English Electives for Spring 2014
English 400/489 Gen X Literature & Culture | Tu 6:30-9:15 | Instructor: FrankeThis Senior Seminar is crosslisted as an elective course reserved for advanced Coast students. Hattiesburg students are welcome to take the Senior Seminar component. This course examines American literature and culture of the early 1990s with particular focus on the generation that came of age during that time facing a vastly different political and economic future than their predecessors had. In what is called the “age of diminished expectations,” economic growth of the 1980s had born a recession. The Cold War was over, the Iron Curtain had fallen, and Eastern Europe was open for discovery. Youth culture of the day reflects an antimaterialism, a distrust of government, and a desire to reside out of the mainstream. Such counterculturalism is familiar, and in the five-year span from 1990-94 we will look at how culture fashioned itself out of the old and the alternative. Environmental awareness was common, Top 40 radio was abhorred, people developed a do-it-yourself ethos, and consumerism was scoffed at. Yet the generation slowly fashioned a striking and unique character of its own, while incorporating elements of the Lost Generation, the Beats, the Hippies, and the Punks. The course will examine literature, music, film and other media of the time; the lives of people during this time; and literature subsequently produced by this generation. Texts that we will read include Paul Beatty, Whiteboy Shuffle, William Burroughs, My Education, Aaron Cometbus, Double Duce, Jim Dodge, Stone Junction, Linda Hogan, Mean Spirit. Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild, ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, Richard Powers, Operation Wandering Soul, Cheryl Strayed, Wild
English 455 Studies in Shakespeare | W 5-7:45 | Instructor: Sasser
Family is a vital concern in almost all of Shakespeare’s plays. His drama presents wives and husbands, children and adults, siblings and cousins interacting in interesting, comedic, and often violent ways as plots focus on courtship and familial conflict. Sometimes this conflict appears to resolve itself in marriage, but often such resolution comes at the emotional or physical death of one or more characters. What is it that Shakespeare is trying to teach us by frequently associating family, marriage, and childhood with confusion and discord? This course observes Shakespeare’s representation of family dynamics through a selection of tragedies, comedies, and romances that span his career. Though we will focus primarily on representations of the family, we also will give attention to how ideas about gender intersect with family.
We will begin with Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare’s only representation of a “complete,” middle-class family. We then will explore father-son dynamics in Henry IV, Coriolanus, and Hamlet before turning to father-daughter relationships in The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Much Ado about Nothing, and King Lear. We will focus on marriage in Macbeth in order to discuss what is sometimes called “Shakespeare’s happiest marriage.” We conclude by studying Shakespeare’s representations of mothers, including Lady Macbeth who promises to be able to “dash the brains out” of her child and Tamora in Titus Andronicus who eats her own children.
The course will also study cinematic treatments of family in Much Ado about Nothing (2012), directed by Joss Whedon, creator of The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and either Julie Taymor’s The Tempest (2010) or Ralph Fiennes’s Coriolanus (2011).
|English 468 British Women Writers | M 12:30-3:15 | Instructor: Holmes This course examines major works of literature by British women. We will survey poems, letters, essays, and novels and will approach this literature from thematic, historical, and gender vantages, asking to what extent the texts in the course reproduce or challenge economic, social and cultural constraints. The course seeks to make students especially aware of the unique problems faced by both women writers and the female inhabitants of the societies they described in their work. We’ll begin with a chronological introduction to the development of British women’s literature and work our way through some terrific novels and poems from across a number of historical periods. We’ll read major British women poets (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and the Bronte sisters), and read these major British novels: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen; Frankenstein, Mary Shelley; Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte; Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte; Adam Bede, George Eliot; Orlando, Virginia Woolf; And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie|