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    ENGL S-140. The Rise of the Novel

    Instructor: Leo Damrosch, Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Emeritus
    Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30–11:30am (EDT)
    Summer 7-week session | CRN 35352
    Open Enrollment

    Literary narrative goes back to ancient times, but the novel, as the term is used today, did not appear until the seventeenth century, and only in the eighteenth century did it establish itself as the dominant literary form of our culture. This course explores the eighteenth-century novels long considered the best and most important, both for their achievement in developing the...

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    English 90lv. Consciousness in Fiction from Austen to Woolf

    Instructor: James Wood
    Monday, 12:00-2:00pm | Location: TBA
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    A look at the complex ways in which writers represent their characters' thought in texts by Austen, Flaubert, James, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Giovanni Verga, and Woolf. More broadly, traces the development of stream-of-consciousness, from Austen's incipient mastery of free indirect style, through Flaubert's more sophisticated use of it, to Woolf's full-blown inner monologues, seeing this development as not merely a fact of English and American literature, but as a phenomenon of world literature and an element of our modernity.

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.... Read more about English 90lv. Consciousness in Fiction from Austen to Woolf

    GENED 1133. Is the U.S. Civil War Still Being Fought?

    Instructor: John Stauffer
    Monday & Wednesday, 1:30-2:45 pm | Location: TBA

    Most of us were taught that the Civil War between the Confederacy and the Union was fought on battlefields chiefly in the American South between the years of 1861-1865. In this narrative, the North won and the South lost. But what if the issues that resulted in such devastating bloodshed were never resolved? What if the war never ended? This course demonstrates the ways in which the United States is still fighting the Civil War, arguably THE defining event in U.S. history. In each class, we connect current events to readings and themes in the course, highlighting how and why the war is still being fought. From Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1831 to the recent riot (or battle) in Charlottesville, we trace how and why the South was in certain respects the victor, even though the Confederacy was destroyed and the Constitution amended. We explore the different kinds of war—ideological, political, cultural, military, and para-military—that placed the unfreedom of blacks—as slaves, serfs, and prisoners—at the center of larger conflicts over federal versus state and local rule, welfare, globalization, and free trade. We analyze the Civil War in literature, art, politics, photography, prints, film, music, poetry, speeches, and history, while also discovering how these cultural forms worked to shape our memory of the event itself. By the end of the course, we will be able to show how and why contemporary U.S. debates are rooted in this defining narrative, and we will better understand the dilemmas the nation faces today.

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.

    English 184rf. Rogue Fictions: Satire, Fantasy and the Literature of Lost Illusions

    Instructor: Matthew Ocheltree
    Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30-2:45pm | Location: TBA

    “The age of levity is over,” a columnist for The Guardian declared a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arguing that moments of crisis are no time for foolish jesting. But are levity and gravity, exuberance and sobriety, really so opposed? This course will challenge such assumptions and explore the idea that laughter can be a profound and, indeed, deadly serious means of engaging with both the harshness of reality and the folly of idealism. We will do so by reading within the seriocomic tradition of satire, which addresses and operates in the gap between desire and reality that has become an increasingly inescapable structural feature of contemporary life. Satire offers a clear-eyed, critical vision of the present; at the same time, it recognizes that we need fantasies in order to live and provides strategies for reorganizing our fantasy lives when our hopes, aspirations, and ideas about the way the world works are dashed—or when the struggle to make those dreams a reality proves hollow and even harmful to our happiness and well-being, a trap that literary theorist Lauren Berlant has called ‘cruel optimism’.

