Category Archives: Course Information

Spring Registration Opens Today 11/7: Any Questions?

So it looks like registration is going to open on-schedule this Wednesday the 7th. If anyone has questions about the courses or their schedules, let me know at You can read the course descriptions on this post from a short time ago. Note that at the bottom of each description it tells you how the course works toward your MA course requirements. Just as a reminder, here are your course requirements (table taken from page 5 of the handbook available in the left-hand column of this blog):

Fall Blackboard sections become visible Wednesday 8/22.

Links to the Blackboard sections for your fall courses should become visible to you starting on Wednesday 8/22. Please bear in mind that what you see on 8/22 will in most cases look like a theater several hours before a play begins. Things are still being setup, some people haven’t even arrived yet, and everything is still very much in the works. Some Blackboard sections might have no information loaded into them yet, and might remain that way for some time leading up to the semester-start on Wednesday 9/5. In such cases please keep in mind that your professors aren’t actually under teaching contract until 9/1, and are still on leave and pursuing their own research and scholarship. Everything will be sorted and ready for the start of the school year on 9/5, at the very latest.

Side note: all students taking the 599 thesis tutorial this fall should by now see their 599 section listed in their fall schedules. If you do not, let me know at

[UPDATED 6/7] Update Regarding ENGL 500 for the Fall

Update 6/7: A second section ENGL 500 is now open. Some of those on the waitlist for the original section have already gone and registered for the new section (which is the right thing to do). All those still on the waitlist should now go and grab a seat in the newly opened section. Mercy’s staff advisors will be reaching out to everyone on the waitlist encouraging you to go register for a seat in the new section, just as I am doing here.

Some Books for Fall 2018 Courses

Below are some of the books that professors have indicated will be included in their fall semester syllabuses. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive and some of this could change. Titles and missing ISBNs will be updated as I received them over the spring and summer. Ultimately the book orders sent to the Mercy College bookstore mark the definitive list.

Before I list the books I want to just give a word of caution as to why you might not want to read ahead in some cases. When you’re reading a book on your own it will be a different experience from when you’re reading it in-time with a class, in the structure and flow of a class. You’ll be seeing works in certain ways when reading them in the flow of the semester, ways which might not be apparent when reading ahead. Also, in some instances you might find a work confusing, even off-putting, and be wondering “what in the world is this?” when reading it ahead of time on your own, without the context of the class to frame it and provide an immediate platform for studying it together. Only consider that there’s a reason why professors choose certain works and schedule them in a certain pattern, and in some cases it might be better to not read ahead so that you’re experiencing a work for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, in-time with the class.

On the other hand, there are some reasons you might read ahead. There is an advantage to re-reading things, so it can be a good strategy to read some works (particularly large works) ahead of time so that you’re re-reading them later in-time with the class. For people who read slowly, or who expect to have a lot of other responsibilities in the fall, it might also be to your advantage to get ahead on some of the larger readings. Some courses (like Narrative Strategies) have larger reading lists than others and for these classes it might be practical to get at least a few of the books read beforehand, to balance the semester workload out. And it’s often a good idea to read around a syllabus ahead of time: e.g., reading off-syllabus works from an author or era, or perhaps biographies of authors, or critical/historical studies of the culture and era you’re about to study, so to prepare for the semester ahead. This is all only to say to be conscious and critical of why and what you might be reading ahead of time, if you are, in preparation for the fall.

ENGL 500 Theory
  • For Dr. Reissig Vasile’s 500 DLA section the book is: Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. 5th Edition, 2011 ISBN 9780205212149. Dr. Sax’s book order is different and can be located by checking for his 500 DLB book order on the Mercy College Bookstore website. Note that you don’t have to purchase the books through the college bookstore and might be able to find them cheaper elsewhere; but the bookstore is also coy about listing some of the specifics of the book orders in order to try and force you to purchase the books through them. You can check with Dr. Sax at if you have any questions about his book orders for the fall.
ENGL 507 Narrative Strategies in the Novel

Note: Any edition of the following works will do so specific ISBNs aren’t provided or necessary here. Also note: some of these will be read in their entirety, others will only be read in part.

  • Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe.
  • Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations (selected chapters only).
  • Eliot, George. Middlemarch. (“Miss Brooke” section only).
  • Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God.
  • James, Henry. Daisy Miller.
  • Lawrence, D.H. Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
  • McCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses.
  • Rowson, Susanna. Charlotte Temple.
  • Twain, Mark. Pudd’nHead Wilson.
  • Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome.
  • Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway.
  • Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief.
ENGL 515 Graphic Novel
  • Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. ISBN: 0618871713.
  • Eisner, Will. The Contract with God Trilogy. ISBN: 0393061051.
  • Gaiman, Neil. The Sandman: Brief Lives. ISBN: 1563891387.
  • Moore, Alan and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. ISBN 9780930289232.
  • Spiegelman, Art. Maus I and Maus II. ISBNs: 1435262352 and 0141014083.
  • Tomine, Adrian. Killing and Dying. ISBN: 9781770462090.
  • Ware, Chris. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. ISBN: 0375714545.
ENGL 524 Reason to Imagination
  • Bacon, Frances. Francis Bacon: The Major Works (Oxford World’s Classics). ISBN: 0199540799.
  • Blanning, Tim. The Romantic Revolution: A History. ISBN: 9780812980141.
  • Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. ISBN: 0765356155.
  • Sax, Boria. City of Ravens: The True History of the Legendary Birds in the Tower of London. ISBN: 9781590207772.
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. ISBN: 0486282112.
  • Thomas, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic. 2 ed. ISBN: 0140137440.
ENGL 525 Victorian Age in Lit.
  • Dickens, Charles. Hard Times. ISBN: 9680486419206.
  • Eliot, George. Mill on the Floss. ISBN: 9780486426806.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th ed. Vol. E. The Victorian Age.ISBN: 9780393912531.
  • Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. ISBN: 9780486278070.
ENGL 560 Hemingway/Modern Cryptography
  • Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. ISBN: 0684801469.
  • —. The Garden of Eden. ISBN: 0684804522.
  • —. A Moveable Feast. ISBN:  068482499X. (Original Mary Hemingway edition preferred over the “restored” 2010 Sean Hemingway edition, but either will do).
  • —. The Old Man and the Sea. ISBN: 0684801221.
  • —. The Short Stories: The First Forty-Nine Stories with a Brief Introduction by the Author. ISBN: 0684803348.
  • —. The Sun Also Rises. ISBN: 0743297334.


  • Dearborn, Mary. Ernest Hemingway: A Biography. ISBN: 030759467X.
  • Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls. ISBN: 0684803356. (The one major novel we’re not covering during the semester).


Summer Book Orders

The book orders for the two summer courses are:

ENGL 510 Theory and Practice of Expository Writing:
  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1999. ISBN: 9780743273565.
  • Miller, Susan. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. 2009. ISBN: 978039393158.
  • Oates, Joyce Carol & Robert Atwan, eds. The Best American Essays of the Century. 2000. ISBN: 9780155873.
  • Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. 2003. ISBN: 9780743477123


  • Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User Friendly Guide. 2006. ISBN: 0415974100.
  • MLA Handbook, 8th Ed. 2016. ISBN: 9781603292627.
ENGL 540 Mastering the Past:
  • Di Lampedusa, Guiseppe. The Leopard. 2007. ISBN: 9780375714795.
  • Faulkner. The Portable Faulkner. 2003. 9780142437285.
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Buried Giant. 2016. 9780307455796.
  • Sebald, W.G. On the Natural History of Destruction. 2004. ISBN: 9780375756573.
  • Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. 2008. ISBN: 9780451228147.

A Note About Courses Coded 514, 515, 540, and 560.

Registration has recently opened for summer and fall 2018 courses. For those who might not know, the program has four course numbers (514, 515, 540, and 560) which are not coded to specific courses, but instead work as shell numbers under which we cycle an assortment of different courses, sometimes our more experimental or newer courses. You are free to take as many instances of courses by these four numbers as you like to meet your field requirements or electives, including multiple instances of courses running by the same number: as long as the courses aren’t actually the same.

So in other words a student can take ENGL 540 Magic in Literature and ENGL 540 Mastering the Past, two different courses running at different semesters by the same 540 course code. Or, a student taking ENGL 560 African and Caribbean Lit. this spring semester can take ENGL 560 Hemingway: Modern Cryptography in the fall. As long as you’re keeping your ten-course/30-credit requirement in view, and are adhering to it, all will be fine. As a reminder, here’s that ten-course/30-credit degree requirement:

I should note that when you have multiple instances of the same course number on your transcript, it doesn’t immediately show up on your self-service degree audit in DegreeWorks (accessible in Mercy Connect, in case you didn’t know). We here go through the audits every year and manually flip a switch in the computer system that makes multiple instances of the same course number apply to the degree. That’s only to explain why if you do take multiple instances of courses running by one of these four numbers they might not immediately show up on your audit.

Spring Semester Begins Today Wednesday 1/17

Just a reminder here that your spring semester courses begin today (“today” if you’re reading this on Wednesday, January 17th). Everyone should check into their courses asap and preferably before the end of the day in order to see what’s going on in your classes, what’s expected of you this first week and throughout the semester, and to get into the flow of the semester right from go. Have a great semester, everyone.

Some Book Orders & Related Info for Spring 2018 Courses [Updated 1/2]

Below is some information about the book orders for the spring 2018 MA courses. I will update this with relevant information as professors share it with me leading up to the spring semester, and will add missing ISBNs below as I learn them. This mostly just duplicates the book orders listed for each class at the Mercy College online bookstore, but might also contain additional information that isn’t made clear by the bookstore list (for example, that for ENGL 543 you don’t need to purchase those specific books, and can rather use any source for the various readings throughout the semester if you prefer).

