Oxford Campus, 2019 Courses

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

7900 Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon World

F. Leneghan/W, F

This course will introduce students to the weird and wonderful language and literature of the Anglo-Saxons. Our main focus will be on the first poetic masterpiece in English literature, the epic Beowulf, but we will also read a selection of shorter poems, including passionate songs of love and loss, intense dream visions, bawdy and obscene riddles, and strange 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 cowherd receives the gift of poetry from God, and a talking tree provides an eyewitness account of the Crucifixion. 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 theater, this course will examine imagery in dramatic literature. We will attend performances in London and Stratford. In addition to weekly theater attendance and travel time, the class will include discussions, lectures, two writing projects, and collaborative on-your-feet image making. No previous acting experience is required. This is a class for students who love the theater 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 are expected to include Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, Venice Preserved by Thomas Otway, and The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini. A final schedule and reading list will be circulated before the summer. Enrolled students will be charged a supplemental fee of $800 to cover the costs of tickets and transportation.

7925 Shakespeare as Playwright: Analysis and Dramaturgy

B. McEleney/M, T, Th

In this course we will study one play from each of the four main Shakespearean genres: Macbeth (tragedy), Twelfth Night (comedy), Richard III (history), and The Winter’s Tale (romance), using traditional methods of theatrical text analysis. Through intensive reading and weekly writing projects we will be asking interpretive questions that actors and directors would pose in working on a production of each of the plays. Each student’s final project will consist of a proposal for an imagined production, including research into critical commentary and performance history; a detailed analysis of narrative structure, character, and theme; an overall conceptualization of the play; and a presentation of design ideas. We will also attend two productions (TBA), in either London or Stratford, and discuss the interpretive choices involved.

Texts: William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Richard III, and The Winter’s Tale (any editions—Folger Shakespeare Library editions preferred).

 

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

7921 British Theater: Stage to Page to Stage

S. Berenson/M–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 18th century, and to 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 will include a visit to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and a trip to at least one country house such as Claydon or Stowe.

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, as Mr. Spectator, on the Royal Exchange, and “The History of a Shilling”; Edward Ward, “A Visit to the Coffee House” and “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, The Shepherd’s Week: Friday; Or, The Dirge; Swift, “A Description of the Morning” and “A Description of a City Shower”; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “Saturday” and Epistle to Bathurst; Pope, Epistle to Burlington; Thomson, Winter 1726; Ambrose Philips, A Winter-Piece; Mary Leapor, Crumble Hall; 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. Other texts (which can be downloaded from a site such as rc.umd.edu): 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”; Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (Oxford World’s Classics).

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

C. Gerrard/T, Th

See description in Group 4 offerings.

 

7975 James Joyce

J. Johnson/T, Th

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. (Class hours TBA; may fall occasionally on days other than T/Th.)

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.)

7986 Memoir at the Millennium: A Genre without Borders

C. Kaplan/T, Th

This course explores the changing nature of memoir since the 1970s. Increasingly experimental, current developments in memoir challenge traditional forms of life writing, often breaching the boundaries between fact and fiction. Today memoir provocatively rivals the novel in its popular appeal, becoming a favoured genre for the construction and exploration of new identities: political, personal, spiritual, and sexual. In other cultural modes—graphic narrative and contemporary film—memoir’s innovations are especially striking. Through work by an international selection of writers, filmmakers, and graphic artists, we will investigate memoir’s creative hybridity, its fluid, shape-shifting accommodation of other discourses. How does modern memoir alter the relationship between personal/family history and public memory? What is the status of “truth” in avant-garde memoir? What can contemporary memoir tell us about the changing registers and salience of emotion? (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 4 credit.)

Texts (any editions acceptable): James Baldwin, No Name in the Street (Vintage); Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name—A Biomythography (Crossing Press); Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk (Grove); Cheryl Strayed, Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail (Vintage); Hilary Mantel, Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir (Picador) and Learning to Talk: Short Stories (Harper Perennial); Edward W. Said, Out of Place: A Memoir (Knopf); Stuart Hall, Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands, ed. Bill Schwarz (Duke); Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir (Random House); Rebecca Stott, In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult (Random House); Gillian Slovo, Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country (Little Brown); Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Are You My Mother? (both Mariner).

