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
S. Choi/M, W 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 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. Prior to coming to Bread Loaf, students should read a selection of short stories that the instructor will provide via email. Additional readings will be provided throughout the session.
7008 Exploring Techniques in Academic Writing
M. Robinson/T, Th 2–4:45
This course is designed to help students navigate the challenge of performing academic writing for graduate school and scholarly publication. Students are asked to come to class with 12–15 pages of original text that will be the source of various writing assignments over the course of the summer. Using the resource texts purchased for the course, students will read and discuss elements of effective academic writing for graduate school and publication and apply these techniques to their original piece of writing. The final outcome for the term will be for students to submit their original writing for publication.
Texts: Anne Sigismund Huff, Writing for Scholarly Publication (Sage); John M. Swales and Christine B. Feak, Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Skills and Tasks, 3rd ed. (Michigan).
7009 Multigenre Writing Workshop
D. Huddle/M–Th 8:10–9:25
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 the exemplary writing we will read aloud and discuss in class.
D. Clubb/M, W 2–4:45
This course concerns itself with the many ways we express ourselves through dramatic form. An initial consideration of the resources at hand will give way to regular discussions of established structures and techniques. Members of the class are asked to write a scene for each class meeting. Throughout the course we will be searching for new forms, new ways of ordering experience, new ways of putting our own imaginations in front of us.
7019 Writing for Children
M. Stepto and S. Swope/M, W 2–4:45
Stories for children, like stories for adults, come in many colors, from dark to light, and the best have in common archetypal characters, resonant plots, and concise, poetic language. Using new and classic texts as inspiration, we will try our hands writing in a variety of forms. The first half of the course will be a story-generating boot camp; students will write a rough draft of a new story for each class. In the second half, students will continue with new work and, with an eye to shaping a final project, revise some of what they’ve written. We will also add critical readings to the mix. Students should attempt to read as many of the texts as possible before arriving at Bread Loaf, but should at least read Wally’s Stories, The Witches, and “Hansel and Gretel” and “Rapunzel” from the Philip Pullman collection for the first class. A discussion of picture books featuring children of color, by authors such as Jacqueline Woodson, Allen Say, and Ezra Jack Keats, will use books on reserve at the Bread Loaf Library, but students are encouraged to bring or buy their own copies. All other books for the course will also be on reserve. The artistically inclined should bring their art supplies with them to campus.
Texts: Roald Dahl, The Witches (Puffin); Philip Pullman, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (Penguin); A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner (Puffin); William Steig, The Amazing Bone (Square Fish); P. D. Eastman, Go, Dog, Go! (Random House); James Barrie, Peter Pan (Puffin); Janet Schulman, You Read to Me & I’ll Read to You (Knopf); Virginia Hamilton, The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales (Knopf); Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Squirrel Nutkin, and Jemima Puddleduck; William Steig, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Aladdin); Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon (HarperCollins); Wolf Erlbruch, Death, Duck, and the Tulip (Gecko Press); Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting (Square Fish); Molly Bang, The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher (Aladdin) and Picture This (SeaStar); Jon Klassen, This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick); Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, The Dark (Little Brown); Felix Salten, Bambi (Barton); Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg (Random); Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen (both HarperCollins); Mo Willems, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Hyperion); Vivian Paley, Wally’s Stories (Harvard); Nathaniel Hawthorne, A Wonder Book: Heroes and Monsters of Greek Mythology (Dover); Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio (Puffin); Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins); E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (HarperCollins); I. B. Singer, Zlateh the Goat, and Other Stories (HarperCollins), Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick).
7040 Holding Place: Long-Form Writing about Landscape
R. Sullivan/M-Th 8:10–9:25
How do writers inhabit a place, and how does a place inhabit their books? In this course, students will examine various literary tools as well as 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 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. There will be film screenings outside class time, and a class-related Friday seminar. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)
Texts: Tove Jansson, The Summer Book (NYRB); John McPhee, The Pine Barrens (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); 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 numerous handouts.
