Texts and Meaning
An introduction to the study of the structures and methods by which texts create and convey meaning. Texts and approaches will be determined by individual instructors, but all emphasize reflective, critical reading, as well as text-centered discussions and written assignments.
British Literature Since 1798
A survey of important works of Romantic, Victorian, Modernist, and Post-Modern British Literature. Required essays test students146 abilities to employ the standard concepts of literary analysis.
Altered States - Victorian Lit
taking a broad interpretation of the phrase altered states
Victorian Literature & Culture
Study of Victorian fiction, poetry, and prose with an emphasis on major social, cultural, and political concerns and debates in nineteenth-century Britain: industrialization and modernization, ideologies of class and gender, evolutionary theory and religious ambivalence, new developments in aesthetic theory and literary form. Authors studied include: Carlyle, Ruskin, Dickens, Eliot, Browning, Tennyson, Pater, Morris, and Wilde.
The Victorian novel viewed through the lens of both nineteenth-century and modern theories of the novel. Works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hardy and others will be examined from the perspective of Victorian literary culture and the work of critics such as Mikhail Bakhtin, Georg Lukas, Walter Benjamin, Ian Watt, Fredric Jameson, and Franco Moretti.
Women's literature in English as a distinct tradition, from the perspective of feminist literary theory and criticism. Structured as a historical and thematic survey of issues in the field; the writers and theorists studied will vary.
Senior Seminar in English
Course topic changes with each offering.
Contemporary culture accepts mental health as a corollary to bodily well-being, and assumes that a productive and ethical society is a community of well-regulated minds. Yet as much as we value psychic order in our daily lives, we are intrigued by the romanticized madwoman or charming sociopath we encounter in fictional mediums. This course explores how and why certain emotional states and patterns of thought become labeled pathological or disruptive, and also considers what cultural values, both positive and negative, those psychic states have come to symbolize. It excavates the nineteenth-century history that grounds current distinctions between sanity and insanity: a divide often figured as a binary opposition, but which, upon closer inspection, entails gradations and even contradictions. By reading fiction in dialogue with both contemporaneous scientific accounts of mental function and its broader cultural context, and by connecting modern mental health debates to their historical origins, the course highlights the tension between freedom and restraint that characterizes debates about psychic disorder.
Work and Selfhood
How do we define our values, skills, and priorities through the work we choose to do, and how do our occupations define us in the eyes of others? This course will consider work as empowerment or exploitation, as a calling or an obligation, as a means to an end or an end in itself.