Category Archives: Course Schedules

Tentative Spring Registration Date – November 7.

Currently spring registration is scheduled to open on November 7, usually at 9am eastern (literally when the Registrar shows up to work and flips the switch). The registration date can change, and some of you probably remember the time it changed something like three times before it finally settled down, but as of now that’s the date they’re telling me. Point is, registration is coming up, so be thinking about your course selections for the spring, and for those who really want to make sure they’re in any particular course(s) be sure and register promptly once registration opens. Some classes fill up fast.

Spring 2019 Course Schedule

The fall semester hasn’t yet begun but the MA course schedule for spring 2019 is already set. We don’t yet know when registration will open for spring but as soon as I learn it I will post the information here. Some courses fill up very quickly when registration opens, so remember that the only way to ensure you get your first-pick of courses is to pay attention to the registration dates and to get registered for courses when registration opens. The six graduate English courses for spring 2019 are:

  • ENGL 505 Transformations of the Epic (Dr. Sax)

This course is based on the conception of the epic as an encyclopedic narrative of substantial length featuring a central figure who reflects the values of a particular culture. It will proceed chronologically, studying the taxonomy and transformations of the epic, from its earliest Classical manifestations, through its emergence in Medieval and Renaissance texts, to its incorporation after the Renaissance into modern writing. 3 credits. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 514 Sam Shepard: Playwright, Poet, Novelist, Memoirist and Rock Star (Dr. Medoff)

Samuel Shepard Rogers III (November 5, 1943 – July 27, 2017), known professionally as Sam Shepard, was an American actor, playwright, author, screenwriter, and director whose body of work spanned half a century. He won 10 Obie Awards for writing and directing, the most given to any writer or director. He wrote 44 plays as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983). Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York magazine described him as “the greatest American playwright of his generation.” Shepard’s plays are chiefly known for their bleak, poetic, often surrealist elements, black humor, and rootless characters, such as cowboys and rock stars, living on the outskirts of American society. This semester, in light of Shepard’s recent passing, we will experience and study a selection of his works and consider his lifetime of artistic achievement. 3 credits. Fulfills an elective by default, but can be made to meet the Literature Group 2 field requirement for students approaching graduation who still need that field requirement met.

  • ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts (Dr. Fritz)

This course will focus on humanism and the concepts arising from it in relation to the production and appreciation of literature during the Renaissance. The revival of interest in the arts and ideas of Greco-Roman antiquity and the dependence of Renaissance thought on classical themes will be among the issues discussed. Readings could include (but aren’t limited to) works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Machiavelli, More, Spenser, among others. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 540 Ulysses – James Joyce (Dr. Loots)

This course will examine one of the most famous, famously difficult, famously banned, and (arguably) profound modern novels of the twentieth century: James Joyce’s Ulysses. Much like Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, Joyce’s 1922 modernist masterpiece occupies a rare position of being a work almost universally lauded for its achievement and significance (for those who like lists, the academically-sound Modern Library calls it the greatest novel of the twentieth century) and yet one which for a variety of reasons most people haven’t read. In this class we will experience together the entirety of the work, first word to last. We will throughout the semester journey through Ulysses until, come the end of the semester, we find ourselves standing together at the absolutely brilliant end of this modern epic tale. While reading and exploring Ulysses we will as well discuss some of the people, culture, history, and events surrounding the creation of, publication of, and outrageous reception to the novel. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 542 Classics of African-American Literature (Dr. Morales)

This course will study classic works of African-American literature in light of Toni Morrison’s statement that “my parallel is always the music because all of the strategies of the art are there.” The course will involve considerations of how in Richard Powell’s words the blues provides “much contemporary literature, theater, dance, and visual arts with the necessary element for defining these various art forms as intrinsically African-American.” Informed by the concept that music is the trope that best illuminates contemporary African American writing, the course will study selections that could include, but are not limited to, Jean Toomer Cane, Zora Neale Hurston Spunk, James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain, Ralph Ellison Invisible Man, Langston Hughes Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz, John Wideman My Brother’s Keeper, Toni Morrison Jazz, August Wilson Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Maya Angelou Selected Poetry. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 546 Working Women in the US: 1865 to Present (Dr. Gogol)

This course will examine writings about working women from the post-Civil War era to the present. We will review key changes in the American work force, and social, economic, and racial factors since 1865, with attention to movements leading up to changes in the second half of the 19th century. In this multi-genre course, we will read literature (fiction, short stories, poetry, memoirs, biographies, and essays) to help us deconstruct the definitions of “women,” “working,” and “The United States” from the Civil War era to present writings about the millennial generation. We will inquire into the shifting definitions of the term “gender.” We will start with gender as a concept, a social construction reflecting differentials of power and opportunity, breaking what the feminist writer Tillie Olsen calls the “habits of a lifetime.” An important goal of the course is for students to know the literature, history, and benchmarks of major events in the lives of women. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

FINAL Registration Update: Fall and Summer 2018 Registration Opens 3/7.

