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2023 Fall Course Offerings

ENGL 626-01 Seminar in 18th Century British Lit 
David Venturo
Monday 5-7:30pm

This course explores developments in English literature from approximately 1700 to 1820.  We will examine the rise of Augustan satire as a radical attack on the principles of seventeenth-century Baroque poetics, philosophy, and politics, with special attention to works by Jonathan Swift, John Gay, and Alexander Pope; trace reactions to Augustan literature in the later eighteenth-century writing of Samuel Johnson and William Blake; and conclude with study of Jane Austen’s Emma and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We will move from the skeptical finitude of the Augustans early in the century to a new poetics of infinitude, vision, and expressionism after 1750, evinced in a shift in interest from the physical to the metaphysical.


ENGL 670-01 Recovering the Black Past in Fiction
Thursday 5-7:30pm
Piper Williams

This course will focus on contemporary writers¿ fictional revisions, reconsiderations, and perhaps most importantly, the re-imaging of History. By History, I mean the “official” (read racialized & patriarchal) versions of the past that often depend on omitting or obscuring the stories about people with discernible “differences” in race, gender or sexuality. We will consider what it means to do the work of reclaiming History in fiction. We will read some historical narratives to help contextualize the fictional works. The works we will read tell a number of different stories/histories about Black people’s pasts, including stories of the Middle Passage, Slavery, Jim Crow in the American South and the African Diaspora.


ENGL 670-02 Black Writers and the City
Tuesday 5-7:30pm
Samira Abdur-Rahman

This course considers a cross section of sources including novels, essays, poetry, memoir, film, critical geography studies, and literary criticism to explore how black writers imagine the city. We will read literature that spans from the mid-twentieth century to the twenty-first century in order to engage with the shifting meaning of the city. In lieu of preceding chronologically, we will treat cities as case studies, moving from US cities like Chicago, Atlanta, and New York City to locations such as Port au Prince, Paris, and Toronto.  Central to our inquiry will be understanding how multiple geographies comprise a city producing various sites of memory, contact, and conflict. We will also explore how ethnicity and migration complicate how writers imagine and construct blackness and the city. Writers to be considered include James Baldwin, Dionne Brand, John Edgar Wideman, Edwidge Danticat, and Gwendolyn Brooks. This is a hybrid graduate course. We will meet in-person and online.


ENGL 670-03 Gender and the Round Table
Glenn Steinberg
Wednesday 5-7:30pm

The brotherhood of the Round Table.  Virgins.  Knights in shining armor.  Adultery.  The Holy Grail.  This course explores gender as a central concern in stories about King Arthur from the Middle Ages and the 19th century.  Among texts and authors included in the course are The Stanzaic Morte ArthurSir Gawain and the Green KnightThe Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle, Sir Thomas Malory, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Mark Twain.