Graduate Seminars - Spring 2010
5303.001 Studies in Medieval LiteratureJulie Nelson Couch
Pulp Fiction: The Corpus of Middle English Romance
In this course, we will read a significant number of Middle English romances as well as other Middle English texts, including saints lives and advice poetry, that are found in the same manuscripts as the romances. Being written in a vernacular that was considered inferior to French, Middle English romances are the non-canonical step-child of high French romance and the underestimated sibling of Chaucer. With their more homely, violent, and unrefined characters, Middle English romances present a world of aggressive women, manipulative heroes, and avenging children, a world that exists far afield from the refined romance landscape of Chretién de Troyes. A world, in other words, of extreme action and sly humor that would resonate with contemporary consumers of popular fiction. As we read these poems and attend to their manuscript context, we will investigate the particular aesthetic values sought by the readers of these texts; we will also consider how these narratives relate in oblique rather than in imitative ways to the aristocratic basis of the medieval romance genre. Texts will include the poems of Codex Ashmole 61 as well as Amis And Amiloun, Havelok the Dane, and Sir Gowther, among others. Students should have taken the Middle English language course in the fall or have other demonstrable expertise in Middle English language. Assignments: research project, oral presentation, conference-length paper, annotated bibliography.
*This course satisfies the requirement in pre-1700 British literature.
5304.001 Studies in Renaissance LiteratureLara Crowley
No Text is an Island: John Donne and Early Modern Manuscript and Print Cultures
John Donne primarily composed poems for circulation within the manuscript medium and attempted to limit the distribution of copies to friends and patrons. In 1614, when Donne believed that he was “brought to a necessity of printing [his] Poems,” he complained to his friend Sir Henry Goodyer, “I know what I shall suffer from many interpretations” by readers outside of these intended manuscript audiences. Modern exegeses of Donne's complex, multivalent texts are challenged by our dissociation from the texts' historical and cultural contexts. But, our interpretations can be enhanced through uncovering how his contemporary audiences, particularly his anticipated readers, interpreted Donne's verse—in other words, through exploring Donne's texts within their original manuscript and print contexts.In this course, we will explore how studying bibliographic contexts enhances our understanding of literary culture—specifically, how studying literary manuscripts and printed books enhances our understanding of British Renaissance literature.
We will consider how analyzing the production, dissemination, and collection of Donne's poetry and prose can inform our understanding of these texts, as well as texts that frequently circulated with them, especially works composed by writers who chose or were forced to eschew print (such as certain women and English Catholics). Early (and usually posthumous) printed collections have played a crucial role in the development of authorial canons, a role that we will re-assess as we consider early modern attitudes toward attribution and authorship. In addition to reading many of Donne's poems and prose works, as well as critical commentary from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries, we will consider technologies associated with scribal and hand press publication during this period in which both forms of literary distribution thrived. You will write three papers for this course: an explication of a poem, a conference paper that you will present in class on a research topic that you're exploring, and a final paper on that research topic.
*This course satisfies the requirements in pre-1700 British literature and Genre: Poetry.
5307.001 Studies in 18th-Century British LiteratureMarta Kvande
Selling Novels and “The Novel” in the Eighteenth Century
Many of us talk about “the novel” as if the term were both self-evident and immutably fixed. But eighteenth-century writers had no such misconceptions; in fact, early novelists often strenuously denied that their works were novels. After all, novels were trash—potentially dangerous, salacious trash, fit only for fools and whores and certainly not worthy of any literary consideration. It was not until late in the century that the term “novel” arrived at some critical acceptance. Modern critics, too, have struggled to define the novel, and especially the eighteenth-century novel, just as they have struggled to explain its apparent “rise.” This course will study the British novel in the eighteenth century, focusing particularly how novels defined and presented themselves—both textually and materially—and how the idea of the “novel” gradually coalesced into something we now understand as a coherent genre. In other words, how (and why) did novels sell themselves? And how (and why) did the idea of the novel eventually get sold? The course readings will include novels by Behn, Haywood, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Burney, and Austen, among others, as well as a selection of criticism on the novel. Course work will include a scholarly presentation, shorter essays, and an article-length seminar paper.
