Vermont Campus, 2015 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); Martin 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: A New English Version (Harper Collins). 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: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th ed., Margaret Ferguson, et al. (Norton).


7005   Fiction Writing/D. Huddle/M, W 2-4:45

This workshop will emphasize student writing: producing, reading, discussing, and revising stories. Exercises and assignments will explore aspects of memory and imagination, point of view, structure, and prose styles.

Texts: Rebecca Lee, Bobcat (Algonquin); Maile Meloy, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (Riverhead); Greg Bottoms, Fight Scenes (Counterpoint); Tobias Wolff, Our Story Begins (Vintage).


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Critical writing is inseparable from critical thinking; this workshop is about empowering a unique critical voice. The course follows the format of Bread Loaf’s creative writing workshops, giving the same attention to critical writing. In open-ended assignments and with workshop conversations and small group support we focus on building critical arguments that speak to an audience, enter into larger critical conversations, and shape a critical voice. The workshop concentrates on strategies that make critical arguments powerful, persuasive, and personally transforming, and on structuring techniques that make those arguments soar. The course is designed for those who want to hone the impact of their critical writing; those who teach critical writing and want to teach it even better; and those who want to take their critical writing into the public sphere.

Texts:  Gerald Graff and Carol Birkenstein, “They Say/ I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd ed. (Norton); Constance Hale, Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing, 1st ed. (Norton); Joseph Harris, Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts (Utah State); Stephen Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (Allen Lane).


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; you’ll be asked to complete a story exercise for each session. In the second half, students will continue with new work and, with an eye to shaping a final project, begin to revise some of what they've written. We will also add some critical readings to the mix. Among the critical questions considered will be:  What is a children's story, and what is it for? What view of the child and childhood do children's stories take? How can the children's story be made new? Students should come to the first class having read Wally's Stories, The Witches andthese tales from The Juniper Tree collection: “The Three Feathers,” “The Fisherman and His Wife,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rapunzel,” and “The Juniper Tree.” The artistically inclined should bring their art supplies with them to campus. All books for this class, including the picture books, will be on reserve in the library.

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


7146   Multilingual Writing: Pedagogies and Practices/D. Baca/M-Th 11-12:15

How are the forces of globalization and emergent forms of multilingualism changing the relationship between knowledge production and English language instruction? What are the geopolitics of multilingual writing? How should questions of “critical” or “resistant” language pedagogies be decided, and by whom? What is the role of classroom teachers in these debates? We will consider responses to these questions by analyzing recent pedagogical work on the concepts of hegemony, functional literacy, linguistic plurality, and social transformation. Pragmatically, our course readings represent urgent responses to the current needs of an increasingly linguistically diverse student body at institutions across the country, as global Englishes circulate both within and beyond the United States. Through investigating the ways multilingual writers merge their own languages and worldviews into standardized English, we will collectively explore new possibilities for writing and the teaching of written languages.

Texts: Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary ed. (Continuum); Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera (Aunt Lute); Suresh Canagarajah, Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (Routledge); Gregorio Hernandez-Zamora, Decolonizing Literacy: Mexican Lives in the Era of Global Capitalism (Multilingual Matters); Rey Chow, Not Like a Native Speaker: On Languaging as a Postcolonial Experience (Columbia); bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (Routledge).


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

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

Texts: Shoe and Meter (Buy through; Vivian Gussin Paley, The Girl with the Brown Crayon (Harvard); John Dewey, Art as Experience (Perigee); John Keats, Selected Letters, ed. Jon Mee (Oxford); Adam Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery (Vintage); Maxine Greene, Variations on a Blue Guitar (Teachers College).


Group 2 (British Literature through the Seventeenth Century)


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

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

Texts: Yvain: The Knight of the Lion, ed. Burton Raffel (Yale); The Romance of the Rose, ed. Frances Horgan (Oxford); The Middle English Breton Lays, ed. Anne Laskaya (Western Michigan); Four Romances of England, ed. Graham Drake (Western Michigan); The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson (Houghton Mifflin); also acceptable is The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue, 2nd ed., ed. V.A. Kolve (Norton). Also recommended (but not required): Nicholas Perkins and Alison Wiggins, The Romance of the Middle Ages (Bodleian) and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, ed. Roberta Krueger (Cambridge).


