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

If fall 2022 will be your final semester in the program, one of your fall courses must be ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis

All students must take ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis during whatever is your final semester in the program. So, if this fall will be your final semester in the program, then one of your fall courses must be ENGL 599. The steps for registering for ENGL 599 are unlike for any other course. Refer to this post for details on how to register for ENGL 599. And be sure to contract the program director at with any questions, or for help with getting set for ENGL 599.

Note as well that prior to entering your final semester, students need to complete the comprehensive exam. Full comp exam instructions will be emailed to students soon after completing the process for registering for ENGL 599 (the way we know who needs to take the comp exam is by tracking who has registered for ENGL 599). A general overview of the comp exam can be found here on the blog. Again, any questions please contract the director at

MA English Lit program learning goals and learning outcomes, updated 2022

As a part of Mercy College’s accreditation, the MA English Literature program (like every program at Mercy College) is required to maintain and occasionally share among our graduate student community what our accreditors refer to as “program learning goals” and “student learning outcomes.” These things have very particular meanings in accrediting parlance, and those meanings don’t always translate to or encompass the spirit of humanities disciplines such as graduate English literature, a spirit which by its nature involves complexities, nuances, shadows, and wonderworkings which to some degree resist reductionist measurement and assessment (and since reductionist measurement and assessment form the basis of all 21st-century college accreditation, this puts English literary studies in a strange situation).

The MA program has necessarily, then, developed program learning goals and student learning outcomes which work to speak true to our curriculum and to the needs of our accreditation requirements, while also remaining flexible and generic enough so as to not betray the more nebulous spirit and explorations of graduate English literature study.

Below are the MA in English Literature program’s current program learning goals:

  • Students will develop their knowledge and comprehension of a variety of literary texts (Program Learning Goal 1)
  • Students will develop their knowledge and comprehension of critical approaches and literary concepts (Program Learning Goal 2)
  • Students will develop their critical and creative thinking, and their research and writing skills, toward the aim of developing a professional-level proficiency in these areas (Program Learning Goal 3)

Below are the program’s four student learning outcomes. Such outcomes require an even more particular phrasing: they must signal something that a student is expected to be able to do at the end of coursework, as a result of coursework, that they could not do, or could not do as well, at the start of coursework. So: By the end of the MA English Literature program, students are expected to be able to:

  • Analyze and interpret literary texts (Student Learning Outcome 1)
  • Apply critical approaches and concepts to the analysis and interpretation of literary texts (Student Learning Outcome 2)
  • Conduct research relevant to the field, and evaluate source quality (Student Learning Outcome 3)
  • Create original research topics and produce writings on those topics which demonstrate clear writing and accurate documentation style (Student Learning Outcome 4)

In one way or another those goals and outcomes undergird all of the curriculum in the MA English Literature program. If anyone has any questions about any of this, feel free to contact the Program Director at Thank you.

Call for Applications: FALL 2022 English Learning Assistants (formerly known as Teaching Assistants)

We are now accepting applications for fall 2022 online English Learning Assistants (ELAs). This is the next-step in the evolution of our graduate teaching-assistantship program.

The deadline for submitting the required materials is: July 1, 2022.

Details about the ELA position’s responsibilities and requirements, and pay, as well as detailed instructions for applying, are in the PDF linked here.

All questions regarding the ELA position and application process should be directed to Emily Cunningham, Assistant Program Director of IREPO, at:

Experience as an ELA can be a valuable line-item in a curriculum vitae. And assisting in a classroom will provide a first-hand look at, and real-time experience with, how an actual college composition course unfolds over a semester. We strongly encourage anyone in the MA program who hopes to pursue a PhD, or to teach at all in the future, to apply.

ELA positions are limited.

