Fall Term

Course Information

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1. Creative Writing Workshops
English Cafr. Advanced Fiction Writing
Instructor: Claire Messud

 

 

Thursdays, 4-7 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

Intended for students with prior fiction-writing and workshop experience, this course will concentrate on the structure, execution and revision of short fiction. Throughout the term, we will read and discuss literary fiction from a craft perspective. The course is primarily focused on the discussion of student work, with the aim of improving both writerly skills and critical analysis. Revision is an important component of this class.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of prose fiction, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in the course; what experience you’ve had writing, both in previous workshops and independently; what your literary goals and ambitions are. Please tell me about some of your favorite narratives – fiction, non-fiction, film, etc: why they move you, and what you learn from them.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cajr. Advanced Journalism: Investigative Reporting
Instructor: Jill Abramson

Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

A writing workshop focusing on investigative reporting. Course will focus on how to use data and documents to create compelling narratives. Using case studies, students learn how journalism holds power accountable from Watergate to the Trump era.

Supplemental Application Information: TBA

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

 

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English Cbbr. Intermediate Poetry
Instructor: Josh Bell

Mondays, 4-7 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. 

Initially, students can expect to read, discuss, and imitate the strategies of a wide range of poets writing in English; to investigate and reproduce prescribed forms and poetic structures; and to engage in writing exercises meant to expand the conception of what a poem is and can be. As the course progresses, reading assignments will be tailored on an individual basis, and an increasing amount of time will be spent in discussion of student work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cfcr: Following the Food Chain
Instructor: Michael Pollan

Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

Our eating represents our most consequential engagement with the natural world. This course will introduce students to the concept of a food system –embracing everything from the soil and farming methods to public health, the environment, and culture—through extensive readings and writings in a variety of forms, including reportage, memoir, history and argument.

Supplemental Application Instructions: TBA

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cfmr. Fiction Writing
Instructor: Claire Messud

Wednesdays, 4-7 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An introductory fiction workshop, in which students will explore elements of craft such as character, point of view, setting, detail, style, etc. The first weeks will be devoted to fiction readings (TBA) and creative exercises; most of the semester will be spent workshopping student fiction. The final project involves significant revision of a story.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of creative writing in prose (fiction is preferable, but non-fiction is also fine) along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in writing fiction, and in this course; what experience you’ve had writing; what some of your favorite narratives are and why.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Chcr. Advanced Poetry
Instructor: Josh Bell

Tuesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. 

By guided reading, classroom discussion, one on one conference, and formal and structural experimentation, members of the Advanced Poetry Workshop will look to hone, deepen, and challenge the development of their poetic inquiry and aesthetic. Students will be required to write and submit one new poem each week and to perform in-depth, weekly critiques of their colleagues’ work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cihr. The I’s Have It: Writing and Reading the Personal Essay
Instructor: Michael Pollan

Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

In this advanced workshop, we will read widely in the tradition that begins with Montaigne and write essays of our own in a variety of lengths and forms. A principal goal of the course will be to develop a voice on the page and learn how to deploy the first person, not merely as a means of self-expression but as a tool for telling a true story, conducting an inquiry or pressing an argument.

Supplemental Application Instructions: TBA

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cijr. Introduction to Journalism
Instructor: Jill Abramson

Mondays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An intense seminar for those interested in understanding the changing role of journalism and in learning the art of reporting and writing narrative stories. The course is intended for those contemplating careers as journalists or because they want a better sense of how journalism really works. Coursework will include two narrative articles that are ready for publication. Readings will include some of the best examples of modern journalism, from magazine features by authors including Gay Talese to multimedia narratives such as The New York Times’ “Snow Fall.”

Supplemental Application Information: The application should include a letter saying why the student wants to take the workshop, why writing and journalism interests them, and which websites, magazines, newspapers and other news sources they read, even gossipy sites like Gawker.  A writing sample is optional for this course application.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Ckr. Introduction to Playwriting
Instructor: Sam Marks

Mondays, 4-7 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This workshop is an introduction to writing for the stage through intensive reading and in-depth written exercises. Each student will explore the fundamentals and possibilities of playwriting by generating short scripts and completing a one act play with an eye towards both experimental and traditional narrative styles. Readings will examine various ways of creating dramatic art and include work from contemporary playwrights such as Kenneth Lonergan, Martin McDonagh, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Sarah Ruhl as well established work from Anton Chekhov, Sarah Kane, and Harold Pinter.