7247   "Remember Me”: Making History in Shakespeare’s Plays/C. Bicks/M-Th 11-12:15

History may be written by the winners, but the stories that get passed along by everyone else often don’t support official accounts. In this class, we’ll be exploring the multiple ways in which Shakespeare dramatizes the complexities of writing history and telling tales—the stories of countries, spouses, leaders, and children that everyone needs and desires, but upon which no one can agree. What does the act of remembrance demand of us? What (and whom) do we have to forget in order to move forward with a certain version of history? What are the ethics of remembering and forgetting? We will be reading in the following order: Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, All’s Well That Ends Well, and The Winter’s Tale. In conjunction with each play, we will be reading scholarly articles to supplement our discussions. Throughout the term you will be working in small groups with the actors from the acting ensemble to develop an off-stage scene from one of the plays. Every printed text of Shakespeare is different; therefore, it is critical that you purchase the specific editions below. Prior to the first class, please read Richard III and the excerpts from Linda Charnes’ Belaboring the Obvious and Thomas More’s History of King Richard III found in the Norton edition.

Texts: Shakespeare, Richard III, ed. Thomas Cartelli (Norton Critical Ed.); Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. Robert S. Miola (Norton Critical Ed.); Shakespeare, Macbeth: Texts and Contexts, ed. William Carroll (Bedford/St. Martin’s); Shakespeare, Othello: Texts and Contexts, ed. Kim F. Hall (Bedford/St. Martin’s); Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, ed. Susan Snyder (Oxford’s World’s Classics); Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale: Texts and Contexts, ed. Mario DiGangi (Bedford/St. Martins).


7260   The Merchant of Venice on the Page and Stage/A. MacVey/M, W 2-4:45

In this course, we will explore a single great play, The Merchant of Venice. We will spend some time on critical interpretations and on the play's cultural history to help us make decisions about how to stage the work. But our primary focus will be on the text as a blueprint for performance. We will examine its language to be certain that we know what is actually being said, to whom it is being spoken, and why the speaker might be saying it. We'll explore the poetry and consider its rhythm, imagery, and structure; we will make use of tools such as scansion to help us fully understand the verse. We will examine every scene from a theatrical point of view, exploring structure, action, events, reversals, and ways of staging that will bring that scene to life. We will stage the play very simply, script in hand, and present it at the end of the term. All students in the class will participate in the reading. (Students who have taken either of Mr. MacVey's courses on The Tempest or A Midsummer Night's Dream should not register for this class.) (This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 6 credit.)

Texts: William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (Arden); Peter Brook, The Empty Space (Touchstone); selected articles and reviews on reserve.


7274   Sex, Gender, and the Body in Early Modern England/C. Bicks/M-Th 9:35-10:50

This class explores the fluid conceptions of sex, gender, and the body that were circulating in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English texts—everything from the medical to the mythical, from sonnets to stage plays. While institutions and social norms demanded clear and stable divisions between “man” and “woman,” early modern texts reveal a profound flimsiness to the body’s gendered markers. Women were imagined to be inverted or imperfect men; men in women’s clothing might turn into females; Queen Elizabeth had the “heart and stomach of a king.” Topics and texts include: anatomical theories and anomalies (excerpts from Jane Sharp’s Midwives Book and others); hermaphroditic bodies (Ambrose Paré’s On Monsters and Marvels and Ovid’s Metamorphoses); constructions of masculinity (Macbeth); heterosexual norms and the “virgin” body (Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling); gender and the lyric subject (the sonnets of Shakespeare and Mary Wroth); same-sex desire (Marlowe, Edward II; Lyly, Galatea); and imagining foreign bodies (Bulwer, A View of the People of The Whole World). Many of the texts will be available online at the opening of the session. Readings for the first week will be emailed to you in advance.

Texts: William Shakespeare, Macbeth, ed. William Carroll (Bedford/St. Martins); Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling (Revels Student ed.); Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (New Mermaids ed.); John Lyly, Galatea, ed. Leah Scragg (Revels Student ed.) Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Folger Shakespeare Library).


