Readings in British and American Literature (3,3)
Independent study course in directed readings available only by special arrangement.
Prerequisite: By arrangement with the instructor.
Introduction to Graduate Literary Study (3)
Studies in textual scholarship; literary research and bibliography; critical theories; various methods of literary study; issues in the discipline.
Rhetorical Theory and the Teaching of Writing (3)
Examination of the application of classical and modern theories of rhetoric and literary criticism to the teaching of writing.
Studies in Narrative (3)
Study of the evolution of major narrative forms and modes from ancient times to the present, including varieties of romance; historical influences on the British novel; literary movements such as realism, modernism, and postmodernism experimenting with new narrative forms; matters of craft such as point of view, voice, handling of time, story versus discourse. Analysis of literary texts alongside theory of fiction and narrative in Booth, Frye, narratologists, Bakhtin, and various feminist, Marxist, and postcolonial thinkers.
Critical Theories (3)
Study of 20th- and 21st-century critical theories and debates in
literary and cultural studies. In any given semester the course
may engage literature with feminist and gender theory, Marxist
theory, psychoanalytic theory,
structuralism/semiotics/deconstruction, postcolonial theory,
theories of globalization, or postsecularism.
Studies in Dramatic Form (3)
Comedy, tragedy, masque, history, play, mystery, and morality plays, with emphasis on English dramatists.
Poets and Poetry (3)
Intensive readings of selected poetry in English in the 20th and 21st century. Investigation of a range of traditions and critical responses.
Children's Literature (3)
Explores in depth major strands of the exceedingly rich tradition of literature often, though not always, defined as written for children, from the time of Grimm's Fairy Tales on. Not a survey, the course covers major texts, the important genres and subgenres that have developed over the past few centuries; issues of reception, marketing, media, and the culture as all these pertain (as they strongly do) to children's literature; and finally, the range of critical approaches to this literature, which run the gamut from formalist to Marxist, feminist, cultural-studies oriented, and beyond.
History of the English Language (3)
Focus on the history of the English language from Anglo-Saxon times to the present, with some consideration of theories of language, history of philology, and modern linguistics.
Archives and Advanced Research (3)
This practicum introduces students
to archival research as
well as advanced research methods. Readings will include both
(primary sources) and critical texts as we study the range of
strategies and resources that literary critics use. Students will
the basics of archival research in special collections and rare
well as in online and digitized repositories. Each student will
independent semester-long research project. In class, students
progress and problems, discuss solutions, and exchange discoveries
explore a subject of their choice.
Mythology in Literature (3)
Explores in depth major aspects of the rich symbiotic relationship between myth and literature. Focusing on major genres ranging from Homeric epic and tragedy through ancient and baroque through modernist and postmodern treatments of ancient materials, the course provides a strong grounding in mythical materials, literary genres, and various theoretical traditions as these pertain to myth. Provides cultural enrichment for students not only of literature (including creative writing) but also of psychology, anthropology, history, and classical and modern languages.
Topics in Literature (3)
Consideration of certain authors, periods, literary backgrounds, problems, and approaches. For specific subject matter in a given semester, consult the Schedule of Classes and the English department.
Independent Study (BA)
Individual study directed by a faculty member arranged for qualified students.
Prerequisites: Written permission from faculty member concerned and program director must be secured in the preceding semester.
Focuses on factual materials in fictional forms. Students read works from a core list (or other individually approved readings) and write theoretical/critical papers. The conventions and practices of the old and new journalisms and the increasingly blurred distinctions between fact and fiction will be intrinsic to the subject matter.
Poetry for Poets (3)
Stresses the elements of poetry, notably prosody and figurative language. Readings in a variety of poetic traditions from the Renaissance to the 21st century, with some attention to critical reception and analysis, but more with an eye to learning the elements of poetry by imitation.
Fiction for Fiction Writers (3)
The nuts and bolts of constructing both longer and shorter narratives, with emphasis on critical analysis and writing techniques.
