English Course Descriptions
If you want to take a class in a different program than your own, make sure to contact the appropriate party to see if space is available. For available MFA courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org, for MARC courses, email email@example.com, and for MATC courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org. (MFA students who would like to enroll in a MARC or MATC course should email email@example.com with their request, which will be forwarded to the relevant program.) Literature courses are open to students in any program on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not ask for approval directly from the instructor of the course.
English 5301.251: Literary Scholarship
M 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 302
Instructor: Dr. Allan Chavkin
Description: An introduction to scholarly resources, methods, theories, and responsibilities that guide the study and interpretation of literature in English.
1. To become proficient in analyzing intellectual problems and expressing one's ideas in both written and oral communication.
2. To increase one's understanding of “theory” and to become knowledgeable about traditional and recent approaches to the study of literature.
3. To become aware of the controversial issues in the profession.
4. To become familiar with key critical and literary terms.
5. To study the characteristics of the various genres, including film.
- Archibald, William. The Innocents: A New Play
- Bellow, Saul. The Adventures of Augie March
- Erdrich, Louise. Shadow Tag
- James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw, edited by Peter Beidler, “Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism” (Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press)
- Sexton, Anne. Selected poems
- Tanizaki, Junichiro. The Key
Format: primarily discussion, with some oral presentations
1. Midterm, a take-home exam--(counts 25% of the grade).
2. Final Exam--(counts 25% of the grade)
3. Oral Presentations--(counts 25% of the grade)
4. Participation (counts 25% of the grade)
Office: FH 239
English 5302.251: Media Studies
Topic: Politics in Film
Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 257
Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau
Description: During an election year, attention turns to the influence of film and other media on our political system and society in general. This course focuses on films that have had an influence on politics or society in a variety of ways, either as ground-breaking documentaries, as bio-pics that have profoundly affected our perception of particular individuals, or as issue films that have altered the conversation on problems affecting society, both nationally and internationally.
Goals: The course goal is to refine critical and analytical skills and methods of textual and filmic analysis; to develop critical thinking, viewing and writing skills, and the ability to analyze visual and other texts. Objectives include mastery of film and media vocabulary, theory, methods, and concepts.
Texts: Selected readings online; tentative film list: Casablanca, The Manchurian Candidate, Dr. Strangelove, Silkwood, Born on the Fourth of July, Schindler’s List, Cache, The Social Network, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Nightcrawler, Selma, Steve Jobs, An Inconvenient Sequel
Format: Classroom format is discussion and student interaction, viewing of clips, combined with practical skills, brief weekly student presentations, informal writing, discussion, and daily work including one small group video project and/or individual research project (student choice).
Evaluation: Instructor evaluation of daily work (30%), instructor and peer evaluation of individual presentation (20%), research on a film or topic of your choice, or creative screenplay or video project (50%)
Office: FH335 Spring hours 11-2 TR and 4:50 – 5:40 Thursday, and by appointment
Phone: 512-245-3725 or 512-665-2157 (call or text)
English 5310.251: Studies in English Language and Linguistics
Topic: Writing Across Cultures
Online/Hybrid; Meets in Round Rock on 1/23, 3/21, and 5/1; all other times online
W 6:30-9:20 pm, AVRY Room # TBA
Instructor: Dr. Pinfan Zhu
Description: English 5310 prepares students with contrastive rhetoric theories, applied linguistic theories, and intercultural communication theories so that they can write effectively for the cross-cultural audiences. Specifically, they will understand different rhetorical patterns used in different cultures, important cultural models to understand cultural differences, and language differences at different levels such as the semantic, syntactic, and cultural. The class is a hybrid course that includes both online meetings and face-to-face meetings. Class discussions, small projects, reading responses, and lectures are the main forms in which the class is conducted. Students will write analytical papers that focus on solving semantic, syntactic, textual, and cultural problems to be coped with in writing across cultures. After taking the course, students can act as a cultural consultant that gives advice on writing, revising, and critiquing texts aimed at cross-cultural audiences.
Format: Hybrid class and discussion based
- Understand and Able to Use Theories, Principles and Skills for Writing across Cultures.
- Enable students to use contrastive rhetoric theory to write rhetorically effective texts aimed at cross-cultural audiences.
- Enable students to use linguistic theories to create texts that are semantically, syntactically, and textually effective for cross-cultural audiences.
