English Literature

Michael Stoneham, American Literature Traditions, Fall 2018

Course Description:

ENGLIT 0574 American Literature Traditions 1 is a course focused upon the canonical literature that emerged from antebellum America. Collectively, it demonstrates the possibilities that the “New World” offered individuals and the tensions that emerged as early Americans settlers and citizens felt compelled to confront the structures of older, more established civilizations. It certainly demonstrates the anxieties felt by new Americans in a contested space where it was possible to challenge the social, political, psychological, religious, and sexual hierarchies. But perhaps, most stridently, it demonstrates the singular privileged position that the individual came to occupy as Americans developed the bold confidence to reject inherited systems as they charted a new course for humankind.
To excel in this course, you must read attentively, engage thoughtfully, write clearly, and prepare intelligently. You must also devote yourself to excellence in both preparation for class and in execution of your class assignments; and you must engage in class discussions and contribute to our consideration of the ideas that emerge in our consideration of American literature.

Required Texts:

The Scarlett Letter Hawthorne (1850)
Walden and Other Writings Thoreau (1854)
Typee Melville (1846)
Narrative of a Life of Frederick Douglass Douglass (1845)
Memoirs of Stephen Burroughs Burroughs (1798)
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Franklin (1791)
The Account of Mary Rowlandson Rowlandson (1682)

Selected essays/excerpts: Emerson and Lawrence; Selected poems: Dickinson and Whitman

Michael Stoneham, Literature of Terrorism, Fall 2018

Course Description:

Students in this course will explore the literature that examines, chronicles, and interrogates the emergence of terrorism as contemporary cultural phenomena that dominates revolutionary twenty-first century rhetoric and has infiltrated political discourse. It will complement the study of terrorists and terrorism in both History and in Political Science and offer students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the socio-economic conditions that compel individuals to embrace extreme acts of arbitrary violence and the attention that those acts inspire to bring about social and cultural changes in hostile political environments. Bruce Hoffman’s careful theoretical and historical assessment of terrorism, Inside Terrorism, will provide the theoretical background for the course, while texts from contemporary authors as diverse as Salman Rushdie, Chuck Palahniuk, John Updike, and Alaa As Aswany, and Moshin Hamid will provide the narratives from a variety of literary and cultural traditions. Complimenting these narratives is a narrative of the individual whom many identify as the most successful American terrorist, John Brown, who inspired a revolution in thinking about American slave culture in both his 1856 and 1859 terrorist engagements. An examination of Brown will serve as an entrée into our more contemporary examination of terrorists and their celebrants.

To succeed in this course, you must read attentively, engage thoughtfully, write clearly, and prepare intelligently. You must also devote yourself to excellence in both preparation and execution of your class assignments. They include daily response papers, an intriguing twenty minute presentation of your own perspective on one aspect of a text that we are studying, and two thoughtful essays.

Required Texts:

Inside Terrorism, Bruce Hoffman
Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
The Yacoubian Building, Alaa al Aswany
Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie
Terrorist, John Updike
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moshin Hamid
John Brown and the Era of Literary Confrontation, Michael Stoneham (excerpts provided in pdf)

Syllabus: 

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: 

Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff (Noon), Global Literature 1, Fall 2018

Course Description:

An introductory course that draws on diverse literary texts which include oral, written, visual and digital forms, from around the world; examines the definition of “global literature”; explores forces and trends that have shaped and influenced its characteristics and production; discusses recurring issues and themes such as migration, trans-nationality, and globalization; and analyzes its significance and impact upon the global community.

Required Texts:

1. David A. Cook, A History of Narrative Film 5th Edition
2. Loung Ong, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.)

Syllabus: 

Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff (Noon), Reading Poetry, Fall 2018

Course Description:

By studying various kinds of poetry from a number of sources, this course introduces students to particular forms of poetry and kinds of poetic language. Because poetry invites very close reading, students will explore various techniques for making sense of poems.

Required Texts:

Hunter, Paul J., Kelly J. May, and Alison Booth, eds. The Norton Introduction to Poetry. New York: Norton, 2007.

Syllabus: 

Jeremy C. Justus, Mars in the Literary Imagination, Fall 2018

Course Description:

This course approaches the planet Mars as an object of both scientific inquiry and imaginative, literary exploration, and it traces the historical relationship between the literature and science of Mars from the late Nineteenth Century to the present. The course takes a global, multidisciplinary approach to appreciating the ways in which our cultural fascination with the Red Planet has spurred both advances in science and developments in pulp fiction, “hard” science fiction, and film. Readings will include both literary and multimedia works in science fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and science.

Required Materials:

• Princess of Mars (1912), Edgar Rice Burroughs
• Red Planet (1949), Robert Heinlein
• Martian Chronicles (1950), Ray Bradbury
• Man Plus (1976), Frederik Pohl
• Packing for Mars (2010), Mary Roach
• Life on Mars: Poems (2010), Tracy K Smith
• The Martian (2011), Andy Weir
• Note: Many additional assigned readings will be available digitally. You’ll need regular and reliable internet access for this class
• A Google / Blogger account to be used solely for this class.

Catherine S. Cox, Survey of English Literature 1, Fall 2018

Course Description:

EngLit 0055 is designed to offer interested students an opportunity to become acquainted with major texts and authors of English literature from its medieval origins to the 18the century. We will examine a chronological sequence of text selections covering a range of genres and themes in relation to their historical, intellectual, and literary contexts and while considering a variety of critical approaches; you will acquire a solid survey knowledge of English authors, texts, and eras, as well as develop skills in close reading, critical thinking, and rhetorically sound writing. Enrollment in EngLit 0055 presupposes academic skills appropriate for an introductory college literature course as well as an active and open-minded interest in reading, thinking, and writing.

Materials Needed:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volume 1 (Abrams & Greenblatt, eds, 10th edition) is the assigned course textbook, to be used for class, exam, and paper purposes, available as a single volume or a three-part bundle. Texts are available at the UPJ Campus Bookstore or elsewhere if you wish, including online vendors. You will also need to take notes during class, to provide handwritten responses to quiz and exam questions, and to prepare out-of-class assignments as directed.

Catherine S. Cox, Bible as Literature, Fall 2018

Course Objectives:

EngLit 0598 is designed to offer interested students an opportunity to study, in English translation, the poetry and prose of the Hebrew Bible, developing skills in close reading, critical thinking, and rhetorically effective writing while acquiring a knowledge of the texts in their original world and in relation to our own. We will analyze the literary selections in their historical, intellectual, cultural, and literary contexts, considering a variety of critical approaches. (While religious tradition is obviously an important cultural context, the course will neither endorse nor refute any specific doctrine or beliefs.) Enrollment in EngLit 0598 is selective, and presupposes academic skills appropriate for an introductory college literature course, as well as an active and open-minded interest in reading, thinking, and writing.
Required Texts:

The JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh (ISBN 10- 0827606974) is the assigned primary text to be used for class, exam, and paper purposes. Additional reading materials will be distributed in class occasionally and/or posted to CourseWeb to accompany the primary texts as announced. You will need to take notes during class (as described above), to write short answers by hand on exams (unless other arrangements are made), and to prepare the out-of-class assignments as directed.

Syllabus: 

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