Learning and practice in elements of scripting such as research, treatments, description of action (gesture, movement), visual narrative development, voice-over narrative, character development and dialogue, relations between visual track and audio track, the use of documentary, scenic development and structure, visual and auditory metaphors, rewrites. Writing assignments include a series of exercises typically leading to a single script project, subject to workshop critique and further revisions.
Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir (3)
Retraces the evolution of what today is collectively known as life writing. Readings range from classical times (Suetonius, Plutarch, Augustine) to the present, but the chief focus is modern and postmodern biography--i.e., current modes of pathography, autobiography, and memoir. Student writing is intrinsic to course readings and class discussion.
Postcolonial Questions (3)
We will ask the following and other questions: What is the relationship between genres of culture (poetry, novels, music, film) and imperialism? How do these genres participate in decolonization? What is the relationship between postcolonial theory and the literature of the third world? How do immigrants from Europe's former colonies contest and reshape the cultures of the West? How do we understand terms such as globalization and transnationalism in imperial and postcolonial contexts?
Old English (3,3)
First semester: a study of Old English grammar; reading of selected short pieces in prose and poetry. Second semester: a close study of Beowulf.
Introduction to Publishing and Editing (3)
Introduces students to elements of the craft of editing and the business of publishing books and periodicals (journals, magazines, etc.). Subjects covered include the role of the editor with an informal survey of various editorial styles and tastes; the workings of the writer-editor relationship; basic publishing procedures; topics from the history of publishing; nonprofit versus commercial publishing; the impact of marketing and publicity on publishing; and differing expectations for success. Assigned readings include books and articles, as well as sample periodicals. A research project and short writing assignments are required. The course may be augmented with occasional guest speakers.
Drama and the Early Modern Household (3)
Examines a key motif in English literature of the early modern period (1500-1800). The household functioned both as a unit of the nation and as a sovereign state in miniature. The household, the fabric and core of every community, was also reflected and critiqued in the literature and particularly in the drama of the time. Early Modern play-going audiences seem to have been fascinated by the spectacle of families and households operating the face of disorder, doubt, and even doom. Readings may include Shakespeare's Othello, Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, and Merry Wives of Windsor; Henry Porter's little-known Two Angry Women of Abingdon; the anonymous domestic tragedy Arden of Faversham; Dekker's city comedy about blue-collar family life, The Shoemaker's Holiday; and Marlowe's Edward II; as well as other relevant materials such as conduct books, recipe books, pamphlets, ballads, and travel writing. In the final weeks of the course the class embarks on a collaborative play-editing project, bringing an unedited early modern play to life by creating a critical apparatus including transcribed text, notes and glosses, a summary, and an analytical introduction to the work.
Close study of Chaucer's poetry, especially the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde.
Medieval Literature (3)
Major works in medieval English literature, excluding Chaucer, with emphasis on Piers Plowman and the Gawain-Poet.
Introduction to Renaissance Studies (3)
Selected readings from Dante to Spenser.
The 16th Century (3,3)
Study of the major poets and prose writers of the Tudor and Elizabethan periods, including Wyatt, Surrey, Spenser, Sidney, More, Browne, and Hooker.
Elizabethan Drama (3)
Sixteenth- and 17th-century drama, excluding Shakespeare, with emphasis on Marlowe and Jonson.
Studies in the Renaissance Epic (3)
New consideration of the Renaissance epic as a literary form. Special attention given to the Renaissance conception and practice of mimesis, the literary imitation of reality, and of allegory. Critical readings of selections from Dante's Divine Comedy, Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered, Spenser's Faerie Queene, Milton's Paradise Lost, and several minor Renaissance epics.
Intensive study of several plays with concern for scholarship and criticism and the 17th-century background.
Mimesis and Poetry (3)
Studies in the Renaissance theory and practice of artistic "imitation" in works of Dante, Spenser, Milton, and Donne, with stress upon poetic structures. Close analysis made of corresponding iconography in poetry, prose, cosmographical designs, architecture, and painting.
