Summer 2013

BRITISH LITERATURE

ENGL 560: Modern British Novel
Prof. Jonathan Greenberg
12-week session: May 22-Aug 7 Wed. 6:00-9:25

The aim of this course is to introduce some of the major novels of British modernism—the dynamic, revolutionary period of change within the arts that began in the first decades of the 20th century.  We will seek to become better readers, writers, and thinkers, and to cultivate a classroom atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and excitement.  While we will consider various critical formulations of modernism,  we will mainly seek to build a theory of modernism from the ground up, by paying close attention to formal and thematic continuities and discontinuties as we move from one text to the next.

The modernist period is often defined as extending from 1900-1939, but critics have argued for a full century of modernism ranging from the works of Charles Baudelaire (mid-19th c.) through the writings of Samuel Beckett (mid-late 20th c.).  During the first decades of the 20th century, huge changes took place in the way that writers and readers conceived of literature.  While the changes are hard to summarize, we can say that free verse took on an increasingly important role in poetry, and interior monologue became a dominant form in fiction.   Reading publics became increasingly fragmented and stratified, and the novel itself emerged fully as a high art form.  At the same time, large political and cultural changes were taking place. These years saw: Wolrd War One and the Russian Revolution; the threats to liberal democracy posed by communism and fascism; the rise of labor unions and mass politics; new egalitarian ideas of women’s roles in society; Freud’s psychoanalytic revolution, which remains the foundation of modern psychology, and a new openness about sexuality, including non-normative sexualities; radical breakthroughs in science; new mass media (radio, film, recorded music) and forms of communication and transportation; and many more changes.   All of these transformations constitute a broad historical context to our understanding of the literature of the era.

WRITING STUDIES

ENWR 583-21: Teaching Writing through Literature  
Prof. Melinda Knight
6-week session: May 28-July 3, Tues, Thurs   6:00-9:25PM 

This course considers the best theories and practices for teaching writing through literature. Students will also examine the social and historical intersections of literary studies and writing pedagogy. The course will begin with a consideration of the connections and dissonance between the composition and literature and then move to an examination of the public sphere.  To demonstrate how various technologies can enhance learning, the class will produce a wiki for teaching a major work of literature, including sections on historical context, the author’s biography, critical reception, sample assignments, multimedia resources, and an annotated bibliography.  The final unit of the course will focus on putting theory into practice, including a proposal for research and a syllabus and rationale for teaching writing through literature.  Other assignments include blogs, response papers, and critical essays.