Examines in detail the works of several American authors. Through close readings of poetry, novels, or plays, subject addresses such issues as literary influence, cultural diversity, and the writer's career. Topic: American Women Authors. This subject, crosslisted in Literature and Women's Studies, examines a range of American women authors from the seventeenth century to the present. It aims to introduce a number of literary genres and styles- the captivity narrative, slave novel, sensational, sentimental, realistic, and postmodern fiction- and also to address significant historical events in American women's history: Puritanism, the American Revolution, industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century, the Harlem Renaissance, World War II, the 60s civil rights movements. A primary focus will be themes studied and understood through the lens of gender: war, violence, and sexual exploitation (Keller, Rowlandson, Rowson); the relationship between women and religion (Rowlandson, Rowson, Stowe); labor, poverty, and working conditions for women (Fern, Davis, Wharton); captivity and slavery (Rowlandson, Jacobs); class struggle (Fern, Davis, Wharton, Larsen); race and identity (Keller, Jacobs, Larsen, Morrison); feminist revisions of history (Stowe, Morrison, Keller); and the myth of the fallen woman (take your pick). Essays and inclass reports will focus more particularly on specific writers and themes and will stress the skills of close reading, annotation, research, and uses of multimedia where appropriate. A classroom electronic archive has been developed for this course and will be available as a resource for images and other media materials.
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This course studies the national literature of the United States since the early 19th century. It considers a range of texts - including, novels, essays, and poetry - and their efforts to define the notion of American identity. Readings usually include works by such authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Emily Dickinson, and Toni Morrison.
This course covers works by major American novelists, beginning with the late 18th century and concluding with a contemporary novelist. The class places major emphasis on reading novels as literary texts, but attention is paid to historical, intellectual, and political contexts as well. The syllabus varies from term to term, but many of the following writers are represented: Rowson, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Wharton, James, and Toni Morrison. Previously taught topics include The American Revolution and Makeovers (i.e. adaptations and reinterpretation of novels traditionally considered as American "Classics"). May be repeated for credit with instructor's permission so long as the content differs.
What is a "life" when it's written down? How does memory inform the present? Why are memoirs so popular? This course will address these questions and others, considering the relationship between biography, autobiography, and memoir and between personal and social themes. We will closely examine some recent memoirs: Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father, Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Students will write two brief papers: a critical essay and an experiment in memoir.As a "Sampling," this class offers 6 units, with a strong emphasis on close reading, group discussion, focused writing, and research and presentation skills.
This course looks at comedy in drama, novels, and films from Classical Greece to the twentieth century. Focusing on examples from Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Cervantes, MoliĚŹre, Wilde, Chaplin, and Billy Wilder, along with theoretical contexts, the class examines comedy as a transgressive mode with revolutionary social and political implications. This is a Communications Intensive (CI) class with emphasis on discussion, and frequent, short essays.
This course investigates the uses and boundaries of fiction in a range of novels and narrative styles--traditional and innovative, western and nonwestern--and raises questions about the pleasures and meanings of verbal texts in different cultures, times, and forms. Toward the end of the term, we will be particularly concerned with the relationship between art and war in a diverse selection of works.
This seminar provides intensive study of exciting texts by four influential American authors. In studying paired works, we can enrich our sense of each author's distinctive methods, get a deeper sense of the development of their careers, and shake up our preconceptions about what makes an author or a work "great." Students will get an opportunity to research an author in depth, as well as making broader comparisons across the syllabus.
Global exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed Western science, orienting philosophies of natural history to more focused fields like comparative anatomy, botany, and geology. In the United States, European scientific advances and home-grown ventures like the Wilkes Exploring Expedition to Antarctica and the Pacific inspired new endeavors in cartography, ethnography, zoology, and evolutionary theory, replacing rigid models of thought and classification with more fluid and active systems. They inspired literary authors as well. This class will examine some of the most remarkable of these authors--Herman Melville (Moby-Dick and "The Encantadas"), Henry David Thoreau (Walden), Sarah Orne Jewett (Country of the Pointed Firs), Edith Wharton (House of Mirth), Toni Morrison (A Mercy), among others--in terms of the subjects and methods they adopted, imaginatively and often critically, from the natural sciences.
Close study of a limited group of writers. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication. Topic for Fall: Willa Cather. Topic for Spring: Oscar Wilde and the 90s. From Course Home Page: This seminar provides intensive study of texts by two American authors (Herman Melville, 1819-1891, and Toni Morrison, 1931-) who, using lyrical, radically innovative prose, explore in different ways epic notions of American identity. Focusing on Melville's Typee (1846), Moby-Dick (1851), and The Confidence-Man (1857) and Morrison's Sula (1973), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), and Paradise (1998), the class will address their common concerns with issues of gender, race, language, and nationhood. Be prepared to read deeply (i.e. a small number of texts with considerable care), to draw on a variety of sources in different media, and to employ them in creative research, writing, and multimedia projects.
Intensive study of a range of texts by a single author or by a limited group of authors whose achievements are mutually illuminating. Some attention to narrative theory, and biographical and cultural backgrounds. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication. Topic: Joyce's Ulysses and Its Legacy.
Intensive study of a range of texts by a single author or by a limited group of authors whose achievements are mutually illuminating. Some attention to narrative theory, and biographical and cultural backgrounds. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication. Topic: Joyce's Ulysses and Its Legacy. This seminar looks at two bestselling nineteenth-century American authors whose works made the subject of slavery popular among mainstream readers. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain have subsequently become canonized and reviled, embraced and banned by individuals and groups at both ends of the political and cultural spectrum and everywhere in between.
Students, scholars, bloggers, reviewers, fans, and book-group members write about literature, but so do authors themselves. Through the ways they engage with their own texts and those of other artists, sampling, remixing, and rethinking texts and genres, writers reflect on and inspire questions about the creative process. We will examine Mary Shelley's reshaping of Milton's Paradise Lost, German fairy tales, tales of scientific discovery, and her husband's poems to make Frankenstein (1818, 1831); Melville's redesign of a travel narrative into a Gothic novella in Benito Cereno (1856); and Alison Bechdel's rewriting of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) in her graphic novel Fun Home (2006). Showings of film versions of some of these works will allow us to project forward in the remixing process as well.