Course Listing

Winter 2018

English 85 – American Novel
with Continuing Lecturer Joe Dimuro
Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
2258A Franz Hall

This course covers the rise of literary realism and naturalism in the American novel between the end of the Civil War and the opening of the twentieth century. It is designed for the general student who seeks a deeper comprehension of this period, as well as a more proficient set of analytical skills in reading and writing about literary texts. Novels include Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs, Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, Stephen Crane’s Maggie, and Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie. We will study how each novel demonstrates its own unique technical achievements in narrative form, character development, and prose style. The course focuses on issues of freedom and slavery, women’s rights, social class differences, and urban life among other distinctively American themes. Assignments, discussions, and lectures are designed to improve students’ close reading and interpretive skills.

 

English 90 – Shakespeare
with Professor Rob Watson
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
161 Dodd Hall

Survey of Shakespeare’s plays, including comedies, tragedies, and histories, selected to represent Shakespeare’s breadth, artistic progress, and total dramatic achievement.

 

English M107A – Studies in Women’s Writing:
British Women Writing Dangerous Women
with Lecturer Megan Stephan
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

This course will examine how British women writers develop and construct complex – even transgressive – female characters throughout the long nineteenth century. In the various literatures of the period, concerns about women’s changing roles in culture and society gave rise to a wide range of representations of evil and destructive women. While both male and female authors employed the figure of the dangerous woman, our study of novels, short stories, and poetry by women writers will reveal their experimentation with (and challenges to) this trope. Authors considered will include Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Christina Rossetti, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Vernon Lee.

 

English 115E – Science Fiction
with Professor Ursula Heise
Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
1434A Physics and Astronomy Building

Science fiction is a tool for thinking about our relationship to natural and technological environments now and in the future. This course will focus on real and imagined nature in SF from Africa, North America, Latin America, and East Asia. How does SF portray environmental crises, and what solutions does it envision? Are human bodies and societies seen as part of nature or outside of it, and how does that affect what “being human” means? How do the activities of humans, animals, aliens, machines, and natural forces transform environments? How do social inequalities shape visions of nature? What work do genres such as apocalyptic narrative, disaster film, cli-fi and utopia do? Do visions of our environmental future have to be bleak, or are there optimistic possibilities? Readings will include novels, graphic novels/comics, short stories, and films by Bacigalupi, Dick, LeGuin, Miyazaki, Moore, Okorafor, Robinson, Yamashita and critical essays on science fiction.

 

English 121 – Modern and Contemporary Aesthetics and Critical Theory
with Adjunct Associate Professor Mitchum Huehls
Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
1749 Physics and Astronomy Building

This class examines literary theory and criticism in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will focus on three dominant theoretical movements–Marxism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis–but will also explore key concerns from more recent decades:  feminism, biopolitics, race, and affect. Readings will include selections from Marx, Freud, Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, and Bruno Latour.

 

English 139.2 – Virginia Woolf
with Assistant Professor Louise Hornby
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
3129 Rolfe Hall

This course will explore a selection of Virginia Woolf’s major works. We will address the central questions of how Woolf cultivates discourses of British modernism and how she responds to modernism’s particular aesthetic charges. We will consider how she experiments with genre: in particular, how she charts the territory between fiction and biography in her work. What is the relationship between her own life and the fictional worlds that she creates? How does she theorize biography? In addition to her novels and short fiction, we will supplement with readings from her critical essays, diary entries, autobiographical writings, and letters, and we will engage with the scholarly criticism surrounding her writing.

English 150A – Shakespeare:  Poems and Early Plays
with Professor Rob Watson
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
3178 Bunche Hall

A study of Shakespeare’s works up through 1603, including the Sonnets, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Henry IV Part I, Henry V, Hamlet, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.

 

English 150B – Shakespeare:  Later Plays
with Continuing Lecturer Stephen Dickey
Mondays & Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
3134 Rolfe Hall

Intensive study of representative problem plays, major tragedies, Roman plays, and romances.

 

English 150C – Shakespearean Tragicomedy
with Professor A.R. Braunmuller
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

From the start of his career, Shakespeare’s plays displayed a blending of tone and mixture of emotions that make them very attractive but also puzzling and difficult to categorize (and hence difficult to evaluate). Consideration of some of his most generically puzzling plays, from Comedy of Errors to Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, with stops at Measure for Measure, Pericles, Romeo and Juliet, and others. Some exploration of generic theory, but emphasis on plays as theater. One prospectus and 12- to 15-page research paper, and significant classroom contributions, required. Previous experience with Shakespeare’s works, or those of his contemporaries, on page or stage strongly advised.

 

English 166A – Colonial Beginnings of American Literature
with Professor Michael Colacurcio
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
162 Royce Hall

Historical survey of American literatures of discovery and exploration, contact, and settlement, with emphasis on genres that express distinctive colonial identities, myths, and religious visions.

 

English 170A – American Literature, 1865 to 1900
with Professor Christopher Looby
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
160 Royce Hall

Historical survey of American literature from end of Civil War to beginning of 20th century, including writers such as Howells, James, Twain, Norris, Dickinson, Crane, Chesnutt, Gilman, and others working in modes of realist and naturalist novel, regional and vernacular prose, and poetry. 

 

English 173A – American Poetry, 1900 to 1945
with Lecturer Siobhan Phillips
Mondays & Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
1749 Physics and Astronomy Building

This course will study poetry in the United States from 1900 to 1945. We will focus on how writers used new, modernist forms to address some new, or newly pressing, questions—about belief, identity, audience, and tradition. Authors will include Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others.

 

English 174B – American Fiction since 1945
with Lecturer Siobhan Phillips
Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

This course will study prose fiction in the United States from 1945 to the present. Moving chronologically, we will focus on how writers used different narrative strategies within the genres of novel and short story to respond to changing historical conditions in the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. Authors may include Grace Paley, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, David Foster Wallace, and others.

 

Fall 2017

Engl 85 – American Novel
with Continuing Lecturer Chris Mott
Tuesday & Thursday, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
2209A Bunche Hall

Development, with emphasis on form, of American novel from its beginning to present day. Includes works of such novelists as Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison.

Engl 90 – Shakespeare
with Continuing Lecturer Stephen Dickey
Monday & Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
1434A Physics and Astronomy Building

Survey of Shakespeare’s plays, including comedies, tragedies, and histories, selected to represent Shakespeare’s breadth, artistic progress, and total dramatic achievement.

Engl M107A – Study in Women’s Writings:
Women’s Words:  Gender, Ethnicity, and History
with Emeritus Professor Karen Rowe
Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
2242 Public Affairs Building

Gender and ethnicity construct women’s lives in the Americas and, we might argue, the choices women face in their lives are often bounded by cultural preconceptions determined by one’s gender, race, and class. But women’s lives are shaped by history too, whether that history traces back to the legacies of slavery, miscegenation, and the civil rights movements, back to the Japanese immigration and World War II internment, back to nineteenth-century immigration, or more deeply into a continental history of European displacement of Indian tribes, Spanish colonization of indigenous Aztec and native populations in the southwest, and the continuing struggle to live in the borderlands between the United States, Mexico, and Latin America. How do women authors writing today create texts that capture this postcolonial and transnational complexity of women’s lives, determined by their gender, ethnicity, and history? How do women negotiate the complexity of identities seemingly fractured, often ruptured irreparably by the triple claims? Where do women find in the reservoirs of ancient lineage, female networks, commitments to children, cultural traditions, spiritual beliefs, the sources of identity and connection that enable survival and creativity? How does history link to land and landscapes, nature and nations? What is my space, my nation, my region? How do women learn to live in “the father’s house” yet to perpetuate and transmit the “mother” tongue, lineage and history?

In all of this quarter’s readings, the heroines seek within the self and in history for answers to the question, “Who Am I,” yet they also seek through memory and recollection to answer the question, “Where Have I Come From?” Whether in immigrant histories, border sagas, the narratives of slavery, the legends of Indian storytellers, the iconic figures (Afrekete, Llorona, Malinche, Coatlicue, Fa Mu Lan, Warrior Women), women seek linkages with the past in order to transmit legacies of female wisdom, cultural knowledge, sexuality, and spirituality to their descendants. We are, in this sense, Walker’s “mother’s daughters” or “crazy saints,” Silko’s “storytellers,” Kingston’s “warrior women,” Viramontes’ curanderas–the women that Audre Lorde calls sisters/outsiders. Readings will be selected from various genres (poetry, autobiography, non-fictional essay, short story, and novels) and from among the following authors/texts (we can’t do them all!):  Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera; Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Cisneros, The House on Mango Street and/or stories from Woman Hollering Creek; Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper; Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God; Kingston, The Woman Warrior; Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury” from Sister/Outsider; Morrison’s Beloved; Silko, Storyteller; Viramontes, “Cariboo Café” from The Moths or Under the Feet of Jesus; Yamamoto’s “The Legend of Miss Sasagawara” from Seventeen Syllables.

