Vermont Campus, 2016 Courses

Group 1 (Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy)


7002   Poetry Detective Workshop
G. Lewis/M, W 2-4:45

This workshop will use the methods of police detection as a way of reading and writing poems. The fear of not understanding a poem can be a significant barrier to both novice and seasoned readers and writers. This workshop will use the tools of the sleuth to gain entry into the poetic mind behind individual poems from the set anthology. Each class will include writing exercises designed to explore methods raised by the readings. The aim is to take a fresh and unintimidating look at unlocking the mysteries of difficult texts. As writers we will be following various leads in order to track down new poems. Ask the right questions, and you may get some unexpected answers!

Texts: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th ed., Margaret Ferguson, et al. (Norton).

7005   Fiction Writing
S. Choi/T, Th 2-4:45

This workshop will focus on the craft of fiction through examination of student work, analysis of exemplary published works of fiction, and completion of exercises spotlighting characterization, plot, narrative voice, dialogue, and description. Students will be expected to share works in progress, provide constructive criticism to their fellow writers, generate new work in response to exercises and prompts, and complete reading assignments. Prior to coming to Bread Loaf students should read the following short stories from the required text: "Double Birthday" by Willa Cather, "Crazy Sunday" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Defender of the Faith" by Philip Roth, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" by Joyce Carol Oates, "Where I'm Calling From" by Raymond Carver, and "Meneseteung" by Alice Munro. Additional works of short fiction, both from the required text and from resources to be provided by the instructor, will be assigned throughout the session.

Texts:  The Best American Short Stories of the Century, ed. John Updike (Houghton Mifflin).


7006a   Creative Nonfiction
G. Lewis/T, Th 2-4:45

This writing workshop will explore the nature of fact and how to deploy it in original creative nonfiction. What is a fact? Is it an objective truth that cannot be disputed? The word comes from the Latin factum, neuter past participle of facere, ‘to do.’ However, if facts are made things, then information belongs to the realm of art. To what degree is nonfiction fictional after all? Each class will combine three elements: discussion of students’ work, practical exercises to stimulate new approaches, and short readings from the set textbook. Together we’ll explore the link between the aesthetics and ethics of nonfiction and ask: is it important to tell the truth in nonfiction? If so, whose truth?

Texts:  The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, 13th ed., ed. Linda Peterson, et al. (Norton).


7006b   Creative Nonfiction
R. Sullivan/M-Th 9:35-10:50

Do we write the world or does the world write us? This class will examine experimental creative nonfiction through a consideration of place. Students will be asked to consider their place in various landscapes—in the Green Mountains, in New England, in the East Coast, as well as in wherever they call home. We will study different modes of creative nonfiction but focus especially on the calendar, the almanac, and the diary, each as a method of examining the landscape as it relates to time. Readings will include the Georgics, Walden, selections from J. B. Jackson's A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time, and My Emily Dickinson by Susan Howe. We will consider connections between the visual arts and nonfiction, looking, for example, at the work of Nancy Holt and her husband, Robert Smithson, and we will explore the work of John Cage. Students will be required to keep a weather log, to write numerous short pieces, and to compose weathergrams, among other things.

Texts:  Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library); Virgil, Virgil's Georgics, trans. Janet Lembke (Yale); J.B. Jackson, A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time (Yale); Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson (New Directions).


7008   Critical Writing
J. Wicke/M-Th 11-12:15

This course follows the format of Bread Loaf’s workshops in poetry and in prose fiction, giving the same attention to critical writing. In open-ended assignments, workshop conversations, and small group and one-to-one support we focus on creating critical writing that enters into larger critical conversations, and a critical voice that can speak about what matters. The workshop concentrates on how to make critical arguments powerful, persuasive, and transforming by writing with generosity and speaking from truth. The course is designed for those who want to hone the impact of their writing; those who teach critical writing and want to teach it even better; and those who want to take their critical writing into the public sphere. Critical writing is inseparable from critical thinking and from whom you are;  this workshop is about finding and empowering a vital critical voice.

Texts:  Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Spiegel and Grau); Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One (Harper); Gerald Graff and Carol Birkenstein, “They Say/ I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd ed. (Norton); Eric Hayot, Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (Columbia); Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anchor); Joseph M. Williams, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 11th ed. (Longman).


7009   Multigenre Writing Workshop
D. Huddle/M-Th 11-12:15

This workshop will emphasize student writing: producing, reading, discussing, and revising short stories, poems, and essays. Along with reading and discussing model compositions, we will write in at least two genres each week, and we will spend at least half our class time reading and discussing students’ manuscripts.

Texts:  The four most recent issues of The Georgia Review (Summer 2015 through Spring 2016), which will be available as a discounted package through the Bread Loaf Bookstore or online at


7018   Playwriting
D. Clubb/M, W 2-4:45

This course concerns itself with the many ways we express ourselves through dramatic form. An initial consideration of the resources at hand will give way to regular discussions of established structures and techniques. Members of the class are asked to write a scene for each class meeting. Throughout the course we will be searching for new forms, new ways of ordering experience, and new ways of putting our own imaginations in front of us.


