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    English Ctv. Writing for Television: Developing the Pilot: Workshop

    Instructor: Sam Marks
    Tuesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website
    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 (deadline: Sunday, August 22 at 11:59pm EST)​​​​​​​

    English Chcr. Advanced Poetry: Workshop

    Instructor: Josh Bell
    Tuesday, 6:00-8:45pm
    Course Website
    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 (deadline: Sunday, August 22 at 11:59pm EST)

    English Ccfc. Poetry Workshop: Form & Content

    Instructor: Tracy K. Smith
    Monday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    In this workshop, we’ll look closely at the craft-based choices poets make, and track the effects they have upon what we as readers are made to think and feel. How can implementing similar strategies better prepare us to engage the questions making up our own poetic material? We’ll also talk about content. What can poetry reveal about the ways our interior selves are shaped by public realities like race, class, sexuality, injustice and more?   

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a writing sample of 5-10 poems and an application letter explaining your interest in this course.

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Sunday, August 22 at 11:59pm EST)

    English Csgj. Advanced Fiction Workshop: What's So Western About the Western Story

    Instructor: Gish Jen
    Tuesday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    Is there an identifiably “Western” story? Where did it come from? Would some of our most celebrated authors survive an MFA program today? Are there alternative ways of thinking about fiction? And —most importantly—what can we take away from them? In the first half of each class we will discuss such matters, placing mainstream fictional tenets in cultural context via stories from Alice Munro to Leo Tolstoy to Zadie Smith. In the second half of class we will turn to student work, with each student given three opportunities to share a piece with the class.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a sample story and an application letter explaining your interest in this course. 

    Apply via Submittable (deadline: Sunday, August 22 at 11:59pm EST)

    Humanities 10a: A Humanities Colloquium: From Homer to Valeria Luiselli

    Instructors: David Atherton, Glenda Carpio, Jay Harris, Ambrogio Camozzi Pistoja, David Elmer, Justine Landau
    Tuesday, 10:30-11:45am | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    2,500 years of essential works, taught by six professors. Humanities 10a will likely include works by Homer, Plato, Sappho, Augustine, Ferdowsi, Murasaki, Dante, Boccaccio, Hafez, Basho, Dickinson, Nietzsche and Luiselli. One 75-minute lecture plus a 75-minute discussion seminar led by the professors every week. Students will receive instruction in critical writing one hour a week, in writing labs and individual conferences. Students also have opportunities to participate online or in person, depending on public health conditions, in a range of cultural experiences, ranging from plays and musical events to museum and library collections.

    Note: Humanities 10a and 10b will count as "Open Electives" for English concentrators. The course is open only to first-year students. Students who complete Humanities 10a meet the Harvard College Curriculum divisional distribution requirement for Arts & Humanities. Students who take both Humanities 10a and Humanities 10b fulfill the College Writing requirement. This is the only course outside of Expository Writing that satisfies the College Writing requirement. No auditors. The course may not be taken Pass/Fail.

    Freshman Seminar 33x. Complexity in Works of Art: Ulysses and Hamlet

    Instructor: Philip Fisher
    Monday, 3:00-5:00pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    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.

    Freshman Seminar 63n. Narrative Negotiations: How do Readers and Writers Decide

    Instructor: Homi Bhabha
    Tuesday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    Narrative Negotiations explores narrative “voice” in a wide range of literary and cultural texts. Narrative voice is a lively dialogue between the author and the reader as they engage in the experience of determining the value and veracity of the narrative: whose story is it anyway? The writer creates the imaginative universe of character, plot, emotions and ideas—she seems to be holding all the cards; but it is the reader who rolls the dice as she draws on her human experience and moral values to question the principles and priorities of the storyteller. The game of narrative becomes deadly serious when storytelling confronts issues of colonialism, slavery, racial profiling and gender discrimination. Is the right to narrative restricted to those who have suffered the injustices of exclusion? What is my responsibility as a storyteller—or a reader—if I am a witness to violence, or an advocate against injustice, but my life-story is one of privilege, protection and security? What is the role of the politics of identity or cultural appropriation in determining whose story is it anyway? Throughout the seminar students will be encouraged to draw on their own histories, memories and literary experiences as the enter into the world of the prescribed readings. For the final assessment I hope students will choose critical and creative ways of telling their own stories, or the stories of others who have captured their imaginations. Seminar participants will be required to come to each class with two questions that pose issues or problems based on the texts that are important for them, and may prove to be significant for their colleagues. I will invite members of the group to pose their questions and start a discussion.

