Oxford Campus, 2016 Courses

Group 2 (British Literature through the 17th Century)


7907   The World of Chaucer/H. Barr

Revolting peasants, regal splendour, frolicking pilgrims, gorgeous chivalry, marital strife, and murdered archbishops: Chaucer's works teem with responses to the world in which he lived. Notoriously difficult to pin down to a single point of view, Chaucer offers a perspective on late medieval English life that is dizzyingly kaleidoscopic in range and in tonal variety. Through placing some of his Canterbury Tales (including the famous Ellesmere manuscript that preserves them), alongside selections from other works he wrote and those of his contemporaries, we'll explore how Chaucer's world unfolds through text, illustration, social documents, church architecture, and secular material culture. While we'll look at key passages from Chaucer in their original Middle English language, we'll also use modern English translation, especially of contextual material. This course will also include a day trip to Malvern in Worcestershire. The hills are the backdrop to Piers Plowman, and its magnificent Priory offers a wonderful opportunity to explore medieval church architecture and culture. (Students should budget $30 for an excursion to Malvern.)

Texts:  From the Canterbury Tales, we will focus on the General Prologue, Knight’s, Miller’s, Nun’s Priest, and Manciple’s Tales, and Wife of Bath’s and Pardoner’s Prologues and Tales. Students may use either The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson (Oxford) or The Canterbury Tales, ed. Jill Mann (Penguin); The Canterbury Interlude, ed. John Bowers (TEAMS) is available at d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/publication/bowers-canturbury-tales-fifteenth-century-continuations-and-additions.


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 —not, as is usually the case at Bread Loaf/Oxford, on the resources of the Bodleian Library. (Please note, this focus translates to substantial time on buses and longer than average class time.) We'll study 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, Shakespeare's Globe, and the West End, as well as fringe groups. A complete 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 21st-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.)

Tickets have already been arranged at the RSC in Stratford for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, Jonson's The Alchemist, and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus; we’ll also see a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in London’s West End. Students should purchase the Oxford Shakespeare or New Cambridge editions of the Shakespeare plays and the New Mermaid versions of The Alchemist and Doctor Faustus.


7926   Shakespeare at 400/H. Barr

Throughout the world, special events will be held in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. This course offers the opportunity to join in. Focusing on five plays (The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Macbeth, Othello, and The Winter's Tale), we'll explore responses to Shakespeare's work from his contemporaries and collaborators, and from later playwrights, filmmakers, and novelists up to the present. There will be screenings of the films. This is a chance to study how Shakespeare has been re-made across time and across continents. Included in our destinations are Japan, India, Africa, Harlem, a Reformation post-republic, a gay bookshop, the Northumberland coast, a forbidden planet, and a Bohemian coastline reimagined between London and New York. Ben Jonson famously claimed that “Shakespeare was not for an age, but for all time.” Was he right? Come, discuss, and decide.

Texts:  Adaptations of Shakespeare, ed. Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier (Routledge); Jeanette Winterson, The Gap of Time (Hogarth); John Fletcher, The Island Princess, ed. Clare McManus (Arden); Shakespeare Made Fit, ed. Sandra Clark (Everyman). Films:  David Richards, The Taming of the Shrew (BBC ShakespeaRE-told, 2005);Orson Welles, Othello (1952); Tim Blake Nelson, ‘O’ (2001); Kumar Mangat, Omkara (2006); Akiro Kurosawa, Throne of Blood (1957); Mark Brozel, Macbeth (BBC ShakespeaRE-told, 2005); Fred M. Wilcox, The Forbidden Planet (1956); Derek Jarman, The Tempest (1979).


Group 3 (British Literature since the 17th 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.


7940   The City and the Country in British Literature, 1700-1800/C. Gerrard

How did writers and artists respond to the rapid growth of metropolitan culture during the 18th century, and the corresponding social and aesthetic changes reflected in the English countryside? This course will explore the way in which the expansion of London encouraged the rise of print culture, metropolitan leisure and fashionable pursuits, financial markets and social mobility; how these were depicted in a range of urban spaces; and 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 includes a special class in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, where students will handle material objects from urban culture (e.g. coffee, fans, etc.) and an experience of walking the streets of London.

Texts:  Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Oxford World's Classics); John Gay, The Beggar's Opera (Oxford World's Classics); The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from the Tatler and the Spectator, ed. Erin Mackie (Bedford); Eighteenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology, 3rd ed., ed. David Fairer and Christine Gerrard (Wiley-Blackwell); Romanticism: An Anthology, ed. Duncan Wu (Wiley-Blackwell).