7045 Memoir Workshop: Telling Stories, Finding Meaning
C. Savageau/T, Th 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: No required 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 the Body
B. Brueggemann/M–Th 11–12:15
When we write, we often make, mark, and mask our bodies and/or our identities. And too, our bodies and identities can be shaped by our writing choices, styles, practices. We’ll be exploring that toggle between writing and the body/identity in this course. This course is both theory and practice, reading into and writing out from the body. We will be in conversation with the French feminist philosopher, Helene 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 across a wide range of eras and genres. Our writing for the course (this is a writing course!) will engage multimodal and traditional forms, all caught up with “truth-telling” from the body/identity. Each class will invite a brief writing prompt response, building toward two substantial projects and a final portfolio cover letter.
Texts: Bill Roorbach, Writing Life Stories, 2nd ed. (F&W); Plato, Phaedrus, intro. Stephen Scully (Hackett); William Hay, Deformity: An Essay, ed. Kathleen James-Cavan (ELS); Mark Haddon, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Knopf); Cece Bell, El Deafo (Abrams); Emmanuelle Laborit, The Cry of the Gull (Gallaudet); Jean Dominique-Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Knopf); Margaret Edson, Wit: A Play (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux); Bernard Pomerance, The Elephant Man: A Play (Grove); Stephen Kuusisto, Planet of the Blind (Random House).
7092 Digital Writing and Social Justice
C. Medina/M–Th 8:10–9:25
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, doxxing, and online activism. Scholars like Adam Banks have been interested in the digital divide because access to technology is necessary before communities of color are able to be transformative with the uses of these technologies. 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 among ideologically opposed users. Argumentation, social activism, and community engagement for this and upcoming generations of students will predominantly take place online. This course asks student-educators to identify and experiment with web-based platforms and develop pedagogical materials that ask students to develop critical thinking through transformative practices relevant to their student populations.
Texts: Racial Shorthand: Online Misrepresentation Contested in Social Media, eds. Cruz Medina and Octavio Pimentel (ccdigitalpress.org/book/shorthand/); Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression (NYU); Adam Banks, Race Rhetoric and Technology (Routledge).
7105 Teaching African American Rhetorics
M. Robinson/M–Th 11–12:15
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. The course 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: Keith Gilyard and Adam Banks, On African-American Rhetoric (Routledge, Taylor & Francis); The Long Duree of Black Voices: the Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric: Debates, Histories, Performances, eds. Vershawn Young and Michelle Bachelor Robinson (Routledge, Taylor & Francis).
Group 2 (British Literature: Beginnings through the 17th Century)
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 Spenser’s Faerie Queene: Epic, Empire, Metamorphosis
S. Wofford/M, W 2–4:45
This course offers an immersive introduction to The Faerie Queene in its wider literary and political contexts, including selections from classical and Renaissance epic (Vergil, Ovid, Ariosto, Tasso, Cervantes). We will read all of the 1590 Faerie Queene (Books 1, 2, and 3) and selections from Books 4–6, considering also questions emerging from Reformation religion and Elizabethan politics. Readings in theories of allegory and romance will complement our focus on the poem as epic. Brief attention will be given to the visual tradition of representing epic and romance in mythological paintings, emblem books, and Renaissance mythography. We will rethink the convergences and divergences of epic, allegory, and romance as they help to shape questions of gender, nation, ideology, and ethics, and we will consider the relation of the Renaissance epic to the maritime European empires. Is epic as a genre committed to an imperial vision? or does it offer alternative national or transnational narratives? Before the summer, students should read Book 1–4 and Book 6 of Virgil’s Aeneid, and Spenser’s Mutabilitie Cantos (listed as Book VII, cantos 6–8). In preparation for the first class meeting, students should read the first two cantos of Book I and the Letter to Raleigh (found in the back or front of the book).
Texts: Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 2nd ed., ed. A. C. Hamilton (Longman); Vergil, Aeneid, trans. Robert Fitzgerald (Vintage) or trans. Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics Deluxe Ed.); Ovid, The Metamorphoses, trans. A. D. Melville (Oxford World Classics) or the Bilingual English/Latin in the Loeb Series. Recommended texts: Angus Fletcher, Allegory: Theory of a Symbolic Mode, revised ed. (Princeton); and Jeremy Tambling, Allegory (2010), Barbara Fuchs, Romance (2004), and Paul Innes, Epic (2013) (all Routledge New Critical Idiom Series).
