Oxford Campus, 2018 Courses

Group 2 (British Literature: Beginnings through the 17th Century)

7900 Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon World

F. Leneghan/W, F

This course introduces students to the language and literature of the Anglo-Saxons. Our main focus will be on the first masterpiece in English literature, the weird and wonderful epic poem Beowulf, but we will also read a selection of shorter poems, including passionate songs of love and loss, dream visions, proverbs, riddles, and charms contained in manuscripts such as the Exeter Book and the Vercelli Book. In these remarkable, often enigmatic poems, the heroic traditions of the Germanic tribes merge with Christian Latin learning, pagan kings speak with the wisdom of the Old Testament patriarchs, Woden rubs shoulders with Christ, a lowly cow-herd receives the gift of poetry from God, and a talking tree provides an eyewitness account of the Crucifixion. Finally, we will consider the emergence of the English prose tradition in writings associated with King Alfred the Great, Ælfric of Eynsham and Archbishop Wulfstan. Texts will be studied both in translation and, after some basic training, in the original Old English.

Texts: Beowulf: Second Edition, trans. Roy Liuzza (Broadview); Old English Shorter Poems Volume II: Wisdom and Lyric, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 32, trans. Robert E. Bjork (Harvard); Old English Poems of Christ and His Saints, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 27, trans. Mary Clayton (Harvard); Hugh Magennis, The Cambridge Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge); The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, 2nd ed., ed. Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (Cambridge).

7921 British Theater: Stage to Page to Stage

S. Berenson/M–Th

Using the resources of the British theatre, combined with collaborative on-your-feet exercises, we will examine imagery in dramatic literature. We will be attending performances in London and Stratford. Although there will be an emphasis on Shakespeare, we will also explore other playwrights whose work is being performed this summer. Members of the class will be expected to dramatize and present theatrical images. No previous acting experience is required. This is a class for students who love the theatre and understand that the word “image” is the root of the word “imagination.” (This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.)

Performances will include Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and an adaptation of the novel A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. A final schedule and reading list will be circulated. Enrolled students will be charged a supplemental fee of $800 to cover the costs of tickets and transportation.

7930 Stage Vengeance

S. Sherman/T, Th

For reasons intriguing to think about, playwrights and playgoers have been obsessed with acts of vengeance from the dawn of drama to the latest hits. We’ll mull the reasons as we track the acts through three epochs: Ancient Rome; Elizabethan London; contemporary London and New York. (This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.)

Texts: Please obtain these specific versions of the texts. Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, ed. Michael Neill, Norton Critical ed. (Norton, 2014); William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Folger Shakespeare Library (Simon and Schuster, 2005); William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, Rev. ed., The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (Bloomsbury, 2016); Anonymous, The Revenger’s Tragedy, ed. Brian Gibbons, Third ed., New Mermaids (A&C Black, 2008); John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi, ed. Michael Neill, Norton Critical ed. (Norton, 2015); Jenny M. Jones, The Annotated Godfather, (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007).


Group 3 (British Literature: 18th Century to the Present)

7921 British Theater: State to Page to Stage

S. Berenson/M-Th

See description in Group 2 offerings.

7930 Stage Vengeance

S. Sherman/T, Th

See description in Group 2 offerings.

7940 The City and the Country in British Literature, 1700–1800

C. Gerrard/T, Th

How did writers and artists respond to the rapid growth of metropolitan culture during the eighteenth century, and the corresponding social and aesthetic changes reflected in the English countryside? This course will explore the ways in which the expansion of London encouraged the rise of print culture, metropolitan leisure and fashionable pursuits, financial markets and social mobility and how these were depicted in a range of urban spaces; we will also consider how writers imagined the countryside as locus for social stability, honest labour, contemplation, and imagination. We will be reading periodicals, poetry, prose, and drama, with an emphasis on poetic forms. The course may include a special class in Oxford’s Ashmolean museum where students can handle material objects from urban culture (e.g., coffee, fans, etc.), and either a visit to a country house or to some of the older quarters of London.

