Introduction to Graduate Literary Study
56:350:503:01 W 6:00-8:40
This course is required of all graduate students, and should be taken as early as possible in the M.A. program. The course will provide you with the foundation that you will need to complete your M.A. degree. You will renew your skills in the formal explication of poetry, drama, and fiction; learn how to make seminar presentations; deepen your knowledge of research sources at Rutgers and on the internet; acquire a passing familiarity with current trends in literary theory; and write a formal critical analysis of a major literary work from the M.A. Comprehensive Reading List.
Learning Abroad: Travel Writing With required trip to Amsterdam May 23-June 1
56:350:505:I1 By arrangement
This course will take you to the historically-rich city of Amsterdam-birthplace of the stock market, home of canals, tulips, clogs, Rembrandt, Ann Frank, and the world’s oldest (legal) red-light district. As well as allowing you to enjoy the coffee houses and the expected tourist sites, this course, designed for advanced writers, will help you to prepare a publishable travel piece or personal essay. Before we go, we’ll focus on research and on plotting out original angles for your writing, using The Irreverent Guide to Amsterdam and Rolf Potts’ Marco Polo Didn’t Go There. Students will be responsible for leading an expedition based on the subject on which they’ve become expert-ideas as diverse as biking etiquette in a bike-congested city, the flower market (most flowers in the world come from Amsterdam), or the Netherlands’ current contested immigration policies. We’ll see some Dutch movies, and read some excerpts from Dutch novels, to whet our appetites and get a sense of the zeitgeist. Please note: This course is for graduate students and advanced undergraduate writers. Undergraduates must have taken their writing-intensive course already; a writing sample, and permission of instructor, is required. This course satisfies the College “Global” requirement.
Learning Abroad: The British Influence on American Mass Media
56:350:506:I1 W 6:00-8:40
The course will investigate the close cultural ties between America and Britain through the lenses of traditional and mass media in an attempt to unravel the multiple layers of influence between these two closely linked societies. We will scrutinize America’s fascination with all things British, our historic ties to the motherland, similarities and differences in press coverage, how British music set the agenda in the past and British television is shaping American programming today, how British media magnates have assumed key roles in the current US media landscape and more. Our survey will examine such connections in the areas of print and broadcast news, books, movies, television, music and social media. The course will meet on an alternate weekly basis for 2.5 hours, with classes consisting of lectures, discussions, film viewing and participation in interactive media. Students will keep a weekly blog and will have a term paper due at the end of the semester.
Travel Program Information: The travel portion of the course will take us on a 9-day trip that will begin in London with a daytrip to the Oxford countryside, then move onto Liverpool and end up in Glasgow, Scotland. On each leg, we will visit sites associated with various media subjects we are studying. This course satisfies the College ”Global” requirement.
56:350:532:01 W 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:501:01 Hostetter
We will explore the extant oeuvre of the “Father of English Poetry” through all three periods of his work: the early dream-visions, such as the Book of the Duchess; the verse proto-novel Troilus & Criseyde; and the incomplete but glorious Canterbury Tales. All poems will be read in Middle English, but have no fear—his dialect is pretty easy to pick up in a few weeks.
56:350:545:01 Th 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606: 511:01 Fitter
Historians are coming to recognize that the 1590s, with its disastrous wars, catastrophic harvests, spiraling inflation, and economic dislocation, was one of the harshest decades in English history; and the first decade under the new Scots king was but slightly improved. In these conditions, Shakespeare rejected the possibility of life as a poet under aristocratic patronage to write for the popular theater, which paradoxically was thriving in the margins of a nervously authoritarian society. Defining his dramatic meanings in terms of stage, not page, this course will seek to discover how Shakespeare outwitted the censor through the potentialities of a distinctively late Elizabethan stagecraft. Each student will be asked to choose one play and think it through in historicized terms. Grades will be determined on the basis of an in-class presentation, and one fifteen-to-twenty page term paper.
Introduction to Literary Theory
56:350:573:01 M 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606: 611:01 Habib
Is there a correct way of interpreting a piece of literature? Should we just read the “words on the page” as suggested by some critics in the early twentieth century or should we take into account the author’s biography, social class, psychology and audience? What is the purpose of literature? Moral? Political? Simply pleasure? How should women read
works written by men? What ideological assumptions do we bring to the study of literature? In what degree are philosophical strategies and literary-critical techniques operative in the exegesis of scripture, as in the interpretation of the Qur=an and the Bible? These are some of the questions posed by the greatest thinkers from Plato and Aristotle through al-
Farabi, Aquinas, Ibn Rushd, al-Ghazzali, Hegel and Marx; they have been raised in somewhat different and more modern contexts by critics adopting the perspectives of Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Reception Theory, “New” Historicism, Deconstruction, Gender theory and Postcolonialism. This class will cover selectively the history of Western literary
criticism from Plato to the present day. Two papers and one examination. In preparation, students may read Book X of Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics.
