Category Archives: Course Information

ENGL 515 Latin American Lit is moving to asynchronous (no weekly zoom requirement)

Due to lack of enrollment in the zoom-enhanced fall ENGL 515 Latin American Literature course, we’re changing the course to the standard asynchronous format. This means there will no longer be the Thursday night zoom requirement attached to the course. The change in modality will appear in Connect by the end of this week. Please contact with any questions.

Take a chance on 515 Latin American Lit and 560 African & Caribbean Lit

After one month of fall registration being open, one course is already full, and a few others have just a few seats left. There’s lots of time yet, all spring and summer long, but two courses with a lot of seats still available are 515 Latin American Lit and 560 African & Caribbean Lit; so I wanted to send this note out across the graduate student community and encourage you to consider these courses for your fall schedule.

515 Latin American Lit will include a live zoom discussion once a week, on Thursday nights, from 7:00-8:20pm eastern. We’re running this course in this way as an experiment, based on feedback from the program-wide survey in which a significant amount of students indicated that they wanted live-zoom choices added to the schedule. Whether or not we run courses in this modality in the future will depend much on whether or not this class draws students. So for any students who want there to be live-zoom options in the program, we need you to stand up for that by registering for this fall 515 course. The course is listed in Connect as running both on Tuesday and Thursday night on zoom, but in fact it will only be on zoom on Thursday nights.

The theme of the 515 Latin American lit course will be Protest and Resistance in Latin American Literature. Students will examine works by the Mexican writer Nellie Campobello, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, the Argentine writer Luisa Valenzuela, and the Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, among others.

The 560 African & Caribbean Lit course will explore works of writers from a variety of African and Caribbean nations. Students in previous instances of this course explored works by writers such as Naguib Mafouz [Egypt], Wole Soyinka [Nigeria], V.S. Naipaul [Trinidad], J.M. Coetzee [South Africa], Nadine Gordimer [South Africa], Derek Walcott [St Lucia], Chimamanda Adichie [Nigeria], Jamaica Kincaid [Antigua], Edwidge Danticat [Haiti], Mariama Ba [Senegal], Tsitsi Dangaremba [Zimbabwe], and Athol Fugard [South Africa]. Some of these writers will likely be included in the class this fall.

Both of these courses will offer students a unique and inspiring experience. On behalf of all of the faculty in the MA program, I hope that our graduate students find a way to fit one or both of these courses into your fall schedule. Please write to with any questions.

Book Order Info for Spring 2023

Below you will find some info for books/materials required for your spring MA courses. This will be updated as professors finalize their courses and readings.

ENGL 505 Transformations of the Epic (Dr. Sax)

  • Boroff, Marie, trans. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. ISBN: 0393930254.
  • Alighieri, Dante. Inferno. Trans. Mark Musa. New York: Penguin, 2002. 0142437220.
  • Fagles, Robert, trans. The Iliad. New York: Penguin Classics, 1998. ISBN:  0140275363.
  • Harrison, Robert, trans. The Song of Roland. New York: Dover, 2002. ISBN: 0486422402.
  • Hatto, A. T., trans. The Nibelungenlied. New York: Penguin, 1965. ISBN: 0140441379.
  • Raffel, Burton, trans. Beowulf. New York: Signet, 2008. ISBN: 0451530969.
  • Sandars, N. K., trans. The Epic of Gilgamesh: An English Version with an Introduction. New York: Penguin Classics, 1960), ISBN: 014044100X.

ENGL 521 Themes & Genres of Medieval Lit (Dr. Fritz)

  • Black, Joseph, et al, eds. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: Concise Volume A – Third Edition: The Medieval Period – The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century – The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. ISBN: 9781554813124

ENGL 525 Victorian Age in Literature (Dr. Dugan)

  • Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley’s Secret. Broadview Literary Texts, 2003.  978-1-55111-357-9.
  • Eliot, George. The Mill on the Floss. Dover Thrift Editions, 20003.  978-0-486-42680-8.
  • Dickens, Charles. Hard Times. Dover Thrift Editions, 2001.  978-0-486-41920-6
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 2019, 978-0-486-26688-6.