7019   Writing for Children
M. Stepto and S. Swope/M, W 2-4:45

Stories for children, like stories for adults, come in many colors, from dark to light, and the best have in common archetypal characters, resonant plots, and concise, poetic language. Using new and classic texts as inspiration, we will try our hands writing in a variety of forms. The first half of the course will be workshop-intensive; you’ll be asked to complete a story exercise for each session. In the second half, students will continue with new work and, with an eye to shaping a final project, begin to revise some of what they've written. We will also add some critical readings to the mix. Among the critical questions considered will be: What is a children's story, and what is it for? What view of the child and childhood do children's stories take? How can the children's story be made new?Students should come to the first class having read Wally's Stories, The Witches andthese tales from The Juniper Tree collection: “The Three Feathers,” “The Fisherman and His Wife,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rapunzel,” and “The Juniper Tree.” The artistically inclined should bring their art supplies with them to campus. All books for this class, including the picture books, will be on reserve in the library.

Texts:  Roald Dahl, The Witches (Puffin); The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm, trans. Lore Segal and Randall Jarrell, illus. Maurice Sendak (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner (Puffin); James Barrie, Peter Pan (Puffin);Janet Schulman, You Read to Me & I'll Read to You (Knopf); William Steig, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Aladdin);Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon (HarperCollins);Molly Bang, The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher (Aladdin); Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg (Random); Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen (both HarperCollins); Vivian Paley, Wally's Stories (Harvard); Nathaniel Hawthorne, A Wonder Book: Heroes and Monsters of Greek Mythology (Dover); Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio (Puffin); Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins); E. B. White, Charlotte's Web (HarperCollins), I. B. Singer, Zlateh the Goat, and Other Stories (HarperCollins).


7100   Writing and Acting for Change
D. Goswami, A. Lunsford, J. Elder/M-Th 11-12:15

This course will explore ways in which learning about both writing and acting can enable students to work for equity and sustainability in their own communities as well as in the larger world. The class will begin gathering writing (by themselves and their students) that “makes something good happen in the world," writing that will eventually comprise a group portfolio of such writing/acting that can be taken back into classrooms or other organizations. Our goal will be to learn how the power of language and rhetoric can shape learning and affect public policies through effective advocacy. We will start with the study of Rhetoric, as reflected in the writing of Ida B. Wells. We will then focus on environmental writing and action that emphasize health and equity, looking closely at questions of food justice and security, as well as climate change. A third unit will focus on the rhetoric and power of theater, another session on the public space of poetry. Among the writers and activists whose work we'll look at will be Ladonna Redmond, Winona LaDuke, Gary Nabhan, Vandana Shiva, and Bill McKibben. We will also read Pope Francis' recent Encyclical 'Laudato Sí'. The course will involve a team of Bread Loaf faculty, plus guests, including Jacqueline Jones Royster, Bill McKibben, Oskar Eustis, Brian McEleney, and Laurie Patton. In the final week, students will present their portfolio work to the Bread Loaf community. This course will require participation in a class meeting from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Friday of the session, as well as optional workshops, facilitated by Bread Loaf's technology director, Shel Sax.

Texts:  Jacqueline Jones Royster, Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change Among African American Women (Pittsburgh). Copies of the following texts will be provided at no cost to all students: Everything's an Argument, 7th ed., ed. Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz; Everyone's an Author, 2nd ed., ed. Andrea Lunsford, Beverly Moss, et al. Other texts will be available online at the opening of the session.


7108   Writing, Rhetoric, Teaching
B. Brueggemann/M-Th 9:35-10:50

We will explore the triangle between writing (our own, our students’), rhetoric (classical and contemporary), and teaching the thing we know as “English.” Our path through this course will travel through five units:  (1) background historical settings for this triangle; (2) the grounding of the “new” field of Composition in the 60s and 70s; (3) the development of cognitive research in the 80s; (4) the turn to “social” in the 90s; (5) the pivot on diversity and digital in the 2000s; (6) the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ (WPA) Outcomes Statement for First-Year (College) Composition (; and (7) the WPA Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing.

Texts:  Victor Villanueva, Cross-Talk in Comp Theory (NCTE); Joseph Harris, A Teaching Subject (Utah).


7182   Describing the Imagination
M. Armstrong/M-Th 8:10-9:25

In this collaborative workshop we explore the creative work of children and young adults: their writing, art, music, dance, drama, photography, and film. We describe and interpret creative work in close, critical detail. We study accounts of the imagination by writers, artists, and philosophers. We examine the place of imagination in education and how to document imaginative achievement. A guiding text is John Dewey’s Art as Experience. Class members are asked to bring examples of the creative work of their students, or of children known to them. We keep a daily record of class meetings and a class journal. The journal is central to our work. Its purpose is to document our own imaginative journey, day by day. Class members will contribute regularly to the journal, write reflections on the student works discussed in class, and conduct their own inquiry into a chosen aspect of the class theme.

Texts:  Shoe and Meter (Buy through; Vivian Gussin Paley, The Girl with the Brown Crayon (Harvard); John Dewey, Art as Experience (Perigee); John Keats, Selected Letters, ed. Robert Gittings (Oxford); Adam Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery (Vintage); Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel (Vintage).