7243 English Renaissance Tragedy
D. Britton/M–Th 11–12:15
This course will investigate the pleasures of watching other people suffer. More precisely, we will examine English Renaissance tragedy, asking ourselves what cultural work the genre does, and why tragedy has been so esteemed in the West. We will read Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex and Antigone, and Seneca’s Thyestes and Hercules Furens in order to understand the classical genre that Renaissance writers imitated, before turning to Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus; Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy; Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth; Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women; and John Webster’s White Devil. We will also read what are often considered canonical discussions of tragedy by Aristotle, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud.
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); and Six Elizabethan and Jacobean Tragedies, ed. Brian Gibbons (New Mermaids/Bloomsbury).
7270 Shakespeare and Race
D. Britton/M–Th 9:35–10:50
In this course we will examine Shakespeare’s representation of racial difference. Our Shakespearean works will include selected sonnets, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest. In order to get a sense of the historical and cultural context in which Shakespeare writes, we will also read Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, 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 writers of color, such as Jordan Peele’s Get Out, 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. Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta, ed. James R. Siemon (New Mermaid/Methuen); Toni Morrison, Desdemona (Oberon Modern Plays); Gloria Naylor, Mama Day (Vintage).
Group 3 (British Literature: 18th Century to the Present)
7375 Gothic Horror in the 19th-Century Novel
D. Denisoff/M–Th 9:35-10:50
“This was the climax. A pang of exquisite suffering—a throe of true despair—rent and heaved my heart… . I sank on the wet doorstep: I groaned— … I wept in utter anguish. Oh, this spectre of death! Oh, this isolation—this banishment from my kind!” Poor Jane Eyre, one more victim to the gothic horrors that have entertained novel readers for centuries. Focusing on the 19th-century novel in particular, this course will consider how the gothic disrupts boundaries of art, science, politics, and desire to create spaces for reflection, critique, and creative rebellion. Topics to be analyzed include the relation of gothic horror to gender and sexuality, class, ethnicity and race, self-image, decadence, science, and the beautiful. To take advantage of the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble’s production of Jane Eyre, students will be expected to attend one or two rehearsals; we will arrange a schedule together in class.
Texts: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847); Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847); Sheridan Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly (1872); Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (1938); Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891, 1892). Any editions are fine.
Films: Franco Zeffirelli, Jane Eyre (1996); Francis Ford Coppola, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992); Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca (1940).
7430 Slow Reading Virginia Woolf
J. Green-Lewis/M, W 2–4:45
Is there any better way to read Virginia Woolf than slowly? This course offers a chance to study Woolf’s craft in light of her reflections on life and art. To that end, we will read extracts from her diaries, particularly those concerned with writing, and we may dip into biography. We’ll also read a couple of essays by her friend Roger Fry and look at paintings by her sister, Vanessa Bell, that illuminate some of Woolf’s preoccupations and provide us with themes for the summer: beauty and its relation to happiness; the past and its relation to the present; and the self and its relation to others.
Texts: Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, Jacob’s Room, To the Lighthouse, The Waves (all Harcourt); Moments of Being, A Writer’s Diary (both Mariner); Selected Essays (Oxford World’s Classics). Recommended, but not required: Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf (Vintage).
7453 Modern British and American Poetry
M. Wood/M–Th 8:10–9:25
Why is modern poetry so concerned with deferred dreams, and do the deferrals ever end? There is almost certainly no single answer to these or many other questions that poets so frequently raise. But the questions are essential. Modern poetry invites us to worry—about social and moral issues, and the fate of poetry itself. Through close reading—of the six poets listed below, but of others, too—we will explore the questions our poems propose to us, and we will try to think about what it means to keep on asking questions, even when we imagine we have the answers. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 4 requirement.)
Texts: Langston Hughes, Selected Poems (Vintage); Elizabeth Bishop, Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Philip Larkin, Collected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Geoffrey Hill, Selected Poems (Yale); Jorie Graham, From the New World (Ecco); Claudia Rankine, Citizen (Graywolf).
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 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, and Orwell. We will then turn to selections from the impressive repertory of English-language writing from the postcolonial period 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); Amitav Ghosh, Shadow Lines (Houghton Mifflin); Manto, Selected Stories (Penguin); Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire (Riverhead); Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Riverhead); Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Riverhead).
Group 4 (American Literature)
7040 Holding Place: Long-Form Writing about Landscape
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.
7770 Modern Latin American Fiction
M. Wood/M-Th 11-12:15
See description in Group 5 offerings.
