Graduate Course Descriptions, Spring 2011

 

626: READINGS IN POETRY - DR. ANGELA BALL

This course will explore the work of major 20th-century women, including Anna Akhmatova and Elizabeth Bishop, along with the work of the most innovative and skilled women currently writing, including Dara Wier, Claudia Rankine, Kimiko Hahn, Claudia Keelan, Louise Gluck, and Ellen Bryant Voigt. Requirements will include a seminar-style report, a short (3-5-page) book review, and an extended essay (15-20 pp.).

 

645: TOPICS IN CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE (BOY BOOKS/GIRL BOOKS) - DR. ERIC TRIBUNELLA

The segregation of children’s literature into boy books and girl books intensified in the nineteenth century as cultural production for children expanded and as boys and girls were increasingly targeted as distinct markets. In this course we will examine a selection of boy books and girl books published from the mid nineteenth century to the First World War in Britain and the United States. We will use the rubric of the boy/girl book to navigate between a broader survey for non-specialists and a more focused study for students planning to concentrate in children’s literature. We will read a variety of gendered genres of children’s literature—the bad-boy book and good-girl book, domestic and adventure novels, the girls’ and boys’ school story—and a selection of authors such as Alger, Aldrich, Ballantyne, Kipling, Alcott, Meade, Marchant, and Montgomery. Our readings of these texts will be informed by the work of critics such as Sally Mitchell, Michael Moon, Kenneth Kidd, Lorinda Cohoon, Beverly Lyon Clark, and Marah Gubar.

 

655: STUDIES IN SHAKESPEARE (SHAKESPEARE: SOURCES AND AFTERLIVES) - DR. JOSEPH NAVITSKY

Shakespeare lived and wrote during a period of remarkable literary experimentation and growth, and his work exerts a powerful influence on English and American cultural experiences. The first half of the course examines how Shakespearean drama (Henry V, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and The Two Noble Kinsmen) responds to and builds on the work of classical and early modern sources. The second half of the course examines the subject of Shakespeare’s legacy in the Restoration, the Romantic period, the Victorian period, the writings of T.S. Eliot, and the films of Orson Welles and others. Special attention will be paid to textual scholarship, theories of influence and imitation, and the construction of Shakespeare as a cultural icon.

 

678: TOPICS IN WRITING BY WOMEN (WOMAN’S LITERARY HISTORY) - DR. NICOLLE JORDAN

This course seeks to define, practice, and challenge women’s literary history. We will ask how women’s literary history is a form of feminist criticism, and how it differs from other approaches to feminist scholarship (and from literary history tout court). What is excluded from women’s literary history, and with what consequences? What kinds of biases or faulty assumptions does it encourage? With these questions in mind, we will explore, for example, Margaret Ezell’s skepticism regarding the notion that “there is a ‘tradition’ of women’s writing to be recovered [and] that this tradition reveals an evolutionary model of feminism.” How does the history of women’s writing change when we privilege, for example, race or ethnicity? class? sexuality? What is the status of aesthetics in women’s literary history? Students will write a research paper on a British woman writer of their choice while attending to one or more of the foregoing issues. Readings cover British literature 1660-1890, including poetry by Finch, Montagu, Barbauld, Barrett Browning, and Rossetti; fiction by Behn, Haywood, Austen, and C. Brontë; and drama by Cavendish and Cowley.

 

690: TEACHING FRESHMAN COMPOSITION - JOYCE INMAN

 

744: SEMINAR IN LITERARY CRITICISM (THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL) - DR. CHARLES SUMNER

In this class, we will learn aesthetic and social theories of the Frankfurt School of philosophers, and particularly Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Herbert Marcuse. Once we have acquainted ourselves with some of the major ideas of these writers, we will use them to understand some of the landmarks of British and American modernism, including The Waste Land, The Sun Also Rises, Kay Boyle's Process, some of the short fiction of Virginia Woolf, and Enemy of the Stars by Wyndham Lewis. We will also explore how the theories of cultural modernity provided by the Frankfurt School can help us to understand avantgarde visual art from Spain, Britain, and Russia (Picasso, Lewis, Malevich, and El Lizzitsky), and how the visual language developed by these artists impacted the literary experiments of our modernist writers.

 

760: SEMINAR IN 17TH CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE (MILTON, BUNYAN, AND THE KING JAMES BIBLE) - DR. JAMEELA LARES

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James or Authorized Version of the Bible, the culmination of nearly a century of biblical translation and at a time when the English language had been enriched by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The KJV has monumentally influenced authors writing in English for most of the centuries since. This seminar will both investigate the history, literary context, style, and subsequent impact of the KJV and also read two landmark works informed by it, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and Paradise Lost by John Milton. Although the course work and discussions will focus on the biblical culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, you will have a rich choice of seminar paper topics, including such comparative studies as literary approaches to the biblical text or the KJV’s influence any subsequent period or author. Course Requirements: thoughtful reading of texts, regular attendance and participation in seminar discussions (20%); weekly written responses (20%); 2 presentations (20%); 20-25 page seminar paper (40%).

 

769: SEMINAR IN MODERN BRITISH LITERATURE - DR. MICHAEL MAYS (YEATS, JOYCE, BECKETT)

This course will focus on three major works by the three major Irish Writers of the twentieth century: Yeats’s "The Tower"; Joyce’s Ulysses; and Beckett’s trilogy, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable. As we seek to situate their place on the world stage, we will also give careful consideration to the ways in which each has influenced a variety of writers who have followed in their wake. Students will write three 10-page papers (one on each of the texts) in lieu of the customary seminar paper and be responsible for one formal class presentation.

TEXTS Yeats, Collected Poems Joyce, Ulysses Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable

 

771: SEMINAR IN AMERICAN LITERATURE II (THE LEGACY OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS - DR. PHILIP KOLIN

This seminar celebrates the legacy of Tennessee Williams in honor of his 100th birthday (1911-2011). We will read a wide selection of his plays, stories, poems, and nonfiction prose, with an emphasis on the later canon, to chart his enormous impact on American and world (experimental) theatre, fiction, film, and popular culture. Drawing on recent critical discourse, we will study the ways in which Williams’s plays foreground issues of geography, race (from “Creole Blanches” to “Black Cat[s] on a Hot Tin Roof”), politics, and gender in American social history. We will also take advantage of a production of A Streetcar Named Desire to be done in February at Southern Miss as well as view several film versions of a few of the plays. Students will prepare two oral reports (30-35 minutes) and write a 20-25 page seminar paper based upon one of these reports. The instructor will consider work done for this seminar for possible publication in a special issue of the Southern Quarterly he is guest editing during the Spring Semester on the Legacy of Tennessee Williams. Happy birthday, Tenn!