The Bread Loaf School of English


Oxford Campus, 2014 Courses

Group 2 (British Literature through the Seventeenth Century)


7909   Medieval and Renaissance Romance/L. Engle

An introduction to romance narrative with some attention to its adaptation in drama. We will read Arthurian romance, Chrétien de Troyes through Malory, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in translation)and Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale (in Middle English). We will also read Chaucer's philosophical romances and parodies thereof: Troilus and Criseyde, The Knight's Tale, and The Miller's Tale (in Middle English). We'll then look at Renaissance romance in Sir Philip Sidney's The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia and at the development of romance as a dramatic genre in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Along with various in-class activities, including some reading aloud in Middle English, acting, a teaching segment, and weekly tutorial notes, students will write a research paper in stages, first as a prospectus, then as a conference paper, and finally as a seminar paper.

Texts: Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances (Penguin); Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, ed. Jill Mann (Penguin, original spelling ed.) and Troilus and Criseyde, ed. Stephen Barney (Norton Critical); Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. Marie Borroff (Norton Critical); Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur: The Winchester Manuscript, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford); Sir Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones (Oxford); William Shakespeare, The Late Romances, ed. David Bevington and D. Kastan (Bantam).


7919   Shakespeare's First Folio 1623/E. Smith

The collected edition of Shakespeare's plays gathered by his fellow actors in 1623 gives us eighteen plays we wouldn't otherwise have, as well as new versions of some of those previously printed. It marks a landmark in the development of drama as literature, and a new cultural status for Shakespeare. This course gets under the skin of that iconic book. We'll look at original copies in Oxford libraries and learn hands-on about how it was printed in a series of practical sessions with a master printer. We’ll study the ways the printed text gives us new insight into how the plays were performed. This course approaches Shakespeare’s plays, then, via the material conditions of their transmission, drawing on theories of performance, of editing, of print technology, of book history, and of literary criticism. 

Texts: Although the course encompasses aspects of all of the collected plays, there will be a particular focus on A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet,and Richard II. Students may read the plays in any modern edition or complete works; the first folio versions will be available at Oxford.


7921   British Theater: Stage to Page to Stage/M. Cadden

This course will be based on theatrical productions we’ll attend in London, Stratford, and Oxford. Our focus will be on the relationship between plays and theatrical institutions, past and present—with an emphasis on current "institutions" such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Royal Court, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the West End, as well as fringe groups. A reading list will be available (and circulated to enrolled students) once the season is fully announced. With luck, we’ll be seeing work spanning the centuries and the world, as produced for a twenty-first-century audience. As the second half of the course’s title suggests, we’ll be interrogating the approach to performance that argues that the “page” somehow precedes the “stage.” Enrolled students will be charged a supplemental course fee of $800 to cover the costs of tickets and transportation. (This course carries one unit of Group 2 and one unit of Group 3 credit.)

Update 2/10/14: Plays for which tickets have thus far been procured include Arden of Faversham, The Roaring Girl, The Events, and Shakespeare in Love. Additional plays will be announced as selected.


7933   Shakespeare & Co.: English Renaissance Drama /L. Engle

This course will focus on the flowering of public theater in London from 1585 to 1625. We will read selected plays by Shakespeare alongside similar plays by other major playwrights such as Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, and John Webster, with attention both to the main genres and the peculiar institutions of Elizabethan and Jacobean theater. Along with various in-class activities, including rehearsing and acting a scene, leading  a class discussion, and weekly tutorial notes, students will write a research paper in stages, first as a prospectus, then as a conference paper, and finally as a seminar paper. Topics in order: revenge (Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy); gender and sexuality (Marlowe's Edward II, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night,Jonson's Epicene, Middleton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl); love and service (Shakespeare’s Othello and The Winter’s Tale, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi); family dysfunction (Arden of Faversham, Shakespeare's King Lear, Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore);magic and theatricality (Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Jonson’s The Alchemist, Shakespeare’s The Tempest).(Students who have taken a U.S. version of course 7240 may not enroll in this course.)

Texts: English Renaissance Drama, ed. David Bevington, Lars Engle, et al. (Norton). A good modern complete Shakespeare (your choice).


