Fall 2007 Graduate Seminars

Eng 599R: Master's Thesis
Elliott, TBA, TBA, Max: 99


Eng 710R: Studies in Renaissance Literature: Revenge on the Renaissance Stage
Cahill, W 1:00-4:00, Max: 12


Content: If revenge tragedy is one of the best-known genres of Renaissance drama, that is undoubtedly because of Hamlet, which, for many critics, represents the fullest expression of the genre. In this seminar on revenge tragedy, we will (of course) read Hamlet , but we will also attempt to try and think about revenge tragedy as a form that is so multifarious that it cannot be contained in one play, even if that play is the one about things being rotten in Denmark . Accordingly, over the course of the semester, we'll consider a selection of some of the many studies of revenge that flourished in England in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and that (in many instances) remain popular with theatergoers and readers today, such as Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy ; Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus; Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam (the first original play by a woman to be published in England); The Revenger's Tragedy (recently made into a movie by Alex Cox, a director perhaps best known for his film about punk rocker Sid Vicious); Thomas Middleton's The Changeling . We'll end the seminar by considering two masterpieces of revenge by John Ford--namely, The Broken Heart and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore-- as well as a provocative short story by modern British novelist Angela Carter which conjures up an incestuous love affair between Johnny (Giovanni) and Annie-Belle (Annabella) as if written by the English dramatist and filmed by the American director of westerns, John Ford.

Through close readings and occasional film viewings, we will aim to make sense of the early modern theater's seemingly morbid preoccupations with funerals, corpses, ghosts, and graveyards, as well as with what historians have described as an early modern "reinvention" of death. As we explore the paradoxical way in which these powerful plays about endings seem to represent a dread of endings, we'll combine close attention to the language of the texts and to the many staging problems they may raise with more theoretical concerns that, I hope, will arise from our own interests. As part of our inquiry, we will read a variety of literary criticism on revenge tragedy by scholars who draw on trauma studies, psychoanalytic theory, gender and race studies, postcolonial critique, and historical accounts of social and religious upheaval. Putting aside the notion that revenge tragedies matter only as sources or responses to Hamlet, we'll aim to make sense of the disturbing passions, murderous ingenuity, and spectral presences that are so crucial to these classic texts of the early modern stage.

Eng 789R: The Sexual Outlaw
Goldberg, Tu 4:00-7:00, Max: 12 (9) ENG 789R/(3) CPLT 751


Content: This seminar takes up the recent anti-social impetus in queer theory most closely associated perhaps with Leo Bersani's essay "Is the Rectum a Grave?" and arguably a component in Foucault's work in the history of sexuality as well. We will be reading these theorists as well as others, including Lee Edelman, D.A. Miller, and Candace Vogler. The course will focus on the novels of Patricia Highsmith and some of the films they have inspired. For the sake of comparison, some novels by Jean Genet and films derived from them also will be studied.

Texts will include: Bersani, "Is the Rectum a Grave?" " The Sexual Outlaw" (from Homos ); Foucault, History of Sexuality: An Introduction and Abnormal; Edelman, No Future; essays by Miller, Vogler, and others; Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and Hitchcock's film version; the first three Ripley novels and their film counterparts (Rene Clement, Purple Noon; Wim Wenders, The American Friend; Anthony Minghella, Talented Mr. Ripley; Liliana Cavani, Ripley's Game); Genet's Querelle and Fassbinder's film of the same name; Miracle of the Rose and Todd Haynes, Poison .

Particulars: Class presentation and a seminar paper that may focus on theoretical questions, on Genet or Highsmith, on one or more of the filmmakers, or any combination of these possibilities.

Eng 789R: Total Theater of W. B. Yeats
Flannery, Th 4:00-7:00, Max: 4


Content: Focused on a close reading of some 15 representative plays of Yeats, this course is intended to provide students with an understanding of Yeats's extraordinary vision of and practical work in the theater as seen from the perspectives of the director, actor, choreographer, designer, and composer. Special attention will be paid to the historical context of Yeats's plays as well as their background in Celtic mythology and folklore. In addition, the course will explore Yeats's continually evolving political philosophy as well as his lifelong interest in mysticism and the occult. Comparison will be drawn between Yeats's understanding of poetic drama and "total theater" in comparison with the ancient Greeks, the Japanese Noh, Shakespeare, Racine, Ibsen, Wagner, Maeterlinck, Gordon Craig, T. S. Eliot, Artaud, Brecht, and Beckett. Students will also be exposed to some of the special techniques involved in performing Yeats: verse-speaking, choral speech, singing, masks, and dance.