Reading list for the anthologies:

The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from the ‘Tatler’ and ‘Spectator’
      Steele on Coffeehouses
      Addison Introduces the Character of Mr Spectator
      Addison on the History of a Shilling
      Addison on the Royal Exchange
      Edward Ward, A Visit to a Coffee-House
      Women Proprietors of the Coffeehouses and Shops

Eighteenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology
John Gay
      Trivia, Book II
Jonathan Swift
      A Description of the Morning
      A Description of a City Shower
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
      Epistle to Lord Bathurst
Alexander Pope
      To Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington
James Thomson
      Winter. A Poem (1726)
Ambrose Philips
      A Winter-Piece
Mary Leapor
John Gay
      Friday; or, The Dirge, from The Shepherd’s Week
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
Thomas Parnell
      A Night-Piece on Death
Thomas Gray
      Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard
Anna Laetitia Barbauld
      A Summer Evening’s Meditation

Romanticism: An Anthology

William Wordsworth
      Tintern Abbey
      The Prelude, Book VII, Residence in London
      The Thorn
William Blake
      The Chimney Sweeper
      Holy Thursday (both versions in Songs of Innocence, and Experience)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
      Frost at Midnight


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 and one unit of Group 4 credit.


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


7995   Reinventing the Past: Neo Victorian Returns/C. Kaplan

This course explores the 20th and 21st-century appetite for reimagining 19th-century Britain, celebrating and critiquing it in fiction, film, television, fine art, and biography. Thinking about the appeal of historical fiction and pastiche for late 20th and 21st-century writers has been one element of this broader phenomenon, while examining novels, biography, and visual texts as part of postmodernism and its later evolutions is another. How far do Neo Victorian novels, biographies, and films differ from more traditional kinds of narrative? Why has the nature of authorship and the figure of the author become so central to these modern depictions? How do the formal innovations of the Neo Victorian, especially its deliberate blurring of genres, contribute to the ever-changing nature of public memory and cultural nostalgia? These are some of the questions that will be central to this course.

Texts:  John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969); A.S. Byatt, Possession (1990); Jane Campion, The Piano (film, 1993); Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860); Peter Carey, Jack Maggs (1997); Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip (2006); Claire Tomalin, The Invisible Woman (1990); Ralph Fiennes, The Invisible Woman (film, 2013); Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847); Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (Norton Critical Ed., 1966); Paula Rego, Jane Eyre (lithograph series, 2003); Henry James, “The Figure in the Carpet”(short story, 1896); “The Art of Fiction” (essay, 1884 online); Colm Tóibín, The Master (2004); Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Norton Critical Ed., 1890); Peter Ackroyd, The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1993); Wilde, (film, 1997); Yinka Shonibare, Dorian Gray (photographic series, 2001); Sarah Waters, Fingersmith (2002). Any editions of the above texts are acceptable, except where indicated. The films as well as Paula Rego’s lithograph series and Yinka Shonibare’s photograph series will be available to students at Oxford, as will additional primary and critical reading. There will be ample scope in the course for independent work on related Neo Victorian texts and topics.


Group 4 (American Literature)

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

This course aims to explore the cross-currents and interconnections within British and American literary cultures of the 19th 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); Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851); William Wordsworth, The Prelude (2-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.

7987   The American Novel after 1945/L. Pratt

Taking up a range of novelists, as well as some of the most influential criticism on the novel genre and key historical accounts of the period, we will seek to understand how the novel genre has been conceived and re-conceived by American writers across the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We will consider the persistence of the bildungsroman across a range of cultural and historical traditions; the differing relations to the realist tradition in the novel that emerge from changing conceptions of political life; the varied notions of faith that persist in the increasingly post-secular society of the United States after WWII; the emergence of “play” as a central concern of the novel form; widespread experiences of displacement in the Americas; and the role of the historical novel in offering an alternative to other forms of history-telling.

Texts:  James Baldwin, Another Country (Penguin); Eudora Welty, The Optimist's Daughter (Virago); Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (Vintage); Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood (Faber & Faber); Don DeLillo, White Noise (Picador); Thomas Pynchon, Crying of Lot 49 (Vintage); Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (Harper); Richard Wright, Black Boy (Vintage); Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Faber & Faber); Edward P. Jones, The Known World (Harper); Philip Roth, Nemesis (Vintage); Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, ed. Michael McKeon (Johns Hopkins).


7988   The History of the American Book at Home, Abroad, and at Sea/L. Pratt

An account of how the American book has traveled and the effects of that transit on its material form, on intellectual history, and on American literary form. We’ll focus in particular on the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the emergence of international copyright, the rise of the industrial book, the relation of race to early American cultures of print. We’ll also consider the intimate relation between the emergence of the American novel, American lyric poetry, and the American essay and the international trade in books. In addition to accessing the rich resources of Oxford’s libraries, we’ll work with online materials accessible internationally and in the U.S.

