Graduate Course Descriptions Fall 2010

With the instructor’s permission, a limited number of undergraduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may
enroll in graduate courses, which have ENG-L (except L501 and L502), ENG-W or CMLT-C designations at the 500 and 600 level.

ENG-G 660 – STYLISTICS ( 4 CR) Instructor: Bobby Meyer-Lee
Class Number 27609 T 7:00-9:30 P

Stylistics is, obviously, the study of style, especially (but not exclusively) in literary texts. Yet any attempt to define exactly what constitutes style quickly makes evident that stylistics is, more fundamentally, an in-depth, intricate, and wide-ranging study of how texts make meaning, at many different levels, through a vast array of verbal devices and linguistic features. To study stylistics is therefore to study, in a detailed and systematic fashion, the way that texts work—and not just the texts one reads but also the texts one writes. In this course, we will first make our way through an introduction to the field of stylistics, and then, with this grounding, turn to some of the field’s more contentious and influential theories and arguments. We will conclude by collectively pursuing a stylistic study of three literary texts—each long celebrated for its stylistic accomplishments—representing the major genres of fiction, poetry, and drama. Throughout, we will not only discuss stylistics but also perform stylistic analysis of sample texts, including our own.

Class Number 29618
R 5:30-8:00 P Instructor: Lee Kahan
combined with

Class Number 30994 R 5:30-8:00 P Instructor: Lee Kahan
TOPIC: The 1790’s

The French Revolution and the Terror, the first stirrings of modern feminism, the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Act of Union that completed Great Britain: these are just some of the world-shattering events that occurred between the years 1790-1800. These events produced dramatic upheavals in literary history as well, as authors sought new modes of expression (the Gothic novel) that could better represent, or even shape, the “spirit of the age.” Sometimes, these works were as divisive as the events that inspired them. In this class, we will examine the controversies surrounding three works: Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, Matthew Lewis’ The Monk, and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindications of the Rights of Woman. Our goal will be to construct an archaeology of the national, sexual and textual politics informing these debates and to map the intersections between them. To flesh out the stakes of those debates, we will read selections from key political tracts of the period, such as Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France and Hannah More’s Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education; reviews and articles from the popular magazines of the day; and three additional literary works from the period, most likely William Godwin’s Caleb Williams, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, and Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda. The goal of the class is not only to teach you about the literature and culture of the period but also to model the kinds of questions that scholars pose about such material and the ways that they pursue those questions in their research. We will read several pieces of scholarship alongside the literary works to examine how scholars produce historically and critically informed arguments about them. The goal will be to prepare you to research and write a substantial (15-20 page) piece of scholarship of your own, which will be the main source of the course grade.

Class Number 27620 W 7:00-9:30 P Instructor: David Dodd Lee
(combined with ENG-W 303 /10154)

This class will be a survey course of contemporary poetry, as well as a workshop. We will examine various narrative structures in an attempt to define the evolution of free verse and how various writers use language in order to subvert solipsism and/or as a sort of bludgeon against cultural sentimentality. We will also look at how various writers transcend the self by moving beyond simple reflections of reality without resorting to fixed forms or received ideas. Further, we will investigate through texts and your own writing how to allow the subconscious to flood the page and how to match your ideas and emotions to an appropriate narrative (or non-narrative) form. Students will write and revise poems of their own (app. 9 for undergrads, 11 for grad students) in an effort to create a thread of coherence that runs through not only single pieces but a small body of work. Students will also keep a reader response journal, write experimental poems based on in-class exercises, and write one (grad students two) informal two page paper on one of
our assigned poets (there will be several texts).

Class Number 29571 S 10:00-12:05P Instructor: Margaret Scanlan
[Note: while this course is primarily intended for students in the Master of Liberal Studies program, non-MLS students interested in the topic should consult with the instructor to see whether it might be a good choice for them, too.]

TOPIC: Eyewitness
Seeing may be believing, but eye-witnesses often fail to convince others that their reports are true. Too often, best-selling autobiographical accounts of surviving Auschwitz or overcoming heroin addiction turn out to be deliberate frauds. DNA testing allows the Innocence Project to prove that eye-witnesses whose testimony convicted men of rape and murder were wrong. Some psychiatrists would argue that the unmistakable mark of trauma is that it leaves victims unable to remember or accurately retell their experiences. The issue of who can tell the truth about matters of life and death matters to ethics, psychology, the law, and in special ways, to fiction.
This six-week, one-credit interdisciplinary seminar will examine two key texts about slavery from nineteenth-century America: Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, Written by Himself and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno. These two relatively short texts are fortunately available via the Internet or Dover’s Thrift editions, and will be supplemented by a modest course pack of writing from history, law, and trauma studies, along with a couple of film excerpts. We will look at Douglass’s narrative in the context of witness testimonies about slavery and their role in ending slavery–from the incredulity with which slave-holders originally greeted such books to the modern suspicion that if the story were true, Douglass would not have revised it three times. We will look at the mutiny on the slave-ship Amistad and the Supreme Court case that ruled on the human rights of the mutineers. And then we will read Melville’s novella, which recreates that history through a fictional device–the narrator as eye witness who does not see.
We’ll share short reading responses weekly; the final session will give students an opportunity to explore their own interests in one facet of the problem of truth-telling and testimony. Since the course is interdisciplinary, you are certainly welcome to turn to contemporary, even non-literary topics.