Note that you do not have to purchase your books through the Mercy Bookstore, but make sure that you get the right edition of a book if you purchase it elsewhere (assume that the edition matters unless your professor states otherwise). If you’re new to accessing books through the online bookstore you go to the site linked above, click to enter the textbook section, then go through a series of pull-down menus as follows: for term select SP Sem 2018; for department select ENGL; for course select whatever is the relevant course number, 509, 514, 521, 540, 543, or 560.

Below are the book orders (so far) for your spring courses.

ENGL 509 – Perspectives on the Essay

  • Jamison, Leslie. Best American Essays 2017. ISBN: 9780544817333

ENGL 514 – James & Lawrence

  • James, Henry. The Ambassadors. ISBN: 8780199538546
  • James, Henry. Daisy Miller. ISBN: 0141441348
  • James. Henry. Portrait of a Lady. ISBN: 9780141441269
  • Lawrence, D.H. Rainbow. ISBN: 0141441380
  • Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers. ISBN: 048642121X
  • Lawrence, D.H. Women in Love. ISBN: 0486424588

ENGL 521 – Medieval Literature

  • Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume A, 9th Edition. ISBN: 9780393912494

ENGL 540 – Magic in Literature

  • Hesiod. Theogony & Works and Days. ISBN: 9780192817884.
  • Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales. ISBN: 0199552479.
  • Roob, Alexander. Alchemy: Mysticism. ISBN: 9783822850381.
  • Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. ISBN: 0439708184.
  • Sax, Boria. Imaginary Animals: The Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human. ISBN: 9781780231730.
  • Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. ISBN: 9780140714890.
  • Yates, Frances, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. ISBN: 0415254094.

ENGL 543 – American Renaissance

You are not required to use these specific books and can use any source for the readings throughout the semester. The main disadvantage of using other sources is not being on the same page should I refer to specific pages during lectures or discussions, but that’s just a minor inconvenience and won’t often be an issue. When Blackboard sections becomes visible for previewing on January 3rd I will share there some specific readings for those who might want to start reading ahead.

  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume B, 9th Edition. ISBN: 9780393264470
  • Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. Norton Critical Edition. 2nd Edition (though 1st edition works fine). ISBN: 9780393972832

ENGL 560 – African & Caribbean Literature

  • Adebayo, Ayobami. Stay With Me. ISBN: 9780451494603
  • Danticat, Edwidge. The Dew Breaker. ISBN: 9781400034291
  • Phillips, Caryl. Color Me English. ISBN: 9781595588357
  • Williams, Ray. Sing Yer Hearts Out for the Lads. ISBN: 9780713682823
  • Walcott, Derek. Omeros. ISBN: 9780374523503.

Reminder: Fall Classes Begin Next Week – Wed. 9/6!

This is it, the final weekend before we start up our fall semester of graduate literary studies and a new school year overall. I hope that everyone has a great Labor Day weekend and that everyone is ready to get back into the groove of exploring literature (and your insights into literature and life) together. Even though the semester doesn’t begin until 9/6 your Blackboard courses are actually visible at this point. Your professors might have their Blackboard section sorted, primed and looking fine or it might still look like a construction zone. Different profs put together their courses in different ways, and on different schedules. But on 9/6 everything starts for real. I’ll be putting up a longer semester-welcome post here after the semester gets going but for now, enjoy the weekend and get ready to get into it all starting next Wednesday.

Withdrawing from courses / getting tuition refunded.

Sometimes when nearing a semester you find out that you need to drop a course in which you’re registered, and for which you’ve paid or had aid allocated. It’s important to note that in order to get some or all of your tuition refunded you must officially withdraw from the course. Even if you don’t attend/log into a course after it begins, that isn’t the same as withdrawing and technically you’re still in the course until you officially withdraw. The next thing to note is that the amount that you’ll be refunded depends on when you withdraw. Below is the policy as written in the Graduate Catalog:

  • Refunds

When a student officially withdraws from any course or courses by filing a formal withdrawal notice (Drop/Add Form) with the Office of Enrollment Services, refund of tuition will be made according to the below outlined schedule. See the course bulletin for specific refund dates. The date of withdrawal is the date upon which the formal withdrawal notice is received. Withdrawal may be processed at the Office of Enrollment Services or via the Web at Mercy Connect. Fees are non-refundable once courses begin.

Date of Withdrawal / Tuition Refund

Prior to second week of scheduled course meetings /100%

Prior to third week of scheduled course meetings / 80%

Prior to fourth week of scheduled course meetings / 50%

During or after the fourth week of scheduled course meetings / No Refund

Notice that as per those instructions the specific dates for each semester’s refund schedule will be listed in that semester’s bulletin. You can always find full digital versions of the catalog and bulletins here on the site.