Robert Cohen, Professor of English and American Literatures, is a novelist who teaches both literature and creative writing courses. His books include Amateur Barbarians, Inspired Sleep, The Here and Now, The Organ Builder, and a collection of short stories, The Varieties of Romantic Experience. Prior to teaching at Middlebury he taught at Harvard, Rice, the University of Houston, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. He earned a B.A. from University of California Berkeley and an MFA from Columbia. His stories and essays have appeared in Harpers, Paris Review, GQ, The Believer, and many other magazines, and his awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Writers Award, a Ribalow Prize, and a Pushcart Prize.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
CRWR0170 - Writing: Poetry, Fiction, NonF
Writing: Poetry, Fiction, NonFiction
An introduction to the writing of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction through analysis of writings by modern and contemporary poets and prose writers and regular discussion of student writing. Different instructors may choose to emphasize one literary form or another in a given semester. Workshops will focus on composition and revision, with particular attention to the basics of form and craft. This course is a prerequisite to CRWR 0380, CRWR 0385, CRWR 0370, and CRWR 0375. (This course is not a college writing course.) (Formerly ENAM 0170) 3 hrs. sem. ART
Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
CRWR0370 - Advanced Fiction Workshop
Study and practice in techniques of fiction writing through workshops and readings in short fiction and novels. Class discussions will be based on student manuscripts and published model works. Emphasis will be placed on composition and revision. (ENAM/CRWR 0170, ENAM/CRWR 0175, or ENAM/CRWR 0185) (Approval required; please apply online at http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/enam/resources/forms or at the Department office) (Formerly ENAM 0370) (This course is not a college writing course) 3 hrs. sem. ART
Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016
CRWR0560 - Special Project: Writing
Special Project: Creative Writing
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017
CRWR0701 - Senior Thesis:Creative Writing
Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016
CRWR0711 - Senior Thesis: Creative Writ.
Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking two-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. (Formerly ENAM 0711)
Spring 2013, Fall 2013
ENAM0117 - The Short Story
The Short Story (AL)
This course approaches the short story as a distinct prose genre, beginning with work by Edgar Allen Poe and Guy de Maupassant and concluding with stories by contemporary authors. We will examine the particularly notable growth of the genre in America and survey various trends in the form, from "local color" sketches and realistic tales to experiments in modernism and postmodernism. Throughout, we will consider issues of structure, characterization, style, and voice. Other authors may include Anderson, Barthelme, Cheever, Chekhov, Hemingway, Joyce, Moore, O'Connor, Twain, and Welty. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR LIT NOR
Spring 2013, Fall 2015
ENAM0244 - 20th Century English Novel
Twentieth-Century English Novel
This course will explore the development of the novel in this century, with a primary focus on writers of the modernist period and later attention to more contemporary works. We will examine questions of formal experimentation, the development of character, uses of the narrator, and the problem of history, both personal and political, in a novelistic context. Readings will include novels by Conrad, Joyce, Forster, Woolf, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc. EUR LIT
ENAM0307 / CMLT0307 - Truth and Other Fictions
Pulling Reality’s Hair: Truth and Other Fictions
In this course we will occupy ourselves with works that straddle, blur, or occasionally just flat out ignore the aesthetic divide between fiction and non-fiction, in the hopes of getting a better grip on the relation between self and other, word and world, narrative strategy and fidelity to truths both large and small. Hence readings will include biographical and autobiographical novels, novelistic treatments of biography and autobiography, and a number of hybrid composites that cannot be classified, though we will surely try. Readings will include Nabokov, Proust, Henry Adams, J.M. Coetzee, W.G. Sebald, Lydia Davis, Joan Didion, Gregoire Bouillier, Art Spiegelman, and Spalding Gray. In addition we will view films by Ross McElwee, Andre Gregory, and Charlie Kaufman. (Not open to students who have taken ENAM 0417) 3 hrs. sem.
ENAM0309 / CMLT0309 - Contemporary Literature
In this course we will explore seminal works of the post-World War II literature written in English. In the course of our readings we will move through the cultural and social transformations beginning with the paranoia and alienation of the Cold War, and continuing with the Civil Rights era, the national crisis of Vietnam, the rise of multiculturalism and the culture wars in the 1980s, the wide ranging effects of the information revolution, the profits and perils of globalization, and the profound anxiety of the war on terror. Writers studied will include Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nabokov, Don DeLillo, Donald Barthelme, William S. Burroughs, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Ana Castillo, and Art Spiegelman. 3 hrs. lect. LIT
ENAM0500 - Special Project: Lit
Special Project: Literature
Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017
ENAM0700 - Senior Thesis:Critical Writing
Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.
Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016
ENAM0710 - Senior Thesis: Critical Writ.
Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking two-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the thesis workshop (ENAM 710z) in both Fall and Spring terms.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013
ENAM1022 / LITS1022 - Kafka and his Influence
Kafka and his Influence
This course is an intensive inquiry into the work and reach of Franz Kafka. In addition to reading his novels, his stories, his letters and diaries, and his aphorisms, we will take up some of the voluminous and often highly imaginative writings on Kafka, with an eye towards fashioning some ideas, and some writings, of our own. (This course is a junior/senior seminar for ENAM majors; others by instructor approval). EUR LIT PHL WTR
FYSE1203 - Beast in the Jungle
The Beast in the Jungle
In this course we will explore some literary texts in which the practice of exploration itself yields a complex confrontation with, and often breakdown of, identity and will. The westerner’s longing to separate him or herself from home and make contact with a foreign “other” arises from the high purposes that set imperial adventures in motion in the first place. Readings will include Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Forster’s Passage to India, Waugh’s Handful of Dust, Bowles’ Sheltering Sky, Stone’s Dog Soldiers, Duras’ The Lover, Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT
FYSE1478 - American/Jewish Identity & Lit
American Identity, Jewish Literature, and Vice Versa
In this seminar we will look at imaginative representations of and by Jews in (mostly) American and (some) European literatures, with the goal of understanding, as broadly and intensely as possible, both the necessities and difficulties involved in writing about hyphenated identity -- any hyphenated identity. Readings will include works by Kafka, Isaac Babel, Bruno Schultz, Henry Roth, IB Singer, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Art Spiegelman, and many others. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT
LITS0701 - Independent Reading Course
Independent Reading Course
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the senior comprehensive examinations. At the conclusion of this course, students will take a one-hour oral examination (part of the senior comprehensive examination) in a specialization of their choice. (Approval Required) (Staff)
Fall 2013, Fall 2014
LITS0710 - Senior Honors Essay
Senior Honors Essay