Vermont Campus, 2014 Courses
Group 1 (Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy)
7000b Poetry Writing/P. Muldoon/M, W 2–4:45
A workshop devoted to close readings of poems by the participants, the course will be augmented by readings of, and formal assignments based on, a wide range of contemporary poets from Ashbery to Ali, Dickey to Dove, Larkin to Levertov, Olson to Olds. Participants will be expected to have a firm grasp of poetic terms, and of prosody, and to be able and willing to discuss poetry with acumen and aplomb. Though the workshop will be at the heart of the course, two conferences will also be scheduled with each poet.
Texts: The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2, ed. Jahan Ramazani, Richard Ellmann, and Robert O’Clair (Norton); The New Princeton Handbook of Poetic Terms, ed. T. V. F. Brogan (Princeton).
7000c Poetry Workshop/T. Smith/T, Th 2–4:45
In this workshop, we will explore ways that the reading and writing of poems can shape and enlarge our sense of lived experience. We'll examine how and why we are moved, surprised, and sometimes changed by the poems we read, and participants will be encouraged to enact similar strategies in their own work. Logistically speaking, this course will focus equally on the discussion of published poems and the critique of student work. Students will complete weekly exercises designed to generate new writing and will submit a final portfolio of revisions at the end of the term.
Texts: Elizabeth Bishop, Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Jack Gilbert, The Great Fires (Knopf); Brenda Shaughnessy, Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon). Additional readings will be provided during the session.
7005b Fiction Writing/R. Paris/T, Th 2–4:45
In this workshop we'll read, write, revise, and critique stories. As we do this, we’ll consider elements commonly associated with craft (plot, point of view, character development, dialogue, setting). We'll also consider how our identities (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language) are entangled with craft—how who we are may impact the types of stories we tell and the ways we tell them. While writing, reading, and responding to fiction are crucial in developing craft, perhaps also critical is articulating our reasons for writing. With this in mind, students will also write a statement of aesthetics about their writing: What stories do we want to tell and why? At the end of the course, students will organize their writing into a portfolio.
Texts: Junot Díaz, Drown (Riverhead); Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead); Charles Baxter, The Art of Subtext (Graywolf); additional readings will be provided during the session.
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 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 wherever it is they call home. We will study different modes of creative nonfiction (memoir, travel writing, personal narratives and reportage, among others), but we will 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 "Landscape," 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. Students will be required to keep a weather log and to compose weathergrams.
Texts: Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library); Virgil, Virgil's Georgics, trans. Janet Lembke (Yale); Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson (New Directions); a course packet of additional texts will be available for purchase online through the Middlebury College Bookstore, and from the onsite Bread Loaf bookstore.
7008 Critical Writing/J. Wicke/M–Th 11–12:15
This course follows the format of Bread Loaf’s workshops in writing poetry and fiction by giving the same attention to the single genre of writing we all practice here: critical writing. In fluid and open-ended assignments we’ll explore what the word “critical” means as a mode that isn’t about mere criticism, but instead about what matters most, what is most critical to an idea, a work of art, an unfolding truth; and we will develop strategies for how to write that. The course is designed for those who want to hone the power, subtlety, and reach of their critical writing; who are eager to explore the exciting possibilities and hybrid forms emerging in the “new critical writing”; who teach critical writing and want to learn about it as the best avenue to critical thinking; and who want to be part of the expanding arena of public writing. This workshop will build on short written passages, critical conversations and comments, individual tutorials, and the reading of examples of dazzling critical prose to work toward personal critical writing goals for each class member: developing a critical voice, making a foray into public writing, crafting a specific critical writing project, or gaining a deeper understanding of critical writing as empowerment, engagement, and exchange in order to teach it.
Texts: Herman Rapaport, The Literary Theory Toolkit: A Compendium of Concepts and Methods (Wiley-Blackwell); Constance Hale, Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose (Three Rivers). Exemplary essays will be available electronically and in library reserves.
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, 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. In the second half, in the light of critical reading and with an eye to shaping a final project, students will revise what they have written. Among the critical questions considered will be: How do you write authentically for a child? 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 The Witches andthese stories 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.
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, The Adventures of 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).