Supplemental Application Information: Submit a 2-4 page sample in any genre. Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Clr. Dramatic Screenwriting I
Instructor: Mark Poirier

Mondays, 4-7 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This class introduces the screenplay, from the Hollywood blockbuster to the indie sleeper. Students will learn the basics of screenwriting by reading scripts and viewing the resulting films, focusing on dramatic structure, character development, tone, dialogue, and the other aspects of film determined by the writer. Students will develop their own feature-length screenplays-which we’ll workshop from the earliest stages-and finish the semester with a first act and the tools, knowledge, and skills necessary to continue screenwriting.

Supplemental Application Information: In your letter of application, please answer the following questions:
  1. What are your five favorite films from the last ten years?
  2. What do you consider the worst film you’ve seen in a theater? In a few sentences, explain why you think it was the worst.
  3. Have you taken any film-related courses at Harvard or anywhere else?
  4. Briefly explain why you’d like to take this course.

The writing sample should showcase your story-telling abilities and your writing voice. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry and dramatic writing are all acceptable. Please limit your sample to five pages. Excerpts are fine—please indicate them as such.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cnfr. Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Darcy Frey

Wednesdays, 4-7 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

Whether in essay, memoir or reportage, creative nonfiction employs many of the same literary techniques as fiction: narrative structure, character development, scene-setting, extended dialogue, emphasis on voice and point of view. In addition to workshopping student writing, we discuss examples of the genre by writers such as Virginia Woolf, William Maxwell, Joan Didion, and John McPhee. Assignments include two 10-15 page narratives, an extensive revision, and typed critiques of classmates’ work.

Supplemental Application Information: TBA

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cpy. Fiction Writing
Instructor: Paul Yoon

Wednesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

An introductory workshop where we will learn to read as writers and study all aspects of the craft of fiction writing, including such topics as character, point of view, structure, time, and plot. The first weeks will focus heavily on writing exercises and reading contemporary short fiction. Writers we will study will include: Daniyal Mueenuddin, Haruki Murakami, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Tom Drury. As the semester progresses, the focus of the workshop will shift to creating and discussing your own work at the table, along with submitting a final revision project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or a novel, along with a substantial letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you are drawn to fiction writing and what your goals are for this class. I’m interested in the writers you are reading. I’d also like to know a writer or an artist whose work you admire and why. This could be someone in a different field, such as a painter, a filmmaker, or an architect but the important thing is to be specific about what resonates and what draws you to them. Lastly, I’d like you tell me a place that has meant something to you. How you define place is up to you.

Submit your application here. (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cssr. The Short Screenplay
Instructor: Mark Poirier

Tuesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This class introduces the short screenplay–anywhere from one to thirty formatted pages. Students will learn the basics of this challenging form by viewing short films and reading short screenplays, short stories, and short creative essays.

We’ll focus on character and plot in the scripts we develop because many short films-even highly lauded ones-are lacking in these areas. The goal of the course is to write scripts that can actually be produced, so we’ll also consider budgetary matters when we’re writing.

No prior screenwriting experience is required.

Supplemental Application Information: TBA

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Ctv. Writing for Television: Developing the Pilot
Instructor: Sam Marks

Tuesdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This workshop introduces the television pilot with a focus on prestige drama and serialized comedy.  Students will excavate their own voice and explore the structure and execution of pilot writing through a first draft of their own original script. With intensive reading and discussion of student work we will examine elements of TV writing, such as treatments and outlines as well as character, dialogue, tone, plot, and, most importantly, vision.  Over the semester, we’ll turn ideas into worlds and worlds into scripts.

Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience in dramatic writing is encouraged, though not necessary. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable). Also, write a few sentences about one of your favorite televisions shows and why you wish to write for TV.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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English Cvb. Fiction Writing
Instructor: Laura van den Berg

Thursdays, 1-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This course will serve as an introduction to the fundamentals of writing fiction. The initial weeks will focus on assigned readings—you can expect to encounter works by Edward P. Jones, Helen Oyeyemi, Joy Williams, Yoko Ogawa, and others—and short exercises. The readings will give us a lens through which to explore character, structure, time, point of view, etc, and will inform the workshop dialogues that follow. Later in the term, your own fiction will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to the creation and revision of original work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or novel, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why are you drawn to studying fiction; what your ambitions are for your work; and the writers you are currently reading. I’d like you also to make mention of a passage from a work of fiction that you love—a particular scene from a novel, for example, or a line from a short story—and tell me why this passage has, for you, remained so striking and memorable.

Apply via Submittable (by 11:59pm on 8/30, no exceptions)

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2. Common Ground Courses
English 40gt. Arrivals: British Literature, 700-1700
Instructor: Gordon Teskey

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2-3 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

A survey of major English authors and works from Beowulf to Paradise Lost, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur; Middle English ballads and songs; Renaissance lyric poetry from Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey to Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert and Andrew Marvell; and plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and John Webster.

Note: Be sure to attend first class meeting to be considered for admittance.

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English 50. Poets: Ode, Elegy, Epigram, Fragment, Song
Instructor: Steph Burt

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2-3:30 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

Poetry, lyric and otherwise: how to read it, hear it, and write about it, from the 16th century to the present, with forms and models from Shakespeare, Keats and Dickinson to Herrera, Kasischke or Agbabi. Assignments include critical papers but also “imitation of great masters” (as Yeats put it); we’ll study poems both in and out of the historical contexts that made them possible, and we’ll ask why those that endure have endured.

Note: Be sure to attend first class meeting to be considered for admittance.

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English 56. Poets: Narrative & Lyric
Instructor: Andrew Warren

Tuesdays 10-11:30 am | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

This course is a general introduction to reading poetry, with a focus on narrative poetry. We begin with Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost, and then turn to eighteenth-century mock epics and verse narratives by Pope and Swift, and work by the Romantics, particularly Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats. The course will end with Byron’s satiric masterstroke, Don Juan, and TS Eliot’s toppled epic, The Waste Land.

Note: Be sure to attend first class meeting to be considered for admittance.

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English 60ad. Migrations: Testing the American Dream
Instructor: Beth Blum

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12-1 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

This course will first analyze the representation of success in key works of the American canon by Benjamin Franklin, Horatio Alger, Henry James, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Nathanael West. We will then broaden the conversation to consider some contemporary and international responses to the American myth of self-fashioning by Samuel Beckett, Mohsin Hamid, Sheila Heti, and Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Note: Be sure to attend first class meeting to be considered for admittance.

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3. Undergraduate Seminars
English 90ka. The Brontës
Instructor: Elaine Scarry

Tuesdays, 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 15 students. 

Writings by Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë, as well as the later novels and films their work inspired.

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English 90mk. Medieval Women and the Problem of Knowledge
Instructor: Nicholas Watson

Thursdays, 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

From Eve to Mary and from Lady Philosophy to Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, medieval women are associated with knowing, good and bad, philosophical and experiential.  We seek our own knowledge of them through allegories and visions, autobiographies and visions, philosophical studies and gynecological treatises.  Works by Robert Grosseteste, Catherine of Siena, Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.

 

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English 90nb. Nabokov Novels in English
Instructor: Glenda Carpio

Wednesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

This course explores Nabokov’s vision of art, testing its limits and possibilities through the novels that he wrote in English from The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941) through Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969) and selected criticism.

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English 90qp. 20th-Century American Poetry
Instructor: Peter Sacks

Wednesdays, 3-5 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 15 students. 

This course attends to the work of several American poets whose careers span much of the second half of the 20th century. Poets include Elizabeth Bishop, James Wright, Randall Jarrell, Adrienne Rich, A.R. Ammons, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and others.

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4. Undergraduate Tutorials
English 91r. Supervised Reading and Research
Instructor: Andrew Warren

The Supervising Reading and Research tutorial is a type of student-driven independent study offering individual instruction in subjects of special interest that cannot be studied in regular courses. English 91r is supervised by a member of the English Department faculty.  It is a graded course and may not be taken more than twice, and only once for concentration credit. Students must submit a proposal and get approval from the faculty member with whom they wish to work.

Proposed syllabi and faculty approval must be submitted and verified by the English Department Undergraduate Office by the Course Registration Deadline.