    Freshman Seminar 64h. Our Borders, Our Lives: Creating, Dismantling, Rebuilding Borders through Art, Literature, and Film

    Instructor: Katie Daily
    Wednesday, 9:45-11:45am | Location: TBA
    Course Website​​​​​​​
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

    We are surrounded by borders, and to understand them is to explore how they’re drawn, why they’re constructed (and deconstructed), and who can pass through them. This seminar will invite you to open up our ordinary understanding of borders to discover an extraordinary variety of perspectives and media.

    This semester, we will think deeply and critically about borders and movement in order to better understand our individual positions as global citizens. We’ll consider borders in our personal lives through social media and how people curate their online worlds. We will briefly study maps so that you can construct your own, considering your own borders. We’ll visit a Harvard museum to discover how frames are both constraining and liberating. We’ll examine fiction and film, attuning to the conditions of border migration and how people move. We’ll sightsee in our lives and the spaces around us to begin understanding borders and movement in twenty-first century America. Through all of this exploration, we will discover the many lenses that can be used in order to grapple with the complicated nature of American borders while working to understand our own positionality in the world around us.

    English 20. Literary Forms

    Instructor: Nicholas Watson
    Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00-1:15pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 27 students

    This foundational course for English concentrators examines literary form and genre. We explore some of the many kinds of literature as they have changed over time, along with the shapes and forms that writers create, critics describe, and readers learn to recognize. The body of the course looks to the great literary types, or modes, such as epic, tragedy, and lyric, as well as to the workings of literary style in moments of historical change, producing the transformation, recycling, and sometimes the mocking of past forms. While each version of English 20 includes a different array of genres and texts from multiple periods, those texts will always include five major works from across literary history: Beowulf (epic), King Lear (tragedy), Persuasion (comic novel), The Souls of Black Folk (essays; expository prose), and Elizabeth Bishop’s poems (lyric). The course integrates creative writing with critical attention: assignments will take creative as well as expository and analytical forms.

    Note: English 20 is one of the required Common Courses for English concentrators and Secondaries in the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 and is a limited enrollment course which will prioritize sophomores and first-years; juniors and seniors who want to take it as an elective will be considered for any remaining spots. Enrollment priority exceptions may be made for people changing concentrations or presenting other notable reasons.

    English 98r. Junior Tutorial

    Fall 2021 Junior Tutorials 

    Literature and Medicine: Illness, Disability & Neurodiversity (Jeffrey Careyva)

    The Law and Literature of American Slavery (Geoffrey Kirsch)

    Border-Crossing Fictions of the 20th Century (Andy Koenig)

    Science Fiction(al) and Magical Realities (Karina Mathew)

    Social Science Fiction from the Sixties to the Present (Joseph Shack) 

    Junior Tutorial Preference Forms will be sent to students the week of 7/6/21. Junior English Concentrators interested in enrolling in English 98r should complete this form or be in touch with Lauren Bimmler.

    TDM 173x. Acting and Authenticity

    Instructor: David Levine
    Wednesday, 3:00-5:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    This studio-based seminar examines the concept of "building a character" and pushes it to its limits.  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 be "authentic?" Can you ever truly understand another person, or turn into one? What does "realist acting" mean in an age of AI, social media, motion capture, cultural appropriation, and fluid identities?  Whose realism are we talking about?

    The seminar involves readings, films, and intensive acting work, and culminates in a final project where participants turn into each other.

    English 90hb. Five Shakespeare Plays

    Instructor: Marc Shell
    Thursday, 12:00-2:00pm | Location: Zoom
    Course Website
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    Please note that this course will be offered on Zoom and will meet remotely for the entirety of the Fall 2021 semester.

    Five Shakespearean Pieces: The seminar will focus on five plays (Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Henry V, The Tempest, and Merchant of Venice) with special attention to staging, literariness, and location.

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

    English 145a. Jane Austen's Fiction and Fans

    Instructor: Deidre Lynch
    Monday & Wednesday, 3:00-4:15pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    In this class we'll read at least five of Austen’s novels and study the contribution they made to the remaking of modern fiction.  Though our emphasis will fall on these works’ place in the literary culture of Austen’s day and on their historical contexts in an era of revolution, we’ll also acknowledge the strong and ardent feelings that Austen’s oeuvre continues to arouse today.  To that end, we’ll do some investigating of the frequently wild world of contemporary Austen fandom and the Austenian tourism, shopping, adaptations, and sequels that nurture it.  At the same time, we’ll remember that Austen knew fandom from both sides; part of our work will be to learn about the early-nineteenth-century culture of literary appreciation in which Austen enrolled the heroines of her novels and enrolled herself.

