Vermont Campus, 2017 Courses

Group 1 (Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy)

7000b  Poetry Workshop: Poetry of Humanity and Hope

R. Forman/T, Th 2–4:45

In this workshop we will explore poetry of humanity and hope while incorporating tai chi, qi gong and communal principles to bring a focused energy of flow to one’s writing life. Each session starts with centering and energetic exercises, engages writing and critique, and ends with a clearer understanding of writing technique. Together we will focus on energetic flow and what this can bring to the page, the discussion of moving texts/published poems, and critique of student work. Students will regularly engage in exercises designed to generate new writing, and everyone will submit a final portfolio of revised work at the end of the session.

Texts: Lucille Clifton, Blessing the Boats (BOA); Martín Espada, Alabanza (Norton); Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House); Kim Addonzio, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (Norton); Stephen Mitchell, Tao Te Ching (Harper Perennial). Additional readings will be provided during the session.

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: Readings will be provided during the session. The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th ed., Margaret Ferguson, et al. (Norton), will be on reserve in the library.

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: “First Love and Other Sorrows” by Harold Brodkey, “Jon” by George Saunders, and “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” 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: My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead, ed. Jeffrey Eugenides (Harper Perennial).

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. 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: Readings will be provided during the session. The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, 14th ed., ed. Melissa Goldthwaite, et al. (Norton), will be on reserve in the library.

7006b  Creative Nonfiction: The Almanac

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).

7009a and 7009b Multigenre Writing Workshop

D. Huddle/ 7009a: M–Th 8:10–9:25 / 7009b: 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 Georgia Review (Spring 2017); Zone 3 (Fall 2016); The Threepenny Review (Spring 2017); and Plume (a free online journal). Journals will be available through the Middlebury College Bookstore.

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 a story-generating boot camp; students will write a rough draft of a new story for each class. In the second half, students will continue with new work and, with an eye to shaping a final project, revise some of what they’ve written. We will also add critical readings to the mix. Students should come to the first class having read Wally’s Stories, The Witches, and “Hansel and Gretel” and “Rapunzel” from The Juniper Tree collection. 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); Wolf Erlbruch, Death, Duck, and the Tulip (Gecko Press); Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting (Square Fish); Molly Bang, The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher (Aladdin) and Picture This (SeaStar); Jon Klassen, This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick); Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, The Dark (Little Brown); Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg (Random); Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen (both HarperCollins); Mo Willems, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Hyperion); 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), Kate diCamillo, Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick).

7040b Holding Place: Long-form Writing about Landscape

R. Sullivan/M–Th 8:10–9:25

How do writers inhabit a place, and how does a place inhabit their books? In this course, students will examine various literary tools as well as the tools of the geographer in order to construct their own place-based works or site histories. In working toward that goal, we will look for inspiration in the way selected books and long-form journalism describe particular places, towns, cities, or regions, and we will consider the ways in which ongoing conversations about that place (political, social, environmental) figure into the landscape. (This course may also be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts: Tove Jansson,The Summer Book (NYRB); John McPhee, The Pine Barrens (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and Encounters with the Archdruid (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Root Shock (New Village); Lorraine Anderson, Sisters of the Earth: Women’s Prose and Poetry About Nature (Vintage).

7124  Queer Pedagogies in Writing Studies

E. Pritchard/M–Th 8:10–9:25

This course examines studies at the intersections of writing pedagogy and LGBTQ studies to enter into, engage, complicate, and contribute to the scholarly conversation called “queer pedagogies.” We will begin with a historiography of how writing instruction and LGBTQ studies began to engage one another, turn to studies focused specifically on teacher and student identity in writing classrooms, and then move to examine works that have addressed productive tensions in queer pedagogies scholarship, with special attention to texts that help us to interrogate the ways race, class, citizenship, gender, disability, and other identities corroborate and complicate queer pedagogies. Students will be responsible for regular readings, participation in critical class discussions, a short essay, and a final project designing a course unit with a writing assignment wherein they would employ queer pedagogies in their teaching.

Texts: Harriet Malinowitz, Textual Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Students and the Making of Discourse Communities (Heinemann); Mollie Blackburn, Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It (Teachers College). A course packet of select articles and book chapters will be available through the Middlebury College Bookstore.