*This course satisifes the requirements in post-1700 British literature and Genre: Fiction.
5313.001 Studies in 20th-Century British LiteratureJen Shelton and Ken Baake
World War I
Human society has been unable to escape war even in the nearly 100 years since the Great War erupted across Europe, ostensibly as a “war to end all war.” Much has been written in all genres about the war during and since its outbreak. Our team-taught course will conduct a survey of the written word as it encircles this event—looking at everything from the mundane technical manuals that soldiers read or reports that commanders wrote to novels, poems, and histories that those soldiers and later authors produced in order to try to come to terms with the war's horrors and the modern era it helped to usher in. Our primary goal is to study how different types of writing are used to know a particular reality. Rather than follow the approach that looks in detail at one genre as it addresses general issues, we want to look at many genres as they converge on one issue—The Great War.
Our underlying assumption is that humans use writing in all forms to make sense of their world and its challenges. In preparation for class, students will read and analyze various texts dealing with World War I. They will write short responses critiquing those texts, considering how texts from different genres covering the same topic both overlap and diverge. Students will conduct research and write a term paper on some aspect of World War I writing. The term paper assignment could be tailored to address specific student areas of interest in either technical communication or literature. Finally, the course will reveal the power and limitations of different types of writing for dealing with profound realities of the human condition, especially with the persistent tendency of cultures to interact through war.
In addition to an electronic course pack, we most likely will read the following texts over the semester: Michael Howard, The First World War; Robert Crowley, ed., The Great War: Perspectives on the First World War; Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front; Jon Silkin, ed., The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Pat Barker, Regeneration; World War I Field Manuals (CD ROM available www.paperlessarchives.com).
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature.
5320.001 Studies in 18th-Century American LiteratureMichele Currie Navakas
Enlightenment, Revolution, and Early American Literature
This course will survey American literature and culture during the decades leading up to and including the early national period (c. 1750 to 1820). Our readings will come from classic legal, literary, political, religious, scientific, and visual texts that reflect on the meaning of Enlightenment, Revolution, and America's movement from colony to nation and empire. We will consider what Revolutionary ideals and post-Revolutionary politics meant for women and men, free and enslaved, Indian and white, rich and poor, urban and rural; examine the meaning and limitations of "Enlightenment" in the Atlantic world; explore the formation of the "republic of letters" in its transatlantic context; and investigate the multiple geographies and cultures that shaped national identity as it emerged. The course will chart the rise of literary forms of expression in America -- such as the slave narrative, autobiography, and novel -- as well as examine critical responses that continue to shape the field of early American literary studies. Readings will include works by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Phyllis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke, Charles Brockden Brown, Hannah Foster, and Robert Montgomery Bird.
*This course satisfies the requirement in pre-1900 American literature.
5324.001 Studies in 20th-Century American LiteratureSara Spurgeon
Harold Bloom has called Cormac McCarthy one of the most important writers of the last hundred years. This course will explore the works of this intriguing and controversial author, seeking to understand his place in 20th-21st century American literature and the relationship of his writing to American history, regionalism, gender, and the environment. We will read selected novels from McCarthy's early Southern/Appalachian period, his Southwestern/Borderlands fiction, and his most recent publications (a more complete list of required texts will be forthcoming). In addition, we will read regularly from John Cant's critical analysis of McCarthy's oeuvre, Cormac McCarthy and the Myth of American Exceptionalism. Students will write short response papers, an article length essay, lead class discussions, and report on other scholarly sources dealing with McCarthy.
*This course satisfies the requirements in post-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.
5324.002 Studies in 20th-Century American LiteratureMichael Borshuk
“One Ever Feels Her Fiveness”: Women of the Harlem Renaissance
In 1925, the African American intellectual Alain Locke boldly announced: “[T]he younger generation is vibrant with a new psychology; the new spirit is awake in the masses, and under the very eyes of the professional observers is transforming what has been a perennial problem into the progressive phases of contemporary Negro life.” Locke's pronouncement advertised a palpable shift in African American sensibility following the First World War, and gave name to the emerging black generation: the New Negro, in the period later popularly known as the Harlem Renaissance. Yet, as the critic Martin Summers points out, Locke also described the African American literary tradition to younger writers in “language that evoked the idealized images of nineteenth–century manhood—the artist as a skilled laborer and as a lone individual on the frontier” (206). In doing so, as Summers argues, Locke “was in the process of constructing a predominantly ‘male' tradition of arts and letters in which to foreground the work of the younger artists. As such, his interpretation of black modernism and its predecessors contrived a hierarchy based on gender” (206).