    We will focus on two lesser known but vitally important genres that combine satire and fantasy in the service of a deeper realism: Menippean satire and the picaresque. Although they approach the task from the opposing perspectives of learned privilege and precarious marginality, they each take aim at orthodoxies and hypocrisies of all stripes, undermining anyone who claims a monopoly on truth and power to restrict access to ‘the good life’. Both genres draw on the roots of satire (Greek satyr, Roman satura), but what makes them distinctly modern, perhaps even postmodern, is their common embrace of the baroque idea of desengaño (‘disillusionment,’ ‘disappointment’): if everything is illusion, then one must traffic in illusion and deception in order to catch an indirect glimpse of the real. We will trace the effects of this game in the internal divisions felt by characters (and texts) that are forced to endure a painful ambivalence or double consciousness in relation to society. We will examine the relationship between affective moods and aesthetic modes in analyzing the workings of cynicism and optimism, humor and melancholy, the carnivalesque and grotesque, allegory and irony. And we will consider the ways in which satirists use fantasy and humor to provide us with imaginative resources for navigating the ongoing, overlapping economic, environmental, epistemological and ethical crises in which we often find ourselves uncomfortably implicated.

    Menippean satire and the picaresque have often been regarded as counter-genres or anti-genres, parasites that infiltrate and mutate other literary forms from the inside. Their emergence precedes and make possible the novel’s rise, even as their persistence constantly disrupts the formal and ideological consolidation of the novel’s major bourgeois genres (comedy and romance, the sentimental novel and the Bildungsroman). We will track this generic interplay starting with the Baroque period in England, Spain and Germany, before concentrating our attention on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writing in Britain, France and America. After a turn into the existentialist terrain of Victorian nonsense and modernist absurdism, we will conclude by surveying the flourishing legacy of these genres in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (memoir and ecological writing, race studies and queer theory, film and prestige television). Likely readings include: Rabelais, the author of Lazarillo de Tormes; Jonson, Burton, Grimmelshausen; Defoe, Swift, Pope, Hogarth; Voltaire, Diderot, Sterne; Byron, Thackeray, Melville, Carroll; Kafka, Schuyler, McKay; Chandler, Barthes, Carson; Mad Men.

     

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.

    AFRAMER 180z. Freedom Writers: Race and Literary Form

    Instructor: Jesse McCarthy
    Monday & Wednesday, 10:30-11:45 am | Location: TBA

    What does freedom have to do with our ability to read and write? How have writers addressed the conflicting and contradictory concept of race by writing about it? This course will investigate the history and practice of writing about the vexed relationship between race and freedom, the role of writing in political struggles for civil rights and the abolition of slavery, and the quest for a meaningful life and artistic freedom under conditions that deny that opportunity. We will read widely, primarily—though not exclusively—texts from (and about) the African diaspora from the 16th century to the present. Authors will include Ottabah Cugoano, Phillis Wheatley, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Sylvia Wynter, C.L.R. James, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Hilton Als and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. The final assignment will involve using the resources of the course to produce an original essay on a topic of your choice related to our themes.

    This course satisfies the English Concentration "Diversity in Literature" requirement for students on the “Common Ground” curriculum.

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.

    English 90ka. The Brontës

    Instructor: Elaine Scarry
    Thursday, 3:00-5:00pm | Location: Barker 269
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students
    Course site

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

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.

    English 90rv. Empire and Revolution, Sex and Gender, Race, Slavery, and Abolition

    Instructor: James Engell
    Wednesday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: Barker 269
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students
    Course site

    The literatures of race and slavery, gender, empire, democracy, and revolution that shaped our modern world.  Excerpts from Dryden, Astell, Behn, Pope, Swift, Montagu, Johnson, Equiano, Gibbon, Paine, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Blake, and Shelley.  Some fiction as well.

    This course satisfies the English Concentration "Diversity in Literature" requirement for students on the “Common Ground” curriculum.

    This course satisfies the English Concentration "Migrations" requirement for students on the “Common Ground” curriculum.

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.

    English 157. The Classic Phase of the Novel

    Instructor: Philip Fisher
    Monday & Wednesday, 10:30-11:45 am | Location: Emmerson 108
    Course site

    A set of major works of art produced at the peak of the novel’s centrality as a literary form: Sense and SensibilityMadame BovaryAnna KareninaMiddlemarchThe Brothers KaramazovBuddenbrooks. 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.

    This course satisfies the “1700-1900 Guided Elective" requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.