Particulars: Students will be graded on the basis of class participation, a midterm and final exam, as well as a research paper of 10-12 pages.

Eng 732R: Studies in Victorian Literature: The Medieval Revival
Bugge, Tu 10:00-1:00, Max: 12


Content: Heine said that Romanticism was medievalism. His aphorism seems as true for Britain in the nineteenth century as it was on the continent. Victorian fixation on the specifically medieval past played a huge role in the century's collective identity formation: It sustained a vast historiographic project that was equally a mythographic one, one that involved both the discovery and the construction of a normative vernacular past. In this sense Britain 's Middle Ages was the back story that many eminent Victorians told about their culture.

This course will survey the broad wave of cultural nostalgia for the Middle Ages from the mid-eighteenth century to the Great War, or for about the century-and-a-half during which Britain was transformed from a traditionally agrarian, semi-feudalistic society into a modern industrial state-from book-of-hours facsimile of "Merrie Englande" to The Waste Land in six generations.

Texts will include: poetry, literary and art criticism, history, romances, novels, plays, religious essays and tracts, painting, architecture, and design-by such figures as Arnold, Burke, Carlyle, Chatterton, Cobbett, Coleridge, Disraeli, Gray, Hallam, Hunt, Hurd, Keats, Macpherson, Marx, Morris, Newman, Pugin, Rossetti, Ruskin, Scott, Tennyson, Walpole, and Warton.

Particulars: Active participation, brief weekly response papers, and a seminar paper.

Eng 751R: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: Antebellum American Literature and Culture
Reiss, Th 10:00-1:00, Max: 12


Content: This course will offer a broad introduction to nineteenth-century American literature as it relates to broader issues of cultural production and reception. In our primary and secondary readings, we will try to trace connections between such apparently disparate phenomena as the literary lecture circuit, blackface minstrel shows, performances of Shakespeare, sentimental novels, slave narratives, and the literature of the urban underworld. Throughout, we will be asking how social groups defined themselves through different cultural styles and through their access to the mechanisms of print. To what uses-private pleasure, public display, pedagogical and institutional discipline-were literary and popular texts put? How, to what effect, and in whose interests was literature commodified; and in what ways did literature resist commodification? What traces are left by vernacular culture in the historical record, and what distortions or elisions take place between performance and print?

Texts: Primary texts will likely include essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (and two competing stage versions of the novel), Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables , Emily Dickinson's poetry, and George Thompson's City Crimes, as well as scripts for blackface minstrel shows and writings by factory operatives, fugitive slaves, lunatics confined to mental hospitals, and Native Americans confined to reservations. We will set these materials against critical studies of print and popular culture of the period, as well as a few theoretical texts in book history and cultural studies to orient our discussions.

Particulars: Assignments will include several short- to medium-length papers; a "footsteps" paper that retraces a critic's research and then assesses that critic's interpretive response to the archive; a formal presentation; and a proposal for an imaginary dissertation.

Eng 752R: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Issues in Southern Literature and Literary History
Ladd, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 12


Content: The U.S. South is often distinguished from the rest of the United States as a culture of history and memory in a "great nation of futurity" (as John L. O'Sullivan put it in the mid-19th century). Today we know that there are many histories and memories associated with the literatures of the U.S. South. In this seminar we will explore travel narratives, novels, short stories, letters, essays, and other material, looking closely at the play of histories, memories, and imagined futures in literary texts. More specifically, the seminar will be divided into sections of 2-4 weeks each, the first focusing on the Mississippi River, the Americas/the trans(south)atlantic, and U.S. nationalism; the second on creoles and creolization; the third on gender and social change (progressivism, atavism, war, and the New Woman); and the fourth on the questioning of history and memory. Participants should expect to read selections from the work of those political theorists, cultural critics, and scholars whose work is most relevant to the subject and to the texts in the course.

Texts: Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi ; George W. Cable, Old Creole Days and Other Stories and The Grandissimes; Martin Delany, Blake; or, The Huts of America; William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying , Absalom, Absalom! , and Requiem for a Nun;  Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories.  Selections from  Edward King, The Great South, and selections from accounts of the River by other travelers and historians (ex.: Fanny Kemble, Dickens, Mrs. Trollope, Captain Frederick Marryat, Francis Parkman); stories and essays to be provided (Poe, Page, Glasgow, Chopin, Faulkner, Hurston, Porter, Ellen Douglas, and others).

Particulars: Weekly informal reaction papers (300-500 words); student-led discussions; a substantive review of a significant book of scholarship, criticism, or theory relevant to the course and to student research interests. At the end of the semester, a review essay (with annotated bibliography) on the scholarship dealing with a more specific text, writer, or issue of interest to you or, if you prefer, a seminar paper.