This course will examine the Harlem Renaissance with special attention to the various key women at the heart of the period's dramatic cultural shifts, in the interest of addressing the gendered hierarchy Summers identifies in the period. While historically, much attention has been paid to the Harlem Renaissance's male intellectual mentors like Locke, Du Bois, and James Weldon Johnson, or to its young male writers like Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer, there is rarely enough attention paid to the women who also contributed significantly to the dramatic changes Locke announced in the quotation above. Among literary works, then, we will consider fiction by Nella Larsen, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Zora Neale Hurston; poetry by Gwendolyn Bennett, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and Helene Johnson; and drama by Angelina Weld Grimke. We will also consider the visual and performing artists of the period too, with attention to the sculptor Augusta Savage, the singer-dancer Josephine Baker, and classic blues singers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith.
Tentative course texts include: Jessie Redmon Fauset, Plum Bun; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Nella Larsen, Passing; Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road and Their Eyes Were Watching God; Angelina Weld Grimke, Rachel; David Levering Lewis, ed., The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader; plus criticism by Cheryl Wall, Hazel Carby, Ann duCille, Angela Davis, Patricia Hill Collins, and others.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature.
5334.001 History of the English LanguageBrian McFadden
We will be examining the history and development of the English language from its
origins in Anglo-Saxon England through the high Middle Ages and the Early Modern period
to Modern English and issues and controversies of the present day; this entails studying
the internal history, external history, and the development of its morphology, phonology,
semantics, and syntax, in addition to an examination of orality and literacy and the
effects of developing methods of textual production on the language. We will also
be reading short pieces written at different times through English history (e.g. Ælfric,
Alfred the Great, Chaucer, Milton, Sidney, Johnson, Swift, Jefferson, Orwell) to gain
a historical perspective on how authors perceived the language in which they were
writing. The earlier parts of the course will be highly technical and mechanical;
as the course progresses, there will be more opportunity for discussion and development
of current topics of interest to the student. The requirements will be a seminar paper
on a topic of interest to the study of English as a language, a prospectus at midterm
in order to give me an idea of what you wish to discuss in the essay, and an oral
presentation on one of the texts to be discussed in class. Primary texts: Baugh and
Cable, A History of the English Language; Knowles, A Cultural History of the English Language; plus various PDF's on E-reserve for shorter works.
*This course satisfies one part of the requirement in High Proficiency in English Philology.
5337.001 Studies in LinguisticsMin-Joo Kim
This course is an introduction to language typology and linguistic universals. Some of the primary questions to be addressed are:
-How are languages of the world different from each other?
-How are they similar to each other?
-Do the different ways in which the languages package information cause speakers to pay attention to different aspects of their worlds?
-Are there hidden dimensions in English grammar that are openly expressed in other languages?
-Are unrelated languages like English and Japanese really just two different ways of speaking the same language?
-How geographic proximity influences the structure of a language and yet how certain core linguistic properties hold of languages regardless of their geographical closeness?
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to (i) have basic knowledge of worlds' languages and how they are classified, (ii) conduct a preliminary fieldwork in linguistic documentation, and (iii) read and understand data from various languages. There will be an exam, a language journal, a term-paper and an in-class presentation on it.
5339.001 PhonologyJeff Williams
Phonology is the subdiscipline of linguistics that deals with sound systems: the way
in which languages organize meaningful sound units. The purpose of this course is
to introduce the fundamental techniques of phonological analysis as well as the theoretical
principles that underpin it. Students will learn how to develop their own phonological
analyses based on data drawn from a wide range of languages. The goal of the course
is for students to acquire the basic skills, understanding and terminology to pursue
further work in phonology. A partial listing of these skills are as follows: (i) how
to formulate hypotheses; (ii) how to think critically and discover linguistic generalizations;
(iii) how to formalize linguistic generalizations especially in relation to phonological
data; and, (iv) how to evaluate competing accounts of phonological processes.