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

This course has two target audiences: those who love poetry and those who are terrified or mystified by it. Our aim in this course will be to find the means to express both our love for and our anxiety about poetry, to delight in what we find delightful, and to develop strategies for getting beyond the impasse of incomprehension or confusion we may experience when confronted with an unfamiliar poem. Our readings will not follow any particular chronology; historical considerations will take a back seat to formal, affective, and cognitive ones. We will read an eclectic selection of shorter lyrics taken from a wide array of periods, regions, poetic schools, and forms. Assignments will include memorization and recitation, written explications, and opportunities to teach a poem or two. Students should read John Hollander’s Rhyme’s Reason before the summer begins. The other two books will serve as our primary resources, though we will also take advantage of the many websites that feature poetry of all sorts. (This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 3 credit.)

Texts: John Hollander, Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse (Yale); The Norton Anthology of Poetry, shorter 5th ed., ed. Margaret Ferguson (Norton); Stephen Adams, Poetic Designs: An Introduction to Meters, Verse, Forms, and Figures of Speech (Broadview).


7295   Milton, the Bible, and Cultures of Violence/J. Shoulson/M–Th 9:35-10:50

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 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 may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 5 credit.)

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.  


Group 3 (British Literature since the Seventeenth Century)

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

See description under Group 2 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 3 credit.


7301   Writing for a Cause in 18th-Century British Literature/L. Dominique/M-Th 8:10-9:25

How did eighteenth-century British writers account for poverty in a land of extreme colonial wealth? How did they espouse the national ideal of freedom in an empire dedicated to slavery? How did they promote gender equality in a nation where women were openly considered inferior to men? This course will confront these types of questions as we examine how causes such as poverty, slavery, and feminism appear in representative texts from British fiction and art. We will also use this course as an opportunity to investigate whether eighteenth-century Britain is an under-utilized space for thinking about the geneses of other contemporary causes associated with social justice. For instance, does the gay marriage discourse owe its genesis to a series of lesbian marriages promoted in eighteenth-century fiction and society? Does the free love movement of the 1960s owe its genesis to a text about sexual freedom banned in 1748?

Texts: Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, ed. Joanna Lipking (Norton); Anonymous, The Woman of Colour, ed. Lyndon J. Dominique (Broadview); William Hogarth, Engravings by Hogarth, ed. Sean Shesgreen (Dover); Henry Fielding, The Female Husband (Gale); Hannah Snell and Anonymous, The Female Soldier: Two Accounts of Women Who Served & Fought as Men (Leonaur); John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, ed. Peter Sabor (Oxford); Vivant Denon, No Tomorrow, trans. Lydia Davis (NYRB); Mary Hays, Victim of Prejudice, ed. Eleanor Ty (Broadview); Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary, A Fiction and The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria, ed. Michelle Faubert (Broadview); Maria Edgeworth, Harrington, ed. Susan Manly (Broadview). Additional short selections will be offered as PDFs.


7308   Displaced Persons: Studies in English Fiction from Daniel Defoe to Evelyn Waugh/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 over two centuries, published between 1719 and 1934.

Texts: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin); Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (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); Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust (Back Bay Books).


7358   Interpreting Jane Eyre: A Multi-Media Experiment/I. Armstrong/M-Th 8:10-9:25

After an in-depth reading of Charlotte Brontë's novel, the class will plan collaborative interpretations of the text through the media of visual art (e.g. painting, puppetry), photography and video, movement (e.g. mime, dance), and sound. Everyone will participate in creative work in each medium, working in groups. The end product will be an exhibition/installation of our work. Concurrently with this work, groups will look at the Brontë letters and a selection of criticism. Assessment will be through extracts from your class diary and the study of one chapter in light of your interpretative work. Be prepared to work in groups, to spend time working together after class, and to take risks.

Texts: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Penguin); Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Bronte (Oxford).


7410   James Joyce’s Ulysses /J. Wicke/M, W 2-4:45

Published in 1922, James Joyce’s Ulysses has been heralded by readers, critics, and fellow writers as the greatest novel of the twentieth century, and one of the touchstones of world literature of every age. At the same time, Joyce’s book has a notorious reputation for difficulty--for being designed, supposedly, to keep the critics and scholars “busy for a hundred years.” Instead of tracking down allusions or doing detective work for clues, our course will be a chance to go on an illuminating journey with this great work as a group, where we share theoretical approaches, multiple perspectives, and links to the epic, tragic, comedic, and revolutionary genres Joyce brings together in Ulysses. Joyce’s novel is an odyssey in its own right, meant for a community of readers who invent the book anew each time they read it. This almost infinite book is challenging, a rite of passage, and above all, immensely fun to read. Rejoice!