 

Engl 115D – Detective Fiction
with Professor Blake Allmendinger
Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
3170 Bunche Hall

“The Mystery Genre”

In this course, we will study the evolution of the mystery genre, beginning with the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe.  Next, we will investigate the classic British tradition, exemplified by writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.  We will also consider the American reaction to this tradition, witnessed in the works of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and the African American novelist Chester Himes.  In addition to mysteries, detective fiction, and noir, we will also examine the suspense and horror sub-genres in The Talented Mr. Ripley, In Cold Blood, and the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs.

 

Engl 116B – Introduction to Electronic Literature
with Assistant Professor Danny Snelson
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
160 Royce Hall

What is not electronic literature today? Rather than interrogate “electronic literature” as a subgenre of literature in general, we might turn the question around to ask: are there any works of literature functioning outside of the electronic circuits that characterize the networked present? More boldly, we might contend that even the most traditional literary works are only accessed via digital circuitry. The study of literature today—from Shakespeare’s folios to genre novels to last week’s poetic publication—is facilitated by a range of digital formats and networked consoles. Indeed, it would be quite difficult to find literary modes outside of “electronic literature” in the present moment. This course seeks to understand literature through the everyday experience of computers and electronic devices. This course begins in 1945, examining the development of post-war computational systems alongside contemporaneous political movements and literary genres. From the history of digital poetics to recent internet poetry, we’ll track the development of literature under the influence of computation up to works published in the present, as they emerge throughout the quarter. In lockstep, the course considers the category of “electronic literature” as a way to think about historical works remediated to the internet, in a range of digital formats. Selected critical texts will include writing by Charles Bernstein, Simone Browne, Wendy Chun, Lori Emerson, Lisa Gitelman, N. Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, Alan Liu, Jerome McGann, Shaka McGlotten, Rita Raley, and Hito Steyerl, among others. Creative works will also be available online, including works by Alejandro Crawford, Craig Dworkin, Tan Lin, Holly Melgard, Nick Montfort, Tracie Morris, Mendi+Keith Obadike, Allison Parrish, Claudia Rankine, Brian Kim Stefans, and Wilmer Wilson IV, among others.

Engl 117 – Literature of California and American West
with Professor Blake Allmendinger
Monday & Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

“California Literature”

In this course, we will survey the history of California literature, focusing on the Mission period, the Gold Rush era, the rise of Hollywood in the early twentieth century, the role of California during World War II, its turbulent passage through the 1960s, and its development through the early twenty-first century.  Because California has always been a place of contestation, we will consider the Spanish and Mexican colonization of Native Americans, the influx of whites after the Mexican-American War, and the rising discontent of African Americans during the Watts Riot and the 1992 Uprising.

Engl 118A – Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature:  Comedy
with Professor Michael North
Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
3170 Bunche Hall

A study of the many different forms of comedy from slapstick to Waiting for Godot. The course will consider a number of basic questions. What sorts of things are funny? Why are they funny? Are they all funny in the same way? Are there differences between verbal and visual humor? Is there a comic mode that extends beyond humor? Examples will be taken from silent films, comic verse, jokes, cartoons, comic novels, and plays.

Engl 122 – Keywords in Theory:  Boredom and Anxiety
with Assistant Professor Louise Hornby
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3134 Rolfe Hall

This course explores how literature, film, and philosophy have offered models for thinking about the interplay between boredom and anxiety. What kind of aesthetic category is boredom? What are the temporalities produced by boredom and anxiety? How does technology address questions of attention and distraction? How does boredom generate anxiety (or vice-verse)? What does it mean to create a work of art that is supposed to be boring? How can anxiety be provoked? What are the causes and cures for boredom and anxiety? Are boredom and anxiety symptomatic of a particular historical moment? We will consider work by Charles Baudelaire, Gustav Flaubert, Søren Kierkegaard, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Chantal Akerman, among others.

Engl 130 – Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures
with Professor Ali Behdad
Monday & Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
1234 Public Affairs Building 

Introduction to major themes and issues in postcolonial literature, with focus on contemporary literature and writings produced after decolonization, often engaging history of British or other empires with emphasis on Anglophone writers from Africa, Caribbean, South Asia, and indigenous Pacific.