7119 Writing, Technologies, and Digital Cultures/A. Lunsford and A. Banks/M–Th 11–12:15
This course, a combination of seminar and workshop, will ask you to inquire into, and think critically about, what it means to write with technologies, in digital landscapes. It will also provide you with daily practice and opportunities to experiment with your own writing—and conceptions of writing—in these landscapes. We will consider several such large-scale questions as: What does digital literacy entail? What is digital culture and what does it mean to live, play, and work within it? What ecological forces shape our own engagements of technology? What abilities are most important for us as writers and teachers of writing? Along with these critical, big-picture concerns, we will work consistently at developing multimodal writing capabilities in a wide range of genres and spaces. How do we create not only content, but community and engagement in our social media use? How do we write for a landscape that is not about old or new media, but constant, confusing, collisions of many different types of media? How can we develop skills, abilities, practices, and understandings to use genres and technologies of the moment (blogs, zines, games, fan fiction, videos, audio essays, and presentations) and be prepared for the constant shifts in tools, technologies, and writing spaces that are sure to come? Our class sessions will be both physical and virtual, using various online community spaces for our daily discussions and activities. We will compile and share resources from exemplars to tutorials, demo new tools, work on weekly digital + writing challenges, explore multiple digital spaces for collaborative work, and host at least two “digital open mic” sessions for the BLSE community. Finally, we will combine these skills, practices, tools, and big-picture examinations to develop our own digital writing voices, personae, and strategies for both production and teaching.
Texts: Howard Rheingold, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (MIT); Lesson Plans for Developing Digital Literacies, ed. Mary Christel and Scott Sullivan (NCTE); Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (NYU); selections from Multimodal Composition: A Critical Sourcebook, ed. Claire Lutkewitte (Bedford/St. Martins); Race after the Internet, ed. Lisa Nakamura, Alondra Nelson, et al. (Routledge).
7122 Indigenous Intersections: American Indian and Chicana/o Writing Practices/D. Baca/M–Th 8:10–9:25
Alliances, literary, spiritual, and other, have been created and sustained in part through Indigenous and Chicana/o inscription practices. This course will examine how these widely diverse practices intertwine and challenge each other, and how these traditions impact writers who have original relationships to the continent, including those who may not always be recognized as Indigenous. We will employ comparative approaches to various models of alphabetic and non-alphabetic Indigenous inscriptions, deriving examples from the Nahua and Maya of Central America, the Amayra of South America as well as “the Peoplehood Matrix” from American Indian studies. We will also consider Mexican mixed-blood/Indigenous experiences with theories from the Metis people of Canada. The class will forward new perspectives on approaches to alphabetic, pictographic, and non-verbal writing practices that support historically sound accounts of how recorded information changes across cultures and time. We will investigate “new” ways of reading, writing, and learning, with the aim of fundamentally altering the character of twenty-first-century education.
Texts: Moctezuma’s Mexico: Visions of the Aztec World, ed. David Carrasco and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (Colorado); Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Aunt Lute); Patrisia Gonzales, Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing (Arizona); Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol (City Lights); Comparative Indigeneities of the Americas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach, ed. M. Bianet Castellanos, et al. (Arizona); a course pack, including work by Curtis Acosta, Yolanda Chavez Leyva, Reid Gómez, Andrea Hernández-Holm, Inés Hernández-Avila, Scott Lyons, E. A. Marez, Simon Ortiz, and Domino Renee Perez, will be available for purchase online through the Middlebury College Bookstore, and from the onsite Bread Loaf bookstore. Students should also read Damián Baca, Rhetorics of the Americas, which will be on reserve at Bread Loaf.
7182 Describing the Imagination/M. Armstrong/M–Th 8:10–9:25
In this collaborative workshop we examine the growth of imagination, from infancy to adulthood. Our focus is on the creative work of children and young adults: their writing, art, music, dance, drama, photography, and film. We observe, record, describe, and interpret creative work in many ways, visually as well as verbally. We study accounts of the imagination by writers, artists, critics, and philosophers. We examine the critical role of the imagination in education, and we consider how to recognize, promote, support, document, and value imaginative achievement. A guiding text will be John Dewey’sArt as Experience. Class members are expected to bring with them examples of the creative work of their students or of their own children. Of particular interest is work that combines different art forms. We keep a class journal in which we document our own imaginative journey, day by day. Class members will contribute regularly to the journal, write reflections on class discussions, and conduct their own inquiry into a chosen aspect of the class theme.
Texts: John Dewey, Art as Experience (Perigee); Vivian Gussin Paley, The Girl with the Brown Crayon (Harvard); Reggio Children, Shoe and Meter (Buy through http://learningma.accountsupport.com/store/reggio_children_product_page); John Keats
Selected Letters, ed. Jon Mee (Oxford); Adam Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery (Vintage); Elliot Eisner, The Arts and the Creation of Mind (Yale).