Texts: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Oxford); John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (Oxford); The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from the Tatler and Spectator, ed. Erin Mackie (Bedford) (esp. Richard Steele on Coffee-Houses; Addison on Mr. Spectator; The History of a Shilling; Addison on the Royal Exchange; Edward Ward, A Visit to the Coffee House; Women of the Coffeehouses and Shops). Poems mainly taken from Eighteenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology, 3rd ed., ed. David Fairer and Christine Gerrard (Blackwell Wiley, 2014). Texts to be discussed include John Gay, Trivia Book 2; Swift, “A Description of the Morning” and “A Description of a City Shower”; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “Saturday”; Pope, Epistle to Burlington; Thomson, Winter 1726; Lady Mary WM, Epistle to Bathurst; Ambrose Philips, A Winter-Piece; Mary Leapor, Crumble Hall; John Gay, The Shepherd’s Week: “Friday, or The Dirge”; George Crabbe, The Village, Book 1; Stephen Duck, The Thresher’s Labour; Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village; Mary Collier, The Woman’s Labour; Ann Finch, A Nocturnal Reverie; Samuel Johnson, London; Parnell, A Night-Piece on Death; Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard; Anna Barbauld; A Summer Evening’s Meditation. Romantic period texts not in Fairer/Gerrard anthology: Wordsworth, “Tintern Abbey,” The Prelude Book 7, “Residence in London,” and “The Thorn”; William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience, “London,” “The Chimney Sweep,” and “Holy Thursday” (both versions); S. T. Coleridge, “Frost at Midnight.” These can be downloaded/read from a reliable site such as rc.umd.edu.

7950 Atlantic Crossings: Anglo-American Literary Relations, 1798-1900

C. Gerrard/T, Th

See description in Group 4 offerings.

7956 Poverty in 19th Century Literature

L. Hartley/T, Th

This course will discuss how poverty is represented in nineteenth-century British fiction and non-fiction prose, tracking shifts from the 1840s and 1850s to the 1880s and 1890s and assessing the exigency of structural or moral and cultural solutions. To this end, we will examine the social realist fiction of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charles Kingsley in comparison to the 'slum fiction' of Walter Besant, Arthur Morrison, and Margaret Harkness and in light of the writings of Henry Mayhew, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, and William Morris as well as images from Punch and other print media (including photographs). The aim is to develop an understanding of the social problem of the age: namely, poverty and its relation to the languages of class and progress.

Texts: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, ed. Stephen Gill (Oxford); Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life, ed. Macdonald Daly (Penguin); Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, ed. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Oxford); Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet: An Autobiography (Forgotten); Walter Besant, All Sorts and Conditions of Men, ed. Kevin A. Morrison (Victorian Secrets); Margaret Harkness, In Darkest London (Germinal); Arthur Morrison, A Child of the Jago, ed. Peter Miles (Oxford). Please note: Since some of the books listed are not available in scholarly editions, other editions are acceptable; essays from other authors will be available in the summer.

7957 Historicising Literature: Class, Race, Gender

L. Hartley/T, Th

See description in Group 5 offerings.

7960 How to be a Critic: Literary and Cultural Engagement from the 19th Century to the Present

D. Russell/M, W

What does it mean to be critical? What can critical approaches to art, or culture, or politics achieve? This course examines the flourishing of cultural, political, and aesthetic criticism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Britain and the US. It will focus on assembling a definition, and a history or genealogy of, critical practices – but it will also seek to ask questions about the usefulness and applicability of these critical practices to our own times. We will begin with Matthew Arnold, who popularized the word criticism in the turbulent 1860s in Britain, and we will trace a critical genealogy to the turbulent American 1960s, and to criticism as practised now. As the “how to” phrasing of the module’s title suggests, participants will produce their own critical essays that will employ techniques from the essayists discussed in class. (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 4 credit.)