ENGL 540 Philosophy of Literature (Dr. Fisher)

  • Noël Carroll and John Gibson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature, Routledge (2006). ISBN 9780367360399
  • Eileen John and Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.), Philosophy of Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readings, Wiley-Blackwell (2004). ISBN 9781405112086
  • Numerous other short readings will be provided as PDFs or links in Blackboard.

ENGL 544 Cyberpunk & Technoculture (Dr. Loots)


  • Eggers, Dave. The Circle. ISBN 9780345807298.
  • Gibson, William. Neuromancer. ISBN 9780441007462.
  • Scott, Melissa. Trouble and Her Friends. ISBN 9780765328489. (But this is out of print [OOP] so a PDF will be provided in class. You can find used copies for cheap on, if you don’t like reading from PDFs. I use the hardcover 1994 edition but any edition will do.
  • Stephenson, Neal. Snow Crash. ISBN 9780553380958.
  • Numerous other shorter works will be provided as PDFs or links in Blackboard. Also note that students will be required to view a selection of relevant films and shows, and so should budget perhaps $25 for the cost of a few streaming rentals and a month of Netflix.

Recommended, not required:

  • Cadigan, Pat, ed. The Ultimate Cyberpunk. ISBN 9780743452397. (OOP, relevant selections from this will be provided in class as PDFs)
  • Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ISBN: 9780345404473.
  • Mill, Anna, and Luke Jones. Square Eyes. ISBN 9780224097222.
  • Sterling, Bruce, ed. Mirrorshades. ISBN: 9780877958680 (OOP and expensive, but you can sometimes find fairly priced copies on Alibris)
  • For anyone who games, I recommend you play through CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 which despite what you may have heard is a brilliant game; and the many issues/bugs present during its infamous 2020 release-debacle have been fixed through patches.

ENGL 560 Black Theatre, Art, and Power in the Digital Age (Dr. Morales)

  • London, Todd, and Ben Pesner. Outrageous Fortune. ISBN-13:‎ 978-0984310906
  • Nayeri, Farah. Takedown: Art and Power in the Digital Age. ISBN-10: ‎1662600550
  • Wilson, August. King Hedley II. ISBN-13:978-1559362603

Other materials will be provided as PDFs or links online.

Should the MA Program Add Live-Online (Zoom) Options to Future Course Schedules?

Attention all students in the MA English Lit program: Please click here to complete a survey regarding your thoughts on whether or not the MA program should add synchronous or hybrid (meaning, live online Zoom courses) to future schedules.

(Also: if anyone wants to express anything else on this topic to the Program Director personally, please do so by contacting me at

Spring Registration is Now Open. Be sure to access the English schedule in Connect, NOT the English Grad Ed schedule

Attention all MA English Lit students: spring 2023 registration is now active as of 11/2. When you go to register for courses, be careful to search for the English schedule, and not the English Grad Ed schedule. If you start typing “English” in Connect you’ll be prompted for one or the other, and you might naturally click on the one with “Grad” in the title, but this is not the schedule for us. That schedule is for students in the Master of Science in English Education which is a different program from ours, involving totally different faculty and actually run out of a different school at the college (it’s not in the School of Liberal Arts, as we are). You’ll know you’ve reached the proper schedule if you can see the level 500+ courses listed in the previous blog post.

Also, as some of you may have noticed, there’s a new tool available to students this fall, something called a “registration planner,” which unfortunately will not reveal the accurate titles for all of our courses. For example ENGL 540 up in Connect is titled Philosophy of Literature on the schedule, but in the registration planner it shows a title of Special Topics in British Lit. This will happen for courses numbered 514, 515, 540, and 560, because these are what are known (behind the scenes) as topics course numbers, meaning they are numbers that we can use to run all sorts of new or different courses. These four course numbers each have a generic title, in the system, that we use as placeholders until we actually plug something into the schedule using those numbers. So for another example, ENGL 560 has a generic title of Special Topics in American Literature, but in the spring scheduled its title is Black Theatre, Art, and Power in the Digital Age. What’s happening here is that students weren’t actually meant to see those generic titles, and you won’t see them in Connect; you will instead see the custom titles. Apparently the new planner tool is set up in a way where it’s drawing the generic titles out of the registrar’s system, without recognizing that they’ve been assigned custom titles in Connect. This is all a bit convoluted I know but, if you’re looking in the registration planner and are confused by what you’re seeing, this is why. Fortunately this should make no difference in terms of actually registering for courses in Connect.