7148  Literacy Education and American Film

E. Pritchard/M, W 2–4:45

This course centers on the question:How can cinematic narratives of literacy education help us to transform as teachers and individuals inside and outside of the classroom? We will explore some of the meanings of literacy by scholars who define it through historical, political, and cultural contexts, alongside films that depict literacy education in relationship to identity and difference. Students will write weekly short critical responses that will be the basis on which we begin critical discussions of issues raised by course readings and films, and discuss implications for our teaching and learning experiences in relationship to contemporary debates regarding critical literacies, social justice education, and critical race, feminist, and LGBTQ pedagogies in reading and writing instruction. The course will deepen the students’ knowledge base, teaching philosophies, and classroom practices by employing film to explore the infinite complexities, contradictions, contestations, possibilities, and rewards of literacy education in our lives. (This course may also be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts: bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress (Routledge). A course packet of select articles and reviews will be available through the Middlebury College Bookstore.

7151  Teaching/Writing: The Art and Act of Writing about Teaching

B. Brueggemann/M–Th 11–12:15

Teaching about writing and writing about teaching: these have strong crossings (and of course, much meaning in the life of BLSE teachers). In this course we will explore this chiasmus (crossing) between teaching and writing through a journey into many genres: fiction, nonfiction (memoir and essay), lesson plans, interviews, poetry, and even guides for writing a teaching statement/philosophy. Our course activities will include building an annotated bibliography together, collaborating on a class blog, discussion leadership (in small groups) of our texts, and writing a teaching statement/philosophy (remixed in at least two versions/forms/genres). While most of our reading will be from more contemporary texts, we will also begin with a historical understanding of writing about teaching from Roman educator Quintilian’s classical 12-volume text, The Institutes of Oratory (Institutio Oratorio) (AD 50).

Texts: Mike Rose, Lives on the Boundary (Penguin); Frank McCourt, Teacher Man (Scribner); Nicholson Baker, Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids (Penguin); Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members (Anchor); The Teacher’s Body: Embodiment, Authority, and Identity in the Academy, ed. Diane Freedman and Martha Stoddard Holmes (SUNY). Additional readings will be provided during the session.


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

7206  Quest Narratives: The Hero(ine) Sets Forth

P. DeMarco/M–Th 11–12:15

“Whatever is sought for can be caught; whatever is neglected slips away”—Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

In this, one of Sophocles’ rare moments of relatively optimistic commentary, ancient Greek literature marks the essential presupposition of the quest narrative: an audacious faith in human striving, an inextinguishable desire to believe that whatever troubles us—the loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend, our own tragic error or lack of self-understanding—such trials can be overcome, and a new path can open up unforeseen possibilities for self-discovery and growth. We’ll explore this and related themes as we study the finest and most famous quest narratives of antiquity and the Middle Ages. While most of the term will be spent discussing the literature, seminar participants will also undertake study of an essay (or book chapter) by one critic choosing from three distinctive approaches to quest literature: myth criticism (including C. G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, Otto Rank, and Northrup Frye), formalist literary criticism (including W. H. Auden, Eric Auerbach, and Robert Hanning), and cultural theory (including Linda Alcott, Visible Identities, and Rosie Braidotti, Metamorphoses: Toward a Material Theory of Becoming). In order to better understand the contemporary world’s continuing fascination with quest literature, we’ll end the term with a film screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Longer texts are listed below and should be bought and read before arriving in Vermont. Shorter poems and criticism will be available in Vermont. (The course may also be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: Sophocles, Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus, ed. Robert Fagles (Penguin); Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide, trans. Burton Raffel (Yale); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. & trans. Marie Borroff and Laura Howes (Norton); “Sir Orfeo” and “Sir Degare” in The Middle English Breton Lays, TEAMS ed., ed. Anne Laskaya and Eve Salisbury, (Medieval Institute). Photocopies will include two short stories by Marie de France, Guigemar and Fresne; Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale; and Gower’s Tale of Florent.

7262  Shakespeare on Film: Theory and Practice

A. Joubin/M–Th 11–12:15

Shakespeare has been screened—projected on the silver screen and filtered by various ideologies—since 1899. What critical resources might we bring to the task of interpreting performances on screen? This course introduces you to the theory and pedagogical practice of interpreting Shakespeare on screen, with the aim of helping you incorporate new material and methodologies in your own classroom. We will examine the adaptation of Shakespeare as a historical and colonial practice and conclude with contemporary case studies. Theories covered include postcolonial criticism, disability studies, cultural materialism, gender theories, critical race studies, film and auteur theories, and performance theories. The final list of plays and films will be sent to students prior to the start of the session. (This course may also be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: A reliable edition of the Complete Works (Arden, Oxford, Pelican, Riverside, Bedford); Samuel Crowl, Shakespeare and Film: A Norton Guide (Norton).