Group 2 (British Literature through the 17th Century)

7203   The Medieval English Romance
P. DeMarco/M-Th 11-12:15

Before there was the novel, there was the romance. Just as the novel has become the privileged site for intense literary examination of questions of personal identity and social place, so the medieval romance served as the most important literary forum for medieval culture's exploration of the deepest contradictions of psychic and social identity. This course will look at the way a variety of medieval romances imagine gendered identities and sexual relationships, the nature of the human (especially in relation to the animal kingdom and the fairie world), and the boundaries between elite and aspirational classes. We'll enrich our discussions of the literature with readings from criticism (feminist, queer, post-colonial, new historicist) as well as consideration of the material conditions within which romances were written (e.g. magnificent illuminated manuscripts).The course will open with discussion of the French literary tradition (Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain and Guillaume de Lorris' Romance of the Rose), establishing a comparative framework for our exploration of medieval English romance. We'll then read a number of short English romances based on Celtic oral tales (the Breton lai tradition), including Sir Orfeo, Lay le Freine, and Sir Degaré, before turning to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, heir to a very different tradition. We'll conclude with Chaucer's most brilliant creations in the Canterbury Tales, the romances of the Knight, the Wife of Bath, and the Squire.

Texts:  Chrétien de Troyes, Yvain: The Knight of the Lion, trans. Burton Raffel (Yale); Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose, trans. Frances Horgan (Oxford); The Middle English Breton Lays, ed. Anne Laskaya and Eve Salisbury (Western Michigan); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed., trans. Marie Borrof, ed. Laura L. Howes, (Norton). For Chaucer, please choose either The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson (Houghton Mifflin) or The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue, 2nd ed., ed. V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson (Norton). Also recommended (but not required): Nicholas Perkins and Alison Wiggins, The Romance of the Middle Ages (Bodleian); The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, ed. Roberta Krueger (Cambridge).


7210   Chaucer
J. Fyler/M-Th 8:10-9:25

This course offers a study of the major poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer. We will spend roughly two-thirds of our time on the Canterbury Tales and the other third on Chaucer’s most extraordinary poem, Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer is primarily a narrative rather than a lyric poet: though the analogy is an imperfect one, the Canterbury Tales is like a collection of short stories, and Troilus like a novel in verse. We will talk about Chaucer’s literary sources and contexts, the interpretation of his poetry, and his treatment of a number of issues, especially gender, that are of perennial interest.

Texts:  The Riverside Chaucer, ed. L. D. Benson (Oxford or Houghton Mifflin); Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. Richard Green (Martino); Woman Defamed and Woman Defended, ed. AlcuinBlamires (Oxford); Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, ed. Stephen Barney (Norton).


7244   To Catch the English Crown: Shakespeare's History Plays
S. Sherman/M, W 2-4:45

Shakespeare's first great hit was a series of history plays about the kings who ruled and the wars they waged a century and more before his birth. The eight plays, produced over the course of eight years, gave London audiences then—and will give us now—a chance to watch Shakespeare becoming Shakespeare: to see him learn how to pack plays with pleasure, impact, and amazement, scene by scene and line by line, with a density and intensity no playwright before or since has ever managed to match. For our peculiar purposes, you will need to own and use the specific editions listed below (other readings will be supplied during or before the session).

Texts: Henry VI, Part 1, ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine (Folger); Henry VI, Part 2, ed. Barbara Mowat & Paul Werstine (Folger); Henry VI, Part 3, ed. John Cox, 3rd edition (Bloomsbury Arden); Richard III, ed. John Jowett (Oxford); Richard II, ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine (Folger); Henry IV, Part 1, ed. David Bevington (Oxford); Henry IV, Part 2, ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine (Folger); Henry V, ed. Gary Taylor (Oxford).


7270   Jews, Turks, and Moors in Early Modern English Literature
J. Shoulson/M-Th 9:35-10:50

Our focus will be on the varied representations of Jews, Muslims (identified as “Turks” during the period, despite the imprecision of this ethno-geographic designation), and Africans (often misnamed “Moors”) in English writings of the period. We shall examine these depictions in relation to popular stereotypes and beliefs about these groups (and their historical roots). The course will address such questions as: To what extent did early modern writers—dramatists, poets, polemicists, travel writers, and others—undermine or support stereotypical conceptions of the English Other? In what ways are the conflicting representations of these different religious and ethnic minorities interrelated and mutually constitutive? How do the multiple discourses of alterity constitute essential components of the evolving sense of (male, bourgeois) Englishness in the early modern period?

Texts:  Christopher Marlowe, The Complete Plays, ed. Frank Romany and Robert Lindsey (Penguin); William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. Lawrence Danson (Longman); Three Turk Plays, ed. Daniel Vitkus (Columbia); Othello and the Tragedy of Mariam, ed. Clare Carroll (Longman). Since these editions include essential additional readings, it’s important to obtain these specific versions of the texts. Supplementary readings will be distributed at Bread Loaf.


