Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Course Descriptions

English Department Course Offerings for Summer I, 2017

10-224 Modern British Fantasy for Children. This course is a wild romp and a serious consideration of British Fantasy literature written for children and adolescents from the 1800s to the present. Through novels and films like Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Pullman’s The Golden Compass, Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle, we will explore questions of narrative, genre, adaptation and intended audience(s). Also Education 45-794. (Cleere)*

10-304 Dylan. An overview of Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s art, life, and literary significance. A wide variety of texts—documentary films, Dylan’s memoir, secondary/critical works, and selected lyrics from Dylan’s fifty-five year career—will be the way into questions about Dylan as a writer, the cultural moments his works grew out of, and what we talk about when we talk about “literature,” the American songbook, and/or cultural history. (Gaines)*

10-504 Shakespeare in Hollywood. An in-depth study of Romeo and Juliet, followed by an examination of a variety of ways in which directors have transformed Shakespearean plays by bringing them to film. We will begin by watching Shakespeare in Love, which can be viewed as an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Then we will be getting familiar with some important terminology and concepts in technical film making (Gianetti) and in the theory of adaptation (Hutcheon). A final essay will compare one of the movies we’ve seen after Othello to the play from which it’s made. For this final essay you will need to read the play that’s connected to the film you choose. Film. (Saenger)*

10-504 Texas Movies. Texas has an outsize presence in film and in the public imagination. This course will examine representations of Texas and its people in mainstream and on occasion not-so-mainstream film. Movies will include Giant, The Last Picture Show, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Lone Star, No Country for Old Men, Bernie, and Hell or High Water. Readings will include discussions both of Texas film and of Texas as a distinctive and distinctively contested place. Also Paideia: Investigating Idenity. Film. (Kilfoyle)*

English Department Course Offerings for Summer II, 2017

10-504: Sixties Hollywood. An examination of some of the landmark films of the so-called New Hollywood, beginning with a look at what preceded and gave rise to such ground-breaking and audience-dividing films as Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Readings both of and about the decade will accompany screenings. Both film studies discourse and popular commentaries will be our constant companions. Film. (Gaines)*

10-504 Shakespeare in Hollywood.  See above. (Saenger)*

10-504 SciFi Film: Dreaming Ourselves. In addition to engaging with a portion of the canon of science fiction film (Journey to the Moon, Metropolis, La Jetée), the course focuses on films that make use of the scifi imaginary to present and trouble our ideas about identity, especially personal identity. Films will include Blade Runner, Brazil, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Inception, Solaris, and THX 1138. Also Paideia: Investigating Identity. Film. (Kilfoyle)*

English Department Course Offerings for Fall, 2017

10-124 Great Reads: Novels into Movies. What happens when novels get into the movies?  The diverse relationships between film adaptations and the literary texts from which they derive will be explored through Atwood and Pinter’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Cunningham and Daldry’s The Hours, Forster and Merchant-Ivory’s Maurice, du Maurier and Hitchcock’s Rebecca, and Chabon and Douglas’s Wonder Boys. (Meyers)*

10-154 Survey of British Lit 1. The purposes of this class are two-fold: on the one hand, it will provide a sketch of the most important elements of British literary development between 1390 and 1755. On the other hand, we will develop a conversation about the history of gender in that period. Also Paideia: Representing Gender. Pre-1785 British. (Saenger)*

10-254 Introduction to Film Studies. This course is designed to introduce students to the academic area of Film Studies, an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the aesthetics, history, theory, and criticism of cinema. Required for Film Track in English major. (Cleere)* 

10-404 Literary Theory & Criticism. This course offers an intensive introduction to major critical and theoretical approaches to literature. Theory. (Kilfoyle)

10-524: American Movies. A history of North American narrative film from its origins to the present with an emphasis upon Hollywood cinema. Cultural contexts and technological evolution, as well as thematic concerns about race, class, and gender, will be emphasized. Auteurism and genre studies will be recurrent lenses throughout the course. Film. (Gaines)

10-624 Shakespeare. We will combine a traditional study of several plays with an active engagement in how Shakespeare’s work has crossed national boundaries and become “global”. Mostly discussion based, with opportunities for students to perform if they wish. Also Paideia: Presence of the Past. Pre-1785 British. (Saenger)

10-654 Home and Away in 18th-century Fiction. This course uses the representation of “home” and home space, as well as spaces marked decidedly as “not-home” as a way to investigate of eighteenth-century British literature and culture. Among other texts, we will be looking at Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Fielding’s Tom Jones, Burney’s Evelina, and Equiano’s Interesting Narrative. Also Paideia: Investigating Identity. Pre-1785 British. (Kilfoyle)