Group 2 (British Literature through the Seventeenth Century)
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. You should read Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida ahead of time, since it will be staged in Vermont this summer, and since we'll be thinking about Chaucer's poem in its literary contexts.
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 Critical).
7260 Shakespeare on the Stage: Supernatural Soliciting/A. MacVey/T, Th 2–4:45
In this course we will explore three plays in which supernatural forces affect characters in powerful and very different ways. In A Midsummer Night's Dream the forces are constructive and lead characters to self- discovery. In Macbeth the forces are destructive and tear people apart. In The Tempest they could go either way, and the struggle between them is at the heart of the play. By exploring a comedy, a tragedy, and a romance as they take shape on stage, we will come to appreciate Shakespeare's skills as a practical playwright and his unique ability to touch earth, heaven, and hell with words and images. (Students who have studied any of these plays with Mr. MacVey in the past should not enroll in this course.)
Texts: William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and The Tempest (all Arden).
7270 Jews, Turks, and Moors in Early Modern English Literature/J. Shoulson/M–Th 9:35–10:50
This course examines how early modern English society grappled with its increasingly fraught, intimate, and prolonged encounters with religious and ethnic Others. 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 (masculine, bourgeois) Englishness in the early modern period?
Texts: Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine, Parts One and Two, ed. Anthony Dawson (Methuen); William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. Lawrence Danson (Longman); Piracy, Slavery, and Redemption: Barbary Captivity Narratives from Early Modern England, ed. Daniel Vitkus (Columbia); Three Turk Plays, ed. Daniel Vitkus (Columbia); Shakespeare and Elizabeth Carey, Othello and The Tragedy of Mariam, ed. Clare Carrol (Longman). Since these editions include essential additional readings, it’s important that you obtain these specific versions of the texts. Supplementary materials will be available at Bread Loaf.
7295 Milton, the Bible, and Cultures of Violence/J. Shoulson/M–Th 11–12:15
Though it can be cited for its celebrations of peace, the Bible can just as readily be cited for its extensive accounts of violence in the service of, prompted by, or attributed to God. It is difficult to think of an English writer more profoundly influenced by and engaged with the scriptural tradition than John Milton. It is also difficult to imagine a period in English history characterized by more religiously motivated violence than the years between 1637 and 1667, precisely the same time that Milton wrote nearly all of his extensive oeuvre. From his earliest lyrics to his monumental final poems and throughout his extensive forays into prose polemics, Milton’s career is characterized by an intensive reading and rewriting of biblical texts, many of them fraught with violence. This course will read extensive selections from Milton’s poetry and prose in tandem with portions of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. We shall consider the representations of violence in biblical texts (including portions of Genesis, Numbers, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalms, Daniel, Mark, Matthew, Galatians, and Revelation) in their own right, as well as in light of their presence within Milton’s writings. Some secondary readings will accompany these texts, but we will have our hands full enough with Milton and the Bible. Students wishing to get a head start would do well to read at least some of Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes in advance. (This course can be used to satisfy either a Group 2 or a Group 5 requirement.)
Texts: The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, ed. William Kerrigan, et al. (Random); The Bible: King James Version with the Apocrypha, ed. David Norton (Penguin). Other editions of the King James Bible will serve, but please be sure they offer the 1611 translation and are not a modern revision or “The New King James Bible.”
7299 Order and Disorder in the Human Sciences/T. Curtain/T, Th 2–4:45
To make sense of literary texts, we use hermeneutical tools that were forged in the great experiments in knowledge making of the seventeenthand early eighteenth centuries. This course will provide students with a working knowledge of the historical emergence of the study of literature by examining its precursors: linguistics, biology, and political economy. We will examine how those disciplines have been brought to bear on the “problem” of the literary arts. What is a novel? How do poems mean? What tools do we use to “unpack” the meaning of a book, a chapter, a paragraph, or a word? (This course can be used to satisfy either a Group 2 or a Group 3 requirement.)
Texts: Please buy these editions of each text even if you own some other edition. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (Vintage); Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition (Harvard); Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Gottfried Herder, On the Origin of Language (Chicago); Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. Ryan Patrick Hanley, intro. Amartya Sen (Penguin; the paperback is out of print; students should purchase the Kindle edition, readable on any laptop or computer). Additional short stories and poems will be available at Bread Loaf.
