2015-2016 University Catalog 
    Jun 30, 2022  
2015-2016 University Catalog archived

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ENGL 380 - Advanced Seminar

Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring

Prerequisite: ENGL 299. Enrollment limited. A seminar course on a topic, genre, figure, or school (e.g. African-American women’s literature, epic film, Leslie Marmon Silko, feminist literary theory) with special emphasis on research and discussion. The topic will be limited in scope to permit study in depth. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2016, ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: The Crux of Shakespeare’s King Lear (4). Critic Doug Lanier has called King Lear “the Mount Everest of Shakespeare–often forbiddingly bleak and challenging, but for those who scale it, offer[ing] an unparalleled vista on man’s condition and its own form of rough beauty.” The course analyzes King Lear from a variety of angles: its textual history and variants, sources, performance history, and legacy in film and literature. The course includes a digital humanities project investigating a textual crux in the play using a variety of digital tools. We also take a field trip to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. (HL) Pickett.

Spring 2016, ENGL 380-02: Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses (4). Appropriate for English majors for Later British or post-1900 distribution. Students in this seminar undertake a careful reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses. We work together to understand Joyce’s narrative techniques, interpret his major characters and track their movements through space, analyze patterns of allusion to Homer, Shakespeare, and other writers, and explicate passages of Joyce’s peculiar language. Each student serves as “discussion leader” for one episode of Ulysses (between Calypso and Oxen of the Sun). Some of these broader topics inform our discussions: the publication history of Ulysses; censorship and the law; Joyce and religion; the controversies about the textual editing of Ulysses; Joyce and Irish nationalism; gender in Ulysses; Joyce and Orientalism; postcolonial Joyce. Afternoon screenings of two film versions of UlyssesNora (a film about Joyce’s partner and model for Molly, Nora Barnacle) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (yet another text full of allusions to The Odyssey) – supplement the primary reading. Course website at http://sakai.wlu.edu. (HL) Keen

Winter 2016, ENGL 380-01: Advanced Seminar: The Slave Narrative (3). This course deals with one of the most popular genres of 19th-century American Literature. Detailing the fictionalized life experiences and escape of the enslaved, the slave narrative is a genre that has been reshaped throughout the 20th century, signaling the aesthetic and material legacy of slavery. Along with analyzing literary and filmic depictions of slave punishment and violence, this course examines the 19th-century transatlantic circulation of slave narratives, the political and culture work they performed, and their lasting legacy in American literature. Authors include Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, Harriet Jacobs, Octavia Butler, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Sherley Anne Williams. Also engaging slavery’s archive, the class visits Thomas Jefferson’s second plantation home, Poplar Forest. (HL) Campbell.

Winter 2016, ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Feeling Victorian (3). Top hats, trains, and triple-decker novels: the Victorian era is often envisioned as overcrowded with objects. And yet, 19th-century England’s rapid industrialization brought about not only a revolution in the circulation of commodities, but also in the social life of emotion. As an introduction to Victorian literature and culture, this course charts the complicated relationship between feelings and things. In each unit we explore how a specific emotion helped to organize and transform a key aspect of Victorian society, from economy and empire to home life and education. Through our encounters with Victorian writing, painting, fashion, architecture, and ephemera, we track how the Victorian rhetoric of feeling continues to shape our ideas about gender, race, class, and sexuality. (HL) Alexander.

Winter 2016, ENGL 380-03: Advanced Seminar: Forms of the New: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson (3). This seminar gives an in-depth reading of the two greatest American poets of the 19th century. Some readers consider Whitman and Dickinson the two greatest American poets of any century because they were, in a wholly original way, new. In order to test their newness and their greatness, we place both poets in the historical context of the 19th century, and we also consider the critical context of the century since their deaths. We find many opportunities for close reading, for scholarly research, and for critical discussion. (HL) Warren.


  Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring

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