The Registrar has now finalized the registration-opening date for fall and summer 2018. March 7, 2018, is the day. The only possible variation is for veterans, who can register early on 2/28. If you indicated on your college application that you are a veteran I am assuming that your account will be green-lit for registration on 2/28. If anyone is a veteran and is not able to register on 2/28 let me know.

UPDATED 3/26: Summer and Fall 2018 Schedules & Related Info [change in summer offerings]

Registration will open in early February for both the summer 2018 session and fall 2018 semester. I will update here the specific registration-opening date/time when I learn it. Registering on the morning of the day registration opens is the only way to ensure you get into your preferred courses. This is especially important for students who need to take 500 this fall.

Below I will list the tentative but mostly settled course schedules for summer and fall 2018. Note that students do not have to take courses or maintain matriculation during the optional summer session, and because many students prefer to follow the traditional fall/spring schedule we run a shortened schedule during summers. (Courses most subject to change are listed in blue.)

Fall 2018
  • ENGL 500 Theory (Dr. Vasile)

This is the program’s core course, meaning the course that everyone must take and for which there are no alternative course options. This course runs once each fall semester, so if you’re aiming to graduate at the end of fall 2018, spring 2019, or summer 2019 and have not yet completed 500, you must enroll in this for fall 2018. The next instance of the course will be fall 2019. Here’s the catalog description for the course:

An introduction to major movements and figures of the theory of criticism, the question, “what is literature?” is the primary concern of this course. Such an inquiry necessarily engages other, closely affiliated signifiers such as work/text, writing, reading, interpretation, and signification itself. After brief encounters with ancient antecedents and seminal moderns, influential contemporary approaches to the question concerning literature and its cultural significance are engaged. An assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of current trends in the practice of literary criticism, and their theoretical groundwork, is the ultimate objective of this course. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 507 Narrative Strategies in the Novel (Dr. Fritz)

This course will study the novel and various narrative methods used in the novel over the centuries and across the British and American traditions. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 515 Graphic Novel (Dr. Medoff)

In this course we will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in several celebrated texts of the graphic novel genre, as well as some emerging classics. Our readings of these texts will be informed by a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including visual culture studies, postmodernism and intersectionality. We will interrogate the relationships between the concepts “graphic novel” or “comic book” and “popular culture,” with each of us bringing our lived experiences to our readings and discussions. Through in-depth studies of several primary texts, including Watchmen, Maus, Fun Home, and V for Vendetta, we will learn how graphic novelists use and manipulate historical and contemporary social issues as the building blocks for their art. 3 credits. (Fulfills an elective).

  • ENGL 524 Reason & Imagination (Dr. Sax)

This study of English literature between 1650 and 1850 examines Neoclassicism and Romanticism as two opposed aesthetic and philosophical stances. It traces the political, ideological, and literary roots of Neoclassicism in the English “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, the late seventeenth-century growth of rationalism and empirical science, followed by the flowering of Neoclassicism and then the shift in sensibility that led to the emergence of Romanticism. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective).

  • ENGL 525 Victorian Age in Literature (Dr. Dugan)

This course will explore representative literature and the culture of the Victorian Age ( 1837-1901), a period of exploration, industrialization, empire, and imperialism. The poetry and novels of Tennyson, Carroll, the Brontes, Eliot, Wilde, and others will be approached from a variety of critical approaches. Particular attention will be given to the importance of gender, class, and societal expectations. (Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective).