Films: Jean-Marc Vallée, Wild (2014); Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (2007); Terence Davies, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992); Josh Appignanesi and Devorah Baum, The New Man (2016). The films will all be available to students at Oxford (with viewing times to accommodate their schedules) as will additional critical reading.

 

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 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’; and slavery and abolition. 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), “Westminster Bridge” (1802), and preface to Lyrical Ballads, ed. Stephen Gill 1984; rpt. (Oxford 1988) 595–615; 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”); Phyllis Wheatley, “On Being Brought from Africa to America”; William Cowper, “The Negro’s Complaint” and “Sweet Meat”; Ann Yearsley, “A Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave Trade” in www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/poetry.htm; Wordsworth, “The Thorn” (1798); Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850) and “Young Goodman Brown”; 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 or Penguin editions. There is an Easy Read or a Hackett edition of Edgar Huntly, ed. Philip Barnard.

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

M. Turner/M, W

See description in Group 5 offerings.

 

7986 Memoir at the Millennium: A Genre without Borders

C. Kaplan/T, Th

See description in Group 3 offerings.

 

7989 Literature of the Asian Diaspora

M. Jerng/T, Th

This course will explore narratives of Asian diasporas and how they figure global questions of citizenship, belonging, settlement, labor, and capital. The Asian diasporan subject is often defined in terms of perpetual movement, travel, and migration. But this definition does not account for the problem of what it means to settle, and how the attempts to settle and make a home disrupt conventional forms of belonging such as the nation and family, as well as conventional narratives of immigration. Our primary interest will be in analyzing novels and asking how they figure questions of settlement as they intersect various histories of race, capital, extraction, and war. We will also analyze relevant theoretical and legal texts on citizenship, cosmopolitanism, and migration. The primary goal of the course is to rethink what “Asian American” and other racial and social categories might mean in relation to a global politics of settlement. (This course carries one unit of Group 4 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (Penguin); Maxine Hong Kingston, China Men (Vintage); Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor Was Divine (Penguin); Patricia Powell, The Pagoda (Harvest); Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (Coffee House); Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl (Thomas Allen); Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians (Anchor). Additional readings (available during the session) will include short stories by Nam Le, Sui Sin Far, Aimee Phan, Carlos Bulosan, Jhumpa Lahiri, V. S. Naipaul, and Ken Liu.

 

Group 5 (World Literature)

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

M. Turner/M, W

Throughout the 20th century, “the city” was one of the great subjects for writers and artists 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, and the “mass.” The emphasis throughout will be on the conceptual and aesthetic frameworks used to provide distinct visions of the city. In addition to the final essay, there will be seminar presentations, a psychogeography project, and a few film screenings outside class. (This course carries one unit of Group 4 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

 

Texts: Editions below are suggested, but any edition of these will be fine; other readings (poems, journalism, essays, etc.) will be provided during the session. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (Penguin); André Breton, Nadja (Grove); John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Mariner); Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust (Vintage); 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); Tommy Orange, There, There (Knopf); Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Harcourt Brace); Antonio Tabucchi, Requiem: A Hallucination (New Directions); Siri Hustvedt, The Blindfold (Simon & Schuster).

 

7989 Literature of the Asian Diaspora

M. Jerng/T, Th

See description in Group 4 offerings.

 

7999 Fantasy Fiction and Worldbuilding

M. Jerng/M, W

This course is an introduction to fantasy fiction, focusing specifically on its arguably main narrative technique: worldbuilding. We will focus on narrative practices of worldbuilding across three modes: epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, and retellings of myth and history. We will explore the overlapping historical, thematic, and formal concerns of each of these modes, including a) moral, philosophical, and political issues such as the nature of transcendence; questions of causality, agency, and will; and the construction of social and cultural values; b) formal and structural issues in storytelling such as the processes of worldbuilding, the formation of myth, and the critical uses of genre analysis; and c) historical issues such as the great wars of the 20th century, the imagination of slavery and market economies, and the gendered formations of work, play, adventure, and power.

Texts: J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Penguin); Ursula K. Le Guin, Gifts (Harcourt); N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season (Little, Brown); Samuel Delany, Return to Neveryon (Univ. Press of New England); C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (Harcourt); Octavia Butler, Wild Seed (Grand Central); Victor Lavalle, Destroyer (Boom! Studios). PDFs will be provided for excerpts from the following: Joanna Russ, The Adventures of Alyx; Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories; Samuel Delany, Flight from Neveryon.