Texts for each course are listed in the order in which they appear on the syllabus. Students should complete as much reading as possible before their arrival and bring all required texts to Bread Loaf.

Bread Loaf / Vermont

Teaching, Writing, and Acting for Change Curriculum
Group 1: Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy
Group 2: British Literature: Beginnings through the 17th Century
Group 3: British Literature: 18th Century to the Present
Group 4: American Literature
Group 5: World Literature
Group 6: Theater Arts

Teaching, Writing, and Acting for Change Curriculum

B. Brueggemann, curriculum coordinator

As part of a Middlebury initiative on conflict transformation, we are offering a special curriculum that aims to explore and develop practices for negotiating across and within difference, navigating conflict, and catalyzing social activism and cultural change. Our Change courses will run independently and are open to all Bread Loaf students; participating students and faculty will also meet together regularly to address issues of shared concern. Among them: What does change look like? How do current concepts and vocabularies—“conflict transformation,” “anti-racism,” “engaged listening,” “peace literacy,” “social justice”—serve to define strategies for action? How do cultural and intercultural literacies, literature, language, and creative expression foster change? (Students should plan to be available on Fridays for these joint sessions.)

7051 Writing, Identity, Change
B. Brueggemann/ M–Th 9:35–10:50
When we write, we often make, mark, and mask our bodies and/or our identities. We create change. And too, our identities can be shaped by our writing choices, styles, practices. Again, change happens. In this course, we’ll be exploring that triangulation between writing and identity and change (in personal, local, national, and global spaces). This course is both theory and practice, reading into and writing out from identity and change. We will be in conversation with the French feminist philosopher Hélène Cixous: “Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.” Our readings will run a wide range of eras and genres. Our writing for the course will engage multimodal and traditional forms, all caught up with “truth telling” from identity and aimed at shaping change. Additional readings will be provided. (This course counts for Group 1 credit.)

Texts: Plato, Phaedrus, intro. Stephen Scully (Hackett or any edition); Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors (Picador); William Hay, Deformity, ed. and intro. Kathleen James-Cavan (English Literary Studies); Mark Haddon, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Knopf or any edition); Cece Bell, El Deafo (Abrams); Emmanuelle Laborit, The Cry of the Gull (Gallaudet); Margaret Edson, Wit (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low); Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Part One and Part Two (Theatre Communications Group); Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Mariner); Riva Lehrer, Golem Girl: A Memoir (Penguin); Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Knopf).

7104 Transcultural Literacies
D. Wandera/M–Th 11–12:15

Why is it that even when people speak the same language there is a possibility of miscommunicating? How might miscommunications manifest in a classroom as failure to see the other’s worldview? What is the connection between language, culture, and teaching? This writing course is constructed around the concept of languaculture to visualize interconnections between language and culture. With a focus on encounters between different worlds of meaning, participants are invited to disrupt their commonsensical literary ways of being and doing through critical reflection of self-and-other in the world. Course experiences will evoke conversations around the notion of “a world inscribed within language” to make sense of how access to cultural meanings of a text might enhance and/or impede learning in a language arts classroom. Further, through spotlighting how marginalized students struggle with identity and belonging, participants will explore how teachers can make a positive difference in the lives of the students they teach. Ultimately, participants will produce a multimodal reflexive piece of writing that showcases their appreciation of intrigues, intricacies, complexities, and resourcefulness of ethno-racial and linguistic diversity in the classroom. (This course counts for Group 1 credit.)

Texts: Sonia Nieto, Language, Culture, and Teaching, Language, Culture, and Teaching Series, 3rd ed. (Routledge); Michael Agar, Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation (William Morrow); Allison Skerrett, Teaching Transnational Youth: Literacy and Education in a Changing World (Teachers College); Literacy Lives in Transcultural Times, eds. Rahat Zaidi and Jennifer Rowsell (Routledge). Additional readings will be provided during the session.

7198 Creative Practice: Reimagining the Classroom
C. Maravich/T, Th 2–4:45

We will investigate and experience how creative and theater-based practices can transform, reimagine, and promote belonging in the classroom. In partnership with faculty artists from the Bread Loaf Beyond the Page program, we will collaborate as an ensemble of teaching artists, experimenting and learning performance practices and arts-based pedagogies. We will explore the ways theater and teaching artistry builds individual and collective capacities necessary to facilitate change in our teaching and classrooms. Our work will be an invitation for you to reflect on your own creative practices and develop a comprehensive unit and/or community-based project to be implemented in your own community. We will participate in workshops with other Change classes, and you should be prepared to rehearse and meet outside of our scheduled class time. While theater and its various artistic forms are central to our work, no prior performance or arts background is necessary. (This course counts for either Group 1 or Group 6 credit.)

Texts: Our readings will include texts on dramatic and nondramatic literature, social justice, creativity, and teaching artist pedagogy. Among the writers and thinkers we will explore are Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Adrienne Maree Brown, Eric Booth, Maxine Greene, and Anna Deavere Smith.

Group 1: Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy

7000 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: Kim Addonzio, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (Norton); Martín Espada, Alabanza (Norton); Lucille Clifton, Blessing the Boats (BOA); Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House); Stephen Mitchell, Tao Te Ching (Harper Perennial). Additional readings will be available in the summer.

7005 Fiction Writing
R. Makkai/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 such aspects of craft as 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 which will be provided by the instructors. This course will be taught in two 3-week modules, one run by Rebecca Makkai and the other by Susan Choi.

7006 Mapping Vermont: Writing about the Green Mountains and Vicinity
R. Sullivan/M–Th 11–12:15

Do we write the world or does the world write us? This class will examine experimental creative nonfiction through a consideration of place. We will study different modes of creative nonfiction but focus on the calendar and the diary, each as a method of examining the landscape as it relates to time—and as a way of examining the idea of nature itself. Readings will include the Georgics, Walden, 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 Robert Smithson, and John Cage. Students will be required to keep a weather log. There will be a film screening outside class time.

Texts: Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library); Virgil’s Georgics, trans. Janet Lembke (Yale); Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, ed. Camille T. Dungy (University of Georgia); Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson (New Directions) and other readings available during the session.

7009 Multigenre Writing Workshop
D. Huddle/M–Th 9:35–10:50

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. The Internet will be our source for exemplary writing we will read aloud and discuss in class.

7010 Critical Writing
M. Robinson/T, Th 2–4:45

This course is designed to guide and support students through critical writing projects over the course of the summer. Students enrolled should be comfortable actively writing within their course community, as well as sharing parts of their writing with their peer group and professor.  We will read and discuss essays about writing and use drafts of student work as our sources of study. Assignments will be tailored to students’ interests and needs. The expectation is that students will complete the summer session with conference-level or publication-quality writing.

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.

7040 Mapping Home: Writing about Local Landscapes
R. Sullivan/M–Th 8:10–9:25

In this course, students will examine various literary tools in addition to the tools of the geographer in order to construct their own place-based works or site histories, focusing on the places where they live or work (chosen in consultation with the instructor). 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. We will look, too, at the way artists map places. There will be a film screening outside class time. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts: John McPhee, The Pine Barrens (FSG); Ernest Thompson and Mindy Fullilove, Homeboy Came to Orange: A Story of People’s Power (New Village); Lorraine Anderson, Sisters of the Earth: Women’s Prose and Poetry about Nature (Vintage), and other readings available during the session.

7045 Memoir Workshop: Telling Stories, Finding Meaning
C. Savageau/M, W 2–4:45

In writing memoir, we are telling stories from our lives. But how do we decide which ones to tell? And why should anyone care? In this workshop, students will practice the art of telling stories to the page and begin to develop their storytelling voices. Through class exercises they will learn how to generate and organize story ideas, retrieve memories, find thematic threads, and use sensory language and narrative strategies. Readings from successful memoirs will provide examples of strong voices, the possibilities of form, the struggle for meaning, and how creative storytelling and truth intersect. Students will write in response to exercises and prompts, share work, and provide constructive criticism to fellow writers.