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English 98r. Junior Tutorial

Time: Varies by tutorial | Location: Varies by tutorial

Supervised small group tutorial in the study of literature in English.

Required 98r General Meetings: Dates TBA

Tutorial assignments are organized through the Undergraduate Office. Contact Lauren for more information.

Fall 2017

“Go Little Book” – First Books of Major Poets
Michael Allen

Reading Politics
Andy Donnelly

Women’s Parts on the Modern Stage: Inventing the “Strong Female Lead”
Rebecca Kastleman

World Literature and the African Diaspora
Nick Rinehart

Sentiment, Self, Society: 19th Century American Women Writers
Emily Silk

The Seventies
Chris Schlegel

Making Modernism: From Poets to Publishers
Michelle Taylor

Spring 2018

Adaptation: Form, Politics, Methods
Isabel Duarte Gray

“Besties” or Narratives of Female Friendship from Emma to NW
Eliza Holmes

Fantasies of the Past
Anna Kelner

Global Modernism, Short Form (1899-1944)
Miles Osgood

“Reader, I married, divorced and forgot about him”: 275 years of the marriage plot
Hannah Rosefield

21st-c. American Hybrids
Chris Spaide

Romantic Lives & Afterlives
Julia Tejblum

 

 

 

 

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English 99r. Senior Tutorial

Time: TBA | Location: TBA

Supervised individual tutorial in an independent scholarly or critical subject.

Students on the honors thesis track will register for English 99r in both the fall and spring terms. 

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5. Lectures with Sections
English 102g. Introduction to Old English: Biblical Literature
Instructor: Daniel Donoghue

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11-12 | Location: TBA

Large portions of the Latin Bible were translated into Old English in the centuries before 1066. Some efforts, like that of Aelfric (10th century), were cautious and painstakingly literal because of the anxiety associated with any departure from the Latin text.

Note: This course, when completed with an honors grade and in combination with English 103g, fulfills the College language requirement and the English Department’s Foreign Literature requirement.

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English 123. Shakespeare, The Early Plays
Instructor: Marjorie Garber

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11 am-12 pm | Location: TBA

The early comedies, tragedies, and histories, considered in the context of the origins of the English stage and the conventions of Elizabethan drama. Particular attention paid to Shakespeare’s development as a dramatist, and to poetic expression, thematic design, stagecraft, and character portrayal in plays.

Note: Formerly AIU 55. 

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English 138. The 18th-Century English Novel
Instructor: Stephen Osadetz

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11-12 | Location: TBA

The rise of the novel, seen through eighteenth-century fiction by Defoe, Haywood, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, and Jane Austen. Through fiction, we can live out our highest aspirations and blackest fantasies; we can imaginatively enter the minds of others and inhabit strange, sometimes terrifying alternate  realities. The early novel was preoccupied with such possibilities for dislocation and change: what happens when a character ventures far from home, and how can someone rise or fall in the world? Alongside these issues, we will explore the paradoxes of “realism,” the problems of gender and class, and the sheer pleasure of reading fiction.

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English 157. The Classic Phase of the Novel
Instructor: Philip Fisher

Mondays & Wednesdays, 12-1 pm | Location:TBA

A set of major works of art produced at the peak of the novel’s centrality as a literary form: Sense and Sensibility, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, Buddenbrooks. Society, family, generational novels and the negations of crime and adultery; consciousness and the organization of narrative experience; the novel of ideas and scientific programs; realism, naturalism, aestheticism and the interruptions of the imaginary.

Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding.

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English 182. Science Fiction
Instructor: Steph Burt

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11-12 | Location: TBA

Science fiction– Utopias, dystopias, artificial intelligence, life on new planets, and much, much more– from the late 19th century to the present. Likely readings include Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Robert A. Heinlein, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Octavia Butler, William Gibson, Richard Powers, Nalo Hopkinson, Ted Chiang and more. Mostly prose fiction, but with potential attention to TV, comics, games, or film.

