Cates Baldridge
Office
Axinn Center 308
Tel
(802) 443-5330
Email
baldridg@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall 2022: Monday & Wednesday, 1:30-2:30, and by appointment

Courses Taught

Course Description

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory
In this course we will introduce several major schools of contemporary literary theory. By reading theoretical texts in close conjunction with works of literature, we will illuminate the ways in which these theoretical stances can produce multiple interpretations of a given literary work. The approaches covered may include New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Cultural Criticism, Race Theory and Multicultural Criticism, Feminism, Post-Colonial Criticism, Queer Studies, Eco-Criticism, Post-Structuralism, and others. These theories will be applied to various works of fiction, poetry, and drama. The goal will be to make students critically aware of the fundamental literary, cultural, political, and moral assumptions underlying every act of interpretation they perform. 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Nineteenth Century British Literature (II)
The 19th century is the era of “peak novel,” for never before or since has the genre exhibited such confidence in its ability to tell the truth about both the teeming world and the private life. But far from merely reflecting social reality, the novelists and poets of the period played an active part in constructing their readers' ideas about gender and sexuality, imperialism and colonialism, class, religion, and technology, insisting that literature be relevant and revelatory in a time of swift and sometimes frightening cultural and intellectual innovation. Works to be covered will include novels by Emily Bronte, Dickens, George Eliot, and Hardy, and the poetry of Tennyson, Browning, and Christina Rossetti. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

The Romantic Revolution
he generation of British poets and novelists known collectively as the Romantics decisively rebelled against earlier conceptions of what literature could speak about, how it could best describe a rapidly changing world, and who was fit to be its reader. Arguably the first environmentalists, the Romantics also initiated our modern discussions of gender, class, race, and nationalism. To encounter the Romantics is to witness intellectual courage taking up arms against habit, prejudice, and tyranny. We will trace their genius and daring (and follow their personal attachments for, and rivalries with, each other) through the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, and the novels of Mary Shelley and Emily Brönte. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Magical Realism(s)
Novels that juxtapose the marvelous with the everyday have shadowed (and mocked) mainstream realism for the better part of two centuries, and have proliferated in recent years to the point where they may constitute the predominant genre of our globalized culture. Why should such strange mélanges of the quotidian and the supernatural strike so many authors as the perfect vehicle to express 20th and 21st century anxieties and possibilities? We will explore examples of these boundary-defying fictions across several decades and various national literatures. Authors to be studied will include Woolf, Kafka, Calvino, Morrison, Pynchon, Rushdie, and Garcia-Marquez.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

CMP, LIT

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Course Description

Writing in Blood: Literature’s Body
To what extent is our condition defined and our destiny determined by the physical bodies that envelop us? In this course we will accompany novelists, playwrights, and poets as they investigate the ecstasies, agonies, ambiguities, and transformations that flesh imposes upon our daily lives. Simultaneously, we will consider their various attempts to transcend our bodily limitations, whether by means of religion, imagination, sexuality, or pharmaceuticals. Along the way, we will collaborate with our writers as they scrutinize the human form as a biological fact, social segregator, philosophical conundrum, and undiscovered country. Authors will include Mary Shelley, Dickinson, Kafka, Beckett, Silko, and Coetzee. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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Course Description

Fictional Fictions
In this course we will engage with novels whose primary focus is the novel itself—how the genre is imagined, structured, written, sold, read, celebrated, and denounced. Our chosen meta-fictions will variously focus on the psychology of artistic production, on the philosophical issues surrounding the telling of “true lies,” on the social function of novels in our culture, and on what is at stake in the supposedly private act of reading. Our texts will include works such as Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, McEwan’s Atonement, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, Cunningham’s The Hours, and DeLillo’s Mao II. This course counts as an ENAM elective.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Poems, Poets, Poetry
Emily Dickinson declared, “if I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” In this introductory class we will encounter hair-raising poems from a wide variety of genres and historical eras in order to examine their structural forms, linguistic audacities, ideological captivities, and personal revelations. We will also read various poets’ meditations on their own craft, from which we will draw our own conclusions about what poems do, should, or might accomplish in the world. Our goal will always be to render poetry accessible, relevant, and enjoyable—to become confident readers of, and informed writers about, the diverse poetic utterance.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory
In this course we will introduce several major schools of contemporary literary theory. By reading theoretical texts in close conjunction with works of literature, we will illuminate the ways in which these theoretical stances can produce multiple interpretations of a given literary work. The approaches covered may include New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Cultural Criticism, Race Theory and Multicultural Criticism, Feminism, Post-Colonial Criticism, Queer Studies, Eco-Criticism, Post-Structuralism, and others. These theories will be applied to various works of fiction, poetry, and drama. The goal will be to make students critically aware of the fundamental literary, cultural, political, and moral assumptions underlying every act of interpretation they perform. 3 hrs. lect/disc. (Formerly ENAM 0205)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

