Ann Rea

Ann Rea, Jane Austen: Books and Film, Fall 2018

Course Description:

Jane Austen lived and wrote at a time of enormous social change when England was moving towards modernity. She was born in 1775 and died in 1817 at only 42 years of age, and experienced the shift from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth. At the same time she helped to bridge the development of the eighteenth-century novel into the nineteenth-century novel. This accompanied and expressed the dilemmas of a society moving from a late form of feudalism into capitalism, with a growing sense of democracy and the rise of the middle class, accompanied by examination of changing morals and civic relations. As a writer whose interest is primarily with the women of her time, Austen also delineates domestic life during the growth of capitalism. As part of this transition, women’s roles themselves changed.
We begin the course by reading excerpts from Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in response to Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, on the subject of women’s education, a subject that was never far from Austen’s thoughts. Education, for Austen and Wollstonecraft, involved the development of women’s minds, manners, morals and ability to perform meaningful roles in their families and in the slightly wider world. Austen’s palette is the close environs of the immediate home and the close society, particularly in her earlier novels, but her work often portrays England in these microcosms, and she ponders the bigger questions of the direction in which English society was moving. She knew the intellectual developments happening in the wider world, and always she tells a compelling story, with narrative developments that keep us in suspense and characters who we care about.
Jane Austen has earned recent popularity based on a view of her work as a sort of “Masterpiece Theatre,” romantic set of dramas based in mannered English drawing rooms, in long dresses with up-dos. On one hand I like anything that encourages people to read good books, but this commercialized mobilization of “Janeites” that has exploded in the last decade is not what this course will focus on as it misses many of the complexities of Jane Austen’s work, even though we will watch some films that could be argued to be part of that explosion. But part of the “Janeite” phenomenon is based on the fact that readers gain lots of pleasure from reading Austen’s narratives and I am very happy about that!
We will read four of Austen’s novels and watch film adaptations, exploring the works’ depths and examining them in their social and historical contexts so that we can understand the influence of Austen’s contemporaries on her thinking. We will also read a critical article about each novel and take these critical concepts into our set of tools for understanding the fiction. Film adaptations help us to consider the changing interpretations of the novels over time, and we will have some critical reading to help you to consider the adaptation process as a form of reinterpretation.
So while we explore the historical context that allows us to understand Austen’s concerns, we will also examine how our historical context influences our reading of her work. While you write your long papers we will watch Clueless, a modern adaptation of Austen’s Emma, for a bit of pure fun.

Print Texts:
Sense and Sensibility, Harper Collins, (1811)

Pride and Prejudice, Penguin (1813)

Mansfield Park, Penguin (1814)

Persuasion, Penguin (published posthumously in 1818)

Notice that Austen’s fiction was all published over a period of seven years. Her work includes Northanger Abbey (1818) which we will not be reading.

You must own copies of these print texts and should aim to mark them up and make them your own, lived-in copies.
We will watch the following film adaptations:
Sense and Sensibility, Director Ang Lee
Sampler of film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice – Joe Wright, director; Simon Langton BBC production; Robert Z. Leonard; Bride and Prejudice, director Chadha Gurinder; Lost in Austen, Director Dan Zeff.
Mansfield Park, Director Iain B. MacDonald
Persuasion, Roger Michell
Clueless, Director Amy Heckering

Syllabus: 

Ann Rea, Introduction to Shakespeare, Fall 2018

Course Description:

For this introductory course we will read eight plays and work on understanding them in their historical contexts, understanding and appreciating the language and the use of verse, prose and stagecraft, as well as characterization. We will examine many of the preoccupations to which Shakespeare returns: kingship and political representation; women and authority; the regulation of sexual behavior; the growing sense of individual sensibility; acting and performance and the prevalent discomfort with dissembling, or inauthenticity. In many cases these are the preoccupations of his era, but the wide popular audience of his plays means that he also intervened on contemporary issues, for example by educating his audiences about their country’s history. Many of Shakespeare’s plays tell stories about England’s fairly immediate history, and we will explore the ways in which Shakespeare influenced contemporary opinion about political matters, perhaps to the point of propaganda, as well as helping to create a cohesive sense of English national identity after a divisive and tumultuous historical period. But his life and work straddle the end of the reign of Elizabeth I and James I’s ascension to the throne: an important political shift which entailed a change in how the theatre was viewed, as well as an increase in censorship, and many of his plays comment indirectly on social and political issues even while they appear to describe very different matters.