Texts: Readings will be provided in class. Recommended but not required: Louise DeSalvo, Writing as a Way of Healing (Beacon); Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir (Harper Perennial).

7051 Writing, Identity, and Change
B. Brueggemann/M–Th 9:35–10:50

See description under Teaching, Writing, and Acting for Change Curriculum.

7092 Digital Writing and Social Justice
C. Medina/M–Th 9:35–10:50

This course looks at the intersection of digital writing and social injustice, examining topics such as the digital divide, racist ideology coded into online platforms, doxing, and online activism. Scholars like Adam Banks have been interested in the digital divide because access to technology is necessary for communities of color to be transformative with the uses of these technologies. Algorithms of Oppression raises concerns about the ideologies that are coded into the online applications that continue to frame how people of color are represented in online searches. With tensions between online activists and 4chan message board communities mobilizing to dox, or make public personal information about targets, online activism and trolling have become enmeshed with a struggle between ideologically opposed users. These users employ rhetorical strategies that appeal to ethics, emotions, and logic; however, their rhetorical efficacy depends almost entirely on the ideology of the audience for whom the meme, video, or Twitter rant was intended. 

Texts: Racial Shorthand: Online Misrepresentation Contested in Social Media, eds. Cruz Medina and Octavio Pimentel; Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression (NYU); Adam Banks, Race Rhetoric and Technology (Routledge).

7104 Transcultural Literacies
D. Wandera/M–Th 11–12:15

See description under Teaching, Writing, Acting for Change Curriculum.

7105 Teaching African American Rhetorics
M. Robinson/M–Th 8:10–9:25

This course is designed to foster intellectual conversations about teaching texts that speak directly to the artistic, cultural, economic, religious, social, and political condition of African Americans from the enslavement period in America to our present era, as well as to the Black Diaspora. The course is designed to help teachers think critically about teaching works not just for their aesthetic value, as often is the case when teaching African American literature, but to teach texts that are doing the work of advocating for the conditions and experiences of Black Lives. We will explore not only the rhetorical features of Black words, which are necessary for effective instruction, but also the strategies for facilitating difficult discussions and managing classroom tension when encountering challenging issues.

Texts: The Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric: the Long Duree of Black Voices, eds. Vershawn Ashanti Young and Michelle Bachelor Robinson (Routledge, 1st ed.); Keith Gilyard and Adam Banks, On African-American Rhetoric (Routledge,1st ed.).

7198 Creative Practice: Reimagining the Classroom

C. Maravich/T, Th 2–4:45
See description under Teaching, Writing, and Acting for Change Curriculum.

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

7205 The Romance of Arthur
M. Rasmussen/M–Th 11–12:15

A study of the literature surrounding the figure of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, from its origins in the early Middle Ages to the present. Readings will be drawn from such works as the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, the Middle English verse romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory’s Morte Darthur, Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and Bernard Malamud’s The Natural. We will also consider offshoots of Arthurian legend in the visual arts, opera, and such films as Excalibur (1981), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), The Fisher King (1991), and The Green Knight (2021). The course will include an evening film series, “Movie Knights,” open to the Bread Loaf community. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: The Romance of Arthur, eds. Norris J. Lacy and James J. Wilhelm, 3rd ed. (Routledge); Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford); Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King (Penguin); Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Modern Library Classics (Random House); Bernard Malamud, The Natural (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Note: Students should purchase these specific editions. This is especially important in the cases of Malory and Twain.

7210 Chaucer
J. Fyler/M–Th 8:10–9:25

This course offers a study of the major poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer. We will spend roughly two-thirds of our time on The Canterbury Tales and the other third on Chaucer’s most extraordinary poem, Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer is primarily a narrative rather than a lyric poet: though the analogy is an imperfect one, The Canterbury Tales is like a collection of short stories, and Troilus like a novel in verse. We will talk about Chaucer’s literary sources and contexts, the interpretation of his poetry, and his treatment of a number of issues, especially gender, that are of perennial interest.

Texts: The Riverside Chaucer, ed. L. D. Benson (Oxford or Houghton Mifflin); Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. Richard Green (Martino); Woman Defamed and Woman Defended, ed. Alcuin Blamires (Oxford); Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, ed. Stephen Barney (Norton).

7230 Ovid and Spenser
J. Fyler/S. Wofford/M, W 2–4:45

This class will engage in a deep reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Spenser’s Faerie Queene. The course will provide an in-depth understanding of these two works, along with explorations of other poems by these two authors (e.g., Ovid’s Fasti and Heroides, and Spenser’s “Epithalamion”). Ovid is the most powerfully influential Roman poet in European literature from the twelfth century on; his Metamorphoses, an epic or anti-epic, serves as a major source of mythology for later poets and painters, who also show their great debt to his style, his focus on the pathos and comedy of love, and his continuing interest in the tensions between permanence and change, reason and the irrational, the human and the natural world, the divine and the human. Spenser is one of Ovid’s most important poetic descendants. He in part reads Ovid through the perspective of earlier Ovidian writers (such as Dante, Chaucer, and Froissart), and we will look at them. We will also explore theories of allegory and the Elizabethan cultural and political context; the visual tradition of representing epic and romance, including mythological paintings (by Titian and others), emblem books, iconography, and Renaissance mythography. We will rethink the convergences and divergences of epic, allegory, romance, etiological myth, and origin story as they help to shape questions of gender, nation, ideology, and ethics. In preparation for our first meeting, students should read the first book of the Metamorphoses. They should also read Books One and Four of Virgil’s Aeneid before the session begins (widely available in several translations, including those of Fitzgerald and Fagles). We recommend putting off reading Spenser until we meet. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Charles Martin (Norton); Spenser, The Faerie Queene, ed. A. C. Hamilton, 2nd ed. (Longman) (the first edition is also acceptable); Pierre Grimal, Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Penguin).

7243 English Renaissance Tragedy
D. Britton/M–Th 9:35–10:50

This course will explore the pleasures of watching other people suffer. More precisely, we will examine English Renaissance tragedy, asking ourselves what emotional and cultural work the genre does. We will read Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Antigone, and Seneca’s Thyestes and Hercules Furens to understand the classical genre that Renaissance writers imitated; we’ll then  turn to Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus; Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy; Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear; Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women; John Webster’s White Devil; and John Ford’s Tis Pity She’s a Whore. We will also read what are often considered canonical discussions of tragedy by Aristotle, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud alongside criticism focused on the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and emotion.

Texts: The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, 3rd ed. (Norton). If you choose not to purchase the Norton, choose a complete works (Riverside, Arden, Pelican are good) that has scholarly introductions, textual notes, and glosses for obscure words and allusions. If you prefer individual modern editions, I suggest the Arden, New Cambridge, or Oxford World’s Classics editions. In addition to Shakespeare, Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays (Penguin); Seneca, Four Tragedies and Octavia (Penguin); Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy (Bloomsbury/Methuen), and John Ford and John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi, The White Devil, The Broken Heart and ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Penguin).

7270 Shakespeare and Race
D. Britton/M–Th 11–12:15

This course will examine what Shakespeare’s works can teach us about the historical development of race and racism. Our texts will be selected sonnets, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and The Tempest. To get a sense of the historical and cultural contexts in which Shakespeare writes, we will read early modern religious writings, travel narratives, and literary works that served as source material for Shakespeare’s plays. Additionally, we will examine a few contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays by Black writers, such as Carlyle Brown’s The African Company Presents Richard III, Jordan Peele’s Get Out (required screening), Toni Morrison’s Desdemona, and Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day. As we do so, we will consider the similarities and differences between ideas about race in Shakespeare’s day and our own.

