Previous Courses

 




Graduate Seminars

 

6215 Renaissance Literature

  • 101 MW 9:30-10:45 Professor John Curran

    Course Title: Spenser, Milton, and Epic History

    Course Description: This course will examine some of the ways England’s two most prominent epic poets approached the relationship between epic and history. Traditionally, this relationship was conceived as a very close one. With Virgil’s Aeneid as the model, epic was supposed to be history writ large – the story of a nation’s past explained, expanded, dramatized, theorized, and celebrated. Both poets are working with this standard of epic, but both at the same time problematize and complicate it. Our goal is to observe how this is so, and in the process we will consider three ideas of epic “history”: mimesis, the portrayal of a past reality outside the poem, in human time; topicality, the referencing of issues, especially political ones, from the poets’ own times; and teleology, the conception of a specific, linear, and purposeful time continuum with a beginning and an end. Developing a sense of these three ideas and of the relations between them, we will strive for a better understanding of the “great arguments” of The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost.

    Readings: The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost


 

6300 Studies in the Restoration and 18th Century Literature

  • 101 TTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Al Rivero

    Course Title: Jane Austen

    Course Description: Jane Austen is big these days. Dozens of television, film and theatrical adaptations of her six novels have appeared and will continue to appear. Merchandise featuring her image or the images of her characters is everywhere. Only Shakespeare exceeds her in cultural capital. This is all well and good, but the downside of our current sentimental obsession with all things Austen is that the novels themselves are often trivialized or not read with care.  In this course, we will read Austen’s novels with the close attention they demand and deserve. Whether Austen was a feminist in our modern sense is debatable. What is beyond dispute is that her novels aim to represent the plight of women in a patriarchal society rigged against them. Austen’s novels are not the fantasy machines for which they are often mistaken but pedagogical interventions in a culture which, while ostensibly valuing women, kept them from achieving their full human potential. That is a truth not universally acknowledged either in Austen’s time or in ours.

    Readings:
    Norton Critical Editions of Northanger Abbey; Sense and Sensibility; Pride and Prejudice; Mansfield Park; Emma; and Persuasion.






6500 Studies in 20th Century British Literature

 

 

6820 Studies in Modern Critical Theory and Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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