  • ENGL 560 Hemingway/Modern Cryptography (Dr. Loots)

This course follows Ernest Hemingway, through his writings, from his early days in Paris to his final moments in Ketchum, Idaho. Readings will include many of his major novels and short stories, and some non-fiction. By exploring Hemingway’s travels and writings we will experience through his eyes the rise of modernity; the unprecedented way that the world changed forever in the early twentieth century; and the relationship of modernism to modernity. We will consider the interrelated effects of Hemingway’s self-engineered celebrity status—as the rugged bearded “macho” world traveler—which coincided precisely with the rise of modern media technology, and exceeded his literary fame even within his lifetime. That is, we will examine how and why Hemingway was the first global celebrity. And we will consider what complex interior aspects Hemingway’s hyper-macho exterior perhaps worked to obscure.

The angle by which we will engage Hemingway’s writings and groundbreaking style is to consider them as written in modernist code. Throughout the semester we will work to decipher Hemingway’s modern crytography so to interpret/intuit what meanings lurk in the writings of this giant of 20th-century American literature, arguably the most influential American writer of all time. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective).


Summer 2018
  • ENGL 510 Theory/Practice of Expository Writing (Dr. Dugan)

The course is especially encouraged for any student who is a teacher or who aspires to teach secondary school or college. The course will address the techniques of expository writing as reflected in academic discourse. Ideally, students will learn the general practices of critical writing, but focus their work in their individual fields of interest. These interests may include feminist approaches, deconstructive approaches, research in culture, education, etc. The course will specifically address techniques of analytic organization, and will consider the pedagogy and andragogy of writing. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 515 Magical Realism/Latin American Lit  (Dr. Filc)

We’re excited to offer this course run by scholar and writer Dr. Judith Filc. The course will involve a focus on “magical realism” but as Dr. Filc writes: “It won’t be strictly magical realism. We will work on three genres that have been very present in Latin American literature throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first – the grotesque, the fantastic, and the chronicle – in relation to magical realism and the so-called Latin American Boom.” (Will fulfill a Literature Group 1 requirement, or a Literature Group 2 requirement, or an elective: whichever each student needs most for their transcript at that point).
3/26: I’m sorry to report that this 515 class will not run due to unforeseen circumstances. Contact cloots@mercy.edu with any questions.

  • ENGL 540 Mastering the Past, Literature and National Myths (Dr. Sax)

Every country likes to see itself as heir of to a glorious past, filled with heroic and ultimately successful struggles against oppression. But the construction of such a narrative always leads to the repression or trivialization of uncomfortable aspects of the past. Important authors of Antiquity such as Homer and Virgil have created national myths, while others such as Sophocles and Euripides have challenged them. If the myths themselves can often serve to rationalize complaisance, injustice and chauvinism, correcting them involves hazards as well. It can reopen old resentments, leave people disoriented, and open the way for other, similarly dangerous illusions. This course will look at the contrasting ways in which modern and contemporary writers have tried to come to terms with the collective past, and will likely include readings by Faulkner (USA), Sebald (Germany), Solzhenitsyn (Russia), Lampedusa (Italy) and Ishiguro (Britain and Japan). Students will endeavor to evaluate their intellectual strategies, especially in the light of current controversies such as whether we should continue to display statues that commemorate dubious legacies. Questions to be addressed will include: Can we ever truly come to terms with the past? Can the brutalities of history ever be redeemed or compensated for? What lessons, if any, can we legitimately learn from history? Are some aspects of history better left forgotten?

 


And for those who really want to look ahead, here’s a HIGHLY TENTATIVE list of current ideas for the spring 2019 schedule:

  • ENGL 514 Animals in Literature
  • ENGL 507 History of Drama
  • ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Text
  • ENGL 540 James Joyce’s Ulysses
  • ENGL 542 Classics of African American Lit
  • ENGL 546 Working Women’s Literature

 

Spring 2018 Schedule – [Update] Registration Opens November 1

Spring semester registration will open on November 1, usually in the morning when the Registrar comes to work and flips the switch so figure around 9am eastern. We are running the following six courses in the spring:

  • 509 Perspectives on the Essay (Dr. Keckler)

The course will study the essay as a distinct literary genre; some of its characteristics and types; some of its history; and some of its role in reflecting authorial consciousness. Further, this course will examine the taxonomy of the essay in terms of its medium (verse or prose), its tone and level of formality, its organizational strategies, and its relationship to its audience and to particular modes of literary production (speech, manuscript, pamphlet, book, magazine, newspaper, etc.). 3 credits. Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.

