"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817)
Spring 2015 Graduate Course Offerings
Intro to Critical Theory / EH 501 | Pat Cesarini
This course is a graduate level introduction to critical theory. The first part of our work will be a brief survey of major theoretical schools and statements. The larger part will consist of several units on particular theoretical problematics, such as the nature of literature, the nature of the author, reading as a process, "evo-criticism," cognitive literary criticism, post-human studies, or genre theory. By the end of the course, in addition to becoming conversant with the issues involved, you will also be able to articulate your own theoretical and critical approaches clearly and persuasively.
Studies in Chaucer / EH 513 | John Halbrooks
Chaucer is at the same time the most welcoming and the most unknowable of poets. His personable narrative voice and his self-deprecating poetic personality seem so simple, and yet they mask dazzling complexity, poetic subtlety, and political ambivalence. He challenges us to imagine human discourse as endlessly dialogic, even as he accepts as the ultimate truth a God that lies beyond the capacities of language. In other words, Chaucer's apparent ambiguity does not imply a categorical rejection of truth itself. It does suggest, on the other hand, as Chaucer's contemporary William Langland expresses in a different way, that truth lies in the very struggle to find it in the complexities of the world. And Chaucer engages with this struggle through poetry and narrative rather than through a systematic attempt to resolve what is, in this world at least, not resolvable. Students will engage with Chaucer's constant reinvention of himself and his restless poetic experimentation through our study of the various iterations of his narrative voice. Students will begin by getting acquainted with Chaucer's Middle English through readings of The Book of the Duchess and The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. Then the class will proceed to the rest of the corpus, including the Tales, The House of Fame, and Troilus and Criseyde, as well as reception history.
Restoration and Early 18th-Century Literature / EH 525 | Richard Hillyer
This course will be organized under the theme "Sex and Science in Early Modern England." Students will develop a research paper through several drafts based on these themes and readings by John Aubrey, Aphra Behn, Abraham Cowley, Samuel Pepys, Alexander Pope, the Earl of Rochester, Thomas Shadwell, Jonathan Swift, James Thomson, and others.
Victorian and Edwardian Prose / EH 538 | Ellen Burton Harrington
This class will consider a variety of novels and short stories, both popular and literary, that represent some of the significant political, social, racial, national, and gender undercurrents of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, along with historical and critical work that contextualizes it. Students will begin with Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist (1838), considering the novel’s classic portrayal of the orphan hero grappling with issues like class and crime. Students will then move to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), reading the novel as a threshold text between the Romantic and the Victorian periods, and then students will examine George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860) through its presentation of childhood, eduction and Victorian womanhood. Next, students will read Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868) and consider class, crime, the critique of empire, and developing genres of popular fiction. Students will read Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) and consider crime and the city, developing theories of the mind, manhood, and the implications of Darwin. Students will move to Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) to examine the tragic limitations of Tess’s class and gender positioning. Joseph Conrad’s Edwardian novel The Secret Agent (1906) is another threshold text, treating topical issues like anarchism and women’s rights in a novel that crosses genres, merging the political novel with the domestic novel and the detective novel.
Studies in Genre / EH 577 | Sue Walker
This course will test the boundaries of hybrid forms of writing. With specific focus on poetry and creative nonfiction, students will engage in this budding experimental form.
Thesis Hours / EH 599
Please see Dr. Harrington if you would like to register for thesis hours and have not already discussed your committee, graduation requirements, etc.