- Mathew McCool, Writing Around the World: A Guide to Write Across Culture, 2009.
- Mona Baker, In Other Words, 2011.
- Online Readings
- 10% Class Participation
- 10% Class Discussion
- 40% Three short analytical papers
- 10% Mid-term exam
- 10% Three reading responses
- 20% Comprehensive Long Paper (presentation 10%)
Office: FH M-18
Phone: (512) 245-3013
Fall Office Hours: Wed. 4:30 – 6:30 pm
English 5312.251: Editing the Professional Publication
T and Th 3:30-4:50 pm, Brazos 218
Instructor: William Jensen
Description: This course provides students the opportunity to write, select, and edit material for publication. Students will work as part of an editorial team on all stages of the publication process. They will learn how to write and revise book reviews of publishable quality. They will correspond with authors, evaluate submissions, and learn the daily operations of two print journals: Texas Books in Review, which monitors the literary production of books from or about Texas, and Southwestern American Literature, which showcases contemporary writing and scholarship concerning the Greater Southwest. This course also offers practical experience working with desktop publishing software (Adobe InDesign/Photoshop).
Goals: Students will read and vote on submissions to Southwestern American Literature, line edit selected works, and write two book reviews. With hands on experience, the students will gain a deeper understanding of what is required to work for a publication.
Books: No books are required, but it is advised that each student owns a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. Other reading assignments will be handed out in class or posted on TRACS.
Format: Primarily discussion, with brief various projects.
Evaluation: This is a pass/fail course.
Office: Brazos 220 Office hours: Th 2:00 pm-3:30 pm and by appointment
ENG 5312.252: Editing the Professional Publication
M 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 114
Instructor: Dr. Miriam F. Williams
Description: This is the MATC internship course; the course is required for MATC students on the internship track. In this course MATC students will provide professional editing, design, and writing services to actual clients. (Note: The instructor will assign clients on the first day of class.)
Goals: The course will give MATC students the opportunity to:
· participate in an applied learning experience;
· provide a useful service to others while gaining professional technical communication experience;
· conduct qualitative research and negotiate user/client needs;
· write, edit, and design print and web content in collaborative online environments;
· write, edit, and design print and web content for personal or MATC exam portfolios.
Required Books: Students will be assigned weekly readings from scholarly journal articles. Also, students will be assigned readings from E-reserved book chapters.
Format: Face-to-face meetings in Flowers Hall 114.
Class Participation (Individual Assessment) = 20 percent
Midterm Progress Report (Individual Assessment) = 20 percent
Content Editing Project (Group Assessment) = 30 percent
Recommendation Report (Group Assessment) = 20 percent
Final Presentation to Client (Group Assessment) =10 percent
For more information: Contact Dr. Miriam F. Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
English: 5312.253: Editing the Professional Publication
F 8:00-10:50, FH 376
Instructor: Eric Blankenburg
Description: This course provides students the opportunity to read submissions, write book reviews, conduct interviews with authors, and work with journal editors in the publication process. They will learn the daily operations, as well as the stages of publication of the online literary journal, Front Porch. Though not required, students can also gain practical experience working with online website publishing software (Wordpress). This course is an internship. May be repeated one time with different emphasis.
Books: No books required.
Format: Course meets once at the beginning of the semester, but not at the listed time. All other work is completed electronically.
Evaluation: This is a pass/fail course.
Office: Lampasas 309H
ENG 5314.252: Specialization in Technical Communication
Topic: Usability Testing
Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 114
Meets in San Marcos 1/8, 2/8, 2/22, 3/8, 3/28, 4/12, 4/26, all other times online
Instructor: Dr. Aimee Roundtree
Description: This course explains how to plan, conduct, and analyze usability tests to understand the way users interact with different artifacts in order to improve products. It situates user testing within the field of audience analysis, and it covers the principles and methods of this form of applied research. The course covers concepts of usability research in the context of relevant literature, as well as best and new practices in the field. The course also offers hands-on learning experiences in Texas State University's Usability Research Laboratory. The course requires planning, designing, and conducting usability tests, then analyzing data and reporting the findings.