7270  Race and Religion in Early Modern Drama

J. Shoulson/M–Th 9:35–10:50

This course examines the early modern staging of racial and religious difference through a study of the following plays: The Jew of Malta (Marlowe), The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare), Othello (Shakespeare), Fair Maid of the West, Parts I and II (Heywood), The Renegado (Massinger) and The Tragedy of Mariam (Cary). We will be interested in what is both familiar and strange about how these plays construct racial and religious identities, especially as they are informed by equally complex aspects of sociocultural identity like gender, sexuality, and nationality. To contextualize our discussions, we will also read selections from contemporaneous medical treatises, religious writings, and travelogues. In addition, we will devote attention to pedagogy, especially to strategies for teaching these texts in a contemporary classroom. And we will be taking full advantage of the summer’s production of Othello by the Acting Ensemble, working closely with the cast and production team, to consider the issues these plays raise in our own time, including casting, revision/adaptation, and race as a performance and social construction.

Texts: Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta, ed. James Siemon (New Mermaids); William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. Lawrence Danson (Longman); William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Cary, Othello and the Tragedy of Mariam, ed. Clare Carroll (Longman); Thomas Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West, Parts I and II (Benediction Classics); Philip Massinger, The Renegado, ed. Michael Neill (Arden). The editions of Shakespeare include essential additional readings: please obtain these specific versions of the texts. For the other plays, other editions may be substituted.

7271  Global Shakespeare

A. Joubin/M–Th 9:35–10:50

Voodoo Macbeth? Heir apparent of the Denmark Corporation in Manhattan? A pair of star-crossed lovers from feuding families selling chicken rice in Singapore? Adaptations of Shakespeare have emerged on a wide range of platforms—from YouTube to Twitter to street theater—and in various audiovisual idioms around the world. In fact, the history of global performance dates back to Shakespeare’s lifetime. What is the secret of Shakespeare’s wide appeal? Has Shakespeare always been a cultural hero? The course considers how ideologies about race, gender, and class shape Shakespeare’s plays and how world cultures shape the plays’ afterlife. The course introduces students to the English-subtitled theater works and films of directors from Kuwait, France, South Africa, Japan, Germany, Singapore, China, New Zealand, Brazil, the U.K., and U.S. All videos have English subtitles. No foreign language proficiency is required. The final list of plays will be sent to students prior to the start of the session. (This course may also be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: A reliable edition of the Complete Works (Arden, Oxford, Pelican, Riverside, Bedford); Samuel Crowl, Shakespeare and Film: A Norton Guide (Norton); Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation, eds. Alexa Huang and Elizabeth Rivlin (Palgrave).

Films: We will be using English-subtitled films in the open-access archive Global Shakespeares, ed. Alexa Huang and Peter Donaldson (

7273  Disability and Deformity in British Literature 1600–present

B. Brueggemann/M–Th 9:35–10:50

Literature of all cultures and histories is rife (and ripe) with representations of disability and/or deformity—once we know how to look for it. But why, and how, does the condition of the body—infirm or whole, crippled or complete, abnormal or extraordinary—matter in literature? Using the lens of critical disability studies applied to British literature since 1600, we will explore this primary question. Beginning with Shakespeare’s Richard III, we will consider the following primary questions (and surely more): How do ideas about disability and deformity in British literature from 1600 forward create and then enforce the divide between “normality” and “abnormality”? What are the plots, metaphors, and character moves that disability/deformity makes in this literature? What did it mean to “have a body” (deformed, disabled, and “normal” as well), and how are these bodily forms expressed in this literature? (The course may also be used to satisfy a Group 3 requirement.)

Texts: Shakespeare, Richard III, ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (Simon & Schuster/Folger); Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Penguin); Bernard Pomerance, The Elephant Man (Grove); Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (Signet); William Golding, Lord of the Flies (Penguin); Mark Haddon, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage); David Lodge, Deaf Sentence (Penguin). The following selections are available online: William Hay, “On Deformity” (1754); Samuel Johnson, “Life of Pope” (1781); Thomas Hardy, “The Withered Arm” (1888); H. G. Wells, “The Country of the Blind” (1904); D.H. Lawrence, “The Blind Man” (1918). Additional readings will be provided during the session.