  • 514 Henry James & D.H. Lawrence (Dr. Dugan)

I have long been interested and intrigued by the question of how one attains personal and social freedom in a society that seems to reward conformity. Is it possible? Or, does one pay a price, social, professional, emotional, for such attempts? Two writers from two different worlds–the American Henry James, the son of a wealthy philosopher, and the English D.H. Lawrence, the son of a coal miner and a factory worker–differ in writing style and subject yet explore the complexities of an industrialized society and personal relationships. We will read novels and short stories by each, including Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love, James’s The Ambassadors and Portrait of a Lady, as well as selected short stories. We will explore stylistics, characterizations, and themes in order to answer the question of how one resolves, if at all, conflicting demands of society’s expectations and the an individual’s quest for an understanding of self and of happiness. 3 credits. Fulfills an elective but can also meet a Lit Group 1 or 2 field requirement if a student requests it.

  • 521 Medieval Lit. (Dr. Fritz)

This course is designed to cultivate students’ awareness of the themes, genres, and issues related to the study of medieval literature. Students will study the major genres of medieval literature, including epics, lays and romances. 3 credits. Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • 540 Magic in Literature (Dr. Sax)

This course examines alchemy, together with related activities that now impress us as “magical,” as a virtually all-inclusive discipline which laid much of the foundation for later literature, art, and science. It looks at the beginnings of alchemy in the ancient world, and how these developed, along with the revival of Classical learning, in the Renaissance. Finally, it looks at the continuing influence of magic in Romantic, Modern, and Post-Modern literature and culture. Readings include works by Hesiod, Ben Johnson, Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, J. R. Rowling and others. Textbooks include The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates. 3 credits. Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • 543 The American Renaissance (Dr. Loots)

This course will study representative American writings from “The American Renaissance,” a period during the mid-nineteenth century (roughly 1832 to 1865) which saw the rise of the first truly non-Colonial, non-Revolutionary body of national literature; a literature which no longer concerned itself with European precedent, engagement, or approval. When F.O. Matthiessen coined the term “The American Renaissance” in 1941 he did so in light of five monumental American works by five different writers, all produced within five years (1850-55): Emerson (Representative Men), Thoreau (Walden), Melville (Moby Dick), Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), and Whitman (Leaves of Grass). Since Matthiessen’s time the notion of an American Renaissance has rightfully come to encompass a greater diversity of works, writers, and perspectives from this era. In this course we’ll read selections from across this American Renaissance, most likely engaging works by: Harriett Jacobs; Frederick Douglass; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Frances Harper; Sojourner Truth; Margaret Fuller; Sara Willis (Fanny Fern); as well as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Melville. 3 credits. Fulfills either a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

  • 560 African & Caribbean Lit. (Dr. Morales)

This survey course of cross-generational writers from Africa and the Caribbean will take as its focal point the theme of the 2016 African Literature Conference in Atlanta: “Justice and Human Dignity in Africa and the African Diaspora.” The course looks at writers whose works address the idea of justice and human dignity in the domestic, political, religious and moral arenas. Some possibilities include Nobel Laureates Naguib Mafouz [Egypt], Wole Soyinka [Nigeria], V.S. Naipaul [Trinidad], J.M. Coetzee [South Africa], Nadine Gordimer [South Africa] and Derek Walcott [St Lucia]. Other options are Chimamanda Adichie [Nigeria], Jamaica Kincaid [Antigua], Edwidge Danticat [Haiti], Mariama Ba [Senegal], Tsitsi Dangaremba [Zimbabwe] and Athol Fugard [South Africa]. As a group these writers look critically at their societies, with, at times, grave consequences but nonetheless seek a just life for themselves and their fellow citizens. 3 credits. Fulfills either a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

Fall Semester Begins Wed. 9/6. Students taking 599 this fall take note of Comprehensive Exam.

The fall 2017 semester begins on Wednesday 9/6. Even though our online courses run on a weekly unit schedule all students should sign in on the first or second day of the semester to read over the syllabus, get clear on the course policies and schedules, and see what activities your professors require of you that first week. Each professor will run her or his class a bit differently and have different requirements to which you’ll need to adhere.

For your reference you can always find the academic calendars for upcoming semesters published HERE on the Mercy website. MA courses are always “Term A” so refer to the Term A section of the academic calendars.

