Previous Courses


Graduate Seminars


6215 Renaissance Literature

  • 101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor John Curran

    Course Title: Transformations in Renaissance Humanism

    Course Description:
    If there was a "Renaissance" in and around the sixteenth century, it had much to do, for intellectuals then and for students of the period since, with humanism. In this course we will discover some of the ways humanism, in a strictly defined but also in a much wider sense of the concept, changed and was changed by English writers. Taken strictly, humanism refers to the new engagement with the Classics, especially in philological, educational, philosophical, and artistic spheres; broadly, "humanism" connotes much what it does today: the positing of the centrality and potentiality of the human. We will ask how humanism animated and troubled the work of Erasmus, More, Marlowe, Sidney, and Jonson.


6300 The Long 18th Century

  • 101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Melissa Ganz

    Course Title: The Eighteenth-Century Novel

    Course Description: The “long” eighteenth century (c. 1680-1830) has long been recognized as a formative period for the development of the modern novel. During this period, imaginative writers experimented freely, offering innovative and competing conceptions of the new genre. This course examines the evolution of British fiction in the context of broader transformations in British culture. In particular, we consider the ways in which novelists responded to and participated in debates about gender and marriage, crime and vice, slavery and race, and urbanization and market culture. At the same time, we consider novelists’ engagements with the period’s moral and political thought, and we examine the “cult of sensibility” that emerged at mid-century, probing writers’ meditations on the value and limits of reason and feeling. Along the way, we consider recurring debates about the effects of novel-reading. The course ultimately aims to introduce you to the range and richness of eighteenth-century fiction, while providing a foundation for the study of novels of any period.

    Readings: Likely authors include Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen. Supplementary materials by writers such as Bernard Mandeville, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Hannah More as well as selections from literary critics, philosophers, and historians.

    Assignments: A 15-20 page paper; a reading journal (“commonplace book”); a presentation; and lively participation.

6700 Studies in Twentieth Century American Literature


6820/8282 Studies in Critical Theory and Practice















English Department

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