The course will begin with an overview of phonetics and then proceed through phonemic analysis, features and phonological representations, morphology, phonological variation, morphophonemic alternation, syllables, prosodic features, sound symbolism and abstractness. There will be a textbook for the class as well as a series of assigned readings. The grade for the course will be based on the completion of phonology problem sets and a phonological description paper.
5343.001 Studies in Literary CriticismJennifer Snead
History and Theories of the Book
This course focuses on the relationships between texts and their material embodiments, from stone to screen, papyrus to paper, taking as its guiding principle that understanding the social and material construction of texts, and the circumstances of their physical dissemination, is crucial to understanding literary works and their reception. The scope of the course is broad, beginning with an overview of material text production across history and cultures, examining early writing and publishing technologies. We'll move through the transition from scribal to print cultures and the hand press period, through the nineteenth-century industrialization of print, and end with digital texts and the medium of screen and internet.
Along the way we will consider how a series of contemporary theoretical issues inform or are informed by our examination of material texts: authorship and ownership (copyright); the role of the book in the state; the role of editors, publishers, and readers in the creation of textual meaning; the ways in which ideas are translated into things. As we explore these issues, we'll get hands-on experience with the material formats of the texts we study, both in the classroom and through visits to Texas Tech's Rare Books and Special Collections.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Nonfiction.
5343.002 Studies in Literary CriticismBruce Clarke
Literature, Science, and Posthumanism
The field of literature and science has developed over three decades as a scholarly response to the increasingly specialized and technical languages that enclose separate disciplinary spheres. Under modern conditions of knowledge production, cross-disciplinary contact has to become a discipline in its own right. In addition, the field of literature and science has taken the lead in forming a scholarly conception of posthumanism. Current work in this field has delineated a “critical posthumanism” that stresses the range of the concept beyond the cyborg imaginary, as well as an ethical posthumanism that rethinks the humanist rejection of nonhuman or animal subjectivity. Finally, posthumanism is the philosophical counterpart of the visionary notion of the posthuman, a conceptual trope conveying images of biotechnological or cybernetic hybrids, especially as literary and cinematic narratives have imagined technoscientific vectors beyond the human. This seminar will focus an introduction to the field of literature and science through the discourse of posthumanism and the literature of the posthuman. The syllabus as I currently conceive it is my Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems; Cary Wolfe, What Is Posthumanism?; Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern; Niklas Luhmann, Theories of Distinction; Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, What is Life?; Tyler Volk and Dorion Sagan, Death & Sex; Paul di Filippo, A Mouthful of Tongues: Her Totipotent Tropicanalia; and Richard Powers, Generosity: An Enhancement.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Nonfiction.
5343.003 Studies in Literary CriticismKanika Batra
Chandra Mohanty's conceptualization of feminism without borders is premised on intersections between women's movements, activism, and analysis on a global scale. As a method of enquiry encompassing biological, kinship, and work-related categories that span cultures and continents -- women as unwaged, white, blue, or pink collar workers performing corporate, academic, manual, domestic, or sexual labor -- transnational feminist studies has emerged as an important branch of globalization theory. Following Nancy Fraser, we can identify struggles for recognition of new identity categories and redistribution of economic, social, and political power as the major strands in transnational feminist analysis.
Redistribution' and ‘recognition' are keywords in the feminist philosophical, anthropological, and historical accounts we will read in this course. Some of the issues the course will address are: emergence of new categories of work such as ‘higglers' and ‘migrant sex workers' in the Caribbean; transnationalization of labor practices such as those in the export processing zones all over the world; women's responses to their changing public and private roles including an increase in domestic and social violence; new forms of affective intimacy in late capitalism including the adoption of a global vocabulary of identity politics such as ‘gay', ‘lesbian' or ‘queer' in places which prohibit expression of erotic autonomy outside the heterosexual matrix. While we will examine these issues in a transnational framework, the course includes a special focus on the political, social, and cultural economies of the global South as manifested in gender studies scholarship and curricula in the Euro-American academy.