7274  Sex, Gender, and the Body in Early Modern England

C. Bicks/T, Th 2–4:45

This class explores the fluid conceptions of sex, gender, and the body that were circulating in 16th- and 17th-century English texts—everything from the medical to the mythical, from sonnets to stage plays. While dominant institutions and social norms demanded clear and stable divisions between “man” and “woman,” many early modern discourses and practices reveal a profound flimsiness to the body’s gendered markers. Medical texts figured women as inverted men; men who didn’t control their body’s passions devolved into effeminacy; Queen Elizabeth had the “heart and stomach of a king”; and boys played girls playing boys on stage. Topics and texts include anatomical theories and anomalies, “virgin” bodies, early modern masculinity, intersectionality (in travel narratives and on stage), gendering desire in the sonnets (Sidney, Wroth, and Shakespeare), and pornographic bodies. Many of the texts will be available online. Please read chapters 1–4 of Laqueur in preparation for our first meeting.

Texts: Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Harvard); William Shakespeare, Othello, ed. Kim Hall (Bedford/St. Martin’s); John Lyly, Galatea, ed. Leah Scragg (Manchester); Mary Wroth and Francis Beaumont, Pamphilia to Amphilanthus and Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (Benediction); William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Folger Shakespeare), Philip Sidney, Sir Philip Sidney: The Major Works (Oxford).

7295  Milton, the Bible, and Cultures of Violence

J. Shoulson/M–Th 11–12:15

Though the Bible can be cited for its celebrations of peace, it can just as readily be cited for its extensive accounts of violence in the service of, prompted by, or attributed to the Sacred. 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 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 may also be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: John Milton, 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.”


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

7273  Disability and Deformity in British Literature 1600–present

B. Brueggemann/M–Th 9:35–10:50

See description under Group 2 offerings.

7304  Fantastic Jane Austen

L. Dominique/M–Th 8:10–9:25

Although 2017 marks the 200th commemoration of Jane Austen’s death, her fictional work is currently enjoying an extremely unusual afterlife. Fantastic Jane Austen offers a revisionist approach to Regency-era England by exploring the recent rise in fantasy fiction and film adaptations of Austen’s novels. We will consider a number of key questions: What is at the root of our contemporary fascination with fantasy and the macabre? How do these contemporary drives inform Austen’s 19th-century works? Do sea monsters, murder, magic, and zombies draw attention to new fears and desires present in our contemporary society? Alongside literature, we will also examine films that take Austen’s works out of their original racial and geographic contexts with emphases on India, America, and the Caribbean. How effectively do these fantastic films speak to important political issues of neocolonialism, consumer culture, and antislavery advocacy? To end, we will consider how Austen’s work influences the recent spate of fantastic Regency fictions.

Texts: Susanna Clarke, The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Bloomsbury); Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Quirk); Jane Austen and Ben Winters, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (Quirk); Lynn Shepherd, Murder at Mansfield Park (St. Martin’s Griffin); Wayne Josephson, Emma and the Vampires (Sourcebooks Landmark); Mary Robinette Kowal, Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor); Val McDermid, Northanger Abbey (Grove).

Films: Amy Heckerling, Clueless (1995); Patricia Rozema, Mansfield Park (1999); Gurinder Chadha, Bride and Prejudice (2004); Burr Steers, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).

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); W. B. Yeats Selected Poems and Four Plays, ed. M. L. Rosenthal (Scribner); James Joyce, Dubliners (Penguin); 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).

7470 Black British Literature

L. Dominique/M–Th 11–12:15

After World War II, Britain began receiving 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 extent 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 (Folger); William Shakespeare, Dark Lady Sonnets 127 & 130 (1609); Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (Norton); Aphra Behn, The Adventure of the Black Lady (1697); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (Broadview); Mary Seacole, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (Penguin); Samuel Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (Longman); Michael Abbensetts, Sweet Talk (Methuen); Selections of Dub Poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jean Binta Breeze; Victor Headley, Yardie (Atlantic Monthly); Hanif Kureishi, The Black Album (Scribner); Courttia Newland, Selections from Music for the Off-Key (Peepal Tree); Joan Anim-Addo, Imoinda: or, She Who Will Lose Her Name (Mango); Bernadine Evaristo, Mr. Loverman (Akashic).

