Ryan Sheldon
Office
Axinn Center 301
Tel
(802) 443-3622
Email
rsheldon@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2022: Wednesday 3:15-4:45 PM and Thursday 2:00-3:30 PM via zoom, and by appointment

Courses Taught

Course Description

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

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

Creative Derivation: Rewriting, Remaking, and Unmaking Literature
The American experimental poet Robert Duncan famously described his work as “derivative.” His contemporary, Ronald Johnson, once remarked: “I read to steal.” In this course we will take these articulations of reading-focused poetics as a premise for surveying seventeenth- through twenty-first-century literature that enacts the reading of other texts; repurposes the narratives and terms of canonical or hegemonic writing; or uses critique as a means of generative engagement. Along the way, we will consider the stakes of rewriting or reworking texts across cultural, historical, generic, and formal distances. Students will be invited to pursue creative final projects. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Commerce of the World-Century Literature (Pre-1800)
British society, politics, and culture shifted dramatically over the course of the eighteenth century in response to the ascendance of an empowered mercantile bourgeoisie, an expanding empire, and the intensification of its investments in the transatlantic slave trade. In this course we will explore how writers and thinkers grappled with these economic, social, and political transformations at the levels of narrative, form, and genre by reading novels, plays, poems, and essays by Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Susanna Centlivre, Laurence Sterne, Olaudah Equiano, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Revolt and Rebellion in Long Eighteenth Century Literature
The long eighteenth century is replete with uprisings, rebellions, and revolutions. In this course we will think about why the event of the revolt, especially in colonial contexts, proved intriguing for British writers and thinkers throughout the period. How did representing historical and imagined uprisings alike enable Britons to diagnose social and political problems? When and why does it become permissible to revolt? What makes a revolutionary subject? Authors include: John Milton, John Locke, Aphra Behn, Ottobah Cugoano, Helen Maria Williams, and Mary Shelley. Critical/theoretical interlocutors might include Laura Brown, Susan Buck-Morss, C.L.R. James, and Anthony Paul Farley. Pre-1800. (REC) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

18th-Century Literature:The Commerce of the World (Pre-1800)
British society, politics, and culture shifted dramatically over the course of the eighteenth century in response to the ascendance of an empowered mercantile bourgeoisie, an expanding empire, and the intensification of its investments in the transatlantic slave trade. In this course we will explore how writers and thinkers grappled with these economic, social, and political transformations at the levels of narrative, form, and genre by reading novels, plays, poems, and essays by Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Susanna Centlivre, Laurence Sterne, Olaudah Equiano, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.(Formerly ENAM 0225)

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

Abolitionism(s): Then and Now
In this course, we will explore the intersections between historical campaigns to abolish the transatlantic slave trade and chattel slavery throughout the British empire and contemporary American movements to abolish policing and prisons. We’ll pay particular attention to the roles that literary and artistic representations, political speech, and activist organizing play in these processes, and consider how they complement or clash with on-the-ground resistance. We’ll ask: what does the history of abolitionism tell us about the horizons of an abolitionist future? Our guides will range from Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince to Mariame Kaba, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Olúf?mi Táíwò.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, SOC

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