English 195ec. Growth, Technology, Inequality, and Education

    Instructor: James Engell
    Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:30-2:45 pm | Location: Boylston 110

    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...

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    CREA S-30. Poetry Writing

    Instructor: Stephanie Burt
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12:00-3:00pm (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 34505
    Limited to 15 students

    This course is about writing—and, therefore, reading—many kinds of poetry, including brand new open forms, very old rhymed and metered forms, digital native forms, parodies, and (as Yeats put it) "imitation of great masters." It offers a chance to expand the potential for your own writing, taught mostly in workshop format, as well as a way to find models and allies.

    This course meets via ...

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    ENGL S-185. Wit, Irony, and Comedy

    Instructor: Thomas Wisniewski, PhD
    Lecturer on Comparative Literature
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 3:15–6:15pm (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 33785
    Limited to 45 Students

    In literature, as in life, humor often takes us by surprise. Why? Laughter, in many ways, is a mystery, and literary criticism has always been more comfortable dealing with tragedy than comedy. Taking comedy seriously, this course provides a broad investigation into the myriad functions of humor (psychological, sociological, philosophical, and dramatic) and explores why what we find...

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    English 101. Whose English? The Diverse History of the English Language

    Instructor: Daniel Donoghue
    Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12-1:15pm 
    Course Website
    From its obscure origins, over its long history, and with today’s global reach, the English language has meant many things to the people who use it. It also prompts many questions. Why is pronunciation at odds with spelling? What happened to "thou"? What did Shakespeare sound like? How do we know? Why the love/hate relationship with grammar scolds? What about the future of English as a world language? Knowing the fascinating backstory of the language will give you more confidence as a writer; it also sharpens your skills as a reader as you see things you never noticed before. A final promise: geeking out will equip you to win countless arguments with friends, roommates, and family.

    English 101b. The Bible and the Arts

    Instructor: Gordon Teskey
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45pm 
    Course Website
    An introduction to the Bible, which William Blake called 'the great code of art.' The course gives an overview of the biblical writings, of the religions that arose from them, and the arts they inspired: church music, architecture, painting, and poetry. Attention will be given especially to English poetry, from the Old English Genesis to Spenser, Milton, Hopkins, Eliot, Jones, and popular songs. Even for non-religious authors, the Bible is a rich source of images and spiritual energy. Students may create art projects in response to their chosen parts of the Bible.

    English 99r. Senior Tutorial

    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. 

    English 91r. Supervised Reading and Research

    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.

    ENGL S-116. Asian American Genre Fictions

    Instructor: Ellen Song, PhD
    Lecturere on History and Literature
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12:00–3:00pm (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 35052
    Limited to 25 students

    There was an explosion of works by Asian American authors published around the turn of the millennium, an unexpected consequence of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which brought an influx of immigrants from Asia and dramatically altered the demographic composition of the US. This course examines the many different genres and forms of contemporary Asian American fiction...

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    ENGL S-117. How to Change the World

    Instructor: Andrew Warren, PhD
    Associate of the Department of English and Co-Chair, Seminar in Dialectical Thinking in the Humanities, Mahindra Humanities Center
    Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00–3:00pm (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 34817
    Limited to 45 students

    Writers have long imagined new worlds as a way of changing this one. As Percy Shelley said way back in 1821, creative writers are "the unacknowledged legislators of the world." This course asks how literature depicts and intervenes in the world and models new worlds. It reads works...

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    ENGL S-139. England After Empire

    Instructor: Duncan E. White, DPhil.
    Lecturer on History and Literature
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 8:30–11:30am (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 35056
    Limited to 19 students

    This course considers the way England was transformed through the demise of its empire after the Second World War through to the advent of Brexit. From the birth of the welfare state to the rise of Thatcherism, from post-colonial migration to multicultural Britain, from the swinging sixties to punk rock and riots, we track these radical political, social, and cultural changes...

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    ENGL S-141. The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self

    Instructor: Lee Damrosch, PhD
    Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30-11:30am (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 35000
    Limited to 35 students

    This course is a study of major eighteenth-century autobiographical, fictional, and philosophical texts that explore the paradoxes of the modern self at a time when traditional religious and philosophical explanations were breaking down. Writers to be read include Mme. de Lafayette, Boswell, Voltaire, Gibbon, Diderot, Rousseau, Laclos, Franklin, and Blake. Due to the condensed summer schedule, the longer works, such as...

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    English 90tl. The Literature of Loss

    Instructor: Tara Menon
    Monday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    How do we write about death and mourning? Can literature help us cope with the pain of loss? What techniques do writers employ to convey grief? Can we make the dead immortal through words? In this course, we will read (and watch) widely, from Greek plays to nineteenth-century elegies to twentieth-century memoirs and twenty-first century television. Across genres, we will pay particular attention to form and the techniques of close reading. Works by writers including: Sophocles, Tennyson, Dickinson, Auden, Hopkins, Hardy, Shelly, Joan Didion, Jesmyn Ward, Max Porter, Helen McDonald, Angie Thomas, Sonali Deranyigala.

    English 10. Literature Today

    Instructors: Kelly Rich & Teju Cole
    Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course website

    All literature was contemporary at some point, but the literature that is contemporary now provides special opportunities for enjoying, questioning, and understanding the world. Literature Today focuses on works written since 2000—since most of you were born. It explores how writers from around the world speak to and from their personal and cultural situations, addressing current problems of economic inequality, technological change, structural prejudice, and divisive politics. We will encounter a range of genres, media, and histories to study contemporary literature as a living, evolving system. The course uniquely blends literary study and creative writing—students will analyze literature and make literature. The conviction that these practices are complementary will inform our approach to readings and course assignments.