Tentative reading list: Aihwa Ong, Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality; Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity; Nancy Fraser, Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the" Postsocialist" Condition; Carla Freeman, High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work, and Pink Collar Identities in the Caribbean; Kamala Kempadoo, Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race, and Sexual Labor; Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity; Pun Ngai, Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace; Lisa Rofel, Desiring China: Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture; and essays by Gayatri Spivak, Ann McClintock, Kath Weston and others.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Nonfiction.
5350.001 Studies in DramaConstance Kuriyama
Comedy on Stage and Screen
As Northrop Frye observes in Anatomy of Criticism , comedy, though notoriously resistant to theoretical reduction and analysis, is remarkably constant in its elemental form and content. Though some of it is topical, comedy can cross both temporal and cultural divides, and flourish in diverse media with only minor modifications. In this course we will trace major elements of Western dramatic comedy, both verbal and visual, through a succession of representative works, beginning with Aristophanes and concluding with the shift of comedy's primary locus from the stage to film in the twentieth century. Readings will include plays by major playwrights such as Shakespeare, Jonson, Molière, Wilde, and Shaw, as well as selections in theory of comedy. Screenings will begin with silent film comedy, and end with a film made in the last decade. Some screenings may be scheduled in addition to regular class meetings.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Drama.
5351.001 Studies in FilmMichael Schoenecke
Auteur criticism is located at a midpoint on the criticism spectrum bound by textual criticism and contextual criticism. On the one hand, the auteurist critic is primarily engaged in identifying formal and rhetorical patterns in single films (individual texts), in discovering and describing cinematic structures and personal visions that are consistent from film to film in the work of a single film artist. On the other hand, auteurism is connected to the extratextual (contextual) consideration of film as an intersection of social and personal history, through questions of authorship, artistic influence, and biography. Auteur critics seek to characterize and illuminate the style of a single artist through a consideration of formal elements and the recurring attitudes and ideas expressed through plot, character, and theme, but they also draw a description and interpretation of the forces, both personal and public, that surround the production of the films under consideration.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Drama.
5352.001 Studies in FictionWendell Aycock
Short Fiction of the Americas
Short fiction (i.e., short stories and novellas) enjoyed a great deal of popularity during the 1920s and 1930s in the United States, and since then writers have continued to produce both longer short stories, or novellas, and short story collections (e.g., Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried or Raymond Carver's Will You Please Be Quiet, Please). What has been true in the United States for the production of short fiction has also been more or less apparent in South America and Canada. Both of these Americas have produced some extremely fine writers of short fiction. Canadians Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro continue to write excellent works. And Argentina itself has a rich tradition of short story writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Luisa Valenzuela. Gabriel García Márquez's Doce cuentos peregrinos (Strange Pilgrims), from Colombia, and Carlos Fuentes Aqua quemada (Burnt Water), from Mexico, are excellent collections. A recent (2009) collection, Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction, presents the reflections of current Mexican short story writers.
By studying the short fiction of the Americas, student should be able to see how this genre reflects the social struggles that involve common challenges and connections that appear in these various countries. Students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the stories of particular writers of their choice in order to present reports and papers to their classmates and write a short paper and a longer paper concerning their findings. Additional requirements will be a midterm examination and a final examination.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Fiction.
ENGL 5355.001 Studies in Comparative LiteratureYuan Shu
Globalization and Literary Studies
This course examines globalization as a political and economic process that has profoundly impacted our culture and society as well as a discourse that has informed and reshaped critical studies. To begin with, we explore globalization in terms of neoliberal capitalism and scrutinize excerpts from Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man, Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire. As a critical intervention of neoliberalism, we engage Arif Dirlik's Global Modernity and revisit the issues of colonialism, post-colonialism, and neocolonialism. Moreover, we investigate the specific ways in which globalization has restructured higher education, paying special attention to the humanities and literary studies. We read chapters from Clark Kerr's The Uses of the University, David Li's Globalization and the Humanities, Gerald Graff's Professing Literature, Patrick Brantlinger's Who Killed Shakespeare?, and Robert Scholes' The Rise and Fall of English. Finally, as the focus of this course, we emphasize new critical strategies and paradigms as envisioned and articulated by leading theorists in response to globalization. We will also discuss the 2001 special issue of PMLA on “Globalizing Literary Studies,” Gayatri Spivak's Death of a Discipline, Haun Saussy's Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization, as well as Wai Chee Dimock and Lawrence Buell's Shades of the Planet.