7480  Thrillers: War, Espionage, and Treason in Twentieth-Century History and Literature

S. Goldman/M, W 2–4:45

In this course we will examine the relationship between historical events—including the Spanish Civil War, the two World Wars, the Cold War, and the Middle East conflicts—and fictional portrayals of those events. Among the genres we will study are the short story, the novel, historical accounts, documentary film, and the feature film. Among the authors we will read are George Orwell, Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and John le Carré. (This course may also be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts: William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Simon & Schuster); Robert Conquest, The Great Terror (Oxford); Helen Graham, The Spanish Civil War (Oxford); Graham Greene, The Orient Express (Penguin); George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (Mariner); John le Carré, Tinker/Tailor, The Honorable Schoolboy, Smiley’s People, and The Little Drummer Girl (all Penguin); Dorothy Gilman, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (Fawcett); Eric Ambler, Journey into Fear, A Coffin for Dimitrios, and Background to Danger (all Vintage); Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends (Broadway).


Group 4 (American Literature)

7040b  Holding Place: Long-form Writing about Landscape

R. Sullivan/M–Th 8:10–9:25

See description under Group 1 offerings.

7148  Literacy Education and American Film

E. Pritchard/M, W 2–4:45

See description under Group 1 offerings.

7480  Thrillers: War, Espionage and Treason in Twentieth-Century History and Literature

S. Goldman/M, W 2–4:45

See description under Group 3 offerings.

7588  Modernist American Literature

A. Hungerford/M–Th 8:10–9:25

This course explores the Modernist literary innovations of the early 20th century, focusing on American writers. Our view of American Modernism stretches from a late 19th-century ghost story to cubist-inspired poetry and rural monologues in the nineteen-teens, through the defining works of Modernism’s high point in the 1920s. We will look at how Modernist aesthetic forms shaped representation of American social life at small and large scales and will track how writers drew on the international body of Modernist works in other media. We will read in multiple genres: short and long-form fiction; lyric, epic, prose poetry; and criticism. Students prepare two papers and a presentation, choosing between critical and pedagogically oriented options. The pace will be brisk, so please read some longer and denser material (especially James, Stein, Anderson, and Eliot) before you arrive in Vermont.

Texts: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (Dover); Gertrude Stein, Three Lives and Tender Buttons (Signet); Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will and North of Boston (Dover); Sherwood Anderson, Winesberg, Ohio (Signet); T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land, ed. Lawrence Rainey (Yale); Jean Toomer, Cane (Liveright); Wallace Stevens, Harmonium (Faber); Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner); F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Scribner); Nella Larsen, Passing (Penguin). Packet of supplemental readings available in Vermont. Note: some of the inexpensive editions listed are out of print but easy to find used online; the Rainey edition of The Waste Land appears to be finishing a print run, so please purchase this as soon as possible.

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, represent a significantly more economical investment than any paperback editions.

7601  Ralph Ellison in Context

R. Stepto/M–Th 9:35–10:50

This seminar pursues close readings of Ralph Ellison’s essays, short stories, and novel, Invisible Man. The “in context” component of the seminar involves working from Eric Sundquist’s Cultural Contexts for Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and other resources including Avon Kirkland’s PBS film to discern a portrait of the Modernist America Ellison both investigated and imagined. After each student has chosen an issue to work on (e.g., Ellison and folklore, Ellison and music, etc.), student presentations will be planned. These presentations will drive the “in context” component, and will clarify how Ellison’s texts are in conversation with many aspects of American literature, history, music, and art. Put another way, the student presentations should provide cultural contexts for Ellison above and beyond what Sundquist provides just for Invisible Man. (Deepening what Sundquist offers on a given context is also an acceptable project.)

Texts: Ralph Ellison, Flying Home (Vintage), Collected Essays (Modern Library Classics), and Invisible Man (Vintage); James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (Beacon); Alan Nadel, Invisible Criticism: Ralph Ellison and the American Canon (Iowa); Cultural Contexts for Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, ed. Eric Sundquist (Bedford/St. Martin’s); A Historical Guide to Ralph Ellison, ed. Steven Tracy (Oxford); Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children (Harper Perennial); Ann Petry, Miss Muriel and Other Stories (Beacon).