7290   Reading Poetry
J. Shoulson/M-Th 11-12:15

This course has two target audiences: those who love poetry and those who are terrified or mystified by it. Our aim in this course will be to find the means to express both our love for and our anxiety about poetry, to delight in what we find delightful, and to develop strategies for getting beyond the impasse of incomprehension or confusion we may experience when confronted with an unfamiliar poem. Our readings will not follow any particular chronology; historical considerations will take a back seat to formal, affective, and cognitive ones. We will read an eclectic selection of shorter lyrics taken from a wide array of periods, regions, poetic schools, and forms. Assignments will include memorization and recitation, written explications, and opportunities to teach a poem or two. We will also work extensively with the Acting Ensemble as an integral part of our efforts to get inside these poems. Students should read John Hollander's Rhyme's Reason before the summer begins. (This course may be used to satisfy either a Group 2 or a Group 3 requirement.)

Texts:  John Hollander, Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse (Yale); The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter 5th ed., ed. Margaret Ferguson (Norton).


Group 3 (British Literature since the 17th Century)

7290   Reading Poetry
J. Shoulson/M-Th 11-12:15

See description under Group 2 offerings. This course may be used to satisfy either a Group 2 or a Group 3 requirement.


7306   The Colonial Rise of the Novel
L. Dominique/M-Th 8:10-9:25

In The Colonial Rise of the Novel, Firdous Azim states, “the novel is an imperialist project based on the forceful eradication and obliteration of the Other” (37). Since the colonial Other is frequently employed in a number of texts associated with the rise of the novel genre, this course will explore Azim’s statement as it relates to 18th-century British novelists and the Others described in their texts. We will approach the novel’s development as a form that went hand-in-hand with Britain’s plan for colonial expansion. The novel, perhaps, provided Britons with justification and inspiration for this plan. To explore these ends we will consider 18th-century British novelists’ obsessions with colonialism—obsessions that, curiously, begin and reach their height in novels written by British women.

Texts:  Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, ed. Joanna Lipking(Norton);Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, ed. Michael Shinagel (Norton); Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, ed. Albert J. Rivero (Norton);Edward Kimber, The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson, ed. Matthew Mason and Nicholas Mason (Broadview); Eliza Unca Winkfield, The Female American, ed. Michelle Burnham and James Freitas (Broadview); William Earle, Obi; or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack, ed. Srinivas Aravamudan (Broadview); Anonymous, The Woman of Colour, ed. Lyndon J. Dominique (Broadview); Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. Claudia Johnson (Norton).

7357   Jane Austen and the Brontës
I. Armstrong and C. Johnson/M-Th 8:10-9:25

We will read novels by the most innovative and influential women writers of the 19th century—Jane Austen and the Brontës. We will look in detail at three novels by Austen—Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma—and three by the Brontë sisters—Villette (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne). The cultural context and critical reception, biographies and letters of these writers will be an element of the course, but mainly we will be engaged with the narrative art, form, and language of the texts. Please read these long fictions in advance of the course. Assignments will include an essay on Austen and an essay on the Brontës.

Texts:  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma (all Norton Critical); Charlotte Brontë, Villette (Penguin); Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (Norton Critical); Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Wordsworth).


7405   Wit and Terror in Modern Irish Literature
M. Sabin/T, Th 2-4:45

There hasn’t been much to laugh about in the modern Irish situation: the 19th-century famine and its aftermath in death and emigration; the grinding poverty that the creation of the Irish Free State did not alleviate; the repressiveness of colonial and religious authorities; the violence of civil war; the depredations of alcoholism that somehow increased rather than relieved these woes; the short-lived economic flourishing of the Celtic tiger. Yet modern Irish writing is also famous for its wit: from the subversive hijinks of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce to the bleak humor of Samuel Beckett and the macabre comedy of Martin McDonagh. In theater, especially, but also in prose narratives, films, and poems, Irish writers have found ways of transforming grim realities into unaccountably cheering if also controversial performances. This course will explore the intriguing combination of woe and wit in modern Irish literature, often a self-conscious reaction against the stereotyped melancholy of the Celtic school popular at the turn of the 20th century. What social and psychological function does wit serve as a substitute for gentle melancholy? How have religious and political authorities both suppressed and inadvertently fostered Irish wit? How has a special relationship to the English language shaped Irish humor? In addition to the required texts, some reading of poems and excerpts from longer works as well as some readings in psychological and cultural analysis will be distributed during the session. Selected films and visits from the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble will supplement the written texts and bring out the performative nature of this material.

Texts:  Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (Avon); Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, ed. John P. Harrington (Norton Critical); Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies in Three Novels (Grove); Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked into Doors (Penguin); Martin McDonagh, The Beauty Queen of Leenane in McDonagh Plays: 1 (Methuen); Green and Mortal Sound: Short Fiction by Irish Women Writers, ed. Louise DeSalvo, et al. (Beacon).


7436   The Literature and Culture of World War One
J. Green-Lewis/T, Th 2-4:45

This course examines the difficulty of representation in the wake of violent and unimagined experience. We will ask a question arguably relevant to our own time: what becomes of poetry and prose, of painting and music, when their inherited forms of expression prove inadequate to convey modern human experience? Our work will focus on ways in which the culture of the First World War, and the years immediately in its wake, attempted to give new shape to new knowledge. To understand what the concept of “new” might entail, we will begin by studying prosody (the sound and rhythms of poetic language) that to a pre-war reader seemed appropriate for the representation of war, and that initially provided the primary interpretive reference for many young people entering the war.