Special Topics: Harlem Renaissance
56:352:540:01 M 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:541:01 Green
This course offers an extended investigation of the prolific writing and cultural forms produced by blacks in America from the 1820′s through the 1830′s, better known as the Harlem Renaissance. Often considered the first selfconscious flowering of African American belles-lettres, the Renaissance remains a touchstone for contemporary African American cultural production. The course will explore the social and historical conditions that made this era possible as well as the modes of expression and thematic concerns that animated its literature. Representative authors include Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Countee Cullen, Alain Locke, and Jessie Redmond Fauset. A long research paper, shorter papers, and oral presentation are required.
Special Topics: Poetry in Media and Performance
56:352:541:01 T 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:611:02 Rosal
In this course, we will consider the making and reading of poetry in both conventional print and innovative multimedia/performance forms. We will spend much of our time examining varieties of remixed poetry and sound. We’ll consider the ways in which racial and postcolonial identities engage in public discourse through the art of monstrosity, hybridity, and collage.
Special Topics in Rhetoric: Research Methods in Composition and Literacy
56:842:565:01 T 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:611:03 FitzGerald
This practical course serves as an orientation to diverse motives and methods for researching literate activity in the classroom and other social spheres. It will prepare you to conduct valuable research in composition and literacy studies by introducing you to methods for analyzing texts and contexts in the teaching and practice of writing. Specifically, we will explore methods and methodologies for archival research, qualitative and quantitative analysis, ethnography and case studies. You will learn to locate and interpret historical material; to identify and collect qualitative data through interview and observation; to code qualitative data using grounded-theory methods; to support textual analysis through historical and empirical data. Above all, you will learn how to develop a meaningful research question and consider the means to approach it. In addition to several short exercises that allow you to practice discrete research methods, you will, as a final project, produce a rationale for a larger study related to your research interests, one that might serve as a starting point for a thesis or future dissertation or a scholarly contribution to writing studies. Current and future teachers of writing and literature will find this course especially useful as an opportunity to “think like a researcher” in analyzing and composing texts.
Introduction to Graduate Literary Study
56:350:503:01 Th 6:00-8:40
This course introduces you to current issues in the fields of literary theory and criticism and to the aims and methods of literary analysis. The course serves several purposes. First, it provides a foundation that will help you in future graduate courses by reinforcing the important skills of close reading, literary interpretation, and research. You will become familiar with past and present developments in literary studies, learn how to identify and assess critical and theoretical approaches, and select approaches that best match your interests and the texts studied. Second, because the literary material in the course is drawn from the Master’s Comprehensive Reading List, the course will give you a head start on preparation for the examination. And third, the course will introduce you to literary studies as a possible profession.
If you plan to teach English at the college or university level, the course will expose you to a range of intellectual activities that characterize academic careers in English. If you plan to teach at the secondary level, the course will give you understanding of the role that theory and criticism play in literary interpretation and will suggest ways to extend your knowledge of literature and prepare materials for your students. And finally, if you are pursuing a master’s degree for personal enrichment or if your career goals are uncertain at this time, this course will acquaint you with activities at the heart of literary studies. Whatever your specific goal, the course will improve your ability to read, criticize, and evaluate literature.
Assignments include an explication, a bibliographic essay, and a researched critical analysis.
17th Century British Literature
56:350:549:01 Th 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:511:01
This course will be devoted to the study of a wide range of writing in English across the 17th century, in poetry, drama and prose. In the first part of the course (weeks 1-8) we will read broadly in four general areas: Political Thought, Devotional Writing, Emergent Science, and Autography. In addition, for five of these eight sessions, we will take up the reading and study of a number of lyric poets. The second part of the course (weeks 9-14) will be dedicated to the rigorous reading and study of two major seventeenth-century writers: Sir Thomas Browne and Margaret Cavendish.
In addition to intensive reading, students will be asked to write a series of response papers, one shorter essay, and a longer essay at semester’s end.
Special Topics: Fairy Tales and Children’s Literature
56:350:593:01 T 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:611:01
This course begins with Perrault’s tales, collected to entertain a fashionable courtly audience, and the Grimms’ tales, collected for a scholarly and national purpose. After following the course of literary fairy tales in Germany, America, France, Denmark, Italy, and England (de Beaumont, Fouqué, Hoffmann, Andersen, Hawthorne, Alcott, Collodi, Wilde, Carter, Sexton), we will pursue Victorian England’s fashionable interest in fairy stories, its new fetish for childhood, and its imaginative impulse to transform the industrial landscape. The Golden Age of Children’s Literature (1862-WWI) saw the flowering of fantasy worlds written (ostensibly) for children. Both carnal and spiritual, these worlds play with religious ideals, Darwin’s visions of human development, politics and social satire, and the relationship between language and reality. They anticipate—then shift to accommodate—Freud.
