Major American Authors: Realist to Modern (English 252)
This course is an introduction to the most influential American writers from late nineteenth century to the present. It aims to encompass a wide chronological range of literature while devoting ample time to selected individual authors. In our reading and writing, we will ask questions about the characteristics that distinguish American literature from literature written in England or elsewhere; study the major issues and debates of the period, as well as the various literary movements and schools that assembled around them; and address the specific questions associated with literature as an art form and field of study. By the end of the semester, students will be able to (1) identify the unique style of each of the authors whom we will study, (2) write clearly about those writers’ styles and thematic concerns, and (3) discuss the broader issues, aims, and cultural contexts of American literature in the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty first centuries. Read a sample syllabus here..
Modern Poetry (English 358)
This course introduces students to the poetry and poetic theories of the major poets writing in America, England, and Ireland during the latter part of the nineteenth and the whole of the twentieth centuries. Poets typically use verbal style to create the effect of a feeling, thinking “self” uttering the lines of the poem. We will explore how modern and contemporary poets thought about the psychological make-up of this projected self (especially its emotional life), how their stylistic experiments fit into the history of lyric poetry, and how the different “schools” of poetry helped to set the stage for contemporary poetic practice. By the end of the semester, students should be able to (1) identify the unique styles of the poets whom we will study, (2) write clearly about those poets’ styles and thematic concerns, and (3) discuss the broader issues and theoretical questions associated with poetry as an art form. Read a sample syllabus here.
Modernism (English 357)
A study of the avant-garde literature of the early twentieth century, focusing on the work of writers including Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and others, and considering the related experiments in the visual arts and in the fields of music and dance. Read a sample syllabus here.
Dante in English (English 335)
This course introduces students to Dante Alighieri’s epic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, a harrowing three-part journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven set in the year 1300. Students will also examine and interpret Dante’s minor works; study the historical, political, and religious contexts of his writings; and investigate his literary antecedents and contemporaries. Texts will be studied in English translation, so no understanding of Latin or Italian is necessary. Read a sample syllabus here.