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English 183ed. Poetry, Exile and Displacement
Instructor: Peter Sacks

This course studies lyric poetry and its thematic as well as formal expressions of exile, the loss of home, the experience of estrangement or dispossession. Such displacements may be from the self, or from assigned “identity” (“why should I be my aunt,/or me, or anyone?”), as much as from other persons, conditions, regimes. Selected poems will certainly coincide with the urgent unease regarding questions of the body, of the passions, of gender, of background, of national or global citizenship. With some prior examples from the ancient world to the Renaissance and Romantic periods (from Sappho and Ovid, to the anonymous author of “Tom o’ Bedlam,” and from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Tennyson, Hemans and Dickinson), the course will focus primarily on Twentieth Century works by Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, James Wright, Anthony Hecht, James Merrill, Derek Walcott, Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyakaa, and several others.

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English 188gf. Global Fictions
Instructor: Kelly Rich

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11-12 | Location: TBA

This course serves as an introduction to the global novel in English, as well as a survey of critical approaches to transnational literature. Along the way, we will consider specific issues of migration, colonialism, “new Englishes,” cosmopolitanism and globalization, the influence of religion and fundamentalism, environmental concerns, the global and divided city, racial and sexual politics, and international kinship. Authors will most likely include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ama Ata Aidoo, Margaret Atwood, Teju Cole, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jamaica Kincaid, China Miéville, David Mitchell, Michael Ondaatje, Arundhati Roy, and Salman Rushdie.

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English 197qc. America’s Queer Canon: from Melville to Moonlight
Instructor: Kathryn Roberts

Meeting Time TBA | Location: TBA

This course examines a range of works from the U.S. canon that engage themes of same-sex desire, homosexual and transgender identity, and other “queer” relations. Questions around sexual norms have been central to American literature from its beginnings, but the course will focus on texts from the second half of the nineteenth century through the very contemporary. With help from queer theorists and social historians, we’ll pay close attention to how changing legal, medical, and religious discourses shape queer literary expression, and how queer writers have changed culture. Authors include Melville, James, Cather, Larsen, Baldwin, Lorde, Bechdel, and Nelson.

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English 20. Introduction to Advanced Literary Study
Instructor: Louis Menand

Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 18 students.

Meta-issues in literary criticism, with readings in critical, philosophical, and literary texts. The course provides an overview of the theoretical and methodological aspects of what we do when we talk about literature. The goal is not to learn what others have said but to help students orient themselves in the field of literary study. Designed for sophomores interested in concentrating in English or other literature-based fields, but all students are welcome.

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6. Graduate Seminars
English 210. Early Middle English
Instructor: Daniel Donoghue

Mondays, 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

Post-Conquest literature in England witnessed the formation of new linguistic and national identities. At times retrospective and nostalgic, at times innovative, it was a period of ambivalence on many levels. We will read through a variety of genres, with facing page translations for the more difficult texts, but always with attention to the language. Texts include Lawman’s Brut, The Owl and the Nightingale, various lyrics, the South English Legendary, Sir Orfeo, Dame Sirith, and others.

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English 229s. Edmund Spencer
Instructor: Gordon Teskey

Mondays, 3-5 pm | Location: TBA

An introduction to Spenser’s poetry, concentrating on The Faerie Queene. We will examine questions concerning the theory of allegory, the nature of romance, the place of thinking in poetry, and the tension in Spenser’s work, present, because of him, in almost all subsequent English poetry, between personal expression, social structure, and cosmic order.

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English 250lp. Romantic Literature and Politics
Instructor: James Engell

Wednesdays, 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

Poetry, prose, and criticism linked with political theory, practice, and events.  From Burke to First Reform Act (1832) and Abolition of Slavery (1834).  Blake, Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Coleridge, Bentham, Austen, Godwin, Wordsworth, Byron, More, and others.  Ancillary reading in history and political documents.  Recent scholarship.  Common materials plus individual research and reports.  Possibility of American authors, e.g., Wheatley, Brown, Irving, Cooper, B. Alcott, Hawthorne.  General topics:   enfranchisement, empire, the poor, revolutions and war, corruption, the nature of freedom, slavery, church and state.