Engl M138 – Lyric Poetry in the Trump Era
with Lecturer Jason Morphew
Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. –10:50 a.m.
222B Humanities Building

A resilient literary form for thousands of years, the lyric poem nevertheless seems always to be under pressure to justify its existence. Anti-Petrarchan and Enlightenment poets satirized the form; literary critic Theodor Adorno argued that after Auschwitz, lyric poetry is impossible; digital and language poets imply that the form is backward/obsolete/corrupt; practicing the form in the current cultural climate can seem absurd. Yet lyric poetry persists. Indeed, since the recent presidential election, lyric’s activist capabilities have renewed the form again. We will study previous iterations of lyric and anti-lyric, and we will weekly workshop yours. We will read widely, from the earliest extant to the most recently published lyric poems; we will read criticism and other relevant prose; we will view visual iterations of lyric form. You will create a chapbook of poems and write one essay.

Engl 150C – Shakespeare and the Legal Scene
with Continuing Lecturer Karen Cunningham
Monday & Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
160 Royce Hall 

It is no news that Shakespeare’s plays include legal issues and trial scenes of all kinds: from The Merchant of Venice to The Winter’s Tale, from The Comedy of Errors to Measure for Measure, and (in imaginary form) in King Lear, the thematic and dramatic possibilities of legal processes and equitable justice captured the playwright’s imagination. In this course, we’ll read selected plays in which various kinds of legal themes and scenes, including but not limited to trials, inform the stories Shakespeare is telling. In order to understand the relationship between Shakespearean law and the contemporary culture, we may also read selectively among sixteenth-century texts dealing with legal theories, processes, and procedures. A midterm and a final paper are among the course requirements.

Engl 170A – American Literature, 1865 to 1900
with Continuing Lecturer Joe Dimuro
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3179 Bunche Hall

Historical survey of American literature from end of Civil War to beginning of 20th century, including writers such as Howells, James, Twain, Norris, Dickinson, Crane, Chesnutt, Gilman, and others working in modes of realist and naturalist novel, regional and vernacular prose, and poetry.

Engl 173C – Contemporary American Poetry
with Professor Harryette Mullen
Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
162 Royce Hall

Many critics and readers in the ‘60s and ‘70s believed that there was a yawning gap between “traditional” poets, such as the Southern Agrarians who sought a formal perfection (and were associated with the university) and counter-cultural poets like the Beats and the New York School who favored an open improvisational form, privileged non-literary spoken language, eschewed institutional associations and exploded social norms with respect to sexuality, race, drug use and politics.

The rise of MFA programs in the 1990s brought about a sea change:  several poets who continue to be formally experimental in the manner of the New American poets are now prominent creative writing professors while poetic practices that, for most other 20th-Century, were considered old-fashion – such as writing in form (sonnets, sestinas, etc.) or with regular meter (the ballad, blank verse) – are being utilized by poets with no ties to the “tradition” or the academy and who, like the Beats, favor non-literary language.

This course covers several contemporary poets, most under 40, who could be said to actively trouble the gap between what Robert Lowell once called the “raw” – poems that were “jerry-built” … often like an un-scored libretto by some bearded but vegetarian Castro” – and the “cooked,” those poems “marvelously expert and remote … constructed as a sort of mechanical or catnip mouse for graduate seminars.”

Engl 174A – American Fiction, 1900 to 1945
with Lecturer Laura Lorhan
Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
160 Royce Hall

Study of American novels and short stories from beginning of 20th century to end of World War II.

Engl 174C – What’s Happening Now?  U.S. Fiction Since 1990s
with Associate Adjunct Professor Mitchum Huehls
Monday & Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3164 Bunche Hall

This course examines recent trends in contemporary American fiction, focusing in particular on the past twenty-five years of literary output from U.S. novelists. As this literary period is nascent and in constant flux, we’ll be particularly interested in establishing its thematic and formal departures from postmodernism. The class will examine the period’s critique of its postmodern predecessors and will then investigate various themes and techniques that contemporary authors engage to distinguish themselves and their literary moment. Readings include work by Jeffrey Eugenides, Percival Everett, Junot Diaz, and Jennifer Egan.