Group 3 (British Literature since the Seventeenth Century)
7299 Order and Disorder in the Human Sciences/T. Curtain/T, Th 2–4:45
See description under Group 2 offerings. This course can be taken for either Group 2 or Group 3 credit.
7308 Displaced Persons: Studies in English Fiction from Defoe to Conrad/S. Donadio/T, Th 2–4:45
An exploration of states of dislocation, estrangement, and exile in a range of works produced by major authors between 1719 and 1901.
Texts: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin); Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (Oxford); Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings (Oxford); Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (Oxford); Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (Oxford); Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped (Penguin); Henry James, Daisy Miller and An International Episode (Oxford); Joseph Conrad, “Amy Foster” in Typhoon and Other Tales (Oxford).
7311 Romantic Poetry: Vision and Optical Culture/I. Armstrong/M–Th 8:10–9:25
Light, darkness, shadows, phantoms, phantasmagoria, magic lanterns, the spectrum, telescope, microscope, rainbows, stars, optical illusions, reflections, refractions. New optical technologies released images for the nature of images themselves, and poets explored the nature of vision and the visionary in this period. The course addresses key poems of vision in poems by men and women from 1790–1830. We will study prose texts that brought vision into question by Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, William Herschel, and Joseph Priestley, among others, as context. To prepare, read Blake’s The Tyger; Wordsworth’s Prelude, Book 1; Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, Act 1; Anna Barbauld’s "Summer Evening’s Meditation"; Charlotte Smith’s "Beachy Head." Written work will be a short and a long essay. Teaching modes will be formal presentations and discussion, dramatization, movement, drawing, all of which will require your imagination and analytical powers. Join the course if you are comfortable with these methods.
Texts: William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (Oxford); William Wordsworth, The Prelude: A Parallel Text, ed. J. C. Maxwell (Penguin); The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2 D, The Romantic Period, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et al. (Norton).
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 nineteenth-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 Becket 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 twentieth-century Irish literature, often a self-conscious reaction against the stereotyped melancholy of the Celtic school popular at the turn of the 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/Viking); 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).
7430 Woolf and the Movement of Modernism/J. Green-Lewis/M, W 2–4:45
While modernism represents movement of all kinds, including spatial, mnemonic, and temporal, ambivalence about movement is also one of its constants. In fact, some of the most memorable scenes in modernist works are those in which movement ceases completely. In this course we will focus on the representation of both movement and stasis during the early decades of the twentieth century, and we will consider how Virginia Woolf makes use of each to conceptualize and make visible the experiences of memory and the passage of time. For the first class, please read and bring James Joyce’s short story “The Dead.”
Texts: James Joyce, “The Dead” (any edition); Virginia Woolf, Selected Essays (Oxford); A Writer’s Diary (Harvest); Jacob’s Room (Mariner); Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse (both Harvest; both out of print, but used copies are available from online sources); The Waves (Harvest).
7437 Trauma and the Literature of Survival/M. Sokoloff/M–Th 9:35–10:50
Hardly a day goes by in which we don’t hear or read about the struggles of American soldiers returning home. This current obsession with veterans and their readjustment to civilian life has reawakened an interest in homecomings and the dynamics of survival that has preoccupied artists and writers since ancient Greece. In this course we will examine the relationship between trauma and representation by examining the archetypal figure of survival, the returned soldier. Our study begins with the First World War, when the term “shell shock” was coined, and extends to more recent times when the broken-down World War I soldier and his descendants continue to animate the literary imagination. In his own historical context, the shell-shocked soldier was an extraordinary figure, unraveling traditional notions of war, social class, manliness, and sanity. As a literary figure, he becomes a site for contesting fundamental assumptions about ordinary experience: home, memory, loss, identity, and literary representation itself. The course will provide opportunities for us to juxtapose historical/medical representations of traumatized soldiers with poetic/literary ones, to explore the differences between works written by combatant and non-combatants authors, and to probe the similarities among the literatures of various wars. While we will focus primarily on representations of World War I soldiers, we will necessarily find echoes of “shell shock” in the PTSD syndromes of the Vietnam era and today.
Texts: Erich Maria Remarque, The Road Back (Random); Pat Barker, Regeneration (Penguin); Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier (Random); Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Harcourt); Toni Morrison, Sula (Vintage); Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (Penguin); Harriet Scott Chessman, The Beauty of Ordinary Things (Atelier26). Recommended Texts: Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford); Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (Simon & Schuster); Jonathan Shay, Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (Scribner).