If anyone has any questions about any of this, please contact me at In the meantime, I encourage everyone to grab seats in preferred spring courses right away, before they fill up!

Spring and Summer 2023 Course Schedule Preview

The spring and summer 2023 schedules are coming into focus. Full descriptions for these will be provided here on the blog in good time, as will registration info (date, time). For spring we have these seven courses planned:

  • ENGL 505 Transformations of the Epic (Dr. Sax)
  • ENGL 515 Latino Literature (Dr. Reissig-Vasile)
  • ENGL 521 Themes & Genres of Medieval Lit (Dr. Fritz)
  • ENGL 525 Victorian Age in Literature (Dr. Dugan)
  • ENGL 540 Philosophy of Literature (Dr. Fisher)
  • ENGL 544 Cyberpunk & Technoculture (Dr. Loots)
  • ENGL 560 Black Theatre, Art, and Power in the Digital Age (Dr. Morales)

We as well have two courses penciled in so far for summer 2023:

  • ENGL 540 Fairy Tales (Dr. Sax)
  • ENGL 560 Murder, Mystery, & Suspense (Dr. Dugan)

Typically we run four summer courses (that is the amount that student demand has warranted, in recent years). So a few more summer courses will be added to that list. Courses typically have 15 seats available and they’re available on a first-come first-serve basis; so if you see courses of particular interest then be sure to register promptly as soon as registration opens. As to how any of these course will work for your degree, refer to the outline below, which is copied from page 5 of the Graduate Student Handbook available here on the blog, link in the left-hand column.

Book Info For Fall 2022 (So Far)

Below are some details about book orders for fall 2022 courses. This will be updated as further details are provided by professors. For now consider these lists as in-progress.

ENGL 500 Theory

  • Leitch, Vincent B., et al, eds.  The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.  3rd ed. Norton, 2018. ISBN: 978-0393602951.

ENGL 508 History of Drama

  • The Norton Anthology of Drama, Shorter Third Edition, ISBN: 9780393283501.

ENGL 514 Ulysses

  • Joyce, James. Ulysses (The Gabler Edition). Penguin Random House, 1986. ISBN: 9780394743127.

There are different versions of Ulysses in print, and some you can find for free since the book is in the public domain in some countries (not all). The fact of multiple versions of the book existing in print is part of the strangeness of Ulysses and is something we’ll discuss in class. The version I’ll be referring to throughout the semester is what’s called the Gabler edition, and I’ll explain what that is, and why it’s called that, when the semester begins.

Recommended; might want to wait until the semester starts to decide on these:

  • Gifford, Don. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce’s Ulysses, 20th Anniversary Edition. ISBN:  9780520253971.
  • Hastings, Patrick. The Guide to James Joyce’s Ulysses. ISBN: 9781421443492.
  • Homer, The Odyssey. Translated by Fagles. ISBN: 9780140268867.

ENGL 515 Magical Realism


ENGL 540 Shakespeare

No required book purchases. Public domain and open-education resources will used. Students will be able to use what versions of assigned works they might already possess. Details will be provided in the class.

ENGL 546 Working Women in the USA 1865 – Present

Many readings will be provided in the class. Students should secure a copy of:

  • Oates, Joyce Carol. Marya: A Life. ISBN 9780062269218

ENGL 560 Literature of the Black Atlantic World

  • Cole, Teju. Open City. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2012. ISBN: 978081298009.
  • Danticat, Edwidge. The Dew Breaker.‎ Knopf, 2004. ISBN: 9781400041145.
  • Marquez, Gabriel Garcia, Of Love and Other Demons.1994. Vintage, 2008. ISBN: 9781400034925.
  • Walcott, Derek. Omeros. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992. ISBN: 9780374523503.
  • Williams, Roy. Sing Yer hearts Out for Lads. 2002.  Methuen Drama, 2008. ISBN: 9780413774262.

Attention students and alumni: please complete this program survey!

Every five years, as a part of Mercy College’s accreditation, the MA English Lit program is required to perform a “program self-study.” This involves the Program Director gathering together data and other info, including student & alumni feedback, and then reflecting with the MA faculty and college administrators on what these elements reveal. The goal is to identify where the program is succeeding, and where it needs improvement, based on what we learn from the “self study.”