Eng 789R: The Sexual Outlaw
Goldberg, Tu 4:00-7:00, Max: 12 (9) ENG 789R/(3) CPLT 751


Content: This seminar takes up the recent anti-social impetus in queer theory most closely associated perhaps with Leo Bersani's essay "Is the Rectum a Grave?" and arguably a component in Foucault's work in the history of sexuality as well. We will be reading these theorists as well as others, including Lee Edelman, D.A. Miller, and Candace Vogler. The course will focus on the novels of Patricia Highsmith and some of the films they have inspired. For the sake of comparison, some novels by Jean Genet and films derived from them also will be studied.

Texts will include: Bersani, "Is the Rectum a Grave?" " The Sexual Outlaw" (from Homos ); Foucault, History of Sexuality: An Introduction and Abnormal; Edelman, No Future; essays by Miller, Vogler, and others; Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and Hitchcock's film version; the first three Ripley novels and their film counterparts (Rene Clement, Purple Noon; Wim Wenders, The American Friend; Anthony Minghella, Talented Mr. Ripley; Liliana Cavani, Ripley's Game); Genet's Querelle and Fassbinder's film of the same name; Miracle of the Rose and Todd Haynes, Poison .

Particulars: Class presentation and a seminar paper that may focus on theoretical questions, on Genet or Highsmith, on one or more of the filmmakers, or any combination of these possibilities.

Eng 789R: Total Theater of W. B. Yeats
Flannery, Th 4:00-7:00, Max: 4


Content: Focused on a close reading of some 15 representative plays of Yeats, this course is intended to provide students with an understanding of Yeats's extraordinary vision of and practical work in the theater as seen from the perspectives of the director, actor, choreographer, designer, and composer. Special attention will be paid to the historical context of Yeats's plays as well as their background in Celtic mythology and folklore. In addition, the course will explore Yeats's continually evolving political philosophy as well as his lifelong interest in mysticism and the occult. Comparison will be drawn between Yeats's understanding of poetic drama and "total theater" in comparison with the ancient Greeks, the Japanese Noh, Shakespeare, Racine, Ibsen, Wagner, Maeterlinck, Gordon Craig, T. S. Eliot, Artaud, Brecht, and Beckett. Students will also be exposed to some of the special techniques involved in performing Yeats: verse-speaking, choral speech, singing, masks, and dance.

Particulars: Students will be graded on the basis of class participation, a midterm and final exam, as well as a research paper of 10-12 pages.

Eng 789R: Irish Literature and Controversy
Higgins, Tu 1:00-4:00, Max: 12


Content: Culture loves a political vacuum and peace loves a controversy. The early twentieth century in Ireland was therefore alive with controversies through which it was tempting to read or determine the future character of the nation. In her 2005 book, The Irish Art of Controversy , Lucy McDiarmid identifies five key examples-the dispute over the Hugh Lane paintings, Fr. O'Hickey's challenge to the Irish hierarchy over the teaching of compulsory Irish, the Abbey Theatre's staging of Shaw's The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet, the "Dublin Kiddies" controversy, and the trial of Roger Casement. While we will not "study" these particular examples in detail, we will use McDiarmid's book as a springboard to frame the concept of controversy and to look at the intersection of political and social concerns in Irish literature. Controversies change shape as they develop and alter the subject at their center. We will examine the ways in which the fluctuation of cultural and political discourses in twentieth-century Ireland affected the construction of Irish identities in the new nation. Possible topics and issues for discussion will include "culture wars" from the Abbey Theatre to the present, gender and the Irish body, memory and commemoration, and the aesthetics of violence.

Texts: Writers and critics will include Boland, Bourke, Deane, Foster, Friel, Gregory, Heaney, Longley, O'Casey, Synge, Toibin, Yeats.

Particulars: Weekly informal response papers, class facilitations, an annotated bibliography, and a final paper.

Eng 789R: American Modernism and Archival Recovery
Kalaidjian, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 12


Content: This seminar will consider recent recovery projects in American literary Modernism that read twentieth-century American verse against the historic and transatlantic contexts of its material production. In addition to considering close readings of canonical and emerging poetry, the seminar will make extensive use of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, the Anthony Hecht archive, the collections of James Weldon Johnson, Michel Fabre, Broadside Press, as well as MARBL's collections in the Harlem Renaissance and African-American material culture generally. In theorizing how archives shape literary textuality and poetic discourse, we will focus on the role of first editions, anthologies, little magazines, ephemera, exhibitions, avant-garde happenings, political movements, and popular culture in the makeup and reception of modern American poetry.