7453 Modern British and American Poetry/M. Wood/M–Th 11–12:15
Later modern poetry in English shows a curious diffidence, as if the heyday of Yeats, Eliot, and Pound had been the great last gasp of a confidence that would not come again. We might think just of the tone of Auden and Bishop, independently of anything they say—and Auden did say, for good measure, that he wanted to be a minor poet. The course will explore this diffidence, the ways in which it is represented, cheated, compensated for, and the degree to which it may after all be imaginary. The course will also look at a whole lot of individual poems for their own interesting sake. (This course can be used to satisfy either a Group 3 or a Group 4 requirement.)
Texts: Wallace Stevens, Selected Poems (Knopf); W. H. Auden, Selected Poems (Vintage); Elizabeth Bishop, Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Robert Lowell, Life Studies and For the Union Dead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Philip Larkin, Collected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Seamus Heaney, Opened Ground (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red (Vintage).
Group 4 (American Literature)
7452 The Age of Hitchcock/J. Freedman/T, Th 2–4:45
Foregrounding ostensibly "perverse" forms of sexuality, blurring the lines between these psycho-sexual inclinations and the "normal," raising questions about the nature of spectatorship (cinematic and other) and surveillance alike, placing entertainment in a larger context of social practices and perversities, the films of Alfred Hitchcock have extended the ways we think not only about film as film, but about the cultural and historical institutions that shaped the film industry and that the industry has shaped in turn. Hitchcock films to be viewed include: The Lodger, The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Notorious, Spellbound, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho; The Birds; we'll also consider Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, Atom Egoyan's Exotica, Jonathan Demme's Something Wild, and Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows as providing consequential variations on Hitchcock's themes. I'll ask students to read some essays, but the main work of the course will be viewing and responding in an adult and critical manner to the films themselves. To that end, students will be required to keep a viewing journal, as well as to write one paper at the end of the summer.
Text: A Hitchcock Reader, ed. Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland Poague (Blackwell).
7453 Modern British and American Poetry/M. Wood/M–Th 11–12:15
See the description under Group 3 offerings. This course can 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, lots of reading.
Texts: Henry James, Selected Tales (Penguin), The Portrait of a Lady (Oxford), The Ambassadors (Penguin), The Wings of the Dove (Penguin), The Golden Bowl (Penguin).
7588 Modernist American Literature/A. Hungerford/M–Th 8:10–9:25
This course explores the modernist literary innovations of the early twentieth century, focusing on American writers. We will take a long view of modernism, one that stretches from a late nineteenth-century ghost story by Henry James to Gertrude Stein’s cubist-inspired poetry and Robert Frost’s rural monologues in the nineteen-teens, through the defining works of modernism’s high point in 1920s, ending with Alison Bechdel’s reflections on the contemporary uses of modernist storytelling and aesthetics. We will look at how modernist aesthetic forms shaped how writers represented American social life at the small and large scales. We will track how those forms drew on the international provenance and stature of modernist works in other media. Readings exemplify multiple genres: short and long-form fiction; lyric, epic, and prose poetry; graphic narrative; and criticism. Students will prepare two papers and a presentation, choosing between critical and pedagogically oriented options. The pace will be brisk, and so it will be helpful for you to read some of the longer and denser material (especially James, Stein, Anderson, and Eliot) a first time before you arrive in Vermont.
Texts: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898; Dover Thrift); Gertrude Stein, Three Lives (1909) and Tender Buttons (1914; together in Digireads.com); Robert Frost, North of Boston (1914) in A Boy’s Will and North of Boston (Dover Thrift); Sherwood Anderson, Winesberg, Ohio (1919; Signet); T. S. Eliot, The Annotated Waste Land with Elliot's Contemporary Prose, 2nd ed., ed. Lawrence Rainey (1922; Yale); Jean Toomer, Cane, new ed. (1923; Liveright); Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (1925; Scribner); F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925; Scribner); Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1928; Harper Perennial); Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2004; Mariner); supplemental readings, including poems from Wallace Stevens, will be put online for students during the session.
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; Go Down, Moses; 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; Novels 1942-1954. (There is also a fifth volume that includes works published in the author’s final years.) Throughout the session, all of our detailed discussions will refer to the first four 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.
