Brett Millier

Reginald L. Cook Professor of American Literature

 Fall Term: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:45-3:15 and by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 304

Brett C. Millier is the Reginald L. Cook Professor of American Literature and Chair of the Department of English and American Literatures at Middlebury.  She has been at Middlebury since 1986, and her teaching interests include twentieth century American poetry and fiction, gender studies, Canadian literature, and critical writing and pedagogy. Ms. Millier is a graduate of Yale University (BA) and Stanford University (Ph.D.) She is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It (U. of California Press) and, most recently, of Flawed Light: American Women Poets and Alcohol (U. of Illinois Press).  Her essays have appeared in Verse, the Kenyon Review, the New England Review, Contemporary Literature, and elsewhere.  She is currently at work on a critical biography of the poet Jean Garrigue (1912-1972).



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

AMST0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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AMST0710 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
For students who have completed AMST 0705, and qualify to write two-credit interdisciplinary honors thesis. on some aspect of American culture. The thesis may be completed on a fall/winter schedule or a fall/spring schedule. (Select a thesis advisor prior to registration)

Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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CRWR0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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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, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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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

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ENAM0103 - Reading Literature      

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions. CW LIT

Fall 2012, Spring 2016

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ENAM0206 / AMST0206 - 19th Century American Lit.      

Nineteenth-Century American Literature (II, AL) (Pre-1900 AL)
This course will examine major developments in the literary world of 19th century America. Specific topics to be addressed might include the transition from Romanticism to Regionalism and Realism, the origins and evolution of the novel in the United States, and the tensions arising from the emergence of a commercial marketplace for literature. Attention will also be paid to the rise of women as literary professionals in America and the persistent problematizing of race and slavery. Among others, authors may include J. F. Cooper, Emerson, Melville, Douglass, Chopin, Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Hawthorne, Stowe, Alcott, Wharton, and James. . 3 hrs. lect./disc. LIT NOR

Fall 2012, Spring 2015

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ENAM0210 - American Modernists      

The American Modernists (AL)
American writers at the turn of the 20th century faced social, intellectual, and technological change on an unprecedented scale. Individually and collectively they worked to answer William Carlos Williams’s pressing question: “How can I be a mirror to this modernity?” In this course we will read, discuss, and write about poetry by writers such as Williams, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Wallace Stevens; and prose by Henry Adams, Edith Wharton, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, and others. (Not open to students who have taken ENAM 0207) LIT NOR

Fall 2014, Spring 2017

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ENAM0212 - American Literature Since 1945      

American Literature Since 1945 (AL)
In this course we will trace the development of the postmodern sensibility in American literature since the Second World War. We will read works in four genres: short fiction, novels, non-fiction (the "new journalism"), and poetry. Authors will include Saul Bellow, Joseph Heller, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O'Connor, Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, and Don DeLillo. 3 hrs. lect./disc. LIT NOR

Spring 2013, Spring 2016

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ENAM0254 / GSFS0254 - American Women Poets      

American Women Poets
We will examine the rich tradition of lyric poetry by women in the U.S. Beginning with the Puritan Anne Bradstreet, one of the New World's earliest published poets, we continue to the 19th century and Emily Dickinson, along with the formidable line of "poetesses" who dominated the popular poetry press in that era. We examine the female contribution to the Modernist aesthetic in figures like Millay, Moore, H.D. and Gertrude Stein; the transformation of modernist ideals by Bishop, Plath, Sexton, and Rich; and, among the postmodernists, Lyn Hejinian and Susan Howe. 3 hrs. lect. LIT NOR

Spring 2017

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ENAM0431 - In The American Grain      

Senior Seminar: In the American Grain (AL)
How are the preoccupations of mid 19th century American literature reflected in the 20th and 21st centuries? In this seminar, we will read works by major U.S. authors with an eye to developing definitions for ourselves of “the American Grain” in modern and postmodern literature. Readings may include Emerson, Hawthorne, Williams, Faulkner, Pound, Stevens, Delillo, and Morrison, as well as a number of works of criticism. 3 hrs. sem/disc.

Fall 2015

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ENAM0450 - Faulkner and His Influence      

Faulkner and His Influence (AL)
William Faulkner was extreme: the most radical formal innovator among the American Modernist novelists and an outrageous (and subtle) thinker about the complex social and racial history of the American south. In this course we will read Faulkner’s major works (As I Lay Dying; The Sound and the Fury; Light in August; Absalom, Absalom!; and Go Down, Moses) and works by Flannery O'Connor, Charles Johnson, and others influenced by Faulkner's style and vision. 3 hrs. sem. LIT NOR

Spring 2013

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ENAM0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017

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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.

Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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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.

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014

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ENVS0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Spring 2016

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FYSE1105 - The Poet's I      


Fall 2014

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FYSE1479 - Poetry and Poetics      

Poetry and Poetics
This seminar is an introduction to the formal and generic aspects of lyric poetry in English. We will work to develop sensitivity to the various strategies of meaning available to poets—meter, rhyme, sound, diction, imagery—in order to read poems more closely, thoughtfully, and with pleasure. We will also attend to the historical, cultural, and biographical contexts of poems and poets, but our emphasis will be on lyric poems by a variety of poets from a range of periods and traditions. This is a literature, rather than a creative writing, course; but student poets are welcome to join. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2016

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INTD0210 / EDST0210 - Sophomore Seminar/Liberal Arts      

Sophomore Seminar in the Liberal Arts
This course is designed for sophomores who are interested in exploring the meaning and the purpose of a liberal arts education. To frame this investigation, we will use the question "What is the good life and how shall I live it?" Through an interdisciplinary and multicultural array of readings and films we will engage our course question through intellectual discussion, written reflection, and personal practice. There will be significant opportunities for public speaking and oral presentation, as well as regular writing assignments, including a formal poster presentation. Readings will include reflections on a liberal arts education in the U.S. (Emerson, Brann, Nussbaum, Oakeshott, Ladsen-Billings, bell hooks); on "the good life" (excerpts from Aristotle, sacred texts of different traditions); on social science analyses of contemporary life; texts on the neuroscience of happiness; as well as literary and cinematic representations of lives well-lived. CMP (J. Miller-Lane; P. Zupan) CMP

Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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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 2014

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LITS0710 - Senior Honors Essay      

Senior Honors Essay
(Approval Required)

Spring 2015

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Department of English & American Literatures

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753