- Usability Testing for Survey Research (Required)
Emily Geisen, Jennifer Romano Bergstrom
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (March 6, 2017)
SBN-10: 0128036567 ISBN-13: 978-0128036563
- UX Research: Practical Techniques for Designing Better Products (Required)
Brad Nunnally, David Farkas
Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (November 25, 2016)
ISBN-10: 149195129X ISBN-13: 978-1491951293
- Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction (Required)
Jonathan Lazar, Jinjuan Heidi Feng, Harry Hochheiser
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 2 edition (May 3, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0128053909 ISBN-13: 978-0128053904
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)
Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (April 24, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0321767535 ISBN-13: 978-0321767530
Format: Discussions, student presentations, lectures, workshops, testing sessions
Evaluation: Book review, test plan, testing report, oral presentations, white paper
Topic: Technical Marketing Communication
W 6:30–9:20 pm, AVRY Room # TBA
Online/Hybrid; Meets in Round Rock on 1/17, 3/7, & 4/25; all other times online
Instructor: Dr. Scott Mogull
Description: Technical Marketing Communication focuses on providing informative (or content-rich) and persuasive information about science and technology innovations to potential consumers. In this graduate seminar, we will: (1) cover the foundations and ethics of marketing technical products, (2) analyze the conventional genres of informative (content) marketing, and (3) examine the use of technology and new media in technical marketing.
In this class, students will learn and practice the following: (1) evaluate the features and benefits of a high-tech product (and compare to competing high-tech products on the market), (2) address the needs and wants of potential customers (having constructed an accurate and descriptive audience analysis), (3) determine (through appropriate media selection) how and when to communicate complex information about the technology to potential customers, and (4) apply an appropriate and consistent corporate brand image and writing style in technical marketing communications. Furthermore, technical marketing writers must be ethical in their communications, which may create a dilemma in the capitalization of technology. Therefore, we will critically examine the ethics of technical marketing from a technical communication perspective. Finally, technical communicators must understand the latest available communication technologies in order to effectively reach potential customers and measure marketing effectiveness.
Books: Most readings will be from technical communication and select marketing journals. No specific book is identified at this time (subject to change).
Evaluation: Anticipated assignments include: (1) analysis/presentation of technical marketing genre or technology, (2) portfolio of technical marketing genres for a high-tech or scientific product (including in-class presentation of portfolios), and (3) midterm and final exams. Student engagement and participation in online discussions is also a significant portion of the grade.
Office: FH 131
Phone: (512) 537-9336
English 5315.251: Graduate Writing Workshop
Poetry Writing Workshop
T 6:30-9:20 pm, FH G06B
For students in the MFA in Creative Writing program only.
Instructor: Cyrus Cassells
English 5315.252: Graduate Writing Workshop
Fiction Writing Workshop
T 6:30 – 9:15 pm, FH 376
For students in the MFA in Creative Writing program only.
Instructor: Tom Grimes
Format: We will workshop your manuscripts. Every week you will turn in 1 to 2 handwritten pages you have copied from any one of you favorite stories or novels.
Goals: To determine what constitutes a short story or a novel. You may submit either one long story or long novel excerpt, which you will revise for further discussion, or two short stories or two 30 to 40 page novel excerpts, which you will revise for further discussion. If you submit a novel excerpt that does not begin with chapter one, please email everyone in the class all pages preceding your excerpt(s). Everyone will read them before your workshop.
Written comments for your peers: Due the week the work is discussed. Include extensive margin notes, plus a one to two page summary.
Grade: Based on quality of your creative work, attendance, written comments for your peers, and contributions to discussions.
Office Hours: M-25; Tuesday 4:30-6:30
English 5315.253: Graduate Writing Workshop
Fiction Writing Workshop
T 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 253
For students in the MFA in Creative Writing program only.
Instructor: Doug Dorst
Description: Students will present new work for critiques by the group and participate actively in the critiques of their peers’ manuscripts.
English 5317.251: Specializations in Rhetoric and Composition
Topic: Writing Center Studies
T 3:30-6:20 pm, FH 376
Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Jackson
Course Description: Writing center work is understood primarily as a set of practices—that is, as the actual work we do when we sit down with writers (or engage with them online) in the writing center setting. Equally important, however, is the understanding that writing center practices arise from and are shaped by theories and research in a number of disciplines, including writing center studies, composition, rhetoric, and psychology. This relationship is reciprocal. Theory and research refine and shape writing center practices; writing center practices refine and shape theory and research. In fact, much recent work in writing center studies challenges firmly-entrenched ideas about writing centers and urges us to think and move and research beyond the boundaries the discipline has established for itself.