Texts: Homer, The Odyssey (Dover); James Joyce, The Dead and Other Stories (Broadview); James Joyce, Ulysses, Gabler ed. (Vintage). Weldon Thornton’s Allusions in Joyce will be on reserve. Critical essays on individual chapters will be provided in pdf form.


7455   Fiction of Empire and the Breakup of Empire /M. Sabin/T, Th 2-4:45

Some of the most compelling modern and contemporary fiction has come from the areas of South Asia formerly known as British India. Through close study of selected texts from and about India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, this seminar will examine continuities and ruptures between late colonial and postcolonial writing, as exemplified in texts mainly written in English but with a few short stories read in translation. We will discuss the role of English-language fiction in the construction and also the critique of imperialism, followed by literary responses to internal violence within or between newly independent nations. The tensions between local and global commitments will also call for attention, especially for writers publishing in the West. This course moves fast, so it is crucial to do a substantial amount of reading before arrival, at least A Passage to India, Area of Darkness, and Anil’s Ghost.Specific assignments in critical reading and a few films will accompany the primary texts. (This course may be taken for either Group 3 or Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Rudyard Kipling, Selected Stories (Penguin); E.M. Forster, A Passage to India (Mariner); V.S. Naipaul, Area of Darkness (Vintage); Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day (Mariner); Amitav Ghosh, Shadow Lines (Mariner);Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost (Vintage); Manto, Selected Stories (Penguin); Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton); Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Riverhead).


Group 4 (American Literature)

7385   Fictions of Finance/J. Freedman/M, W 2–4:45

What is the relation between literature and its ambient economic world? This question will be at the center of our inquiry, as we survey a number of works that look to the interplay between imaginative expression and material practices in America between roughly 1850 and 1920. Particularly interesting to us will be fictions that take the new, globalizing ambitions of finance capitalism seriously and that attend to the emotional, imaginative consequences of such a massive new economic force and its ancillary institutions (the stock market, the corporation). Readings will include some poems and a bit of economics (e.g., Marx, Schumpeter) but will mainly focus on the novels listed below. Students will write one short paper and one longer one.

Texts: Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (Scribner); Henry James, The Golden Bowl (Penguin); Frank Norris, The Pit (Penguin); Theodore Dreiser, The Financier (Plume); F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Scribner); W. E. B. DuBois, The Quest of the Silver Fleece (Northeastern; try to buy this out-of-print edition used, or buy any edition new).


7458   Film as Film/J. Freedman/T, Th 2–4:45

Cinema as an art has developed with remarkable rapidity from its origins (roughly the end of the nineteenth century) to the present day, and along the way has developed the capacity to comment on its own techniques, practices, institutions, past, present, and future. We will survey the ways film has persistently interrogated itself in a variety of venues and by a number of means, touching on some of the major texts in film criticism by way of comparison or contrast (hint: the films themselves often turn out to be more trenchant than the works that attempt to define, critique, or arraign them). While I’d be happy to have cinephiles and film experts in the class, the class is primarily intended as an introduction to film aesthetics for teachers interested in building cinema into their curriculums and/or for people interested in becoming more enlightened consumers. Assignments: journals, one short paper, one long one. (This course may be taken for either Group 4 or Group 5 credit.)

Films: selected early films from George Melies and G. A Smith; Martin Scorsese, Hugo; Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window and Vertigo; Akira Kurosawa, High and Low; John Ford, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; Roman Polanski, Chinatown; Sergie Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin; Pedro Almodóvar, Broken Embraces; Jean Renoir, La Grande Illusion; Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard; David Lynch, Mulholland Drive; Quintin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds. Texts: V. Perkins, Film as Film (DaCapo). Plus essays by Laura Mulvey and Tania Modleski and selections from Kenneth Anger, Hollywood Babylon, available at Bread Loaf.