Texts: The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, 3rd ed. (Norton). If you choose not to purchase the Norton, choose a complete works (Riverside, Arden, Pelican are good) that has scholarly introductions, textual notes, and glosses for obscure words and allusions. If you prefer individual modern editions, I suggest the Arden, New Cambridge, or Oxford World’s Classics editions. In addition to Shakespeare: Carlyle Brown, The African Company Presents Richard III (Dramatists Play Service); Toni Morrison, Desdemona (Bloomsbury/Methuen); and Gloria Naylor, Mama Day (Vintage).

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

7302 British Literature and Revolution
I. Newman/M–Th 9:35–10:50

At the end of the eighteenth century a series of radical shifts in the way culture and society functioned transformed the world. From the American Revolutionary War to the French Revolution and Haitian independence, fundamental questions were being asked about what constituted the human self, the responsibilities of humans to one another, and the mutual obligations between the people and the governments that ruled them. Today, for better and for worse, we are still living with the legacies of these disputes. At the very heart of these debates lay “literature”—a contested domain that was often held up as the essence of liberty. What exactly was literature, and what role did it play in the fights for freedom? In this class we will read political texts alongside literary works in order to understand the entanglement of literature and revolution, and to consider the role that literature played in shaping the modern world.

Texts: The Impact of the French Revolution in Britain: Texts from Britain in the 1790s, ed. Iain Hampshire-Monk (Cambridge); Hamilton, Federalist Paper #1; Paine, The Crisis #1; Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative (Penguin); Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria, eds. Anne Mellor and Noelle Chao (Longman); William Blake, Selected Poems of William Blake, ed. G. E. Bentley Jr. (Penguin); William Earle, Obi: or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack (Broadview).

Films: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton (2020).

7312 Elements of the Ballad
I. Newman/M–Th 11–12:15

The ballad is one of the major poetic traditions of world literature. Precisely what a ballad is, however, remains a remarkably vexed question. For the literary scholar, “ballad” is often used to mean a narrative poem, but this definition does not do justice to a vastly more complex history, which traverses oral traditions, folklore, urban popular song, and cheap print. This course will explore various elements of the ballad both in print and performance, in an attempt to forge new connections between poetry and song. We will learn about the fascinating history of the popular ballad, and how it gave shape to English literature as a discipline. We will engage with ballad archives, which provide a fascinating glimpse into popular urban street song and the mentalities of ordinary people. The musically inclined are encouraged to bring instruments with them to campus, and everyone should come prepared to listen, learn, and sing together.

Texts: John Gay, Beggar’s Opera, ed. Hal Gladfelder (Oxford, 2013);The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, ed. Steve Roud (Penguin, 2014); Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads, ed. Fiona Stafford (Oxford, 2013).

WebsitesBodleian Broadside Ballad Archive, English Broadside Ballad Archive, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

Podcasts: Old Songs Podcast; Fire Draw Near (we will be particularly concerned with the “bonus episodes”); Dolly Parton’s America, episode 1, “Sad Ass Songs.”

7396 English Fiction between Worlds
M. Wood/M–Th 11–12:15

When Fanny Price, in the drawing room at Mansfield Park, asks a question about the slave trade, “a dead silence” follows. We hear this or a similar silence in many English novels, and one of the questions this course will ask is what we are to make of it. There is certainly plenty of noise too in the works we shall concentrate on, and we shall listen carefully to that. But the relation between what is said and what isn’t said will be a good guide in many different contexts, and we may find that the imperial colonies or the supposed madwomen in their real attics are never far away. As Conrad says in Lord Jim, perhaps too optimistically, “It is impossible to lay the ghost of a fact.”

Texts: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Penguin); Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Modern Library); Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (Wordsworth); Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (Wordsworth); Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Vintage); Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (Norton).

7453 Modern British and American Poetry
M. Wood/M–Th 8:10–9:25

The aim of this course is to look closely at six modern poets (and briefly at quite a few more) in order to see where they and we have been. We don’t have to decide in advance what we hope to find, but it is clear that between Wallace Stevens’s volume Harmonium (1923) and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen (2014), whole worlds of history and culture have come and gone. What worlds were those, and what did they do to poetry? Conversely, what if anything did poetry do for them? Do we believe, with W. H. Auden, that poetry makes nothing happen? If we do (or don’t), what do we imagine we mean? (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts: Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems (Vintage); Langston Hughes, Selected Poems (Vintage); Elizabeth Bishop, Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Geoffrey Hill, New and Collected Poems (Mariner Books); Seamus Heaney, Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Claudia Rankine, Citizen (Graywolf Press).

7455 Fiction of Empire and Its Aftermath in Modern South Asia
M. Sabin/T, Th 2–4:45

Some of the most compelling modern and contemporary literature in English has come from the areas of South Asia formerly known as British India. My title avoids the now outdated but still common term “postcolonial” in order to recognize that new literary representations of both past and present have shifted along with changes in the societies themselves during the now 70-plus years since independence in the subcontinent: a new indigenous plutocracy to replace colonial elites; new as well as continuing schisms between regional, ethnic, and religious groups; the complexities of emigration to a newly prominent diaspora, including a literary class trying to sustain dual (or cosmopolitan) identity; new variations of older conflicts about the status of women, especially as represented by women writers themselves. We will begin with the most notable English writers directly engaged with British India in the late colonial period: Kipling, E. M. Forster, Orwell, and V. S. Naipaul. We will then turn to selections from the impressive repertory of English-language writing from the postcolonial period from Partition to the present, with attention along the way to some equally impressive short readings translated from Punjabi, Urdu, and Bengali. This course moves fast, so it is crucial to do a substantial amount of reading before arrival—at least A Passage to India, Shadow Lines, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Home Fire. Selections from additional primary texts and critical reading will be provided. The text of Pinjar may be hard to find other than in slightly used copies ordered online. Screening of an Indian film of Pinjar will be scheduled. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: Rudyard Kipling, Selected Stories (Penguin); E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (Harcourt); Amrita Pritam, Pinjar: The Skeleton and Other Stories (Tara Press); Saadat Hasan Manto, Kingdom’s End: Selected Stories; Amitav Ghosh, Shadow Lines (Houghton Mifflin); Manto, Selected Stories (Penguin); Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire (Riverhead); Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Harvest).

7811 Performance and Dramaturgy
B. McEleney/D. Clubb/7–10:30 p.m. (plus individual meetings)

See description in Group 6 offerings.

Group 4: American Literature

7040 Mapping Home: Writing about Local Landscapes
R. Sullivan/M–Th 8:10–9:25

See description in Group 1 offerings.

7453 Modern British and American Poetry
M. Wood/ M–Th 8:10-9:25
See description in Group 3 offerings.

7507 Humbugs and Visionaries: American Artists and Writers before the Civil War
B. Wolf/M–Th 11–12:15

This course examines American literature and visual culture in the years before the Civil War, focusing on the ways that writers and artists not only anticipated but helped construct the modern era. We will look in particular at outliers, prophets, and self-promoters, from the radical Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet to popular entertainers like P. T. Barnum. Topics include visuality and the public sphere; landscape and politics; genre painting and hegemony; race and identity; domesticity and sentimentalism. We will begin by asking how one talks about painting, and then proceed to juxtapose artists and writers in a larger—and ongoing—dialogue about the origins of modern American culture. Student writing will center on the creation of an “Imaginary Exhibition.” Writers include Bradstreet, Franklin, Wheatley, Emerson, Douglass, Poe, Dickinson, and Melville. Painters include Copley, Peale, Cole, Durand, Church, Gifford, Mount, Bingham, Woodville, Quidor, and Spencer, among others. We will also view one film at the conclusion of the course: John Sayles’s Lone Star (1996).