We will begin the course with theory, research, and practice that has defined writing centers to date. We will spend most of our time, however, examining work in the field that challenges our field’s dominant narratives and maps a reinvigorated approach to theory, theorizing, research, and practice (scholarship on writing center work as “emotional labor,” for example, and critical readings of the writing center community’s focus on one-to-one tutoring).
Required Texts (may include the following)
- Eodice, Michelle, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, and Elizabeth Boquet. The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice. Logan Utah State UP, 2007. Print.
- Greenfield, Laura and Karen. Rowan. Writing Centers and the New Racism. Logan: Utah State UP, 2011. Print
- Grimm, Nancy Maloney. Good Intentions: Writing Center Work for Postmodern Times. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook, 1999. Print.
- Hall, Mark. Around the Texts of Writing Center Work: An Inquiry Based Approach to Tutor Education. Logan: Utah State UP, 2017.
- McKinney, Jackie Grutsch. Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers. Logan: Utah State UP, 2013. Print.
- McKinney, Jackie Grutsch. Strategies for Writing Center Research. Forthcoming from Parlor Press. Print.
- Rafoth, Ben. Multilingual Writers and Writing Centers. Logan: Utah State UP, 2015. Print.
- Articles on TRACS
By semester’s end, students should be able to
- Map key conversations in writing center theory, practice, and research as these have played out over the last 30 years
- Discuss issues and practices central to writing center administration
- Understand and advance approaches to administrative issues and challenges that recognize the local contexts within which particular writing centers exist
- Contribute to writing center conversations of particular interest to you
Small and large group discussion; student-led discussion facilitation; brief lecture.
5320.251: Form and Theory of Fiction
Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH G04
Instructor: Dr. Debra Monroe
Description: I divide this course in the history of narrative into three units: 1) Assumptions about Mimesis: Two Traditions; 2) The 20th Century and the Alienated Consciousness: The Rise of Limited Point of View; 3) Plot Transformations in Three Centuries. The course therefore covers style (in the unit about mimesis), point of view, and plot.
Goals: The course goal is to make the students aware that the fiction they’re reading and writing evolved in part from earlier narrative traditions, that fiction imitates and “samples” from earlier forms of fiction as much as it imitates reality. Moreover, contemporary fiction is not only shaped by its imitation of earlier forms but by its rebellion from earlier forms.
The reading list includes 19 theorists, ranging from Longinus to Roland Barthes, and 9 fiction writers, ranging from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Helena Viramontes
33% proposal for a paper
33% revised and finished paper
34% second paper
The papers will be approximately 10 pages long and apply theory to a contemporary story or novel that the student selects, analyzing it in terms of its imitation of and rebellion from earlier forms.
For more information: write to Debra Monroe at email@example.com
Topic: Form and Theory of Poetry
W 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 376
Instructor: Kathleen Peirce
Description: Rather than an encyclopedic stroll through the “-isms,” this course offers an opportunity for close reading and discussion of material made by a selection of philosophers, visual artists, composers, and poets who are invested in coming to terms with what it means to consider form while making art. A typical three-hour seminar might include discussion of Willem DeKooning’s “What Abstract Art Means to Me,” Fanny Howe’s “On Bewilderment,” Wallace Stevens’s “The Man With the Blue Guitar,” and a shared listening of music by composer Steve Reich. We’ll use Hirsch’s “A Poet’s Glossary”, and a selection of essays, paintings, etc. in PDF format.
Format: Primarily discussion, with some background lectures and presentations by students and instructor.
Evaluation: 10% in-class presentation
25% weekly response papers
25% a ten page paper, or a
For more information: see Professor Peirce in FH 246 or email: KP03@txstate.edu, Phone: 245-3711
Fall Office Hours: T Th 2:30-3:30, W 2:30-5:30
English 5323.251 Biography and Autobiography
T 2:00-4:50 pm, FH 257
Instructor: Dr. Debra Monroe
Description: This class is a literature class, a theory class, and a workshop. We will read and discuss published essays and two memoirs. We will also read 1-2 craft articles. Then we will read and discuss essays students in the class produce. Once we’ve done some introductory reading (books and published essays) and discussed craft—the creation of a persona, formal traditions and innovations, the rationale for writing nonfiction—we’ll “workshop” essays. Everyone will first do some writing exercises based on prompts, and we’ll first workshop scenes/segments, not essays. Later we’ll workshop essays that result from the segments. Expect to read and discuss the assigned readings analytically—to learn from their structure—and not in a casual way. It’s wonderful if you “like” the readings, and you’ll like some, I’m sure. I’ve provided a variety. But even if you don’t like all of them, if you read analytically, you will learn something about your own writing.