Publishing and Editing Internship (3)
Internship with selected literary or academic journals published at Rutgers or independently in the metropolitan area.
The 17th Century (3,3)
Critical readings in the "metaphysical" verse of Donne and his "school"; of the neoclassical poetry of Jonson and his circle; and of prose selections by Hobbes, Bacon, Browne, and others. Literary works studied in the light of 17th-century political, religious, and intellectual problems and with attention to recent scholarly and critical commentary.
Psychoanalysis, Literature, Culture (3)
One hundred years after Sigmund Freud invented psychoanalysis, Freudian/post-Freudian theory and practice remain among the most controversial and influential fields in contemporary literary cultural studies. All literary works are paired with relevant psychoanalytic texts that begin, but do not end, with Freud.
Science Fiction (3)
Introduction to the history, cultural significance, and artistic achievement of science fiction.
A fresh look at Milton as artist and cultural reformer. Milton's attitudes toward the "new science"; religious and political problems; new theories of education and art; and questions of individual, civil, and domestic liberties. Emphasis on an original critical appreciation of Milton's literary artistry.
Studies in Film (3)
Attempts to define and isolate the central characteristics of various popular Hollywood genres. Each genre's evolution traced chronologically, studying the films' variations against the genre's preordained, value-laden narrative system. In alternating terms, the course covers the gangster/detective film, the Western melodrama, and screwball comedy.
Studies in Satire (3)
Intensive readings of selected masterworks of satire, primarily by English and American authors, but with some attention to classical satirists (Horace, Juvenal, Lucian), satirists of the Renaissance (Erasmus, Rabelais, Jonson), and 20th-century theorists of satire. Included among the last group are Twain, Shaw, Huxley, Heller, Nabokov, Giraudoux. A major satirist, such as Swift, is read at greater length.
Urban Literature (3)
Studies in literature, primarily after 1900, in which the American city plays some role. Investigation of the literary city versus country, the model city, and the real city. Readings from the works of Dreiser, Lewis, O'Hara, O'Neill, Selby, F.L. Wright, and others.
The 18th Century (3,3)
Readings in Defoe, Addison, Steele, Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Swift, Pope, Thomson, Gray, and in Johnson, Boswell, and their circle.
Literature and Film of the Third World (3)
Introduction to the literature and film of the oppressed and revolutionary peoples and nations of the modern world. Works from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The Political Novel (3)
Intensive examination of late 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century American and English political novels, works of fiction where political ideas (reactionary, reformist, radical) play a dominant role. Exploration of the representation of anarchism, terrorism, and utopianism by such novelists as Joseph Conrad, George Orwell, and Doris Lessing.
Women in Literature (3)
Detailed examination of women writers representative of historical periods. Readings from Mary Wollstonecraft, Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing, Margaret Drabble, Jean Rhys, Barbara Pym, and others.
Women's Literatures (3)
Readings from feminist literary theory and criticism and their application by way of detailed analysis and discussion of selected women writers representing various historical periods. Issues of gender and the problematics of gendered genres structure the course's investigations.
The Novel to Jane Austen (3)
Rise of the novel as a social and psychological mirror of man; studies in such authors as Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, Godwin, and Austen.
Jane Austen (3)
Examines Austen's work in the context of the political controversies of her age and in the literary and ideological traditions through which they were conducted at a crucial period of historical change. Whether categorized as comedies of manners, as fictions of moral sensibility or domestic politics, as female bildungsroman, or as proto feminist interrogations of women's relation to patriarchal structures and authority, Jane Austen's novels can be inserted within a dominant British narrative tradition where the domestic novel is made the vehicle of commentary upon social morality, gender, and class.
Literary Topics in Women's and Gender Studies (3)
From a literary, historical, and/or cultural perspective, this course allows students to bring a dimension to their graduate work in gender studies that draws upon the vast body of feminist scholarship in the humanities, particularly the fields of language and literary studies. It may focus on women writers or the representations of men and women in particular literary genres; it may focus on feminist and gender-related questions that have been investigated most thoroughly through the techniques of narrative and literary study. While taught from a perspective informed by literary methods, the course engages a dialogue with feminist issues that emerge from fields such as political science, history, psychology, urban studies, and American studies.