Year-End Events and Honors: Symposium, Student Awards, and Commencement

It’s the end of the academic year, which means it’s time to celebrate! One way we celebrate, as a graduate community, is with the annual graduate student symposium, which this year was held live-online at the end of April. Eight grad students presented a variety of scholarly and creative work. Four graduate faculty members moderated the different sessions. Other program faculty, and an Associate Provost of the college, were in attendance, as were a number of other active MA students and alumni. It was an interesting, idea-filled, and collegial event. Click the banner below to see the program for the event, and to get a look at the topics on which students presented:

Another way we celebrate the end of the academic year is by awarding four different program distinctions. The first of these is the Graduate English Christie Bowl, named for the late Joannes Christie who established and long chaired Mercy College’s English Program. The award, determined by the collective graduate faculty, recognizes one graduating student for their consistent academic excellence and classroom performance throughout their time in the graduate program, their other contributions to the program’s scholarly learning community, and their relevant accomplishments beyond the program.

  • The winner of the 2022 Graduate English Christie Bowl is Cera Bryant Fornataro 

Next is the Howard Canaan Thesis Award for Innovation. This award honors the late Dr. Canaan, a long-time and highly-esteemed professor of English at Mercy College who (among many other things) taught Shakespeare and Science Fiction, and advocated that the latter could be as meaningful an area of study, could be as “literary” and as significant, as the former. This award recognizes a thesis that does one or some of the following: approaches literary analysis in a unique, unexpected, or unusual way; reconsiders and otherwise treats with dignity genre fiction; or involves interdisciplinary studies.

  • The winner of the 2022 Howard Canaan Thesis Award for Innovation is John Alleman for his study “Revision and Women in a Selection of Alan Moore’s Comics”

Next we have the Thesis Award for English Studies. “English Studies” is an encompassing term that includes literary study and traditional literary pursuits but also enfolds wider practices in the field of English such as: theory, linguistics, writing, and rhetoric; inquiring into research practices, into English curriculum and canon, and into the teaching of English; exploring aspects of digital literacy; and more. This thesis award therefore recognizes an exceptional thesis that tends to the intra-disciplinary thresholds within the field of English.

  • The winner of the 2022 Thesis Award for English Studies is Melissa Lizotte for her study “Empowering Student Writers: A Genre Approach to Teaching the College Admissions Essay”

Lastly we have the overall Thesis of the Year Award. Selecting one study for this award, as much as for any of the thesis awards, is always extraordinarily difficult, as thesis students across the program regularly create excellent studies that are each worthy in their own right. The paper receiving this distinction stood out in all respects.

  • The winner of the 2022 Thesis of the Year Award is Cera Bryant Fornataro for her study “Intersectional Mysticism: Tarot, Hoodoo, Folk Magic, and the Working Conjure Woman in Select Works by Sandra Cisneros and Zora Neale Hurston.”

It is always a strange thing to announce such distinctions as when doing so one can’t help but think of the marvelous students and studies that are not the ones named. Again, it is extraordinarily difficult for faculty judges to locate any single person to honor for any of these awards out of the many exceptional students graduating each year from our program and the college overall. So as we recognize these honorees let us please also recognize all members of the graduating MA class of 2021-22 for their hard work and dedication that has gotten them to this moment of completing their MA degree in English Literature.

One final way we celebrate the end of the academic year is with commencement. Mercy College held five different commencements over the course of the past week, one for each of Mercy’s five schools (Liberal Arts, Health & Natural Sciences, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Business). The School of Liberal Arts, in which our MA program is housed, held commencement this past Wednesday. A good number of graduate English students were in attendance and walked in the procession. Below is a shot of the 100-yard tent on the western athletic field under which the event was held, this taken a few hours prior to the ceremony.

Cheers to everyone in the MA English Literature program, to our alumni, and to all of your family and friends. Congratulations to our graduating class of 2021-22. I hope that everyone will do something special, something nice for yourselves, to celebrate in your own way the end of the academic year, and the start of the summer. Onward!

Info about the SLA Graduation (Commencement) Ceremony on 5/18

This Wednesday, 5/18, the School of Liberal Arts (SLA) will hold its graduation commencement ceremony on the Dobbs Ferry campus. Below you can see the tent being set up for the event on the western athletic field.

For any graduating students traveling to campus to attend here are a few things you should know:

First, the SLA event runs from 2pm to 4pm. Earlier that day, from 10am to noon, is the School of Business’s (SBUS) commencement ceremony. No one knows if the two hour window between the two events will be adequate for the SBUS attendees to exit the campus to clear the venue and parking spots for the SLA attendees arriving. This is the first time the college is holding commencement at the Dobbs Ferry campus so there are a lot of unknowns. The college’s other schools are holding their commencement ceremonies on other days this week.