7660 Autobiography in America/R. Stepto/M–Th 9:35–10:50
This discussion-oriented course offers two approaches to the study of American autobiography: the study of classic American autobiographical forms and the study of prevailing autobiographical strategies. The classic forms to be discussed include the Indian captivity narrative (Rowlandson and Marrant), the nation-building narrative (Franklin), slave narratives (Douglass and Jacobs), immigrant narratives (Antin and Kingston), and the cause narrative (Balakian). The strategies to be studied include photographic strategies (Uchida), writing another (Walls), the self in translation (Silko and Rodriguez), autobiography and place (Wright), the self and gender identity (Bechdel), and the graphic memoir (Bechdel). Students will be expected to complete two writing assignments, the second of which can be a personal essay employing one of the strategies discussed in the course. Students will also contribute regularly to the class journal and participate in one or more presentation groups.
Texts: Readings by Mary Rowlandson and John Marrant will be available at Bread Loaf (if you wish to read in advance, both narratives are in Held Captive by Indians , ed. R. VanDerBeets, and other volumes). All of the following titles are in paperback: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover Thrift); Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Modern Library); Mary Antin, The Promised Land (Penguin); Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (Vintage); Richard Wright, Black Boy (Harper); Peter Balakian, Black Dog of Fate (Basic); Yoshiko Uchida, Desert Exile (Washington); Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle (Scribner); Leslie Marmon Silko, Storyteller (Penguin); Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory (Bantam), Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Mariner).
7666 Black/Performance/Theory/D. Jones/M–Th 11–12:15
What was Miley Cyrus thinking during the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards? Why is it that some of our most contentious conversations about race emerge from discussions of Halloween costumes? How do we account for the recent spate of blackface incidents on college and university campuses? In this seminar, we will trace a historical trajectory and hone a critical vocabulary with which to address these questions and to consider, more broadly, why concerns of race and performance remain inextricably linked in American life. Specifically, we will use an archive of black cultural performances from the time of slavery through the contemporary moment to explore how race, as a category of identity in American society, is not so much what someone is as it is the effect of what someone does. Thus, this course introduces students to key concepts in both critical race theory and performance theory in an effort to account for the centrality of both bracketed cultural performances (e.g., theater, dance, oratory, music) and everyday ones (e.g., doll play, costuming and masking, impersonation) to the formation of racial subjectivity. Throughout the course, we will make sure to think about how to impart our objects and terms of study to classrooms of all levels.
Texts: Daphne A. Brooks, Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke); Robin Bernstein, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (NYU); E. Patrick Johnson, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke); Shane Vogel, The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance (Chicago). In addition to these scholarly monographs, we will read William Wells Brown’s The Escape (Cosimo Classics), Zora Neale Hurston’s Color Struck, Amiri Baraka’s The Dutchman, and Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment, among other primary texts; we will also watch Song of the South, Coonskins, Passing Strange, andclips from Saturday Night Live and Chappelle’s Show, among others. Students should purchase the texts up to and including Wells Brown's The Escape. The other materials will be available via an online course site or as evening screenings.
7673 Mexican American Literature/D. Baca/M–Th 11–12:15
This class examines the production of Mexican American literature, with a focus on how English-language texts respond to dominant power structures and perform cultural subjectivities, both accommodating and resistant. Mexican American literature is a dynamic aesthetic intervention that structures our guiding inquiries: What are the literary possibilities of "mestizaje," the transnational fusion and fissure of Mesoamerican and Spanish cultures? Because Mexican American writing easily weaves between Western configurations such as fiction, autobiography, poetry, pictography and art, what counts as Mexican American literature? How do Mexican American literatures respond to dominant presumptions of universal hegemony over intellectual inquiry, cultural meaning, historical narrative, and social transformation?
Texts: Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Aunt Lute); Guillermo Gómez-Pena, Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol (City Lights); Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek (Vintage); Paul Martinez Pompa, My Kill Adore Him (Notre Dame); Demetria Martínez, Mother Tongue (One World/Ballantine); Reyna Grande, The Distance between Us (Washington Square); Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil’s Highway (Back Bay). Students should also read Damián Baca, Mestiz@ Scripts, Digital Migrations, and the Territories of Writing (Palgrave Macmillan), which will be on reserve at Bread Loaf.
7679 Reading America/W. Nash/T, Th 2–4:45
In this course we will explore fiction by authors of various ethnicities that examines the issues of interaction with and integration into “American life.” Under that broad rubric, we will discuss a range of topics including the processes of individual and group identity erasure and formation; experiences of intergenerational conflict; considerations of the burden and promise of personal and communal histories; examinations of varied understandings of race, class, and gender; and interrogations of “Americanness.” Grounding our discussions in a common historical text, Ronald Takaki’s A Different Mirror, we will examine works by Sherman Alexi, Arturo Islas, Philip Roth, Julie Otsuka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, and Dinaw Mengestu.