Workshop means that, as a group, we first describe the individual student’s work: its strengths, appeals, and emerging shape. Then we will discuss which craft decisions are helping and hindering that ideal shape. Showing your work to others can make you feel vulnerable, but I run a generative, constructive workshop where students leave with practical advice for revision.
Books: I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place, by Howard Norman
The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard
A zip file containing essays, and essays about nonfiction
Writing Exercises/Essay Segments, 20%
A 15-20 minute oral presentation about one of the readings, 20%
Class participation (not just talking, but fostering inclusive group discussion), 20%.
Final Portfolio, 20%
English 5332.251. Studies in American Prose
Topic: The U.S. Novel: Interrogating Hypercanonicity
Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 253
Instructor: Dr. Robert T. Tally Jr.
Description: A curious feature of American literary history as distinct from other national literatures is the degree to which a handful of novels, preeminently The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have dominated curricular, critical, and scholarly attention. In Victorian literature, for example, Charles Dickens would certainly be thought of as a canonical author, but the decision to teach Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend instead of Great Expectations or another work would hardly be controversial. However, the decision to study The Marble Faun, Redburn, or The American Claimant, instead of their respective authors’ better-known works would be eccentric, at the very least. The so-called “canon wars” of the 1980s led to the revision, expansion, or even partial dissolution of what might be thought of as a “canon” of American literature, yet these three texts have largely retained monumental positions within that tradition.
In this course we will examine this phenomenon, first by reading the texts themselves, interpreting them in terms of their formal characteristics and social significance, then seeing how they were understood as cultural artifacts in their own time, later in the twentieth century (when something like a “canon” was being formed), and in our era today. We will also look at a number of scholarly and critical works that attempt to illuminate the process of hypercanonization and its effects on literary and cultural studies in the United States. Finally, we will take up the curious case of a recent, great novel, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which has in its own way become somewhat hypercanonical in a epoch during which canons are increasingly called into question. In this way, we will investigate the uses and effects of canonization on U.S. literature.
Goals: (1) To become familiar with several hypercanonized American novels; (2) to become familiar with research in the theory and history of the novel; (3) to understand the literary, social, and historical background of these works and of their canonization; and (4) to investigate the cultural conditions and effects of canonization or hypercanonization on U.S. literature.
Required Books: To be determined, but the list will include Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter ; Melville, Moby-Dick ; Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ; and Morrison, Beloved ; along with a number of critical readings.
Format: Seminar (interactive lecture and discussion; student presentations).
Evaluation: Based on overall contributions, but roughly distributed as follows: in-class presentation (25%), abstract/ proposal (10%), final paper (50%), and class participation (15%).
Fall Office Hours: T-Th 2:00–3:00; by appointment.
For More Information: Email Professor Tally at firstname.lastname@example.org
Topic: Southwestern Studies II
T and Th 12:30-1:50 pm, FH 227
Instructor: William Jensen
Course Description: This course is the second in a two-course sequence leading to a minor in Southwestern Studies, designed to examine the richness and diversity of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. The course offers a multicultural focus by studying the region’s people, institutions, history, and physical and cultural ecology. An intercultural and interdisciplinary approach increases awareness of and sensitivity to the diversity of ethnic and cultural traditions in the area. Students will discover what distinguishes the Southwest from other regions of the United States, as well as its similarities, physically and culturally. The images, myths, themes, and perceptions of the region will be examined in light of historical and literary texts.
Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry
Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 by David Montejano
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
Office: Brazos 220
Hours: Th 2:00pm-3:30 pm and by appointment
English 5354.251: Studies in Renaissance Literature
Topic: Early Modern Pastoral
M 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 257
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Lochman
Description: This course will focus on the practice and theory of pastoral from its inception among the ancient Greeks and Romans until about 1650. The aims are to examine key “versions” of early modern pastoral—more than the ones William Empson envisioned in Some Versions of English Pastoral—as moments in the imitation, production, and transformation of what has been called the pastoral genre or mode in the early modern period in England. We will also examine possible connections of pastoral to historical and cultural contexts that tie the works together at the same time they differentiate them. Philip Sidney refers to social commentary when he asks rhetorically, “Is it then the Pastorall Poeme which is misliked? … is the poore pipe disdained, which sometimes out of Moelibeus mouth, can shewe the miserie of people, under hard Lords and ravening souldiers?” Paul Alpers theorizes that pastoral differs from lyric not so much because of the conventions of sheep and shepherds but because it invites and engages in conversations about love, pleasure, anxiety, and the range of human experience. We will study foundational texts in English translation by Theocritus, Bion, Moschus, and Virgil as well as late medieval works on rustics such as the pseudo-Chaucerian Plowman’s Tale, Langland’s Piers Plowman, Mantuanus’s ecclesiastical eclogues, and Skelton’s Colin Clout. Humanist interest in the classics blended with native English ideals to give rise to an Elizabethan fad of pastoral, beginning with Barnabe Googe’s eclogues (1563) and flourishing in the late 1570s in Sidney’s Arcadia (read in the Countess of Pembroke’s version); Spenser’s Shepheardes Calendar, Colin Clout Comes Home Again, and Book 6 of The Faerie Queene; Robert Greene’s Pandosto and Shakespeare’s adaptation of the same in The Winter’s Tale; selections of pastoral poems by Michael Drayton from The Shepherd’s Garland, by Richard Barnfield from The Affectionate Shepherd, and by others such as Marlowe, Raleigh, Herbert, Vaughan, and Marvell.
Alpers, Paul. What Is Pastoral? U of Chicago P, 1997. ISBN 9780226015170
Edmonds, J. M, tr.. The Greek Bucolic Poets. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1912.
Gifford, Terry. Pastoral. Routledge, 1999. ISBN 9780415147330
Lee, Guy, ed. Virgil: The Eclogues. Penguin, 1984. ISBN 9780140444193
Marvell, Andrew. The Complete Poems. Penguin, 2005. ISBN 9780140424577
Sidney, Philip. The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia. Ed. M. Evans. Penguin, 1977. ISBN 9780140431117
Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene: Book VI and the Mutabilitie Cantos. Ed. A. Hadfield and A. Stoll. Hackett, 2007. ISBN 9780872208919
_____. The Shorter Poems. Ed. Richard McCabe. London: Penguin, 2000. ISBN 9780140434453
Other materials TBA, on TRACS, and websites
Close-reading paper (1900 words) 20%
Report & summary: scholarly article or chapter 15%
Annotated bibliography 15%
Documented paper (3000 words) 30%
Final examination 20%
Office: FH 354
English 5389.251: History of Children’s Literature
Topic: Middle Ages to 1850
Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 302
Instructor: Dr. Teya Rosenberg
Description: In popular thought, childhood as a concept does not exist before the nineteenth century, and so there is no real children’s literature before Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Increasing availability through digitization of texts from earlier periods and a willingness by historians and literary critics to examine a wider variety of texts challenges these popular views of children’s literature.
This course examines the literature presented to children from the middle ages up to the mid-nineteenth century, and the critical, scholarly discussions surrounding that literature. The literary forms we will study include fables, folk and fairy tales, abecedaries (early alphabet books), moral tales, poetry and nonsense verse, and the beginnings of the children’s novel. The development of the book and printing practices, including the role of illustration, will be part of our discussions. We will consider historical theories of education and childhood and their influence on the literature produced, and how recent historical and literary practices have affected our perception of the times and literature we study.
Goals: Develop knowledge of the roots of children’s literature and appreciation for the history of theory and criticism surrounding it. Further development of graduate-level skills in research, analysis, writing, and presentation.
Texts: Many early literary texts are now available online from a variety of sources as are a number of the theoretical articles and books we will be using—it will be important to have access to the internet to read those sources. We will have two print texts: John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress & Sarah Fielding, The Governess. Check with Dr. Rosenberg about specific editions.
Before the class starts, I recommend reading (or re-reading): Alcott, Little Women (1868); Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew (1955); and/or White, The Sword in the Stone (1938)—these books draw on children’s texts from the times we will study and provide useful touchstones or frameworks for thinking about the earlier literature.
Evaluation: One seminar: introduce, focus, and lead class discussion on a primary (literature) text (15%); one short paper (7-8 pages) developed from seminar (15%); lead discussion of one critical/theoretical article (15%); one research paper (15-20 pages) (30%); participation (including reading responses and contributions to class discussion) (15%).