7602  Democracy and its Documents: Some American Elaborations

D. Jones/M–Th 11–12:15

This course studies democratic life and culture. We will pair conventional formulations of democracy (e.g., constitutions, philosophical tracts, and political theory) with literature (novels and poetry) to explore: 1) whether modern democratic assumptions and praxes constitute the best framework for the realization of what philosophers call “the good life,” and 2) how and why distinctive elaborations, genres, and modalities of democracy have emerged in literature and other cultural-symbolic formations. Together, these explorations will allow us to consider the affective registers, embodied practices, representational mechanisms, and temporalities of a democratic politics—a politics that its defenders argue is “the best way of honoring . . . the equal dignity of every individual” (Kateb). Political theorists we might read include Locke, Kant, Rousseau, Madison, Weber, Du Bois, Arendt, George Kateb, Bonnie Honig, Sheldon Wolin, and Danielle Allen. Some literary writers might include Emerson, Whitman, Upton Sinclair, Ralph Ellison, Eudora Welty, Adrienne Rich, and Philip Roth, among others.

Texts: Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (Dover); Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (Vintage); Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter (Vintage); Phillp Roth, The Human Stain (Vintage). All other texts will be available on our course site.

7630  American Weird

K. Marshall/M–Th 8:10–9:25

In this course we will inhabit the profound weirdness at the heart of the American literary tradition, traceable not only to the Weird Tales popular in the early 20th century, but also to the gothic horror of the early American wilderness and its contemporary resurgence in tales of sentient, catastrophic landscapes. In addition to the traditional “weird” of H. P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror, we will look to the old American weird of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Charles Brockden Brown, and to writers of the “new weird,” from Kelly Link’s fabulism to Jeff VanderMeer’s revisitation of cosmic horror in his Southern Reach trilogy. The course will also read the weird through contemporary engagements with its racial legacy in novels by Mat Johnson and Victor LaValle.

Texts: H. P. Lovecraft, Tales (Library of America); Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) (some students may want to read all three novels in the Southern Reach trilogy); Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars (Dover); Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland (Penguin); Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor); Mat Johnson, Pym (Spiegel & Grau). Additional readings from Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Willa Cather, and Kelly Link will be provided during the summer session. Reading widely in the Lovecraft volume is recommended, as is preparing the longer Brockden Brown novel. We will also be watching and discussing the 2015 film The Witch: A New England Folktale.

7649  Race and American Literature in the New Millennium: Identity, Inquiry, and Instability

D. Jones/M–Th 9:35–10:50

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 (documentary and fictive), 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: Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer: A Novel (Grove); Paul Beatty, The Sellout: A Novel (Picador); Ocean Vuong, Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon); Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (Knopf); D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper); Ayad Akhtar, Disgraced (Back Bay); Justin Torres, We the Animals (Mariner); Young Jean Lee, Straight White Men (TCG); Eduardo C. Corral, Slow Lightening (Yale). All other texts will be available on our course site.

7685  American Media Ecologies

K. Marshall/M–Th 9:35–10:50

The intimacies American literature shares with media technologies are the subject of this course, a subject that we will read through and with media in texts from the early American republic to the present. We begin with direct encounters with the media producing texts, from Emily Dickinson’s envelope poems to adventures (Ben Franklin) and misadventures (Mark Twain) with the printing press, to Henry James’s typewriter fictions. From there we examine the incorporation of other media forms into the work of literature, including the gramophone (Ralph Ellison), film (John Dos Passos), and the radio (Patricia Highsmith). The course concludes with the complex interrelations of literary form with television (David Foster Wallace), new media (Sheila Heti), and games. Our discussions will often involve hands-on work with media technologies, including typewriters, printing technologies, records, and games; students will be encouraged to write either traditional papers or to produce creative mixed-media projects.

Texts: Emily Dickinson, Envelope Poems (New Directions) (students can also buy the more expensive and comprehensive The Gorgeous Nothings, if preferred); Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (Vintage); John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Mariner); Patricia Highsmith, The Two Faces of January (Grove); Sheila Heti, How Should a Person Be? (Picador); and the $1 video game Mountain, available for Mac and PC. Additional readings will be provided during the summer session.


Group 5 (World Literature)

7206  Quest Narratives: The Hero(ine) Sets Forth

P. DeMarco/M–Th 11–12:15

See description under Group 2 offerings.

7262  Shakespeare on Film: Theory and Practice

A. Huang/M–Th 11–12:15

See description under Group 2 offerings.

7271  Global Shakespeare

A. Huang/M–Th 9:35–10:50

See description under Group 2 offerings.