 

Spring 2017

Engl M50 – Introduction to Visual Culture
with Assistant Professor Louise Hornby
Tuesday & Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
2258A Franz Hall

This course is an introduction to the field of visual culture, looking at the politics, culture, and aesthetics of images, representation, and visuality. Taking up a range of visual objects, we will examine the modern dynamics and power relations of looking, being seen, visibility, and invisibility. How do images saturate our lives and engage with history? How do visual technologies produce meaning? How does visual culture engage with questions of personhood, race, gender, and sexuality? How are visual objects circulated, displayed, used, and discarded? The course will also draw on the visual environments of Los Angeles for discussions and assignments, allowing us to engage directly with the visual culture we produce and consume daily.

Engl 91B – Introduction to Drama
with Senior Continuing Lecturer Stephen Dickey
Monday & Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
190 Royce Hall

Examination of representative plays; readings may range from Greek to modern drama. Emphasis on critical approaches to dramatic text; study of issues such as plot construction, characterization, special uses of language in drama, methods of evaluation.

Engl 115E – Science Fiction
with Professor Ursula Heise
Tuesday & Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
1246 Public Affairs Building

Science Fiction and the Reinvention of Nature

Science fiction is the cultural medium modern societies use to think about their relation to science, technology, and nature. Over the last fifty year, it has also become a major genre for expressing environmental visions:  sometimes visions of crisis, sometimes visions of worlds and societies that relate differently to nature than we currently do, and sometimes visions of more environmentally friendly communities.  This course will explore such visions from H.G Wells’s Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) to Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 (2012), with the emphasis on materials created after the emergence of the modern environmentalist movement in the 1960s and ‘70s.  We will focus on three clusters:  visions of landscapes (local, global, pastoral, toxic, wild, domesticated), explorations of our real and imagined relationships with animals, and dystopian and utopian visions of the future of our and other planets.  Throughout all three clusters, we’ll ask questions about technological transformations of the human body and mind, about the relation between ecological and social change, and about power, gender, and race.  We’ll explore texts across different media – novel, short story, comics/graphic novel, film, and animation – so as to explore the different narrative forms and styles science fiction ahs adopted in its portrayals of nature over the last half-century.


Engl 118E – Environment and Narrative
with Professor Ursula Heise
Monday & Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

This course focuses on the stories and metaphors we use to discuss current ecological problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, pollution, and environmental injustice. How do environmental stories differ or even conflict between different regions, countries, cultures, and social groups? What differences are there between environmental stories told in print, in film, on television, through photography, and online? How do these stories relate to wild, rural, and urban settings? What role does humor play in environmentalism? How does science figure in these stories? Which stories are old, which new, and how effective are they for environmental communication? The class will combine readings from narrative theory ranging from structuralism to cognitive science, as well as stories in a variety of genres and media from novels to disaster movies, and from pastoral to apocalyptic and utopian visions.

Engl 139.3 – James Joyce
with Assistant Professor Louise Hornby
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
2160 Bunche Hall

The main object of study in this course will be Joyce’s notoriously difficult novel, Ulysses (1922), which takes place in Dublin over the course of a single day, June 16, 1904. Joyce himself wrote about Ulysses, “I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.” Following Joyce’s prediction, our task will be both to argue about the meaning of this text and to place it within his other literary contributions, casting backward to Portrait of the Artist and gesturing forward to Finnegan’s Wake. Emphasis will be placed on Joyce’s experiments with literary form, literary and historical contexts, time, gender and sexuality.

Engl 140A – Chaucer:  Canterbury Tales
with Lecturer Rebecca McNamara
Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
3170 Bunche Hall

Introductory study of Chaucer’s language, versification, and historical and literary background, including analysis and discussion of his major long poem, “Canterbury Tales.”

Engl 150A – Shakespeare:  Poems and Early Plays
with Senior Continuing Lecturer Karen Cunningham
Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

Intensive study of selected poems and representative comedies, histories, and tragedies through Hamlet.

Engl 163C – Jane Austen and Her Peers
with Lecturer Katie Charles
Monday & Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
156 Royce Hall

Coverage of six novels of Jane Austen, as well as literary works that most influenced her: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of Rights of Woman, Gothic novel, and Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda.

Engl 173C – Contemporary American Poetry
with Associate Professor Brian Stefans
Tuesday & Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
2160 Bunche Hall

Many critics and readers in the ‘60s and ‘70s believed that there was a yawning gap between “traditional” poets, such as the Southern Agrarians who sought a formal perfection (and were associated with the university) and counter-cultural poets like the Beats and the New York School who favored an open improvisational form, privileged non-literary spoken language, eschewed institutional associations and exploded social norms with respect to sexuality, race, drug use and politics.