Anyone who has registered for commencement should have received a temporary parking permit. You must have a parking permit to drive onto the campus. Security will turn you around at the campus entrance otherwise. If you have registered for the event but have not received a temp parking permit, contact immediately. FYI the Ardsley on Hudson Metro North station, on the MTA Hudson River Line, is just through those trees on the right side of the above image.

There will be coffee, water, snacks, bathrooms, and a place for our graduating MA English students (and other SLA students) and their families to sit prior to the event in the Gratia Maher Hall conference room. The room will be open from about 11:45am until about 1:30pm. Faculty will be moving in and out of the building that day in preparation for the ceremony, but you might see a few familiar faces in passing if you’re sitting in Maher Hall that afternoon.

Of course you don’t need to attend commencement to actually graduate. Commencement is a purely ceremonial event. Everyone who has met all of the requirements for the MA degree will be conferred their degree this month. Your physical diploma will be mailed out later, over the summer, but you will officially hold the MA degree once it has been conferred by the Registrar of the college. Any questions 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.


On Saturday April 30 the MA program will be hosting its annual “Writing Image Text” or “W.I.T.” Graduate English Symposium. The event will be held live online through Zoom. We will begin at noon, eastern time. The event will likely run for three or four hours (last year it ran from noon to 4pm) but the end-time will only come into focus once we know how many MA students will be presenting.

This call for papers (CFP) is limited to current students in the program. Active students who want to attend but not present, as well as Alumni, prospective students, faculty, family, guests, etc., are all welcome and encouraged to attend. The deadline for responding to this CFP and declaring as a presenter is the end of Wednesday, April 13.

The symposium is a casual mini-conference at which active MA English students can read aloud a scholarly or creative work. A paper that you’ve written for any of your MA courses will do just fine, though it might need to be edited down to a shorter length to fit into the 15 minute time-slot allotted to each presenter. Full instructions and guidance for presenting will be shared with presenters after April 13. The symposium is also a community event at which you might see/meet fellow grad students, program professors, alumni, and others in the MA community.

Graduate students and professional scholars often attend and read at local, regional, and national conferences, so this symposium provides a friendly small-scale introduction to the conference experience. And for anyone who reads a paper, it becomes a line-item you can list under the scholarship section on your CV (click here to read more about the CV). Earning line-items for the scholarship section of your CV is very important for anyone who aspires to apply to PhD programs.

Anyone planning to attend this year’s WIT symposium, presenter or not, please let me know by sending an email no later than the end of Wednesday, April 13, to Presenters please also, in your email, let me know the title of the work you will present. I need this info in order to appropriately organize the event and create the program. I need non-presenters to RSVP as well so that I know everyone to whom I will need to send Zoom login info before 4/30.

I will host an optional Zoom practice session for presenters on Thursday April 21, at 2pm eastern time for anyone who wants to practice using the screenshare feature in Zoom. It’s not necessary to screenshare during a presentation; and traditionally an English conference presentation consists of a person simply reading aloud a written work while the audience listens and considers it. But screensharing visual elements (Powerpoint decks, media, images, etc.) has become more and more common in the past few years as more and more people have adapted to presenting virtually. So if you want to share your screen during your presentation, and you’re not familiar with how to do so, be sure to attend this optional practice session.

You can read about previous symposiums on the blog here, and here, and here, and here. On behalf of the MA faculty: we hope to see you there! Please contact if you have any questions about any of this.

Fall (and Summer) 2022 Registration Info

General registration for the fall (and summer) will open on on March 14. Priority registration, which at the grad level usually only relates to veterans or active military, will open on March 7. Registration on these dates will open at 9:00am eastern. Note that it might not open on that specific minute, might instead open about that time when the Registrar manually logs in and flips the switch.