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English 285lm. Language and Money in English Literature
Instructor: Marc Shell

Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: TBA

This seminar investigates interrelationships between money and language as means of representation and exchange. Literary works include Charles Johnstone’s Chrysal, Elizabeth’s Inchbald’s Nature and Art, Ezra Pound’s Cantos, Martin Amis’ Money, Thomas Love Peacock’s Paper Money Lyrics, and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Economic works include Aristotle’s Economics and Poetics, Jacques Derrida’s early essays, and Marx’s economic manuscripts and interpretations of literary works.  Two or three meetings will consider that printed money has been the most widespread literature in the world and will thus focus on medieval coinage in England, Native American wampum at Harvard in colonial times, paper money in revolutionary America, and nowadays electronic money around the world.  The seminar will conclude with attention to theories of meaning as value, notions of metaphorization as retaliation, and consideration of changing monetary form and literary format.

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English 294z. On Beauty
Instructor: Elaine Scarry

Thursdays, 11-1 | Location: TBA

Philosophic and literary accounts of beauty from Greek through modern, including Plato, Aquinas, Dante, Kant, Keats, and Rilke. In addition, the major arguments against beauty; and its stability across four objects (God, gardens, persons, and poems).

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English 295li. Literary Institutions
Instructor: Kelly Rich

Wednesdays, 11-1 | Location: TBA

This class examines the state as a category of analysis, particularly in relation to the new institutional turn in literary studies. Subjects will include war and militarism, sovereignty, law, welfare, infrastructure, empire, social apparatuses, the university, and our own disciplinary formation. Our readings will come largely from the 20th- and 21st-century: they will likely include works by Adichie, Ballard, Dangarembga, Orwell, and Woolf; as well as theory by Arendt, Agamben, Gramsci, Fanon, Foucault, Nancy, and Rankine. Expect to write in a number of scholarly genres, including the paper abstract, book review, and conference presentation.

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7. Cross-Listed in other Departments
AI 12. Poetry in America
Instructor: Elisa New

Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 54 students.

Surveying 300+ years of  poetry in America, , the course covers  individual figures (Wheatley, Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost,  Millay, Williams, Hughes, Bishop ) as well as  major poetic movements (Firesides, Modernist,  New York, Confessional). Emphasis is given to the changing function of poetry in American culture. Offered in a blended format, the course meets in seminar with course staff once per week,  with all required lecture content available online.

Note: This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engage substantially with Study of the Past.

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Comparative Literature 190. Translation: Language at Work
Instructor: Marc Shell

Wednesdays, 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

What difference does language make? This class begins with Goethe’s Faust, a work that translates the Bible (“In the beginning was the Word”) and teases out the idealist philosophical theorization of translation (Helen of Troy speaking German words in Greek syntax). Seminar participants will then engage collaboratively in comparative readings: the particular language expertise of every one of us will benefit the group as a whole: the final reading list will thus arise from group discussion of the languages we know. The first half of the course considers issues of literalness and literariness along with rhythm and rhyme in both poetry and prose. At the same time we will discuss simultaneous translation, dubbing, and general ineffability along with American literature written in languages other than English. The second half focuses on the relationships of language translation to economic transfer and to literary metaphor and also considers the roles of inter-linguistic translation in various arts and media: movies, plays, music, and variably ‘bilingual’ paintings.

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Economics 1000a/b. Growth, Technology, Inequality, and Education
Instructor: James Engell

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1-2:30 pm | Location: TBA

An economist and a humanist, together with professors from the natural sciences, analyze familiar conceptual and policy-relevant issues from viewpoints of their respective disciplines. For example, how do we measure inequality, and at what point does it become problematic (and how do we know)? How then should it be addressed (e.g., tax code, minimum wage)? What are the best policies to confront job losses from technology? What does sustainable growth mean? The goal is not merely to examine four intertwined issues “growth, technology, inequality, and evolution” but also to understand the distinct concerns and methods of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Note: Students who wish to receive economics concentration or secondary field credit must enroll in Econ 1000a. Econ 1000a and b are differentiated only by their sections and by some assignments. The common classes are the same for all students. Econ 1000b, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Societies of the World.

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Humanities 10a. A Humanities Colloquium: From Homer to Garcia Marquez
Instructor: Louis Menand , Stephen Greenblatt

Tuesdays, 10-11:30 am | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 90.

