Graduate Seminars - Summer 2010
5323.001 Studies in 19th-Century American Literature
Ann Daghistany Ransdell
American Gothic Short Fiction
This session we will read five American gothic short story writers: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar A. Poe, Louisa May Alcott, Henry James and Edith Wharton. We will begin our study with the precedents in the English Gothic tradition, itself a part of European Romanticism. The stories mentioned here are some of the works we will read. Our focus will be upon how the stories engage the history of the period and its beginnings with Puritanism in Hawthorne's moral gothics "The Scarlet Letter, " his treatment of the witchcraft trials and their causes in the Indian wars and gender politics in "Alice Doane's Appeal," and the Revolutionary War in "My Kinsman, Major Molineux." We will study Poe's terror gothics "Narrative of A. Gordon Pym," "Ligeia," as well as his gothic stories that engage slavery in "The Black Cat," "Hop Frog," and class deterioration in "The Fall of the House of Usher." Alcott's borderline gothic Civil War stories about race and class, "My Contraband," "Hospital Sketches," and her thrillers "The Abbot's Ghost" and "Behind a Mask" will be followed by Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw,""The Jolly Corner," and "The Beast in the Jungle." We will trace the transition from gothic to ghost stories in his work as well as in Edith Wharton's class observations in "The Lady's Maid's Bell," "Afterward," and "The Triumph of Night." Emphasis will be upon the critical treatments of the gothic, the reception of these authors, and women's issues of employment and education. Requirements include three short film/fiction comparative papers, a long written paper on the student's choice from an assigned list of topics , an oral presentation upon that long paper given in conference style, and a final. The final grade will be based upon these five equally weighted units: the long paper, the oral presentation of that paper graded separately, the average of the three short film papers, the final, and class participation in daily discussions.
*This course satisfies the requirement in pre-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.
5313.011 Studies in 20th-Century British Literature
Modern and Contemporary British Literature
This seminar will provide a broad survey of modern and contemporary works of British fiction. The readings will occur in three clusters. The first looks at modernist representations of war and colonialism in Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier (1915), Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier (1916), and E. M. Forster's A Passage to India (1925). The second samples postmodernist visions of social deterioration in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange (1962) and Andrew Welsh's Trainspotting (1993), and we will contrast these literary texts to their cinematic adaptations. The third cluster approaches a substantial and complex narrative in A. S. Byatt's Possession (1990), and reaches back to H. G. Wells's brisk novella The Time Machine (1895) in order to grasp fully the erudite pastiche of Ronald Wright's A Scientific Romance (1997). Students will read critical literature on the assigned works of literature and do class reports. The first two clusters will generate short essays, and the third a term paper.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature and Genre: Fiction.