Texts: Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror: A Multicultural History of America (Back Bay/Little, Brown); Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (Grove); Arturo Islas, The Rain God (Avon); Philip Roth, The Human Stain (Vintage); Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine (both Knopf); Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (Mariner); Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead); Dinaw Mengestu, How To Read the Air (Riverhead). Students should read Takaki’s history before arriving in Vermont.
Group 5 (World Literature)
7295 Milton, the Bible, and Cultures of Violence/J. Shoulson/M–Th 11–12:15
See description under Group 2 offerings. This course can be taken for either Group 2 or Group 5 credit.
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. Although we won't be discussing Brucker, I highly recommend it as advance reading.
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); Gene Brucker, Florence: The Golden Age, 1138–1737 (California).
7751 Tolstoy and/or Dostoevsky/M. Katz/M, W 2–4:45
In his study of the novel E. M. Forster wrote: “No English novelist is as great as Tolstoy—that is to say, has given so complete a picture of man’s life, both on its domestic and heroic side. No English novelist has explored man’s soul as deeply as Dostoevsky.” Our inquiry begins with Dostoevsky’s first literary offering, Poor Folk (1846). Then we turn to his philosophical treatise-cum-novel Notes from Underground (1864), viewed as a prelude to his five major works. We study two novels: Crime and Punishment (1866), his first and arguably best work; and Devils (1871-72), his most profound political tract and a study of atheism. Then we turn to Leo Tolstoy: his early works, including “Three Deaths” (1859), followed by a close reading of his masterpiece Anna Karenina (1875-77). Finally we survey his late fiction, concentrating on “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1889).
Texts: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Katz (Norton Critical); Crime and Punishment, ed. George Gibian (Norton Critical); Devils, ed. Michael Katz (Oxford); Leo Tolstoy, Tolstoy's Short Fiction, 2nd ed., ed. and trans. Michael Katz (Norton Critical); Anna Karenina, ed. George Gibian (Norton Critical).
7777 Borges, Calvino, Beckett/M. Armstrong/M–Th 11–12:15
In this workshop we will explore the fictional worlds of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Samuel Beckett. Our attention will focus on the critical scrutiny of their work. We will examine the interrelationship of the three writers, study their work in its political, philosophical, and ethical context, consider their literary means and values, and take account of their own critical commentary. A major theoretical starting point will be Calvino’s late critical essays, Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Class members will contribute regularly to a class journal which will be kept in the Davison Library and which will act as a continuation of the daily class meeting in written terms. This journal will include reflections on class discussions, critical notes on particular texts, and creative responses to the stories we read. Class members will explore some aspect of our storytellers’ work in a final project.
Texts: Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Vintage); Jorge Luis Borges, Fictions (Penguin); The Aleph (Penguin); Calvino, The Complete Cosmicomics (Penguin); Invisible Cities (Harvest); If on a Winter’s Night A Traveler (Harvest); Mr. Palomar (Mariner); Samuel Beckett, The Expelled/The Calmative/The End/ First Love; Company/Ill Seen/Ill Said/Worstward Ho/Stirring Still; How It Is; Texts for Nothing and Other Shorter Prose 1950-1976 (all Faber & Faber; out of print in U.S., but they will be ordered from the U.K. by the Middlebury College Bookstore and available for purchase through their online site and from the onsite Bread Loaf bookstore).
7788 The End of Experience/M. Wood/M–Th 8:10–9:25
"As for experience," Nietzsche wrote in 1887, "who among is serious enough for that? Or has time enough?" Walter Benjamin thought the very idea of experience expired some time during World War I. It is easy to make sensible replies to these desperate or mocking claims. Experience gets to us even if we don’t have time; experience doesn’t die, it just changes with history. But the sensible answers don’t catch the anxiety of the more extreme propositions, and it is the truth of the hyperbole that this course seeks to explore. What have artists and thinkers made of experience in the last 150 years? What do they make of it now? And why has it so long seemed to be in crisis? This is what we shall try to find out through a variety of readings in literature, philosophy, and film.