The rise of MFA programs in the 1990s brought about a sea change:  several poets who continue to be formally experimental in the manner of the New American poets are now prominent creative writing professors while poetic practices that, for most other 20th-Century, were considered old-fashioned – such as writing in form (sonnets, sestinas, etc.) or with regular meter (the ballad, blank verse) – are being utilized by poets with no ties to the “tradition” or the academy and who, like the Beats, favor non-literary language.

This course covers several contemporary poets, most under 40, who could be said to actively trouble the gap between what Robert Lowell once called the “raw” – poems that were “jerry-built … often like an un-scored libretto by some bearded but vegetarian Castro” – and the “cooked,” those poems “marvelously expert and remote … constructed as a sort of mechanical or catnip mouse for graduate seminars.”

Engl 174A – American Fiction:  1900 to 1945
with Senior Continuing Lecturer Joe Dimuro
Monday & Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
154 Royce Hall

This course samples important developments such as regionalism, literary realism, and international modernism in classic American fiction written between the end of the Great War (1918) and the beginning of the Great Depression (1929). The course combines rigorous training in close, analytical reading of individual texts with a consideration of larger thematic, contextual, narratological, and other formal aspects of this fascinating literary period. Books to be studied include Sherwood Anderson’s short-story cycle, Winesburg, Ohio; Ernest Hemingway’s first major work of fiction, In Our Time; Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, The Age of Innocence; Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House; and William Faulkner’s modern masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury. Topics include literary genre, primitivism, the role of culture, family dynamics, industrialization, historical change, psychological trauma, gender and sexuality, the visual arts, race relations, and identity formation.


Winter 2017


Engl 85 – American Novel

with Continuing Lecturer Joe Dimuro
Monday & Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
169 Humanities Building

An introduction to some of the great American novels of the last 150 years or so. The course uses current methods of literary study in a way that suits those who are new to them. Students are taught the skills required to read fiction intensively, and to interpret the meaning of texts more confidently and proficiently. Readings include a balance of classic and lesser-known works, all of which have relevant things to say about the American experience. Each novel demonstrates a particular set of innovative achievements in the development of the novel in the United States. The course is organized around three themes: women and freedom (Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening); the novel and historical change (William Dean Howells’s A Modern Instance and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence); and race and representation (Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition).

Engl 90 – Shakespeare
with Continuing Lecturer Stephen Dickey
Monday & Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
135 Humanities Building

Survey of Shakespeare’s plays, including comedies, tragedies, and histories, selected to represent Shakespeare’s breadth, artistic progress, and total dramatic achievement.

Engl 121 – Modern and Contemporary Aesthetics and Critical Theory
with Adjunct Associate Professor Mitchum Huehls
Monday & Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Public Affairs Building

This class examines literary theory and criticism in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will focus on three dominant theoretical movements–Marxism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis–but will also explore key concerns from more recent decades: feminism, biopolitics, race, and affect. Readings will include selections from Marx, Freud, Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, and Bruno Latour.

Engl 138 – Screenplay Writing:  Scene Study
with Associate Professor Brian Stefans
Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
A60 Humanities Building

This workshop concentrates on how to write a scene for a film (or television show).

In the first week of class, we will review important elements of standard “Hollywood” feature-length screenplays, notably act structure, plot points, what a “beat” is, and creating a “hero.” The first writing assignment will be to write, in prose, a very rudimentary act structure for a feature-length film.

After that, we will concentrate entirely on scenes. Students will be expected to write 5-7 page scenes weekly, formatted in screenplay style. Exercises will include writing:
• a short comedy sketch
• a scene that relies strongly on mise-en-scène (objects, space and other non-human elements)
• a montage sequence
• a scene that depicts a conversation as a “game of chess”
• a scene that represents the end of a major turning point within the context of the act structure
• a scene you write in collaboration with another student
Students must be willing to have their scenes read and/or acted out and be willing to participate in other writers’ scenes. If time permits and students have basic film editing skills and are interested, we will also have a year-end short film assignment.

One or two sessions will involve visits from screenwriter/directors associated with NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA).

No previous screenwriting or creative writing class experience is required.