7511   Reading Slavery and Abolitionism/W. Nash/M, W 2-4:45

In this course, students will have a rare opportunity to engage in original archival research. We will study both black and white writers’ psychological responses to, and their verbal onslaughts on, the “peculiar institution” of chattel slavery, working chronologically and across genres to understand how and by whom the written word was deployed in pursuit of physical and mental freedom and racial and socioeconomic justice. Engaging with Middlebury College’s extensive archival holdings in abolitionist materials, students will learn best practices for archival work and contribute to an ongoing research project designed to illuminate the available resources.  Students should read the following titles before arriving in Vermont.

Texts: David Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, ed. Peter Hinks (Penn State); Against Slavery: An Abolitionist Reader, ed. Mason Lowance (Penguin); The Ideology of Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Antebellum South, 1830-1860, ed. Drew Gilpin Faust (Louisiana State); Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Kwame Anthony Appiah (Modern Library); Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover); Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Norton); Solomon Northrup, Twelve Years a Slave (Penguin). 


7590   Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner/S. Donadio/M, W 2-4:45

Centered primarily on a cluster of writings produced during the 1920s and 1930s, this course will attempt to trace out the intricate network of interrelationships linking the careers and persistent preoccupations of these three major American authors of the past century, authors whose far-reaching influence still remains powerful. Among the issues to be addressed are the formation and cultivation of a distinctive literary identity, the representation of intimate male-female relationships, the pressure of historical and regional circumstances, the commerce between personal testimony and fictional construction, and the connection between self-analysis and comprehensive cultural assessment.

Texts: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Scribner); William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (Vintage); Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (Vintage); Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner); Faulkner, Sanctuary (Vintage); Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (Scribner); Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night (Scribner); Faulkner, The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem] (Vintage); Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon (Scribner).


7620   Latino/a Literature/D. Baca/M-Th 8:10-9:25

In this seminar we will analyze contemporary works by Latino/a authors of Caribbean, Latin American, and Mexican origin. We will examine how our authors advance significant contributions to world literature and to the transnational reception of their cultures’ literary production. Latina/o writing arises from intertwining Indigenous, Iberian, and American contexts shaped by colonial power, especially the last two centuries of U.S. expansionism. As a result, we will read both with and against dominant historical narratives of nations, subjectivities, and aesthetic configurations. This course will further investigate the relationship of late global capitalism to Latino/a identity formation, family networks, wars of occupation, labor recruitment, and the political economies of migration.

Texts: Juan Gonzalez, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in the Americas (Penguin); Martín Espada, Zapata’s Disciple (South End); Roberto Fernández Retamar, Caliban and Other Essays (Minnesota): Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Aunt Lute); Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History (Nation); Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies (Algonquin); Junot Diaz, Drown (Riverhead); Esmeralda Santiago, When I Was Puerto Rican (DaCapo); Sonia Nazario, Enrique’s Journey (Random House). Students should also read Damián Baca's Mestiz@ Scripts, Digital Migrations, and the Territories of Writing (Palgrave Macmillan), which will be on reserve at Bread Loaf.


7648   Race and American Literature/D. Jones/M-Th 9:35-10:50

This course examines major mid-twentieth-century American works that explore the persistence of the problem of the color line. Reading a wide array of literary forms and genres—including poetry, drama, short stories, and the essay—students will delve deeply into several of the most probing, imaginative, and influential renderings of post-World War II American life. Moreover, we will ask how literature and literary production contributed to, and challenged, several of the most pressing social and political crusades of the period, including the Civil Rights Movement, the labor movement, second-wave feminism, and the New Left, among others. 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: Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones (Dover); Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (Vintage);James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (Beacon);James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Vintage);Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (Grand Central); William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner (Vintage);Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (Vintage).Essays by Norman Mailer and poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Hayden will be available on our online course site.


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

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

Texts: Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find (Harvest); James Baldwin, The Amen Corner (Vintage) and Giovanni’s Room (Vintage); J. D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (Little, Brown); Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (Harper Perennial); Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer (Vintage); Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (Vintage); Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (Picador); Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (Vintage); Edward P. Jones, Lost in the City (Amistad).