7934   John Donne/P. McCullough

This course will devote a full term to studying the remarkably varied works of one of the English Renaissance's greatest writers, John Donne. Seminars will be devoted to exploring, in roughly chronological order, the amazing range of genres in which Donne wrote: love lyric, elegy, epithalamion, verse satire, verse epistle, obsequies, religious lyric, prose satire, letters, meditations, and sermons. Students should first read the lively Donne biography by John Stubbs; then it is crucial they read, before the session, the texts below in the order listed (in these editions).

Texts: John Stubbs, John Donne: the Reformed Soul (Norton); The Complete Poems of John Donne, ed. Robin Robbins (Longman Annotated series, Routledge); John Donne Selected Prose, ed. Neil Rhodes (Penguin; out of print but used copies available online); John Donne Selected Letters, ed. P. M. Oliver (Carcanet); John Donne's Sermons on the Psalms and Gospels, ed. Evelyn Simpson (California).


7935   Literature and Place, 1640–1740/P. McCullough

This course will set major literary achievements of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in the context of artists' increasing engagement with both the built and the natural environment. We will consider the works of major and minor poets and dramatists, as well as diaries and the emergent periodical essay. An emphasis will be placed on parallel features and influences in architecture, garden design, and urban development, as well as changing views of the English countryside. Themes will include the inherited classical traditions of georgic and pastoral; the English landscape; colonial expansionism and nationalism; the representation of London before and after the Great Fire of 1666; the emergence of London's fashionable "West End"; the contested relationship between the so-called "sister arts"; and the importance of "taste" to the expanding middle class. The course will take advantage (through field trips, for which students should allow a small budget of up to $165 for travel) of the architectural, landscape, and fine art legacies in Oxfordshire and London. Authors will include Marvell, Milton, Pepys, Rochester, Dryden, Pope, Swift, Addison and Steele, and Thomson, though students will be encouraged to range beyond this canonical core in written work and class presentations. (This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.)

Texts: Andrew Marvell, The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. N. Smith(Longman/Routledge); John Milton, Paradise Lost (Penguin or Oxford); Restoration Literature: An Anthology, ed. Paul Hammond (Oxford); Eighteenth-Century Poetry, An Annotated Anthology, ed. David Fairer and Christine Gerrard (Blackwell). Also read Sir George Etherege, The Man of Mode, and William Wycherley, The Country Wife in Restoration Drama, An Anthology, ed. David Womersley (Blackwell).



Group 3 (British Literature since the Seventeenth Century)

7921   British Theater: Stage to Page to Stage/M. Cadden

See description under Group 2 offerings. This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.


7935   Literature and Place, 1640–1740/P. McCullough

See description under Group 2 offerings. This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.


7941   Early Romanticism/C. Gerrard

This course will chart the evolution of romanticism by locating its origins in earlier eighteenth-century writing and by examining a number of key texts from the “first generation” of romantic writers of the 1790s and early 1800s. The course will explore early romanticism from a variety of perspectives—political, social, literary, aesthetic. We will focus in particular on the following topics: sensibility and sentiment, the sublime, landscapes of the mind, rudeness and primitivism, the role of women. The list of texts below is not comprehensive; students will be encouraged to pursue individual lines of inquiry and to read widely for their written papers. 

Texts: Anne Finch, "A Nocturnal Reverie" (1713); Alexander Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard" (1717); Thomas Parnell, "A Night-Piece on Death" (1721); James Thomson, "Spring" (1730); Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard (1751); Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (1770); Anna Laetitia Barbauld, A Summer Evening’s Meditation (1773); William Cowper, The Task (1785)—all in Eighteenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology, 2nd ed., ed. D. Fairer and C. Gerrard (Blackwell). William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (1798); Wordsworth, the two-part Prelude (1799); Coleridge, “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison,” “Frost at Midnight,” “Kubla Khan”; William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience (1789-93). The most convenient source for Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Blake is Romanticism: An Anthology, ed. Duncan Wu (Blackwell). Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Mary Shelley (1817), Frankenstein (both Oxford World’s Classics).  