Texts:  Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself (Norton); J. Hector St John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (Oxford); Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Penguin); Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (Norton); Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson’s Prose and Poetry (Norton); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Norton); Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tales (Norton); Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass and Other Writings (Norton); Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book, ed. Leslie Howsam (Cambridge); The Book History Reader, ed. David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (Routledge).


Group 5 (World Literature)

7991   World Cinema, Transnational Film, and Global Screen Cultures/K. Schoonover

This course reassesses the category of “world cinema” in light of the globalization of non-Hollywood film cultures and a renaissance of international art film practices in recent decades, including new waves from East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Central Europe. Despite its more conservative manifestations, the category of “world cinema” retains at its core a comparatist and internationalist impulse that challenges conventional models of national culture. This course looks at the wide range of fictional feature films shown in art-house venues and related exhibition spaces, including the work of Deepa Metha, Akira Kurosawa, Samira Makhmalbaf, and Satyajit Ray, among others. Since the term “world cinema” has always simultaneously invoked industrial, generic, and aesthetic categories, our reckoning of the field aims to expose otherwise unseen geopolitical fault lines in global culture. This course will address several specific issues including: theories of worlding and the cosmopolitan subject, transnational co-productions, the politics of dubbing/subtitling, catering to the “gay international,” piracy, and the slow cinema debates.

Texts:  Stephanie Dennison and Song Hwee Lim, Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film (Wallflower); Natasa Durovicová and Kathleen Newman, World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (Routledge); Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover, Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories (Oxford); Patricia White, Women's Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms (Duke). Choose one of the following two introductory textbooks on film form to read before the term begins. They are expensive when purchased new, so purchase a used copy. Any edition from the last six years will be fine. Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill) or Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, The Film Experience: An Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan). Films: Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950); Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955); The Goddess (Wu, 1934); The Apple (Makhmalbaf, 1998); Life on Earth (Sissako, 1998); Peking Opera Blues (Tsui, 1986); Lan Yu (Kwan, 2001).


7996   The Art of Literary Translation/M. Katz

An old saying declares: “Traduttóre traditóre” [A translator is a traitor]. Yet, short of mastering all world languages, we rely on literary translation as the only way to gain access to the achievements of other cultures and civilizations. This course explores the subject of literary translation. We begin with readings in translation theory; next we survey the history of the art; then we turn to practical issues of translating literature. We analyze several versions of Homer and the Bible, nineteen renditions of a classical Chinese poem, and alternative versions of selected poetry, prose, and drama. As a final assignment, students will work on and present translation projects: students with working knowledge of a modern language may elect to translate a short literary work; others will compare different translations of a single text.

Texts:  Eliot Weinberger and Octavio Paz, Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei (Moyer Bell); Theories of Translation: An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida, ed. Rainer Schulte and John Biguenet (Chicago); The Craft of Translation, ed. John Biguenet and Rainer Schulte (Chicago); In Translation: Translators on their Work and What it Means, ed. Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky (Columbia); Edith Grossman, Why Translation Matters (Yale).


7997   Theories of Waste and its Aesthetic Management/K. Schoonover

This course considers waste to be a central feature of modern theoretical, social, and textual practices. As overproduction and waste increasingly characterize late capitalism, a rubbish-laden future seems unavoidable. In this context, many writers and artists of the last century have turned to trash as a way of addressing the broader politics of cultural production. The course examines various forms of waste, including textual excess, aesthetic surplus, affective overages, culture detritus, and garbage. Waste raises a range of questions from the postmodern sublime to appropriation, from metaphors of digestion and plumbing to questions of labour and value. This focus allows us to engage with a range of thinkers and artists working across the 20th century and into the 21st century:  Duchamp and Bataille to Warhol and Varda, and various trash genres. Alongside our readings in aesthetics, queer theory, ecocriticism, object-oriented ontology, and visual culture studies, films will provide common primary texts for our discussions. Screenings will accompany each central conceptual unit of the course.

Texts:  Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (Routledge); Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music (Minnesota); Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, trans. David McLintock (Penguin); Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (MIT); Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke); Amanda Boetzkes, Ethics of Earth Art (Minnesota); Timothy Morton, Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (Harvard). These readings will be supplemented by out-of-print documents and journal articles made available closer to the beginning of the course. Films: WALL·E (Andrew Stanton, 2008); Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 1999); Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse / The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2002); Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958); Il deserto rosso / Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964).