5370.001 Creative Writing Workshop
The course will focus on the short story, with an emphasis on the sentence, from the fundamentals of grammar to theories of acoustics. Students will be expected to write new material weekly or every other week. There will be in-class writing assignments in addition to the weekly work. Readings, stories and novels, will be assigned on an individual basis, according to the style and narrative methods each student is choosing to work with. Active, articulate class participation is mandatory.
5370.002 Creative Writing WorkshopJill Patterson
In this workshop, we'll study how nonfiction—the research and writing of it—can tackle social problems and change the way we think about them. We'll focus on the transformation of journalism by the advent of “creative” nonfiction, and students will find their own subjects, researching them and adopting the narrative techniques of creative nonfiction in order to write about the world around us. Every assignment in this course will involve research. We'll write essays that incorporate philosophical stances and political beliefs, facts and public events, and personal experiences that address larger, universal issues. We'll be reading several nonfiction books of this vein (and maybe even some individual essays): Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Norman McLean's Young Men and Fire, Richard Rodriguez's Brown: The Last Discovery of America, Lucy Grealy's Autobiography of a Face; Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty, and Dave Cullen's Columbine. Students will write four manuscripts and their revisions (which will be submitted for publication during the semester). This class will be both reading and writing intensive.
5370.003 Creative Writing WorkshopWilliam Wenthe
Mainly a writing workshop, this seminar will also incorporate something of the “form and theory” class; in other words, we'll be writing poetry, and thinking about poetry. Enrollment is open to those in the creative writing program; those in other areas who are interested in taking the class should submit a group of poems to Dr. William Wenthe's mailbox, along with your contact information, for permission to enroll.
*diligence, in the root sense of the word (Check out the etymology)
*recognizing and acting upon the need to carve out a steady time for your writing practice
*a determination that you will learn as much from careful attention to, and critique of, your peers' writing, as you will gain from their collective attention and critique of yours
*fearlessness in the face of revision
*a final portfolio of ten poems revised and "finished" to the best of your ability, and an 8-10 page introductory prose statement
We will do workshops on a “rolling” basis, meaning that each student will be free to submit poems whenever he or she has a poem ready to be workshopped, instead of adhering to a preset schedule. I will also assign various readings in poetry and/or criticism, and conduct various lessons about particular aspects of poetry writing in each class session. Frankly it's hard to write a description of this class, since the main body of it will be the discussion that arises around your own writing-to-be, and the relation of your writing to the ongoing conversation in poetry that's been going on for thousands of years and that has now (“Uh-oh,” says Caedmon) passed the harp to our time. Nonetheless, I will bring to the table my interests in the intelligence of poetic form, the rhetorical aspects of poetry, and a host of angles more often associated with other genres—such as plot, point of view, motive, drama—in the way that poems partake of them.
NOTE: Dr. Wenthe is on leave this Fall, and has no office hours. If you have questions about the class, don't hesitate to email or call him at home (see Dept. Directory).
5380.001 Advanced Problems in Literary StudyJames Whitlark
Between East and West--The American Transcendentalists
In at least three senses, the nineteenth-century American Transcendentalist Movement was between East and West. First, it constituted the first large encounter of American literature with Asian culture. Second, it bridged European Idealism and American pragmatism. Third, it came primarily from an East Coast sufficiently settled so that it could begin to see the negative effects of civilization (e.g., environmental deterioration and the massacre of Native Americans); thus, it appreciated what was being lost there but still persisted in the American West. In other words, it was less a series of fixed principles than a commitment to dialogue between regions of the world still relatively separate. It was thus a precursor of present globalism, and like any precursor, helps us to see more clearly the current condition by observing its roots. All the required texts are free on the web. We shall commence with selections from such Transcendentalists as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller. Then, we shall explore the impact of the movement by reading a little poetry by two authors influenced by it (Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman) as well as fictions by two who reacted against it, but in a very ambivalent manner (Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne). Course work consists of a term paper and two tests.