All students needing to take ENGL 599 this fall should be enrolled in their 599 section at this point. It will appear on your schedule like any other class if you are in fact enrolled in a 599 section. If you plan to take 599 this fall and are not already in a 599 section, contact me right now at cloots@mercy.edu and refer to this post for the procedures for getting into your 599 course. We will get you setup in time for the fall but this needs to get sorted now. Related: all students need to take and pass the program’s Comprehensive Exam before entering 599 and beginning their final semester. So for those taking 599 in the fall, if you have not yet taken and passed the Comp Exam contact me at cloots@mercy.edu now and we’ll get that taken care of.

I will be putting up my annual “welcome to the semester” post here on the blog in several weeks so check back at the start of the semester for that, and for other informational posts that might pop up this and next month.

Summer Session Starts on Wednesday May 31

Just a reminder here to anyone opting to take coursework over the summer: the summer session begins Wednesday May 31. Make sure to check into your Blackboard sections on the 31st to see what’s in store for the summer and to get going on the first week of studies.

Summer session is an optional semester (as opposed to the fall and spring semesters, during which MA students are required to maintain matriculation unless taking leave from the program).

 

Fall ENGL 500 Update

We already have such waitlist demand for the fall ENGL 500 course that we’re going to open a second section now, within the next week. You aren’t automatically shifted from the waitlist to the registration list, so if you are on the waitlist please make sure to either manually go and register for the new 500 section when it opens, or speak to a Student Services advisor to have them shift you from the waitlist to the course list. We will eventually balance out the student numbers between the two sections so that roughly equal students are in each. Any questions drop me a note at cloots@mercy.edu.

[Update] Fall 2017 Schedule – Registration Opens March 1 for Fall and Summer.

Summer and Fall 2017 registrations open march 1st, usually around 9am eastern (it opens when the Registrar gets to work and flips the switch that morning). I am listing here the courses we’re running this fall, along with some descriptions of them–some of which will be updated in the near future to better reflect the course content. Summer course descriptions are included down at the bottom of this blog post.

ENGL 500 Theory

Dr. Celia Reissig-Vasile

This is the program’s core course, meaning the course that everyone must take and for which there are no alternative course options. This course runs once each fall semester, so if you’re aiming to graduate at the end of fall 2017, spring 2018, or summer 2018, you must enroll in this course during this instance of fall 2017. The next instance of the course will be fall 2018. Here’s the catalog description for the course:

An introduction to major movements and figures of the theory of criticism, the question, “what is literature?” is the primary concern of this course. Such an inquiry necessarily engages other, closely affiliated signifiers such as work/text, writing, reading, interpretation, and signification itself. After brief encounters with ancient antecedents and seminal moderns, influential contemporary approaches to the question concerning literature and its cultural significance are engaged. An assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of current trends in the practice of literary criticism, and their theoretical groundwork, is the ultimate objective of this course. 3 credits.

ENGL 508 History of Drama in English

Dr. David Fritz

This course will study selected dramatic works from the vantage of the cultures of the historical epochs they are embedded in. It will use a chronological approach, beginning with the drama in England: the medieval mystery cycles and morality plays, the emergence of secular drama in the 16th century and earlier 17th century, focusing on the precursors and contemporaries of Shakespeare, Restoration drama, the development of sentimentalism and the adaptation of drama to an increasingly middle class audience in the 18th Century, the closet drama of the Romantic era, 19th-century melodrama in Britain and America, and the emergence of the modern theater in the United Kingdom and the United States. 3 credits. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or works as an elective.

ENGL 526 Modernism

Dr. Boria Sax

This course explores the various “isms” of modernism while questioning if these trends are of the past or remain present and relevant to contemporary intellectual and aesthetic sensibilities It traces the anti-mimetic shift in the arts in the age of mechanical reproduction, as found in the literature of symbolism, expressionism, futurism, dadaism and surrealism. Among the features of modernism that emerge in this course are themes of fragmentation, parody, and irony, the self-conscious retrieval of myth, the collapse of traditional distinctions between subjective and objective reality, and the iconoclastic transgression of Victorian norms of religion, the family, and sexuality. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or works as an elective. 

