Professor of English and American Literatures
Elizabeth Napier has been teaching in the Department of English and American Literatures at Middlebury College since 1978. Her research and writing focus on eighteenth-century English literature, with a special emphasis on the novel, and on literary translation, with a particular interest in the writings of painter-poets. She teaches mainly in the areas of eighteenth-century literature and the novel.
Professor Napier received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
Falling Into Matter: Problems of Embodiment in English Fiction from Defoe to Shelley. U Toronto P, 2011.
F. T. Marinetti: Selected Poems and Related Prose. Translation with Barbara R. Studholme; selected by Luce Marinetti; with an essay by Paolo Valesio. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002.
The Failure of Gothic: Problems of Disjunction in an Eighteenth-century Literary Form. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1987.
Sounds. Translation, with introduction, of Wassily Kandinsky's Klänge. New Haven: Yale UP, 1981.
"The Grapes of Wrath: Steinbeck's Pilgrim's Progress." Steinbeck Review 7: 1 (2010): 51-56.
“’Raining Cats and Dogs’: Swift’s ‘A Description of a City Shower’.” Explicator 65:4 (2007): 208-11.
"Mary Collyer." British Novelists 1660- 1800, I. Ed. Martin C. Battestin. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: BC Research, 1985. XXXIX, 113- 116.
"Elizabeth Griffith," 247- 251.
"Elizabeth Inchbald," 274- 280.
"Harriet Lee; Sophia Lee," 301- 306.
"Matthew Gregory Lewis," 313- 323.
"Ann Radcliffe," II, 37- 46.
"Clara Reeve," II, 46- 51.
"Elizabeth Rowe," II, 409- 413.
"Sarah Scott," II, 413- 418.
"Charlotte Smith," II, 433- 440.
"Horace Walpole," II, 525- 542.
"The Problem of Boundaries in Wuthering Heights." Philological Quarterly 63 (1984): 95-107. Rpt. in Major Literary Characters: Heathcliff. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1993. 48-50.
"Swift, Kaempfer, and Psalmanaazaar: Further Remarks on 'Trampling upon the Crucifix'." Notes and Queries 226 (l98l): 226.
"Objects and Order in Robinson Crusoe." South Atlantic Quarterly 80 (l98l): 84- 94.
"Swift's 'Trampling upon the Crucifix': A Parallel." Notes and Queries 224 (l979): 544- 548.
"Aylmer as 'Scheidekünstler': The Pattern of Union and Separation in Hawthorne's 'The Birthmark'." South Atlantic Bulletin, 4l (l976): 32-35.
"'Tremble and Reform': The Inversion of Power in Richardson's Clarissa." ELH 42 (l975): 2l4- 223.
Translations from the poetry of Valie Export. Dimension: Contemporary German Arts and Letters 8 (l975): 82- 85.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
CRWR 0560 - Special Project: Writing
Special Project: Creative Writing
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
CRWR 0701 - 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. (Formerly ENAM 0701)
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
ENAM 0103 - Reading Literature
This course seeks to develop skills for the close reading of literature through discussion of and writing about selected poems, plays, and short stories. A basic vocabulary of literary terms and an introductory palette of critical methods will also be covered, and the course's ultimate goal will be to enable students to attain the literary-critical sensibility vital to further course work in the major. At the instructor's discretion, the texts employed in this class may share a particular thematic concern or historical kinship. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
ENAM 0204 - Foundations of English Lit. ▹
Foundations of English Literature (I)
Students will study Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as other foundational works of English literature that may include Shakespeare, non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, the poetry of Donne, and other 16th and 17th century poetry. 3 hrs. lect./dsc.
Spring 2011, Spring 2015
ENAM 0208 - Literary Landscapes, 1700-1900
English Literary Landscapes, 1700-1900
In this course we will examine literary and related works that take as their focus the natural world and man's relationship to it. We will consider transformations of taste in representations of landscape in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Works to be discussed will include poems, gardening tracts, philosophical treatises, notebooks, letters, travel accounts, natural histories, and novels. Pope, Crabbe, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Clare, Hopkins, and Hardy will be central figures in this course.
