Robert Cohen
Office
Axinn Center 205
Tel
(802) 443-2426
Email
cohen@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall 2022: Tues/Thurs 1-2:45pm, and by appointment.

Robert Cohen, Professor of English and American Literatures, is  a novelist who teaches both literature and creative writing courses.  His books include Amateur Barbarians, Inspired Sleep, The Here and Now, The Organ Builder, and a collection of short stories, The Varieties of Romantic Experience.   Prior to teaching at Middlebury he taught at Harvard, Rice, the University of Houston, and the Iowa Writers Workshop.  He earned a B.A. from  University of California Berkeley and an MFA from Columbia.  His stories and essays have appeared in Harpers, Paris Review, GQ, The Believer, and many other magazines, and his awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Writers Award, a Ribalow Prize, and a Pushcart Prize.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Writing: Poetry, Fiction, NonFiction
An introduction to the writing of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction through analysis of writings by modern and contemporary poets and prose writers and regular discussion of student writing. Different instructors may choose to emphasize one literary form or another in a given semester. Workshops will focus on composition and revision, with particular attention to the basics of form and craft. This course is a prerequisite to CRWR 0380, CRWR 0385, CRWR 0370, and CRWR 0375. (This course is not a college writing course.) (Formerly ENAM 0170) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Workshop: Fiction
Study and practice in techniques of fiction writing through workshops and readings in short fiction and novels. Class discussions will be based on student manuscripts and published model works. Emphasis will be placed on composition and revision. (Approval required; please email a writing sample to cohen@middlebury.edu) (Formerly ENAM 0370) (Any 100-level CRWR course) (This course is not a college writing course) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

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

Requirements

ART, LIT

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Course Description

Special Project: Creative Writing
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, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, 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

The Short Story (AL)
This course approaches the short story as a distinct prose genre, beginning with work by Edgar Allen Poe and Guy de Maupassant and concluding with stories by contemporary authors. We will examine the particularly notable growth of the genre in America and survey various trends in the form, from "local color" sketches and realistic tales to experiments in modernism and postmodernism. Throughout, we will consider issues of structure, characterization, style, and voice. Other authors may include Anderson, Barthelme, Cheever, Chekhov, Hemingway, Joyce, Moore, O'Connor, Twain, and Welty. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Twentieth-Century English Novel
This course will explore the development of the novel in this century, with a primary focus on writers of the modernist period and later attention to more contemporary works. We will examine questions of formal experimentation, the development of character, uses of the narrator, and the problem of history, both personal and political, in a novelistic context. Readings will include novels by Conrad, Joyce, Forster, Woolf, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Contemporary Literature
In this course we will explore seminal works of the post-World War II literature written in English. In the course of our readings we will move through the cultural and social transformations beginning with the paranoia and alienation of the Cold War, and continuing with the Civil Rights era, the national crisis of Vietnam, the rise of multiculturalism and the culture wars in the 1980s, the wide ranging effects of the information revolution, the profits and perils of globalization, and the profound anxiety of the war on terror. Writers studied will include Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nabokov, Don DeLillo, Donald Barthelme, William S. Burroughs, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Ana Castillo, and Art Spiegelman. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Pulling Reality’s Hair: Truth and Other Fictions
We will, in this seminar, occupy ourselves with works that straddle or blur or occasionally just flat out ignore the aesthetic divide between fiction and non-fiction, in the hopes of getting a better grip on the relation between self and other, word and world, narrative strategy and fidelity to truths both large and small. Hence readings will include biographical and autobiographical novels, novelistic treatments of biography and autobiography, and a number of hybrid composites that cannot be classified, though we will surely try. Readings will include Nabokov, Proust, Henry Adams, J.M. Coetzee, W.G. Sebald, Lydia Davis, Joan Didion, Gregoire Bouillier, Art Spiegelman, and Spalding Gray. In addition we will view films by Ross McElwee, Andre Gregory, and Charlie Kaufman. This course is not open to students who have taken ENAM 0307. (3 hrs. sem.)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021

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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

Kafka and his Influence
This course is an intensive inquiry into the work and reach of Franz Kafka. In addition to reading his novels, his stories, his letters and diaries, and his aphorisms, we will take up some of the voluminous and often highly imaginative writings on Kafka, with an eye towards fashioning some ideas, and some writings, of our own.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT, PHL, WTR

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Course Description

The Modern Moment
This course will explore the development of the modernist novel – and modernism in general-- in the first half of the 20th century. We will examine issues of formal experimentation, new conceptions of character, and an ever-dawning consciousness of the catastrophic as seen in personal, cultural, and political venues. Readings will include Conrad, Joyce, Forster, Kafka, Woolf, Lawrence, Mansfield, Waugh, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Formerly ENAM 0244)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

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

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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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. (Formerly ENAM 0700)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

The Beast in the Jungle
In this course we will explore some literary texts in which the practice of exploration itself yields a complex confrontation with, and often breakdown of, identity and will. Westerners’ longing to separate themselves from home and make contact with a foreign “other” arises from the high purposes that set imperial adventures in motion in the first place. Readings will include Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Forster’s Passage to India, Waugh’s Handful of Dust, Bowles’ Sheltering Sky, Stone’s/ Dog Soldiers/, Duras’ The Lover, Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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