The Novels of J.M. Coetzee: Ethics and Empire
Coetzee, whose novels engage questions of institutional racism, state-sponsored violence, patriarchal privilege, environmental degradation, animal rights, and how to ethically approach cultural Others, manages to speak of specific historical circumstances—such as South Africa’s apartheid regime—while simultaneously addressing universal dilemmas of our contemporary human condition. Having received both the Booker (twice) and Nobel Prizes for literature, Coetzee is recognized as the living heir of both Kafka and Beckett, and as a writer whose searing prose and formal experimentation both extend and transform the novel’s traditional role as our culture’s most skeptical self-inquisitor. Depicting every act of writing as either a confrontation or an evasion, Coetzee both reveres and rebukes the literary traditions he warily embraces. We will read his strongest and most globally recognized works, from Waiting for the Barbarians through Disgrace.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required. (Formerly ENAM 0500)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term. (Formerly ENAM 0700)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Anti-Heroes
How do works of literature persuade us to undertake the difficult work of opening our closed minds, softening our hard hearts, and questioning our deepest unexamined assumptions? Sometimes by presenting us with protagonists whose flaws seem to far outnumber their virtues, and who resemble people we have been taught to avoid and disdain in our actual lives. Keeping our eyes open as we begin to empathize with various monsters, failures, and lunatics, we will engage fundamental questions concerning literature’s persuasive techniques, psychological effects, and social responsibilities. Our syllabus will include novels, poems, and plays from the Elizabethan era to the present day. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

The Body in Question
What does literature have to say about the fact that we are “embodied” beings?—that our consciousness interacts with the world through an envelope of flesh that both weighs us down with its mundane requirements and propels us forward with its remarkable abilities and insistent desires? We know that the world at large cares deeply about our bodies, for it continually categorizes us along the lines of race, gender, age, and “normality,” but who gets (or should get) the last word about what our skin and bones declare about us? In this class we will investigate what novelists, playwrights, and poets have to say about our ability to either make peace with our flesh or to transcend it, and whether such outcomes can best be accomplished through religion, imagination, drugs, sexuality, or political action. The works we address will include Shelley’s Frankenstein, Morrison’s Sula, Beckett’s Happy Days, Silko’s Ceremony, Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, and others. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

CW, EUR, LIT

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Publications

Articles

“Voyeuristic Rebellion: Lockwood’s Dream and the Reader of Wuthering Heights,” Studies in the Novel, Fall, 1988.

“The Problems of Worldliness in Pendennis,” Nineteenth- Century Literature., December, 1989.

“Alternatives to Bourgeois Individualism in A Tale of Two Cities,” Studies in English Literature, Autumn, 1990.

“Observation and Domination in Hardy’s The Woodlanders,” Victorian Literature and Culture, Spring 1993.

“The Instabilities of Inheritance in Oliver Twist, Studies in the Novel, Summer, 1993.

“Agnes Grey: Brontë’s Bildungsroman That Isn’t,” The Journal of Narrative Tchnique, Winter 1993.

“Antinomian Reviewers:  Hogg’s Critique of Romantic-Era Magazine Culture in The Confessions of a Justified Sinner,” Studies in the Novel, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Winter, 2011), pp. 385-405.

“The White Hotel’s Scandalous Finale:  An Allegory of Reading”  The Journal of Modern Literature 37.2 (Winter, 2014)

“The White Hotel’s Marcusean ‘Camp,’” LIT:  Literature, Interpretation, Theory 27.3 (Summer, 2016), pp. 173-90.

Books

The Dialogics of Dissent in the English Novel, University Press of New England, 1994.

Graham Greene’s Fictions: The Virtues of Extremity, University of Missouri Press, 2000.

Prisoners of Prester John:  The Portuguese Mission in Ethiopia in Search of the Mythical King, 1520-1526, McFarland and Co., 2012.