Engl 140A – Chaucer:  Canterbury Tales

with Professor Eric Jager
Tuesday & Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
170 Dodd Hall

Introductory study of Chaucer’s language, versification, and historical and literary background, including analysis and discussion of his major long poem, “Canterbury Tales.” Lectures will focus on the “Tales” as an anthology of character types and literary genres as these reflect social, economic, religious and other features of Chaucer’s world.

Engl 150A – Shakespeare:  Poems and Early Plays
with Professor Rob Watson
Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
2238 Public Affairs Building

Lecture and discussion. A study of Shakespeare’s works up through 1603, including some of the Sonnets, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Hamlet, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.

Engl 150B – Shakespeare:  Later Plays
with Continuing Lecturer Stephen Dickey
Monday & Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall 

Intensive study of representative problem plays, major tragedies, Roman plays, and romances.

Engl 153 – London Theatre
with Professor A.R. Braunmuller
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

Shakespeare’s plays were written in a highly competitive and collaborative theatrical environment. This class surveys the competition, from Christopher Marlowe to Ben Jonson and John Webster and John Ford. Topics include transvestism, same-sex romance, fraud, world-conquering, and much else. Familiarity with Shakespeare, early modern theatre buildings, and the “Industry” would be an advantage for class members.

Engl 166B – American Literature, 1776 to 1832
with Professor Michael Colacurcio
Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 a.m. 11:50 a.m.
Physics & Astronomy Building

Historical survey of American literatures from Revolution through early republic, with emphasis on genres that reflect systematic attempts to create representative national literature and attention to American ethnic, gender, and postcolonial perspectives.

Engl 173A – American Poetry, 1900 to 1945
with Associate Professor Brian Stefans
Monday & Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
3126 Rolfe Hall

This course provides an overview of what is generally known as the Modernist era of American poetry. A central focus of the course will be on the relationship of American poetry to trends in the visual arts (especially painting and film) and concurrent developments in European poetry and art. We start with a consideration of some French poetic trends that were hugely influential on American poets in the early 20th-century, namely Symbolism, the philosophy of Henri Bergson, and the rise of vers libre (“free verse”). From there, we will consider several of the major figures — Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, Mina Loy, and Robert Frost among others — as they relate to issues such as: Imagism, Dada, the “difficult” poem, the manifesto, the Harlem Renaissance, the African diaspora, verse narrative, continental philosophy, the rise of Fascist politics, and the influence of technology. Weekly writing assignments, including some creative (or re-creative) assignments, a mid-term and final paper.

Engl 184.1 – Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Longer Poems, and Their Tudor Contexts
With Professor A.R. Braunmuller
Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
A56 Humanities Building

Consideration of most of Shakespeare’s nondramatic writing in two broad contexts: comparable Tudor poems from Wyatt and Surrey through Sidney and Drayton, and forms in which those poems were published and consumed. Some literary history and some book history and some publishing history, all in one package. Students present at least one secondary text on a relevant subject, and write a 15- to 20-page paper making use of appropriate secondary criticism.

Engl 184.4 – British Romantic Writers
with Professor Emeritus Anne Mellor
Tuesday, 12:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
A56 Humanities Building

This seminar will attempt to define a distinctively “romantic” period in the British female literary tradition. Using approaches garnered from the new historicism, feminist theory and race theory, we will study the emergence of a new social construction of gender (of femininity and masculinity) in women’s writing in England between 1790 and 1830, focusing on the relationship between gender, genre, history, and political ideology. We will analyze the ways in which a spectrum of women writers widely differing in class, race and political orientation dealt with such social issues as the rights of woman, marriage and motherhood, female sexuality, religion, revolution and social change, the slave-trade and the abolitionist movement. What political positions and literary practices do these women share? In what ways do they differ from and contradict each other? We will read major texts by Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Mary Prince, Felicia Hemans, Lucy Aikin, and Mary Shelley.

Engl M107A – Women Writing Dangerous Women
with Lecturer Megan Stephan
Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
164 Royce Hall

This course will examine how British women writers develop and construct complex— even transgressive—female characters throughout the long nineteenth century. In the various literatures of the period, concerns about women’s changing roles in culture and society gave rise to a wide range of representations of evil and destructive women. While both male and female authors employed the figure of the dangerous woman, our study of novels, short stories, and poetry by women writers will reveal their unique engagement and experimentation with this trope. Authors considered will include (but will not be limited to) Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Christina Rossetti, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Vernon Lee.