The Romantic Period (3,3)
Prose and poetry of English romanticism. First semester: concentration on Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. Second semester: concentration on Shelley, Keats, and Byron.
Topics in Victorian Literature and Culture (3,3)
Topical studies in the poetry, fiction, autobiography, nonfiction prose, and drama of the period in cultural contexts. Writers may include Carlyle, Tennyson, the Brownings, the Rossettis, Hopkins, Wilde, Arnold, Mill, Nightingale, Kingsley, Ruskin, Morris, Pater, Dickens, the Brontės, Eliot, Carroll, Gissing, Braddon, and working-class authors.
The Bible and Its Literary Influences (3)
Historical review of the influence of the biblical tradition in Western literature and theory. Selected parts of the Bible read as literary texts. Biblical passages are studied side by side with fiction, plays, and poems that draw upon scripture for archetype, symbol, character type, paradigmatic plot and narrative strategy, poetic and prophetic imagery, literary allusion, biblical parody, and theme.
The Nature of Comedy (3)
Major theories and forms of comedy in the Western tradition, from Aristophanes's Old Comedy through romance, satire, and farce, to fantasy and modern absurdism. Emphasis falls on developing critical positions.
Modern and Contemporary British Novel (3)
Study of representative works by important innovators of the period. Primary emphasis on the radical shifts in theme and technique resulting from the novelist's changing conceptions of male and female roles in society. Central to the examination of each novel is the "condition of England" question and its various manifestations in each of the novels under discussion.
Modern and Contemporary British Drama (3)
Study of representative works by the important dramatists of the period. Such dramatists as Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, and Tom Stoppard read in light of historical shifts in theme and technique.
Modern British Poetry (3)
Major British poets of the 20th century, including Hardy, Yeats, Thomas Larkin, Hughes, and others.
Master's Thesis (BA,BA)
Thesis supervised by two faculty members, one directing the project.
Prerequisite: Arranged for qualified students only. Permission of the faculty director as well as the program director must be secured in the semester before the work begins.
Readings in Literature (3)
Readings in critical relations among works of different periods or genres, the variety of literary responses to a given historical moment. The relation of English and American literature to their intellectual and social origins, and the effects of literary works on society. Offered as a special topics course and also an option for independent study with a faculty member.
Advanced Readings in Literature (3)
Intensive readings in the life and works of one or more major authors. Possible offerings include Joyce, Faulkner, Woolf, Yeats, Hawthorne, and Langston Hughes.
Matriculation Continued (E1)
Studies in American Literature (3,3)
Readings and criticisms with a focus, each semester, on an individual
author, a thematic element, or a special problem in American
American Literature to 1900 (3,3)
Recent approaches to major American authors, chiefly of the 19th century, including Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, James, Twain, and Dickinson.
Studies in American Fiction (3)
Novels and short stories from a range of 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century American fiction.
Studies in American Drama (3)
Major American dramatists, including O'Neill, Odets, Williams, Albee, and others.
Studies in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (3)
Examines the span of important American poetry, 1900 to the present: Frost, Stevens, Eliot, Pound, Williams, Moore, Hughes, Bishop, Jarrell, Lowell, Plath, and many others. Not, however, a survey course.
Trans-American Literary Studies (3)
This seminar theorizes points of contact in a specific genre, topic, or node of cultural history of the Americas. Drawing on and extending a transnational and multilingual turn in American studies of recent decades, we will practice reading America as a relational concept. Theoretical texts will draw on recent work in comparative American studies, in addition to the fields of postcolonial, translation, and cultural studies. The seminar relates "recovered," multilingual, and "minor" texts with canonical texts. Students with skills will be encouraged to read in the original languages, but all required texts will be available in English translation.