Required Text:

The Riverside Shakespeare or The Wadsworth Shakespeare

Syllabus: 

Ann Rea, Introduction to Literature, Fall 2018

Course Description and Required Texts:

Introduction to Literature is required for English Literature majors in their first year, which means that many of you are in your first semester. Its purpose is to introduce you to the variety of genres that you will study in the coming years, and to teach you how to analyze poetry, drama and fiction so that you are ready to embark on your future classes. For some of you, this class will serve as an introductory exposure to literature as a general education area of study, and you are either new to it or do not plan to pursue it as a degree. To meet these needs, I have selected some of my favorite texts from each genre, also aiming to expose you to literature from a variety of eras. So we will read a Shakespeare play, Othello, from 1604, an eighteenth-century novel by Daniel Defoe called Moll Flanders, and a book about poetry, The Making of A Poem, which describes a variety of poetic forms and explains how poets have used them. You may know that Othello is a play about perceptions of race, as well as how someone can be manipulated to perceive another inaccurately, because of jealousy. Moll Flanders (1722) was one of the early novels written in English and describes a woman making her way in the world using the limited means available to her that included marriage and, eventually crime, at a time when women’s opportunities were severely limited. Her story is also the story of the origins of capitalism and will give us many moral questions to discuss, as well as being a dramatic, event-filled tale. Our later texts include E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, which might be my favorite novel ever, set in India among the English colonizers just before India gained independence. Another story about colonialization Brian Friel’s Translations, depicts Ireland undergoing settlement by the English in the early nineteenth century, although the play was written at the end of the twentieth century. Friel reveals how map-making and language help to determine the communities we live in, and how characters can judge or misjudge the historical events happening around them. Finally, Graham Swift’s The Light of Day (2003) tells the story of a private detective embroiled in complex ways in a murder investigation. I hope these texts will awaken your curiosity about literature, as well as your enjoyment of it, and will allow you to learn about how literary texts work, as well as how to develop the skills to interpret them.
Since reading is central, I will expect you to prepare for this class by reading the assigned texts thoughtfully and conscientiously and coming to class prepared to be involved in active discussion. This class will require your active participation and is not a lecture class, but one where you will engage with ideas and conversation and express your own views. This can be lots of fun, and, but for it to function we need everyone to make the effort to be reflective about his or her part in it. If you tend to want to talk a lot you might need to check that you do not dominate the discussion. If you are shy and tend to leave the talking to others you might need to push yourself to speak. It is extremely important that we behave respectfully towards others in the discussions.
I will require you to prepare discussion-prompting questions an assigned days so that we can pay attention to the aspects of the reading that interest you, although of course I will also guide you towards the interpretive skills you need to learn. We will develop the calendar of discussion guiding assignments when we meet.

Syllabus: 

Ann Rea, Composition 2, Fall 2018

Course Description:

In Composition 2, students refine their skills in expression, working towards clarity and coherence in writing. This course aims for a sophisticated understanding of the writing process and an appreciation of the importance of audience in the presentation of their complex ideas. The emphasis on research requires that students learn to distinguish between scholarly and popular sources, effectively integrate evidence in support of their own ideas, gain an understanding of the research process, and produce college level research papers. But more importantly in my classes, students learn how to read complex texts and competing voices to both understand what they have read on complex issues, but also to develop a. separate, individual perspective on problems that they may never have previously understood. I believe that this prepares students for the work they will do in their majors, and in their later careers. The skill to understand others’ perspectives and define one’s own position is one that people need in many areas of their lives. As this skill develops students will produce work that demonstrates significant depth of thinking and range of perspectives about a concept or idea.

Required Texts:

Masha Gessen, The Future is History, Granta
Svetlana Alexeivich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, Random House
Muriel Harris and Jennifer Kunka, The Writer’s FAQ’s, Pearson

The easiest way to get the correct editions is to shop at the bookstore where you will find new and used copies and also books that you can rent.
You must own copies of the texts, and have them for our next class, and should aim to mark them up and make them your own, lived-in copies. Please avoid Kindle or another e-reading devices because of the difficulty of finding specific passages and marking them up.

Syllabus: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Rea - ENGCMP 0006 - Composition 2.pdf121.78 KB

Ann Rea, Senior Seminar Ireland's Twentieth Century, Spring 2018

Course Description:
This semester we will explore a century of Irish writing that helped to define and create Ireland as independent nation, and that exemplifies what literature can do to create culture, and not merely describe it. The wealth of Irish writing in this century is so great that one semester only gives us a chance to sample its major writers.