*This course satisfies the requirement in pre-1900 American literature.
5380.002 Advanced Problems in Literary StudyMarjean Purinton
British Romantic Drama
After more than a decade of recovering and recontextualizing Romantic drama in Great Britain, we have come to recognize the central role that drama played during the period of the 1780s to the 1830s. Romantic drama, staged and read, was its culture's most popular medium, crossing class, national, and gender divisions, as well as a serious literary form written by the period's major writers. Manifested in diverse ways (melodrama, gothic, verse drama, opera, pantomime, puppet shows, children's drama, monodrama, tragedy, comedy, burlesque), Romantic drama performed, reflected, and influenced the political, social, and cultural issues of its day. The Licensing Act of 1737, granting patents to the Royal Theatres of Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and the Haymarket, and the Lord Chamberlain's censorship (willingness to grant performance licenses) meant, however, that playwrights had to be clever in their stagings of controversial and taboo subjects.
In this seminar, we will examine diverse plays from the period as negotiations of theatrical politics. We will look at the performative aspects of Romantic drama, including the role of the actor, the design of stage, non-dramatic performances (such as itinerant medical shows), and private theatricals. We will consider the thematic and dramaturgical handling of the revolutionary and changing Romantic culture from which its drama emanated. We will contextualize the ways in which Romantic drama engaged with the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as British society became increasingly democratized, commercialized, and bourgeoisie. We will discover how the theatre was a site for performing gender and how playwriting was particularly problematic for women. We will situate Romantic drama in the history of theatre. Because my pedagogy and scholarship are informed by feminism and feminist theory, you will encounter in this seminar a learning environment of decentralized authority with an invitation to participate in your own learning/discovery process, your own meaning-making knowledge. And because Romantic drama is a genre of performance as well as of the printed page, be prepared to engage in some reading and performance activities that will require you to learn affectedly as well as intellectually.
Our primary texts are included in The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama, edited by Jeffrey N. Cox and Michael Gamer (2003), Joanna Baillie's Plays on the Passions, edited by Peter Duthie (Broadview, 2001), and hypertexts found on the website British Women Playwrights around 1800. Our activities will include brief response papers, a book review, a research-based, critical essay, a mock conference and conference presentation, and ample amounts of stimulating conversation and commentary.
Because the International Conference on Romanticism will be hosted by Texas Tech University and taking place on campus during the fall of 2010, we will use this course to generate a panel and/or papers that could be submitted to the program committee of that conference. We may very well also have the opportunity to see a Romantic play performed here during that conference.
Questions or comments? You may contact Marjean D. Purinton at 742.1828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This course satisfies the requirements in post-1700 British literature and Genre: Drama.
5392.002 Teaching College LiteratureJohn Samson
Intended for graduate students in their final semester of course work who are interested
in applying for a 2000-level literature teaching assignment, ENGL 5392 offers an introduction
to the challenges of teaching college literature. We begin with an overview of theoretical
issues associated with the teaching of college literature (What is college literature?
Who gets a say in the answer to this question? To whom/what are college literature
teachers responsible? What are their responsibilities? What kind of writing does/should
occur in college literature classrooms? And so on) but move quickly to actual praxis.
Students in 5392 will prepare reading/writing assignments, engage in grading of those
assignments, and ‘teach' selected texts to the rest of us in class. By the end of
the semester, each student will prepare a sample syllabus and writing assignments
for a 2000-level course at TTU, will be video-taped while doing a practice teaching
session, and will have a start on a teaching philosophy statement and a teaching portfolio.
Readings for the class include a range of theoretical and practical essays, as well as sample works of literature. Assignments include a few personal meditations (“what values have you taken in/on during your education in literary studies?”), reports on classroom observations, responses to readings, and the production of classroom materials (syllabi, assignment descriptions, grading rubrics, power point presentations).
*This course satisfies the requirement in Teaching College Literature.