Texts: Course readings are available as PDFs on the course Canvas website: Phillis Wheatley, selected poems; Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (parts I and II); Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and “Experience”; Edgar Allan Poe, “Berenice” and “William Wilson”; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845 version only—not the later versions); Anne Bradstreet, “Contemplations”; Emily Dickinson, selected poems; Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”

7587 The American 1920s
S. Donadio/M, W 2–4:45

Following an influenza pandemic that afflicted one-fifth of the world’s population and claimed the lives of 50 million people (more than three times the number of those killed in the years of the World War of 1914–1918), and registering the far-reaching effects of two highly consequential amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the first prohibiting the use of alcohol, the second giving women the right to vote—this was an epoch defined by profound cultural disruptions: among them, a release of overwhelming imaginative energies and an erasure of established moral guidelines. Focusing on a range of fictions that span the decade ending with the financial crash of 1929, we will consider some of the commanding ambitions and persistent anxieties that manifest themselves in the human predicaments depicted in these works. In addition to undertaking the readings required, students should anticipate engaging in independent research and comparative analysis.

Texts: Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (Oxford World’s Classics); F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise (Oxford World’s Classics); Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (Oxford World’s Classics); Jean Toomer, Cane (Penguin); Willa Cather, One of Ours (Vintage Classics); Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner’s); Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy (Signet); John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Vintage); F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” and William Faulkner, “Elly” (can be found in collections of stories by these two authors).

7631 Artificial Intelligences
K. Marshall/T, Th 2–4:45

In spring 2021, Nobel Prize–winning author Kazuo Ishiguro published Klara and the Sun, a novel featuring an intelligent machine, or “artificial friend” humanoid robot as its protagonist. Ishiguro’s novel asks serious questions about the nature of intelligence in an era of machine learning and automation. In this seminar, students will take up these questions, and look specifically at how we tell stories about technology to answer them. Working with fiction, representations of AI in visual media, and analyses of the implications of AI and machine learning in cultural and scientific texts, we will debate one of the central issues of contemporary technological life. Advance reading recommended. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)

Texts: Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (Knopf); Richard Powers, Bewilderment (Norton); Louisa Hall, Speak (Ecco); Jeanette Winterson, 12 Bytes (Grove); Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Del Rey); Ted Chiang, Exhalation (Vintage).

7686 American Print Cultures and the Art of the Book
K. Marshall/M, W 2–4:45

This course is a celebration of print technologies in American literature. We will undertake a comparative study of print, type, paper, and letterforms from early American letters to the contemporary “post-print” era. By doing so, we will explore why our love of books, paper, and print has returned so dramatically at the same time that digital reading technologies and platforms have proliferated. We will also look at contemporary artists and communities like the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective who are reframing print histories and practice as collaborative and pedagogical. The course uses an experimental structure: we split the week into intensive literary seminars and hands-on workshops. Students work with letterpress at the Bread Loaf Printer’s Cabin, construct handmade paper, learn basic bookbinding techniques, and work with early and late innovations in the book arts with Middlebury Special Collections. At the heart of our explorations will be the intense relationships that literary works have cultivated with their own materials and techniques of production. Advance reading recommended.

Texts: Phillis Wheatley, Complete Writings, ed. Vincent Caretta (Penguin); Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (first half) (Oxford); Emily Dickinson, The Gorgeous Nothings (New Directions), can substitute smaller Envelope Poems (New Directions); Susan Howe, That This (New Directions); Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts (Cannongate); Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Penguin).

7690 Toni Morrison: Texts and Contexts
R. Stepto/M–Th 9:35–10:50

This seminar pursues close readings of Toni Morrison’s first six novels: The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, and Jazz. The “context” component primarily involves reading essays selected from Morrison’s Playing in the Dark and The Source of Self Regard. Another resource will be the new (2019) film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. In all, we will examine how Morrison’s texts are literary and historical innovations that invite cross-disciplinary attention. Also literary and historical will be our awareness that the novels we are reading are those that Morrison wrote before receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993). Students are encouraged to bring to class literary, visual, and musical materials that engage our readings. Two papers and presentation group participation will be required.

Texts: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Playing in the Dark (all Vintage); The Source of Self Regard (Random House).

7795 Gay/MM Romance Genre Fiction
T. Curtain/M–Th 8:10–9:25

See description in Group 5 offerings.

Group 5: World Literature

7205 The Romance of Arthur
M. Rasmussen/M–Th 11–12:15

See description in Group 2 offerings.

7230 Ovid and Spenser
J. Fyler/S. Wofford/ M, W 2–4:45

See description in Group 2 offerings.

7455 Fiction of Empire and Its Aftermath in Modern South Asia
M. Sabin/T, Th 2–4:45

See description in Group 3 offerings.

7456 Speculative Fiction: Expanding the Imaginary
C. Savageau/M–Th 9:35–10:50

In this class we’ll read science fiction, fantasy, dystopia, post/eco-apocalyptic, magical realism, and horror by Native and Indigenous writers, populations in diaspora, LGBTQ2+, and other marginalized populations. We’ll begin with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, arguably both the first science fiction and the first horror novel; and the Jewish folk story of the Golem. We’ll read Ursula LeGuin and Octavia Butler, who challenged the white male hegemony of sci-fi in the mid-20th century with stories that explored gender, slavery, patriarchy. We’ll read works from writers who have transformed familiar figures like vampires and werewolves and from writers who reclaim culture through mythos and language. We’ll look at dystopic visions and places of power. Students will also attend weekly viewings of films such as Frankenstein (1939) and Young Frankenstein; The Shape of Water; The Handmaid’s Tale; The Company of Wolves; Get Out; Like Water for Chocolate, and possibly a couple of animated films like Coco or a Ghibli film, depending on interest. For the first class: Read Shelley’s Frankenstein. Also, try to find and read at least one version of the out-of-print copy of The Golem, either by Eli Wiesel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, or David Wisniewski.

Texts: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: The 1818 Text (Warbler Classics); Ursula LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea (HarperCollins); Octavia Butler, Dawn: Lilith’s Brood 1 and Fledgling (Grand Central); Jewell Gomez, The Gilda Stories (City Lights, Expanded 25th anniversary ed.); Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels (William Morrow); Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (Anchor); Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate (Anchor); Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (DCB); Nnedi Okarafor, Binti: The Complete Trilogy (DAW).

7631 Artificial Intelligences
K. Marshall/T, Th 2–4:45

See description in Group 4 offerings.

7718 Homer, Odyssey. Epic of Loss, Adventure, and Return
F. Zeitlin/M, W 2–4:45

Sing to me of the man, O Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,
many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,
fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.

So begins the Odyssey, an epic account of survival and homecoming—the poem that we shall explore in depth throughout this course (24 books in six weeks). Odysseus is the most complex of all Greek heroes, showing courage and endurance on the one hand but being a master of tricks, disguises, and lies on the other. The poem conveys the most normative ideal—a return to house, land, wife, and kingship. But it also leads outward to adventure, risk taking, encounters with the strange and supernatural, and secret pleasures. Throughout we will be attentive to the characteristics of oral poetry (e.g., traditional epithets, type scenes, formulaic descriptions) along with narrative strategies of storytelling. We will grapple with the larger issues of gendered strategies, family and society, disguise and recognition, death and immortality, the role of the gods, and more, according to contemporary concerns. The Odyssey, it is fair to say, has shaped our imagination and cultural values, whether for imitation, extension, revision, allegory, or even parody. Moreover, as one critic observes, “the Odyssey is a generic shape-shifter, changing from a heroic epic into a quest narrative, a revenge tragedy, a domestic comedy, a romance, Bildungsroman and biography.” Students may, if they wish, pursue any one aspect of the Odyssey’s legacy in their final papers—whether in literature, art, or film. Course outline: We will read four books each week, along with secondary material for each session, which will be posted on Canvas. Students will submit weekly written responses to the reading. A more comprehensive bibliography will also be available. Students are advised to acquaint themselves before the course begins with the first of Homer’s epics, the Iliad (any translation), which tells of the Trojan War itself, and urged to bring any supporting material (ancient to modern) that they like.