Spring 2013, Spring 2014
ENAM 0220 - The Early English Novel ▹
Castaways, Courtesans, and Criminals: The Early English Novel (II)
The novel was a young and scandalous literary genre in the 18th century. The reading public found the novel to be confusing, unpredictable, racy, morally dangerous--and of course very exciting. In this course we will examine the rise of the novel as a controversial literary genre, tracing its development from Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders in the early part of the century, through Richardson’s didactic Pamela and Clarissa and Fielding’s lively Tom Jones in mid-century, to Sterne’s wildly experimental Tristram Shandy and the more familiar world of Jane Austen at the century’s end. We will also consider the ways in which this history has shaped the fiction of today by reading a 21st century novel, to be determined by the course participants.
ENAM 0225 - Eighteenth-Century Literature
Travails of the Self: Eighteenth-Century Literature (II)
The 'long' 18th century opens with poems of affairs of state and ends with intensely private and often anguished meditations on the self. In this course we will examine the rich range and complexity of 18th century literary concerns through a loosely chronological look at major works of poetry, drama, and fiction of the period: poems of Gay, Pope, Swift, Cowper, and Gray; Congreve's The Way of the World and Sheridan's The School for Scandal; and Fielding's Joseph Andrews and Inchbald's A Simple Story. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
ENAM 0229 - Neoclassic/Romantic/Victorian
Neoclassic, Romantic, Victorian: Changes in English Poetry, 1700-1900 (II)
In this course we will examine important shifts of style and sensibility in English poetry of the neoclassic, romantic, and Victorian periods. We will consider issues of poetic genre, structure, and diction, as well as transforming notions of knowledge, nature, and the self. Major poets will include Pope, Swift, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, and Hardy. 3 hrs. lect.
ENAM 0455 - Problems in Narrative
Problems in Narrative Analysis, 1814 to 2013
In this seminar we will examine issues of genre, theme, and style that pose particularly demanding problems of analysis in the novel as it develops into the 21st century. Among works to be discussed will be Austen's Mansfield Park, Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner (to be announced in October). We will scrutinize point of view, narrative style, authorial investment in or resistance to plot and/or character, and breadth of moral and political vision. 3 hrs sem.
ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit ▹
Special Project: Literature
Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
ENAM 0560 - Special Project: Writing
Special Project: Creative Writing
Winter 2011, Spring 2011
ENAM 0700 - Senior Essay: 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 essay workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.
Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
ENAM 0701 - Senior Essay: Creative Writing
Senior Essay: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.
Spring 2011, Fall 2011
ENAM 0710 - 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.
Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014
ENAM 0711 - 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.
Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012
ENAM 0720 - Senior Comprehensive Program
Senior Comprehensive Program
This course will include readings and discussions of a range of poems, plays, fiction, and theory from 1400 to the present. Discussion of these texts will take place in intense daily seminars, supplemented by three lectures by literary scholars. Four papers are also required, one for each week of seminars. Three informal receptions will round out the communal aspect of this culminating enterprise.
ENAM 1004 - Short Dickens
“Whatever the word ‘great’ means,” wrote Chesterton, “Dickens was what it means.” In this course we will study five of the shortest of Dickens’s fifteen novels, which appeared serially between 1837 and 1870: Oliver Twist, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and the unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood. We will discuss, in addition, Dickens’s rise to fame, Victorian London, serial publication, sentimentalism, the illustrations to Dickens’s novels, as well as various commercial enterprises based on the mania for Dickens—among them the ill-fated Dickens World in Kent.
FYSE 1163 - Letter of the Law
Letter of the Law
In this seminar we will study the representation of law and lawyers in a selection of literary works from Sophocles’s Antigone to John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. We will be concerned with issues of justice, equity, the letter of the law, law and customs, law and politics, and punishment and retribution as they manifest themselves in some of the following works: Antigone, Billy Budd, The Lottery, The Trial, In Cold Blood, and A Time to Kill. We will also view some episodes of L.A. Law. Writing will emphasize the development of a strong critical stance, precise thinking and use of language, and effective implementation of evidence in supporting an argument.
FYSE 1416 - Talking the Talk
Talking the Talk
In this seminar we will discuss literary works that show particular interest in dialogue or that explore difficulties of communication among characters of different cultural, educational, and linguistic backgrounds, and among figures who vie for dominance within conversational and related arenas. We will consider writers’ uses of regional dialects, cant, and slang, and gender (and other) differences in spoken language. Readings will include novels by James, Conrad, Lawrence, Forster; stories by O’Connor; and a play by Pinter. Writing will emphasize the development of a critical stance, precise thinking and use of language, and effective implementation of evidence in supporting an argument. 3 hrs. sem.
LITS 0701 - 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)