7295  Milton, the Bible, and Cultures of Violence

J. Shoulson/M–Th 11–12:15

See description under Group 2 offerings.

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 reappropriated 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.

7720  Travels, Terminable and Interminable

S. Donadio/T, Th 2–4:45

An exploration of some notable varieties of picaresque narrative, ranging from antiquity through the mid-20th century, with particular emphasis on the moral circumstances of the traveler, the effects of chance encounters, and the prospect of arriving at an ultimate condition judged to be desirable. Students may anticipate opportunities for comparative work involving texts not included on our reading list this summer.

Texts: Apuleius, The Golden Ass, trans. P. G. Walsh (Oxford); The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes, trans. Ilan Stavans, (Norton); François Voltaire, Candide, trans. Donald M. Frame (Signet); Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, ed. J. Gerald Kennedy (Oxford); Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls, trans. Donald Rayfield (NYRB); Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Oxford); Franz Kafka, Amerika: The Man Who Disappeared, trans. Michael Hofmann (New Directions); Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (Penguin).

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); 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).

7751  War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov

M. Katz/T, Th 2–4:45

This course offers students an opportunity to read two masterpieces of Russian fiction and world literature: Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1863–69) and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1879–81). Tolstoy’s epic centers on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of literature’s most memorable characters through love affairs, births, deaths, military battles, and family struggles against a background of peasants and aristocrats, civilians and soldiers. Dostoevsky’s final novel centers on the problem of faith and the existence of evil as made manifest in the tale of the mysterious murder of a vicious, drunken, avaricious father and the complicated relationship of his three sons to the crime. It is a novel of parricide, suicide, and madness, culminating in a twisted, sensational trial. The course will also examine the role of these two major figures as polar opposites in the Russian canon.

Texts: Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (Norton Critical 2nd ed.); Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (Norton Critical 2nd ed.). Students should obtain these specific versions of the texts.

7755  Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism

J. Wicke/M–Th 11–12:15

This introduction to literary theory and criticism asks the key questions that energize literary and social discussions today: What is the basis of cultural value, how do ideology and power emerge in society, and what gives meaning to cultural objects, subjects, and identities? Who decides what has worth and significance? We’ll cover the major theories of the 20th and 21st centuries—formalist, feminist, postcolonial, aesthetic, queer, critical race—that have changed the understanding of language and literature, self and Other, representation and misrepresentation. Since theories of literature are tied to what it means to be human, gender and sexuality are a focal point, with a wide spectrum of criticism. Literary theory untangles the issues of who counts and which voices matter, in literature and everyday life.

Texts: Global Literary Theory: An Anthology, ed. Richard Lane (Routledge); Chris Kraus, I Love Dick (Semiotexte/MIT); Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (Graywolf); Claudia Rankine, Citizen (Graywolf).

7797  Cli-Fi: Fictions of Climate Change

J. Wicke/M, W 2–4:45

Literature has always explored the nature of the world. With awareness that cataclysmic climate change of human causation threatens the environment worldwide, once apocalyptic visions of a drowned, blazing, denatured world are now becoming reality. Cli-Fi describes an important genre of fiction, film, and media that gives images and narratives to global climate change, as well as a way of reading, thinking, and acting in the world. Drawing on literature and film, with interdisciplinary materials from science, policy, poetry, indigenous movements, and activism, the course enters the environmental humanities conversation. We’ll see how Cli-Fi bears witness to the ecological emergency affecting the planet and our lives, and how it offers solutions for survival, healing, and even for a more just and resilient future. In the context of climate change, fiction tells us the truth.

Texts: Mark Maslin, Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford); I’m With the Bears: Short Stories for a Damaged Planet, ed. Mark Martin, intro. Bill McKibben (Verso); H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (Oxford); Ursula K. LeGuin, The Word for World Is Forest (Tor); Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (Grand Central); Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (Anchor); Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior (Harper Perennial); Lydia Millet, Mermaids in Paradise (Norton); Paolo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife (Vintage); Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (Vintage); Monique Roffey, Archipelago: A Novel (Penguin); Claire Vaye Watkins, Gold Fame Citrus (Riverhead).


Group 6 (Theater Arts)

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 goal is 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. The work we make in class will culminate in an original piece for the Bread Loaf community. We’ll be working with a variety of texts exploring some of the essential questions raised in Othello, this summer’s Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble production. All material will be available as a course packet. 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). A course packet containing all other texts will be available through the Middlebury College Bookstore.