Texts: Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fagles (Penguin). Students may consult other contemporary translations (e.g., Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Lombardo, Wilson), but Fagles is the one we will use.

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. Compiled in Egypt and Syria in the fourteenth century and translated into French and other European languages in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth 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 an element in our inquiry.

Texts: Muhsin Mahdi and Husain Haddawy, Arabian Nights (Norton); Muhsin Mahdi and Husain Haddawy, Sinbad, and other Stories from the Arabian Nights (Norton); Robert Irwin, The Arabian Nights: A Companion (Tauris); Malise Ruthven, Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford); Alexander Lyon Macfie, Orientalism: A Reader (NYU); John Barth, Chimera (Mariner).

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).

7755 Literary Criticism: Theory and Practice
M. Rasmussen/M–Th 8:10–9:25

In this course, we learn how to use literary theory to see more in the works we study and love. We begin with classic statements by authors from Plato to Susan Sontag, because we always have more to learn from them. Then we turn to twentieth- and twenty-first-century critical approaches, from the New Criticism, beginning in the 1930s, to such contemporary theories as gender studies, queer theory, postcolonialism, race and ethnic studies, the new historicism, and ecocriticism. Each student will adopt a literary work they already know well as a test case for the theories we encounter. (The choice of work is open.) The course has two aims: first, to help us become more aware of what we do, and why we do it, when we study literature; and, second, to help us write better literary criticism ourselves, as we apply a range of methods to the works we study.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, eds. Vincent B. Leitch, et al., 3rd ed. (Norton). Additional readings will be provided.

7759 Narrative and Documentary in Global Disability, Disease, and Illness (Telling Embodied “Truths”)
B. Brueggemann/M, W 2–4:45

This course will take as its intersected major methods and theoretical foundations the following four areas: (1) critical disability studies and theory; (2) the new(er) field of “narrative medicine”; (3) trauma (as it intersects with the experience of disability, disease, illness) and its literary representations, particularly in nonfiction forms; and (4) global literature and human rights (in a social justice framework). We will engage narrative and documentary that is not necessarily limited to (but includes) the U.S. The course will also return, again and again, to the question of how this material can matter (and be taught) in youth education settings today. Engaged class activities, a little shared discussion leadership, brief class journal postings (perhaps a class blog), and a final project will form the everyday work of the course. Additional readings will be provided.

Texts: Arthur Frank, The Wounded Storyteller (Chicago); Eli Clare, Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure (selections from)(Duke); William Hay, Deformity, ed. and intro. Kathleen James-Cavan (English Literary Studies); Cece Bell, El Deafo (Abrams); Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck (Scholastic); Paul and Judy Karasik, The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister’s Memoir of Autism in the Family (‎Washington Square); Jean Dominique-Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Knopf); Riva Lehrer, Golem Girl: A Memoir (Penguin).

7768 Literature of the Holocaust
F. Zeitlin/T, Th 2–4:45

“After Auschwitz we must write poetry, but with wounded words.”
Edmond Jabès, The Book of Margins (1993)

More than 80 years later, the Holocaust remains one of the most traumatic events of modern Western experience. The shock of the catastrophe sets up a tension between a desire to efface, forget, or disbelieve and an even stronger imperative to record, reveal, and remember what the imagination could not have invented. This seminar will explore a range of responses to this historical crisis through the study of a variety of texts drawn from different nationalities, languages, genres, and points of view. On the one hand, we will focus on themes of bearing witness and the work of memory, and on the other, we will confront the potential contradictions between aesthetic and ethical imperatives and the conditions of representation itself when faced with the unrepresentable. With the current rise of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, and other racist groups, along with ethnic cleansings elsewhere and the current heartbreaking refugee and immigration crises, a study of the frightful past is more relevant than ever and raises even more troubling questions about the well-known slogan: Never Again! But this is not our aim. Rather, in addition to optional essays, our readings represent such well-known authors as Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Charlotte Delbo, and Art Spiegelman, along with lesser figures, all of whom, however, are of superior literary and ethical value. Students will benefit from some general knowledge of the period between 1933 and 1945 prior to taking this class. See, e.g., Chronology, Overview, and Documents.

Texts: Elie Wiesel, Night (Hill and Wang); Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (Simon & Schuster);  Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After (Yale); David Albahari, Götz and Meyer (Dalkey); Michal Glowinski, The Black Season (Northwestern); Jiri Weil, Life with a Star (Northwestern); Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird, 2nd ed.(Grove); Art Spiegelman, Maus I, Maus II (Pantheon); Carl Friedman, Nightfather (Persea); Bernhard Schlink, The Reader (Vintage).

Films: Optional; there are numerous distinguished feature films that can be shown Wednesday evenings if the students are interested. Choose four: Europa, Europa; Fateless; Life Is Beautiful; Au revoir, les enfants; Schindler’s List; The Pianist: Enemies, A Love Story; Lore; Sunshine; Mephisto; Gloomy Sunday; Korczak; Shop on Main Street; The Reader.

7795 Gay/MM Romance Genre Fiction
T. Curtain/M–Th 8:10–9:25

In a little under a decade, there has been an explosion of high-quality, self-published queer/gay/MM romance fiction. We will read some representative works to explore the whys and hows of queer romance fiction and try to answer such questions as “How is genre-focused, queer fan fiction/fiction related to mainstream popular fiction writing/publishing?” For each class, I will provide readings from literary theorists and queer theorists—from Janice Radway to Mark McGurl, from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick to more recent queer thinkers about genre—to help us piece together a set of tools adequate to account for the extraordinary work that has emerged from the digital and sexual revolutions of the past half-century. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)

Texts: Keira Andrews, Semper Fi: Historical Gay Romance (KA Books, 2014); Alexis Hall, Boyfriend Material (‎Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020); Tamsyn Muir, Gideon the Ninth (Tordotcom, 2019); Ngozi Ukazu, Check, Please! (2013, free webcomic); Casey McQuiston, Red, White & Royal Blue (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019); MsKingBean89, All the Young Dudes (2017–2018,  free on An Archive of Our Own). Note: All the Young Dudes (AtYD) is fanfiction that assumes its readers have read the Harry Potter series. AtYD uses music lyrics to frame each of its chapters. All the songs used in AtYD can be found on this free Spotify list.

Group 6: Theater Arts

7198 Creative Practice: Reimagining the Classroom
C. Maravich/T, Th 2–4:45

See description in Group 1 offerings.

7811 Performance and Dramaturgy
B. McEleney/D. Clubb/7–10:30 p.m. (plus individual sessions)

This course will give students an opportunity to act in one of this summer’s productions and to use that experience as the basis for a mentored independent research project. The Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, along with members of the Bread Loaf community, will perform staged readings of two different adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre and Johnny Eyre, both adapted by Brian McEleney. Students who sign up for this course will be assured of casting in at least one of these productions but will be expected to audition in the opening days of the session. They must be available for rehearsal at least three evenings a week, including Sunday evenings, and must keep a written journal of rehearsal and performance practice. In addition, under the direction of the course mentors, students will design and pursue a related critical, creative, or pedagogical project centered on the production and its historical, dramatic, or literary contexts (including Brontë’s). Mentoring sessions will be arranged (in lieu of regularly scheduled class meetings) in consultation with students. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 3 requirement.)

Texts: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea. Any edition of these texts will be fine.