    FRSEMR 60C. Comics and Graphic Novels

    Instructor: Stephanie Burt
    TBA | Location: TBA

    Comics and graphic novels, or sequential art, are one of the world’s great storytelling media: we’re going to learn how to read them, how to talk about how they get made and how they work, how to understand—and how to enjoy— some of the kinds of comics and graphic novels (that is, some of the genres) that make up the history of this medium in the modern English-speaking world. That history has three strands, which cross and re-cross, but which need to be understood independently, and we will see all three: short-form strip comics, designed for newspapers beginning in the 1890s and now flourishing on the Web; action-adventure and superhero comics, invented in the late 1930s, transformed in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, usually created by teams, and important to popular culture today; and a third strand beginning with “underground” or “alternative” comics or comix (with an x) in the 1960s and evolving into long form graphic novels, often created by single writer-artists, today.  That history comes with visual references, which you will learn to recognize; comics also comes with its own set of theoretical terms, which you’ll learn to use. Comics today share a medium (pictures and usually words in sequence) but belong to several genres: we’ll learn how to talk about them, and how they’ve evolved.You’ll get the chance to make comics, and to figure out how creators collaborate, advocate, distribute, and sometimes even earn a living from the comics they make, but the course will focus on existing comics, from McCay to Bechdel, from Kirby to Ms. Marvel— as events in culture and as works of art.

    English 171wp. Who is a Poem?

    Stephanie Burt
    Monday & Wednesday, 10:30-11:45am | Location: TBA
    Course Website

    We'll look at poems, poets, kinds of poems, and their histories by thinking about the people the poems project: how does a piece of writing in verse (or in lyrical prose) work to let us imagine a person behind it, either its author or its character? When does the poem, instead, imagine you? How do poems entice us to care about them, and about the people they project? We'll look at historically major authors, likely with a special focus on Donne, Pope, Hughes, Bishop and Moore, along with contemporary poets including Estes, Hayes and Youn.

    Note: This course satisfies the English Concentration "Poets" requirement for the Class of 2022.... Read more about English 171wp. Who is a Poem?

    English 98r. Junior Tutorial

    English 177am. American Horrors

    Instructor: Ju Yon Kim
    Tuesday & Thursday, 12-1:15pm | This course will be taught remotely, via Zoom, in Spring 2022. 
    Course Website

    This course will examine horror—defined expansively to include the uncanny, the abject, the monstrous, and the ghostly—in American literature, considering its formal and aesthetic implications and its relationship to major cultural and social issues. What are the methods and theories that critics have used to study horror in literature? How and to what effect have works of American literature used horror to reflect on contemporary social concerns or to depict historical events? We will explore a range of literary works from the nineteenth century to the present next to critical and theoretical studies of horror and the Gothic.

    Note: This course satisfies the English Concentration "Migrations" requirement for the Class of 2022 and was formerly offered as English 60a. Migrations: American Horrors.

    English 20. Literary Forms

    Section 1 Instructor: James Simpson
    Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00-1:15pm | Location: Barker 024
    Course Website

    Section 2 Instructor: Stephanie Burt
    Monday & Wednesday, 1:30-2:45pm | Location: Barker 024
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Each section is limited to 27 students

    This foundational course for English concentrators examines literary form and genre. We explore some of the many kinds of literature as they have changed over time, along with the shapes and forms that writers create, critics describe, and readers learn to recognize. The body of the course looks to the great literary types, or modes, such as epic, tragedy, and lyric, as well as to the workings of literary style in moments of historical change, producing the transformation, recycling, and sometimes the mocking of past forms. While each version of English 20 includes a different array of genres and texts from multiple periods, those texts will always include five major works from across literary history: Beowulf (epic), King Lear (tragedy), Persuasion (comic novel), The Souls of Black Folk (essays; expository prose), and Elizabeth Bishop’s poems (lyric). The course integrates creative writing with critical attention: assignments will take creative as well as expository and analytical forms.

    Note: English 20 is one of the required Common Courses for English concentrators and Secondaries in the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 and is a limited enrollment course which will prioritize sophomores and first-years; juniors and seniors who want to take it as an elective will be considered for any remaining spots. Enrollment priority exceptions may be made for people changing concentrations or presenting other notable reasons

    English 97. Sophomore Tutorial: Literary Methods

    Instructor: Beth Blum
    Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30-2:45pm | Location: Sever 203
    Course Website

    Enrollment: 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.

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