7504 Herman Melville: Moby-Dick and After
S. Donadio/M, W 2–4:45
In June of 1851, just before he had turned 32 and was about to leave for New York to see his sixth novel in five years through the press—the book that would become his most famous and influential—Melville confided to Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Until I was twenty-five, I had no development at all. From my twenty-fifth year I date my life. Three weeks have scarcely passed, at any time between then and now, that I have not unfolded within myself. But I feel that I am now come to the inmost leaf of the bulb…” Over the course of six weeks this summer we will undertake a sustained investigation of Melville’s most far-reaching imaginative achievement, then move on to further exploration of some of his most persistently provocative later fictions. Students should anticipate opportunities for significant independent research into various aspects of the author’s life and literary career, including detailed consideration of some works of prose and poetry that time will not permit us to read together.
Texts: Moby-Dick or, The Whale (Penguin); Pierre or, The Ambiguities (Penguin); Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales (Oxford).
7507 Humbugs and Visionaries: American Art and Literature of the 19th Century
B. Wolf/M, W 2–4:45
This is a course in seeing as much as it is reading. We will examine American painting and literature from the 17th century to the Civil War, focusing on questions of citizenship, race, gender, hegemony, and visuality. 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: Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover); Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays, ed. Larzer Ziff (Penguin); Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, ed. John McKivigan IV (1845 version, Yale); Edgar Allan Poe, Great Short Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Perennial); Emily Dickinson, Final Harvest, ed. Thomas Johnson (Little, Brown); Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories (Penguin).
7510 Transcendental Materialities
R. Johnson/T, Th 2–4:45
This course considers a foundational literary, philosophical, and religious movement in U.S. culture—American transcendentalism—with particular attention to many writers’ explorations of materiality (the nature of matter itself). As our readings will remind us, this movement arose amid debates concerning chattel slavery, “Indian removal,” women’s rights, and the professionalization of science. Several transcendentalists grappled with these concerns alongside their explorations of the human place amid the material world. The convergence of these various interests informs crucial aspects of our national story. Through recent essays similarly exploring the human place amid matter, we will uncover connections between this period and our own. Student projects will center on historical material artifacts held in Special Collections at the Middlebury College Library, to which we will travel as a group during class and on the morning of Friday, July 17. For the first day of class, please read Emerson’s Nature. For ease of discussion and to ensure accurate text copy, purchase the particular editions of texts listed.
Texts: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Nature and Walking, intro. by John Elder (Beacon); selections in The American Transcendentalists: Essential Writings, ed. Lawrence Buell (Random House/Modern Library); Henry David Thoreau, Walden, ed. J. Lyndon Shanley (Princeton).
7512 Literatures of Slavery
R. Johnson/M–Th 9:35–10:50
Focusing on the literary history of chattel slavery, we will consider how slavery has shaped the United States, both historically and today. We will concentrate on the period of 1700 to 1861, but we will read works from the 17th through the 21st centuries, including letters, poetry, fiction, abolitionist tracts, proslavery arguments, and autobiographical narratives. Many of our readings will challenge us: they refer to violence and horrors of all kinds; yet they are also some of the most important documents of history. Participants should expect vigorous seminar discussion, attention to historical contexts, and persistent analysis of how language conveys and participates in injustice. Final projects will consider how the legacy of slavery remains with us amid national discussions of race, migration, and justice. In advance of the course, please read Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin from the edition listed below. For ease of discussion and to ensure accurate text copy, purchase the particular editions of texts listed.
Texts: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, 3rd ed. (Bedford); Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South, A Brief History with Documents, ed. Paul Finkelman (Bedford/St. Martin’s); Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Bold Type); Mason Lowance, Against Slavery: An Abolitionist Reader (Penguin); Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Harvard); Toni Morrison, Beloved (Vintage); Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 3rd ed. (Norton critical ed.).
7642 Teaching Film in the Literature Classroom
A. Rodgers/M–Th 11–12:15
Film has long had a place in the literature classroom; however, most often cinematic texts are understood and taught as supplements to their literary sources. Moving away from an arborial model of adaptation (in which the source material remains the privileged text) to a rhizomatic model (in which medium-based variations on a source exist symbiotically, altering one another over time) allows for more mobile and effective pedagogical strategies when teaching across film and literature. This course will provide students with a basic knowledge of formal film analysis and offer models for helping students think with and through multimedial narrative forms.
