Summer Term

1. Open Electives

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-182A. Poetry in America: From the Mayflower to Emerson

Instructor: Elisa New, PhD and Gillian Osborne, PhD
Day & Time: On Demand
Summer 7-week session | CRN 35008
No Enrollment Limit

This course covers American poetry in cultural context through the year 1850. The course begins with Puritan poets, some orthodox, some rebel spirits, who wrote and lived in early New England. Focusing on Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, and Michael Wigglesworth, among others, we explore the interplay between mortal and immortal, Europe and wilderness, solitude and sociality in English North America. The second part of the course spans the...

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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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ENGL S-241. Drawing Asia/America in Graphic Novels

Instructor: Catherine H. Nguyen, PhD
Lecturer on History and Literature
Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:30–9:30pm (EDT)
Summer 7-week session | CRN 35076
Limited to 25 Students

The course explores Asian American literature by focusing on the genre and form of comics and graphic novels. Through these illustrative and textual works, we explore the Asian American experience of immigration and racial difference as well as the construction of Asian American identity and representation through such works as Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings ...

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ENGL S-249. Summer Seminar: (Very) Contemporary American Fiction

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 8:30–11:30am (EDT)
Summer 7-week session | CRN 34816
Limited to 15 Students

This course reads some of the most vital work being done in American fiction to ask how we today experience, or want to experience, time. What kinds of temporal lags or leaps does fiction afford us? Why and whence this obsession with the now? How are questions of identity knitted to our...

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ENGL S-257. Superheroes and Power

Instructor: Stephanie Burt, PhD
Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00–3:00pm (EDT)
Summer 7-week session | CRN 35152
Limited to 50 Students

What makes superheroes popular? How can they help us think about power, belonging, queerness, race, citizenship, art, or disability? In this course we explore those questions in Marvel and DC favorites (especially the X-Men) as well as in older literature, independent comics, novels, and readings from several critical disciplines.

This course meets via ...

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HUMA S-110. Masterpieces of World Literature

Instructor: Martin Puchner, PhD and David Damrosch, PhD
Day & Time: On Demand
Summer 7-week session | CRN 33501
No Enrollment Limit

This course surveys world literature from The Epic of Gilgamesh to the present, with an emphasis on different cultures and writing traditions. Produced by HarvardX, the course is based not on lectures but on a more vivid dialogue format between instructors Martin Puchner and David Damrosch. The course also includes travel footage from Istanbul and Troy to Jaipur and Weimar, and interviews with authors, such as...

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2. Guided Electives 1700-1900

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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ENGL S-233. The Literature of Abolition

Instructor: Alex Corey, PhD
Lecturer on History and Literature
Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 3:15–6:15pm (EDT)
Summer 7-week session | CRN 35038
Limited to 45 Students

This course traces connections and divergences between nineteenth-century anti-slavery abolitionist writing and contemporary police and prison abolitionism. What does it mean to abolish systems that are core components of an economic or legal system? How might we understand the relationship between reforming and transforming broad, societal structures like chattel enslavement and mass...

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3. Guided Electives 1900-2000

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-207. The Culture of Capitalism

Instructor: Martin Puchner, PhD
Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00–3:00pm (EDT) or On Demand
Summer 7-week session | CRN 33124
Ne Enrollment Limit

The course asks how literature, theater, and film have captured the spirit of capitalism—fueling its fantasies, contemplating its effects, and chronicling its crises. More than just an economic system, capitalism created new habits of life and mind; it also created new values, forged and distilled by new forms of art. Core readings by Franklin, O'Neill, Rand, Miller, and Mamet, films by Chaplin and Lang,...

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Note: 

All summer courses are administerd by the Harvard Summer School through the Harvard Division of Continuing Education. For any questions about registration, please contact their office directly.