Texts: Alfred Housman, A Shropshire Lad (Dover); Poetry of the First World War, ed. Tim Kendall (Oxford); Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford); Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring (Houghton Mifflin); Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (Fawcett); Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth (Penguin); David Jones, In Parentheses (NYRB); T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (Norton); Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Harcourt). We will read selectively in several of these books; aim to read those by Brittain, Remarque, and Woolf in advance of coming to Bread Loaf. The Norton edition of The Waste Land is recommended for its notes, but any edition will do.


7462   Disability in Anglophone Literature
B. Brueggemann/M, W 2-4:45

Disability—and the alteration and othering—of the human condition occupies literature in all eras, languages, and cultures. From Bacon’s (1612) essay “Of Deformity” to a cult-classic modern (Young Adult and mainstream) novel, Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, we will explore some of the key elements, issues, and concepts of the new field of Disability Studies from a journey through Anglophone literature. Critical terms from the literary and cultural study of disability over the last 15 years will be explored and applied to the literature we read. (This course may be used to satisfy either a Group 3 or a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts:  Keywords in Disability Studies, ed. Rachel Adams (NYU); Francis Bacon, “Of Deformity” (1612) (available online); William Hay, “Deformity: An Essay” (1754) (available online); William Shakespeare, Richard III, ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (Simon & Schuster/Folger);Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Penguin); Bernard Pomerance, The Elephant Man: A Play (Grove); Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun (Bantam); Stephen Kuusisto, Planet of the Blind (Delta); Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Vintage); Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage).


7470   Black British Literature
L. Dominique/M-Th 11-12:15

After World War II, Britain began to receive large influxes of immigrants from its African, Asian and Caribbean colonies. This new colonial presence produced a large-scale clash of culture: blackness conflicted with Britishness. But this cultural conflict was not new. In actuality, there has been a sustained, conflicted black presence in Britain and British literature for at least 400 years. This course explores not only the changes in black British representations from the 17th to the 21st centuries, but also the heavy degree to which the contemporary black British cultural identity has its roots in literary representations of the past. Beginning with an examination of the black presence in early modern British literature, we will traverse four centuries of novels, poetry and drama written by the black British writers who are responsible for constructing a black British cultural identity that was, at one time, supple enough to incorporate disparate groups of people as a united political force.

Texts:  William Shakespeare, Othello, ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine(Folger); Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, ed. Joanna Lipking (Norton); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, ed. Angelo Costanzo (Broadview);Mary Seacole, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, ed. Sara Salih (Penguin); Samuel Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (Longman); Victor Headley, Yardie (Atlantic Monthly); Hanif Kureishi, The Black Album (Scribner); Joan Anim-Addo, Imoinda: or, She Who Will Lose Her Name (Mango); Bernardine Evaristo, Mr. Loverman (Akashic). Additional readings will be provided during the session.


Group 4 (American Literature)

7462   Disability in Anglophone Literature
B. Brueggemann/M, W 2-4:45

See description under Group 3 offerings.This course may be used to satisfy either a Group 3 or a Group 4 requirement.


7576   Henry James
J. Freedman/M, W 2-4:45

We'll be reading together selected fictions by Henry James. James was a master of varied forms and genres; his short short stories, long short stories, and novels are models of formal perfection as well as embodiments of a wide variety of thematic obsessions and interests. Much of his prose is difficult; and much that he writes about—the power of erotic obsession, the facts of financial and class exploitation, the quiet savagery of social life, the force of visuality and its alternately transcendent and pernicious human effects—is more difficult still. That said, working together with and through these various difficulties can prove remarkably rewarding. Course requirements are one short paper, one long paper, and lots of reading.

Texts:  Henry James, Selected Tales (Penguin), The Portrait of a Lady (Oxford), The Ambassadors; The Wings of the Dove; The Golden Bowl (all in Penguin editions).

7586   American Artists and the African American Book
R. Stepto/M-Th 9:35-10:50

This seminar studies the visual art, decoration, and illustration of African American books (prose and poetry) since 1900. Topics will include book art of the Harlem Renaissance (with special attention to Aaron Douglas and Charles Cullen), art imported to book production (e.g., images by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Archibald Motley), children’s books (e.g., by Langston Hughes, Tom Feelings, and Marilyn Nelson), photography, and literature (e.g., Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Cabin and Field, with Hampton Institute photographs; Richard Wright’s Twelve Million Black Voices). The seminar may include sessions at Middlebury College Museum of Art and Davis Family Library.

Texts: Caroline Goeser, Picturing the New Negro: Harlem Renaissance Print Culture and Modern Black Identity (Kansas); Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Norton Critical); The New Negro, ed. Alain Locke (Touchstone); James Weldon Johnson, God’s Trombones (Penguin); Richard Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices (Basic Books); Langston Hughes, The Dream Keeper (Knopf); Romare Bearden, Li’l Dan, The Drummer Boy (Simon & Schuster); Tom Feelings, Middle Passage (Dial); Jacob Lawrence, The Great Migration (HarperCollins); Nella Larsen, Quicksand (Penguin); Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day (Penguin/Puffin); Marilyn Nelson, A Wreath for Emmett Till (Houghton Mifflin); Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece, Incognegro (Vertigo).