The Vietnam War and American Culture: 1945 to the Present (3)
This interdisciplinary seminar explores the complex interrelations between the U.S. war in Vietnam and American culture. American culture, which was an essential part of the matrix that generated the decades-long war, was then profoundly transformed by the war. The culture soon transformed the war into Vietnam, not a nation or a people but a constellation of powerful myths operative today as forces manifest in politics, cultural commodities, and America's permanent state of warfare. Members of the seminar will be expected to become familiar with the basic history of the war, while engaging with the culture wars it engendered. We will explore a range of materials, focusing on literature and also including primary historical documents, music, and film.
Crime and Punishment in American Literature (3)
This seminar explores the topic of crime and punishment in representative and influential works of American literature from the mid-19th century to the present. Students will be expected to acquire a basic knowledge of the history of the American prison system and its relation to chattel slavery.
Topics in Latina/o Literature and Culture (3)
A survey of representative texts of Latina/o literature and culture. Amplifying and contextualizing the post-civil rights "boom" of Chicana/o and Latina/o writing through a multilingual and historical approach, we read Chicana/o, Puertorriquena/o, Cuban, and newer migrant writing from South and Central America and the Caribbean. Special concern will be given to (im)migration, assimilation, and dislocation; working conditions and labor struggles; problems and possibilities of cultural self-representation including translation, language loss, and code-switching; the marketing and consumption of Latinidad; cultural hybridity, mestizaje, and heterogeneity; and the role of gender, sexuality, color, class, language, and nationality in locating Latina/o subjects.
Harlem Renaissance (3)
The course begins with a consideration of the important debates about the New Negro Movement/Harlem Renaissance that preoccupied the participants in this literary/cultural movement during the 1920s and 1930s. The course then moves through major writers--novelists, poets, dramatists, theorists--of the movement, with particular emphasis upon issues of diaspora, class consciousness, and sexuality. The course does not end with the 1920s--as is traditional in considerations of the Harlem Renaissance--but moves into the 1930s.
American Literature since 1900 (3,3)
Selected literary themes based on readings drawn from the works of Eliot, Hemingway, O'Neill, Cummings, Faulkner, Miller, Dos Passos, Williams, Wright, Anderson, and others.
American Proletarian Writers (3)
Examination of leftist writers associated with the so-called proletarian school of the depression-era United States. Study of fiction, poetry, reportage, and drama by writers such as Agnes Smedley, John Steinbeck, Josephine Herbst, Clifford Odets, John Dos Passos, Richard Wright, Jack Conroy, Myra Page, and Langston Hughes. Writers are placed in the context of social and political debates of the time, but a range of theoretical questions about the relation of politics to literary discourse are also addressed.
Literature of the American Revolution (3)
Examines central texts of the American Revolution as literature and as rhetoric. Basic readings include classic texts such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and Thomas Paine's Common Sense. More extensively, the course looks at the literary rhetoric of contemporary sermons, speeches, letters, plays, and journalism. The course emphasizes the classical educations shared by some, though not all, of the founding generation, while stressing the antagonisms within this far from homogeneous group. The course also looks critically at the representations of the American Revolution by historians of the period, most particularly John Marshall and Mercy Otis Warren.
Literature of the Early American Republic (3)
Investigates the literature produced in the first and second generations following the American Revolution. One of its themes is the rhetorical efforts of this literature to shape the direction and meaning of the Revolution. Another theme might be called transatlantic anxiety: To what extent was the early literature of the American republic written with an eye toward England? Do distinctively American genres emerge? The course looks at the novels, satires, plays, histories, slave narratives, and epics that can be seen as American firsts. Authors include Royal Tyler, Susanna Rowson, Henry Brackenridge, Mercy Otis Warren, Joel Barlow, John Marshall, Olaudah Equiano, Washington Irving, and James Fenimore Cooper.
Ethnicity in American Literature (3)
Weekly lectures by experts who explain the contributions of ethnic writers to the body of American literature.
Modern and Contemporary American Literature (3,3)
Survey of the significant literature of the United States during the post-World War II era. Focus on the contribution to the national literature of various regional and multicultural perspectives that have recently emerged.