English Literature Graduate Course Descriptions

Fall 2017

English 504—American Literature II: Collectors
CRN 13649
W 7:05-9:45pm
Kimberly Engber

Moving from Walt Whitman’s leaves and specimens to Emily Dickinson’s fascicles, Mark Twain’s fingerprints to Charles Chesnutt’s conjure tales, and Gertrude Stein’s portraits to Sherwood Anderson’s grotesques, we will trace various kinds of collecting and possessing.This course engages students in advanced study of major issues and themes in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction prose from the postbellum period to 1920, with attention to the social and cultural contexts that shaped such trends as realism and modernism.  Students in this course will aim to: understand social and cultural contexts that shaped realism and modernism; understand how American literature responds to urbanization and incorporation; engage with the concept of "collection" as it applies to 19thC/early 20thC American poetry and fiction; read deeply; research carefully; present research and interpretation to the class; write an article-length seminar paper for a broad and intellectually curious audience of readers.

Readings: Herman Melville, Battle Pieces and Aspects of War (1866) ; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1876, Centennial Edition) and from Specimen Days and Collect (1882); Emily Dickinson, Poems (1890); Frances E. W. Harper, Iola Leroy (1892); Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893); Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894); Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896); Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman/The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line (1899); Henry James, TBD; Gertrude Stein, TBD; T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1917); Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (1919); Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age (1982/2007); Leah Dilworth, Acts of Possession: Collection in America (2003)

English 680—Theory and Practice in Composition
CRN 13650
W 4:30-6:50pm
Danielle Koupf

This course introduces students to theories of rhetoric and writing, major research questions in composition studies, and best practices for teaching writing in schools and colleges. We will investigate writing processes, analyze varieties and examples of student writing, and hone our writing skills by drafting, revising, and evaluating our own and others’ work. As we read significant publications in the field, we will continually consider the relationship between theory and classroom practice. Assignments will give students experience reading challenging pedagogical and theoretical texts, performing research, drafting course materials for current or future writing classes, reading instructional texts critically, and responding effectively to student writing. May not be taken for credit by students with credit in English 780.

English 686—Scientific, Technical, and Professional Writing and Editing
CRN 14405
TR 11:00am-12:15pm
Danielle Koupf

This course introduces students in the humanities to writing and editing in scientific, technical, and professional contexts. We will analyze and create technical, scientific, and professional documents designed for a variety of audiences, both in print and online. These may include research summaries, press releases, procedures and specifications, infographics, public service announcements, fact sheets, and popular science and nature writing. Assignments will help strengthen students’ rhetorical awareness, as well as the precision, clarity, and design of their writing.

English 700—Introduction to Graduate Study
CRN 13949; 13654
M 4:30-6:50pm or T 4:30-6:50pm
Rebeccah Bechtold

This course serves as an intensive introduction to the research and analytic methods prevalent in English Studies. It provides new graduate students with a foundation in the history, methodologies, debates, and traditions of the English discipline, including the major theoretical and disciplinary issues associated with the field. The course will provide an overview of the state of the profession, the structure of graduate studies, and the potential career options available to the MA, MFA, and future PhD student. Students will learn to navigate and practice the kinds of intellectual work commonly expected in the field, translating this acquired knowledge into academic, professional, and community environments.

ENGL 712—Graduate Studies in Fiction
CRN 16125
R 2-4:20pm
Darren DeFrain

This seminar on contemporary fiction will focus on the works and impact of small press literary publications. Students will read a selection of contemporary novels, short story collections and multimodal novel-length forms. The class will include “visits” from a small press editor as well as several of the authors we will be discussing via Skype. Students will be expected to present on one or more works (depending on class size) and to produce an article review, bibliography and conference-length paper of publishable quality.