Required Texts:
Richard Finneran (ed). The Yeats Reader, Scribner
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, (1916) Penguin
J. M. Synge, Playboy of the Western World [first performed in 1907]and Other Plays, Oxford
Elizabeth Bowen, The Last September, (1929) Penguin
Molly Keane, Good Behaviour, (1981) Virago
Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa, (1990) Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Seamus Heaney, Selected Poems, 1988-2013, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Eavan Boland, New Collected Poems, W.W. Norton
Seamus Deane, Reading in the Dark, (1996) Vintage

Ann Rea, Short Story in Context, Spring 2018

Course Description

This course studies short stories that explore a variety of themes. It seeks to define the short story as a specific literary genre and to distinguish it from earlier forms of short narrative literature. It then examines the effects of literary, cultural, and historical traditions on these stories and their reception.

Required Texts:

-Ann Charters, The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction
-Frank O’Connor, Collected Stories

Syllabus: 

Ann Rea, Survey of English Literature 2, Spring 2018

Course Description:

Traces the development of English literature from the beginning of the romantic period to the present. Prerequisite: ENGCMP 0006.

Required Texts:

-The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume B, (Second Edition) OR The Broadview Anthology of British Literature Volumes 4 (The Age of Romanticism), 5 (The Victorian Era), and 6 (The Twentieth Century and Beyond) (Second editions)
-Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, Penguin (1814)

Syllabus: 

Ann Rea, Composition 2, Spring 2018

Course Description:

In position 2, students refine their skills in expression, working towards clarity and coherence in writing. This course aims for a sophisticated understanding of the writing process and an appreciation of the importance of audience in the presentation of their lex ideas. The emphasis on research requires that students learn to distinguish between scholarly and popular sources, effectively integrate evidence in support of their own ideas, gain an understanding of the research process, and produce college level research papers.

Required Texts:

Masha Gessen, The Future is History, Granta
Svetlana Alexeivich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, Random House Muriel Harris and Jennifer Kunka, The Writer’s FAQ’s, Pearson

Syllabus: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Rea - ENGCMP 0006 - Composition 2.pdf100.64 KB

Ann Rea, London in Current British Fiction, Fall 2017

Course Description:

During this course you will read fiction published in the last fifteen years — indeed much of it from the last five years — that shows the writers’ fascination with London. Currently many novelists make the city itself not just the setting, but their central focus: one of the world’s most multi-cultural, technologically advanced cities, and a locus of the world’s financial industry and changing English cultural sensibility, becomes the subject of the novel.

Required Texts:

A.N. Wilson, London: A History Penelope Lively, City of the Mind John Lanchester, Capital
Sebastian Faulks, A Week in December Ned Beauman, Glow
Tom McCarthy, Satin Island
Gillian Tindall, The House by the Thames
You should own copies of the texts, which are not expensive, and should aim to mark them up and make them your own, lived-in copies. Since our books are much less expensive than other
textbooks for college classes, please avoid renting them, since your relationship to the books will suffer if you cannot mark them up.

Ann Rea, Introduction to Shakespeare, Fall 2017

Course Description:

For this introductory course we will read eight plays and work on understanding them in their historical contexts, understanding and appreciating the language and the use of verse, prose and stagecraft, as well as characterization. We will examine many of the preoccupations to which Shakespeare returns: kingship and political representation; women and authority; the regulation of sexual behavior; the growing sense of individual sensibility; acting and performance and the prevalent discomfort with dissembling, or inauthenticity. In many cases these are the preoccupations of his era, but the wide popular audience of his plays means that he also intervened on contemporary issues, for example by educating his audiences about their country’s history. Many of Shakespeare’s plays tell stories about England’s fairly immediate history, and we will explore the ways in which Shakespeare influenced contemporary opinion about political matters, perhaps to the point of propaganda, as well as helping to create a cohesive sense of English national identity after a divisive and tumultuous historical period. But his life and work straddle the end of the reign of Elizabeth I and James I’s ascension to the throne: an important political shift which entailed a change in how the theatre was viewed, as well as an increase in censorship, and many of his plays comment indirectly on social and political issues even while they appear to describe very different matters.

Required Text:

The Riverside Shakespeare or The Wadsworth Shakespeare

Syllabus: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Ann Rea