    Note: English 10 is one of the required Common Courses for the English concentrators in the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025. The course is designed as a “gateway” course for first and second year students, but it is open to all undergraduates.

    English 97. Sophomore Tutorial: Literary Methods

    Tutorial Section 1 Instructor: Daniel Donoghue
    Monday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    Tutorial Section 2 Instructor: Derek Miller
    Wednesday, 12-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Each section limited to 15 students

    This course, taught in small groups and required for concentrators, introduces theories, interpretive frameworks, and central questions about literature and literary media. What do we do when we read? What is an author? What do we mean by “literature” itself? How might we compare and evaluate interpretations? How do the historical, social, cultural, and legal frameworks around a text shape its meanings and its effects? Combining major critical and theoretical writings with primary works, the course investigates how literary production and interpretation are informed by philosophical and aesthetic traditions, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national and post-colonial identities, and the material forms in which literature circulates, from parchment books to the internet. Students will also practice fundamental literary research methods through close engagement with Harvard libraries.

    Note: English 97 is one of the required Common Courses for English concentrators in the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 and is open to sophomores and first-years planning to concentrate in English. Enrollment priority exceptions may be made for people changing concentrations or presenting other notable reasons.

    English 102e. Introduction to Old English: Landscape, Seascape, and Early Ecologies

    Instructor: Daniel Donoghue
    Tuesday & Thursday, 10:30-11:45am | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    How did people inhabit and view their physical environment in early medieval England? Was it life-sustaining or threatening? What was the balance between managing resources and exploiting them? How did poets and farmers, kings and saints invoke images of land and sea as meaningful symbols? The Old English literature on such questions, which is diverse and engaging, will form the basis of our in-class translations. Other assigned readings will survey environmental criticism and allow us to compare today’s perceptions with those from a distant past.

    This course combines language study with the investigation of a critical theme. The narratives set for translation provide a thematic coherence as we dig into the language of Old English, which is the vernacular used in England from the sixth century until about 1100. Although some of its features remain recognizable today, Old English needs to be learned as a foreign language with its own spelling, pronunciation, syntax, and so on. The term begins with an emphasis on grammar, which will be covered in graduated steps until midterm, after which the readings and translation will take up more of our class time.

    The promise of this course: you will gain the skills to translate any text in Old English; you will learn a great deal about contemporary English including weird facts your inner word-geek will love; you will expand your knowledge of environmental criticism as we examine its deep history.

    Note: Fulfills the College language requirement and the English Department's Foreign Literature requirement (c/o '22) if its continuation, English 103, is also completed.... Read more about English 102e. Introduction to Old English: Landscape, Seascape, and Early Ecologies

    English 119ty. English Literature: The First 1000 Years

    Instructor: Alan Niles
    Monday & Wednesday, 12:00-1:15pm
    Course Website

    This course is an introduction to the different voices, cultures, and traditions that made the first 1000 years of English literature, from Beowulf to Aphra Behn. We will study major and influential writings alongside lesser-known interlocutors—works by Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, Margery Kempe, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Mary Sidney, John Milton, Alexander Pope, and more. We will engage with the (often contested) social, political, and religious contexts that gave rise to creative work. We will pay particular attention to the historical transformations of romance, epic, drama, fable, and lyric, and the ways these forms were embedded in the social worlds of their time.

    Note: This course satisfies the English Concentration "Arrivals" requirement for the Class of 2022.

    English 152kd. Keats Isn't Dead: How We Live Romanticism

    Instructor: Vidyan Ravinthiran
    Monday & Wednesday, 10:30-11:45am | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    Our thoughts and feelings about identity, self-expression, and the power of the imagination draw on the British Romantic poetry of the Long Eighteenth Century--whether we've read any or not. Focusing on John Keats (his key poems, and his key ideas, about 'negative capability', the 'camelion poet', and so on), this course makes unconventional connections into the twentieth, and twenty-first century. Tracking issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, we'll bounce from Keats into war verse; African-American poetries; world/postcolonial writing; the literature of social class; feminist experimentalism; and constructions of masculinity. Concentrators will learn how to analyze poetry in both closed and open forms.

    Note: This course satisfies the English Concentration "Poets" requirement for the Class of 2022; formerly offered as English 58: Poets. 

    English 176tm. Toni Morrison

    Instructor: Namwali Serpell
    Monday & Wednesday, 1:30-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    This course is a survey of the work of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison from 1970 to 2012, including most of her novels, a few nonfiction essays, a short story, and a play. We will consider her literary antecedents; follow her influence on contemporaries and future writers; trace the social, historical, and political contexts and implications of her work; and explore the critical interventions she made in historiography and literary criticism. Throughout, we will focus on Morrison’s rich and complex aesthetic project: how it came into being; how it resonates with a great range of philosophical questions from epistemology to ethics; and how it changed over time.

    English 179h. The Harvard Novel

    Instructor: Beth Blum
    Tuesday & Thursday, 10:30-11:45am | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    This course introduces the genre of the “Harvard novel,” from W.E.B. Du Bois's notes toward his fictional work "A Fellow of Harvard" to Elif Batuman’s The Idiot and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, in order to examine Harvard’s cultural meaning and significance. It brings together novels (and films) where Harvard offers the narrative setting, supplies a character’s backstory, or even serves as a character in its own right. We will address themes of tradition, access, privilege, race, anxiety, competition, and canonicity.