Not all students take summer courses; many prefer to follow the traditional fall/spring schedule. This is why we run a shorter summer schedule (four, this summer). We’re running seven courses this fall, including the 500 theory course which everyone is required to take at some point. Everyone who is interested in getting their preferred schedule for fall and/or summer should set an alarm and register promptly on the day registration begins. Once a course fills, students will need to select from whatever else remains. There is a waitlist feature, which forms a queue for full courses, and it often works to a small degree; but it only works if someone with a seat in the course elects to vacate it.

Summer 2022

  • ENGL 514 – LGBTQIA+ Literature (Dr. Medoff)

This course introduces students to significant literature and experiences of LGBTQ+ culture. Students in the course will examine some of the major concepts and political issues that shape gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer experiences through literary and cultural productions. Most texts in this course are interested in various forms of same-sex desire (female-female and male-male), as well as complicating our common conceptions of sexual identity and gender identity. This course will take a cultural studies approach in order to understand texts in relation to context – to see how historical contingencies and political debates inform literature, as well as to see how literature and culture can inform (and challenge) public and political opinion. Thus, the course’s texts will include fiction, nonfiction, plays, documentaries, films, poetry, scholarly journal articles, memoirs, and many other genres. Previous students in this course have pursued research on themes of personal interest within LGBTQ+ culture, such as “Sexuality in Young Adult Fiction,” “African American LGBTQ+ Writers,” “Representations of Bisexual Culture,” “Masculinity in LGBTQ+ Culture,” etc. Fulfills an elective by default, but can fulfill a Literature Group 2 field requirement upon request.

  • ENGL 515 – Animals in Literature (Dr. 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 an elective by default, but can fulfill a Literature Group 1 field requirement upon request.

  • ENGL 540 – Monsters & Monstrosities (Dr. Dugan)

In this newly-designed course we will read classic and contemporary literary works to explore notions of monsters and monstrosities from the perspectives of the monster and the creator. Historical, societal, political, and cultural issues will be explored and addressed. Types of monsters and monstrosities will also be considered: e.g. Human, Beast, and Scientific. Students will be required to participate in weekly discussions, write a paper prospectus, and write a 10-12 page final paper.  Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 560 – Contemporary African Literature (Dr. Morales)

Chimamanda Adichie’s 2009 TED presentation, “The Danger of a Single Story,” encapsulates how Africa is viewed by the rest of the world… “create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” She couples this with the idea of power and who controls the narrative: “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.” She concludes that approaching Africa in this way “robs people of dignity” and separates Africa’s humanity from the rest of the world. Contemporary African Literature’s readings and teachings dispel the idea of that single story.

Modern African literature, a term associated with the liberation of African countries from their colonial powers in the 1950-60’s, has blossomed, especially in the last four decades with five noble laureates–Wole Soyinka ‘86, Naguib Mahfouz ’88, J.M. Coetzee ‘03, Doris Lessing ‘07 and most recently, Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah ’22. The course will certainly feature some of these writers. Thematically, the course looks at the evolving role of African women; and at afropolitanism, a term coined by Taiye Selasi [2005 “Bye Bye Babar”] and defined as young, well-educated African artists with global and multicultural sensibilities who have settled in several 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; the relationship between Africans and African Americans, a relationship or misalignment that has its roots in the Jim Crow era in the US. This subject is reflected in the literature such as Adichie’s’ Americana and Teju Cole’s Open City. All three themes coalesce around the idea of identity, displacement, and homeland. The course and its ideas will be filtered through the novel, drama, poetry, the essay, film, and social media. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

Fall 2022

  • ENGL 500 – Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism (Dr. Kilpatrick)

An introduction to some of the major movements and figures of the theory of criticism. The question “what is literature?” is a 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.

NOTE: The professor of this course plans to hold optional zoom sessions to discuss the course’s readings on some Wednesdays at 9pm eastern. Attending such sessions is not required and students will not miss any essential aspect of the course if they elect not to attend.

NOTE: All students must complete ENGL 500. The course runs once each fall semester, so if you’re aiming to graduate at the end of fall 2022, spring 2023, or summer 2023 and have not yet completed 500, you must enroll in this course for fall 2022. The next instance of the course will be fall 2023. For this reason this course is registration-locked and requires a permit from the Program Director. Anyone not on pace to graduate in the semesters noted above can request a permit but will only be given one if seats remain after everyone who must have the course during this fall 2022 instance gets a seat. All students who need or want a permit for 500 should contact to request one.