7814 Theatrical Practice and Radical Empathy in the Classroom: Tools for (Re) Making
A. Brazil/M, W 2–4:45

Theater can offer students the opportunity to viscerally enter and deeply understand—and own—a text. This course will explore ways to use performance to excavate a text, and will offer you some tools to do this work with your own students in your classrooms. Any investigation into the methodologies of teaching must necessarily in this moment engage us in dialogue specific to the health and well-being of every human in the space. How can we attend to and prioritize these needs, understanding that doing so will deepen our respect for and understanding of one another—critical components necessary for learning? Working collaboratively, we’ll employ a variety of theatrical techniques. The focus of our investigations will be twofold: first, to examine and challenge the ways in which performance can expand and deepen a reader’s experience with and comprehension of the written word; and second, to create literacy and increased competency around healthy classroom spaces, consent-based practices, and centering radical empathy for self and community as a core practice. We’ll be working in class with a variety of texts from which to create short in-class performances: short excerpts from novels and from contemporary poems, nonfiction, and original writing. We’ll also put performance skills into practice in a larger community setting, working with the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble to create a performance based on original writing from members of the Bread Loaf community. Though performance is central to the course, the emphasis is not on acting. No previous acting experience is required. Please wear clothes to class that are comfortable to move in. You will perform on each class day. Weekly rehearsal time outside of class is necessary. The cumulative written project for this course is a detailed and specific unit plan for implementing this work in your own classrooms, or a proposed equivalent.

Texts: Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton, A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts (Harvard); Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things (Vintage).

7815 The Craft of Stephen Sondheim
B. Steinfeld/T, Th 2–4:45
This course will explore the work and legacy of Stephen Sondheim through a textual and musical analysis of his musicals and creative process. We will work from the librettos from Sondheim’s (and his cowriters’) most innovative and enduring shows (including Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins); his own collections of lyrics, anecdotes, and principles (Finishing the Hat; Look, I Made a Hat); and critical perspectives (Steve Swayne, Stacy Wolf, among others). We will also examine Sondheim’s powerful legacy of teaching and learning. Students who are singers and/or actors may also have the opportunity to rehearse songs in class, and all students will develop their own final papers and projects, which may be collaborative in nature.

Texts: Stephen Sondheim, Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat (both Knopf).

Bread Loaf / Oxford 

Group 1: Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy
Group 2: British Literature: Beginnings through the 17th Century
Group 3: British Literature: 18th Century to the Present
Group 4: American Literature
Group 5: World Literature

Group 1: Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy

7911 Creative Writing in Poetry and Nonfiction: Animals, Monsters, Beasts
G. Lewis/M, T, W

Animals, mythical or otherwise, have been imagined in art since the earliest cave paintings. This strategy has been a central thread in literature, through Greek mythology to Franz Kafka, medieval bestiaries to the fables of Aesop and La Fontaine, to Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky and natural history prose from Pliny the Elder to modern eco-nonfiction. This course will use readings in poetry and nonfiction to prompt exercises in both genres, stressing the animal as a way of approaching the other, both in nature and ourselves, exploring how to convey the creatureliness of existence as both a subject and a creative form. We will visit manuscripts using animal figures in the Bodleian Library and exhibits in Oxford’s notable Museum of Natural History. Texts will range from analytical writing on animals by, among others, Jacques Derrida and J. M. Coetzee to natural history by Peter Matthiessen and Helen Macdonald. Examples of what we will analyze in poetry include the work of Rainer Maria Rilke and Ted Hughes, and the Persian Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar. All texts will be supplied, and the subject interpreted as widely as possible, in order to accommodate students’ projects.

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

7900 Beowulf and Old English Literature
F. Leneghan/T,Th

This course will introduce students to the wyrd and wonderful world of Old English literature. Our main focus will be on the first poetic masterpiece in English, the epic Beowulf, but we will also read a selection of shorter poems, including passionate songs of love and loss, intense dream visions, bawdy and obscene riddles, and strange charms contained in manuscripts such as the Exeter Book and the Vercelli Book. In these remarkable, often enigmatic poems, the heroic traditions of the Germanic tribes merge with Christian-Latin learning, pagan kings speak with the wisdom of the Old Testament patriarchs, Woden rubs shoulders with Christ, a lowly cowherd receives the gift of poetry from God, and a talking tree provides an eyewitness account of the Crucifixion. Texts will be studied both in translation and, after some basic training, in the original Old English.

Texts: Old English Poems of Christ and His Saints, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 27, trans. Mary Clayton (Harvard); Old English Shorter Poems Volume II: Wisdom and Lyric, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 32 (Harvard, 2014), trans. Robert E. Bjork (Harvard); Roy Liuzza, trans. Beowulf: Facing Page Translation: Second Edition (Broadview); Hugh Magennis, The Cambridge Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge);The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, 2nd ed., ed. Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (Cambridge).

7921 British Theater: Stage to Page to Stage
S. Berenson/M, T, W, Th

Using the resources of the British theater, this course will examine imagery in dramatic literature. We will attend performances in London and Stratford. In addition to weekly theater attendance and travel time, the class will include discussions, lectures, two writing projects, and collaborative on-your-feet exercises. No previous acting experience is required. This is a class for students who love the theater and understand that the word “image” is the root of the word “imagination.” Performances are expected to include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Southbury Child, and 101 Dalmatians. Enrolled students will be charged a supplemental fee of $850 to cover the costs of tickets and transportation. A questionnaire, a schedule of plays, and a reading list will be circulated in March 2022. (This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 3 credit.)

7931 Imagining Adolescence in Early Modern England
C. Bicks/T, Th

In this course we will explore the various ways that English people were imagining and depicting adolescence in the early modern period. Medical writings, philosophical treatises, and parenting handbooks typically defined it as a stage that stretched between the ages of 14 and 21, and sometimes 28. Most people, male and female, did not marry until they were 26. How did age affect agency during this extended stretch of time between childhood and what was considered full adulthood? What were the perceived psychophysiological differences between male and female adolescence? How did beliefs about age intersect with ideas about race, class, religion, and other categories of difference that were evolving during this time? We will consider a range of material, including plays, poems, and popular writings on puberty, metamorphosis, and the body-mind. If possible, we also will visit museums and library collections in Oxford and London.

Texts: Any edition of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night; John Lyly, Galatea, ed. Leah Scragg (Manchester University Press, Revels Student Editions); Aphra Behn, Oroonoko and Other Writings, ed. Paul Salzman (Oxford World’s Classics). PDFs of scholarly articles and of the following early modern texts will be provided in advance of our first meeting: Margaret Cavendish, The Convent of Pleasure; excerpts from John Swan, A True and Brief Report of Mary Glovers Vexation; Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy; Helkiah Crooke, Mikrokosmographia; Mary Ward, autobiographical fragments; Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Arthur Golding; and Levinus Lemnius, The Touchstone of Complexions.

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

7921 British Theater: Stage to Page to Stage
S. Berenson/M, T, W, Th

See description in Group 2 offerings.

7960 How to Be a Critic: Literary and Cultural Engagement from the Nineteenth Century to the Present
D. Russell/M, W

What does it mean to be critical? What can critical approaches to art, or culture, or politics achieve? This course examines the flourishing of cultural, political, and aesthetic criticism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Britain and the U.S. It will focus on assembling a definition, and a history or genealogy, of critical practices, but it will also seek to ask questions about the usefulness and applicability of these critical practices to our own times. We will begin with Matthew Arnold, who popularized the word criticism in the turbulent 1860s in Britain, and we will trace a critical genealogy to the turbulent American 1960s, and to criticism as practised now. As the “how to” phrasing of the module’s title suggests, participants will produce their own critical essays that will employ techniques from the essayists discussed in class. (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 4 credit.)

Texts: Editions below are suggested, but any edition will do. Most are widely available secondhand. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (Oxford); John Ruskin, Selected Writings (Oxford); Walter Pater, The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry (Oxford); Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying and Other Essays (Penguin); Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (Harvest); T. S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood (Faber); Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination (NYRB); James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Penguin); Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation (Picador); Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (FSG); John Berger, The White Bird (Chatto & Windus); Hilton Als, White Girls (McSweeney’s).