Few things are as meaningful and as valuable for these purposes as student feedback, so please, if you’re an incoming student, active student, or alum, take some time and complete the survey linked here. Complete as much of it as makes sense (you don’t need to answer every question) and then click the submit button down at the bottom. Your voice is so important and so I hope that each of you will raise your voice and express yourself through the survey.

Survey responses are anonymous.

The direct link to the survey form, in case your browser is blocking the embedded link above is:

Any questions about the survey? Please write to

Summer Book Orders

Below is the current info for book orders for summer courses. This could change prior to the start of the semester as professors are still working on their course and syllabus, and likely will be until near the start of the summer semester.

LGBTQIA+ Literature

  • Maroh, Julie. Blue is the Warmest Color. Arsenal Pulp Press; Media Tie In edition, 2013. ISBN 9781551525143.
  • McNally, Terrance. Some Men and Deuce: Two Plays. Grove Press; Original edition, 2009. ISBN 9780802144492.

Animals in Literature

  • Melson, Gail F. Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children. Harvard UP, 2001. ISBN 0674017528.
  •  Sax, Boria. Avian Illuminations: A Cultural History of Birds. Reaktion, 2021. ISBN 781789144321. 
  • Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty. Penguin, 2011. ISBN 0143106473.
  • Tatar, Maria, ed. The Classic Fairy Tales. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0393-972771.
  •  White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web. HarperCollins, 2001. ISBN 0064410935.

Monsters and Monstrosities

  • Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. Harper Collins, 2012. ISBN 9780380807345.
  • Gardner, John. Grendel. Vintage, 1989. ISBN 9780679723110.
  • Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Grand Central Publishing, 2011. ISBN 9780446574754.
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. Vintage, 2010. ISBN 9780307740991.
  • Leroux, Gaston. The Phantom of the Opera. Dover Thrift Edition, 2004. ISBN 9780486434582.
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Dover Thrift Edition, 1994. ISBN 978-0486282114.
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dover Thrift Edition, 1991. ISBN 9780486266886.
  • Wells, H. G. The Invisible Man. Stellar Classic Edition, 2012. ISBN 9781478227410.

Contemporary African Literature

  • Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace. Penguin Books, 2000. ISBN  9780140296402.
  • Mahfouz, Naguib. Palace Walk: The Cairo Trilogy. Anchor; Reprint edition, 2011. ISBN‎ 9780307947109.
  • Adichie,  Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. Anchor, 2014. ISBN 9780307455925.
  • Selasi, Taiye. Ghana Must Go. Penguin Books; Reprint edition, 2014. ISBN 9780143124979.

ENGL 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter Is Now Open to ALL Students, Including Those Who Took 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter

Previously on this blog I wrote that those who had taken 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives could not take the 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter, since it seemed at the time that the courses would be the same or too similar. That has changed, and now ALL students can take this 560 Cultural Impact course, including those who previously took the Literary Accretion course. This is because Dr. Morales has been working on the new syllabus and description for Cultural Impact, and has shared that this new course will involve all new readings. In fact those who took Literary Accretion should find Cultural Impact particularly interesting. Here is the new course description Dr. Morales has provided:

In the fall of 2020, ENGL 560 the “Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter” viewed the movement through foundational literature that presaged a global phenomenon. This new course for the spring 2022, the “Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter,” looks at the early “progress” [statis?] of this movement in American culture focusing on the arts and literature. Columnist Perry Bacon says we are in the midst of a Black Renaissance. The 138-year-old Metropolitan opera in NY reopened its doors with Terrance Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up My Bones, a first for a black composer. Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah became the first black since Toni Morrison to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The NYT’s  fall theatre preview lead with “Broadway Is Brimming With Black Playwrights. But for How Long?” However, November’s [2021] gubernatorial race in Virginia saw the Republican, Glenn Youngkin, win the cultural wars using Toni Morrison’s Beloved as his whipping horse. There is a burgeoning backlash against “wokespeak” as even liberals complain of its use [“I’m exhausted by the constant need to be wary or you’ll instantly be labeled racist or anti-trans.”] The final question for the previous “Literary Accretion” course was “is this a momentary period of protest or a defining movement ushering in profound change?” “Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter” will further investigate this with a variety of readings and media presentations.