Together we will journey through the seminal work of Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies, which baptizes a chimney sweep clean when he throws his blackened self into the river. We will, with the Cheshire Cat, loom over the poor, victimized Alice as she tries to reach the last square in Wonderland and Looking-Glass. We will be rejuvenated with the ex-miner Diamond as the North Wind, with her fairy magic, marks the cultural shift to “the child’s work is to play” (At the Back of the North Wind). We will touch base in Italy with a very famous puppet and turn-of-the-century America with Oz, a parable of capitalism. We will challenge Mr. McGregor with Peter Rabbit, careful not to be made into a pie like his father before him, and we will spend a little time with Peter Pan, the animals of Grahame’s River-Bank (The Wind in the Willows) and Milne’s Hundred-Aker Wood. Not to leave girls behind, we will visit Mary Lennox in her secret garden, Laura Ingalls in her wild woods, and Anne in and “of” Green Gables. We voyage with Frodo and Sam as they, mere Hobbits, try to save the Shire and all it represents from the Hitler-like Sauron. The search for a lost Arcadia would never be the same, nor would ideals of childhood. But perhaps, somewhere in the enchanted wood, a bear and a boy will always be playing. In fact, “the boy who lived” anchors our final two novels from the Harry Potter series. Critical readings (in moderation) will underscore our reading selections.
Coursework includes participation on sakai and in class (including a short presentation to trigger discussion), a final research paper (15 pp), and a final exam. Each comprise 1/3rd of your grade.
Special Topics: Women and Work in the Revolutionary Era
56:350:594:01 M 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:661:02
This course, covering the period from the American Revolution through the Napoleonic Wars, will examine women’s complex and growing relationship to paid labor as represented in multiple literary genres (plays, ballads, novels, etc.). In our investigation, we will examine women as authors, actresses, soldiers and sailors, prostitutes and missionaries as they make their way throughout the Atlantic world.
Special Topics: Translation
56:350:595:01 T 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:200:562:01
Translation and revision appear vastly different activities. Are they? During the twentieth century poets often explored the act of translation as a means of “revising” the original in order to master it and own it, the result being an entirely new thing—a super-original, But what is translation—paraphrase, metaphrase, simple imitation—or revision as creative trespassing ? Is translation a public service, satisfaction of personal need, mere play—or all three? The course explores translation in its conventional sense and as the “creative adaptations” of original works by looking closely at the work of Pound, Zukofsky, Lowell, Bly, and others. Along with a look at translation theory (and a guest lecturer on the subject), the readings will include poems by Yeats, Pound’s Cathay and Homage to Sextus Propertius, Zukofsky’s “homophonic” translations of Catullus, In addition each weekly session include a look at famous revisions of canonical work by poets and fiction writers who have attempted to “translate” their own work, through revision, into something better and often vastly different—and sometimes worse. How do we revise? When is the revision inferior to the original? When stop revising? The course is designed for any student of literature with an interest either in creative writing or scholarship (or both) and in the pedagogy of the writing workshop. During the course of the semester members of the class will perform their work to the class, produce translations from an original language or complied through the translations of others, and present examples of how an original work evolved through the stages of revision.
Special Topics: Three Centuries of American Poetry
56:352:540:01 W 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:611:03
History of the English Language
56:615:530:01 W 6:00-8:40
Cross-listed with 56:606:611:04
This course will address the growth and structure of the English language from its origins to the present, with attention to methods of linguistic description. In addition to more traditional historical linguistics (i.e. the effect of language change on the phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax of the language), we will devote considerable attention to socio-historical influences on the development of English, addressing, in particular, questions relating to authority in language: Standard vs. non-standard dialects of English, the rise of dictionary making, spelling reform movements, etc. Course requirements: Midterm exam and course paper.
Practicum in the Teaching of Writing
56:842:569:01 W 2:50-5:00
This course is designed to assist composition instructors in acclimating to the teaching of college-level writing. Integrating readings and discussions of pedagogy into a workshop environment, the class will allow instructors-intraining to engage with ideas and practical applications of composition discourse; discuss problems in the classroom as they occur on a week-to-week basis; share exercises and experiences with other instructors; and examine strategies for teaching each stage of the writing process. Particular areas of focus include: learning effective sequencing of writing assignments; coaching critical thinking and invention; teaching argumentation and revision; evaluating student writing; and handling conflicts in the classroom. Requirements include a weekly teaching journal, a workshop demonstration, and a final portfolio. This course is mandatory for first-time teaching-assistants.
Special Topics in British Literature: Romanticism and The Invention of Childhood (Cr.3)
Cross-listed with 56:606:612:B6
5/29-7/3 Tu & Th 6:00pm-9:40pm
When Children’s Literature emerges as a literary genre in the 19th century, it does so as a sub-genre of English and American Romanticism. The course sets out to demonstrate how the combined and sustaining influence on the genre, particularly its shared belief in childhood as a source of visionary strength and in the individual child’s essential originality, is still in force. Particular areas of interest to be explored are the versions of female and feminine archetypes and how the divine is represented in CL. Readings span the full CL canon and include works in English and American as well as works in translation (The Little Prince), beginning with Wordsworth and Coleridge and moving from Goody Two Shoes through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, tracing the elaboration of these influences in the children’s books that begin to appear in the late 18th century, through the 19th, and into the late 20th.
American Literature to 1900 (Cr.3)
Cross listed with 50:352:337:D6; 56:606:611 D6
06/24-07/18 M,Tu,Th 6:00pm-9:40pm
Major American authors from the colonial period through nineteenth-century romanticism and realism, including John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Kate Chopin, Zitkala-Ša, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. We pay special attention to titles on the M.A. Candidacy Exam reading list.