Texts: In addition to readings in primary texts of American poetry (from The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry , as well as from first editions, little magazines, and other collections), we will review archival theory and criticism by Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Lawrence Rainey, Cary Nelson, Mark Morrisson, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Jani Scandura, Linda Wagner-Martin, James Smethurst, and others.

Particulars: Assignments include a short response paper and a longer research essay drawing, in part, from on-site archival scholarship.

Eng 789R: Feminist Literary Theory and Critical Practice
Brownley, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 12 (3)ENG 789R/(6) WS 585/(3) CPLT 751


Content: This seminar will examine various methods through which contemporary feminist theoretical work can be deployed in literary analyses. The concern will be with practical applications, ranging from individual works to genres, evolved in terms of a number of the major theoretical movements within feminism. The course will be developed as a series of individual case studies rather than as a comprehensive historical or theoretical survey.

Particulars: 2 class facilitations; short paper; final paper.

Eng 789R: Literary Theories
Caruth, Th 1:00-4:00, Max: 20 (5) ENG 789R/(15) CPLT 750


Content: An introduction to literary theoretical thinking, focusing on twentieth century structuralism, post-structuralism, and contemporary theory.

Eng 789R: The Body and the Stage: Theater, Trials, and the Spectacle of History
Felman, M 4:00-7:00, Max: 15 (3) ENG 789R/(3) FREN 740R/(10) CPLT 751


Content: This course will study plays that represent historic legal cases and gripping courtroom dramas whose outcome changed the world. In studying the specificity of the theatrical language of these plays, the course will reflect on the relation between the legal stage and the theatrical stage, as well as on the notion of performance in both kinds of dramas. Legal trials share with theatrical plays the fact that they are social spectacles of living confrontations, embodying political conflicts and disputes that are enacted on a stage, address an audience, follow ceremonial practices and ritual protocols, and use dialogue and actors (or performers) who appear in costumes to play designated roles. This course will ask: What is the reason for modern theater's increasing emphasis on trials? What can trials teach us about theater? And conversely, what can the theater teach us about trials? What is the role of trials-as spectacular crises of truth-in the theater of history and the theater of memory? What does it mean to be a player (in life and in the world)? In studying (in Sartre's words) "man as event and man as history in the event," we will pay close attention to issues of representation (both legal and theatrical), and to historical and theatrical moments of deliberate subversion of representation. We will view the stage as a space of intersection between the private and the public, between the individual and the collective, between the sacred and the secular, as well as a space of exchange between illusion and reality, reason and madness, consciousness and the unconscious ("the other scene," in Freudian terms). We will examine thus the interactions among space, language and gesture, and the use of the speaking body on the stage in investigating the relationship between the theatrical and the historical/political/philosophical/psychoanalytic.

Texts: Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Bertold Brecht, Jean Anouilh, Bernard Shaw, Moises Kaufman, Peter Weiss. (Legal interrogations of Oscar Wilde, Bertold Brecht, Joan of Arc, Galileo.)

Critical and theoretical texts selected among: Antonin Artaud, Bertold Brecht, Peter Brook, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx.

Particulars: Regular attendance and ongoing participation; two short papers; brief oral presentations.

Eng 791R: Teaching of Composition
Ayer, M 1:00-4:00, Max: 15


Content: This course is the second half of a two-semester course in pedagogy for graduate students teaching English 101 ("Expository Writing") or 181 ("Writing About Literature") for the first time. We will be concerned with questions of theory and method, and especially with the practical concerns of conducting a freshman writing class.

Texts: Readings in pedagogy, rhetorical theory, and examples of student writing.

Particulars: Evaluation is satisfactory/unsatisfactory with no formal paper. Brief presentations on matters of common concern are required. The class will meet for the first time at a time to be announced before the beginning of classes on August 30.

Eng 797R: Directed Study
Elliott, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA

Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation Colloquium
Elliott, W 4:00-7:00, Max: 15


Content: This colloquium is for those at the writing stage of their dissertation work, including those who are just beginning their dissertations and those who have progressed further. Some sessions early in the semester will be aimed particularly at students early in the process. However, the bulk of the sessions will be structured in a workshop format in which students distribute drafts, make presentations, and engage in dialogue with their peers. All participants must be prepared to read the work of their peers with care and to provide commentary. (Colloquium participants will receive credit on a S/U grading basis.)

Eng 799R: Doctoral Dissertation
Elliott, TBA, TBA, Max: TBA