7950   Atlantic Crossings: Anglo-American Literary Relations, 1798–1900/C. Gerrard  

See description under Group 4 offerings. This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 4 credit.


7969   The Aesthetic Life: Art and Literature in the Nineteenth Century/S. Evangelista

When Oscar Wilde wrote that "all art is quite useless," he tried to provoke his contemporaries into seeing beyond didactic and ethical concerns in art and literature. Wilde’s aphorism belongs within a wide-ranging debate on the meaning and value of art in the nineteenth century. This course explores the idea of the aesthetic life in Victorian Britain, from the birth of the Pre-Raphaelite movement to the decadence of the 1890s. We will study a mixture of literary texts and art objects, paying particular attention to the intersections, borrowings, and clashes of verbal and visual cultures in this period. How did the Victorians talk about, enjoy, and collect art? How did artists and writers push the horizons of expectation of their contemporaries? We will try to answer these questions by discussing issues that include Victorian museum culture, aestheticism, art for art’s sake, the supernatural, gender and sexuality, symbolism, and decadence. Apart from regular seminars, the course will include museum visits in Oxford and London. Participants should budget approximately $100 for travel and tickets.

Texts: D. G. Rossetti, Collected Poetry and Prose, ed. Jerome McGann (Yale); John Ruskin, Selected Writings, ed. Diana Birch (Oxford); Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (Oxford); A. S. Byatt, The Children’s Book (any edition); Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun (any edition); Henry James, Roderick Hudson (any edition); Vernon Lee, Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales (Broadview); Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, "The Decay of Lying," and "The Critic as Artist" (any edition). Additional readings will be available at Bread Loaf.


7975   James Joyce/J. Johnson

Students will engage in intensive study of Ulysses in its Hiberno-European, modernist, and Joycean contexts. We will begin by reading both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and Joyce's poetry, critical essays, Stephen Hero, Exiles, Giacomo Joyce, and Finnegans Wake will all be incorporated into discussions), but the course will be primarily devoted to the reading and study of Ulysses. This work's centrality to, yet deviation from, the aesthetic and political preoccupations of modernism will be explored.

Primary Texts: James Joyce, Dubliners (any ed.), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (any ed.), and Ulysses (H. W. Gabler edition, Vintage; Norton suggested but not required for the others). Supplementary Texts: Stephen Hero, Exiles, Giacomo Joyce, Finnegans Wake, and Poems and Shorter Writings, ed. Richard Ellmann, A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson (Faber). (Students are not expected to buy the supplementary texts.)


7980   The Modern(ist) Novel/J. Johnson

T. S. Eliot, reviewing Ulysses, hesitated to describe the book as a "novel": "If it is not a novel, that is simply because the novel is a form which will no longer serve; it is because the novel, instead of being a form, was simply the expression of an age which had not sufficiently lost all form to feel the need of something stricter." Victorian society had itself a "form" and so could make use of that "loose baggy monster," the novel. Modernity, being itself formless, needed something more. Taking issue with Eliot’s diagnosis of the novel’s unfitness for modern purposes, the premise of this course will be that in the hands of the moderniststhe novel flourished. Ironically, the very unfitness of the Victorian novel for the expression of what Hardy called "the ache of modernism" stimulated the modernists to experiment, adapt, innovate. The result is one of the richest periods in the history of narrative fiction. We begin with Hardy’s "ache" and end with the "—" of which its author wrote, "I have an idea that I will invent a new name for my books to supplant 'novel.' A new — by Virginia Woolf. But what? Elegy?" 

Primary Texts: Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891; Norton Critical); Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891; Norton Critical); Henry James, The Ambassadors (1900; Norton Critical); Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907; any ed.); Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915; Norton Critical); James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. H. W. Gabler (1916; Vintage); D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love (1920; any ed.); Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927; any ed.). Everyone will be expected to read, independently, at least two other novels from a longer list available in Oxford. Secondary Text: The Narrative Reader, ed. Martin McQuillan (Routledge).


7994   Postwar Theories, Writing the World/H. Laird

See description under Group 5 offerings. This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.