7969 From Steel Engraving to Photogravure: Nineteenth-Century Women Poets and Illustration 1832–1898
I. Armstrong/W, Th

Image and text, verbal and visual, are particular preoccupations of women poets in the nineteenth century. What questions did poems ask of illustrations and vice versa? How did poets respond to new techniques (steel engraving, wood block, photogravure) of mass reproduction? The convergence of the neglected poet Letitia Landon (“L E L”) and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“E B B”) in the highly popular but often maligned “Album Books” of the 1830s initiates our study. Her brother’s illustrations of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market (1862) and the pre-Raphaelite images for her Sing Song (1872) will be followed by Preludes (1875), the work of the feminist Alice Meynell, illustrated by her sister, and her prose poems, London Impressions (1898). Sight and Song (1892), by the same-sex lovers, aunt and niece, pseudonym “Michael Field,” concludes the course.

Texts: Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrap Book; With Poetical Illustrations by L E L (1832), Letitia Landon. Facsimile edition, Scholar Select, Milton Keynes, Lightning Source UK Ltd. Note: domestic and colonial imagery are juxtaposed in the album books. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Search/Home?lookfor=findens%20tableaux&searchtype=all&ft=&setft=false

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Romance of the Ganges,” Finden’s Tableaux, 1838, p. 29: “The Romaunt of the Page,” Finden’s Tableaux, 1839, p. 1.; Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market (1862), in Selected Poems, ed. Dinah Roe (Penguin Books, 2008); See COVE online: Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Illustrations for Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market (1862). The above edition is a good edition of Rossetti’s works, but any edition of Goblin Market will do. Christina Rossetti, Sing Song, A Nursery Rhyme Book (1872), illustrated by Arthur Hughes (Dover Books, 2003); Alice Meynell, Preludes (1875), facsimile edition (Creative Media Partners, 2018); Alice Meynell, London Impressions: Etchings and Pictures in Photogravure (1898), ebook download; Michael Field, Sight and Song (1892), facsimile edition. Note: You will see that many of the set texts are facsimile editions often reduced in size. This does enable you to study texts and image away from the computer. (You will find a magnifying glass useful.)

7975 James Joyce
J. Johnson/T, Th

Students will engage in intensive study of Ulysses in its Hiberno-European, Modernist, and Joycean contexts. We will begin by reading both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and Joyce’s poetry, critical essays, Stephen Hero, Exiles, Giacomo Joyce, and Finnegans Wake will all be incorporated into discussions), but the course will be primarily devoted to the reading and study of Ulysses. This work’s centrality to, yet deviation from, the aesthetic and political preoccupations of modernism will be explored. (Class hours TBA; may fall occasionally on days other than T/Th.)

Primary texts: James Joyce, Dubliners (any ed.), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (any ed.), and Ulysses, ed. H. W. Gabler (Vintage). Supplementary texts: Stephen Hero, Exiles, Giacomo Joyce, Finnegans Wake, and Poems and Shorter Writings, ed. Richard Ellmann, A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson (Faber). (Students are not expected to buy the supplementary texts.)

7981 Queer and Now: A Generation of Queer Thinking, Writing, Living
M. Turner/M, W

See description in Group 4 offerings.

Group 4: American Literature

7960 How to Be a Critic: Literary and Cultural Engagement from the 19th Century to the Present
D. Russell/M, W

See description in Group 3 offerings.

7981 Queer and Now: A Generation of Queer Thinking, Writing, Living
M. Turner/M, W

Queer Theory emerged in the 1990s, in the throes of the AIDS epidemic, as one of the most vital areas of intellectual inquiry in the humanities, challenging our understandings of identity, gender, and sexuality. In this interdisciplinary course, we tease out the multiple directions that the word “queer” takes us. We map out the diverse critical discourse of queer thinking over the past generation and pay close attention to some of the most pressing debates currently animating the field. Topics we will explore include identities, sexualities, temporalities, homophobia, activism, deviance, and transgression. Key thinkers include Judith Butler, Beatriz Paul Preciado, Robert McRuer, E. Patrick Johnson, and Gloria Anzaldúa. We will read this theoretical material in conjunction with a range of novels, journals, film, photography, and painting, from the USA and UK. How has queer reality and possibility been imagined by artists and writers? Is “queer” Anglo-American, or does the concept have global resonance? How queer is queer now? In addition to seminars, there will be a number of film screenings scheduled outside of class. (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 4 credit.)

Texts: Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982, Crossing Press); David Wojnarowicz, Close to the Knives (1992, Vintage); Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006, Mariner Books); Derek Jarman, Modern Nature (1991, Vintage); Andrea Lawlor, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (2017, Vintage). Other readings will be provided through PDFs and short-loan library access.

Films: Wong Kar-wai, Happy Together (1997); Jennie Livingston, Paris Is Burning (1991); Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012).

7987 Democracy and Its Documents: Some American Elaborations
D. Jones/M, W

This course studies democratic life and culture. We will pair conventional formulations of democracy in constitutions, philosophical tracts, and political theory with literature to explore the following: 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. 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 like George Katen argue is “the best way of honoring … the equal dignity of every individual.” Political theorists we might read include Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Rousseau, Jefferson, Madison, Weber, Du Bois, Arendt, and Danielle Allen. Literary writers might include Walt Whitman, Ralph Ellison, and Margaret Atwood, among others.

Texts: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (Vintage); Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (Anchor). Additional texts to be provided.

Group 5: World Literature

7990 Anglophone Black Drama
D. Jones/M, W

This course surveys Anglophone Black drama from the mid-nineteenth century through the present, but we will spend most of our time working on texts from the 1960s onward. We will consider how playwrights, theater makers, and audiences used performance to imagine and negotiate several of the most important systems, institutions, and ideas that shaped modern (Black) life, including chattel slavery, apartheid, migration, diaspora, the nation-state, (de)colonization, modernity and tradition, and more. Among the playwrights we might read are Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Femi Osofian, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, Mustapha Matura, Winsome Pinnock, Danai Gurira, Dominique Morrisseau, and Napo Masheane.

Texts: Wole Soyinka, Death and the King’s Horseman (Vintage); Lorraine Hansberry, Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays (Vintage); Lynette Goddard, The Methuen Drama Book of Plays by Black British Writers (Methuen/Bloomsbury); Dominique Morrisseau, The Detroit Project (TCG).

Bread Loaf / California

Summer Institute in Global Humanities

Institute courses count for at least one unit of Group 5 credit. For group credits, see the descriptions below.

7147 Literacy and Decolonization
D. Baca/M–Sat 10–Noon

Decolonization ruptures into the topography of meaning-making where Western Greco-Latin literacies have long buried Other patterns of thinking, sensing, and being mapped across epistemic colonial differences. Our approaches to literacy and decolonization are necessarily diverse and incorporate a range of projects including the de-linking of rationality from coloniality, re-linking, and affirming sustainable literacies that honor the memories we carry in our bodies. As writers and literacy practitioners committed to decolonial options, our tutorial will aim to (1) provide methods of representation from Other cultural and epistemic frameworks, (2) better understand the ways decolonial literacies might work to disrupt normative structures, and (3) contribute to a pluriverse of educational possibilities. Our inquiry is informed by a geo- and body-politics of knowledge and understanding, with the goal of pluriversality as a necessary corrective to Eurocentric universals. (This course carries one unit of Group 1 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: All texts will be accessible via cloud storage.