English 714—Restoration Drama; or, Rip It Up and Start Again
CRN 15662
R 4:30-6:50pm
Fran Connor

Well then, the promised hour is come at last,
The present age of wit obscures the past.
– John Dryden, 'To My Dear Friend Mr. Congreve', 1693

After the English theatres reopened in 1660–having been closed by those dastardly Puritans at the dawn of the English Civil War in 1642–the London theatrical community did not simply want to pick up where their Early Modern predecessors left off. They saw the opportunity to create for themselves a new theatrical canon and culture, one that could strategically draw from the best ideas from pre-Commonwealth plays and playwrights and re-assemble them with a self-consciously modern set of aesthetics and concerns. Doing so, the Restoration hosted the second great flowering of English drama. Theatres were allowed to operate in the city, and, moving to the most fashionable districts in town, they became centers of a new urban consumer culture that is often referenced, celebrated, and/or satirized in the plays themselves. Innovations in staging allowed for more elaborate theatrical spectacles and music. For the first time plays are regularly printed in conjunction with performance; coupled with nascent conceptions of authorial copyright we begin to see a modern, professional conception of authorship developing in tandem with an emerging distinction between 'literature' and popular writing. The latter in part stems from the first substantial body of dramatic (and literary) criticism, which provoked a series of wildly entertaining literary disputes, as well as some early attempts to construct a history of English theatre. Perhaps most importantly, the first English actresses appeared onstage, encouraging much more dynamic female characters (and, maybe not coincidentally, we see the first stirrings of what we might today call 'celebrity gossip'); the first commercial female playwrights also debut in this period, offering fresh and innovative approaches to old comic and dramatic tropes.

In this course we will enjoy a variety of plays covering a range of genres popular from 1660 to 1737–city comedy, neoclassical tragedy, tragicomedy, Shakespearean adaptation, satire, &c–by the most important writers of the period–John Dryden, Aphra Behn, William Wycherley, Thomas Shadwell, Susanna Centlivre, and Henry Fielding among them. Thematically, we will focus on the material foundations of Restoration theatre, especially the physical space and economic foundations of the theatres and the city, as well as the places and practices of the book trade (including bookstores and coffee shops) that promoted and sustained London's literary scene. While the plays will be our centerpieces, we'll also consider a variety of poems, essays, paratexts, catalogues, and other textual and cultural artifacts that will help immerse us in the vibrant theatrical culture of the period.

For assessment, students will be responsible for a major project of their own design due at the conclusion of the course, developed throughout the semester through weekly research assignments, occasional semi-formal presentations, and a formal proposal and presentation. It would be helpful to (re-) acquaint yourself with Shakespeare's The Tempest and Aphra Behn's Oroonoko over the summer.

English 733—Seminar in Contemporary Literature: The Booker Prize
CRN 15663
W 4:30-6:50pm
T.J. Boynton

Since its establishment in 1968, the Man Booker Prize has grown into the preeminent award for fiction in the English-speaking world.  Originally designed to recognize the best novel written each year in the U.K., Ireland, and the former imperial territories of the British Commonwealth, and subsequently the subject of a number of heated political controversies during its first decade, the award has grown in prestige and economic clout to become perhaps the world’s most sought-after literary distinction with the exception of the Nobel Prize in Literature.  The archive of Booker-winning texts presents a fascinating window not only into the dynamism and growth of the contemporary Anglophone novel but also into the diverse, evolving histories of the world’s English-speaking peoples in Europe, Australia, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and North America during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  This course will explore this rich and fascinating catalogue by spotlighting writers of South African, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Irish, Indian, Nigerian, Australian, Canadian, and British origins, and it will use their work to consider: the controversial origins and history of the Man Booker Prize; the state of the contemporary English-language novel; the commonalities and differences between the different national histories, cultures, and literatures associated with the award; the global legacies of the British Empire; the development of the international publishing industry and the world literary economy more generally; and the complexities and possibilities of the novel as a literary form.

English 780—Advanced Theory and Practice in Composition
CRN 13656
W 2:00-4:30pm
Daren DeFrain

For teaching assistants in English. Review of new theories of rhetoric, recent research in composition, and new promising developments in composition programs in schools and colleges. Students are given practice in advanced writing problems, situations and techniques and may propose projects for further special study.