2,500 years of essential works, taught by six professors. Humanities 10a includes works by Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Mozart, Austen, Douglass, and Garcia Marquez, as well as the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Declaration of Independence. One 90-minute lecture plus a 90-minute discussion seminar led by the professors every week. Students also receive instruction in critical writing one hour a week, in writing labs and individual conferences. Students also have opportunities to visit cultural venues and attend musical and theatrical events in Cambridge or Boston. 2,500 years of essential works, taught by six professors. Humanities 10a includes works by Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Mozart, Austen, Douglass, and Garcia Marquez, as well as the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Declaration of Independence. One 90-minute lecture plus a 90-minute discussion seminar led by the professors every week. Students also receive instruction in critical writing one hour a week, in writing labs and individual conferences. Students also have opportunities to visit cultural venues and attend musical and theatrical events in Cambridge or Boston.

Notes: The course will be lotteried by application process, administered at the first meeting. See the course website for more detailsThe course is open only to freshmen. Students who complete Humanities 10a meet the General Education requirement in Aesthetics and Culture. Students who take both semesters of Humanities 10 fulfill the College Writing Requirement. This is the only course outside of Expository Writing that satisfies that requirement. No auditors. The course may not be taken Pass/Fail.

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TDM 173x. Acting and Authenticity
Instructor: David Levine

Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: TBA

Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.

This studio-based seminar examines the concept of “building a character” and pushes it towards performance art.  While acquiring Stanislavski- and Method-based acting techniques, students will also consider psychological realism in light of philosophical, psychological, sociological and scientific notions of authenticity and falsehood, presence, mimesis, identity, and empathy. What does it mean to turn into someone else? How total is the transformation? What are the implications for our understanding of the individual?  What does “realist acting” mean in an era of of AI, social media, and motion capture?  The seminar involves both readings and exercises, and culminates in a final project where participants turn into each other.

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8. Freshman Seminars
Freshman Seminar 33x. Complexity in Works of Art: Ulysses and Hamlet
Instructor: Philip Fisher

Mondays, 3-5 pm | Location: TBA

Is the complexity, the imperfection, the difficulty of interpretation, the unresolved meaning found in certain great and lasting works of literary art a result of technical experimentation?  Or is the source extreme complexity—psychological, metaphysical, or spiritual?  Does it result from limits within language, or from language’s fit to thought and perception?  Do the inherited forms found in literature permit only certain variations within experience to reach lucidity?  Is there a distinction in literature between what can be said and what can be read?  The members of the seminar will investigate the limits literature faces in giving an account of mind, everyday experience, thought, memory, full character, and situation in time.  The seminar will make use of a classic case of difficulty, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and a modern work of unusual complexity and resistance to both interpretation and to simple comfortable reading, Joyce’s Ulysses.  Reading in exhaustive depth these two works will suggest the range of meanings for terms like complexity, resistance, openness of meaning, and experimentation within form.

Notes: There may be interviews for selected applicants during Opening Days week; course is open to first year students only.

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Freshman Seminar 61e. Ghosts: How we have Summoned, Repelled, and Represented Intrusions from the Afterlife
Instructor: Deidre Shauna Lynch

Mondays, 3-5 pm | Location: TBA

The living grieve for their lost dead, and world religions uniformly promise that this separation will be temporary and encourage us to anticipate happy reunions in the afterlife. But the ghost stories that theologians, philosophers, poets, dramatists, and novelists have recounted over the last two millennia suggest that the prospect that the restless dead might return to our world and to their former haunts in fact occasions rather more mixed feelings. We love and dread the dead. We need them (more than they need us), and so we preserve their memories, sometimes their remains, in graveyards, museums, and our photograph albums. At the same time, we fear their malevolence.

In this class you’ll investigate such mixed feelings in various ways: for instance, by visiting cemeteries and considering how burial practices ease the dead out of the world of the living; by exploring religious accounts of the relationship between body and spirit; by learning about the modern sciences’ commitment to making rational sense of the occult; and above all by reading and viewing stories of hauntings and spirit possession, from Hamlet to Beloved to Birth.  The class will exploit, as well, our location in the Boston area: a setting where the past often refuses to stay put and stay dead, and which, since the era of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, has been haunted by disquieting histories of violence, usurpation, and vengeance. Nineteenth-century Boston and Cambridge, we’ll find, each have a claim to be considered ground zero for modernity’s characteristic projects of soul searching and ghostbusting.

Note: Open to freshman students only.

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