7656   African American Poetry since 1960/R. Stepto/M–Th 9:35–10:50

Our discussion begins with a review of what modernist poets Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, and Langston Hughes ventured and accomplished in their last decades of writing. Then we turn to the following poets: Derek Walcott, Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton, Michael Harper, Marilyn Nelson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove, Elizabeth Alexander, and Natasha Trethewey. We will study how these contemporary poets (1) create odes, sonnets, and ballads; (2) pursue a written art based upon vernacular and performance models; and (3) align themselves with artistic, cultural, and social movements. Special attention will be given to contemporary practices of the history poem (heroines, heroes, the wars, civil rights, migrations, the “Black Atlantic,” etc.). Visual art and music will always be near at hand (to quote Michael Harper, “the music, jazz, comes in”). Students are encouraged to bring to the class any literary, visual, or musical materials that they feel engage the poems we are committed to studying. Students will be expected to complete two writing assignments and to contribute regularly to the class journal. Everyone will also participate in one or more presentation groups. Reading ahead before the summer is strongly advised.

Texts: The Vintage Book of African American Poetry, ed. Michael Harper and Anthony Walton (Vintage); Derek Walcott, Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Amiri Baraka, The Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader (Basic Books); Audre Lorde, Undersong (Norton); Lucille Clifton, Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions); Michael Harper, Songlines in Michaeltree (Illinois); Marilyn Nelson, The Fields of Praise (Louisiana State) and A Wreath for Emmett Till (Houghton Mifflin); Yusef Komunyakaa, Neon Vernacular (Wesleyan); Rita Dove, Selected Poems (Vintage); Elizabeth Alexander, American Sublime (Graywolf); Natasha Trethewey, NativeGuard (Mariner).


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 formation and erasure; 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.


7682   Test Subjects: Asians in the Global/Planetary Imagination/R. Lee/M-Th 9:35-10:50

In this seminar, we will focus on the metaphoric and material nature of Asians in the (primarily) American narrative of globalization as a process both of expanding U.S.-styled “modernization plans,” (involving the spread of capitalist financial logic, culture, information networks, and military bases worldwide) and of increasing comprehension of the planet’s shrinking resources and ecological limits. We will enter this subject through literary representations that portray Asians as potential threats to U.S. dominance in economic and demographic terms, but that also negate Asians as a military threat. Readings will include Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, Yiyun Li’s The Vagrants, Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for a Time Being, Chang Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, poetry by Larissa Lai, and short stories by Greg Bear and Nam Le. Additional readings will be provided during the session. (This course may be taken for either Group 4 or Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Ruth Ozeki, Tale for a Time Being (Penguin); Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Vintage); Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (Mariner); Yiyun Li, The Vagrants (Random); Chang Rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea (Riverhead); Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story (Random).


Group 5 (World Literature)

7295   Milton, the Bible, and Cultures of Violence/J. Shoulson/M–Th 9:35-10:50

See description under Group 2 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 5 credit.


7455   Fiction of Empire and the Breakup of Empire /M. Sabin/T, Th 2-4:45

See description under Group 3 offerings.This course may be taken for either Group 3 or Group 5 credit.


7458   Film as Film/J. Freedman/T, Th 2–4:45

See description under Group 4 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 4 or Group 5 credit.


7682  Test Subjects: Asians in the Global/Planetary Imagination/R. Lee/M-Th 9:35-10:50

See the description under Group 4 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 4 or Group 5 credit.


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

O what a brilliant day it is for vengeance!” —Aeschylus, ancient Greek playwright

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

Texts: Homer, The Iliad, ed. Bernard Knox, trans. Robert Fagles (Penguin); Seneca: The Tragedies: The Complete Roman Drama in Translation, Vol. I, trans. David Slavitt (John Hopkins); Dante, 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.


7753   The Nineteenth-Century Realist Novel in the Old World and the New/M. Katz/M, W 2–4:45

In the broadest critical sense the term “realism” refers to artists’ attempts to represent or imitate nature with truth and adequacy. The critic M. H. Abrams has defined the realist novel as one that seeks to convey the effect of realism by presenting complex characters with mixed motives who are rooted in a social class, operate in a developed social structure, interact with many other characters, and undergo plausible modes of experience. This course will focus on the changes that took place in the themes and forms of “realism” as it moved from Europe across to the Americas. We will first explore the meaning of the concept; then we will read novels representing the Old World (England, France, and Russia) and the New (America and Brazil), comparing these works in terms of characterization, plot development, thematic statement, and stylistic technique.