7262 Decolonizing Shakespeare: Race and Gender on Screen
A. Joubin/M–Sat 10–Noon

In the era of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, how do we engage with classical texts that are traditionally associated with colonial and patriarchal practices? This seminar will equip you with pedagogical strategies and critical tools to decolonize Shakespeare’s plays. Taking an intersectional approach, we will examine theories of race, gender, sexuality, and disability that are most relevant to our contemporary cultural life, and apply these theories to Shakespearean films. (This course carries one unit of Group 2 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Shakespeare in Love screenplay, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and Richard III. All texts are freely available online. Shakespeare in Love. Digital texts of all the Shakespeare plays for this class: https://shakespeare.folger.edu/.

7682 Losing Body
J. Nunokawa/M–Sat 1–3

This course will study how the sacrifice of the body constitutes the means of citizenship specifically, and the speaker’s privilege more generally, in some mostly mid-twentieth century Asian American and Asian Anglophone literature and film. We will turn first to a range of Japanese American literature written during or in the aftermath of the Second World War, such as John Okada’s No-No Boy, Monica Sone’s Nisei Daughter, and a few other examples of a genre I have helpfully denominated “dorky assimilationist.” This is a pre-Identitarian literature, ambivalently but nonetheless intensely invested in the “Melting Pot” ethos that precedes it. This literature provides blunt and subtle versions of the exchange we will study together: give up a limb, for example, and you get to call yourself a citizen. Or, to take a more discreet example, give up your sexuality during an adolescence spent in the internment camps, and you safeguard that citizenship. Beyond and before that, we will study a few texts (both Asian and non-Asian) which lay out some of the antecedents and afterlife of the quite global exchange I have in mind here, by which a subject gains their power to speak by means of giving up their body (parts or whole) either to occupy the space of abstract citizenship where no body (and perhaps nobody) is visible, or to a new body which rises with the departure from the old. (This course carries one unit of Group 4 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Joseph Addison, “Adventures of a Shilling” (1710); John Okada, No-No Boy (University of Washington); Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter (U. Washington); Daniel K. Inouye, Journey to Washington (Prentice-Hall); Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day (Vintage); Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Vintage); Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (Faber); Anne Anlin Cheng, Ornamentalism: A Feminist Theory for the Yellow Woman (Oxford); Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown (Knopf); Torrey Peters, Detransition, Baby (One World).

Film: Christine Choy, Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987).

7775 By the Sea
S. Robolin/M–Sat 1–3

This tutorial offers a chance to reflect on what it means to live by the sea—“by” signaling, here, both nearness (beside) and trajectory (via). We will consider dynamics within/between littoral communities, whereby social, cultural, economic, and natural forces aren’t restricted to land-based settings but importantly flow by way of water and its crossings. What happens when beaches are borders and gateways to many communities across the seas? What kinds of subjectivities and collectivities are uniquely possible under these terms? What new ways of imagining social relations (and the future) develop under conditions of climate change and ecological disaster? Crucial African diasporic literature and film set by the sea will guide us through these questions. Participants in this tutorial will engage in regular writing assignments throughout the three-week term, which will build toward a larger (individually tailored) project involving a final presentation. (This course carries two units of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Fatou Diome, The Belly of the Atlantic (Serpent’s Tail); Abdulrazak Gurnah, By the Sea (Bloomsbury); Paule Marshall, Praisesong for the Widow (Plume). Selected secondary texts will also accompany primary texts.

Films: Mati Diop, Atlantics (2019); Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (1991); John Akomfrah, The Nine Muses (2011).

7780 Ethics and Global Literature
J. Wicke/M–Sat 1–3

The ethical crises we face now are all global in scope: they address the very survival of humanity and of the planet. Global ethics are a blueprint for literal survival, mapped onto a belief in the power of new stories. Remarkably, the newest explorations of global ethics stem from literature, drawing on past and present aspects of global literature and literary form. This course is interdisciplinary, including literary works that have been most inspirational or informative in generating new directions in global ethics, as well as thinkers in political theory, history, and anthropology who are contributing to this globally charged ethics, a task that is imperative and urgent. We will take up two major ethical shifts emerging from literature and literary topics: one arises from the complexity of translation from one language to many others, and within a single language to understand multiplicity as a force within all language. The second shift is toward an ethics that transcends individual or community “identity,” to a resurgence of notions of the stranger, the “foreign,” and the Other as essential neighbors to be welcomed in an ethics of hospitality—going beyond the human to embrace the inseparability of the natural world. To cite Oscar Wilde, “Solidarity is the deepest form of love.” (This course carries two units of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Emily Wilson (read especially Books 9–12) (Norton); William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Folger Shakespeare Library ed. (Simon & Schuster);Aimé Césaire, A Tempest (Theatre Communications Gr, 1st ed.); Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1st ed.); Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed: William Shakespeare’s The Tempest Retold: A Novel (Hogarth Shakespeare Series); Monique Roffey, The Mermaid of Black Conch (Vintage); Elif Shahak, The Island of Missing Trees (Viking). Additional readings will be provided.

Films: Alejandro Iñarrítu, Babel (2006); Ai Weiwei, Human Flow (2017); Alice Rohrwacher, Happy as Lazzaro (Italian title: Lazzaro Felix) (2018).

7781 The Ecopolitical and the Personal in Speculative Fiction
L. Engle/M–Sat 1–3

Students will pick a predictable tipping point in the relatively near future (e.g., Artificial General Intelligence, coastal inundation and economic collapse due to climate change, an associated infopocalypse, a pandemic, a nuclear war), acquaint themselves with the science of said catastrophe as well as some fiction working with what it would feel like to be a person experiencing or anticipating it, create a syllabus, and write a paper. (This course carries one unit of Group 3 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Books in order of discussion: Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World Is Forest (Tor); Haruki Murakami, After the Quake (Vintage); Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods (Mariner); Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future (Orbit); Neal Stephenson, Termination Shock (William Morrow).

7783 Law and Literature: Reimagining Global Freedom
M. Jerng/M–Sat 10–Noon

This seminar reads the speculative fiction of Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Cherie Dimaline, N. K. Jemisin, Victor LaValle, and Rebecca Roanhorse. Their uses of historical speculation, postapocalyptic worlds, time travel, technological creation fantasies and urban fantasy, among others, invite alternative knowledge structures, ways of being, and making (other) realities possible. As such, they both question norms of freedom and personhood that perpetuate anti-Black and settler violence, and reimagine them toward building new futures, presents, and pasts. We will put this fiction in dialogue with legal cases, legal theorists, and critical race theorists centering on the law’s reproduction of norms of freedom and personhood, often based on property, contract, and corporations across global contexts. Throughout we will decipher intersections across law and speculative writing in order to reimagine global freedom. (This course carries one unit of Group 4 credit and one unit of Group 5 credit.)

Texts: Octavia Butler, Kindred (Beacon Press, 2003); Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (DCB, 2017); Victor LaValle’s Destroyer (Boom! Studios, 2018); N. K. Jemisin, The City We Became (Orbit, 2020); Rebecca Roanhorse, Trail of Lightning (Gallery/Saga Press, 2018).

7812 Solo Performance in a Global Age
J. Fried/M–Sat 10–Noon

This course will use the actor’s process to explore what it means to inhabit globally oriented identities. You will build a 10-minute solo play focused on a “solo actor”—a nonconformist, outcast, visionary, change agent—fictionalized from texts or history, using multiple languages (as possible) and building your script from readings chosen in consultation with the professor before the session begins. To benefit from a range of perspectives, during the session you’ll work on your own, with your classmates, one-on-one with your professor, and with the full group (students and faculty) to develop your character. Even as you work from readings, you will have full permission to bring your own imagination to the work, to create an experience that is emotionally, intellectually, historically, and dramatically credible as a window into global cultures and selves. The course is for nonactors: no experience required! Bring your creativity. Students should expect to meet outside of class regularly for rehearsals of the work. (This course carries one unit of Group 5 credit and one unit of Group 6 credit.)

 

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