7591   Faulkner
S. Donadio/M, W 2-4:45

An intensive reading of the major works, for those interested in securing a comprehensive grasp of this author's artistic achievements during the most important phase of his career.

Texts: William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Sanctuary; As I Lay Dying; Light in August; Absalom, Absalom!; The Wild Palms; Collected Stories. Except for the Collected Stories (Vintage paperback), these works are all included in the Library of America volumes devoted to William Faulkner: Novels 1926-1929; Novels 1930-1935; Novels 1936-1940. Throughout the session, all of our detailed discussions will refer to the first three Library of America volumes, which students are expected to purchase—new or used—in advance. These durable hardbound volumes are available at discount from numerous sources, and, in addition to containing extremely useful chronologies and notes, they represent a significantly more economical investment than any paperback editions.


7649   Race and American Literature in the New Millennium: Identity, Inquiry, and Instability
D. Jones/M-Th 11-12:15

This course studies literature and cultural productions that narrativize race in the contemporary U.S. Using a wide array of representational forms—including the novel, poetry, film, memoir, conceptual art, and drama—we will consider how artists, writers, and critics create new paradigms with which to ponder and experience the complexities and confusions of racial difference in the new millennium. Throughout the course, we will think about how we might impart the critical, formal, and generic vocabularies we develop to classrooms of all levels.

Texts:  Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus: and Other Poems (Knopf);Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper (Mariner); Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped: A Memoir (Bloomsbury); Mat Johnson, Loving Day: A Novel (Spiegal and Grau); Eddie Huang, Fresh off the Boat: A Memoir (Spiegal and Grau); Bruce Norris, Clybourne Park (Dramatists Play Service).


7654   American Fiction Since 1945
A. Hungerford/M-Th 8:10-9:25

How does the practice of literary storytelling—in novels and in short fiction—transform along with American culture in the second half of the 20th century? This seminar surveys major writers who advanced our sense of what fiction could do and how. We will begin by locating fiction’s place in the postwar landscape, examining the power of book clubs, the rise of the paperback, the fate of High Modernism, the place of genre fiction, the demographic transformation of higher education, and the development of the university-based creative writing program. The seminar will then follow fiction’s path from the Civil Rights movement through the Cold War, the women’s movement and the so-called culture wars, asking how various forms of narrative (epic, realist fiction, late-modernist novels, and historical fiction) shape and are shaped by these cultural forces. We will track how and why fiction borrows from other genres and media including music, drama, film, poetry, and painting. Students prepare two papers and a presentation, choosing between analytic and more pedagogically oriented options. The pace will be brisk, so it will be helpful if you read at least two of the longer novels before you arrive in Vermont (The Sympathizer will be especially important to read ahead of time). The reading packet will contain additional selections by O’Connor and some criticism.

Texts:  Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find (Harvest); James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (Vintage); J. D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (Little, Brown); Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (Harper Perennial); Toni Morrison, Beloved (Vintage); Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (Picador); Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (Vintage); Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer (Grove).


7658   History on Stage: American Epic Theater
O. Eustis/T, Th 2-4:45

American playwrights have striven throughout our history to dramatize the large currents of American history onstage. From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Hamilton, we will read some of the most exemplary models of epic American dramaturgy, and seek to understand how they have put the world on stage. We will look at the work of great individual playwrights (Wilson, Miller, Parks, O'Neill, Kushner), but also explore the collective creations of the Federal Theater Project and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. The irreplaceable Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble will be a regular presence in class.

Texts: Any editions of the following: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, adapted by George L. Aiken; Arthur Arent, Federal Theater Project: Power (; Eugene O’Neill, The Hairy Ape; Susan Glaspell, The People; John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel; Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty; Arthur Miller, All My Sons; Arthur Miller, The Crucible; Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; Barbara Garson, MacBird!; Luis Valdez, Zoot Suit; San Francisco Mime Troupe, False Promises in By Popular Demand: Plays and Other Works; David Henry Hwang, FOB; August Wilson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone; Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart; Tony Kushner, Angels in America; Suzan Lori Parks, Father Comes Home from the Wars; Robert Schenkkan, All the Way; Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton. Manuscripts will be provided for MacBird!, Hamilton, Father Comes Home, and All the Way. Students should listen to the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton.


7692   Literatures of Solitude and the Social
A. Hungerford/M-Th 9:35-10:50

This seminar examines the American understanding of solitude in the context of social and non-human worlds. Topics include environment and solitude, urban solitude, religiously or politically motivated withdrawal, punitive isolation, physical solitude within technological connectedness, and lyric interiority. We will examine how the practices of reading and writing configure these forms of socially networked singularity.  Readings include selections from Edgar Allen Poe, Henry Thoreau, Harriet Jacobs, Sojourner Truth, Teju Cole, Colson Whitehead, Jack Kerouac, Marilynne Robinson, Alison Bechdel, and Michael Clune.