ENGL 540 Irish Literature

Dr. Sean Dugan

This course will explore themes prevalent to Irish identity, such as nationalism, rebellion, social class, religion, oppression, gender, and family, among others, by close textual analysis of drama, poetry, fiction, and mythology. The materials will be chronologically arranged, allowing for the study of historical events and cultural influences that shaped the literature of Ireland. Readings will most likely be: Elizabeth Bowen The Last September, Maira Edgeworth Castle Rackrent, Ann Enright The Gathering, Biran Friel Dancing at Lughnasa, Seamus Heaney Opened Ground, stories from James Joyce Dubliners, Bram Stoker Dracula, J.M. Synge Playboy of the Western World, as well as Jonathan Swift “A Modest Proposal” and selected poems of W.B. Yeats. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or works as an elective. 

ENGL 544 Frontiers of American Lit (theme: Tech-Noir/Cyberpunk)

Dr. Christopher Loots

The readings and focus of this 544 course vary depending on who is teaching it, yet it always tends in one way or another to different “frontiers” of American literature. This instance of the course will read literature that tends to the horizons of technology and humanity. In particular students in this class will read and discuss some “cyberpunk” and related “tech-noir” fiction, meaning, fiction that explores the current and near-future states of social media, technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other immersive online environments (e.g. MMOGs). Students will consider the benefits and dangers of humanity’s increasing interweave with such technology and online/virtual realities—with the way that humanity is becoming post-human or cyborg. In addition to studying literature in the vein of Ready Player One, Neuromancer, Akira, and The Circle (some or all of which we may read, but which are here listed to provide examples of the sort of literature we’ll engage), students might study and discuss other media related to this horizon of humanity and technology: i.e. relevant tech/science media, Technology/Entertainment/Design (TED) talks, and other visual media depicting tech-noir/cyberpunk stories and situations. This will be the first instance of this course on this topic, and so students in this course will have an active role in determining what is or is not working with the course structure. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or works as an elective. 

ENGL 560 Albee & His Literary Heirs

Dr. David Kilpatrick

[UPDATE: Due to a late professor change this course will now focus solely on the plays of Albee, and not include close study of his followers as originally intended]. The plays of Edward Albee (1928-2016) include The Zoo Story (1958), The American Dream (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961–62, Tony Award), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize, and Tony Award, 1996), Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize, also available from Overlook), Three Tall Women (1994, Pulitzer Prize), and The Play About the Baby (2001, also available from Overlook). He was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980, and in 1996 he received both the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.  It was his works that started the Off Broadway movement that includes such playwrights as Lori Suzi Parks. Adirenne Kennedy, and especially Will Eno. In this class, which was inspired by Albee’s recent passing, we will study some of Albee’s works. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or works as an elective. 

Spring and Summer 2017 Course Schedules [Updated].

Update: registration for spring courses begins on Wednesday November 2nd (usually at 9am eastern when the registrar comes to work and turns on the system). Summer registration information will be updated here when I learn more. For now I can share with you the course schedules we have for the upcoming spring and summer 2017 semesters.

SPRING 2017

ENGL 507 Narrative Strategies in the Novel

Dr. Sean Dugan

This course will focus on the narrative mode as represented in the English and American traditions. As part of our reading and our discussion, we will explore the narrative choices an author has and how the decision affects the reader’s perception and understanding of the novel. We will also consider how the narrative strategy informs perspective, plot, tone, and theme. Although the following list may change, we will likely base our discussions on some or all of the following novels: Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier; Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go; Henry James, The Bostonians; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Zadie Smith, White Teeth; Bram Stoker, Dracula. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or an elective.

ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts

Dr. David Fritz

This course will focus on humanism and the concepts arising from it in relation to the production and appreciation of literature during the Renaissance. The revival of interest in the arts and ideas of Greco-Roman antiquity and the dependence of Renaissance thought on classical themes will be among the issues discussed. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.

ENGL 540 Animals in Literature

Dr. Boria Sax

This course looks at the representation of animals in a wide range of literary and folkloric traditions. It will focus, most especially, on the ways in which the literary depiction of animals is intimately tied to changing perspectives on the human condition, which in turn reflect religious, intellectual, governmental, and technological developments. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.

ENGL 545 Literature of the Left Bank, Paris

Dr. Christopher Loots

This course will examine the diverse people, culture, and writings of the expatriate community of the Parisian Left Bank during the early and mid twentieth century. This will include an exploration of the significance of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Company bookstore and lending library, and of intellectual and artistic salons such as those of, for example, Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein. The course will additionally consider the doings and writings of expatriate authors moving through or closely associated with the Left Bank’s modernist enterprise. An emphasis will be placed on studying the cultural geography of this location which attracted so many of the world’s great artists and gave rise to so many works now considered twentieth century literary masterpieces. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.

