Classes

English S-167 The Contemporary Novel [freshman seminar]

Semester: 

Summer

Offered: 

2018
This course examines very recently published literary fiction in English, by a diverse group of influential authors: Tom McCarthy, Rachel Kushner, Ali Smith, Angie Thomas, Maggie Nelson, and Moshin Hamid. We consider the aesthetics of the twenty-first century novel in relation to social and political questions surrounding citizenship, migration, the environment, media and technology, race, gender, and class. Fictions are paired with pertinent essays, journalism, and reviews. 

HL90CJ: Literature and Design [undergraduate seminar]

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2017
This course tracks the history of design from the Industrial Revolution to the digital revolution in the United States, and it gives sustained attention to the relationship between this history and American literature, broadly conceived. At least since Edgar Allan Poe published his “Philosophy of Furniture” in 1840, American authors have engaged with the objects and ideas of design thinking. Such engagement has taken many different forms since the mid-nineteenth century: simultaneous attraction to and repulsion from the technological, the industrial, and the machine; obsession with the... Read more about HL90CJ: Literature and Design [undergraduate seminar]

English 292m: Methods of Literary Study [graduate seminar]

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2016

What constitutes method in literary studies (and in the humanities, more generally)? Over the past decade, this question has attained new urgency, with scholars of literature debating fundamental assumptions about what, how, and even whether to read. This seminar will engage with such debates by surveying recent monographs, edited collections, and journal articles that address topics such as: historicism and periodization;...

Read more about English 292m: Methods of Literary Study [graduate seminar]

English 66: Narrative Setting [Common Ground: Migrations]

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2016

Examining the device of setting—one of the core components of narrative—our journey through literary history and geography begins in the eighteenth century and ends in the twenty-first. If, as the Oxford English Dictionary explains, “setting” refers to “the literary framework of a narrative or other composition,” then we will analyze novels whose frameworks are especially vivid and complex. We will ask a range of interrelated questions: How does a particular setting (e.g. Gatsby’s house) relate to the overall setting...

Read more about English 66: Narrative Setting [Common Ground: Migrations]

English 179b: Art Novels [lecture with section]

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2015

An exploration of the dynamic relationship between the American novel and the visual arts, from the late nineteenth century to the present day. What happens when novelists engage with painting, sculpture, photography, film and video, performance art, and other artistic practices? How do we understand the relations among verbal, visual, tactile, digital, and ambient media? The course begins with Henry James and ends with a contemporary art novel to be determined by the class. Other likely authors include: Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, James Baldwin,...

Read more about English 179b: Art Novels [lecture with section]

History and Literature 97: The Idea and Problem of America [sophomore tutorial]

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2014

How has America been imagined as both an idea and a problem? We will examine this question in three historical contexts—the years just before and after the Civil War; the Progressive Era; and the Cold War period—and we will read a range of literary texts (e.g. Moby-Dick, The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man) and historical documents (e.g. Lincoln’s speeches, documentary photographs). Designed for the Sophomore Tutorial in History and Literature,...

Read more about History and Literature 97: The Idea and Problem of America [sophomore tutorial]

History and Literature 90: The Postwar American Road Narrative [undergraduate seminar]

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2013

Road trips can be exhilarating adventures, soporific slogs, and treacherous travails. They can excite the passions and inspire the mind, and they can dull the senses and ruin the body. They can be pilgrimages to a specific place or journeys into the self, communal endeavors or exercises in solitude. They can prompt a new awareness of others, even as they can produce isolation, alienation, and antipathy. They can synthesize human and machine in elegant ways, or they can be disasters of malfunction and helplessness.

These are just some of...

Read more about History and Literature 90: The Postwar American Road Narrative [undergraduate seminar]

English 166: American Modernism [lecture with section]

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2013

This course examines the literature and culture of American Modernism (1880s–1920s). Emphasizing the genre of the novel, it attends to major works by Henry James, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, W. E. B. Du Bois, Jean Toomer, and Virginia Woolf. Lectures underscore the dynamic relationship between literature and history—including the history of visual art, technology, media, politics, and ideas. Special attention is given to the relationship between...

Read more about English 166: American Modernism [lecture with section]

English 90ad: American Detective Fiction [undergraduate seminar]

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2013

Detective fiction is a vibrant genre of American literature. This course examines the development of that genre from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, beginning with Edgar A. Poe, extending to Thomas Pynchon, and considering along the way Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, William Faulkner, Chester Himes, Patricia Highsmith, Paul Auster, and Jim Holt. After analyzing three foundational detective stories by Poe, we will turn to the work of Arthur Conan Doyle, who set an influential precedent with...

Read more about English 90ad: American Detective Fiction [undergraduate seminar]