Texts: Film Art, eds. David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, 11th or 12th ed. (McGraw Hill); Toni Morrison, Beloved (Vintage); Tony Kushner, Angels in America, 20th anniversary ed. (TCG); William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, any edition.
7665 The Novella
A. Hungerford, K. Marshall/M, W 2–4:45
The novella is in its golden age, enjoying the attention of major publishers, spawning popular book series, and drawing the attention of readers as the form best suited to our contemporary habits of reading. But what is it about the form, and its history, that informs its current ascendancy in reading culture? In this course we will read across the contemporary novella and several key texts from its history. At stake will be questions of form and how we read, and we will place these texts in conversation with contemporary literary journalism, studies of narrative, and media theory. Our classes will often pair novellas in conversation (for example, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Taiga Syndrome), in addition to considering novella form within texts like David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Assignments: two shorter papers, chosen from a variety of modes, and a presentation; please read longer works ahead. (This course may be used to satisfy a Group 5 requirement.)
Texts: César Aira, An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (New Directions); Nnedi Okorafor, Binti: The Complete Trilogy (DAW); Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth (Oxford); Eugene Lim, Dear Cyborgs (FSG); Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Oxford); Christina Rivera Garza, The Taiga Syndrome (Dorothy); Carlos María Domínguez, The House of Paper (Harcourt); Yoko Tawada, The Emissary (New Directions); Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (Dover); Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin); J. D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (Little, Brown); Denis Johnson, Train Dreams (Picador); Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Harper Perennial); David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (Random House).
7671 Gender and Sexuality in Native North American Literature
C. Savageau/M–Th 8:10–9:25
In this course, we will look at expressions of nonbinary gender and sexuality outside the heteronormative in the work of North American Native writers and poets in the context of colonialism, genocide, resistance, sovereignty, and specific national/tribal traditions. Over the past 30 years, Two-Spirit has become an umbrella term in the Native LGBTQ community. Two-Spirit people may identify as LGBT, Queer, or in tribally specific ways. We’ll read texts that challenge homophobia/transphobia, that witness multiple layers of oppression, that reclaim understandings of gender and sexuality rooted in specific tribal traditions, that imagine futuristic and fantastic indigenisms, and that celebrate the erotic as a creative force inextricably linked with issues of sovereignty and survivance. Additional readings will be provided.
Texts: Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, eds., Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, Lisa Tatonetti, (Arizona); A Generous Spirit: Selected Works by Beth Brant, ed. Janice Gould (Inanna); Craig Womack, Drowning in Fire (Arizona); Chip Livingston, Owls Don’t Have to Mean Death (Tincture); Janice Gould, Doubters and Dreamers (Arizona); Deborah Miranda, Raised by Humans (Tía Chucha); Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (Harper Perennial); Daniel Heath Justice, Kynship: The Way of Thorn and Thunder, Book One (Kegedonce); Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time, ed. Hope Nicholson (Bedside).
7686 American Print Cultures and the Art of the Book
K. Marshall/T, Th 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. 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); 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 (1992). 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).
Group 5 (World Literature)
7454 Science Fiction’s Otherwise
T. Curtain/M–Th 11–12:15
How might we imagine the world otherwise? This course will be a collective attempt to come to a working definition of science fiction and an understanding of how critics use literary genre as an epistemological tool. We will discuss diverse works produced over the last 50 to 60 years as we attempt to understand what it means to call something “science fiction.”
Texts: Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz (Spectra); Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers (Ace); Frank Herbert, Dune (Ace); Joe Haldeman, The Forever War (St. Martin’s Griffin); Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy (all Orbit); N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky (all Orbit).
Films: Robert Wise, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951); Chris Marker, La Jetée (1962); Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); James Cameron, The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991); Paul Verhoeven, Starship Troopers (1997); Paul Favreau, Iron Man (2008); Anna Boden, Captain Marvel (2019).
7455 Fiction of Empire and Its Aftermath in Modern South Asia
M. Sabin/T, Th 2–4:45
See description in Group 3 offerings.
7665 The Novella
A. Hungerford, K. Marshall/M, W 2–4:45
See description in Group 4 offerings.
