetry and its canonical reconfiguration at millennium. This seminar will focus on the 2001 Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry, published by Oxford University Press and edited by American academic Keith Tuma. Aimed mostly toward U.S. college students, the anthology marks the Press’s first updating of the field since Philip Larkin’s 1973 Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse. We will assess both its poetry and editorial agenda, considering the cultural narratives at work across the whole. You’ll be widening your exposure to a rich variety of poetry from standard modernist and postwar figures (Yeats, MacDiarmid, Owen, Auden, Larkin, Gunn, Hughes, Harrison, Heaney), from more women that one usually sees in a British anthology (not only Sitwell and Smith, but also Mew, Loy, Warner, Adcock, Wickham), from a large selection contemporary poets (Mahon, Boland, Riley, Muldoon, Alvi, Duffy), and from “Black British” poets (Breeze, Dabydeen, Kay, Nichols). We will also ground our assessments in Raymond Williams’s foundational Culture & Society: 1780-1950. Williams’s mapping of the shifting definitions of “culture” proves especially important for poetry studies; English intellectuals have often invoked the genre as a synonym for “culture” since the Romantics. We will also explore more recent relationships between poetry and society through Lexis/Nexis research on the current British poet laureateship. Assignments include a short paper drawing on this research, a seminar paper proposal, the seminar paper itself, and a teaching report on one poem.


LIT 6856

Issues of Gender & Sexuality in African Literature

Apollo Amoko

This course hinges on vexed questions pertaining to issues of gender and sexuality in modern African literature. Since the inauguration of the field in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties, sex and sexuality have constituted a central creative and interpretative problematic. The representational economies of most of the canonical texts of African literature have been called into question on account of their gender and/or sexual logics. Much of this critique has been dependent, for its authority, on theories developed in the Western academy. To what extent can such ostensible “western” theories as feminism and queer theory provide critical paradigms and parameters for the study of putatively African aesthetic objects? Are such theories necessarily inappropriate on their account “eurocentricism”? From the perspective of Western feminism and queer theory, is African literature doomed to seem sexist and heteronormative, if not, homophobic (in silent contradistinction perhaps to more enlightened Western literature)? Is a critique of sexism and heteronormativity in African letters conceivable outside the bounds of Western theory? Alternately, is it not problematic to conceive of African literature in terms its radical difference from the so-called Western tradition? In the name of contesting eurocentricism, do allegedly nativist theories of African literature risk normalizing historical and contemporary social inequalities, not to mention a certain anti-intellectualism? What accounts for the lingering hostility to feminism and especially queer theory in certain prominent quarters of African studies? Is the opposition pitting Western theory and African literature itself part of the problem it purports to resolve? To what extents are the texts in question “African”; to what extent is the theory in question “Western”? We will seek to answer these questions by looking at a range of canonical African fictions and Western theories of gender and sexuality.


LIT 6934

Faust Tradition

Ulrich Gaier

In this course, three main texts about Faust will be studied: The 1587 Faust Book, Christopher Marlowe’s Tragical History of D. Faustus, and Goethe’s Faust, Part One. The aim of the course is to highlight Faust’s modernity and to study how the texts convey it poetically. In the case of the German texts, translations into English will be compared critically. The course will be taught in English. Students will be evaluated on the basis of a class report and a term paper (15–20 pages). For details, contact the instructor, guest professor Ulrich Gaier (University of Konstanz): <>.


LIT 6934

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

Richard Brantley

The approach to Dickinson’s 1789 poems and 1049 letters is historical, interdisciplinary, biographical, and formalistic. Topics included are: tones, voices, punctuation, meters, metaphors, controlling ideas; dashes, compression, nonrecoverable deletions, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, variant words and phrases; rhymes; riddles; fascicles (or manuscript books); biographical criticism (an overview); the issue of morbidity; love; nature and consciousness; God and self; death; pain and aftermath; creativity; the enigma of self and other; feminist perspectives on recurring questions; gender and multiple meaning; Dickinson as comic poet; and biographical/cultural contexts. Fifteen-to-twenty pages of critical/scholarly response are required, together with a twenty-minute oral report on these pages.


LIT 6934


Kim Emery

This course will revisit speech act theory – Austin, Searle, Derrida – in the interest of illuminating its intersections with more recent work in pragmatics, (gender) performativity, and pragmatism. The larger goal is to incite and inform new theorizations re: the formation of publics, persons, and markets; the interplay of politics, knowledge, and pedagogy; and, in general, the productive and not fully predictable interaction of speech, acts, and contexts.

Readings will include J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words, Judith Butler’s Undoing Gender, Jacques Derrida’s Limited Inc, and Cary Wolfe’s Critical Environments, along with essays and excerpts yet to be selected.

Two class presentations and an article-length seminar paper will be required.


LIT 6934

Shakespeare and the Craft of the Theatre

Sidney Homan

In this seminar we will “study” three dimensions of the theatre – acting, directing, and playwriting – through actual experience. There are three sections, two of them held in class, the other at the theatre itself. In section one we will form acting teams, each team rehearsing and then staging several scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. The emphasis here will be on developing character, line analysis, delivery, devising the character’s sub-text, gesture, movement, and blocking. No previous acting experience is required. In the second section, with sessions held at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, students will work with Mr. Homan as assistant directors in a production of what is perhaps Harold Pinter’s most challenging play, No Man’s Land. They will be involved in auditioning actors, table-work with the cast, rehearsals, and the various offstage aspects of the production itself. In the final section, students will write and then have performed a short scene inspired by Shakespeare, perhaps a scene implied in the existing text but not actually there, or a scene that “might have been” if the plot had taken a different turn. To be sure, our study of Shakespeare, as well as Pinter, will be placed within the context of critical and theatrical history.


LIT 6934

Explorations in Children’s Culture

John Cech

This seminar will examine the wide range of texts that make up and are in the continuing process of recreating the cultures of childhood – from early texts in the oral/aural tradition, to the electronic texts that are written on video screens; from the material texts of children’s toys, board games, fashion, furniture and play spaces, to those of film and television; from the child-generated texts of children’s folklore, to the hybrid innovations of the graphic novel. The seminar will offer the possibilities of participation on the public radio program, “Recess!” – researching, writing, and recording segments for the program – as well as on the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture website which will begin posting electronic publications this spring.