Office Hours: M 1-3; T/H 1-3 in FH 358
Email: email@example.com (t-r-one-one)
English 5395.251: Problems in Language and Literature
Topic: Realism and Its Discontents
Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH G06B
Instructor: Jennifer duBois
Description: In this course, we will examine what Marlon James calls “the myth” of realism. What makes a piece of work fall within the “realist” framework? How do our subjective assessments of reality inform our sense of what “realism” is? And how many ways can literature deviate from this tradition? We’ll examine works of fabulism, speculative fiction and “hysterical realism”—along with their more straightforward counterparts—while discussing issues of causality, credulity, emotional vs. active plot, and the relationship between plot, character and theme.
English 5395.252: Problems in Language and Literature:
Topic: Kill or Kiss: Patricia Highsmith in Context
W 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 253
Instructor: Dr. Victoria Smith
Description: Post-war America was a time of sexual, social, and economic anxiety. The war had produced a dislocation of domestic arrangements, a breakdown of stable gender categories, and a disturbance of racial boundaries all happening within a rapidly changing urban environment. Tracking these uneasy changes was the talented Patricia Highsmith, an American mid-century writer whose novels, like Strangers on Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Carol, are filled with psychopaths and seducers. Using her novels as a kind of touchstone we will examine the novels (hers and others) of the hard-boiled and “perverse” kind (think Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Chester Himes). We will pay attention to “Highsmith Country,” a world where, as her biographer Joan Schenk observes, “good intentions corrupt naturally; guilt afflicts the innocent; pursuit is everywhere; identities, genders, and genres are undermined; and life is a suffocating trap from which even [the] most accomplished escape artists cannot find a graceful exit.” We will also explore how that fiction was translated into often dark and brooding films by some of cinema’s most acclaimed directors—Alfred Hitchcock, Todd Haynes, Anthony Minghella, Billy Wilder, and Michael Curtiz. Key points will include an examination of the undercurrent of “perverse” sexuality, a pervasive queer sensibility, a sense of masculinity under siege, the pursuit and failure of the American Dream, and the rigidity of containment and conformity in post-war culture.
Texts (tentative): Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Carol; Chester Himes, A Rage in Harlem, If He Hollers; James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity; Ann Bannon, I Am A Woman; Raymond Chandler, "Notes on the Mystery Novel," "The Simple Art of Murder," and The Long Goodbye; Mike Davis, "Sunshine or Noir?"; Excerpts from D. A. Miller’s The Novel and The Police; Edward Dimenberg, Film Noir and the Spaces of Modernity; Wheeler Dixon, Film Noir and the Cinema of Paranoia.
Films: Mildred Pierce; Double Indemnity; Carol, Strangers on a Train; The Talented Mr. Ripley; Rope
Format: Engaged discussion, student presentations, mini-lectures
Evaluation: weekly reading responses, an oral presentation, and a final paper
For more information: see Dr. Smith in FH M11. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Office Hours: M/T 3:30-4:30 and by appointment
English 5395.253 Problems in Language and Literature
Topic: Epistolary Poetics and Poetic Epistles
M 6:30-9:20 pm, FH 376
Instructor: Cecily Parks
Description: “Dear friend, A Letter always feels to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.”-- Emily Dickinson. Letter poems invoke the intimacy of direct address and highlight the value of being heard or overheard, of writing or being written to. Looking at poems and letters by poets, we’ll study how poets steer the tensions of intimacy and publicity as they disclose language to a wide audience, placing readers in a strange triangle with the speaker and their interlocutor. Readings, discussions, and letter-writing assignments will underscore poetry’s versatility as a genre capable of boundary-crossing conversations with other genres, arts, and modes of communication—including letter-writing’s contemporary heir, e-mail.
Books: (tentative list) Aaron Aaps, Dear Herculine; Emily Dickinson, The Master Letters; Ross Gay & Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Lace & Pyrite; Takashi Hiraide, Postcards to Donald Evans; Horace, The Epistles of Horace; Richard Hugo, 31 Letters and 13 Dreams; Ovid, Heroides; Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet; Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright, The Delicacy and Strength of Lace; The Letters of Abelard and Heloise; Rachel Zucker, Eating in the Underworld
• 40% Class Participation (including letters you’ll write to a classmate)
• 10% Presentation (15-20 minutes)
• 50% Final Project (18-20 pages)
Office: FH 222
Phone: (512) 245-8231