ENGL 546 Working Women in the US 1865-Present

Dr. Miriam Gogol

This course will examine writings about working women from the post-Civil War era to the present. We will review key changes in the American work force, and social, economic, and racial factors since 1865, with attention to movements leading up to changes in the second half of the 19th century. In this multi-genre course, we will read literature (fiction, short stories, poetry, memoirs, biographies, and essays) to help us deconstruct the definitions of “women,” “working,” and “The United States” from the Civil War era to present writings about the millennial generation. We will inquire into the shifting definitions of the term “gender.” We will start with gender as a concept, a social construction reflecting differentials of power and opportunity, breaking what the feminist writer Tillie Olsen calls the “habits of a lifetime.” An important goal of the course is for students to know the literature, history, and benchmarks of major events in the lives of women. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.

ENGL 560 Latino Literature

Dr. Celia Reissig-Vasile

This course focuses on the literature of Latinos/Hispanics living in the United States; a growing and important field of American literature. “Latino” and “Hispanic” refer to people living in the United States who have roots in Latin America, Spain, Mexico, South America, or Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. In this course we will examine texts that make salient the great diversity of literary themes, styles, and social concerns of literary texts written by Latino/a writers. We will study issues such as gender, race, class, diaspora, bilingualism, violence, and community as raised by the various authors whose work we will be examining in this course. Our readings will focus on short stories, poetry, and novels written by writers from various Latino/a groups, including Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and Dominican Americans. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.

ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial.

This is only for students entering their final semester in the program, and requires a special procedure in order to be enrolled in it. For instructions on how to be enrolled in 599 consult the blog post here or the Program Handbook.

SUMMER 2017

ENGL 505 Transformations of the Epic

Dr. Boria Sax

This course is based on the conception of the epic as an encyclopedic narrative of substantial length featuring a central figure who reflects the values of a particular culture. It will proceed chronologically, studying the taxonomy and transformations of the epic, from its earliest manifestations through its emergence in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance texts, to its incorporation after the Renaissance into the modern novel. 3 credits. Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.

ENGL 517 Advanced Creative Writing

Dr. Celia Reissig-Vasile

This course is intended for writers with some background or preparation, whether personal or formal, in creative writing. The course continues to develop each student’s creative writing ability through a close study of various writing styles and techniques, matched with assignments and workshops which encourage the students to further develop their own creative writing informed by such literary study. The emphasis of the course will shift depending on the expertise of the professor running it, and could involve poetry, narrative, or other forms. 3 credits. Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.

ENGL 523 Tragedy

Dr. David Kilpatrick

This course explores the history and theory of tragedy as both dramatic genre and philosophical motif. Beginning with its origins in ancient Greek ritual, the course traces a history of the genre to the present, with emphasis on the classical and English literary traditions. The course considers such elements as: the relationship between tragedy and the tragic; the role tragedy plays in the histories of Western drama and ideas; ways in which tragedy is distinct from other dramatic genres, such as comedy and melodrama; the essential elements of tragedy; comparisons between Classical and Elizabethan tragedy; and the possibility of modern tragedy. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.

ENGL 560 Afropolitanism (note; previously listed as ENGL 515)

Dr. Donald Morales

The term “Afropolitanism,” a word coined by Taiye Selasi in a 2005 essay, is generally defined as young, well-educated African, and by extension, Caribbean artists with global and multicultural sensibilities who have settled in a number of cosmopolitan capitals in Europe and North America. In the literary world, these artists have produced intriguing works that describe their hybrid status and identity but also defy categorization–Selasi argues, “the practice of categorizing literature by the continent from which its creators come is past its prime at best.” “Afropolitanism,” has also engendered a lot of criticism and controversy. Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, labels it an “empty style and culture commodification.” This course tackles the concept of “Afropolitanism” in a variety of ways. In addition to introducing the student to a new generation of African/Caribbean writers–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Americanah], Zadie Smith [On Beauty], Edwidge Danticat [Dew Breaker], Teju Cole [Open City], Taiye Selasi [Ghana Must Go], there is also the opportunity to include transplanted dramatists [Roy Williams, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Debbie Tucker Green, Bola Agbaje] in London who have created a number of powerful dramas around the same subject. Fulfills an elective or, with permission of the program director, a Literature Group 2 requirement.