Group 4 (American Literature)

7950   Atlantic Crossings: Anglo-American Literary Relations, 1798–1900/C. Gerrard

This course aims to explore the cross-currents between British and American literary cultures of the nineteenth century. By looking at key texts across a wide variety of genres and modes, including romance, the gothic, realism, and naturalism, we will examine the sometimes tense and competitive relationship between American authors and British cultural models. We will explore a variety of themes such as American innocence and European "sophistication"; landscape and nature; history; self-reliance and community; sin, guilt and the "double self." We will conduct seminars around key pairings or groupings of pivotal British and American texts, supplemented by other contemporary materials. (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 4 credit.)  

Texts: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner (1798); Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851); William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1799) and "Westminster Bridge" (1802); Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" from Leaves of Grass (1850), "As I ebb'd with the Ocean of Life," and "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818); Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly (1799); Edgar Allan Poe, Selected Tales (1837), especially "William Wilson" and "The Fall of the House of Usher"; Wordsworth, "The Thorn"; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860); Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905). Most of these texts are readily available in Oxford World’s Classics editions. There is an Easy Read or a Hackett edition of Edgar Huntly, ed. Philip Barnard.  


Group 5 (World Literature)


7993   Sex and Literature in the Age of Freud/S. Evangelista

In the decades either side of 1900, Freud changed the way we think of sex in the West. Far from being an isolated phenomenon, Freud’s psychoanalysis came into being within a period of intense research into the workings of sexuality which spanned literature, science, and visual culture. The aim of this course is to explore the rich networks of writings and theories about sex that saw the light during Freud’s lifetime (1856 to 1939). We will read a number of literary and non-literary texts that were published in these years, in Britain and across Europe, all of which explore sexuality from different perspectives. In approaching these works we will pay particular attention to the relationship among gender, sexuality, and sexual identity, and to the representation of non-normative and “queer” sexualities. We will ask questions such as: What is the relationship between sex and literature in this period? How do literary and non-literary texts understand and represent sexual difference, eroticism, and homoerotic desire? How do authors negotiate the boundary between the normal and the perverse in literature? What are the links between science and literature in the age of Freud? In order to come to a historical understanding of psychoanalysis within the wider culture of sex in this period, reading for this course will comprise some of Freud’s essays as well as some of the literary texts on which he specifically drew in his works. Foreign works will be read in English translation. Apart from regular seminars, the course will comprise one museum visit in London. Participants should budget approximately $80 for travel and tickets.

Texts: Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction (any ed.); Sigmund Freud, “Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva” in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality and “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”(any ed.); Emile Zola, Nana (any edition); Secret Lolita: The Confessions of Victor X, ed. and trans. Donald Rayfield (CreateSpace); Mario De Sa-Carneiro, Lucio's Confession (Dedalus); Leopold von Sacher Masoch, Venus in Furs (preferably in the Zone ed. with Gilles Deleuze, “Coldness and Cruelty”); Oscar Wilde and others, Teleny or The Reverse of the Medal (any edition); Wilhelm Jensen, Gradiva: A Pompeiian Fancy (any edition); Virginia Woolf, Orlando (any edition); Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness (any edition); Andre Gide, If It Die (Vintage); E. M. Forster, Maurice (any ed.). Additional materials will be available at Bread Loaf.


7994   Postwar Theories, Writing the World/H. Laird

Through theory and literature, this course will consider how “the world” has been written from World War II to the present; how modernity and globalization have affected contemporary thought and narrative; and how these texts re-envisage the future as well as their historical pasts. (This course carries one unit of Group 5 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.)

Texts: Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2nd ed., ed. Vincent Leitch, et al. (Norton); George Orwell, 1984 (Penguin); Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (Anchor); Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (Dell);Ama Ata Aidoo, Our Sister Killjoy (Longman);Octavia Butler, Kindred (Beacon); J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (Penguin); Keri Hulme, The Bone People (Penguin); Ana Castillo, The Mixquiahuala Letters (Random); Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia (Penguin); Louise Erdrich, The Antelope Wife (Harper); Andrea Levy, The Long Song (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Morrow).