7715 Dante & Vergil
J. Fyler/M–Th 9:35–10:50
This course will focus on two major texts in the European literary tradition, Vergil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Commedia. The two are linked because “Virgil” is Dante’s guide on his journey into Hell and up the mountain of Purgatory; he is the guide because Aeneid 6 describes an earlier trip to the underworld, but even more because Dante has the whole Aeneid very much in mind throughout his own great poem. We will also look at a number of allusions to these texts in English and American literature.
Texts: Vergil, Aeneid, trans. Robert Fitzgerald (Vintage); Reading Vergil’s Aeneid, ed. Christine Perkell (Oklahoma); Dante, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, ed. Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander (all Anchor); Pierre Grimal, The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Penguin).
7721 Cultural Translation
J. Lezra/M–Th 11–12:15
“Bread” is pain is pan is Brot. Perhaps. But what happens when cultures must be translated? How will an Anglophone culture understand how terms, phrases, and customs work in another context? Can cultures travel (or be exported, or imported, or extracted)? Are cultures always subject to appropriation, exploitation, reduction, marketization when they do? What protections can and should be afforded to cultures? By whom? Is translation the same sort of thing when what’s at issue is a word, as when what’s at issue is the culture in which that word makes sense? And what will count as a culture—the idioms and practices of a distinct group or sub- or minoritized group, ethnic, religious, native? Our seminar will explore approaches, practical as well as conceptual, to these questions. Shakespeare’s The Tempest will be our initial point of reference. Additional readings will be provided.
Texts: Aimé Césaire, A Tempest (TCG Translations, 2002); Eduardo Viveiros De Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, trans., ed., and intro. Peter Skafish (Univocal, 2014); Roberto Fernández Retamar, Caliban and Other Essays, trans. Edward Baker and intro. Fredric Jameson (Minnesota, 1989); Sarah Maitland and Jeremy Munday, What Is Cultural Translation? (Bloomsbury, 2017); Michel de Montaigne, “On Cannibals” in Essais (Penguin,1995); Raymond Williams, Keywords (Oxford, 2014).
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 Entertainment. Compiled in Egypt and Syria in the 14th century and translated into French and other European languages in the 17th and 18th 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 central in our inquiry.
Texts: The Arabian Nights, ed. Muhsin Mahdi and trans. Husain Haddawy and Sindbad: And Other Stories from the Arabian Nights, New Deluxe ed. (both Norton); Richard Burton, Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights (Modern Library); Robert Irwin, Arabian Nights: Companion (Tauris Parke); Malise Ruthven, Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford); Alexander Lyon Macfie, Orientalism: A Reader (NYU); Shalom Goldman, The Wiles of Women/The Wiles of Men (SUNY).
7741 Reading the Lyric
J. Lezra/M–Th 9:35–10:50
What is lyric poetry, and how is it to be read (and taught, written about, interpreted, theorized . . . )? The aim is double: to grasp what “lyric poetry” might be (and if definition falters, just why); and to develop ways of attending to the oddities, conceptual as well as literary and poetical, of the lyric. We’ll seek to understand how poems make arguments; what sorts of arguments they make; and what relation these may have to properly critical or philosophical arguments. We will work very slowly through a small number of poems, usually short (sonnets, for instance) but at times longer. Our poems will be primarily in English, but also (translated from) French, Spanish, and Italian; the tradition (largely Petrarchan, European, and Anglo-American) concerned with the development of interiority, the constitution of the lyrical voice, the relation between desire and writing, and so on. Critical readings cover the theory of the lyric, from the New Criticism to deconstruction and the New Lyric Studies. Additional readings will be provided.
Texts: Jonathan Culler, Theory of the Lyric (Harvard); Virginia Jackson, The Lyric Reader: A Critical Anthology (Johns Hopkins); Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, Lyric Poetry Is Dead (Cardboard House).
7747 The Russian Novel in the 20th Century
M. Katz/M, W 2–4:45
This course provides an introduction to five classic novels of the so-called “silver age” of Russian literature. We begin with Andrei Bely’s symbolist masterpiece, Petersburg. We move on to the controversial and celebrated novel Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak, followed by Mikhail Bulgakov’s satanic fantasy, Master and Margarita. We follow with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s literary and political bombshell, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and conclude with Vladimir Voinovich’s subversive novel of socialist surrealism, The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin.