Texts:  Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Yale); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover); Sojourner Truth, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth (Dover); Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums (Penguin); Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (Picador); Teju Cole, Open City (Random); Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist (Anchor); Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Mariner); Michael Clune, Gamelife (FSG). Additional short readings will be provided in Vermont.


7812   Solo Performance: Theories and Practices
D. Jones/T, Th 2-4:45

See description under Group 6 offerings. 


Group 5 (World Literature)

7714   Vengeance
P. DeMarco/M-Th 9:35-10:50

“O what a brilliant day it is for vengeance!” —Aeschylus, ancient Greek playwright
The vengeance plot—or revenge as a theme—can be found in virtually every historical era of literature. In this course we will study a rich variety of treatments of vengeance beginning with ancient epic (Homer, The Iliad) and tragedy (Seneca, Thyestes and Agamemnon), turning to medieval epic (Dante, Inferno), and concluding with early modern drama (Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus). We'll examine how ancient value systems centered on honor/shame shaped poetic ideals of the avenging hero, justice, and fate. As we turn to medieval literature, we'll explore the ways in which emerging judicial institutions and Christian theologies of atonement posed challenges to ancient ideals of vengeance and re-appropriated earlier ideas of honor, vengeance, and pity. To enrich our understanding of our own culture's preoccupation with vengeance, we'll study the representation of vengeance in the modern western (Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino, director) and in modern renditions of classical narratives (Medea, Lars Von Trier, director). We will also examine theologies of divine vengeance, legal articulations of vengeance as a way to restore the balance to the scales of justice (as in the eye-for-an-eye code of the lex talionis), and efforts to cast "revenge as a kind of wild justice" (Francis Bacon) outside the bounds of reason and civilized conduct. Finally, we'll draw on contemporary scholarship on the psychology of anger to better understand the motives that drive individuals to revenge, the goals that the avenger seeks, the pleasures (and, perhaps surprisingly, the lack of satisfaction) that the pursuit of vengeance provides.

Texts:  Homer, The Iliad, trans. Robert Fagles, intro. Bernard Knox (Penguin); Seneca: The Tragedies: The Complete Roman Drama in Translation, Vol. I, ed. and trans. David Slavitt (John Hopkins); Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Vol. I, Inferno, trans. Robert Durling (Oxford); William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, ed. Jonathan Bate (Arden Third Series). Please use the editions listed here since other editions differ quite markedly.


7715   Dante & Vergil
J. Fyler/M-Th 9:35-10:50

This course will focus on two major texts in the European literary tradition, Vergil's Aeneid and Dante's Commedia. The two are linked because "Virgil" is Dante's guide on his journey into Hell and up the mountain of Purgatory; he is the guide because Aeneid 6 describes an earlier trip to the underworld, but even more because Dante has the whole Aeneid very much in mind throughout his own great poem. We will also look at a number of allusions to these texts in English and American literature.

Texts: Vergil, Aeneid, trans. Robert Fitzgerald (Vintage); Reading Vergil's Aeneid, ed. Christine Perkell (Oklahoma); Dante, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, ed. Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander (all Anchor); Pierre Grimal, The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Penguin).


7735   Into the Woods:  Folktales, Fairy Tales, and the Oral Tradition
M. Armstrong/M-Th 11-12:15

In this course we will study the world of folklore. We will concentrate on European folklore, reading, discussing, and interpreting the great anthologies of Charles Perrault, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Italo Calvino, Joseph Jacobs and Aleksandr Afanas’ev. We will consider the relationship between oral and literary tradition, we will explore the history and origin of folktales and fairy tales, we will examine the theories of folk literature put forward by writers such as Vladimir Propp, Bruno Bettelheim, and Walter Benjamin. We will also read contemporary and revisionary folk stories, and we will look at the ways in which children make use of the fairy tale world. Course members will write creatively and critically in a class journal and will work on an individual project to be presented at the end of the course.

Texts:  Charles Perrault, The Complete Fairy Tales, (Oxford); Philip Pullman, Grimm Tales (Penguin); Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales (Harcourt); Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales (Bodley Head); Aleksandr Afanas’ev, Russian Fairy Tales (Pantheon); A.S. Byatt, Little Black Book of Stories (Vintage); Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber (Vintage).


7749   Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
S. Donadio/T, Th 2-4:45

A sustained investigation of the significant interplay between these two commanding novels, with particular emphasis on manifestations of boredom, desire, and regret. Students should anticipate some related collateral readings over the course of the summer, as well as regular opportunities for independent research.

Texts: Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, trans. Mauldon (Oxford World’s Classics); Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky (Penguin Classics).

7736   The Arabian Nights—Storytelling, Orientalism, and Islamic Culture
S. Goldman/T, Th 2-4:45

In this course we will study the great medieval classic The Arabian Nights or The Thousand and One Nights Entertainment. Compiled in Egypt and Syria in the 14th century and translated into French and other European languages in the 17th and 18th centuries, this “ocean of story” has had a profound effect on the development of the literatures of both the Middle East and the West. The incorporation of ‘Arabian Nights’ motifs in European art and orientalist discourse will be central in our inquiry.