10-674 Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. This course is a concentrated exploration of two of the most celebrated, overexposed, and misunderstood female novelists in English history, Jane Austen (1775-1817) and Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855).  Novels studied will include Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Jane Eyre. The course will be will be run as a seminar and will emphasize class participation. Post-1785 British. (Cleere)

10-714: Race, Class and the Twentieth Century Novel. A look at a few of the landmark American novels of the twentieth century—The Great Gatsby, As I Lay Dying, The Grapes of Wrath, Catcher in the Rye, Invisible Man, Song of Solomon, Cloudsplitter—in terms of literary craft and political commentary. American. (Gaines)

10-934 Capstone Chabon: Gender and Literary Borderlands. We will spend the first part of the semester exploring some key novels by Michael Chabon in relation to gender/sexuality theory, adaptation theory, and the porous boundaries between literature and popular culture.  The latter part of the semester will be devoted to your own research essays: while some of you might pursue Chabon-centric topics, others might bring diverse authors/texts into dialogue with and/or expand upon the theoretical issues that we collectively explored in the first half of the course. (Meyers)

English Course Offerings for Spring, 2018

10-114 College Writing. An introduction to best writing practices for university students. We will discuss and write on a range of topics and we’ll also address rhetoric and grammar. Also Paideia: Design. (Saenger)*

10-124 Great Reads: War. We will be reading a series of books that cope with the idea of war-across generations, species, and cultures. Our readings, going from Ancient Greece to Soviet Russia to modern America, will offer a variety of styles, genres and perspectives. No previous training in English literature is necessary. (Saenger)*

10-214 Children’s Literature of the Transatlantic Nineteenth-Century. This course will explore the burgeoning field of “Childhood Studies” through the lens of 19th-Century Children’s Literature from both England and North America. Texts may include Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, Frances Hodges Burnett’s A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Also Education 45-734. (Cleere)*

10-244 Introduction to Literary Studies. This course will demystify literary interpretation and provide students with tools to become more effective critical readers and writers.  We will focus on the diverse and often interrelated questions that literary critics ask of texts; the range of questions demonstrates that literature speaks of (and to) aesthetic, political, biographical, and cultural issues. Required for the English major and minor. (Meyers)*

10-454 Feminist Film Studies. This course will focus on the way films define gender, and on the direction that film criticism takes when feminism goes to the movies.  Viewing films from the 1940s to the present, we will examine the way that popular culture implicitly (and explicitly) locates gender and sexuality along a continuum of acceptable and perverse types.  Not only will we study cinema’s depiction of men and women in traditional and stereotypical roles, we will attempt to measure the subversive potential of nontraditional themes such as work, crime, indigeneity, colonialism, Gothicism, race, reproduction, and sexual desire. Also Feminist Studies 04-554. Theory. (Cleere)

10-614 Early Drama. This is a brief introduction to early theater in England, going from religious performances of the Bible to the first appearance of female actors on the English stage. Discussion-based, with attention to the many kinds of spaces in which plays were performed. Pre-1785 British. (Saenger)

10-684 Postcolonial London. London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. As the seat of what was once the world’s largest political empire, it is marked everywhere by the grandeur and burden of its past. London has attracted people from the former empire and from around the world. This course focuses on writers who are themselves immigrants or the children of immigrants, and who have used London as a scene within which to negotiate colonialism and its legacies, including London’s ambivalent relationship to “Brexit.” It looks at a constellation of texts and issues within contemporary British writing, and addresses various issues within postcolonial literature and theory. Also Paideia: Investigating Identity. Post-1785 British. (Kilfoyle)

10-714 American Gothic: Faulkner, O’Connor, McCarthy. This course uses texts from three of the most significant 20th- and early 21st-century American writers to look at tensions and crosscurrents within American literature and culture. Not necessarily the happiest texts you’ll ever read, but some of the most powerful. In addition to some of Faulkner’s short fiction, we will be reading Absalom, Absalom!; O’Connor’s short fiction, and perhaps her novel Wise Blood; and McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, at least one the Border Trilogy novels, No Country for Old Men, and possibly The Road. Also Paideia: Investigating Identity. American. (Kilfoyle)

10-934: American Nobelity: Faulkner, Morrison, and Dylan. A reading and research course that will begin with questions about the nature of literary prizes, recognition, and canonicity before moving into works by the three most recent American recipients of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The course will culminate in student papers and presentation that grow out of either a deeper reading of one of the semester’s authors or another author the individual student believes worthy of such recognition. (Kilfoyle)

*Appropriate for First Year