Texts: Editions below are suggested, but any edition will be fine. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (Oxford); Walter Pater, The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry (Oxford); Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying and Other Essays (Penguin); Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (Harvest); T. S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood (Faber); Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination (NYRB); James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Penguin); Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation (Picador); Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (FSG); John Berger, Portraits (Verso); Hilton Als, White Girls (McSweeny's).

7975 James Joyce

J. Johnson/TBD

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.); Ulysses, ed. H. W. Gabler (Vintage). 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.)


Group 4 (American Literature)

7950 Atlantic Crossings: Anglo-American Literary Relations, 1798–1900

C. Gerrard/T, Th

This course aims to explore the cross-currents and interconnections within British and American literary cultures of the nineteenth century. By looking at key texts across a wide variety of genres and modes, including epic, 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, including 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 Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798 and 1817); Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851) and “Benito Cereno”; William Wordsworth, The Prelude (two-book version of 1799) and “Westminster Bridge” (1802); Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854); Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” “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,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Black Cat”); Wordsworth, “The Thorn” (1798); Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850) and “Young Goodman Brown”; George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860); Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899); Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905). Most of these texts are readily available in Oxford World’s Classics editions or Penguin editions. There is an Easy Read or a Hackett edition of Edgar Huntly, ed. Philip Barnard.

7960 How to be a Critic: Literary and Cultural Engagement from the 19th Century to the Present

D. Russell/M, W

See description in Group 3 offerings.


Group 5 (World Literature)

7957 Historicising Literature: Class, Race, Gender

L. Hartley/T, Th

Class, race, and gender are generally understood as social constructs. Yet all three categories have a long history and have undergone significant changes in their meaning and significance. This course will examine some of these changes with a view to understanding their historical complexities from the nineteenth century to the present. Our purpose will be twofold: first, to situate class, race, and gender in nineteenth-century discourses of empire, of industrial capital, and of sexuality; and second, to consider whether our current uses of class, race, and gender acknowledge or elide the past articulations. The idea is that we can gain a fresh perspective on familiar and vexed categories by looking back to a prior historical moment and that we can think together about what is involved in the work of literary and/or cultural history. To this end, we will discuss the methodological challenges of situating literature historically throughout. (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, ed. Sara Salih (Penguin); Karl Marx, Capital: Volume I, A Critique of Political Economy, trans. Ben Fowkes, intro. Ernest Mandel (Penguin); John Stuart Mill, On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, ed. Alan Ryan (Penguin); Raymond Williams, Culture and Materialism: Selected Essays (Verso); Carolyn Steedman, Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives (Rutgers); “Race,” Writing, and Difference, ed. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chicago); Women’s Work and Women’s Culture (1869) Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade (1896), ed. Josephine Butler (Out of print: PDF copies will be provided).

7983 The City in the 20th Century: Vision, Form, Politics

M. Turner/M, W

Throughout the twentieth century, 'the city' was one of the great subjects for writers who sought to make sense of the shifting nature of contemporary life, across Europe and America. This interdisciplinary course investigates a number of the most significant topics in urban cultural production. In wandering through major cities including London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Prague and Lisbon, we will focus on topics related to literary and cultural form and politics, such as: urban aesthetics; identity; textualities and sexualities; dystopias; the city and memory; the ‘mass’. The emphasis throughout will be on the conceptual and aesthetic frameworks writers and artists use to provide distinct visions of the city. In addition to seminars, students will be expected to make one trip to London (and present on it), and there may be a few film screenings outside class.

Texts: Editions below are suggested, but any edition will be fine. All are available inexpensively secondhand. Other readings (poems, journalism, essays, etc.) will be provided electronically before classes. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Penguin); Andre Breton, Nadja (Grove); John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Mariner); Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust (Vintage); Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One (Back Bay); Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays (FSG); Bohumil Hrabal, Too Loud A Solitude (Mariner); David Wojnarowicz, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration (Vintage); Naomi Alderman, The Power (Penguin); Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Harcourt Brace); Antonio Tabucchi, Requiem: A Hallucination (New Directions); Siri Hustvedt, The Blindfold (Sceptre).