ON ORDER AND THINGS (Essential Poets Series 115)

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Contents

  1. The Poetic Secret of Fear and Trembling
  2. Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard – review
  3. Table of contents
  4. Mary Beard: I almost didn't feel such generic, violent misogyny was about me

The Web of American Poetry is founded on a central working assumption: poems take much of their meaning from the many contexts into which they can be placed. Poems allude to or borrow styles, techniques or ideas from previous works; they rebel against earlier poetic traditions; they aspire to emulate other arts, such as painting or music; they converse with history, politics and religion. Learning to interpret American poetry, then, is in large part a matter of recognizing the strands of meaning that connect particular poems in a web of meanings, and of seeing a particular poem against the backdrop of American poetry as a whole and its social and historical contexts.

In this course, we will trace some of these strands of meaning in American poetry from the Puritan era to the second half of the 20th C. In Samuel Beckett's Endgame , one of the characters laments, "Ah, the old questions, the old answers, there's nothing like them! To exchange one set for another is no great matter.

This class will examine a variety of texts to see what the "old questions" are that literary texts have posed and to see if there are "new questions" that now replace or augment them. We'll consider the implications of our findings: are there only the old questions, posed, perhaps, in new ways, or are there genuinely new questions with which literary texts now confront their readers? We will read texts from a variety of genres and periods.

Several papers and exams. Shakespeare is often celebrated for creating "modern" women in his plays, but as Virginia Woolf pointed out, Shakespeare's sisters wouldn't actually have had many opportunities to exercise their "modernity. We will also examine how 20th and 21st century riffs on Shakespeare's works deal with this issue. This course is writing-intensive and includes informal and formal writing assignments.

We will also be working on developing research questions and research strategies. This course counts for gen. A study of the emergence of drama as a literary and a cultural forming Shakespeare's era. Offered in alternate years. Set in dramatic forms that at times defy easy apprehension, this body of work provides a strong foundation for understanding the staging of private and public issues in the contemporary theatrical world.

A study of American drama of the past sixty to seventy years, with special focus on theatrical innovation and the staging of social issues.


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Examines the rise and development of the feudal system and attendant cultural tensions in medieval texts— chronicles, biographies, epics, lyrics, romances, and their modern analogues. This course offers an introduction to early modern English Poetry, including sonnet sequences, epics, and devotional lyrics.

The Poetic Secret of Fear and Trembling

Focus on comedy of manners and novel of manners, which often challenge a highly sophisticated society, and on the genre's evolution from its beginnings in the 17th century to the present. This course examines the representation of slavery in American literature and film from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, illuminating the ways that this institution was and continues to be foundational to American experience and identity.

Pre-requisite: Gateway Colloquium. Introduces basic questions and issues facing post-colonial writers: audience, relationship between culture and politics, adaptation of western literary forms, intervention in the historical record, and place of "orality" in "literature. Between and , more than six million African-Americans departed the rural U. South seeking asylum, economic opportunity, and equality in the urban North. This "Great Migration," as scholars call this collective movement, reconfigured the demographics, politics, and culture of both regions.

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard – review

This course will explore the Great Migration through two disciplinary lenses - cultural history and literature - in order to reimagine the twentieth century United States from an African-American perspective that decenters and denaturalizes whiteness as an unspoken condition in this historical construction of American identity. Examines fiction, poetry, drama, essays on culture and literature, and autobiography by women of African descent.

Offered annually. Emphasis on texts in overseas or domestic contexts in which they were created or upon which they focus. All or most of May term will be spent off campus.

Table of contents

May be repeated for credit if the topic is not duplicated. Offered in May Term. Practice in interpretation of texts through discussion and written work; attention to strategies of writing about literature, to critical vocabulary, and to critical approaches in current use. Restricted to English majors and minors only.

Offered each semester. Design and completion of library or archive research project in language, literature, or culture under faculty tutelage. Research may serve as first step toward larger, independent research project, investigate an issue raised in student's previous study, or complete a limited project using library or archive holdings or acquisitions.

Mary Beard: I almost didn't feel such generic, violent misogyny was about me

Prerequisite: consent of instructor and English department chair before enrollment. Offered each semester and occasionally in May Term. Design and completion of advanced-level library or archive research project in language, literature, or culture under faculty tutelage.


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Research can build on previous coursework or study in x. Ideally, this research serves as a foundation for a project in English or English research honors.


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  • Prerequisite: consent of instructor and English department chair before enrollment and a GPA in the major of at least 3. May be repeated with prior approval of instructor and chair. Readings of English and Continental texts from the 9thth centuries with selected readings in Middle English and in modern translation from Latin, Old French, Provencal, Welsh, and other traditions. May include Arthurian romance, the literature of courtly love, drama, lyric poetry, or writings of medieval mystics.

    Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from or —, plus Investigates issues of representation of gender and sexuality, representations of the court, the place of the stage, versions of early modern selfhood, and moral theory in the Renaissance period, Offered as needed. Focus on British authors between who consider issues of aristocratic decadence, wit as a moral touchstone, emergence of the middle class, and gender through the use of satire, romance, the novel epistolary, picaresque, comic , comedy of manners, sentimental and laughing comedy, neoclassical tragedy, and mock forms Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from or , plus Examines the great literature—much of it poetry— of the period Addresses themes and issues characteristic of this time of unrest and redefinition.

    In this course, we will investigate how Renaissance literature helped to shape our twenty-first century ideas about race, ethnicity, colonization, and religious difference. Students will read a variety of plays, poems, and essays that foreground European encounters with the Mediterranean, the New World, Africa, and Asia in the period between Focus on British novelists, poets, playwrights, and essayists between who are drawn to themes of the divided self, middle class decorum, the fight for women's suffrage and education, organization of the working class, responses to poverty, expansion of the British empire, and religious conversion and doubt.

    Examines literature of England, Ireland, and Scotland since with emphasis on aspects of experimentation in form resulting from the modernist movement and the backlash against it.

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    In actuality, there was nothing inevitable about an unstable post-colonial state with no national language and little shared history coming to dominate a continent and its residents. This course explores the narratives of community and nation that competed during this time of national uncertainty. Focus on aspect s of American literature since the Civil War to form a coherent view of American experience. Draws upon several literary and non-literary genres. Focus on literary, historical, and cultural contexts and movements through faculty selected topics, e. Emphasis and scope varies on American, British, or world modernism.

    Topics may include development of modernism, modernist views of language and art, the social contexts of literary modernism, for example. Focus on 1 Anglophone literature of Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean, or 2 national literature in translation, or 3 comparative treatments of issues, authors or literary genres. In this course we will study experimental fiction in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with particular emphasis on concerns of style and structure.

    We will read texts that call into question the limits of representation and of genre, even as they make representational gestures within what seem to be standard genres the short story and the novel. We will examine whether these fictional experiments represent an escape from the world or involve a different and perhaps more engaged response to post-World War II realities. Other writers may be substituted, depending on availability of texts. English can be waived with the permission of the instructor.

    Examines this genre as a testing ground for the nature of literary form, art, and human agency, and especially as a site for investigating the role of memory, truth vs. Consideration of romance authors as revisionists or voices of social change. Readings from biblical romances to contemporary novels. Includes films.