Texts: Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes (Penguin); Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (Schocken); Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts (Mariner); Alain Resnais/Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima mon amour (DVD, Criterion); Martin Heidegger, On the Way to Language (HarperOne); Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (Penguin); Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer (Stanford); Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker (DVD, Kino). The two DVDs will be shown at Bread Loaf; they are listed here for students who wish to view them before the summer session.
7791 Horror/T. Curtain/M–Th 9:35–10:50
The world is filled with terror and horror. We need literature to tell us this? Shouldn't we be reading works that offer roadmaps to right action? In times like these, shouldn't teachers of literature be discussing great works that offer solace in the midst of cultural decline—give us moral direction in times of corruption and toxic self-interest? Since you mention it, yes. The great works of literature are frequently horror stories—and deeply moralistic stories at that. We will discuss horror as a genre form that asks readers and viewers to evaluate what is meant by “morality.” Be prepared on day one to discuss two short stories: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." The opening topic: does social stability demand spilled blood? Read the stories. Come prepared to reason.
Texts: Shirley Jackson, Novels and Stories (Library of America); Joyce Carol Oates, Zombie: A Novel (Ecco); Stephen King, Carrie and The Shining (both Anchor); Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves (Pantheon); John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (St. Martin's Griffin); Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (Vintage); Susan Hill, The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story (Vintage). We will have a weekly screening of movies, including Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968); Brian de Palma’s Carrie (1976); Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980); Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998); John Carpenter, Halloween (1978); David Lynch, Eraserhead (1977); Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho (1960); Larry Yust, The Lottery (1969); Tomas Alfredson’s Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In (2008); George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968); Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead (1981), among other works.
7796 Global Detective Fiction/J. Wicke/M, W 2–4:45
Global detective fiction written from around the world has exploded as a literary form in the last fifty years, and the contemporary detective genre has become a central site for making visible the problems of globalization and the interdependence of world culture by tracing the intersections of peoples, places, and politics on a “map” of detection. These often highly literary mysteries are like maps: the mystery to be solved is less important than the journey through the unexplored cultural territory the mystery reveals, as it uncovers evidence of what the world is truly like, explores otherwise unheard voices, and unmasks new ways to understand others in relation to ourselves. Global detective fiction builds on the detection motif of modern literature to track how hidden forces have shaped global realities of inequality and oppression; it also crosses the borders of popular culture and high art, of gender and genre, and of race, ethnicity, and identity as it creates new kinds of detective heroes and heroines. We investigate the genre from the earliest detective story in Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus the King to the global elements in the first modern detective fiction of Edgar Allan Poe and A. Conan Doyle, explore questions of globalization in relation to literature as global detective fiction begins in the aftermath of WW II, and trace important issues of global audiences and the politics of reading. Global detective fiction is also a cinematic genre, and we will watch several key films.
Texts: Akimitsu Takagi, The Tattoo Murder Case (Soho); Arthur Upfield, The Bone is Pointed (Scribner); Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, Roseanna (Vintage/Black Lizard); Walter Mosley, Little Scarlet (Vision); Henning Mankell, Sidetracked (Vintage); Jakob Arjouni, Kismet (Melville); Natsuo Kirino, Out (Vintage); Alexander McCall Smith, The Kalahari Typing School for Men (Anchor); Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage/Black Lizard); Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer (Grove); Arnaldur Indridason, Voices (Picador); Diane Wei Liang, Paper Butterfly (Simon & Schuster); Subcomandante Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, The Uncomfortable Dead (Akashic); Tana French, Broken Harbor (Penguin); Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Penguin). The play Oedipus and Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue are online e-texts; the Sherlock Holmes story “The Speckled Band” will be available at Bread Loaf.
Group 6 (Theater Arts)
7800 Directing Workshop/Mr. MacVey/M, W 2–4:45
A study of the problems a director faces in selecting material, analyzing a script, and staging a theatrical production. Some consideration will be given to the theater's place in society and the forms it can take. Each student will direct two dramatic pieces for presentation before the class. This class is also a good introduction to the wide spectrum of activities that theater includes: script analysis, acting, design, staging, etc. The last class will run until 11 p.m. on the final Tuesday of the session.
Texts: Peter Brook, The Empty Space (Touchstone). Additional articles will be available on reserve.
7807 Using Theater in the English Classroom/A. Brazil/T, Th 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, work with the rhythm of language, 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; all will be available as a course packet. Taking our cue from this summer’s production of Troilus and Cressida, all texts we encounter will examine the theme of selfishness vs. selflessness and the relationship between one’s motives for choice and that choice's consequences. 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.