ENGL 413 - Senior Research and Writing
Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
Prerequisites: Six credits in English at the 300 level, senior major standing, and instructor consent. Enrollment limited to six. A collaborative group research and writing project for senior majors, conducted in supervising faculty members’ areas of expertise, with directed independent study culminating in a substantial final project. Possible topics include poetic voice, ecocriticism, literature and psychology, material conditions of authorship, and modern Irish studies.
Winter 2014 Topics:
ENGL 413-01: Senior Research & Writing: The Art of Narrative (3). This course focuses on the history and development of narrative strategies in short stories and narrative essays. Students identify specific literary techniques, analyze them, and apply them in their own writing–fiction, non-fiction, or a combination. A literary technique is any use of language that can be studied in the context of a literary work, abstracted into a general method, and then recreated in an entirely new work. Students develop two major pieces of writing simultaneously: 1) a portfolio of original short fiction and/or personal essays that employ several identified techniques; and 2) an analytical essay exploring literary techniques from a range of published works. The essay establishes patterns of technique use and argues why certain techniques are employed for similar or contrasting effects in varying contexts. (HL) Gavaler.
ENGL 413-02: Senior Research & Writing: Ritual, Religion, and Drama (3). Is drama inherently ritualistic, even religious? While scholars once speculated that ancient Greek drama evolved out of religious rituals, post-Reformation drama (including Shakespeare’s) often actively worked to minimize its religious content to avoid accusations of idolatry. The role of the body, especially the senses, in dramatic performance (and spectatorship) fosters much of the controversy surrounding its ritual elements; divergent attitudes towards those ritual elements continue even into modern and postmodern drama. The course pairs theoretical readings about ritual, performance, and religion with dramas that interrogate or illustrate various aspects of the relationship among ritual, religion, and drama. Playwrights may include Euripides, Shakespeare, Middleton, Beckett, Pinter, and Soyinka. (HL) Pickett.
Fall 2013 Topics:
ENGL 413-01: Senior Research and Writing: Intradramatic Form: Plays Within Plays (3). Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the first dramatists to experiment with intradramatic form–nesting a small dramatic presentation within a larger one–and since then, the device has been an effective and popular theatrical technique. This course examines the power of dramatic performance to manipulate an audience’s aesthetic, emotional, and social response. By studying plays as varied as Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy. Beaumont’s Knight of the Burning Pestle, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Weiss’ Marat/Sade, and Shaffer’s Equus, we see ways in which plays involve, alienate, or control audience by both disguising and exposing theatrical artifice on the stage. We also view several films that take similar advantage of this device: Shakespeare in Love, Kiss Me Kate, and Olivier’s Henry V. Dobin.
ENGL 413-02: Senior Research and Writing: Cultural Conflicts in the American West (3). In this section we study a few key texts about the American West and then see where each student wants to go from there. There are many cultural conflicts from which to choose and many wonderful texts written about those conflicts in virtually every genre. We figure out how to study these conflicts and to each write in stages a convincing long paper explicating one of them in depth, to be shared along the way with the rest of us. Among the Western groups in conflict are American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and white Europeans from many different backgrounds, all fighting for their land, their economic livelihood, their culture, their families, their names, their ethnic identities, their histories, and virtually everything else human beings can fight for. Although our primary texts are literature, students who take this section also explore some of the historical and political manifestations of these conflicts and grapple with the challenges of resolving them today. Smout.
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