Graduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2001


English 580:  The Novella
Professor Harriet Malinowitz

In this course, we will read novellas—works of fiction characterized by the fact that they are longer than short stories but briefer than novels—and consider how and why the novella works as a prose form. Works by a range of authors will be covered and will be selected from among those by Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, Henry James, Thomas Mann, Gustave Flaubert, Nella Larsen, Rebecca Harding Davis, Joseph Conrad, Abraham Cahan, Doris Lessing, Richard Wright, Tillie Olsen, Bessie Head, Gertrude Stein, and Flannery O’Connor.

English 634: Modern Drama
Professor Joan Templeton

This course studies major playwrights of modern drama, including Ibsen, Strindberg, Brecht, Williams, and Beckett. Through videos, performance and production of the texts will be emphasized as well as the texts themselves. 


English 528:  Creative Writing--Collage
Professor Kenneth Bernard

This course is an experimental workshop class with alternating weeks of writing discussion and collage exercises. The former consists of close reading of student writing with emphasis on grammar, logic, rhetoric, and effectiveness. The latter consists of formal exercises that attempt to parallel writing problems. One is a rigorous examination of all aspects of writing. The other is an open-ended exploration of creative process in which a student might feel less inhibited than with writing. No egos, no sissies, and no text.

English 574:  Twentieth Century English Novel
Professor Howard Silverstein

As the powerful tradition of Victorian fiction—moral, realistic, popular—began to die, something different and more complex came to emerge: the tradition of what we now name the “modern” novel. In place of the preoccupation of the Victorian novel with a detailed social world, early twentieth century fiction developed a more subjective view, a concern with the action of the mind and sometimes with the unconscious motivation of human behavior. As fiction turned inward in its subject matter, the novelists became more experimental in their handling of point of view, narrative structure and often formed a new view of time. The course will place special emphasis on the authors who shaped the modern British novel: Henry James (The Aspen Papers). Joseph Conrad (Under Western Eyes), Ford Madox Ford (The Good Soldier), D.H. Lawrence (Sons and Lovers), James Joyce (Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man),and Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway). During the semester, assigned readings will include the criticism of H. G. Wells, E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf, articles occasioned by the literary war over the modern novel.

English 580:  Postmodern American Fiction
Professor Michael Bennett

If earlier depictions of the Beautiful and the Sublime from Kant through the Modernists focused on Nature as the locus of feelings of overwhelming aesthetic power, contemporary depictions are more likely to focus on the domain of Technology. In an attempt to understand this development, Frederic Jameson and others have tried to provide a cognitive map of what they call the “technological sublime”:  the sense of awe that overtakes us when we try to comprehend the increasingly complex cultural and socio-economic manifestations of Postmodernism: the internet, hypertexts, international finance, global capitalism, and other technological developments of the Information Age that can hardly be grasped by the human mind. In his already-classic workPostmodernism; or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Jameson traces the development of the technological sublime in several areas: culture, ideology, video art, architecture, literature, economics, and film. Following Jameson’s lead, we will begin with one of his essays on each of these areas and look at each topic from a variety of perspectives, grounding our discussion with the critical analysis of a particular work of American fiction (including four novels, listed below, and various short stories and other types of writing).

Texts: Gibson, William. Mona Lisa Overdrive; Jameson, Frederic. Postmodernism; or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism; Morrison, Toni. Beloved; Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49; Reed, Ishmael. Mumbo Jumbo; Handouts.

Requirements: Your grade will be based on participation (including attendance, contributions to class discussion, and one or two class presentations) and one substantial class project ( a 15-20 page term paper, or an equivalent creative writing project, or other substantial cultural production—video, hypertext, etc.). There will also be a short response to the reading due at the beginning of each class.

English 625:  Nineteenth Century American Literature
Professor Kenneth Bernard

This course is a discussion of some standard American writers, including Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, James, Dickinson, Cooper, and Twain. The course isolates two distinct strains in American literature and culture, which continue to the present, and uses the metaphor/model/paradigm of Community/Territory as an aid to understanding them.

English 700: Teaching Composition
Professor Patricia Stephens

This course is designed to introduce teachers to the theory and practice of writing instruction in a variety of settings: college composition courses, high school English courses, and writing center tutorials. Intended as both a source of support and a forum for discussion for new teachers as well as teachers with some experience in the classroom, the course will explore the dynamic and often complicated relationship between theory and practice in the teaching of writing. Overall, the course aims to help students expand their repertoire of theoretical and pedagogical knowledge and become more thoughtful and self-reflective teachers. During the first half of the semester, we will concentrate on readings that explore theories and practices appropriate for various levels of teaching writing (college, high school, and one-to-one tutoring). Writing assignments for the course are intended to encourage teachers to respond to issues raised and problems posed both in the readings and in hands-on work with student writers. Around mid-term, students will select an area of focus for a final research project intended to explore in depth an area of interest in the teaching of writing for a particular setting. Students may choose to work independently or collaboratively on research projects. Possible texts include: The Writing Teacher’s Sourcebook (4th edition), edited by Tate, Corbett, and Meyers; In the Middle Way: New Understandings  about Writing, Reading, and Learning, by Atwell; and Teaching One-to-One: The Writing Conference,  by Harris. A course reader, distributed by the instructor, will excerpt work from key figures in composition studies.

English 707: Methods of Research and Criticism
Professor Patrick Horrigan

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of literary criticism and research. Some of the readings in literary theory will be challenging. However, these readings will be balanced with literary texts that ground our discussions of criticism and give the class a common set of examples on which to test out and examine differing literary approaches. For example, we might read a text like Jane Eyre and examine its treatment over the course of time at the hands of various critics from the nineteenth century to today. In this way, the course is designed to give students an overview of the development of literary criticism as a field as well as the diversity of literary theory as it is practiced today. In addition, students will also be introduced to research skills and the practical knowledge needed to navigate the library. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to appreciate literary criticism not simply as a practice reserved for experts or done merely as a required exercise but as an engagement with literature that enriches us both as readers and teachers.

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