  • ENGL 508 – History of Drama in English (Dr. Medoff)

This course will study select dramatic works from the vantage of the cultures of the historical epochs in which they are embedded. 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. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 514 – James Joyce’s Ulysses (Dr. Loots)

Students in this course will experience and explore one of the most famously difficult, famously banned, and (arguably) profound 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 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 actually read. In this class we will read the entirety of this massive work, first word to last. We will throughout the semester quest through Ulysses, helping each other to navigate its complex currents, until, come the end of the semester we will arrive together at the absolutely brilliant end, the cosmos-affirming end, of this epic for the modern world. While studying Ulysses we will as well explore some of the people, culture, history, and events surrounding the creation of, publication of, and outrageous reception to the novel. Fulfills an elective by default, but can fulfill a Literature Group 1 field requirement upon request.

  • ENGL 515 – Magical Realism (Dr. Reissig-Vasile)

This course focuses on Latin American magical realist fiction, a genre where elements of the magical, the fantastical, are included in otherwise realistic narratives. This literary style has had a profound impact on literature and has generated an array of interesting and diverse experimental literary texts. We will examine some of the most innovative magical realist texts written by some of Latin America’s most important writers: the Mexican writer Elena Garro, the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, and the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  The short story genre will be the main focus of our analyses as well as a novella. Assignments will include discussion, essays, response papers, and a research paper. No books are required for the course. The following literary texts will be provided as PDFs or links: It’s the Fault of the Tlaxcaltecas, Elena Garro; A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Gabriel Garcia Marquez; The Kingdom of this World, Alejo Carpentier; and Journey Back to the Source, Alejo Carpentier. Fulfills an elective by default but can fulfill a Literature Group 2 field requirement upon request.

  • ENGL 540 – Shakespeare [updated professor – Dr. Fritz]

[Update – as a result of the original professor no longer being available to run her specialized Shakespeare course, this will now be a general Shakespeare course involving a study of select Shakespearean drama.] Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 546 – Working Women in the USA 1865 – Present (Dr. Gogol)

This course examines 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 field requirement or an elective.

  • ENGL 560 Literature of the Black Atlantic World (Dr. Morales)

A full description for this new course will be coming soon, but is not ready yet since Dr. Morales is still developing the course and its syllabus. He created an undergraduate version of this course, “The Black Atlantic World,” years ago and is now revisiting that theme and is reshaping that course up into a graduate level version for our fall 2022 MA schedule. The title and focus of the course emerges from the phrase “Writings of the Black Atlantic World, ” which is a term popularized by Paul Gilroy [The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1992)]. The term traditionally includes Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Dr. Morales has previously taught graduate courses devoted to authors from this literary genre: e.g. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, V.S. Naipaul, Caryl Phillips, Derek Walcott. Some of these authors might be included in this new course. Other writers and works that might be included are Edwidge Danticat, Dew Breaker, Create Dangerously; Marquez, OF Love and Other Demons; Zadie Smith, On Beauty. But again, a full and more specific description will be provided a bit later. For now, know that this will be another new course from one of the most inventive and prolific professors teaching and designing curriculum in the Mercy MA program. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

NOTE: The course numbers 514, 515, 540, and 560, are “topics course” shell numbers under which a variety of new or experimental coursework cycles. Students can take multiple instances of any of these course numbers as long as the different instances are actually different courses. So for example students could take ENGL 514 LGBTQIA+ in the summer and ENGL 514 James Joyce’s Ulysses in the fall because those are two different courses, even though they both use the same 514 number. Sometimes a “topics course” runs by one course number one semester, and a different number in another semester, and when that happens students can’t take that course again even though the course number is different. So for example ENGL 515 Magical Realism last ran in summer 2020 as ENGL 560 Magical Realism. Students who took the course in summer 2020 cannot take the course again this fall. Any questions contact

This is the director's blog for the Mercy College MA in English Literature Program. This is not the official College site. The purpose of this is to share news and other information to help MA graduate students stay current with the state of the program and navigate the MA degree. Students in the program should check here regularly to learn about upcoming registration periods, course schedules, and other news.