Texts: Andrei Bely, Petersburg, trans. Robert Maguire and John Malmstad (Indiana); Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, trans. Max Hayward and Manya Harari, (Everyman’s Library); Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita, trans. Diana Burgin and Katherine O’Connor (Vintage/Random House); Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, trans. H. Willetts (Farrar Straus Giroux); Vladimir Voinovich, The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, trans. Richard Lourie (Northwestern).
7756 Teaching with Literary Theory
A. Rodgers/M–Th 9:35–10:50
Often considered the purview of the so-called ivory tower, critical (a.k.a. “literary”) theory speaks to many of the most pressing issues of ideology and identity that occupy our classrooms and our students’ lives. This course takes as twin premises that a) literary theory can enrich high school students’ experience of literature, and b) literary theory can aid educators in demonstrating the importance of studying literature in an increasingly vocation-based educational landscape. Toward these ends, we will look at a sampling of six influential theoretical approaches to analyzing literature: psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, gender studies, cultural studies/historicism, critical race/postcolonial theory, and disability theory. Learning something about these categories of analysis is not our only goal; in addition, we will explore how these analytical perspectives can forge new ways of reading and understanding literature. To that end, we will read various fictional works and explore them using the critical perspectives offered by these approaches.
Texts: Lois Tyson, Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide, 3rd ed. (Routledge); Literary Theory: An Anthology, 2nd ed., ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (Blackwell). It is important that students obtain the second (not the more recent third) edition of Literary Theory: An Anthology.
7770 Modern Latin American Fiction
M. Wood/M–Th 11–12:15
Fiction in Latin America has many aspects and preoccupations, reflects a range of different histories. But certain quandaries recur, and one of them involves fiction itself. There is a North American version of this topic and comparisons are helpful. But the accents are different, and one of our guiding questions, as we explore a fraction of this rich literature, could be this: What is it like to write and read stories about imaginary people and situations in a world where reality is already thought to be half-imaginary?
Texts: Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits (Atria); Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives (Picador); Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths (New Directions); Carmen Boullosa, Texas (Deep Vellum); Julio Cortázar, Blow-Up and Other Stories (Pantheon); Gabriel García Márquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Vintage); Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to GH (New Directions).
7795 Queer Studies in Literature and Film
D. Denisoff/M–Th 11–12:15
This course is queer. Angry, fabulous, painful, hilarious, rebellious, insouciant—“queer” is a notoriously slippery concept, one that not only preexisted its modern usage, but has also changed considerably in the last decade and will no doubt continue to do so. In this course, we will look at some of the queerer literary and cinematic texts from around the world, problematizing our formulations of difference and desire, while stimulating us to conceive of our own fresh articulations of what intimate, affective, and passionate experiences we wish to include within the rubric of the queer. And how, we will ask ourselves, does the intersection of gender, desire, sexuality, and identity with other cultural, political, and social forces impact on queerness? Some of the theoretical and cultural issues we will address are identity performance, the politics of visuality, passing, queer ecology, class, ethnicity, and race.
Texts: Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985); James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956); Marian Engel, Bear (1975); Suzette Mayr, Monoceros (2011); Robert Glück, Margery Kempe (1994); Mariko Tamaki, Skim (2008). Any editions are fine.
Films: Thom Fitzgerald, Cloudburst (2011); Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, Stonewall Uprising (2010); Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca (1940); Stephan Elliot, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994); Pedro Almodóvar, Law of Desire (1987); Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (2016).
Group 6 (Theater Arts)
7807 Using Theater in the Classroom
A. Brazil/T, Th 2–4:45
Theater can offer students the opportunity to viscerally enter and deeply understand—and own—a text. In the tradition of the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, this course will explore ways to use performance to excavate a text; its goal is for students to have the tools to do this work with their own students in their year-round classrooms. Working collaboratively as actors, we’ll employ choral readings, find and theatricalize events, find where a piece hits us emotionally, and create its physical life from there. The work we make in class may culminate in an original piece for the Bread Loaf community. We’ll be working with a variety of texts exploring some of the essential questions raised in Jane Eyre, this summer’s main theatrical production. Though performance is central to the course, the emphasis is not on acting; no previous acting experience is required. Students must be available to rehearse weekly outside of scheduled class hours.
Texts: Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton, A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts (Harvard).