Texts:  Muhsin Mahdi and Husain Haddawy, Arabian Nights (Norton); Richard Burton, Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights (Modern Library); Robert Irwin, Arabian Nights: Companion (Tauris Parke); Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Penguin); Malise Ruthven, Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford); Alexander Lyon Macfie, Orientalism: A Reader (NYU); Shalom Goldman, The Wiles of Women/The Wiles of Men (SUNY).


7779   Longform Narratives in the World Novel, the Cinema and the Televisual
J. Freedman/T, Th 2-4:45

What kinds of possibilities open up when writers, filmmakers, and TV auteurs think outside the (temporal) box? What do extended stories (themselves growing out of traditionally extended and perhaps even limitless forms like the epic, romance, and the chronicle) allow for? What possibilities do they open up as they unfold in terms of social and individual representation? How does temporality get registered, transformed, and deployed as the text is experienced over protracted periods of time? Ditto for character: how can these extended narrative forms allow for growth, change, and metamorphosis? How have such effects as seriality, suspense, intertwined plots, and so on, developed as they move from form to form? What assumptions about the narrative coherence of the world are being predicated in these works, and how are those assumptions either affirmed or disrupted? Why have so many televisual narratives flourished (until recently) in non-U.S. cultures, especially Scandinavia? These are some questions we will discuss as we encounter long works in literature, film, and recent television serials, experienced in their total and totalizing whole. Each student will be responsible for choosing one long-form work to present to the class and then to shape their papers—literary (Knausgaard anyone?), cinematic or televisual are all fine, with my assent. Please come to campus having read Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now.

Texts:  Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now (Wordsworth). Films: Marcel Carné, Les Enfants du Paradis (1945);Sergei Eisenstein, Ivan the Terrible, I and II (1945, 1958); Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather, Parts I, II and III (1972, 1974, 1990). Televisual: Jill Soloway, Transparent: Season 1—all 10 episodes (U.S., 2014); Maya Ilsøe, The Legacy: Season 1—all 10 episodes (Danish, 2014); one or more to be named later.


7797   Cli-Fi: Fictions of Climate Change
J. Wicke/M, W 2-4:45

Literature has always explored the nature of the world and envisioned many versions of its end. In our own time, there is growing awareness that cataclysmic climate change of human causation threatens the environment worldwide. Apocalyptic visions of a drowned, denatured world are becoming reality. The term ‘Cli-fi’ describes an important genre of fiction and film that passionately explores climate change in its human and nonhuman facets. We will read and view major, diverse examples of Cli-fi from earlier prophetic works to its contemporary explosion across media, to see how the genre bears witness to the ecological emergency affecting the planet and our future, and how it offers solutions for survival and healing. Cli-fi questions proof and belief, agency and action, hope and despair: as a literature that awakens and transforms us, Cli-fi imagines the new ecology we inhabit, where fiction comes true. Film clips, science policy documents, climate poetry, and climate art will be available or shown in class.

Texts:  H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (Penguin); Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Del Rey); J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World, 50th anniversary ed. (Liveright); Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest, 2nd ed. (Tor); Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (Grand Central); Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (Anchor); Ian McEwan, Solar (Anchor); Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior (Harper); Nathaniel Rich, Odds Against Tomorrow (Picador); Monique Roffey, Archipelago (Penguin) David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks (Random); Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (Vintage).


Group 6 (Theater Arts)

7658   History on Stage: American Epic Theater
O. Eustis/T, Th 2-4:45

See description under Group 4 offerings. This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.


7807   Using Theater in the English Classroom
A. Brazil/M, W 2-4:45

Theater can offer students the opportunity to viscerally enter and deeply understand—and own—a text. In the tradition of the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, this course will explore ways to use performance to excavate a text, its end goal being for students to have the tools to do this work with their own students in their year-round classrooms. Working collaboratively as actors, we’ll employ choral readings, find and theatricalize events, find where a piece hits us emotionally, and create its physical life from there. We’ll be working with a variety of texts to explore the question of what it means to be an American; all will be available as a course packet. Our work will culminate in a piece we'll create for the Acting Ensemble's performance of U.S.A. Though performance is central to the course, the emphasis is not on acting; no previous acting experience is required. Students must be available to rehearse a great deal outside of class.

Texts:  Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton, A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts (Harvard); course packet containing all other texts will be available for purchase online through the Middlebury College Bookstore and from the onsite Bread Loaf bookstore.


7812   Solo Performance: Theories and Practices
D. Jones/T, Th 2-4:45

This course has two interrelated objectives: (1) to trace a history of U.S. solo performance from the 19th century to the present: from abolitionism and expressionism to second-wave feminism and queer theory, we will explore how performers and writers working within these movements and traditions use the individual (body; voice; psyche) to theorize representation, subjectivity and selfhood, and the political; (2) to write and perform original solo pieces for the Bread Loaf community. Students will work in pairs (one as the performer, the other as a director) to produce these 8-10 minute performances. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts:  William Wells Brown, The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom (Cosimo); Eugene O’Neill, The Emperor Jones (Dover); Anna Deavere Smith, Fires in the Mirror (Dramatists Play Services); Spalding Gray, Swimming to Cambodia (Theater Communications Group).