Texts: Pam Morris, Realism (Routledge); Jane Austen, Persuasion (Norton); Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (Norton); Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Children (Norton); Henry James, The American (Norton); Aluísio Azevedo, The Slum (Oxford).


7789   Italo Calvino: Stories, Essays, Letters /M. Armstrong/M-Th 11:00-12:15

This course is a collective workshop devoted to the work of the Italian novelist and critic, Italo Calvino. We will study the full range of Calvino’s fiction, from his early novel, The Path to the Spiders’ Nests, through to his final masterpiece, Palomar. We will also examine his essays, his autobiographical works, and his letters. We will read the work closely, exploring its structure, its form, its subject matter, its development over time, its social, political, moral and metaphysical concerns, and the variety of influences to which it was subject. Class meetings will take the form of discussion, performance, and collaborative critique. We will keep a class journal to which everyone will contribute regularly, we will write critical and creative responses to particular texts, and each class member will choose a topic for detailed investigation in a final critical essay or creative project. (Students who have taken course 7777 may not enroll in this course.)

Texts:Italo Calvino The Path to the Spiders’ Nests (Penguin), Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Penguin), Our Ancestors (Vintage), The Complete Cosmicomics (Penguin), Invisible Cities (Vintage), The Castle of Crossed Destinies (Vintage), If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller (Vintage), Mr. Palomar (Vintage), The Road to San Giovanni (Penguin).


7808    The Poetry of the Theater/A. MacVey/T, Th 2-4:45

This is a course about the theater and the ways dramatic works affect audiences. With the help of the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, we will explore Euripides’ The Bakkhai, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and a short play by Beckett. We will examine various ways actors may interpret scenes on stage, and we will pay particular attention to how imagery, transformation, staging, language, and rhythm can create a special kind of poetry. Students will participate in scenes and exercises in most class periods. (This course may be taken for either Group 5 or 6 credit.)   

Texts: Euripides, The Bakkhai, trans. Robert Bagg (Massachusetts); William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arden); Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters, trans. Paul Schmidt (Theatre Communications Group); Samuel Beckett, Footfalls in Ends and Odds (Grove). Additional readings on reserve. 


Group 6 (Theater Arts)

7260   The Merchant of Venice on the Page and Stage/A. MacVey/M, W 2-4:45

See description under Group 2 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 6 credit.


7807   Drama in the Classroom/C. MacVey/T, Th 2-4:45

This course is intended for teachers who want to use dramatic techniques in their English classrooms. You will learn how to explore texts by getting your students involved in some kind of performance—process drama, theater games, choral work, improvs, monologues, scenes, teacher-in-role—to name just a few. Every approach will involve being physical and being vocal. You’ll experience dramatic activities as both audience and actor and study approaches that will give you structure, technique, experience, confidence, and a set of skills with which to develop strategies for teaching various literary genres. We’ll work on scenes from Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, and on short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and contemporary plays. The final projects will be presentations, and all students must be present for them. No previous theater training is necessary.

Texts: Keith Johnstone, Impro (Routledge); Oedipus in Ellen McLaughlin, The Greek Plays (Theater Communications Group); Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater, 3rd ed. (Northwestern); William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet (any edition); Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie (New Directions; Deluxe Centennial edition required because of introductory essay by Tony Kushner).


7808   The Poetry of the Theater/A. MacVey/T, Th 2-4:45

See description under Group 5 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 5 or Group 6 credit.


7811   Dramaturgy/D. Jones/M-Th 11-12:15

This hands-on course introduces students to theories and practices of dramaturgy: the craft of play making and development. Beginning with foundational texts such as Aristotle’s Poetics and Lessing’s Hamburg Dramaturgy, we will explore the role of the dramaturg as a collaborator in a theatrical production, from conceptual preparation to performance. Throughout the semester, students will work with the director, production team, and Bread Loaf Theater Ensemble on the summer’s main stage productions: Blues for Mister Charlie and To Kill a Mockingbird. These dramaturgical tasks may include script preparation; historical research on the play and “its world”; assembling information packets for actors, directors, and designers; writing program notes; and organizing and leading audience talkbacks.

Texts:  Aristotle, Poetics (Penguin); James Baldwin, Blues for Mister Charlie (Vintage); Harper Lee, To Kill a Mocking Bird, adapted by Christopher Sergel (Dramatic Publishing).